Monday, August 31, 2015

Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon (or) How Much Fun is that Other Portland?

Portland, Maine
Half Marathon State #40
Start Time: 7am
Temperature: 70 degrees
Bib: 1999
Overall: 1887/2947
Division Place (Filly): 7/37
Age Group place: 73/133
Finish Time: 2:19:03

Post race with 2 of my 3 buddies.
Once again, I am writing my race report many weeks post race.  I made some notes right after we got home in July.  Here is my advice on the best way "to do" this race weekend.

1.  Fly into Boston (since there is a direct flight from Portland, Oregon).  Rent a car, eat dinner in New Hampshire and sleep in Maine.  Visiting three states in a few hours still blows my west coast mind.

2.  The host hotels were much more expensive than the AirBnB we found.  It was a third floor walk up on Quebec St., up the hill (one mile) from downtown and the race start/finish.  We had two bedrooms, a kitchen and just enough amenities for the limited time we stayed at the place.  If you rent it, I hope the AC works a bit better, and the first floor pot smoker takes a break from his 24 hour, 3 day high.  We never met him, but the smell was constant.

3.  Don't just fly in and out for the race.  Make this weekend a long one.  Portland, Maine is an amazing city.

Shop at a store named after you!
Take a Lucky Catch lobster cruise.  Be a bit sad that it is an educational cruise and you can't keep the lobster you pull up.
Buy fresh lobster from the boat captain anyway.  Have the Portland Lobster Company cook it up for you next door.
4.  Eat lobster every day.  

5.  The race expo was uneventful.  A lobster feed was offered for an additional charge, but we chose to eat lobster at restaurants.  All I got at the expo was my bib #.  Some of the other girls bought the race shirt, which was $12 extra.  I chose to save my money for more lobster.

6.  The course was much hillier than I expected.

Yes, I see the elevation, the two hills were actually 3 or 4.

It was gorgeous, and hot and there was barely any shade.  My iPod only played the music to songs, no lyrics.  So weird.  I almost tossed the darn thing into the Atlantic Ocean.  I was glad I didn't, since I figured out it was the headphones, not the iPod that would eventually get tossed.  This fact was not discerned until the flight home.
7.  The finish is along the coast, right into downtown.  I struggled for most of the miles.  But, as I ran by the paramedics that were dealing with a guy who had heat exhaustion at mile 12, I once again realized my goal is to start and finish a race in each state.  Finish time really doesn't matter.

However, my new found love for yoga, almost had me jumping over the fence in the last mile to join these ladies.  
8.  The after party was a lot of fun.  Really crowded, with free beer, ice cream and other snacks.  I ran with my ID to show the beer garden volunteer.  The day before, at the expo, the guy handing out wristbands said you had to wear it on your right hand.  Period.  As a left handed runner, I felt that was discrimination.  I wear my Garmin on my right hand and knew the over 21 wristband would get in the way during the race.

Ironically, the post race beer garden gestapo didn't even want to see my ID.  He grabbed my race bib, flipped it over, and used my age off of it to let me in.  Weird.

Shipyard beer, get it?  The medal is a ship also.  Very cool.
9.  Post race we showered and went back out for more lobster.  And we ended up at The Holy Donut, one of the 10 best donut shops in the U.S.
Here's all 4 of us, since E was so fast she was showering by the time the rest of us finished.  That's Sonya, me, Elizabeth and Zenaida.  We simply had a blast.  Round up 3 of your friends right now and plan a trip to Maine.
10.  You may remember that there are no Dunkin Donuts in Oregon.  On our way back to Boston, I wanted to stop at one.  However, the line was too long and across the parking lot was Tim Hortons!  Could this state be any better with the selection of donut shops?

11.  Don't forget to plan to stop at the Lululemon Outlet in Kittery, Maine!  

Next up, state #41, Maryland, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half in October!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

10 Reasons to Run the Boston Run to Remember Half Marathon

Boston, Massachusetts
Half Marathon State #39
Start Time: 7am
Temperature: 70 degrees
Bib: 7319
Overall:  4426/6688
Division Place: 412/763
Gender Place: N/A
Finish Time: 2:12:38

At the expo, with Sam and Dunkin Donuts coffee.
The Boston Run to Remember takes place over Memorial Day Weekend every year.  Since I dilly dallied on my race report, you get a Top 10, over a month post race.

1.  Stay at the Seaport Hotel.  The start and finish lines run through it.  Literally, the finish chute is shuttled through the World Trade Center across the street, up over a bridge and back into the Seaport Hotel.  

2.  The race honors fallen police officers.  There are cops everywhere.  Around mile 8, numerous police cars were lined up and the officers were high fiving runners for a block.  Very cool.

3.  Meet Fancy Nancy at the expo.  She has been one of my imaginary friend bloggers for years.  When I ran in Rhode Island, she was very encouraging on Facebook.  She worked the expo for Zooma, but didn't run the race in Boston.

The Jolly Green Giant and cute, petite, Fancy Nancy.
4.  Run by MIT, almost to Harvard and across from Boston College.

5. Also run through downtown Boston, over bridges and along the Charles River.

Step off the course at mile 4, turn around and capture this view in Cambridge.
6. The evening before the race, climb the almost 300 steps up the Bunker Hill Monument.  Regret it during the race, as your quads are killing you.  Post race, clean up, then walk The Freedom Trail. Pay the extra $$ to tour Paul Revere's home.  Tour the cemetery where Paul Revere is buried.  Note how this town is all about Paul Revere.


7.  Tour the Old North Church and accidentally stumble upon a "real tour" where the guide requests a docent to give a presentation.  Learn, for the first time, the history behind "one if by land, two if by sea".  I blame my west coast education for the oversight.

8.  VISIT THE TEA PARTY MUSEUM!!  I can't stress what a gem this place is.  Worth every penny of the admission fee.  The live actors, the video presentations, the act of tossing the tea over the boat were all well done and so much fun.

Tea bags.  Or tea crates with rope to pull back into the boat to toss again.
9.  Visit The Barking Crab for lobstah rolls, or crab.

...or a cute photo with your teenager.
10.  Travel with your mom and daughter.  Make memories.  Stress out the teenager since the trip is two weeks before graduation.  Learn how easy it can be to travel with three generations, and how challenging it can be at times.  Watch your mom at a race expo for the first time gathering all the freebies she can find.

Makin' memories.
10a. On your way home, take a water taxi from the hotel to the airport.

11.  Oh yeah, the race.  Great medal, but a white cotton shirt.  It's okay, run it anyway.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Mainly Marathons - Independence Series - New York Half Marathon Recap

New Paltz, New York
Half Marathon State #38
Start Time: 6am
Temperature: 45 degrees
Bib: 516
Overall:  4/34
Division Place: N/A
Gender Place: 2/24
Finish Time: 2:10:09

All done.
The motel options in New Paltz were limited.  I decided to try AirBnB for the first time.  We had the best luck, staying 15 minutes from the Ulster County Fairgrounds where the race was held.  If you need a quiet place to stay in New Paltz, I can't recommend Joyce and her house enough.

Or day 2, depending on your point of view.
This was day 5 of the Mainly Marathons Independence Series.

We had matchy blue shirts on, but alas no photo of them.
For me, it was day 2 (with one day off in between) of half marathons.  You can read my day 1 (Pennsylvania) report HERE.  For Erika, it was day 2 of two in a row full marathons.  This is the only day we ran together, so photos of me running are non existent.  But I did catch her, after I finished, went back to the room and showered, and came back to the course.

The course was a twisty, deliciously flat out and back smack dab in the middle of the fairgrounds.  10 out and backs = half marathon, 20 out and backs = full marathon.

First turn, right after the start/snack table. 
First loop.
My favorite part of the course was the in and out of the cattle barn.  I would have preferred if the cone was not in the dust, because I kept getting stuff in my eyes.  Since it was part of the out, then the back, lots of runners entered and exited often during the beginning hours of the race.  One of the volunteers tried desperately to get us all into a pattern where we wouldn't interfere with each other, but it was congested each time I went into it (20 times for the half marathon).

Erika running away from me in the cattle barn.
I did snap the picture above after I had finished.  I don't think Erika appreciated my sense of humor, as I sat on a chair, in street clothes, post shower, full of Dunkin Donuts as she finished her last few laps and trips in and out of the barn.

I really like the medal from this series.  I was glad to be done as the temps started to rise.

Honestly, best bling.
As I grabbed my stuff and car keys, I noticed a Dunkin Donuts cup on a picnic table.  I had roughly 3 hours to kill before Erika would be done, so I found the local Dunkin.  We don't have Dunkin Donuts in Oregon, so it's such a treat for me when I travel.

Even bought some K cups to carry home.  Decaf, because I am a delicate flower.
I returned to the fairgrounds in time to watch Erika finish her 2nd marathon in two days.

Snack table before her last lap.
The skirts we wore were appropriately called, Gotham (from Skirt Sports).  Well, we weren't in New York City, New Paltz is close enough, right?

The great part about the Mainly Marathons races is no one cares who wins.  There is even a prize for the last place finisher.  Other runners are encouraging, but everyone who is out there is doing some different amazing thing.  5 marathons in 5 days?  Lots of people did them all.  50 halfs in 50 States? Sure, what state is this for you?  

But, the neatest thing was to see two other Marathon Maniacs and how excited they were for Erika as she finished two fulls in two days, to qualify for their club.  They even had a sign for her to hold up in celebration (and maybe shots of Fireball that she opted not to partake in).

Post race, we had a 6 hour drive back to Washington, DC.  I spent the night at Erika's house, then boarded a plane at 6am for NYC, then a second flight to Portland.  East coast trips are tough, I hate the time change, but am thrilled to be places I have never been to before.

Next up?  State #39, Massachusetts and the Boston Run to Remember on 5/24/15.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mainly Marathons - Independence Series - Pennsylvania Half Marathon Recap

Birdsboro, PA
Half Marathon State #37
Start Time: 6am
Temperature: 45 degrees
Bib: 516
Overall:  6/42
Division Place: N/A
Gender Place: 3/30
Finish Time: 2:17:01

Note: the time on the clock is nowhere near my finish time.
I joined Mainly Marathons' Independence Series day 3 for my Pennsylvania half.  Erika and I drove up from Arlington to the Daniel Boone Homestead in Birdsboro for the race.  Luckily, I found a nonstop flight from Portland to Washington, DC.

All photos courtesy of Erika, so I don't know any of the history of the buildings.
The homestead was a bit hilly, with gravel that I hated.  No gravel photos.
As with most Mainly Marathons events, the half was a series of out and backs.  Down the hill, past the cabin, over the bridge, past the sheep, up the hill onto the gravel road, out to the cone, turn around and go back.  

Best aid station treats.  The olives, oh the olives!
After the first out and back, grab a rubber band, some water and a snack.  Head out and do it over and over again until you have 7 rubber bands on your wrist.  Look at the clock (see photo above) and wish you were done at 1:59:10, and sadly go out for the final time.  8 out and backs = half marathon. 16 out and backs = full marathon (crazy, crazy people).

This course was one of the hilliest (according to others who did all 5 in the series).  I didn't like the uneven surface of the gravel and iced my shin splints post race.  I had hoped to finish around 2:10, but the hills and uneven surfaces were a real challenge.

Finished!  Background is Norm's food trailer where he was making quesadillas.
The camaraderie and friendliness of all the competitors at the Mainly Marathons events can't be beat. Post race, we cleaned up and drove to day 4 in New Jersey, where Erika ran the first of two full marathons back to back.  We attended the group dinner and had a great time meeting runners from all over the country.

My favorite part of this race is the medal.  I just love a race that has the state as part of the swag.

The framed tile was purchased for an additional $15 (Erika and I bought the last two!)
I didn't run in New Jersey on Saturday (since I already had completed the Seaside Half in 2012). Instead, I slept in and sat on a bench at the Spruce Run Recreation Area, waiting for Erika to finish.

New Jersey is lovely in May.
I'm not sure which state I enjoyed more, running in PA or spectating in NJ.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Finally Race Week!

How PA and NY look on my magnetic collector's map...
It's finally here!  The week I have been training for and not blogging about.  The week MCM Mama will complete two full marathons in two days.  The week I will complete two halfs in three days.  The week that she and I will get to wear our matchy blue shirts, AGAIN.

There we are in Madison, WI, at the state capital (state #35, August 2014)
And here, in TN with Trisha and Sonya (state #32, April 2014)
Yes, we have another matchy skirt to go with the shirt.

Skirts Sports Gotham Lotta Breeze Capris for me.  I bet Erika will be in the Happy Girl version.
The races are a part of Mainly Marathons Independence Series.  Many runners will be tackling 5 states in 5 days, starting with Maryland on Wednesday.  We won't be catching up with the Series until Friday, when I defeat Pennsylvania at the Daniel Boone Homestead in Birdsboro.

Tragically, for me and my west coast ways, the races DO NOT start at 7am local time.  They all start at 6 am, which translates to 3am for me.  That first race will be brutal.  No wonder I've put off racing in most of the east coast states.

Here are the magnetics for PA and NY.  They've been floating around on my magnetic map, somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, just waiting to be raced so they can be placed properly on the map.  States #37 and #38.  Let's do this.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Happy Birthday RoadRunner Portland Run

I ran my first "long run Saturday" this past weekend.  You know you're starting over when 6 miles is long, and feels long.

All bundled up (and soaking wet) post run.
Last Saturday, RoadRunner Sports in downtown Portland was celebrating it's one year anniversary with a 3 mile fun run.  A few of us carpooled over early, to turn it into 6 miles, but get back in time to celebrate with raffle tickets, waffles, bagels and coffee.

After checking the weather, and noting no rain until lunchtime, I promptly got in my car and left my phone at home.  I did remember to charge my Garmin (and wear it), but did not pack a towel, brimmed hat, change of shoes or change of clothes.  The rain started coming down as we parked at RR, and didn't stop.  We ran down to the Willamette River, over the Hawthorne Bridge, back over the Steel Bridge and "home" to RR on 23rd Avenue.  I was wiping water out of my eyes for the last 3 miles.  I wrung out my running jacket, water dripping everywhere as we changed into the clothes we did bring.

All I had (pictured above) is a warm jacket and my Bondiband ponytail hat.  Luckily, a rep from Ragnar was handing out Ragnar t-shirts (and chapstick), so I scored a Ragnar shirt and wore it under my warm jacket on top of my wet running bra.  Only a partial fail, I guess.

Plan for this Week
Monday: 4 miles
Tuesday: weights/yoga
Wednesday: 4 miles
Thursday: Rest
Friday: weights/yoga
Saturday: 5 miles
Sunday: weights (and maybe a 4 mile walk)

I'm back at planning my workout weeks.  I should be weighing myself on Sundays, too, but I couldn't bring myself to do it yesterday.  Maybe I'll dig out my size 6 jeans and try them on weekly instead.  Getting back in to them is my main goal, not a silly number on the stupid scale.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Oh, The Places I'll Go

I'm ready to get excited about races for 2015.

Hopefully, not too many mountains.
A few of my bloggy friends have been asking about specifics for this year.  I'm pulling the states together, piece by piece.  I thought it would be fun to show you where I'm at in the planning stages.

1.  March 1- Hot Chocolate 15k - Seattle (last year's race recap HERE)
Registration: paid
Hotel: booked
Transportation: train ticket purchased
Buddies or Family:  Buddies, lots of buddies for this one.  My local pals and I are traveling up on the train (so much fun).  Then, I'll be meeting up with Seattle locals Kerrie and Mel.
Matchy outfits: No plans yet, but I'd like to resurrect my chocolate socks.

That's me.  On the left.
2.  May 1st and 3rd -Independence Series - Pennsylvania and New York
Half Marathon -States #37 and #38.
Registration: due in early March
Hotels: not booked
Transportation: airfare paid
Buddies or Family:  Thrilled to be tackling this with MCM Mama.  Her plan is to do back to back fulls, NJ and NY.  Which makes me the designated driver "home" on Sunday after her second full.  It's the least I could do.
Matchy outfits: definitely, I'm sure

3.  May 24th - Boston Run to Remember - Massachusetts - State #39
Registration: paid
Hotels: booked
Transportation: airfare paid
Buddies or Family:  I've been planning this race for two years.  My daughter, A, will be 18 and she loves #allthehistory.  My mom is coming along to complete the girls weekend.  The plan is to take public transportation and let A plan the tourist schedule for the weekend.

Boston start.  Courtesy race website.  Love this photo.
4.  July 11th - Shipyard Old Port Half - Maine - State #40
I'm going to be spending a lot of time on the east coast.  Those pesky states.
Registration: paid
Hotels: AirBnB, booked
Transportation: still need to decide if we're flying in to Boston or Portland, ME.
Buddies or Family:  Girls weekend!  Sonya, E and Z are planning on attending.

5. September 13th - Hopefully this half - Michigan - State #41
S' Ducks are playing at MSU on 9/12.  Fingers crossed I can find a close by half on 9/13.
Registration: Nope
Hotels: staying with my sister
Transportation: Nope
Buddies or Family:  S should run with me.  Hopefully I can talk the BIL into it as well.

6.  October 5th? - Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half - Maryland - State #42
So, this one starts in Virginia at Mount Vernon!!  But ends in Maryland.  My challenge, my rules.  I'm counting it for Maryland.
Registration: Nope
Hotels: Nope
Transportation: Nope
Buddies or Family:  S will be coming along, so this is a couple's weekend.  Sonya cherry picked this race to tag along to as well.  MCM Mama is local, and I think she has freed her weekend up to run! 

That leaves 8 states for 2016-17.  Alabama, Nevada, Illinois, Indiana, Vermont, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Alaska.  Alaska will be #50, on the Great Alaskan Running Cruise

Whew!  The feelings of being overwhelmed by this last year are being overtaking by excitement.  It's gonna be fun!

Half Marathons Through 2014
Make yours @
Make yours @

I've linked this post up with MCM Mama's Tuesdays on the Run.  Check her out!