Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Brothers (some of them) in Denver

Last weekend 2 of Jeff’s younger brothers came to Denver for the weekend to sample some of Denver’s finest brews and to get in a little skiing. 
thursdaynight (Jeff really isn’t significantly smaller than his brothers, it just looks like it in this photo.  So tiny.)

We took them to some of our favorite establishments over the course of the 4 days they were in town:
  • Right Coast Pizza in Wheat Ridge (they only serve beer and liquor made in Colorado)
  • Hogshead Brewery in the Highlands
  • Falling Rock Tap House in LoDo
  • 1UP Arcade Bar in LoDo
  • Wynkoop Brewery in LoDo
  • Forest Room 5 in the Highlands
  • Williams and Graham in the Highlands
  • The Highlands Tavern
  • Denver Brewing Co in LoDo
  • Prost Brewing in The Highlands
plaid shirts (It was plaid shirt night and I didn’t get the memo.)
Friday Night (We were joined by other friends which made a great night even greater!)

We also headed to the mountains where is was finally SNOWING!  We skied at Keystone in surprisingly good conditions and then stayed the night at the Inn at Keystone before returning to Denver.

I’d say we had a busy weekend….And TONS of fun!  Thanks for visiting Patty and Dave!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

4 Years

Apparently Jeff and I have been married 4 years… I only remembered because I received the following text from my father-in-law this morning:

anniversary I don’t think my father-in-law was impressed. 

I just have trouble remembering things like that.  Birthdays are the same way.  In fact, I have trouble with knowing what day of the week it is.  I went all day on Tuesday thinking it was Wednesday. 


Maybe I should have a calendar reminder for birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  Although, even if I do remember I never say anything.  I just think “Oh its So-and-So’s birthday, I hope they are having a nice day.”  That’s as far as I get, so people probably think I am a big jerk. 

Well anyway…without further ado, in honor of Jeff and I being married for 4 years, here are photos from the best celebration I have ever attended (in my opinion):

wedding1 Our wedding party was very small (HA!).  My mom MADE all the bridesmaid dresses and we gifted them to the girls (total cost per dress, $10).

party bus Best. Party. Bus. EVER.

December 13, 2008 (238) cards photo op We had a photo op at Busch Stadium.  We took several serious photos.  We have a boring group of friends and family.

police station

Our reception was at the Mad Art Gallery in STL; it used to be a police station so photos in the jail cells were a must (and were very entertaining to us).

reception1 We drank, we danced, we laughed.  The reception was a HUGE party!

reception2 Can’t forget the cake and gelato!

dancing The night was a blur, but so much FUN!

Happy Anniversary Jeff!  It started as a wild party and still is :)  Can’t wait for all the future adventures with you!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Relaxing is so…BORING

Since the Las Vegas Half Marathon, I have had a nice week off of running, or doing anything that would make me sweat.  It has been a very relaxing week. 

But…BORING!  After work, I have NOTHING to do if I don’t work out?!? 

To top it off, I was planning on filling every free moment with skiing.  But it is hard to ski if there is no snow in the mountains!  It did snow a bit this weekend but it will need to dump another foot or two to really be worth it.

To keep from getting insanely bored during the week, Jeff and I have been heading to the nearest bar or restaurant.  All this eating out and drinking beer will start to add up financially (and on our midsections) if we don’t start working out again.  But at least our taste buds are happy.

BEERJeff and I also woke up Saturday morning and were bored (again).  So what does one do during the weekend when you don’t have training runs or races?!? 

You learn to Home Brew!  (We really like beer, if you hadn’t noticed…)


Or you dress your dog up in a Christmas sweater!


Or you see all your friends that you had been neglecting while running all those training miles and races! 

Or you sign up for Spring running races!  Whoops…


Well, that whole relaxing thing was short lived.  Now it is time to start training for the next few races!!!!  WOOO HOOO!

And start skiing as much as I possibly can when the snow starts to fall…um, this could be a very tiring and busy winter…which is not a bad thing since I hate being bored :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Las Vegas for the RnR Half Marathon

This is the third year that Steffanie, Jessica, and I have met in Las Vegas to run the half marathon and to enjoy a boy-free weekend.  Girls weekends are always the BEST, especially with fellow organized Type A personalities!

Back in March, we decided we would do this trip and had the foresight (thanks Jessica!) to book a hotel right away at the new finish line (they changed the course from the previous years).  We ended up getting a KILLER deal on a premium suite at Treasure Island (TI) for booking so early; it was approx 1,000 SF, had two rooms, and an amazing view of the strip (see below).  Vegas 1 We DEFINITELY had many cheers to planning way in advance and getting such an awesome room!  And TI is in a great location for the half marathon and is in close proximity to where the post-race parties were located. 

We all arrived Saturday and took the day to catch up, hit up the expo, and RELAXED.  Originally we wanted to go out on the town Saturday night, but we all were tired from the day and ended up agreeing that staying in, ordering room service, and watching a movie was the way to go.  It was so nice to relax with the girls, even if we all felt old and lame.  Oh well :)

Sunday morning we all slept 10+ hours and leisurely got up and ate breakfast.  We then did some more relaxing in our awesome hotel suite and watched another movie.  The afternoon rolled around and it was RACE time.  After I French-braided the girls hair (yes, it is a cliché but we totally had a slumber party and hair braided) we headed to the start line.

vegas rnr half 1

The race started at 4:30 PM right as the sun started to go down.  I was in corral 1 and decided to run as fast as I could until my legs gave out (totally going against my race plan as stated in the previous post, whoops).  Steffanie and Jessica started in a different corral and decided to really enjoy the race, stopping to take pictures, talking the entire time, and ended up having an absolute blast.  I was extremely jealous that I did not stay with them. rnr half 2Instead I stupidly started running fast down the strip, getting carried away with the wind at my back and on a slight downhill.  Weeee!  I never looked at my watch and couldn’t see the numbers either way because it was dark out.

Soon my legs started to feel heavy at mile 8 and at this time we made a turn and the wind was no longer at my back.  Instead the wind was right in my face.  In fact, there was a wind advisory that day and there were gusts up to 40 mph (so I hear).  I could definitely tell as I felt like the wind was stopping me in my tracks.  I began to slow and the last 3 miles felt like a death march.  My legs felt like crap and I was ready to be DONE.  I also had some GI issues and was happy I didn’t crap myself.

splits I didn’t know there was a wall to hit during a half marathon, but apparently I found it and ran smack into it.  Another horribly paced race by yours truly.  Damn.

This year they had photographers every 3 feet (well not really that many, but it felt like it) and got a TON of photos of me.  I didn’t look as tragic as I felt, I guess I hide it well when I see the flash of a camera.

barb runs

finish time

I finished in 1:37:41, about 6 minutes slower than last year (and about 7 minutes slower than my half split during my marathon 2 weeks prior, RACE FAIL).  But everyone else must have totally sucked as well because I finished higher in my age group and overall as compared to last year. 

After I finished, I headed straight to TI where I ordered room service and food arrived right before Jessica and Steffanie made it back as well.  We ate and got ready for a night out.

See, we clean up well!

cleaned up

We hit up LAVO night club where we tricked the bouncer into thinking we were a big deal and they let us sit at a VIP table.  We did NOT order a bottle, because they mark those up ridiculously; a $30 bottle of vodka costs $300 (shame on you if you are stupid enough to pay for a bottle at a Vegas club).  Instead I reached into my purse (personal bar) where I had stashed mini bottles and I drank for free all night.  Yep, that’s how I roll.  Eventually some females with larger boobs and who were stupid enough to buy a bottle came around and the bouncers kicked us out of the VIP area.  We were left to standing around with the rest of the masses the remainder of the night.

We had a fun night and got very little sleep Sunday night, but it was worth it!

I love my girls!!  Miss you already!!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Headed to Las Vegas to run a Half Marathon

Tomorrow I head to Las Vegas for my annual girls weekend to run the half marathon.  This will be the 3rd year for me and I think the 5th year for my friends.  It is always a blast, both the running part and the going out in Vegas part.

LV RnRI went to look for photos from the previous trips, but then I remembered the Vegas code and left them alone.  Plus, I didn’t even get any photos from last year and the photos from 2 years ago I was making disgusting faces.

But I did look up photos from the actual race and found I only made a disgusting face in 2011.  In 2010 I don’t know what I was trying to do, raise the roof? Double wave?  Either way, I was telling you to “Relax.”

LV RnR raceThe Las Vegas half has treated me right the last few years as I got a PR both times.  Its a pancake flat course, has very few turns, and a great atmosphere.  When I signed up for this 10 months ago, I was planning on trying to break 1:30 this year. 

Then NYC was canceled and I had to push back my marathon 2 weeks and the replacement marathon shredded my leg muscles.  Two weeks later and I am still not fully recovered.  In fact, I have only ran 3 times in the last 2 weeks and felt like by legs were giant worthless turds.

Needless to say, I don’t think I will be able to break 1:30, or even run a PR, or even run at a 8:00 pace.  In fact, I’ll be happy to finish.  So Sunday’s race is most likely going to be a fun run to take in the sights…

But I know when I toe the start line my competitive side is going to want to push my legs to that sub-7:00 pace.  And this is where I need to be smart…I should not run this race fast and risk injuring myself.  So to make sure I feel extra terrible Sunday, I plan on not holding back Saturday night and will drink most everything in sight.  This will ensure I am extra hungover and will be unable to push my legs even if I wanted to. 

Best. Race. Plan. Ever.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving Road Trip to KC and STL

One of the BIGGEST benefits of moving to Denver is being within driving distance to family (my family is in Kansas City, Jeff’s family is in St Louis).  This means that instead of battling the airport crowds around Thanksgiving and Christmas, we can leisurely drive across Colorado, Kansas and Missouri with the dogs.
Not only is driving less stressful (flying around the holidays is the absolute WORST), but it saves us a lot of money.

We spent just over $200 in gas to made the drive to see both my family in Kansas City and Jeff’s family in St Louis.  If we would have flown we would have paid at least $200 per plane ticket ($400), airport parking ($50), transportation between KC and STL ($100), and having someone watch the dogs ($250).  By driving we saved us over $600!  Score.

PLUS we love road trips!

Kansas has a bad reputation for being extremely boring to drive through.  I beg to differ, just look at the proof (although I am partial because I am a Kansas native):
views from KS road trip
Plus Jeff and I had an Audio Book about CIA and terrorism; it was like listening to an episode of Homeland.  It made the road trip fly by!

It was great to see both of our families and friends and to do some much needed relaxing and eating of home cooked meals by our awesome moms.  We ate so much wonderful food….

We did get to go on 1 run with Jeff’s brother in STL; we did some trail running at Castlewood Park.  It was an awesome trail and even though my legs were STILL dead from the marathon, we got in 7 miles and ran off some of that wonderful food.  It was so much fun to run with Chris and we can’t wait to run a marathon with him in the spring!  Mark my words, all three of us will be breaking some personal running records in 2013…maybe even running a sub-3 hour marathon…

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mesquite Tri State Marathon Recap

The Mesquite Tri State Marathon was on Saturday morning November 17th.  Bulleted summary with results:

  • Last minute decision to run this race (signed up Nov 2 when I found out NYC was canceled).
  • It is a very small marathon, only 133 marathoners.
  • It is not a very organized race (no emails, not a lot of info on the blog-website).
  • It is located in the middle of the desert. It is a point to point course and goes through 3 states (Utah, Arizona, Nevada). No crowd support and the roads are not closed to traffic.
  • It is a mostly downhill course. Neither Jeff nor I had trained to run downhills (or uphills for that matter).
  • The weather was almost perfect for a marathon; in the 50s, partly cloudy, and only a slight headwind for approx. 6 of the middle miles.
  • Jeff and I started pretty fast, each coming in at the half point around 1:30.
  • There was a noticeable headwind from mile 10-16, hills started at mile 13. There were 3 major hills that were 1/2 mile to a mile in length, long and annoying.  Plus our muscles were not ready for the uphills after all the downhill action. 
  • Aid stations were every 2-3 miles, they had water and orange Gatorade in plastic cups.  We have not trained with Gatorade, it was gross and didn’t settle well for either of us.  They only had GU available at mile 18 (I was glad I had my own and took a GU at miles 7, 14, and 20).
  • We both died in the second half and hated every step from mile 16 to the finish. Jeff knew he wasn’t going to BQ by mile 16 and just took it “easy” the last 10.  Mentally and physically, this race was tough.
  • Results:


  • Neither of us were happy with our performances.
  • Our legs, specifically our quads, are completely trashed from the 13 miles of downhill.  In fact, our whole bodies hurt worse then they ever have after a marathon. 
  • Jeff puked his brains out for several hours after the race.  It looked just like the orange Gatorade.  Fun fact, Jeff is the loudest most dramatic puker.  When he pukes it sounds like the world is ending for him.
  • They didn’t have cash awards for the top 3 men/women like they did last year (last year 1st- $800, 2nd- $400, 3rd- $200). This year they gave cow bells for awards?!  I was robbed.  I did not accept the cow bell in protest.

Ok, here is a more detailed account of the race:

Jeff and I got up before 5:00 AM, ate some food (bagel, Greek yogurt, Clif Bar), drank some coffee, and got dressed. 

pre-raceWe both had to wear shorts with lots of pockets to stash all of our GU (4 each) and brought bottles to carry electrolytes because we didn’t know what support would be like on the course.  I also brought a roll of toilet paper because I was unsure if they would have porta potties at the start.

The course was point to point so we took a bus to the start.  The buses were nice and we left the host casino at 5:30 AM to get to the start. We ate some more food during the ride (Honey Stinger waffle and chews).  The bus ride took about 45 minutes and we were at the start line at 6:15 AM. 

There were only 3 porta potties, it was cold (they made us get off the bus), and the race didn’t start until 7:00 AM; it was not an ideal start area.  We waited in line for the porta potty for 30 minutes before I decided to go find myself a nice desert toilet and took a glorious pre-marathon dump behind a bush (good thing I brought my toilet paper!).  Jeff jogged around to keep warm.  Last minute we decided not to carry our electrolytes and “checked” a bag in the back of the race director’s car (WRONG decision, should have bought our own electrolytes to drink).

Soon it was time to start, the “announcer” said “Ready, set, go!” and everyone started running.  Small races are so strangely uneventful.  Here are my splits and in red next to the associated split is how I felt:

Marathon splits

(And THAT, my friends, is how NOT to run a marathon.  But I will take my PR and all the lessons that I learned.)

The last 4 miles I was all alone, no other runners in sight ahead of me, no fans cheering me on, and was running on the side of a road that was not closed to traffic (it was like a very bad end to a horrible training run).  It was VERY hard mentally to push through to the finish.  Plus I was second guessing whether I was still on the course.  I finally saw the finish line, crossed it in a very pissed off mood, grabbed my metal and collapsed on the ground in a ridiculously dramatic fashion.  And nobody said “Great Job!” or even went up to me to see if I was ok; it was such a weird race, atmosphere and experience. 

Jeff finished a little later, was also very pissed off, and went to the car where he started his dramatic pukefest.  We returned to the hotel where the pukefest continued for Jeff and I had to nurse him back to health.  My legs hurt but I sucked it up and catered to Jeff, even going as far as walking to the cafe across the street to get him crackers and 7UP to ease his tummy.  Poor Jeff.

Finally I was able to prepare myself an ice bath where I sat in the amazingly cold water which numbed my trashed legs. Oh and when I finally took off my socks, I saw my bloody disgusting feet covered in blisters. Owwwwwww! Those downhills KILLED me.  And just for reference, here is the elevation grade profile again.

Mequite Marathon

(All that green = OUCH, especially if you don’t train for it.  HERE is an article that describes how we SHOULD have trained for this downhill marathon and why things went so wrong for us.)

Not every marathon is ideal, and really no marathon ever feels good.  I made the best of a canceled marathon and a last minute decision to run this one adding another 2 weeks of taper.  I still got a PR, but was still frustrated because I KNOW I could have ran 5-10 minutes faster in NYC and probably would have felt better as well.

It was hard to pass Jeff at mile 18 knowing he wouldn’t make his goal, but everyone has to run their own race.  I probably would have stayed with him (and done a lot more walking) if I wouldn’t have had that 3rd place woman just in sight of me (I really wanted to pass her and get in the top 3) and being so close to getting a PR.  I am very proud of myself for pushing myself at the end and am glad I have learned how to tough things out mentally when situations are not ideal.   

I learned a lot from this marathon and will do another post on the lessons I learned.

Until next time…..

Monday, November 19, 2012

Road Trip to Nevada for a Marathon

Oh how I love me some ROAD TRIP action!  And this Road Trip did not disappoint!
Road Trip 1
Jeff and I left Thursday night after work making it to Grand Junction, CO where we stayed the night. We stayed at the same hotel and ate dinner at Enzo’s Italian restaurant, just as we had done in June on our way to the Utah Valley Marathon. We had a good night’s rest 2 nights before the marathon, which is what I hear is most important.

Friday morning we got up early and continued on our Road Trip, deciding to take 70 west to I-89 South for a more scenic route through Utah.  We stopped often to stretch, soak in the views (or a geology lesson), walk the dogs and move (or jump) around.Utah 1
We have been wanting to check out Zion National Park and were able to drive through this time of year (during the summer and early fall they don’t allow personal vehicles to drive through). I cannot wait to get to go back and spend more time at Zion NP!
zion 1  zion 2 IMG_3481 And of course we got in some more fun jump photos……
zion jump 1 And some really ridiculous jump photos…. do not ask what the heck we were doing, but at the time it was hysterical.
zion jump 2

And if you were ever wondering what a close up of our facial expressions look like….
close up crazy faces Gross. And disturbingly scary.

Our drive on Friday ended with driving the marathon course that we would be running on Saturday morning.  We tried to stay positive that it was PR/BQ friendly, but it looked tough.
marathon course
After picking up our race numbers (highly disorganized), we ate dinner and went to bed. 

Marathon #10 for both of us on Saturday November 17, race recap to follow….

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Road Trip + Marathon = AWESOME

In two days, Jeff and I will depart on a road trip to go run a marathon that goes through 3 states in the DESERT! 

I love road trips. I love the desert states. I love running.

Therefore, driving from Denver to go run the Mesquite Tri-State Marathon is pretty much the most awesome idea ever. (This was actually Jeff’s glorious idea after the canceled NYC Marathon, WAY TO GO JEFF!)

Road Trip Thursday- We will leave after work and drive to Grand Junction, CO to stay the night.  We did this same drive schedule before the Utah Valley Marathon and are staying at the same hotel and eating at the same restaurant that we did 2 days before that race.  It worked in June, so why change what already worked for us!

Friday- We will allow ourselves to sleep in and then drive through gorgeous Utah to Mesquite, Nevada.  We will have all day to drive the 5 hours, so we will take our time and stop along the way…maybe check out Zion National Park? When we get to Mesquite, we will pick up our race packets, eat and get to sleep early.

Saturday- MARATHON DAY! The bus to the start line leaves Mesquite at 5:30 AM and the race itself starts at 7:00 AM. The course starts in Utah, runs through Arizona, and ends in Nevada.  It goes downhill  the first half (hopefully my quads can handle it) and the second half is basically flat with 2 “major” uphills (those will suck, but oh well, marathons aren’t exactly rainbows and gumdrops).

Mesquite Marathon The weather is looking very promising to make for good race day conditions; partly sunny in the 40s-50s during the race and minimal wind from the east/southeast.

weather I’m hoping the winds shift a little bit so they are more from the NE, but what we have here shouldn’t be an issue.  Let’s hope this course and weather make for a BQ time for Jeff and a big PR for me!  (worst case we bonk and I will just blame it on the whole NYC marathon being canceled thing, ha!)

After the race we will stay in Mesquite, check out the area and most likely play some cheap blackjack and drink some cold brews.  Small casino towns always make for interesting (and sometimes depressing) people watching.  I think Mesquite is a big retirement community, but I am an old woman trapped in a 30-year-old’s body so I will fit in nicely.  Maybe we can even play Bingo?!?

Sunday- We will get up early and drive all the way back to Denver. 

GETTING SO EXCITED!!!!!! I love road trips.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

NYC Marathon Canceled…what’s next?

(Disclaimer, obviously the nature of the damage and devastation along the east coast is way more important than a running race. I feel terribly for all those affected by the storm and its aftermath. These posts are just my feelings as a marathoner tied to the whole mess.)

As many of you have heard, the Mayor of NYC and the NYRR finally came to their senses and canceled the NYC Marathon.  The decision came way late (announced Friday afternoon around 5:00 PM EDT), after many athletes had already boarded their planes and were on their way or were already in NYC.

NYCM canceledI was actually one of the lucky ones; I received the news about an hour before I was to board my flight.  I was able to cancel my flight and hotel and was not out any money. 

But WOW, what an emotional week for everyone involved.  I am just a recreational runner and this week was a mini roller coaster of decisions and emotions; I cannot even imagine what the city of NYC, race officials, and the pro runners went through.  Here is what was going through my mind throughout the week:

  • Monday and Tuesday- (watching every detail relating to the storm, devastation, etc.) There is NO way this marathon will be held, when will they announce the cancellation?  I feel so bad for the east coast, I cannot imagine traveling there and getting mixed up in this mess!  But what about all these months of training and preparing to run, and all the money I have tied up in this?  I guess I will just wait and see….
  • Wednesday- Continue to wait, but mentally not where I should be the week before a marathon. Reports say that the marathon will be held, but still with uncertainty. Trying to keep focus with the assumption that I will run a marathon on Sunday and continue to take care of myself during taper week.  On the side, I am looking up other fall marathons to run just in case…
  • Thursday- The Mayor and NYRR are assuring everyone that the marathon will be held.  They are telling runners to come to NYC to economically help the city by spending money on travel and tourism.  Alright, they are telling me its on and to come to NYC.  They know the situation better than I do, I will keep my plans and travel to NYC.  I now am mentally back into running this race and I am getting EXCITED to run; the weather will be great, fewer entrants with many choosing to defer, my legs feel great and I am ready to PR!
  • Friday morning/early afternoon- My flight is not canceled and I ready to run, in fact, I am PUMPED about the race!  I can’t wait to get to NYC.

But I knew the decision to hold the race was controversial and I was hearing many reports of New Yorkers being FURIOUS over the decision to hold the race.  Runners were already feeling attacked for the race being held and we had no control over the situation; I even had a random New Yorker respond to a tweet making me feel unwelcome and a little uneasy about my choice to head to NYC.

twitter conversationAbout an hour before I was set to board my plane to head to NYC, I heard the news.  Jeff and I just got through security when his phone rang; it was him mom who was watching the news and saw the announcement that the NYC Marathon was canceled.  We didn’t even make it to our gate, we turned around, headed to the Southwest check-in and canceled our flight.  We then called our hotel and were able to cancel that as well.  All in all, we were VERY lucky (my friend was not as lucky, she heard of the cancellation on the way from the airport to her hotel in NYC… even more disappointing for her).

Jeff and I headed straight to a few breweries to get my mind off things.  The best cure for a canceled marathon is beer, honey whiskey, fried chicken, and mashed potatoes. 


Over the wonderful spread before us, Jeff and I started discussing my options…. and his options for running another marathon to qualify for Boston.  Glued to our smart phones, we scoured the internet for a marathon to run in the next few weeks.  We decided on…

mesquite marathon We don’t know a lot about the race, except that it is small, in the middle of the desert, and it runs through 3 states (Utah, Arizona, and Nevada).  We plan on making a mini road trip and driving to Nevada, staying in Mesquite the night before the race, and then heading to Las Vegas Saturday night after the race.  Why not?

The course looks interesting; it is downhill the first half and rolling hills the second half.  It is point to point so there are very few turns.  There is a huge potential for windy conditions, but you can’t control weather!  Who knows if it is PR or BQ friendly, but we went for it either way. 

Now I have two weeks to keep up my fitness (have a good week of training this week and a nice taper next week) and stay injury-free.  I’m looking forward to this small race in the middle of nowhere.  You have to make positives out of every situation…

positivesLike being able to keep the amazing throw-away hoodie/robe that I was planning on wearing to the NYC start.  Its the coziest thrift store find yet, and is super flattering!

Friday, November 2, 2012

I’m Running NYC…

My flight is on as scheduled and I will arrive in NYC tonight!  My hotel has power and transportation options are getting better by the hour. 

The NYC marathon will be held and I will be running it. 

I know there are a lot of opinions for and against holding the marathon Sunday…and I see both sides.  I honestly would have totally understood if it would have been cancelled, but as long as it isn’t, I will be towing the start line. 

My bib # is 10472 if you want to follow me online. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Show (or marathon) MUST go ON!

The ING New York City Marathon will be held as scheduled this Sunday despite the “controversy” surrounding it.  Lots of articles about it HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

There are still a TON of unanswered questions, specifically relating to the logistics of getting to the start and any course modifications.  But the show MUST go ON!  The marathon MUST be RUN (according to the Mayor and the NYRR)!

With that being said, as long as I can get to New York City, I will be running on Sunday. 

As of today (Thursday afternoon), my flight is not cancelled.  But things could very well change tomorrow.  I fly into LaGuardia and that was the airport hit the worst and is just opening up today for a few flights.  Even if my flight isn’t cancelled, it will be overbooked or delayed at the very least. 

Here is where I stand:

  • Ideally, I will get on my 4:50 PM Friday flight as planned.  Go to my hotel in Brooklyn late Friday night, sleep in Saturday, go to the expo to get my race stuff and other important into, and head back to the hotel for dinner and sleep before the race.  Based on the transportation tie-ups, there will be little time for anything else Saturday.
  • If I get bumped from my Friday flight, I will fly out first thing Saturday morning, head straight to the expo, then to my hotel for the night.
  • But if my airline can’t get me out until after noon Saturday, I will most likely just cancel the trip altogether.
    • I don’t want to arrive in NYC late Saturday, rush to get to the expo before it closes and then to my hotel late for little sleep.  Too many unknowns with transportation and other travel logistics (not to mention, when would I eat?!?).

Even if I can make it to NYC, I still have questions concerning the race itself:

  • Will there be course modifications?  Will it make the race harder, easier, or no change?
  • How will I get to the start?  Will the start still be the same?
  • Will Jeff be able to navigate the city to be able to see me run?  Will he be able to make it to the finish to meet me there?
  • Will I be able to run my best race based on all of these unknowns?
  • Will New Yorkers be disgruntled that the race was held and harass the runners?  Actually, I hope this is the case because it will make me run faster ;)

More waiting, more unknowns for me personally.  Who knows if I will be running a marathon on Sunday….

And if you were wondering, I have a backup plan if I don’t run a marathon Sunday.  I have put in so much time for training, I don’t want it to go to waste!  I already have a trip planned to run a half marathon in Las Vegas on Dec. 2, I will just switch and run the full marathon there (assuming it is not already full).

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NYC Marathon Week

After several months of training, I am in taper mode leading up to the NYC Marathon on Sunday November 4.  I am more prepared than I ever have been and my legs are ready to run 26.2 miles at the fastest pace they have ever ran for that distance.  I am confident that if the weather is on my side, that I will be able to run a personal best on Sunday (my previous PR is a 3:17).

Unfortunately…the weather this week is not on my side.  I don’t know if anyone has heard the news, but a big storm blew through the east coast and is causing some issues in NYC…  


Millions are without power and NYC is essentially shut down.  The transportation systems that keep NYC moving are not able to function.  No one can get into NYC, no one can get out, and no one can get around the city. 

How the heck will they hold this marathon in 5 days? 

The NYC marathon officials are staying positive and released the following statement on Tuesday:

“We’re assessing today with the city what the damage was and the ability to recover as quickly as possible.  The New York Road Runners is moving ahead with everything we can do to be on the way to putting on a great marathon on Sunday.”

The article in which I pulled this statement discusses in detail the marathon itself, the expo, transportation in and around NYC, and flight travel to NYC.  There are so many unknowns at this time, there are so many questions that need to be answered.

Will my flight to NYC be cancelled on Friday, will I even be able to make it to NYC by Saturday?? If my flight makes it, how will I get from the airport to my hotel?  Will my hotel even have power and water by Friday? Will they be able to host the expo? Where will I eat, will restaurants even be open? How will I get to the start line if public transportation is down? Will they be able to clear the course of debris?  Will they be able to get enough (clean) water for the aid stations? Will they be able to guarantee safety of the runners if hospitals are shut down and ambulances are tied up for hurricane relief? 


Honestly, NYC’s focus needs to be on it’s residents and on getting the city back in order. The last thing that NYC needs is to worry about 40,000+ high maintenance runners taking over their city. Plus, it wouldn’t be smart to hold a race of this size in a time like this (unless things dramatically change in the next few days).

In my opinion, I don’t think that the NYC marathon will be happening this Sunday, or at least for me anyway (I see little chances of me being able to travel to NYC on Friday, have a hotel room waiting for me and being able to navigate the city and make it to the start line).  

With that being said, what they heck are marathon officials going to do??

Entrants paid $255 to run this race, not to mention the cost of flights, hotels, and other travel incidentals.  If they allow deferrals, will they make everyone pay another $255 (or more??) to run next year?  That would essentially be a $510 marathon, just for the entrance fee(s) alone.  That would be effing ridiculous and scandalous if you ask me.  I sure as heck will be asking for, at the very least, a discounted entry into the 2013 NYC marathon.

Nobody is to blame and there is nothing that can be done but wait; wait for updates and then make an informed decision. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Exceeding Expectations

This past weekend Jeff and I were in St Louis.  We went to a Cardinals game…STL Cards Game
…Met the newest family member who arrived just in time for our visit… New Leonard …And did a jump photo at the St Louis Arch…
Barb Jump Arch But the focus of the weekend was for Jeff to run the St Louis Rock and Roll Marathon!
stl rnr logoComing into marathon week, Jeff decided that he would shoot for running a 7:15 pace or run a 3:10 marathon.  Based on his training and how he performed in the Denver RnR Half Marathon in September (1:30:33), I was confident that he would achieve this goal. 

He had discussed trying to run a Boston Qualifying (BQ) time (under 3:05:00), but was unsure if he could do it and didn’t want to add unnecessary pressure to make that his goal.  Honestly, I thought it was a stretch for him to run a 7:03 pace for 26.2 miles and was glad he had made this decision.  I didn’t voice my doubt in a BQ time, but I was glad he was being practical. 

The night before the race I overhead Jeff talking with his older brother Chris. They discussed Jeff’s training and Chris felt like Jeff was conditioned to run a BQ time.  Chris encouraged Jeff to play things by ear the next morning, but to start out at a 7:00 minute pace and to try to maintain this fast pace (or faster if he felt good) for as long as he could (and this is advice coming from someone who has qualified for and ran the Boston Marathon 3 times, with a personal best of 3:00:06).   

Chris is an extremely positive and confident person and began to give Jeff a pep talk; I witnessed Jeff’s face light up and saw an added confidence that I had not seen in a while.  I knew Jeff wanted this, he wanted to run a 3:05 and to qualify for Boston.  I began to believe in Jeff as well and felt like such a Negative Nancy for not believing in him before!!!! 

The morning of the race Jeff was positive, confident, and felt great.  He was giddy with excitement and could not wait to get to the start to begin his 26.2 mile journey.  The weather was perfect, in the 50s and sunny, and Jeff was in his hometown.  Jeff would definitely get a PR (he previous PR was 3:19) and HOPEFULLY a BQ time.
pre raceI planned to wait at Mile 1 (near the hotel) to cheer for him, run to mile 5 to catch him again, and then wait for him at mile 16 where I would jump in and run the last 10 miles with him.  I would carry a water bottle with electrolytes, GU, and my cell phone.  We decided that I would maintain a 7:00 min pace so he could just follow me and not concentrate on a time or pace.  I would also give him water/GU/electrolytes when he needed it.  Jeff’s parents, Bob and Marcia, were also on the course riding their bikes to cheer him on in as many locations as possible. 

Mile 1-5 I saw Jeff cruising along with a HUGE smile on his face, ahead of the 3:00 pace group.  Obviously he felt good and was going with a faster pace (about a 6:45 pace).  I called Bob and told him Jeff had ran by and they waited for Jeff at mile 3.  Jeff ran by and Bob and Marcia rode their bikes along side him for the next few miles.

Mile 5- I ran ahead to Mile 5 and waited a few minutes before the runners began to run by.  The 3:00 pace group passed and Jeff was a few minutes behind him, right on pace.  Again, he was cruising along with a smile and said he felt great.  mile 5Miles 5-15.5- I ran to Mile 16 where I waited for Jeff.  In the meantime, Jeff’s parents saw him several more times and rode next to him for portions of the race.  Bob called me periodically to give me updates and said Jeff was looking strong and was maintaining a 7:00 pace.  Things were going very well!  I was actually getting nervous that I could not keep up with Jeff and did a few strides along the course to get my legs ready to move fast.

Mile 15.5- I spotted Jeff and hopped onto the course.  Jeff still had a smile on his face and immediately said, “I feel great! I can do this, I think I can maintain this pace!!!”  Alright, let’s do this!!! 

I ran beside Jeff or slightly ahead of him and offered him water/GU whenever he wanted.  I would sprint ahead and get more water and would lead him to run the most efficient route.  I would warn him of a hill and remind him to use down hills to his advantage.  I was having an absolute blast! 

Jeff began picking off people and probably passed 10 men from when I jumped in.  We started seeing people struggling, but Jeff remained strong and on pace.  At Mile 18 Jeff got a side stitch which remained for a few miles.  I gave him more water and reminded him to tighten his core and try to concentrate on something else.  Gradually the side cramp went away and he could concentrate on finishing strong.
jeff marathon Around Mile 23 there were several up hills and Jeff began to slow.  Another gentleman was running with us at this point and starting pulling ahead.  I stayed with the man who was running around a 7:05 pace and both of us were yelling at Jeff to keep up with us.  I could tell Jeff was ready to finish.  He wasn’t struggling, but dropped to a 7:20-7:30 pace. 

At mile 25 Jeff looked at his watch and exclaimed, "I TOTALLY have this!” Apparently he had calculated that he was going to make it under 3:05.  He then demanded that I call his brother Chris.  So I dialed up Chris and put him on speaker and ran beside Jeff the last mile with Chris and I yelling out encouragement.  With the finish line in sight, Jeff’s legs kept slowing but he pushed on.  I got off course with 1/4 mile left and sprinted up the sidewalk towards the finish.  I thought he had done it, I was sure he had snuck under 3:05 to qualify for Boston.

I jumped over the fence to join Jeff just past the finish line and gave him a huge hug.  No hug back, instead I hear a string of expletives as he thrusts his watch in my face.  It read 26.53 miles and a total time of 3:05:06.  $hit.  I told him to not be disappointed yet and to wait for the official chip time.  We walked out of the finish area and Jeff started to feel better, I mean he just shaved 15 minutes off his PR!!!!
done running Then I got a call from Chris who checked the official results.  “3:05:04.  He didn’t get it.”  Somehow Jeff had energy left and throws his water bottle against a building, “THIS IS BULL$HIT! The course had to have been long or the time is off!! 4 SECONDS?!?!”  I felt so terrible for him; I can only imagine what he was feeling and what was going through his mind. 

Regardless of being 4 seconds shy of a BQ time, he ran phenomenally.  He felt great and enjoyed running in St Louis on a beautiful day.  He exceeded his expectations.Jeff Time I am so proud of Jeff and how far he has come!  Especially considering he gave up running for over a year and just started getting back into it this January. 

Oh and he is already scouring the internet for a marathon to run in the next few weeks.  His legs feel great and he wants to try to run another marathon while he still is in great shape…… he WILL get a BQ time the next time he runs a marathon.