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Everything posted by ocrunnergirl

  1. Ugh! I felt so bad for the marathoners. I ran the marathon a few years ago at the tail end of a Nor’easter. The last 6 miles into the wind every single time! Steamtown is a great fall marathon in the Poconos.
  2. Hi @Cliff, the pop up ads are popping up over the text on the blogs so the text can’t be read. I’ve tried closing the ad but a box remains over the text.
  3. This past summer I really, really wanted to start building up a good base again. The idea of the 3 x 13 Trailfest series scared me. The problem was that I really had no idea how to train for the back to back days plus add in the fact that my body was still being a jerk on some days. I managed to be super consistent with some form of exercise. Biking became my go to if I thought I'd do more harm than good by running. And some of my results this summer were excellent -- PR on my summer 5k trail series. I really wanted to see if all of my running in the summer heat and humidity had paid off. Mind you I did virtually NO speed or interval training other than my 5k series and the 5 mile race back at the beginning of August. I ended up signing up for the Atlantic City Half Marathon against my better judgement. It's my local race but every time I've ever raced it in the past a major storm with 20-40 mph winds blows in. By the time the race date had rolled around my training from mid August to mid October had been sub par and super light on mileage. One week I ran S-I-X miles. Ugh. And then the ideal race weather had started to shift and now forecasted a storm blowing in on race day. Double ugh! But I'm smarter than I used to be. I knew I had just managed to run 39 miles in 3 days and I'm fairly good at racing a half marathon. What's the worst that could happen? I have to walk it in? BFD. I get to do this. Sunday morning rolled around and the weather was still good. The weather app showed rain starting at 10:00 (2 hours after the start). Perfect. I stretched and rolled. Drank my coffee and had some gluten free oatmeal with peanut butter. Drove the 30 minutes to the start and arrived by 7:15. Found some meter parking 1 block from the start. Score! Used the bathroom at Bally's Casino with success. Wahoo! LOL Found a hallway by the front doors to do some more stretching. Finally at 7:45 I went out onto the boardwalk to line up. The starting corrals were in front of the next casino so we had to fight through the spectators to enter from the rear and then I had to weave up to get to where I wanted to start. Hmmmm....good question...where do I want to start?? My secret goal was that I wanted sub 1:54. A sub 1:54 would give me a qualifying time for NYCM. My qualifying time was a 1:49 which I was within 50 seconds of getting before my injury, but time marches on and I will have a new and improved AG for 2020. I made it up to the 3:55 pacer -- an 8:58. I needed an 8:42 pace. I figured it would be a good place to start given my lack of speedwork. The gun went off and we started down the boardwalk. Immediately someone caught their foot and went down. Running the boardwalk is akin to running on the trails. The boards are warped and not even, some were super soft and felt almost rotted and then there are the dreaded popped nails. Thankfully the dude tucked and rolled and got back up. There was no easing into pace. The pacer immediately dropped into the 8s. I did my best to keep up but I was working and this was within the first 1/2 mile. I put my best poker face on and reminded myself that I'd warm up and things would get easier. We made a left and headed down onto the roads. Speaking of warming up I was warm....already. I had decided to wear shorts, my green heavier tank and a thin windbreaker. I hate being cold, but I also know I get hot fast. In the pocket of my jacket I had 3 gels and in the back pocket I had my car key. Before we even hit the first mile I was unzipping the jacket and tying it around my waist. I know better. Ugh! Mile 1 - 8:36 By mile 2 I knew the pacer was going WAY too fast. Her watch chimes and she yells out the pace is to fast! I look down at my watch and see 8:15. LOL The pace group slowed, but I figure at this point I've pretty much shoved all of my chips in to the pot and it was too late to change my bet. Mile 2 for me chimed in at 8:28. The race runs up onto an elevated highway before going down into a tunnel. My GPS signal was lost down in here and from that point on I'd hit the mile markers before my Garmin chimed. We ran all along the north end of the island, behind casinos and around some townhomes. Cheering is minimal. Flop, flop, flop went those damn gels against my legs. I finally grabbed the pocket and shoved it into the front of my shorts. Miles 3-5 were 8:31, 8:26, and 8:14. At some points you'd feel absolutely no wind to the point that your sunglasses fogged. Being as I run around here all the time I knew that meant as soon as we turned the wind was going to be full on in our faces. At around mile 6 I was running close to this little boy. He was 9 years old and crushing it. Solo, no parent. Flop, flop, flop went the car key against the back of my leg. I shoved that into the back of my shorts. So I want to make sure you get the picture. Green shirt, yellow jacket tied around my waist with a pocket full of Gus shoved down the front of my shorts and another yellow pocket with car key shoved down the back of my shorts. I'm sure I'll be getting a call from RW to model soon. Ha! I took a Gu at mile 6 and then walked through a water station to get a bit of fluid. I was definitely riding a line of how much longer I could keep up this pace. 8:39 At mile 7 we headed back towards the boardwalk. I mentally was talking to myself -- "when you get to the boardwalk you know all you have to do is a bit past the finish line and then run to the turnaround to head for the finish." Miles 7 & 8 -- 8:43, 8:33. The Gu kicked in and I did feel a little better, At mile 9 we cruised past the finish line so I knew I had approximately 2 miles to run before I could turn around. Slow close, yet so far away! You can do this! No, I can't. Yes, .... oh look there's my bike friend!! My cycling friend always escorts one of the lead runners. Today he was leading this beautiful looking strong woman into the finish line! I yelled out to him but I don't think he heard me. Mile 9 - 8:31 I grabbed some water, gatorade and/or a gel from the aid station. I took I few bites of gel and sipped some water and willed myself to keep going. Mile 10 & 11 -- 8:37, 8:42 Finally the turnaround was just ahead. Thank the Lord! A guy behind me kept yelling, "Water! Where's the water?" I thought he was kidding because we had passed an aid station not too long ago. Apparently he wasn't. I think he had a full breakdown on those poor volunteers. I'm hoping he was running the half and not the full because if he was running the full he was in bad shape for 14 more miles. It was hot(ish) and humid(ish) so maybe that's why he was struggling? Although nothing like this past summer. As soon as I hit the turn around I was playing mental math -- if you run 10 minute miles that will give you a finish time of xx.... was the NYCM qualifying time a 1:54 or 1:55?? I just couldn't think. My right quad was seizing up and we were now running into the wind. I was leap frogging a couple who were running and then walking. I did manage to pass them at some point. Mile 12 -- this is stupid. I hate racing. I'm never running another full because a half is so freaking hard! 9:00 Just keep running and don't think. There's Bally's. You can stop when you get there. The 9 year old came flying by me into the finish. "Go, little dude!" Mile 13: 9:06 Oh my gosh the finish line!! Then I heard someone yell, "Go, Gwen!" I tried to figure out who it was but all I knew was it was a tall, thin man in a Boston jacket. My oxygen deprived head would not let me figure out who it was. According to Garmin my last .1 was at a 7:33 pace. I couldn't believe it -- 1:52:46. I got it! I staggered over to massage guy and had him massage my poor right quad. and then I grabbed all sorts of food and then came across tablets where you can check your time. Punched in my number and let out an audible gasp when I saw I came in 2nd out of 99 in my AG. Oh my gosh! Sometimes you just have to roll the dice and give it a go. Yep, awards were in the pouring rain. Didn't care one little bit! (As for the guy who cheered for me at the finish it was the guy who leads the track workouts I go to sometimes. Lol)
  4. I went to a group run once. Everyone ran their own pace. It was weird so I 95% of the time run alone also. Glad you aren't hanging up your sneakers yet.
  5. I gave A LOT of people anxiety that weekend! Believe me if there had been any wind i would not have been that close to the edge.
  6. I was actually surprised after stretching and rolling how good I felt each day.
  7. ocrunnergirl

    Once in a Lifetime

    Well it seems that it was the same as it ever was and that was not your beautiful wife. Do I have to teach you about fueling?? Looks like a fun race! Glad you didn’t burn down the house.
  8. What is wrong with you?! Go to Bryce and Zion!!!!
  9. Thanks for the hospitality!
  10. Glad to have you back!
  11. Great job, Dave! I will cross that marathon off of my list. Mrs. Dave is a great photographer. You look super strong in those pictures. Revel Mount Charleston 4/4/20 near Las Vegas. I’m strongly considering it. @BANGLE
  12. My friend Cathy and I have been talking about doing the Grand Circle Trailfest for almost 2.5 years. The Grand Circle Trailfest is 3 days of racing roughly a half marathon each day. Each day you run just outside of a National Park -- Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon (Horseshoe Bend). Three years ago I sent Cathy the promo video for this race and she was excited as I was! We were all set to sign up and then I had the whole hamstring tear. Fast forward 2 years and I told her I felt I was ready to do this. At some point this past winter/spring I was at her house (in CT). We realized from a logisitics point we would have to fly to Las Vegas on Tuesday to pick up our bibs on Wednesday to run the races on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Does it make sense to go to work on only Monday?? I tossed out the idea to Cathy about leaving on Sunday and flying to Los Angeles for a quick trip to California. A quick text to Bangle and suddenly we had great Pacific Coast accommodations. Now all we had to do was train for 3 back to back to back half marathons that were at 4500-8000' elevation .... at 11' sea level! 😳 And then Cathy fell down her stairs and messed up her knee 2 months before race day. And then I got hit by a car while stopped at a red light on my bike 8 days before race day. I think the driver looked left to make a right on red and just rolled right into the back of me. All I know is that I felt my bike being pushed so I turned around and there was a minivan running into me. The next thing I know I'm laying in the middle of the street slowly being pushed forward as my top lip is dragging against the pavement. Thank God the driver jammed on the brakes when he heard me yell. He was horrified and kept stammering on about how he could've killed me and that he would pay for my bike. I had to calm him down. Did an overall scan of my body -- bleeding lip and one severely jacked up pointer finger. Phew! I can still run Trailfest!Priorities! In the next few days I would find the handlebar had gone into my left hip and I had a bruise on my right thigh and knee from the crossbar and pavement. Could've been so much worse. Cathy and I flew into LA on Sunday morning. Had a great lunch with a view of the Pacific Ocean, watched some football with Bangle and had a fun dinner prepared by Mrs. Bangle. The next day Cathy and I drove up to Santa Monica, found the original Muscle Beach where Cathy convinced me to climb the rope and enjoyed the sunshine and sea breezes. BTW Don't climb a rope with sandals. You end up with rope burn on the top of your foot. Bangle took us on a driving/hiking tour of his hilly running route. The next day Cathy and I headed via airplane to Las Vegas so we could pick up our sweet ride to drive to Kanab, Utah (the Trailfest headquarters). We nicknamed the Jeep -- Prince Barney. We tried to hike out to a slot canyon on Wednesday but gave up after 1.7 miles of crazy sand. (3.4 miles round trip) We did a self guided driving tour instead. We woke up bright and early on Thursday to drive to Bryce Canyon. It was FREEZING! 23*!! Thankfully Trailfest has bag drop at the start of all races so we had warm clothes that we shed right before the race start. Immediately the race started out on a slight uphill. Within 15 seconds my heart was beating out of my chest because of the 8000' elevation. I came to a stop and said to Cathy gotta walk, sorry. It got better as we went. I could cruise all of the downhills with a little pitter patter run and then run up a part of the uphill and then switched over to a walk. The view at the top of the first climb was stunning. Bryce is known for these rock formations called hoodoos. Honestly the first day Cathy and I just kept taking picture after picture. We were given a challenge by the RD to take a jumping picture. Challenge accepted! There was some really amazing ridge running. After the aid station there was a crazy zigzag climb up the side of the mountain. It just kept going. Every uphill climb I pushed really hard. It was fun! Cathy and I stayed together until mile 11. She kept telling me to go so on a downhill section I just kept my pitter pattering little feet moving. We had to run through a very rocky, wide, dry river bed to finish. It was pretty uncomfortable. I ran/walked into the finish at a pretty good clip. My finish time was 4:15 with all of the photo taking. 13.90 miles with 1900 feet of climbing. Immediately at the end of the finish I felt horrible! I'm still not sure if I had elevation sickness or caffeine withdrawal (no coffee in the morning). I ended up getting sick on the side of the road. It took a good 3 hours before I felt semi-ok. We drove the scenic drive through Bryce after the race. Indescribably beautiful. My pictures do not do it justice. The next morning I stretched and rolled and felt pretty good. We headed off for a trail just outside of Zion National Park. The first 3 miles there was a nice downhill that got your legs warmed up. The elevation was only 4500-5000'. Oh so much better! Our view on the road: After an aid station at 3.2 miles we headed off onto the canyon rim. The views were beautiful and so different from the day before! Today's RD challenge was to hula hoop on the rim. I didn't see the hula hoops so I stuck with jumping. One lady told me I was crazy because I was so close to the edge. I'm assuming she meant crazy awesome! At around mile 6 Cathy told me to go. Her knee was really bothering her. After making a friend and getting them to take my picture I headed out solo to finish the race. While not as scenic as Bryce I absolutely loved, loved, loved the middle section of this race! I could have run there all day long! Soft dirt and sliprock (which isn't slippery) everywhere. I must've passed 50 - 100 runners. The climb up out of the canyon on the dirt road was a grind. I played frogger. I ran on the flats and slight downhills and caught so many people just walking. I'd eye someone walking the uphill and run until I passed them. 13.85 in 3:13 with 1500’ feet of climbing. Cathy looked super strong running into the finish! We decided to refuel at a great little outdoor cafe before heading into Zion. Hands down the best food we ate. (MeMe's Cafe) If you have never been to Zion National Park GO!!!!! It is outstanding, amazing, fantastic, stupendous! On the way out of the park we stopped to see a buffalo/bison that was hanging out with a person. Apparently his mom died so humans had to raise him. On our 3rd and final day I was mixed with sadness that it was our final day and fright (my quads were barely functioning!) The course we ran was on a Navajo Indian reservation in Page, AZ. We look sleepy but ready to go. Within 3/4 of a mile we came up to Horeshoe Bend! It was just beautiful! But in the shade it was absolutely freezing! I was worried about cutoffs. We had to make it to the aid station by 10 am so we quickly got on our way. As you can see the course was not super friendly to very tired runner legs. It was a combination of red sliprock that had a very rough surface and sand. I pushed Cathy so we could make the cutoff. I know she probably had several choice words for me, but I knew she didn't want to miss the cutoff and I wanted to finish together. I The views along the Colorado River were stupendous! Bouldering/ rock scramble climb: We finally made it to the aid station and were able to continue on. (The shuttles in the morning were delayed -- as they were the 1st day -- so the cut off time was extended.) Immediately after the aid station we descended down into the Waterholes Slot Canyon. The slot canyon was beautiful! Went from wide to narrow. When the sunlight shown down and hit the rock it was fantastic! We climbed back up out of the slot canyon and had about 3 miles left....in the sand on (what I would call) a fire road. It was hard! But oh so beautiful! I did not want the epic trip to be over, but the sand made me want it over! Lol. Yes, this is a climb up a sand dune! No matter how hard I tried to capture the beautiful colors in the distance I could not do it. It was like a pastel painting. Cathy and I decided to run 30 seconds and walk 30 seconds for the last mile and a half. It would cut down on the time we were in misery! Hah! A fellow runner asked if he could hop on our Conga line and we said sure! 11.25 miles in 4:02 with 1300’ of climbing. Our plan was to head into the Garnd Canyon but we were much farther away from the rim than expected. We ended up taking Prince Barney on some dirt roads near the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. We Thelma and Louise-d around on those roads seeing how fast we could go! It was hilarious! That night we went for our last dinner at the Iron Horse (ate ther 3 times because it was convenient). If you saw us trying to walk/run across the street you would have died laughing! The next day we had booked a tour guide to take us to White Pocket, Wire Mesa (slot canyon) Trail and a quick trip to see the Paria. Quintessential mid-west picture: White Pocket: Because I hadn't climbed enough in the past 3 days! Wire Mesa Slot Canyon: Petroglyphs in the Canyon: Bee hives: Paria (type of mountain): After our tour it was time to head for the airport in Las Vegas. I took Cathy on a quick drive down the Strip and then it was wheel up. It was hands down one of the best experiences I've ever had! My tips for doing a trip like this would be to go someone who has the same idea about the vacation as you. Are you racing the races? Are you there for the scenery? After the race are you going to want to sleep or are you going to go sight seeing? Cathy and I had pretty much discussed all of this beforehand and I couldn't have imagined doing it with anyone else!
  13. What a great way to go into your last few weeks of marathon prep! Congrats!
  14. ocrunnergirl

    Well, that was interesting.

    Stress and running for me = no bueno hence my 6 total miles last week. 😩 Good job fitting everything in! I hope you are getting the nice fall weather we are experiencing for the minute! (This weekend we go back to summer. Ugh)
  15. ocrunnergirl

    Running ahead

    Yay! Glad you are loving exercise again! I never thought I’d be a gym rat but I LOVE it!
  16. So many miles! You are going to be well prepared! Great picture of T-Rex! Where is that taken?
  17. ocrunnergirl

    trail walking

    Beautiful pictures! You're still running so it's all good news!
  18. Fun race! Good luck this semester.
  19. ocrunnergirl


    Isn't it sacrilege to only go 6 miles on 7 mile road? Just seems wrong. Glad everything is feeling better.
  20. ocrunnergirl

    Reviewing August

    Albani may need to pick you up next year! I'm not ready for summer to get over. Have a great school year!
  21. I'm not sure I will ever have another stretch of great running again. 2015-2017 was the bomb. Thanks for running with me. I do think I would have been a little bit afraid running that last leg alone since there really weren't many other runners around!
  22. Good seeing you too! Good luck in the marathon!
  23. We had to make it fun so you would be captain next year! LOL. Good luck on the GMATs!
  24. Are you trying to say me arms are as big as your skinnyLLegs??
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