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My best friend and I found a Facebook special last May 2011 to sign up for the inaugural Portland Rock n Roll half marathon May 2012 for only $55. Having run the Seattle Rock n Roll before, we knew it was a great deal.

However, we had forgotten about it until just this spring, after I had committed to my May marathon. It wasn’t ideal to have a half marathon a week before my full marathon, but I decided to go through with it.

One of my favorite things about these events, is the Expo. I love checking out the booths, getting free stuff, and of course taking goofy pictures.
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My husband teases me about being a closet nerd, but seriously, who’s hiding??? Not me.
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RANDOM THOUGHTS FOR TODAY
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I know I am ridiculous. I signed for a 25k Trail Run last month, ran 20 miles a couple weeks later, turned around ran a hilly 12k two days later…them two weeks after that I signed up for a half marathon…the week BEFORE my Full Marathon. What was I thinking??!! No turning back now…just keep running, just keep running…running, running, running..

It was time for Spokane’s annual Bloomsday 12K fun run-one of the biggest events of the year. This race has over 50,000 registered people! Bringing in athletes from all over the world. I grew up doing this event every year, a casual race where many people sign up without any training. But it’s a great way to bring the community together and be active.

My company hosts two Corporate Cup Teams: One is the “A Squad” as we have dubbed them-the Kenyans  serious runners who always win in their division. I’m part of the B-Squad-the MILFs a group of mom runners who run so they can eat dessert guilt-free and run away from their kids to maintain their sanity!

The problem with being on the Corporate team is that I felt pressure to run my hardest-but the race did not fit well into my marathon training. I couldn’t use this race as a “training run” because I would not be able to get the mileage in-which is why I ended up running 20 Miles two days before. I rested the day in between my runs, wore my CEP compression socks, and tried to take it easy.  I hoped I could have a decent run on Sunday.

One of the ladies on our Corporate Team was stricken with some bad news earlier this year-her 13 year old son “Mitchell” was diagnosed with a childhood form of Leukemia. You can read more about MOMENTUM FOR MITCHELL. In honor of Mitchell, we decided to name our team “M4M:Moms for Mitchell”

Sunday morning I headed downtown with my best friend who was running it as a solo runner. She drives over every year for this run. We both would run Bloomsday throughout college so it brings back lots of memories. I wished her good luck before meeting up with our company’s two corporate teams met up beforehand for a quick photo before heading to the start line.

The course is a 12K race (7.46 Miles) which is an usual distance. A beautiful course that highlights the city and the river. Being my hometown, I thoroughly enjoy this race…except the hills. In fact, there is a monstrous hill around Mile 5  “Doomsday Hill.” Waiting for you at the top of the hill is a giant vulture…no kidding! It’s waiting to pick up all the roadkill and people laying in fetal positions alongside the route (okay slight exaggeration-but you get the point!)

Here’s the course profile to give you an idea.

The weather was perfect for the race. We had rain and windy days earlier in the week, but in Bloomsday tradition, it did not rain that day. I felt pretty good for the first couple of miles, but I knew after the first mile that I was not going to P.R. I decided I would have a good run regardless of my time and enjoy the sights. The hardest mile was definetly Mile 5, where my quads burned, still recovering from the long run less than 48 hour before. I kept a steady pace up the hill-for the first time ever there was chip time for Doomsday. My time up Doomsday-4:25. Thankfully the last couple of miles are fairly flat and ends with a downhill.

Runner Photos

I never know where the cameras are, and since I love a good race photo I ran with my hands up in the air for almost two blocks…hee hee.   Anyway, I met up my running ladies after the race…time for another picture!

My best friend and I treated ourselves with a Starbucks, took the city bus home, and then walked about half mile from the bus stop back to my house. My overall time: 1:07:20 (9:01 pace/mile). My overall place: 5,451 out of 47,841. Our B-Squad Corporate Team was 5th out 29 All-Women’s Team. Of course our A-Squad Team was first out of 29 in their division.

Anyway, I didn’t think I had enough fun race photos so we took our own.

YOGA WITH A TWIST

EVERYONE LIKES KUNG FU FIGHTING

And to end with a nice pose-with our finisher’s shirt!

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Every year my company gives it’s employees one “Employee Appreciation Day.” This year I decided to take the day off on my birthday. My co-workers asked what I was going to do to “appreciate” my day…my response was doing what I love most. Spending time with my daughter and RUNNING! Co-incidentally it would allow me to complete my last long run (20 miles) without having to miss work and giving me a rest day before Sunday’s 12K run.

My birthday morning started out great. I met up with T. and S. for our last run along one of our favorite paved trails. Initially we were supposed to run along the Centennial Trail, but since parts of the trail were still flooded, and we were having windy weather, we decided the night before to change our route.

 I was suprised when 2 of our other running gals showed up to run 5 miles and get us going for our long run. 

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As we started our run, A. brought up how she was relieved we had changed our route considering there was a murder the day before on the other trail…Wait..what??!! Apparently a woman was walking her dog Thursday morning when a man jumped out of the bushes and stabbed her. They have yet to find her killer.

Well after hearing that news, I was a bit paranoid, but extremely grateful not to be running alone. The rest of the run went well-we made a pit stop about Mile 15, refilled our water bottles and kept up with the necessary nutrition. We finished 20 miles in about 3:16. And I felt great-confident that I could have finished the last 6 miles without too much difficulty.

After getting back to our cars, T. brought out some cookies to celebrate my birthday! And they were delicious!

When I got home I was concerned about recovering in time for Sunday’s 12K Run. I have read about Ice Baths and it’s benefits, but have always been too chicken to try it….But I did it! I lasted about 10 minutes, with about 8 minutes of it screaming my head off! Well, in between sips of my declious, warm coffee of course.

Anyway, my legs felt great after that run, and I looked forward to celebrating that evening with a recovery drink of Margaritas! (I had to replenish my salt, right?!)

We have been having lots of rain and the river is unusually high this time of year. Sad but almost every week the news has been reporting about someone drowning, or near drowning, while attempting to canoe or raft the river. Anyway, we had a gorgeous 16 Miler this week. The sun came out towards the end, and it got warm pretty quickly. We had to do some “off roading” from the trail because the water covered some of the route.

The next day I looked down on my legs and they were all scratched up from the wild rose bushes we had to run through to detour from the trail. Small price to pay for such a beautiful run! Only 3 more long runs before M Day!

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I first signed up for this race 3 years ago, but my niece’s baptism happen to fall on the same day, and since I’m her godmother, I could not miss it! However, my best friend Miranda, who lives about 5 hours away, ran it anyway without me. I’m still in awe that she ran that trail by herself, especially since she only runs 3-5 miles max, a few times a week, yet decided to tackle the 25K that Sunday morning. I also must mention, since we only see each other a couple times a year, we spent the night before catching up,over a few cocktails, until 2 am. Oops…anyway, Miranda set her alarm and dragged herself to the race. I still argue that she “sweated out the alcohol,” but regardless, she survived that run. Tramautized still a year later, Miranda opted out of the race the next year, so I ran it with on my favorite running gals, Andrea. We had a great time, enjoyed the scenary, and finished the race in about 2:51.

I was happy to hear this year that Miranda had gotten over her PTSD and signed up for the race again, scheduled for Sunday April 22nd. It would give us an excuse to catch up, talk about our significant others, and just have fun! Currently I’m training for the CDA marathon and that weekend I was scheduled for 22 miles. I wanted to incorporate the trail run with my weekend long run. My first thought was to run 6 miles after the race, but then  I remembered how tired I was after the run last year. So instead I got up early and ran beforehand. I decided to base my long run off time, rather than focusing on mileage, and instead ran 50 minutes by myself ~5 miles.  After which, Miranda and I got ready for the trail run and headed to the race, picking up my friend Sarah along the way.

imageMe, Miranda, and Sarah, before the race

Here’s a description of the race: The River Run offers “staggered 5k, 10k, 25k, 25k “Fun Run Challenge”and 50k ultra length. All races are loop courses that start and finish at the old airstrip next to the Seven Mile Bridge at Riverside State Park. All four distances are primarily run on single-track trail with some wide paths at the beginning of the course, 100% dirt trail, some rocks, roots and possibly mud, but little to no asphalt. The 25K “Fun Run Challenge” follows the first 25K loop of the 50K race. This loop allows one the opportunity to experience a hilly technical trail certain to push one’s limits. Courses wind through thick pine forests and are set against basalt cliffs and ends with a tight twisty single-track next to the roaring Spokane River.”

One of the downside of the race is that it starts late-at 8:30 am and we were having unusually warm weather, starting in the high 60′s. In fact, the race director announced that it was the warmest race day temperature they have had since the start of the race 7 years ago!  Thankfully, Miranda and I decided to run with our water belts. We were surprised to see many without water belts and hoped they would stay hydrated. There are only about 4 water stations throughout the course, but many areas of the course are unshaded and we knew it was going to be a hot run!

We took off running, settling into a nice pace and chit-chatting along the course, already starting to feel the heat. Sarah left us close to mile 3 and we wished her a good race. We were able to run the hills for the first half, but towards the second half of the course, we would continue running, until about half way, then found ourselves having to walk it. It was eerily quiet as several of us walked, breathing heavily, almost zombie-like up the trails. Most of the race was single track, but what was difficult was the various conditions of the trails, some basalt rocks, large river rocks, and gravel sections increased the intensity of the course. Here’s the course profile, to get an idea.

ImageMy favorite part of the course is when you reach the highest elevation near mile 4 and there’s a breath-taking view of the river. We made sure to stop at every water station and refuel, refill water belts, and eat a few gummie bears (yum!). We even stopped for a photo op around mile 8-still smiling!

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I felt pretty good, until around Mile 12. That’s when things got mentally hard because  technically my legs were around mile 17 (since I ran the 5 beforehand) but I had to convince myself that it was only Mile 12 so I could finish the race. I was so proud of Miranda, despite not training, she did great and encouraged me along those last few miles. We hit a water station around Mile 11 and were told the next one was in two miles.  We refuelded but by near Mile 13 I was already out of water! But as we passed the Mile 13 marker, there was no water station to be seen. I was swearing under my breath, freaked out that I would have to run another 2.5 miles until the end without water! The temperatures were hitting in the high 70′s by this point, it was around 11 am, and my face was crusted with salty sweat! Like a mirage in the distance, we saw a water station around Mile 14.5! (BTW…who puts a water station a mile from the end????!!!) We literally bathed ourselves with water and unofficially voted them the BEST water station of the course-they had the coldest water by far! Plus we were desperate and probably a little bit delusional by then!

We finished our last mile strong and sprinted towards the finish line. In race tradition, we finished with a cheesy pose with us holding our hands together up in the air across the finish line, but sadly the photographer missed this awesome pose (super bummed about that!). So our final time? 3:00:36 (11:38 min/mile pace), 9 minutes slower than last ear.  Although I was hoping to beat last year’s time, I was still pretty happy with that time. It was a difficult course, an extremely warm day, plus I wasn’t running on “fresh legs,” so overall, I had a great long run, and even better, I was able to run with my best friend

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This weekend’s long run was our 18 Miler. I was nervous about it since last week’s run was so terrible. We were set to start at 6 a.m. I called Bethany a few days before and asked her if she would be willing to meet up with me around 7:30 am and run the 2nd 9 miles with me. I figured the other gals would want to run faster and I really needed some encouragement and support to get through this long run.

The first 9 miles went great-we maintained about a 9:20ish pace. It was a cool, crisp morning along the Centennial Trial, but the sunshine slowly began to warm us up. An hour and half flew by, and before I knew it, we were almost to our meet up point.

After quickly refueling, filling up my water bottles again, Bethany, Lori, and I began our 9 miles together. The other gals had already taken off and I could barely see them down the trail. It was a beautiful run. I kept waiting for muscle fatigue, cramping, anything similar from last week, but fortunately I felt strong. We talked and laughed, discussing our spouses, children, and relationships-it was great. Around Mile 15.5 I looked at my watch, and I was under 2:30 hours…I was pacing almost 15 minutes faster than last week! The gals pushed me through the last few miles and we made it, still smiling! Total time: 2:57 (9:50 min/mile)

After our run, I wanted to take a picture. Unfortunately, two of the gals had already taken off, so I was only able to get a picture of the 4 of us. Thanks for a great run, ladies!

*P.s. Wow, I am so short standing next to T.!!!

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