Daily Report

Thursday, February 26

Snack: boysenberry dried fruit bar from Trader Joe’s

Lunch: shrimp tacos with rice from Bajio Mexican Grill

Dinner: large curly fries from Arby’s

Dessert: junior mint cupcake and vanilla soy milk

Daily Report

Wednesday, February 25

Breakfast: harvest peach Yoplait Light

Lunch: Lean Cuisine Baked Chicken Florentine

Snack: 9 strips of dried mango

Dinner: Lean Cuisine chicken tuscan panini

Snack: 6 strips of dried mango

Exercise: 3.19 mile run at 10:06/mile pace (Saucony)

Daily Report

Tuesday, February 24

Snack: one Girl Scout Samoa cookie

Lunch: Lean Cuisine Asian-style pot stickers

Snack: one Girl Scout Dulce de Luce cookie

Pre-Run Fuel: mini coconut cream pie Larabar (This is the best Larabar I’ve tried so far.)

Dinner: chips and peach salsa from Trader Joe’s

Dessert: milk and four Girl Scout Thin Mints

Exercise: 5 miles (Saucony)

Daily Report

Monday, February 23

Breakfast: blueberry patch Yoplait Light

Lunch: 1/2 turkey cranberry sandwich, 1/2 key west tuna pasta salad, and chocolate chip cookie from Paradise Bakery

Dinner: 4 pieces of crazy bread and 2 slices of supreme pizza from Little Caesar’s, one mandarin orange (from the backyard… starting to get sweeter)

Exercise: 10 minutes stationary bike, 20 minutes elliptical, strength training (one rep)


10 mile run along the canal

One of the nice things about running is that it’s taken me all over the Valley to places I would normally never go. Like the White Tank Mountain Regional Park and Apache Junction. Today I drove about 25 minutes to run along the canal. I parked at Thunderbird Paseo Park and then after warming up and stretching I walked over to the canal. This was the first time I’d run along this particular area of the canal. I decided to try it because I wanted to do a 10 mile run and the canal is a good place to run without having to loop or repeat part of the trail like I would have at Reach 11. I was also a little worried that Reach 11 would be muddy because of recent rain.

I ran five miles south on the canal then turned around and did the five miles back. The route was a combination of dirt/gravel and blacktop. For the most part it was flat, but there were four areas where I had to dip down in order to cross underneath the road. Does that count as hillwork?

Around mile four or five I could feel my left foot on the verge of getting tingly and numb. But luckily I was able to shake it off and I didn’t have any problems. I was able to run the entire 10 miles, slowing down only slightly to have a drink of water or get my Sharkies out of my fuel belt. I also slowed down at the end to a 11/12 minute per mile pace because my legs were really tired. When I was done my legs were so stiff that I colud barely walk back to my car. I felt like I had run an entire 13.1 miles and not just 10. I’m glad I know I can make it the entire half marathon distance or else I’d be worried for the Princess. Three hours later, I’m starting to feel back to normal again. But I need to decide whether to do two or just one more run before leaving for WDW.

Daily Report

Sunday, February 22

Breakfast: Oui Oui breakfast sandwich, three donut holes, and a chocolate bismark from Rainbow Donuts Cafe

Workout Fuel: nine fruit splash Sharkies (I think it was nine, but there were still 4 Sharkies left in the package… so either I had eight or there were 13 Sharkies total)

Post-Run Drink: Shamrock Farms Rockin’ Refuel chocolate milk

Dinner: eight potstickers and egg noodles mixed with sesame oil and soy sauce

Exercise: 10 mile run (Saucony)

Race Report

2009 P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona – Part 2 – 1/2 Marathon

(Go To Part 1)

Race Day:
I got up around 6am and drank a couple cups of water while getting ready. We left the house around 6:45. Troy dropped me and his mom off near the start line area so we didn’t have to deal with parking or shuttles. It was cold at 7:30 in the morning, but I planned ahead and wore throwaway clothing. I bought a sweatshirt for $4.99+tax at Old Navy and a pair of pants from Goodwill for $3.99.

At the start line area, they were giving away water, coffee, Cytomax, and bananas. I don’t remember if they had any other food. I grabbed a bottle of water and ate the Clif Bar I brought with me. We walked a bit then got in line for the port-a-potties. The one I used had no hand sanitizer so I went and grabbed another bottle of water and dumped half of it over my hands. Then we started to make our way over to the corrals. I took a short jog to warm up. When we found the corrals, Tami left for hers while I found a place to stretch. At about 8:25 I took off my outer layer and just left the clothes lying on a short wall. Even though I never planned to keep them, it felt kind of strange to just leave the clothes there. By now I felt like making another trip to the port-a-potty but didn’t want to miss the start so I decided to just go to my corral. While I was stretching the number on my race bib fell off so I ended up just going to the corral I was originally assigned to.

The wave start went sooo slowly.  I saw a lady with a WDW 1/2 Marathon shirt for 2009, so I tried to strike up a conversation. She did the 1/2 last weekend and this weekend. Her husband actually did the Goofy at WDW and was doing the full marathon this weekend. I would have liked to chat more, but she was with friends and didn’t seem that interested. As we inched forward, we passed another set of port-a-potties and this time I hopped out of the corral and got in line. The line moved fast as everyone was in a hurry, but unfortunately there was no toilet paper left. I had actually brought some toilet paper with me that morning, but used it all the first time.

Lesson Learned #1: Make sure to keep a stash of toilet paper on hand as long as possible.

Of course there was no hand sanitizer either. I found my corral again. By sheer dumb luck as I was shuffling along I noticed a packet of wet wipes on the ground and picked it up. It was surprisingly clean and unopened so I was able to clean off my hands before starting the race.

Lesson Learned #2: Bring a few packets of wet wipes or travel-sized hand sanitizer.

It was about 9:00 by the time I officially crossed the start line. I took off at a steady pace, I’m guessing around 10:30. Right away I felt some type of ache in my left thigh. I hoped it would go away but it never did. For the first half of the race I feared that I’d set my left foot down wrong and my leg would just stop supporting my weight. Luckily I didn’t fall during this race, despite all the cracks and uneven pavement.

I skipped the first water station around mile 1 because it was way too early for me. Other than the ache, I was feeling good and the first few miles were uneventful. I guess I’ll throw in here that I really appreciated all the crowd support along the route. Even though they weren’t cheering specifically for me, it was great just to see people out there cheering. There were a lot fewer cheer squads and bands than I expected. The cheerleaders were very enthusiastic, although there was one group who was chanting something like F-O-P-E. and I just couldn’t figure out what they were trying to spell. I’m indifferent on the bands. They were a nice distraction but the music didn’t do anything to motivate me. With all the crowd support, I don’t think I would have missed the bands if they weren’t there.

The next water station was around mile 3.5. The way they had all the water stations set up was with tables lining both sides of the course. The first tables had Cytomax and the last tables had water. I didn’t realize this and thought they only had Cytomax so I grabbed a cup. Which was fine, because I just waited a little longer before having my first Luna moon. I still haven’t figured out how to drink out of a cup and jog without spilling, so I took a short walk break through each of the water stations. I think other than the first one, I hit every water station along the route.

Throughout the race, I was running with a decent-sized pack of people. I guess that’s what its like when there’s over 20,000 participants. The organizers did a good job with the water stations. It was a little tricky trying to maneuver, but could have been much worse. I think I did a good job running in a fairly straight line. It was impossible to avoid weaving around people completely, but the distance recorded on my Garmin was pretty darn close to 13.1.

Between about miles 3.5 and 5.5, I felt this odd tingly sensation in my left foot, like it’s fallen asleep. It’s happened before while I’m running so I wasn’t too worried, but I’m glad it didn’t last the whole rest of the race. One of these days I hope to figure out what causes it.

Somewhere around mile 5 or 6, I struck up conversations with a couple people. The first was an elderly man who was wearing a shirt stating that he had completed a marathon in all 50 states. He said that he did it between when he was 50 and 70. And he’s 79 now. I congratulated him on the achievement and said I hope to still be running when I reach that age. The second was a young women wearing a really cute skirt with two layers of ruffles at the bottom. I asked where she got it and she said it was by Nike. She thought it was a running skirt but was actually a tennis skirt. Unfortunately Nike skirts are expensive, while the shorts I wear are only $10 (on sale) at Old Navy. Otherwise, I’d look into getting one for the Princess races.

Lesson Learned #3: Clothing is a good conversation starter.

Lesson Learned #4: Tennis skirts are much cuter than running skirts. (Not fair!)

I saw quite a few people wearing fun attire for the race. I think before the race even started, I saw a couple guys wearing bumble bee costumes. Then during the race I saw someone in a cow costume. There was a kid around 12 or 14-years-old wearing a bright florescent green wig who got a lot of crowd reaction. A lot of people who came together were wearing matching shirts with their group name and/or information about the cause they were running for. Reading people’s shirts helped keep me occupied on the course. I guess that’s a plus for participating in such a large race. I also saw a couple girls wearing pink foam crowns over a white hat or visor. Now I’m starting to think again whether I want to do something like that for March.

For the race, I wore white shorts and the Road Runner tank top with the pocket in the back. The tank top is mainly gray with some white and pink details, so the white shorts were the only shorts I had that really coordinated well. I also wore the white shorts at the Expedition Everest Challenge and I almost never wear them regularly for exercise or training, so I’m thinking that maybe white shorts will be my race thing that I always do. At least for the big ones. The only problem is that with white shorts I worried a bit about spilling the Cytomax on me since it was pink. Anyway, inside the tank top pocket I carried my cell phone, two packets of Luna Moons, and chapstick. I only ate one packet of the Moons during the race and honestly don’t know if they helped or not.

Somewhere around mile 9 or 10 I passed a few kids out on the course with their hands out and gave them high fives. I have no idea who they were, but just felt like interacting with them since they were out on the course with their families supporting us runners. I also passed a guy wearing an Expedition Everest shirt and shouted out to him that I’d been at the race. I debated whether to mention that I won, but decided not to say anything because really it didn’t matter just then.

I think it was at this point (around mile 10) that I really started to get tired. I no longer noticed the ache in my left leg very much because the rest of me was hurting as well. My pace slowed, but I kept running except through the water stops. I’ve heard and read how the last part of the race is all mental, but never really comprehended what that meant until I was actually going through it. I forced myself to keep running slowly, although actually it wasn’t too difficult because by then it actually hurt more to walk then run.

There was a water stop somewhere after mile 11 when I stopped to get water, then pulled out my phone to call Troy. He was supposed to be waiting somewhere near the finish line between miles 12 and 13. Unfortunately I forgot that I had tucked some money into the same ziploc bag that I put my phone in. So when I grabbed my phone I  accidentally dropped the money. I debated just leaving it, but it was $20 so I backtracked a bit to grab it. I made some people mad because I was going backwards on the course, then stopped to bend down and grab it, getting in the way. I do feel bad about it, but it was $20 and I’m never going to see those people again so oh well.

Lesson Learned #5: It’s a good idea to stash money separate from anything else.

Anyway, I called Troy to tell him I was getting close, then focused on just continuing to run to the end. I was so tired at this point that I couldn’t think about anything else but finishing. We ran across a bridge from Phoenix to Tempe, which was a nice change from the previous scenery. I smiled and waved as I passed a photographer, but I guess he didn’t catch me waving because it wasn’t among the rest of my race photos. There were so many people lined up along the fences on the way to the finish line. I tried to look for Troy but it couldn’t find him. And somehow he missed me too! I was pretty disappointed by that.

Anyway, I crossed the finish line and was so happy to be done… sort of. There was still alot of walking ahead of me. I got my finisher medal then stood in line to have my photo taken. Somehow I missed where they were handing out the mylar blankets. Not that I really needed one because it was warm, but I would have kept it as a souvenir. I grabbed some water and a bottle of Cytomax. My left leg was really hurting so I wandered over to a medical tent. I kind of figured there wasn’t a lot they could do for me. I had just run 13.1 miles… of course I’d be hurting. But I did get the good advice to ingest some salt. The medical person put a packet of salt in my Cytomax. I didn’t taste it at all, but I do think it helped.

Before the race, I had considered trying to find Troy so we could both cheer for Tami. But the thought of fighting my way through the crowd to find him was just to much. So instead I went to the “B” marker in the family area where we had agreed to meet. I must have been there for at least half an hour and it was hot and sunny. I ended up with weird tan lines after the race.

Lesson Learned #6: Wear sunscreen.

I ate a little and tried to stretch as best I could. Eventually Troy and Tami showed up and I had to make one more long walk before getting in the car for my reward… bubble tea!

It was a great experience for my first half marathon. Although there were a few times, like water stops, when it was annoying to have such a large crowd of runners, for the most part I enjoyed being out there among all the people having a fun time and aiming for the same goal. I’m glad I chose a big race rather than a small one for my first. I’m very happy with my finish time of just under 2:24:00, especially given my inconsistent training. It was hard, but I’m so proud of myself. I think I can finally call myself a runner.

(View my race stats)

Daily Report

Saturday, February 21

Breakfast: Honey-Cured Ham & Brie Frittata with home fries and buttered toast w/ black cherry jam from Wildflower Bread Company

Pre-Run Fuel: mini Cocoa Mole Larabar

Post-Run Drink: Shamrock Farms Rockin’ Refuel chocolate milk

Snack: a handful of Trader Joe’s plantain chips

Dinner: Carl’s Jr. – guacamole bacon six dollar burger and fried zucchini

Dessert: junior mint cupcake and glass of milk

Exercise: 3.1 mile run (Asics) and .75 miles (Saucony)

Race Report

2009 P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona – Part 1 – Expo

I leave for WDW next Friday so I decided I have to finish my report today. Otherwise I know I’ll never get to it. So here goes…

Prior to this I’d done a number of 5ks, a 10k, and a 7 mile trail run, but this was my biggest race ever. Both in terms of distance and sheer number of participants. I’m used to attending races alone, so it was a nice to change to have someone to share the experience with. Troy’s mom Tami has been walking for a couple years and done at least a couple of half marathons already.

Tami and I went to the Expo on Saturday. It was at the Phoenix Convention Center. One of the things that bugged me was that the race materials kept advertising the Expo as free and open to the public, but we had to pay $12 for parking. Anyway… first we went to pick up our race packets. Then I went to get my corral number changed because when I registered I had estimated a 3 hour finish and I knew I could do better than that. I expected something a little more high tech, but changing my corral was as simple as getting a little green sticker with the number 16 put on my race bib. Then we went to get our t-shirts. We were both hoping for the really cute red tech shirt that we saw displayed on the way in. But it turned out that the participant shirts were cotton and the tech shirts were finisher shirts on sale for $44. There was a whole section devoted to (over-priced) official merchandise. Although we both admired the shirts, I only bought a pin and Tami bought a pair of socks. Since Disney does pins and now it looks like Elite Racing does too, I decided to start a collection of race pins.

The rest of the Expo was fun and reminded me of career fairs in college. We grabbed a lot of goodies and entered our names in a bunch of contests. I ended up with chapstick from three different boothes: Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Amica, and Orowheat. Shamrock Farms had some new protein-fortified milk that was good. They had three flavors at the Expo – chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla – but so far I’ve only been able to find chocolate in stores. I think it was on the Running to Disney podcast where I heard that chocolate milk is becoming a popular post-run drink. So I wonder if Shamrock Farms is just picking up on that trend. I also got to try a Clif Shot Gel and Clif Shot Blok, both of which I liked. For some reason apples were a popular fruit at the Expo. One booth was promoting a new variety of apple. I remember it was a cross between a gala and something else… I’ll have to keep an eye out for it in stores. I think I’ll know the name when I see it.

There was a whole row of boothes devoted to other Elite Racing events. I think for most, if not all, of the events they were offering a discount off the registration and a free cotton t-shirt. I ended up registering for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle 1/2 Marathon since I was already planning on doing it anyway. The discount was $10 and the t-shirt was pretty nice. It was dark blue and looked to be a fitted women’s size so I was pretty happy about that. They didn’t have my size that day and offered to send it by mail. Unfortunately when I received it a couple days ago it was a medium with a note saying that was the smallest size they had. It fits okay, but I would have preferred a small.

I saw a lot of cute running shirts with fun sayings, but nothing that really stood out to me as something I had to have. Plus there didn’t seem to be any really great deals on clothes or other running gear at the Expo. For now I’m still happy with all of my Road Runner Sports stuff. Tami and I did get some socks though. I’ve been having the hardest time finding the right socks for running. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Wrightsock for their unique double layer socks. At the booth, they were having a buy 3 get 1 free sale. Usually running socks come in threes, so this was a good opportunity to try a couple of different styles of Wrightsocks. We split the offer and I ended up getting two pairs of socks for $14 which is a decent price. I even wore one pair of the Wrightsocks the next day for the race. Even though I still got a couple blisters, the socks were comfortable. And most importantly, they were the right thickness for my shoes. Wrightsock does have a blister-free guarantee, but I’m happy with the socks and just plan to keep them.

One really neat vendor was Mile 22 Bags. Their concept is that you ship them your running memorabilia (bib numbers, shirts, etc.) and they use it to create a totally unique, customized bag or wallet for you. I think I’m going to order a bag because I don’t know what else to do with my shirt from the Expedition Everest Challenge. It’s too big to wear. Right now I’m thinking that it would be cool to have a bag made with Disney stuff. I just have to decide how long I’m going to wait… after the Disneyland 1/2? after the WDW full in January? I guess it depends how much memorabilia I collect.

The last aspect of the Expo to write about are the seminars. Throughout the day there were half hour seminars taking place on a variety of topics. We attended seminars with the founder of Women’s Running magazine, the sports doctor for Elite racing, and a panel discussion with a bunch of notable figures in the world of running. All of them were interesting, but I found them more motivational than educational. For the most part I didn’t really learn anything new except from the sports doctor. He seemed to have a different take on things compared with what I’ve heard elsewhere. For example, he said that getting a post-race massage is a bad idea because it spreads lactic acid around. But I know at Disney races they actually have a massage tent right at the finish line area. He was also a big proponent of salt as a nutrional aid to counter the effects of… over-hydrating? I can’t remember the name of the condition anymore.

Overall I really enjoyed the Expo. It was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I think we were there for about four hours in total. And then I spent another hour or so sorting through all the goodies (and junk) that I brought home.

(Go to Part 2)