Sub 3:00

I’m such a bad blogger. I have all these thoughts in my head but they never make it out of there onto the blog. My biggest hang up, I think, is trying to include too much detail. So I’m going to try and keep this short and sweet…

Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona 1/2 Marathon
Sunday, January 17
Official time – 2:51:32

Yay, I met my goal of walking a sub-three hour half marathon… and I even had time to spare!!! Compare that to my RnR Las Vegas time of 3:42:37… what a difference six weeks makes!

Overall the race went very well. Suprisingly the time actually passed quite quickly despite the boring course and lack of an iPod. On Monday I was really hurting in the area at the back of my knees. My arms also felt a bit sore (I swing my arms a lot when I speed walk.) But today I’m feeling pretty much back to normal. I even got a short 1.5 mile run in last night.

Eventually I’ll post a more detailed report (and photos!), but this’ll do it for now.

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5 out of 5

Woo hoo! I officially completed my fifth and last Rock ‘n’ Roll event of 2009. (And my 8th 1/2 marathon of 2009.) My time isn’t pretty – 3:42:37 – but hey, I did all 13.1 miles on my own two feet without cutting any corners along the way. I was 17,005 overall out of 17,827 finishers. I’m really glad that I made the decision to go to Las Vegas because it was a really fantastic experience. I still think the Disneyland Half was my favorite of the year, but RnR Las Vegas definitely comes in at a close second.

I’m going to do a longer race report, but for now I thought I’d mention a few things I noticed that were different than the previous Rock ‘n’ Roll events I’ve experienced.

1) The Expo was packed. There was actually a line to pick up race packets this time. Now, Chicago and San Jose were 1/2 marathons only so there were definitely less participants. But I don’t remember Arizona or Seattle being that crowded either. Also, the set up of the vendor booths at the Expo didn’t help matters. Usually there’s sort of a clear path where you go down one row and up the next so at least the crowd is sort of moving in the same direction. But it seemed like instead the booths were set up in a grid sort of checkerboard style (the best way I can think of to describe it) so traffic patterns were crazy with people cris-crossing everywhere.

2) There were lot less bands and cheerleaders than usual, although I didn’t really miss it because there was so much to see just walking along The Strip. Maybe all the entertainment was out on the marathon course.

3) I don’t know if you can tell from the photo below, but instead of having volunteers handing out GU it was all just piled up on tables. I actually liked this because I didn’t have to figure out which volunteer was holding the flavor I wanted. (It also made it easy to grab a couple extra GUs.) I took the photo on the way out, and I wondered if they’d run out by the time I made it back along The Strip to mile 9.2, but they had plenty left when I went by.

4) So this is the one thing that bugged me the most about the entire event. At the finish line, I was handed my medal like this.

What’s up with that? I just walked 13.1 miles. I don’t want to have to stop and rip the plastic off my medal. I want to put it on right away! I earned it! The rest of the finisher’s area was well laid out and easy to get through, although that might have been a result of me finishing so late rather than the race organization. Like with the GU, there was still plenty of heat sheets, water, and other refreshments left when I got there. Oh, but I did think it was a little weird that the oranges weren’t sliced or cut. Normally I don’t pay attention so maybe that’s how it always is, but lately I’ve been having a craving for oranges. Unfortunately the one I grabbed wasn’t so sweet.

Yay for Target

After taking yesterday off (not enough hours in the day to fit everything in!), I went for another semi-long walk today. 5.76 miles in 1:28:06 (15:18 pace). I was feeling really good for the first 5 miles. I did miles 1, 2, 3, and 5 in under a 15 min pace. (I think mile 4 must have been when I hit the big hill.) Then I got stuck at a stoplight. Ugh. When I started walking again I realized my legs had stiffened up and I ended up taking it much, much slower for the last little bit to get back home again.

Overall, I’m just happy that I’m able to get outside and be active again. Just a few weeks ago I was tired after walking 2 miles. But now it seems like my energy level is back to 100%. It sucked to be sick and in the hospital for so long. But in a way I think I almost needed that wake-up call to realize that hey, lupus really is a serious condition and I need to pay more attention to my health and nutrition and listen to my body and put myself first.

Anyway, on to a new topic… During my long walk on Sunday I was feeling some chafing from my Road Runner Sports sports bra. It’s very supportive, but not the most comfortable material. Now, this was a bit of a problem because I was planning to wear that bra for RNR Las Vegas this weekend. I do have other sports bras, but none of them are black and I have this thing about matching colors, especially for races. The other brand of sports bra that I like is Champion, so I made what was supposed to be a quick trip over to Target to see what they had in stock.

In addition to finding a great black sports bra, I also picked up a pair of black Champion workout pants that were on sale, and two pairs of black gloves for just $1. At that price, I can bring the gloves to keep warm before early morning races and then throw them away with no regrets. As for the pants, I was so excited because they’re the perfect length…

I don’t know if you can tell from my photos, but I’m short. Only 4’10”. I know I’m short and usually I’m okay with it (except for when I need to get something from the top shelf of the cupboard, haha). Being short is part of my personality… since I’m not tall enough to be intimidating, I’m silly and cute and personable instead. But the worst thing about being short is finding pants that are the right length. I recently bought workout pants at Road Runner Sports and REI, but they would have had to be hemmed. Now, both pairs are going to be returned and Target’s going to be my new go-to store. Why? Because they actually have pants that come in petite sizes! No hemming needed!

I tried out all three of my new purchases tonight during the walk. It was especially nice to have the gloves to keep my hands warm. But the next thing I need now is something to cover my ears. I guess that gives me something to shop for at the Expo on Saturday!

In one week…

I finally got back out to Reach 11 today for an 8 mile walk. It was nice and peaceful out on the trails, although I did see a handful of runners and bikers. For some reason all the bunny rabbits have disappeared though.

After my 10k walk on Friday, my front ankles were feeling  really irritated. I’m horrible at anatomy, but it’s the area that sort of makes a right angle where my foot meets my leg. I think it’s because there’s too much pressure pushing on my ankle there. It took me awhile to figure out the right combination of shoes and socks to walk in today. Luckily I have some old Features Light socks that are cut low enough to not hit the sensitive spot. (I can’t remember if I have the low cut or no show, but either way they fit well.) I also decided to try putting some foam under the tongue of my shoe to try and add some cushy padding. I did the first half of the walk with the foam and it was okay, but then for the second half I took out the foam and just tied my shoes kind of loosely and that worked even better.

So overall I did 8 miles in 2:03:28 which is a 15:26 pace. (Note that I did turn off my Garmin briefly and took a slight break at the turn-around point to adjust my shoes.) Other than the ankle issue, I felt really good. Which means that… I’m going to Vegas!

I still have the option to cancel my hotel room and get a credit for my flights on Southwest. But with how well my walks on Friday and today went, I’m finally 100% sure that I want to go. Even though today’s 8 miles is the longest walk I’m going to do, I know I can manage another 5.1 miles in 2 hours. (There’s a 4 hour course time limit.) The most important thing for me is going to be remembering not to push too hard. All I need to do is just finish… and then I’ll be a “Rock Star”!

“Green” Friday and the day after

Whew, I had a jam-packed day yesterday. I woke up early to take my mom to the airport. On the way home I stopped at Best Buy and Wal-Mart for some Black Friday deals. I wasn’t even really in the market for one, but I picked up a PS3 at Best Buy because they had a bundle for $299.99 that included Little Big Planet and the newest Ratchet and Clank… both games that I will definitely play. Plus I was planning on buying a DVD player sometime soon anyway, so the PS3 will serve double duty. I was a bit worried Best Buy would run out before I got there, but they must have had over 100 of the bundles available. At Wal-Mart I picked up Sims3 for $25 and a 4GB USB thumb drive for $8.

The Disney forum that I belong to organized a Virtual Turkey Trot 10k, complete with medal if you wanted to order one. (I decided to pass on the medal after spending so much $$$ already this weekend.) I wasn’t ready to do 10k on Thanksgiving, so I pushed my walk back to Friday instead. Originally I was planning to go to my favorite trails at Reach 11, but instead I decided to combine my walk with some errands so I wouldn’t have to drive my car out again. First I went to the post office to drop off a few letters, then I did a lap around the park next to Costco. I stopped my Garmin for a bit while I went into Costco to pick up some photo prints. Finally, I walked back home and did a lap around the neighborhood. I “measured” the distance almost perfectly and was about 1/2 a block from home when I hit 6.2 miles.

Overall time: 1:35:37
Pace: 15:25

Last night I went to see comedian ventriloquist Jeff Dunham perform at the US Airways Center. It was an amazing show, but I was so tired by the time it ended at 11pm. I went home and went right to bed.

Today was fairly busy as well. I went for a semi-leisurely bike ride this morning. It’s been ages since I rode my bike so it took a little getting used to again. About 3/5 of the way in I started to get really tired, but I think it was because there was an ever so slight uphill slant heading home. Once I got back to the flat road I felt a lot better. I’m really loving the weather here in Phoenix right now. It’s great to be doing outdoor activities in the sun. Although I do have to be very careful because sun is one of the worst enemies of lupus. At least it’s cool enough to wear long sleeves all the time and any exposed skin gets covered with lots of sunscreen.

I did more shopping today. Road Runner Sports – my favorite running store – was offering a 25% discount for VIP members. I bought two long-sleeved shirts, a rain jacket (might need it in Baltimore), a pair of long pants (that I’m hoping my mom can help me hem), a pair of Balega socks, another white cap, and some Penguin Sport-Wash (thanks to the recent review by Rio Runs) all for about $160. I may end up returning some of the clothing, but I figured I’d stock up first while everything was on sale.

Since I have a couple local readers, I have to mention my visit to Kohler Academy this afternoon. It’s a student-staffed salon and spa and I’ve always been happy with the service that I receive there. In the past I’d only gone to get my hair cut, but after being sick for so long I decided to treat myself to a spa facial (plus it was a November special for only $25). It was my first time getting a facial and it was fantastic. It was so relaxing and my skin felt amazing afterward. The special is being extended through next month so I think I’m going to have to go back again. I’d definitely recommend Kohler Academy as a great place for affordable salon and spa services. The only drawbacks are that the ambiance isn’t quite as nice as at a real spa and sometimes services can take a little longer than usual because the students are still learning.

I won’t bore you with the rest of my evening except to say that I can’t believe how long it took me to organize all the cables running through and behind my entertainment center. Now I just have to wait for the HDMI cable to arrive so I can start playing my new PS3!