St. Croix Valley Triathlon Race Report!

Goooood lord. It is only like 3:45 and I swear it feels like 8:00! It’s not that I really feel tired, but it has definitely been a long day! Here we go.. start to finish! The St. Croix Valley Triathon:

I decided not to go out to Hudson last night. For some reason I had in my mind that it took like an hour and a half to get there.. but then I put it in googleMaps and it said it only took 40 minutes. So I nixed the plans with my mom’s friend (where I was planning on staying overnight) and decided I’d just drive out in the morning. It was a early morning! I haven’t seen 4:30am in a looong time. But it was well worth it – my mom’s friend has a dog, and I have allergies, and that wouldn’t have been a good idea the night before a race!

So I was out the door by 5:15, stopped for coffee (I had my coffee pot all set up to brew this morning.. but I set it for 5PM instead of 5am! doh!!) and was on my way! It was pitch black when I left, but I got to watch the sun rise as I was driving east to Hudson! SO PRETTY! Hhaha annnnd.. I swear the only people out on the roads at that time were people going to the tri! Every  car I saw had a racing bike on the back or a TriHarder bumper sticker… it made me smile every time!

 Got there, got my transition area all set up, got my packet, my “small” shirt (which goes down to my knees… who makes these!?) and got tatted…

DSCN1912

DSCN1925

DSCN1911

and then had a while to wait for the start. I was nervous because my feet and hands were COLD. I’ve always had bad circulation.. but i was thinking if they’re cold now and I haven’t even touched the water yet.. then I’m in trouble! The water even looked cold!

DSCN1909

The race started at 7:30, but since I was in wave 5 (women 29 and under) I didn’t start until like 7:45. There were some competitive looking girls out there.. but at this race they didn’t mark your age on your calf like they usually do, so I couldn’t tell who I was up against! Maybe a good thing… 

The gun went off and so did we. The water was actually not bad – I think it was probably about 70°.. so the water temperature was not the problem. Especially because I did this in more clothes than I did Green Lake… I was wearing a full length tri top and shorts. Little teeny shorts.. but shorts none the less. 🙂 Honestly though.. I think I panicked a bit in the lake. Open water swimming is really different than swimming in a pool.. and the sighting thing just wasn’t working for me today. I had to breast stroke a bit in the beginning just to calm myself down, and by the time I reached the turn around bouey I was pretty much fine. It definitely slowed my swim time down though!

Thennnn the bike. I have two conflicting factors here when I try to compare to my last tri: 1. I was on a much better/faster bike. 2. I. was. FREEZING. I said the water temperature wasn’t a problem.. but the air temperature was. It was still too early for the sun to shine on the road, so the air temp was still like 55°. Take that, plus being soaking wet, plus going 22 mph = froze my ass off. Hahha I can’t wait to see the pictures from the professional photographer.. my face was like locked in one position that I’m sure was disgusting very attractive… I’ll have to wait and see. 

And then, my love – the run. This was a 4 mile run.. where as Green Lake was just a 5K. I actually like this run way better though. And finally my face and arms and core warmed up because the sun was finally peaking through! My legs from the knees down though were just numb.. it was ridiculous! But I knew they were still attached, and damnit, they had a job to do, so I got to it. I definitely started out slower than usual, but ended up picking it up a lot at the 2 mile turn around. My time out was 15:42 (!!! wtf) and coming back it was 13:44. All for a grand average pace of 7:21 (according to Gomer). Which for me.. is still ridiculously slow for a 4 mile run. But with frozen feet and being a newbie up and coming triathlete, I’ll take it. 😉 My friend Cyndi is the only other person I knew up there… she is from the Splashers team I train with (hard core name.. no?) and she is a great athlete! She says she is not a runner.. but I told her that is the great amazing thing about individual sports. You can be whatever you want to be. You can improve, and it’s easy to forget that sometimes! I love this lady’s attitude. She is definitely kick ass and will help remind you that you are too!

DSCN1913

My total time was something along the lines of 1:20:xx… PickleEvents does the chip timing and they haven’t posted the results online yet. What I can say is that despite feeling like it wasn’t my best race.. it definitely wasn’t.. I took 2nd in my age group (and contradictory to my age-group-upgrade-fears, would have taken 2nd in the 20-25 devision too). I came home with an amazing medal engraved with St. Croix Valley Tri a .. stop watch? Mmm yep. Not kidding. Note to Race Director.. hopefully you’ll see this somehow – I LOVED your race. Everything. But a stop watch? Even Green Lake did medals.. they were just dog tags engraved but actually I like that the best! Then you can actually wear it without looking like you’re trying to be a show off. I can promise you that I wont be wearing my St. Croix Valley stop watch out to dinner tonight. My mom actually said she needs one for school, so…. !! 

DSCN1914

The after celebration was nice – it was a Luau theme so they had leis and pineapple and what not.. but the main “event” for the food was pulled pork. I am not one of those PITA vegetarians, but I would have appreciated sommmme sort of meat-free option! I wasn’t kidding about the shirt being huge.. and I hate that because half the point of doing a race is to get free shirts.. and I like to be able to WEAR them! Here is me, trying to jump up on my couch before Photo Booth counts down…

Photo 15

Please ignore the crazed look on my face.. and I promise. I am completely G rated in posting this.. there are shorts on under there! And Chad.. this is all for you buddy – the shorts:

Photo 21

I was actually looking for racing buns.. but no where keeps them in stock! They’re mostly for team orders.. so this was the closest I could get. And I LOVE them. And bought two pairs. 🙂

I met my mom and some family friends at Dunn Bros on my way home. It was really nice to see them all.. and MAN was I ready for a cup of coffee!! That brings me to here.. all done with a triathlon before 9:30am and saying now what? for the rest of the day! I think I am meeting up with someone to buy the calc book I need for this year (craigslist – in case I go missing) (Kidding!! Sorta… =/ ) and then I think I am going to go spend the rest of the day helping my mom set up for our YARD SALE we are having in two weeks. So this my friends concludes my St Croix Valley Tri race report, and overall I’d say it was a success. If I’m in town, I’ll be back there next year!

I’m out!

DSCN1922

See you soon love bugs. Race on Monday.. school starts Tuesday! YIKES! Live it up while you can!

Just the two of us…

Just the two of us we can make it if we try
Just the two of us just the two of us
Just the two of us building castles in the sky
Just the two of us you and I

         -Will Smith

So you all know Gomer… 

Let me introduce you to the QRoo:

DSCN1836

A 2008 (I think?) Quintana Roo Kilo.. which I am from here forth calling Rilo. So creative. I know.

Let me tell you though.. these guys know their stuff. I’ve been contemplating buying a Quintana Roo wetsuit.. but man!! This is an expensive sport I’m tryna get into here. It’s not like you can get a wetsuit at Target.. (but God knows I lovvve my C9)

Miss Jenni doesn’t even have the slightest clue how happy she made me when she sold me this bike. I won’t tell you how much it retails for, or how much (or not much!!!!) I had to pay for it, but I can safely say that Jenni made my week month YEAR! THANK YOU JENNI! Please be watching your mail box!

I found this website with way more information than I needed to know, but it’s pretty damn cool. Because Rilo is pretty damn cool. Because OH MY GOD I want to just go ride it now!!

I’m going in tomorrow to my bike shop to get it fitted properly and pick up the cleats for my shoes. But you can bet your blisters that me and Rilo will be spending some good QT tomorrow! It’s supposed to rain.. but it can’t rain all day.. right? Wednesdays are my one day off at Job1 (the restaurant), so I only have to put in a couple hours at Job2 in the afternoon and then I’m done!

Tomorrow’s ToDos:

  1. run with kid from tri team
  2. bike fitting
  3. job2
  4. ride many many miles 🙂
  5. pack/grocery shop for RAGNAR!!
  6. dinner with the madre

Newwws time. You know you’re a runner when: you stay up just to watch the weather.

G’night
-E

reunited and it feeeels so gooood…

Erika + Gomer = ❤

I gotta go find a tree to carve that into…. 😀

OK guys.. I need some tech help here. I brought out Gomer (my child, my lil love, my Garmin) for the first time yesterday since that dreadful rainy “last run” on September 29th. At first it looked like it wasn’t connecting to the satellites.. and I was just like “whatever.. I just need the clock today anyways.” But then… a while into my run I heard the “mile beep” and looked down, and it looked like it was picking up signal. It beeped for the other two miles.. but when I finished my run and reset the timer and looked in the training history, it wasn’t there!? I know I didn’t delete the run.. cause that actually takes a lot of steps. I just cleared the time like you always do after any run. Anyone know what’s up?

My Garmin hadn’t been charged up this whole time.. so I am wondering if that has anything to do with it since I just fully charged it like 2 days ago. I have the 405, if it makes a difference. Any help would be great! I’d much rather get it from you guys than wait on hold with tech support. Buut they’re not open today anyways I’m guessing, since it’s a Sunday. I really want to get this figured out though.. if you guys remember, I kinda love my Garmin. A lot.

Other than that.. how is running going? Wonderfully.

I ran in the Fens yesterday in shorts. If I see on the news that anyone was blinded while walking their dog, I’m truly and deeply sorry. Gotta start somewhere though, right?! 😀

Adios chicoritos.. until next time.

‘Cause I’m an expert..

Cecilia recently left me a comment about Heart Rate Monitors, and I found myself writing a response so long (and consequently going off on about a billion little tangents) that I thought the topic deserved it’s own post. Here is what Cecilia wrote:

hey there, great blog you have here :0) Hope you don’t mind me asking … do you think a heart rate monitor is a necessary gadget?!!! – I’m intrigued by it after seeing lots of bloggers having one of them … but the thing is … they are so darn expensive!!! :0/ Thanks for your advice, I appreciate it!! :0)

Well THANKS Cecilia – because now I can give my (somewhat critical.. I would say “harsh” is too extreme) response without feeling like I’m just gettin’ on everyone who wears a HRM. (Dumbasses… [kidding!!]) 😉

I’ll be honest – I think heart rate monitors are 100% 97.3% unnecessary (let me get into that 2.7% later). KNOWING your heart rate doesn’t change what it is – your heart’s still gon’ be there, and it’ll still be beating, whether you’re wearing a HRM or not. You could say the same about a GPS – knowing your pace doesn’t really do diddly squat about it .. you’re still running. Wearing a HRM (or a Garmin, or a …) wont make improvements in your fitness (if that’s your goal) – you still have to do the work. Having a HRM read back to you “125 bpm” or “150 minutes in the zone” (insert rolling eyes smiley face here.. I wish I knew how to make that one!) doesn’t say anything about if you’re “working harder”. Trust me – if you up the ante, you’ll be able to feel it, with or without a HRM.

Now, if you were a fan of Heart Rate Monitors, you may say – “Erika. STFU. YOU have a GARMIN. And you treat it like your unborn child. Quit being a hypocrite!” (STFU is my 2nd favorite acronym (which would be pronounced “stuff-u”), following TTFU (where you actually need to spell out the letters). But geez! Where did I get this dirty/mean mouth from?)

We all remember this photo..

We all remember this photo..

Me? Hypocrite? Well, yes and no. This is where that 2.7% comes in – there are uses for a HRM (and a Garmin). If you are an athlete who is really serious about your VO2 max, and you’re actually going to train USING that number, then yeah – a HRM might be a good idea for you. (If you don’t even know what a “VO2 max” is, then you clearly wouldn’t need to use a HRM to train with it.) 🙂 If you have some type of condition or are needing to closely monitor your health to make sure your heart rate doesn’t get too high, then yeah – a HRM might be a good idea for you. (Side tangent – if you are one of those people, please be careful. When your body is in a weakened state, exerting yourself and pushing your heart is doing you absolutely no good. You may feel fine, but when you pass out at practice because your heart was overworked and just decided to stop, you wont be feeling anything. Be smart. Be safe.) And the same goes with a Garmin (or other GPS). If you’re actually going to USE the features on it for intervals or out-n-backs or using the pacer – makes sense. If you’re just going to wear it.. pass.

Im in the ZONE babeyy!

"That's right baby - I'm in the ZONE!"

In MY experiences, the majority of people I see who wear a HRM just wear it. They have some number in their mind that puts them “in the zone” (though if they’re using that 220 – age x .0whatever chances are that’s wrong. That formula was an estimate made in the 70s based on a study that included smokers, people on heart disease meds, etc. Not your average healthy Joe.) They may use those numbers to calculate calories burned. Or they may just be like “Sweet! Two hours in the zone!”, and then do nothing more with it. I am fully aware that your heart rate and your PRE (Perceived Rate of Exertion) are supposedly closely connected, but I’ve found that’s not always true. If you ask ME.. your PRE is much more beneficial as a training tool. Here’s why:

Everyone’s run (or swim, or bike, etc.) is different every single day. I tried to think of a more scientific, “official” way to say that, but clearly failed, so sorry! What I mean is this – One day I could run a 7:10 average pace and just be cruisin’ along and relaxed. Another day, a 7:10 could have me breathing hard, and seriously struggling to maintain that pace. As much as I wish our bodies could be perfect and mathematical (get X amount of sleep – be at your peak performance. Eat x amount of calories – be at your peak performance), they’re not. Aside from sleep and proper nutrition, other things come into play: the temperature, the humidity, are you running (spinning, exercising, etc) alone, are you with a group, did you wear breathable clothing or are you in cotton, etc.

PRE must have been around for a long time. This looks hella old.

PRE must have been around for a long time. This looks hella old.

Many people judge their PRE on a scale of 1 to 10. So my 7:10 that feels like a 4 today, could feel like a 9 next week. Basing workouts and training on your PRE is great, because it’s based on that E – your EFFORT. If you base your workouts on your heart rate, despite what your body is feeling, you could saying “I need to be at a 150″, but because humans are not at all perfect, exact, or mathematical, that 150 could be a lot harder (or easier) one day versus another. I am a firm believer in QUALITY over QUANTITY. If my schedule says intervals on Wednesday, but I know my body’s just not feeling it, then I’m going to do them a different day. Pushing yourself through a run (or bike, or swim, or whatever) just to get “to that number” or just to “do what’s on the schedule” is going to do you absolutely no good. Doing quality workouts and doing them when you have the energy to give it what it needs is what will make you improve.

So that in short just turned into a novel, but that’s my take on Heart Rate Monitors. I highly suggest using your PRE instead, and toying around with it so you can get a feel of “what a 9 feels like” or “what a 5 feels like”. And Cecilia’s right – those things cost a BUTTLOAD of money (for a good one), AND those chest straps are hella uncomfortable! Save your paycheck (and your poor skin! chafing = 😦 ).

I’m not a professional by any means – this is completely and solely my opinion. It’s not like I don’t like the people who wear heart rate monitors (I love everyone, remember? 😀 ), I’m just not a fan of the HRMs themselves. If you already have one, and it’s workin for you, then rock on my little heart rate monitoring friend. If you’re just contemplating buying one, I’d say you know whether you’re giving your workouts quality effort or not – you don’t need a pricey little tech toy to tell you that!

Runners World did a great article that completely proves (and defeats at the same time) my point of this post. Take from it what you’d like – just thought I’d share!

Grandma’s non-race race report!

Honestly, I don’t feel like I need to say anything more than

Grandma’s Marathon was a BLAST!

But of course I will. 😉 Not a race report.. but I will take you through the my Grandma’s experience from start to finish!

My mom has run Grandma’s Marathon 7 or 8 times. It always used to be over Father’s Day weekend, so we would pack up practically the day after school was out, and head up to Breezy Point Resort in Two Harbors for the whole week. The entire trip was full of flashbacks from past year’s Grandma’s adventures.

This time though started a whole new chapter in my book of Grandma’s memories. This time, the trip was for ME. 😀 No Breezy Point resort (although I do hope to continue that tradition in the future..), and no week long vacation (that one would be nice too), and this time, I wasn’t a super fan – I was a runner!

And I say runner – not racer. If you don’t remember me talking about it back at Med City time.. my plan was that if I BQed at Med City, then I would just take Grandma’s easy and have fun. If I didn’t, well I didn’t really want to consider that, but there was always as a backup! Luckily, I took care of qualifying early on, and so for Grandma’s I decided to pace two of my favorite buddies from my Running Club! These two lucky guys would be D and M, together forming team MED. 🙂 D’s previous PR was a 4:30something at Twin Cities last year, but that was his first marathon, and for those who don’t know, Twin Cities (the same day as last year’s Chicago) was KILLER HOT. D has improved so much since then! M on the other hand had run Fargo back in mid May, and Med City at the end of May.. so this was marathon #3 within about six weeks! M’s previous PR was like a 3:45 I believe (over in Fargo).

pre-race

D and I drove up on Friday afternoon. After getting through some annoying traffic on 280 (can’t wait till the 35W bridge is open again!) the ride was pretty smooth the whole way up. We had fun looking over at other cars and guessing which contained runners on their way up too. The 26.2 bumper stickers were a dead give away, but so were the vans that had grocery bags in back with bananas peaking over the top! We went to the expo right away to get our packets, and we were in and out in no time!

Dinner was FABULOUS and at Pizza Luce in downtown Duluth. During race weekend, most restaurants wont take reservations, so we weren’t sure if we’d get in. We planned that we’d all meet at 6:00 at the restaurant, and we were probably seated by 7:00! That’s really not that bad considering the amount of people that were there.. and especially not bad because we had a table of about 20! That included about 13 runners and some family members who tagged along. I think the majority of us runners got spaghetti, myself included! It was delicious as always. I ❤ Pizza Luce. We also got ice cream on the way back to the hotel, because that’s just what you do and it’s my standard night-before-a-race (actually night before.. every day) deal. It was also delicious. As always. I ❤ ice cream. 😀

We stayed at a hotel about 10 minutes outside of downtown Duluth. Almost every hotel has a 2-day-minimum kinda deal.. which is sort of ridiculous. Along with ridiculous are the RATES! $216 a night.. for a hotel that any other time would typically be like under $100. I don’t really care though.. the room was comfortable, there was good water pressure in the shower, we were across the street from a shuttle to the race start, and they had coffee. We clearly know what matters.. 😉 Along with D and I were four other people in our room – N (another girl from our running club), Big Bryce (the BF of a girl from our RC), and two guys who were the acquaintances of a friend of an ex girl friend (‘s dog sitter’s neighbor from Tennessee. Or something along those lines.) There were only two queen beds.. so the acquaintances got sleeping bags on the floor. Plus, they were only running the half.. sleep doesn’t really matter if you’re only doing 13. 😉 (Haha kidding. Sorta.)

Saturday morning started at 5:00 am. There were shuttles from the mall across the street at 5:30 and 6:00.. and we opted for the 6:00 because unless you’re really concerned for some reason that you wouldn’t get there in time.. why go stand around outside for an extra half hour when you could have that extra time to sleep? The hotel had continental breakfast open at like 4 already.. so I headed down there after I got dressed. Of course, most the runners down there brought their own trusty breakfast along.. we just all wanted the coffee.. to “clear things out”. It was hilarious.. everyone has their own little tricks for getting things goin in the morning. There were people standing there doing toe raises as they watched the morning weather, and one chick was running up and down the hall.

We walked across the street to the mall at 5:45. It was weird to have it be so sunny already! I’d say it was about 60 degrees already? Not bad. While we were waiting, I had my trusty breakfast of soy nuggets and coffee. I also grabbed an english muffin from the breakfast room.. and decided to eat that on the bus. The ride was quick, and before we knew it, we were in Two Harbors at the start!

This is when you know.. you’re in for a good time. 😀 There’s music playing, people laughing, the whole atmosphere is just FUN! We jumped in line for the porta-potties right away, made it through the line, went to go find M, and drop off our sweat bags. M was getting nervous because he came on the 5:30 bus.. and he was probably thinking “WHERE ARE THEY!?” I’d be thinking the same thing if I was waiting around and my team wasn’t there yet!

(Left to Right: N, ME, M, D)

We jumped over the fence for the chute so we could make it up to the 3:30 group. That’s what both M and D had in mind for a goal time.. although I say “had in mind” very loosely. Both of them just really wanted to run and do their best, and if that meant taking it back, then that meant taking it back! I know D is capable of running a 3:30 marathon, but he just doesn’t race enough to know how much he has improved. M was shooting for a 3:30 because that’s his qualifying time for Boston!

do work!

The race started right on time at 7:30, and off we went! We stayed on pace (actually ahead of pace.. because M and D both walked through the water stops) up until mile 16. At that point, I could feel that both of them had been fading – I was in that always-one-step-ahead-of-ya position.. but I didn’t want to ask them if they wanted to tone it down because this was their race.. and I wanted them calling the shots. Both of them decided to take it back a notch at that point, and shortly after, M told D and I to go head. We continued on.. but still slowing down.

I was having so much fun.. the crowds at Grandma’s are AMAZING! Such a different experience than Med City. For the first ~18 of the course, they are spread out along the county road, mostly at or around the aid stations. Once you get into Duluth though, they’re pretty much constant! Oh – my dad!! I forgot to say that my dad drove up, at 3:00 in the morning! Trooper. I wasn’t sure where he would pop out, and I only saw him twice on the course, it it was great to hear his voice! Around mile 22 I saw him the 2nd time, and ran up and jumped in his arms and gave him a big hug, and then took off again. I thought I had a right to be tired.. but man-o-man, this guy deserved a nap! (Which luckily he got..!)

The last 10K was definitely the hardest for D. He didn’t hit “the wall”.. but maybe more like a fence. He was just sorta losing steam. It didn’t help that there were now water stops at every mile between 19 and 26, because that meant more walk breaks, which meant more times where it’s harder to get going. I kept tellin him, “The faster you run, the faster you’ll be finished!” Lemon Drop “Hill” was at like 22.. and I could tell D wasn’t thrilled about that one. He did a really good job though on the way down – dropping his arms and opening up his stride. OH MAN I said some ridiculous things along those last six miles trying to encourage him on! Something along the lines of..

“Dominate that hill D! It’s yours!”

“This is the strongest mile of your life! Make it yours!”

“Find your Kenyan! Dig deep.. it’s in there!”

At which point he probably just wanted to say “Shut up Erika! I’m trying!” but he didn’t and he just took it all.. haha now we get to look back on it and laugh. Afterwards, he said it was helpful, even though he couldn’t talk and say anything back, so YAY for good effort and not stopping even though I sounded like an idiot. 😀

In between 25 and 26, I was turned back yelling something [good and encouraging] at D, when all of the sudden, M came outta nowhere! I was like “Mighty M! Where’d you come from!” (We all have nicknames by the way.. Mighty M, Dashing D, Extreme Erika, Namaste N.. etc. I don’t know if they want their names online, so I’m sticking with letters here.) I wanted to all finish as Team MED!! But D told us to go ahead.. he was still truckin though! M and I pulled up a little, and crossed the line together. He was hilarious, and amazing! He kept saying “Stop speeding up! My legs can’t go any faster!” and I was like “I’m not going faster! You’re going faster! C’mon – you can do this!!”

M and I both finished in 3:42:xx, and D came in at 3:43:xx. D PRed by over 45 minutes! And while M didn’t qualify for Boston this time, he’s just that much closer! They’re both running TC (yes – I’m jealous!) in October, and I know they’ll both do stellar!

post-race

Post race was fabulous (as it always is at Grandma’s!) We got our medals, shirts, drink tickets, (and I got a carnation! I guess this was only for the ladies.. a nice gesture but I ended up thrown it away.. :/ I’m not gonna carry around a flower for the entire time afterwards.) We took a Team MED picture (see above!) in front of the Grandma’s backdrop.. knowing that none of us would get it since they’re like $$$! Then we went to grab our sweat bags, get water, stretch, (lie down in D’s case), find family, and relax!! For the runners, there was ice cream, yogurt, fruit, bagels, sandwiches, water, bottled dirty bath water Ultima, and MASSAGES (with a killer long line). We didn’t end up getting a massage.. but I really wanted one!!

We also met up with N, who finished around 3:48:xx!! My dad found me, and after many hugs and laughter, he went off to sit, enjoy a beer, and actually go back to the car and nap. He had only gotten like 3 hours of sleep!! I also ran into Mary – the woman I ran the majority of Med City with! She finished in 3:05, and did AMAZING! It’s funny how when you’re trying to find someone, you can’t for the life of you, but when you’re not looking you seem to run into everyone you know!

After we all rested up a bit and got rehydrated/refueled, we went down to the water front with M’s son (who also happens to be named M in this case) to wade into the chilly waters of Lake Superior. Chilly is an understatement – it’s freaking FREEZING. But it felt sooooo good. I wish I had been smart like N and brought along my SOCKS (I gave them to my dad in a second bag once I switched into my flip flops), because then I could have stayed in much longer! The water felt AMAZING on my legs, but it HURT your feet. Like, BAD.

D, N, and I wandered around/through all the post-race festivities, used up are drink tickets, and then decided it was time to head back to the hotel. I had gotten 2nd in my age group, and was told I was going to be getting an award. Sooo I wanted to rush back to the hotel, take a speed shower, pack up my stuff, and make it back in time for the awards ceremony at 3:15. We did just that, but it turned out then that the HALF awards started at 3:30, the MARATHON awards weren’t until 4:15. And then, after sitting through all of that, I realized that they were only giving out an award to the first place winner in the 19 and under age group, though they were giving an award to the top three in every other category. Lame. I felt like an idiot sitting through that whole thing.. and then not getting an award. I don’t get the reason behind that.. but whatever though – good to support all the other runners. Plus I saw so many familiar people/heard so many familiar names of people my mom used to run with! It turns out, the girl who took 1st in my age group was less than 30 seconds ahead of me. Not like I would have left Team MED to get her had I known.. but c’mon. Oh well, I can be happy to know that my Med City time smoked her! To give you an idea what the field is like.. Lamech Mokono, the top male finisher came in at 2:13:39, and the top female finisher, Mary Akor, ran a 2:38:50. 10 of the 12 top males were from Kenya 😀

( Mathew Chesang, winner of the half, came in at 1:04:48!!)

My dad and I headed home after the awards. We didn’t even get on the road till like 5:00, and with a stop for dinner along the way we didn’t get home till after 8:00. I drove half way home because my dad was still sleepy, but it was actually really nice to be behind the wheel – kind of relaxing. If I could have gotten into the Big Tent, I for sure would have stayed on Saturday night. I think it’s dumb that they can’t just X people who are under age. I’m clearly not the only one under 21 who ran! I can go to clubs and bars here in the cities, I just can’t drink! It seams pretty common sense to me.. I think that’s something Grandma’s should reconsider for next year.

Somethings they don’t need to reconsider are the cups of ICE, and the COLD WET SPONGES. Those were amazing. Someone needs to tell Twin Cities to get their rear in gear and do that too! Overall, the whole experience was a blast! It was worth every single thing, and certain people reading can go ahead and take the hint. I can’t wait to race Grandma’s in 2009! I’ll be countin down the days!

The next day (Sunday) was a big open house at my home.. something we’ve been preparing for for WEEKS! It definitely added to the stress that I wasn’t around on Friday night/Saturday day to help out. I was fabulous though – everything went smoothly and tons of people came! My mom worked her but off and I appreciate everything she did so much! The food was great, and the weather held out. Both D and M came too! We went for a short run once everything died down, and there were only a few people left. Team Med, reunited 😀

Gomer (go’-mer): Hebrew – to complete.

[EDIT EDIT EDIT – PICTURES ADDED!! – EDIT EDIT EDIT]

So I’m starting this post a little after 9:00 on Sunday night.. knowing it will take me a good minute before this is “publish ready”.. not to mention just to think of all the things I want to include in here! Don’t feel obligated to read the whole thing.. just look at pictures and highlights if you want.. but this is more for me than anyone else.. I really want to remember this one! I’m not even sure where I should begin on my

MED CITY MARATHON REPORT:

When I posted on Saturday morning.. I was just about to head out to work. Well I got to work.. and it was like a freaking circus! Literally.. there were SO many people up front in the window/running that it was ridiculous. Definitely more people than needed, and especially for a lunch shift. My boss was quick to let me leave knowing that I still had a lot left to do to be ready! I love job. And my boss. 😀

So I hopped back on my bike and headed home.. got myself packed up.. and made a quick CostCo/Trader Joe’s trip before my dad came to pick me up! Dad came, packed everything in to the Jeep, and started the adventure down to Rochester. My dad had called earlier and left me a voicemail saying “I’m bringing my bike!” and I was thinking like Hmm.. papacito they’re not going to let you bike on the course. Well he knew that too.. but given the course, it would be easiest to catch me in the most places if he was on his bike.

So we get to the hotel in Rochester right.. and we’re at the front desk. I’m just gonna say right now I’m actually an idiot. Like.. honestly. I may secretly be Kenyan inside, but I also must be a blond. (Wow.. lets see who else I can offend? Time to stop.) Um.. without even unpacking the jeep.. I all of the sudden I smacked my hand to my forehead and was like “I forgot my effing shoes.” Minus the eff.. sounded more like something that rhymes with buck (because that’s about how much I’d pay for my BRAIN at that moment). Seriously Erika?? I can remember extra Gu for other people.. and I left my own damn shoes. I had my old old running shoes (that I just wear for walking) but those are WAY expired. Like run-in-and-cause-injury expired.

While I met the guys from my run club for our pre-race dinner.. my dad drove BACK an our and my mom drove OUT half an hour to meet and give him my shoes. I honestly have so much love for my parents. I pray that I would do the same for my kids (some day) – they’re seriously amazing. My mom was pissed at first.. but then she realized the situation. She’s a runner – she knows what’s up. Dinner was at Victoria’s and it was freaking fantastic. I got the best pasta EVER. And was absolutely stuffed. And would do it all over again (just maybe not every day) 😉 Mmm apparently I wasn’t too stuffed for ice cream cause that’s what my dad and I hit up when he got back from the EmergencyShoeRun.

Two of the guys + one girl in the photo were doing the relay (minus one leg of the team who wasn’t at dinner), and the rest of us were in it for the whole shabang. On our walk back to the hotel from dinner I snapped a photo with The Man at Soldiers Field (where we would finish). Apparently I think I’m some pretty hot stuff..?

So post-ice cream I wanted to head back to the hotel because I wanted a good night’s sleep. The race had a 7:00 am start, and the last shuttle for the start left at 6:20. I actually went to bed at 10:00 fairly easily.. had the traditional everything-goes-wrong dream and had to get up once to pee.. but other than than that slept a solid 7 hours before the alarms went off at 5:00 am. After a good cup of coffee and breakfast, (btw – pre-long run breakfast for me is chik’n nuggets. It’s not traditional pre run food by any means.. but it’s what I do!) I met the rest of the marathoners down in the lobby at 5:45 to go catch the bus. We made it to Byron (the start) in plenty of time for [multiple] pit stops, sweat bag drop-off, all the usual. There were those nature valley crispy granola bars (+ lots of other stuff) at the elementary school where we started.. so I ate one of those on a whim. 26 miles is sorta a long way 😉

It was already 60 degrees and humid by the start, but it could have been much worse. It was forecasted to be thunderstorming – something I can certainly do without. But even still.. I was in just a sports bra (+ tube-sock sleeves.. that trick’s a keeper!) already right off the bat. This guy who was running did a great job with the national anthem, and at 7:00 on the dot we were off.

HIGHLIGHTS:

I’m not gonna go through mile by mile with my splits or any of that (unless someone cares..) but my slowest mile was mile 3 at 8:02.. when I tried to pull myself back to make sure I didn’t go out to hard.. didn’t last long. That was my only mile in the 8s. My fastest mile was mile 26 at 7:02. I most definitely ran negative splits.. and it felt good the entire way through. Gomer’s (my garmin) time was 3:15:19 for 26.33 and my chip time was 3:20:53. Everyone was all up in arms about the finish times being off.. so I’ll call it 3:20 for piece of mind and be happy. I was the 2nd female finisher overall and am pretty freaking ecstatic! My Boston Qualifying time was 3:40.. so I will most definitely be running Boston since I’m moving there this fall!

The woman with me in almost all of the pictures on the course is named Mary, and I picked her up somewhere after my pit stop mile 6.7. We ran from there all the way to the finish.. and she didn’t even have to go the whole way! She was only registered for the 20 mile training run (she’s doing Grandma’s too), but finished the entire 26.2. She is absolutely amazing.. and that’s all I need to say.

During race pictures:

I think if you click on them you can make them bigger..

Mile 8 – Water cup clenched in one hand, a wave in the other, and a smile on my face! This was the first place I saw my dad, and just a little ways after Mary and I started running together.

Mile 10 – Look how grey it was!! I guess I should be thankful – I’m sure it kept the temps down.

Mile 12 – Already? I honestly didn’t even know what mile I was in for the majority of the race!

Mile ~13.3 – this would be right after the spot where the half-marathoners turn off.. and also the same place we’d return to for the finish. Couldn’t believe we were already half way done!

Mile ~19.5 – Heading down the street for the last “turn around” before we headed for the finish. After the turn around (at the end of this street) I opened up my last pack of sports beans. My pops also handed off a teeny water bottle to me (gotta love the amphipod!)

Mile 23 – only a 5K left!? I thought about the little 3 mile loop I used to do in my neighborhood when I was just beginning running.

Mile 25 – glanced at Gomer and realized we were going to come in under 3:20! We picked it up a little bit.. my split for mile 26 was 7:02 😀

Post race pictures:

Andy – myself – Mary. Andy was waiting at the finish area. Where did I put my medal?

Myself, Adam, and Breanne. We all PRd!!

Us + Andy.. who ran the half and took 2nd (also!!) with a freaking amazing time of 1:17.

Let me stress how important it is to MOVE and STRETCH and MOVE SOME MORE after you finish. If I hadn’t kept walking around afterwards I’m 100% sure this picture would not have been able to happen! I don’t know what I did that was so right but I’m like super mobile and walk-down-stairsable. Bending over to touch my toes – no problem. Sitting down onto the toilet (don’t laugh – you know what I’m talking about!) – no problem! Yeah, I feel a little sore. But I’ve felt more sore after a tough 400s workout on the track than I do right now (day after)!

The whole gang at “Cheap Charlie’s”. The place had a plaster pig on top of the roof. I don’t think I would eat there. Ever..? Cheap is definitely a proper description.. 😉 Anyways.. most important thing to say is everyone did fabulously!

Why is it that Applebee’s is always the go-to place for post race? Cause it’s fast. And cheap. And amazing. And my dad can get a good cold beer on tap 😀

And here my friends.. I completes my first “official” marathon’s race report. Some day I’ll print this out and make it into a little booklet to look back on. Myself (and Gomer 😉 ), along with many other runners completed a great marathon and had a fabulous time. Grandma’s is 26 days away, and I know that this is just one of many many more to come!

7 toenails to go.

How gross is that? I can’t remember the last time I had all 10 toenails.. there are always a few that have gone black and fallen off, or are halfway grown back. Right now I have one that is just hanging on for dear life.. it’s completely black and I’m definitely feeling it after TODAY’S RACE 😀 I wish it would hurry up and fall off already!

So, here goes Erika’s Little Big Race Report:

I woke up at 6:20 with the sun, but then, remembering that I went to bed just six hours ago, I tried to get a little more sleep before I had to get going. Got back up at 7:04, did the usual contacts in/brush teeth/wash face thing, and checked the temp quick before getting dressed. 40 and sunny, light breeze, high of 60 by 3:00. PERFECT racing weather. Got the mug of coffee (very important) poured and breakfast going. I’m not usually a breakfast-before-run person, but racing is different than running, plus I knew it would be a while before I’d get a chance to have real food. I heated up about 6 Chik’n Nuggets.. which you might be like “WHAT? For breakfast?!” but seriously.. these are like my favorite pre-run fuel. They don’t really fit the carb/protein/fat ratio that’s supposedly “ideal“.. but I’ve been running for a long ass time and I just do what works for me.

My dad and I got to Minehaha Park by 8:15.. got my bib, met up with Bobby (see below pictures..) and his girlfriend, and we (Bobby, myself, and GOMER) headed out for a warm up. OK so keep in mind my total mileage for today was supposed to be around 12 as my last “long run” before Med City (NEXT SUNDAY!!).. so anyways did 1 mile easy with B and 1 more easy on my own.. made my last bathroom stop.. went back to grab my dad.. and then we headed up to the street where the starting line was. At that point it was 8:56 so we had good time.. until suddenly the damn horn went off! I whipped my sweatshirt off as my dad was like “Drop and Go Erika.. Drop and Go!!” and GO I did.. Here’s me coming in the last 100 meters.

Unfortunately I didn’t hit Gomer until like half a mile in. I thought I did, but guess not. And I apologize in advance if I come off as bragging, but I had way too much fun, so I’m gonna brag away.

I passed the 2nd leading woman at mile one, and the 1st woman at 1.5.. and after that I was right at home hangin in with the guys 😉 Chatted with several people along the way, but after 3.5 I was on my own for the rest of the race. That’s one crappy thing about small races – if you’re not with a pack, there’s no one there to compete with (outta sight, outta mind), do you really are responsible for pushing yourself. I passed one last person with about .75 to go, and came in strong at 44:00 even. Unfortunately, I had too much left at the end, but that’s what happens when you’re not used to racing that distance.

This picture would have been SO GREAT if it was like a quarter of a second earlier! The finish line was about 25 feet ahead of me.

Me and Mr. Bobby. I was the first woman finisher, and 6th overall. Bobby was 4th!! And for finishing first, I won an iPod!

A tried and true TURC pose. (TURC stands for The University Running Club.. I met Bobby on one of the first trail runs of the year.)

Here are my race freebies (that made it home, as opposed to in my mouth) The two shirts are basically the same – the red one shows what the back looks like.

Up close: two vanilla Boosts.. a Power Walker hat (sorry.. this will be donated. I’m not a walker).. my iPod (not donated.. but I’m selling this one. I don’t really want/have a need for an iPod).. a big delicious apple.. a whole foods granola bar.. and a target knockoff of a Zone bar (strawberry yogurt flavored).

Overall, the race was really fun – fun being my key word because by no means is it a PR for me for 6.2 miles, but since it was so small I got to enjoy being the first female finisher. After I collected all my freebies, I sent them off with my dad, and he drove down to Dunn Bros where I was going to meet him. I got in 5 more miles easy, and ended my run at the coffee shop! It worked out perfectly!

After Dunn Bros, my dad and I decided to stop at the Farmers Market before he dropped me off at my mom’s.. but those pictures are for a different post 😉 I’m headed off to work right now, and I’ll be there till close.. so hopefully it’ll be super busy since it’s so nice out! It’s a little cool.. but not too bad. Hope everyone has a LOVELY Sunday! (my absolute favorite day of the week btw!)