Thursday, May 26, 2011

GU Giveaway Winner!

Last night, as I was struggling to get everything done before I finally rolled into bed at midnight, I thought about ways of picking today's GU Giveaway* winner. I almost talked myself into being okay with the selection method due to sheer lack of time, but knew I could come up with something better on a few hours of sleep.

First thing: I made a list of all the people who earned an entry. There were 54 entries between my blog, Twitter, and bonus entries.

Then it dawned on me. There are 52 cards in a standard deck of cards, plus two jokers. So, I'd just assign you all a suit and pick a card, right?

Sure, but it's not very fun if I do it.

List of entries + corresponding card
Deck of cards (a.k.a., you guys)
Shuffled cards
Unsuspecting coworker thinks she's just picking a card -- little does she know she's actually changing someone's life. :)
Coworker shuffles the cards and splits the deck in half, and then has me pick a pile.
Coworker again splits the cards into two more miles and has me pick a pile.
Coworker splits into three piles (two cards each) and has me pick a pile.
Coworker then plays eeny-meeny-miney-moe. (She came up with all this nonsense, not me. I just wanted her to pick a card.)

Congrats to my fellow Bay Area runner, Sesa!! :) Please shoot your mailing address to diaryofanaveragerunner [at] gmail [dot] com, and I will get this in the mail for you right away. Enjoy!

*I was given these GU samples free of charge and was allowed to do whatever I wanted with them.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Punk Rock Racing Donut Run (Part Deux!)

Not too long after our first Punk Rock Racing Donut Run, we immediately started salivating over a plan for a follow-up run, where hopefully even more people could make it.

Surprisingly, judgment day didn't happen and no one got taken away... so the Punk Rock Racing Donut Run Part Deux was on!

On Sunday morning we met at the Ferry Building and ran along the Embarcadero to Crissy Field, toward the Golden Gate Bridge and back. Everyone was able to pick their own pace and their own distance, with the ultimate goal of meeting back at the Ferry Building for early-morning desserts and great company.

(Many thanks to my friends who let me steal their pictures, because, again, not only am I too lazy to carry a camera, I'm now officially too lazy to pull out my camera phone.)

Crissy Field
Fort Mason and the Golden Gate Bridge
I kept up with the triathlon boys!!! (For a little while, anyway.) Aron's husband Chris, Ron, & lil old me.What a beaut.
I ended up running 14 miles with the intention of trying to hold a 8:45 min/mile pace. I sort of forgot about the fact that last half of the run is mainly downhill, which led to a killer negative split! I finished the first 7 miles in 1:02, and once I saw that I could make it back to the Ferry Building in under 2 hours, I picked up the last mile, finishing the last 7 in 57 minutes. I'm happy with how my run went, and we could not have had a more beautiful morning.

14 miles (1:59:20, 8:31 average pace): 8:42, 8:20, 8:35, 8:33, 8:52, 9:07, 8:30, 8:34, 8:09, 8:11, 8:26, 8:39, 8:25, 8:01

Me, Aron, Karin, Naomi, Ron, Layla, Sandra, Steve, Alisyn, and Amy back at the Ferry Building.

My original California running buddy, Ron, set an unofficial half marathon PR at the Donut Run! As if this guy hasn't accomplished enough in his lifetime -- let alone this year already -- expect to see even more great things coming from him! :)
Me, Ron, & Layla in what could be the best picture ever.
Alisyn & me reunited.
FINALLY got to meet the amazing Naomi in person!!
Naomi brought the cutest chocolate & red velvet cupcakes ever. (From Sibby's Cupcakery)
The stars that began it all: Pebbles Donuts! Vegan, organic, local, and totally delicious. :D
I can't wait for more and more Punk Rock Racing Donut Runs! Thanks again, Ron, for organizing the mass choas once again. :)

While we are on the topic of sugary treats, don't forget to enter my GU Giveaway! Contest ends this Thursday!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sunset Running & GU Giveaway!

Remember my running buddy from Bay to Breakers, Katie?
She invited me to participate in a 5-mile sunset run benefiting Japan's tsunami/earthquake relief this evening. And, in true Katie fashion, she can't "just" do 5 miles. She invited me to run 5 miles before the gathering, then met up with Fleet Feet Sports for their 5-mile sunset run. It was very cool knowing our donation to run was going straight to Japan's efforts. We even got a sweet tech shirt and some snacks afterward. Holla!

Cutest shirt ever!
Running along Crissy Field to Hopper's Hands was glorious this evening but it was SO WINDY heading out! At least we knew we'd have some killer negative splits heading back. :) Katie always pushes my running limits quite a bit more than I can on my own, which is nice. Running with her is great for a million billion reasons, but this is one of the best!

10-mile splits (1:22:20, an 8:14 pace): 8:30, 8:12, 8:05, 7:59, 8:03, 8:41, 8:21, 8:11, 8:09, 8:04

Little paper boats out on the water.
Hopper's Hands (and dog prints)
Good-deeders running at sunset.
One thing is for sure, though: I'm not used to mid-week longer-ish runs! Not to fear; I have plenty keeping me energized these days.


On Monday, my rockin' new sponsor GU came out with a brand new Roctane flavor, Chocolate Raspberry. It's like eating Valentine's Day candy-flavored energy on the run -- but without the mess, sticky fingers, or Hallmark-holiday lameness. Or hurt feelings when you don't even get any of that. Reviews claim that this is the best Roctane flavor yet.

My friends over at GU were kind enough to send me a metric ton of GU samples with which I may do whatever I want (Really? Who actually does that?!). I figured I'll stop being greedy and throw some of this goodness your way!

I smell a giveaway!
I've put together a nice little package of GU Brew tablets, Peach Tea Chomps, Jet Blackberry 2x caffiene GU, and a handful of the brand spankin' new Chocolate Raspberry Roctane. The only thing missing on the package? YOUR NAME!

Want a chance at winning it?

Okay then!

A few ways to enter... please leave a separate comment for each.
1. Follow my blog, and let me know that you do. (1 entry)
2. Link/Announce this giveaway on your blog, and let me know that you did. (1 entry)
3. Follow me on Twitter (@diaryavgrunner), and let me know that you do. (1 entry)
4. Tweet about this giveaway -- feel free to be creative; just include my blog and my Twitter handle. Something along the lines of "Check out for @diaryavgrunner's @GUEnergyLabs giveaway!" will work fine. (1 entry)
For fun, let me know how you fuel your activities! (1 entry)

I'll pick a winner next Thursday, May 26th. Good luck!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Race Recap: My First -- and Last -- Bay to Breakers 12k

Today was the 100th running of Bay to Breakers. To call it a freak show would be an understatement.

I have nothing more to say about this race than that.

(Who am I fooling, I always have lots to write about.)

The expo was pretty lame, EXCEPT WHEN I GOT TO MEET THIS GUY.

The Ultramarathon Man himself, fresh from running across the United States
in 75 straight days, Mr. Dean Karnazes

I went to the expo on Friday to pick up my bib and shirt, and even made a special trip back on Saturday JUST to get this guy's John Hancock. Nothing else. Done. Boom. Out of there.

Riding on the tails of meeting Dean, Katie came over early, early, early on Sunday morning where we ran from my house to our starting corral downtown (5 miles with the California Street hill as a warm-up!). Transportation to the race was a logistical NIGHTMARE, and we figured this was the safest and best way to get to our corral on time.

And in one piece.

(Plus, who can't stand to use the extra mileage when you've got another marathon coming up in 11 weeks?)

Then we stood around in the morning chill, where Katie got hit in the jugular with a tortilla. There were lots of naked people, the port-o-potties made me want to vomit, and we were ready to get this over with before it even began.

Katie reenacting the accident (incidentally by the Alcatraz swim team)
A really disgusting naked man walked by as Katie tried to take this picture
Looking ahead at Corral A & the sub-seeded runners
Looking behind to the rest of the corrals
Katie and me before the madness
Crossing the starting line
Smurf cheer squad
Just a handful of the many, many nakeds. The arm warmers confuse me.
This was supposed to be looking up at the Hayes Street hill. Of course, pictures of hills never turn out.
50,000 people were officially registered for this race, but it was estimated that more than 100,000+ showed up. I had one goal in mind: Make it to the finish in time to get that once-in-a-lifetime piece of centennial bling.

That we did.
Bling bling!
5-mile warm-up (43:27): 8:12, 8:24, 8:33, 9:08 (California Street Hill), 9:07 -- 8:41 average pace
Bay to Breakers 12k (1:02:04): 8:19, 8:22, 8:35 (Hayes Street Hill), 8:20, 8:15, 8:12, 8:07, 3:55 -- 8:14 average pace
1.03-mile cool-down back home/to Starbucks: 9:32 (would not recommend running with a biodegradable swag bag)

Total mileage: 13.56 miles
Total time: 1:55:03
Average pace: 8:29 min/mile

Bay to Breakers stats:
Official Time: 1:02:04
Average Pace: 8:20 min/mile (7.3 mph)
Overall Place: 2,199 out of 43,403
Gender Place: 380 out of 23,855
Age/Gender Place: 107 out of 4,713
Air Temp: 51F

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Guest Post: Christine Speaks!

A couple months ago I gave away an entry to the Nashville Rock 'n' Roll Country Music Marathon. Christine from c*tine speaks was the lucky winner! My only stipulation for her was that she give me a full recap of her race; surely someone who's learning that they are running a marathon with just a month to prepare will have a good story, right?

Luckily, Christine was prepared for the marathon. Earlier today she shared with me her story, and she also gave me permission to post her moving marathon for you to read, too. Without further ado, here is Christine's Nashville Rock 'n' Roll Country Music Marathon experience.

there are some experiences in life that can never be fully explained - no words can describe, no picture can capture. they can only be cherished - kept, carefully weighed, compared and added to what we already know to be true about ourselves and others.

my country music marathon was one of these experiences. that being said, i will simply do my best to convey the events as they unfolded.

it was to be my second marathon. my first, huntsville in december of 2009, didn’t go quite as well as i had hoped. i went into with an ambitious goal of 3:30. a boston qualifying time of 3:40 was my plan b. i should have been thrilled with my actual finish of 3:49. and i would have been if i hadn’t felt awful from almost the very beginning. i didn’t hit a wall ... the whole race was my wall. and then i threw up at the end. i came away from the experience with a very bad taste in my mouth, and it took me over a year to even entertain the thought of doing another.

when i finally did, i knew that i would have to run my own race (not try to stay with anyone else as i had before), with lots of support, and on a familiar course. enter the country music marathon.

after battling illness and injury at the beginning of my training, things went very well. (besides, it was those things that kept me from registering sooner, allowing me to win a free entry, so i consider them a blessing in disguise.) i was in a much better place physically and emotionally, and felt stronger than i had in a long time. i established a good routine with my long runs, and felt great during and after them. everything seemed to be lining up, and i was cautiously optimistic about a positive outcome.

my parents came in town for the race and they, along with some of my closest friends, made up my amazing cheer squad. we had mapped out several spots for them to watch along the way, and my best friend (and running partner) planned to jump in with me at mile 20 and do several miles, then finish together. i was ridiculously nervous in the days leading up to the race, but by that morning had settled in my heart to just make the most of the experience.

things started out great. i caught a glimpse of my cheer squad at mile 2 and their exuberant faces carried me for the next 8 miles. the twin boys that i used to nanny and their parents were stationed at mile 10. i paused long enough to kiss their little knees in the stroller then was on my way again. my cheer squad was next stationed at mile 11 where i stopped to refill my bottle with gatorade. at that point, i was on target for a 3:40 finish. but after leaving them, i made the decision to drop my pace.

i was beginning to struggle, and when i couldn’t stomach my energy bar just before mile 10, i knew that things were not going to turn out well. i had tried for as long as possible not to entertain that thought, but it was only a matter of time before the mental could no longer overcome the physical. i was okay with not hitting my goal if i could stay strong for the rest of the race. if only ...

the next 6 miles were some of the course’s hardest ... a long & lonely, hot & hilly out and back through metro center. i passed my oldest nashville running friend - and marathon veteran - around the farmer’s market and wonder now what would have happened if i had tried to stay with her. instead, i have almost no recollection of making my way back into the city and meeting up with my cheer squad at mile 17. they could see that i was not doing well. my eyes were the strangest color, they would later tell me. it was like i was there, but i wasn’t, or like i was underwater, which is weird because my ears were actually clogged. in that moment my best friend decided to go with me then. initially, she was just going to go a little ways before circling back to meet me at our next checkpoint. but it didn’t take long for her to determine that staying with me for the long haul was what i needed.

we slowly jogged away from the group, across the woodland street bridge and into east nashville. i’m not sure at what point i had to start walking, but would say i was only able to run fewer than 3 of the final 9 miles. my cheer squad popped up again around mile 20, and i was able to give them a smile and sign “i love you.” but it wasn’t long after that when i told my friend that i may or may not throw up. i also realized that i was no longer sweating and knew that was not a good sign. my responses to her came in short bursts - “wait ... walk ... no ... stay with me.” she carried my bottle for me, poured water down my back, and held my hand as i struggled up a hill in shelby park.

if not for her, i’m honestly not sure i would have been able to make it through those last long miles. then, as we crested the hill right before mile 26, i knew i was either going to pass out or throw up. fortunately it was the latter. and inexplicably, it seemed that every ounce of fluid and gel i had taken in over the last 4 1/2 hours came back up. no wonder my body was shutting down. the best part was, after i finished, we turned around to see a girl carrying a sign that said, “puke and rally.” and that i did.

i eased into it, but found i had the strength to run again. we picked up speed as we made our way down the hill toward the finish line. i laughed when the song that would be the last of the race came on my ipod - one of my best friend’s group ‘undue favor’, called “life amazing.” i could not have picked a better note on which to end. my dad - jeans, polo shirt, recent back surgery, and all - jumped in with us.

unfortunately, he was also what clued a race official into the fact that they were not registered runners and stopped them from finishing with me, which has never been an issue in the past. i was so disappointed, but knew that i could not let it hold me back. the rest of my squad had managed to attain perfect positioning at the finish, and a huge smile spread across my face as i crossed the line to their resounding cheers.

4:38 was my final time. it was disappointing that i had missed my goal by so much, but in that moment, just like they say about labor, all the bad parts disappeared and only the incomparable joy remained. i wish i had thrown up sooner so maybe i could have finished stronger. but i know beyond the shadow of a doubt that i absolutely gave my all that day. and i wouldn’t trade what i shared with my best friend for anything. my first goal for the day was a 3:40 finish. my second was not to throw up at the end like i had after my first race. but my ultimate goal was for it to be an enjoyable experience. and that it was. two out of three ain’t bad.

in jest, a friend asked if i had won. “i overcame,” was my response. pushing through the pain was ultimately a greater accomplishment than meeting my goal time. and it is an experience i will keep in my heart and think about often.

Congratulations, Christine! I cannot imagine a better winner for this race than you -- it definitely did not sound easy, but you took away many lasting memories. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that this is one of the greatest joys in running.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Rest of Big Sur

I can hear you all pondering what else happened during the weekend of Big Sur.

Here you go.

I got the nicest piece of mail from my bestestest running friend, Rad, who was also running her third marathon on May 1. Running twins, basically.

After not eating candy the whole week of the race, it was only a matter of time before those two pieces of sugary goodness accidentally fell into my mouth.
A short road trip down to Monterey with RoadBunner, were we met up with the other ladies to devour pizza and pasta (and for Tara and me, a.k.a. "the smart ones"), beer.

Cheese-less Japanese eggplant pizza & Blue Moon apparently does the body good.
We crashed out way too early to catch some pimp buses down to the start line of the marathon.

Jessica, Aron, Kristen, & RoadBunner
Tara & PageMe & Susan (Susan, in town from NYC, finished 4th female at Big Sur! I was lucky enough to run with her again while she was vacationing in San Francisco after the marathon. Check out her post on our Golden Gate Bridge adventure here.)
We huddled outside in the cold, waiting for the race to start.Until we learned that people were waiting inside a warm & cozy Safeway.
So we set up shop & did the same.Last-minute carb loading, nyuk nyuk nyuk.
We all ran awesome races!
And then went out for celebratory beers at Cannery Row.
And had some celebratory pretzels with our celebratory beers.And had some celebratory veggie burgers with our celebratory beer & pretzels.
And then some psycho birds ate our leftovers......while we were trying to take this photo at Cannery Row.Even though we were all exhausted after the race & wanted to go to sleep...
... we were hooked on TV.
The next morning we were still hungry. We ate like queens at the Old Monterey Cafe.A scenic roadtrip home with RoadBunner & Susan.
We decided that massage chairs & pedicures would be nice after that marathon.AHH, sweet relief.

The end.

Next up: The 100th running of Bay to Breakers, where I'm still deciding if I want to run in a costume... :)