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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bay Breeze Half Marathon (February)

So my 2012 goal includes doing a half marathon every month for a total of 12 half marathons in 2012! Sounds great huh? I have a reason that I set that as a goal that I still haven't blogged about and every time I think about blogging about it I lose the nerve - I will get to that blog post - I promise! So back to Bay Breeze Half Marathon! Brazen Racing puts on some great races and they have some awesome medals! We woke up bring and early to drive to San Leandro and I was excited to be in the bay area again! I LOVE the bay area!!

I had been following a blog about a guy that is in the Marathon Maniacs and his quest last year was to achieve the highest level in that group - Titanium - by doing 52 full marathons in 52 weeks! He goes by the name Endorphin Dude! I "ran" into" him at the finish of Tinkerbell and very briefly introduced myself to him, I so wanted to talk and share stories, but he was going one way and I was going another and I figured I would end up seeing him at another race. I heard he was going to be running Bay breeze and I was so excited!

At the start line a group of Half Fanatics were going to take a group picture and since this was the race that would qualify me as a half fanatic and I would join after the race was over I got to be in the picture! I met a ton of people in a very short time and they were all so welcoming and nice!

The race starts and Endorphin dude whips out his camera and start taking pics! He is saying hi to everyone and his enthusiasm is infectious! The course starts at a park and heads out to the trail which is so beautiful and in sight of the water at all times. Now when I say in sight of the water what I really mean is one wrong step and you are off the trail *into* the water. On some parts of the trail there was water on both sides of you! It was so pretty!!

Front of the packers coming back at us!At the turnaround point!So pretty! Aquarium on the way back to the finish!

I decided to take the opportunity to talk to Endorphin Dude (AKA Tony) so we settled into a comfortable pace and we talked about racing, health, losing weight, our families, budgets, the half fanatics, the friends we have made because we run, the friends we don't have any more because we run and just about anything and everything else! The one thing about Tony that you don't fully understand from his blog is he is so genuine and down to earth. The next thing about Tony is he is so encouraging! He believes in you the moment he meets you and can pretty much talk you into doing anything! It turns out Tony is a "normal" guy - a mid to back of the packer just like me and someone I could really relate to! We ran together for 8 miles before he fell back to provide support to some other Half Fanatics behind us. I finished this race with a renewed love of running and a shot in the arm of enthusiasm for the sport!

Another good thing about Brazen Racing - the photographers are all volunteers and they put the pics they take on a photo sharing site and they are free!

Hamming it up for the camera! - Side note - the person in blue behind us is Christa - a former Sacfitter that I run into at a lot of races!

The bling!

So after the race I submitted my application to the Half Fanatics and was accepted (As if there was any doubt!) - I am now Half Fanatic #1936! I'm currently moon level 2 (Uranus *snicker*) with plans to move up to level 4 sometime in June!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

When running and vacationing collide!

Back in April Run Disney announced a new race - The Inaugural Tinkerbell Half Marathon. I heard about it and I knew I HAD to run it! Hmmmm how to make that happen... I convince my family that if I sign up for the race then we will save money until January, pay for the hotel and whatever else we can along the way and we will make a family vacation out of it. Well the family fell for it decided it was a good idea!

Fast forward to January - Our little family vacation grew a bit and it is now 11 days long!!

Day one we get up at O'Dark hundred pack the car and head on out! We get there well before noon which was my goal and park the car and walk over to the Disneyland hotel where they are holding packet pickup and the race expo. I met Jeff Galloway and had him autograph my bib number and we do some shopping and then head back to the hotel to check in and get settled. The Hubster is signed up for the family 5K which starts at 10:30 that night so we have lots of time to kill! The race that night was so much fun - we were not allowed in the park so we were outside at around mile 1 1/2 and saw him run by then we headed over to gate where he would eventually end up exiting the park after he was done. He had a blast and listening to his stories about the race made me even more excited for mine!

Day two is Logan's kids race (one mile through Disney's California Adventure!) we get him to the start line then we head over so we can watch him run by about halfway through the race and then across the park to the finish line! They made this race so much for for the kids - lots of characters were out and the music was blasting from all the speakers! Day two was also our first day in the park! I was only a little worried about what walking around at Disney all day was going to do to me, in fact I was more worried about staying hydrated, getting electrolytes and being careful with what I ate that day than I was about the time on my feet. I did go back to the room a little earlier than the rest of the family but primarily because my race started the next morning at 5:45 and they were recommending runners to be in the start corral no later than 5:00AM!

Day three - RACE DAY!! I'm up, dressed and out the door with my family in tow bright and early! I'm taking ton of pictures, my hubby is taking pictures and my little guy has his video camera and they leave me in my corral to see if they can get a better vantage point to take a video of the start. I feel kinda alone at that moment because it is such a big race and I know some people who are there but didn't make arrangements to meet up or anything. I glance over and two girls I know are standing just to my right! Christine and Susan who I had done the Fight For Air Stair Climb last year with had somehow found each other in the crowd and I had now found them!! Fireworks go off we move up and I know it will still be a while before we start. They let one "corral" go at a time and we are in the 5th and final one. It ended up being 1/2 an hour before we crossed the start line and then we were off! Mickey, Minnie and Donald were at the start line to see us off and we ran about a mile and entered Disneyland - there were parade floats and characters at regular intervals, cast members all over cheering us on and lots of photo opportunities! we ran about 2 miles in the park (including through the castle!!) and then we exited the park and ran through Downtown Disney - it was right about mile 3 1/2 - 4 that I saw the family and that was a great boost for me! Right past them were hundreds of Red Hat ladies! They were cheering us on and I thought of my mom and wished she was there! Then we ran through the streets of Anaheim - I don't really remember much about that part - I was really feeling the time on my feet at Disney the previous day by around mile 7. There were high school cheerleaders, high school bands and enthusiastic aid station volunteers along the way. I had asked my hubby to be at mile 10-11 and I knew once I saw them I would almost be back at Disney for the run through California Adventure and I would be fine again and might even get my second wind! It was also starting to get quite warm and I was drinking Gatorade at all the aid stations hoping I would stay hydrated. We finally turned onto the road and I could see the park up ahead of us so I started looking for my family and right before the park entrance I saw them! I got some Gatorade from them gave them both big sweaty hugs and I was on my way again! I don't know what gave me my second wind - was it the Gatorade, getting back onto Disney property or seeing my family? Probably all three! More photos, more characters and more loud music got me really moving and before I knew it I was back out of the park for the final stretch around to the finish line! What an amazing race!! There is nothing like experiencing Disney Magic and Runners High all at once!!Running down Main Street USA!!

The Toy Story Gang!!

Finish line photo with my bling!!

Day 4-10 were either Disneyland/DCA days or Universal Studios days - we also left Universal early one day and hit up a couple of malls and walked down Hollywood's famous "Walk of Fame!" I wore a pedometer everyday (Except the day I ran) and we averaged 20,000 each day! Not a day went by that I didn't reflect in someway about how much my life has changed. We walked to the park every morning and walked back to our hotel every night which was a mile away from the park! My legs and feet didn't swell and hurt like they had in times past when we went to Disney. We used to stay at a hotel that had a shuttle and we would have to sit and wait for the shuttle at the end of the night because we didn't have the energy to walk back to the hotel. The rides were enjoyable - I didn't have to cram myself into them and ride it the whole time not being able to breathe because the restraint was too tight. I'm open to new things - I even tried indoor skydiving!! I can't help but think back to things that I missed out in life because I was too heavy, or too tired to take advantage of them. Never again!!Waiting for a parade!!This is Logan before ordering his dinner one night. He woke up long enough to order and then when the food came he woke up long enough to eat. Oh and I should mention this was at the ESPN zone in front of the largest TV I have ever seen during a LA Basketball game with lots of cheering and booing going on...

Wearing out a 12 year old - we will show you how it is done!!

Footnote - I weighed in at Goal in January before we went on vacation and weighed in at goal on Saturday February 11th a mere 6 days after getting back from vacation!! - Happy 26 months of maintenance to me! :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

CIM - 2011

I know it has been almost 2 months since this race but I needed to write this race report and I knew it would be emotional for me and kept putting it off...

I have dreams of running this race someday - I'm just a tad slower than I need to be though to stay in front of the rolling road openings so I have always been concerned about signing up. I'm going to do what I can this year and see if I can swing it in 2012! One great thing about it is race day falls very near my birthday! I signed up to run on a relay team and I was assigned to Leg #3 this year. Leg 3 is from right about the half way mark (mile 13ish to right after mile 20 - total mileage 7.1 miles). This year meant a lot to me to be out there - my son Matt was running his first full marathon and he has only been running about a year!

One challenge I had was I had never met the person that was doing leg 2 so I told her to look for me in my tutu and it's a good thing I did - I wasn't paying attention until she was standing right in front of me asking if I was Sabrina!

I started out running and I had been watching for Matt and was pretty sure he hadn't passed me so I thought he might pass me somewhere along my run and I was super excited! I would run some, walk some and keep looking behind me to see if I saw him coming! I saw my daughter in law at mile 15ish and she told me he was just behind me somewhere but I needed to keep moving so off I went! Our running group had an aid station at mile 17.5 and I stopped there to chit chat with my buddies and kept looking out for Matt. I was just getting ready to leave to aid station and told my friend to keep an eye out for him and tell him where I was when I saw his headed towards me! I was so excited! I started running with him not knowing if I was going to keep up or not since he is at least 1 1/2 minutes faster than me and was doing longer intervals than I'm used to but I figured I would give it a try! I ended up keeping up with him and ran 2 1/2 miles with him! We talked along the way and It was the greatest feeling in the world! I was all emotional anyway - I fought back tears when I first saw him because I knew he still had a long road ahead of him and of course being mom you kinda have to worry about him as well.

We passed the mile 20 marker and could see the relay point where I would leave Matt and stop and hand off to the person running leg 4 and Matt told me at that point "So you know - 703 days ago I almost died and here I am today running a marathon." I completely lost it and I handed off and knelt down in the road and cried. We are so lucky to have him still and he has such a great attitude about life. I hopped in my friends car and hightailed it to close to the start line - parked in the first spot I saw and ran almost a mile to get to about mile 25. His wife, Jess was running with him and he had hit a wall and had a couple of rough miles but when I saw him he looked better and only had a mile to go!

Mom and Son running in - this is right at mile 26 - the finish line is right around the corner!! - right after this he took off fast and I knelt down in the street and cried again!

My son Matt - Marathoner!!

Proud (and lucky!!) mom!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Reflecting on racing in 2011

I looked back to see when my last post was and it's been a long time! - June 18th was the last race report I had posted!

There were a lot of races in 2011 - racing makes me happy as you can tell by this picture! (Either that or I need to cut back on the caffine before a race!)

July 2011 - Davis Moonlight Half Marathon - Great nighttime race with great volunteers and the upside of this one was my Brother and his family were in town so they got to see me race! My neice was at the finish line with flowers and it was so cool having them there! The nice thing about night running is when the crowd thins out you feel like you are the only one out there. it is just you and your thoughts.

August 2011 - Dirt Inspires Trail Half Marathon - The hardest race I have ever done (trails in the Santa Cruz mountains) - This raised the bar for me and introduced me to trail training and racing. A large group from our town went and stayed in a Hostel in Santa Cruz right by the boardwalk. We went to breakfast the next morning and found out the race was in the paper and this picture was there as well!
October was a month of races. I didn't plan for it to be that way - it just happened :)

First Half of October was Urban Cow - I had planned on trying for a person record (PR) and was on track to make that happen but then got calf cramps half way through (had been struggling with them for some time and hadn't figured out what was causing them) I missed my PR by 55 seconds. I had a great race though and even though I didn't make my goal I got to see lots of others PR!

My second half of October was Nike Woman's in San Francisco - This is the most amazing race and you don't just register for it. It is a lottery system so you are not guaranteed an entry. A friend of mine entered the lottery and wasn't choosen but wanted to do it SO bad! Her work had free entries and she didn't win those either. We went to a fun run with our local running store and they were giving away free entires and while her name wasn't choosen one of the ladies who was picked couldn't run the race and gave her entry to her! Before the run started we talked about how we would both win an entry and we would go together and have a BLAST. Well I left the empty handed - happy for my friend but sad I wouldn't be going. I had devised a plan though I was going to go and cheer her on! A week before the race the running store found they had one more entry to give away and they posted a contest on Faccebook. I had to go into the store and try on Nike gear (which I ended up buying a cute pair of shorts!) and you name went into a drawing. I'm pretty sure the poor guy that called me Saturday morning (a week before the race!) is now deaf in one ear! I was so excited - I couldn't wait to call my friend!
Here we are around mile 1 1/2 to 2! - She got me a Kaiser Thrive shirt to wear since they were one of the sponsors - they had a Kaiser Thrive mile and we got lots of cheers from the volunteers there!
Last half in October was Morgan Hill Half Marathon - The Hubster and I did this race last year as the full (His first - my second) we walked it and it was rainy and hilly! It was the inagural race so we have always talked about doing it every year so 5 years down the line we can say we have the medal from every year they have done it! This year we both did the half and in my mind I was still kinda mad about missing my PR by 56 seconds - but knew that PRing would be difficult because first my legs were tired from all the racing I had done the last month and secondly this course is very hilly! I decided to take it mile to mile and see how I feel! One other difference with the race was I ran without my Garmin. I had a watch so I knew how long I had been out there but if I wanted to figure out my average pace I would have to do the math. Turns out math is not something I can do in my head so I pretty much ran what felt comfortable, stuck with the intervals I was doing, power walked the uphills and took advantage of running the downhills. At mile marker 10 I realized I could possibly PR and the closer I got to the end I could tell I was definalty going to PR! I ended up beating my two year old PR by 3 minutes on a very hilly course!

My last Half Marathon was the Clarksburg Country Run in November - It was supposed to be a Half for me, I was doing the relay with a friend, but she couldn't do it so I did the half and enjoyed the scenery! It was beautiful!!

In addition to the Halves - there were 5K's, 10K's and other assorted races here and there - one in particular deserves its own post - so I will be back in the next couple of days to write that one!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

How I display my race bibs!

I have been very busy with racing season, family, work and other assorted details since I last blogged! I will update later but I wanted to share a project with you! I don't know about you but I had a drawer of race bibs that I didn't quite know what to do with. It seemed a shame to have them hanging out in a drawer where I can't see them and be reminded of how far I have come. On a trip to Ikea we spotted curtain wire and came up with this idea!

So first - you go to your local Ikea (unfortunately these items are not sold online) and pick up this..

DIGNITET Curtain Wire
And a few of these....
DIGNITET Corner Piece
And some of these....
DIGNITET Curtain Ring with Clip
(I only used the clip part for this project - not the hooks)
So you install the curtain wire according to the instructions - ours are installed in our computer/treadmill room and then place a clip on the corner of each bib and hang from the wire! We have ours hanging from the corner of the bib, but you could also hang them with one clip on each corner they would just take up a little more space and not allow for overlap.

Being a little (or maybe a lot) OCD - they are in chronological order with the race name, date, distance and the chip time written on the back. Right now we have wire hung around 1/3 of our room and we need to hang another section because we have 2008 - 2010 on there and we still have all of 2011 bibs to hang.

Friday, July 29, 2011

I know how she feels...

I have been busy racing, working, training, parenting and just living life so my apologies for not posting regularly - but this morning I woke up to this post from Ewa and had to write.

I have not met Ewa (even though we are fairly close to each other in distance) but I have followed her blog for some time and have followed her adventures for the trip of a lifetime as she prepared to hike the John Muir Trail! What an amazing person doing amazing things!!

After reading her post - I was angry for her as well. What a senseless loss of someone in denial about their medical condition(s). How helpless does one feel when someone you love doesn't see what they are doing to themselves and the ones around them.

Then the anger turns to sadness.

I know what it is like trying to "help" someone - but it is much like nailing Jello to a tree if the person doesn't want to help themselves and they are not ready to commit to what they need to do. You only come away from the situation frustrated and angry that your effort is in vain.

One of my favorite quotes ever is this.

"If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse." - Jim Rohn.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hit The Trail With Faith 10K!

When I registered for this race it was mainly because a few friends were doing it, it was a trail race and I did like the fact that it benefited the hospital in the town that I grew up in!

Two days before the race I get this note from the race organizers...

"Thank you for registering for the Hit the Trail with Faith 5K and 10K. The race starts at 8:30, please pick up your bib, shirts and timing chip (if applicable)between 7:30 & 8:00 on race day. Both distances are out and backs. There is one water station for the 5K at the turn around point. There is a water station at the 10K turn around in addition to passing the 5K water station twice. The 10K goes down the canyon to the river, there is close to 800 feet in elevation ch
ange, this will be a tough a 10K! Please let us know if you want to change your distance, you may change your distance during the race as well, please tell us when you finish so the results are accurate.

See you Saturday!"

So Um yeah - the 10K I signed up for is difficult - after talking to my husband and him explaning to me what 800 feet was equivalent, I got even more nervous - and race morning I was pretty sure I didn't want to the race anymore. I went and got my bib number and found they had made a paperwork error and I was only signed up for the 5K - it took all I had in me to correct the error and tell them i was doing the 10K! It turned out that the race was about 50% asphalt road and 50% gravel road - so not the "Trail" I had in mind but I was committed (or is that I should be committed..)

The first mile my legs would not warm up and again I had visions of turning around at the 5K turnaround. I was also missing my running buddy - my Garmin (It is cracked and I need a new one) but it is so weird not knowing what pace I'm running or where I am mileage wise. I did say goodbye to my two friends that were doing the 5K and settled into a pace that felt pretty good because that is about where the downhill started. I knew I was going to have to walk most of the way back up so I took advantage of running as much of the downhill as I could. I was rewarded with the most amazing views of the American river!

This is just about where the aid station/10K turnaround point was - notice the start of the hill turning out of sight - trust me when I say that was just the beginning of the hill...

Amazing view of the American River! - I power walked the hill(s) - I wanted to have something left at the end of the race - plus it was HOT! There was very minimal shade out there and I found myself crossing the road several times to take advantage of what little shade there was.

This was the right in front of where the aid station/turnaround point was looking back to where I had come from - you got to the bottom of the big hill and had to climb up a small one to the aid station.

And here are the 4 of us at the turnaround point. The two of us that did the 5K had to drive the other two that did the 5K out to where we ran so they could really appreciate our elevation gain!

Oh and that Medal around my neck? First place in my age group for the 10K course! My friend in the blue got third place in her age group for the 10K course! Small races rule!