So you’re running your first half, huh?

This past weekend I ran the St. Luke’s Half Marathon in Allentown PA and was reminded how much I hate their hills.  The race was also 25% newbies, meaning this was their first half marathon. Ever.  I ran into someone at Kathrine Switzer’s booth at the expo who lost 125 lbs and was running her first half.  This weekend, I’m running the Cap City Half (and was stupid enough to go for a run today) and it sounds like there’s going to be another good crowd of newbies to the half marathon running scene.  On the Cap City Facebook page, they asked for advice from the veterans to people breaking their half marathon virginity.  It got me thinking, so here’s advice from yours truly (ME, of course!):

  1. Don’t show up at the expo 5 minutes before it closes on the last day.  Make sure you get to the expo with plenty of time to get your bib, swag bag and shirt and to take care of any unexpected problems (like your 6′ tall husband registered the both of youand ordered you a large shirt when you’re 5’2 and 120 lbs) or if there’s something wrong with your registration.  You don’t want to get locked out!!
  2. Bring your confirmation sheet with you (For Cap City, go to the Confirmation Page, look yourself up and there should be a print button to print out your ticket).  It eases things up on you when you’re picking up your bib.
  3. NEW ADDITION: Make sure to fill out the medical info on the back of your bib.  If something happens to you (and yes, I’ve seen runners passed out on the side of the course or taking breathing treatments from medics and having trouble speaking), this is the first thing medics go to.  Be honest here!!
  4. Enjoy the expo!  And scout out free stuff, there’s usually a lot of it.
  5. Carbs. And carb loading.  2 nights and the night before, make sure you have some pasta (or something of the like) to get yourself enough fuel before race day.
  6. Don’t try anything new.  This goes for diet (so you don’t mess up your GI system) and sleep.
  7. Get a good night’s sleep 2 nights before the race.  The night before race day, you’re going to be too excited AND you have to be up bright and early the next morning to get to the start.  Don’t make me get Bart Yasso to yell at you!
  8. Hydrate before the race!  And by before, I mean at least the day before. You’ll be sweating through whatever you’re wearing and you’ll have salt dried to you after the race.  Be nice to you’re body!
  9. Have a certain type of Gel, GU, Powerade Chew, etc that you like?  Bring it with you race day.  I don’t go anywhere near gels, I gag on them.  I always tell people (for me personally) that the only way their getting me to use a gel or a GU is if I’m being threatened with an IV.  For the record, I’ve found that powerade chews work for me so they come with me every race.
  10. Traveling for a race? Check the weather.  Or bring a few different clothing options if you’re not sure.  Or both.  I usually have shorts and capris, a short sleeved and long sleeved shirt.  For events early or later in the year, I plan accordingly.
  11. Run your race.  If you’ve been running 10 minute miles, go with it.  Don’t try and run with the Kenyans and Ethiopians- you’ll hurt yourself and you’ll be miserable the entire time!

    Don't run so you're looking like Homer Simpson!

  12. Run to enjoy the race.  You only get one first race, so it’ll be your PR no matter how you look at it!  Don’t worry about times, you have the rest of your running life to compare times

St. Luke’s Half Marathon

Currently, my car probably hates me.  I’ve put about 1,200 miles on it in the span of 5 ish days.  I’ve seen more of I-80 than I’d like, but what can you do.  This weekend (read, Friday around noon), I headed back to Philadelphia.  Had I not had packages that involved Mother’s Day presents and a half marathon, I would have probably not gone home.  I got back around 7, though I was bummed out that the expo wasn’t going on Friday, because I literally passed Allentown on my way home.  After dropping stuff off at the condo, I headed to the gym for a quick run to stretch my legs out.  I can only take so much sitting in one setting.

Saturday morning, I headed back up to Allentown to pick up my bib number (#2454) and searched the expo.  I so happen to run into Kathrine Switzer’s booth.  SUCH a nice person! She greeted me with a hug and spent about 5-10 minutes talking with me.  It was awesome because she was talking to someone before me who had lost 125 lbs by diet and exercise who was running her first half.  Needless to say, Kathrine, myself and a few others were giving her the advice to enjoy the race.  Hearing about her running Boston and the women who came after who ran until it finally became acceptable for women to run was incredible.  I got both of her books and began reading Marathon Woman last night.

This morning, I left Philly (with my stuff that I was taking back to Ohio) around 6 AM to get to Allentown and parked.  I stopped for gas before I got to the race and there were other runners utilizing the bathrooms there (great minds think alike).  After parking at the fairgrounds, I headed over to Allen High School to hang out in the gym before the start.  At 8, we headed to the start.  It was fairly chilly out- I had cheap gloves that I bought at the expo that I kept on for the first 5 miles or so.  Kathrine Switzer started the race and off we went.  I felt ok the first few miles, but felt like I was falling apart around mile 3 after I took a bathroom break.  We saw the leaders come circling back around the 5K mark.  We kept on chugging along the streets and then crossed over a bridge and before you know it, mile 6 comes along and slams you with a hill.  A massive hill that felt like it was at like a 30 degree incline that didn’t want to end.  I’ve been training for the Cap City Half in Columbus (which is flat), so I’ve had limited (read absolutely ZERO) hills in my runs.  One guy actually asked if I was ok (which was appreciated).  It also felt like we had 4 miles of hills.  Did I mention that we spent a good chunk of miles 7-10/11 were on gravel trails?  I was beyond thrilled to get back on solid roads.  After hitting mile 12, knowing we were almost done was a bonus.  Until I overheard someone saying there was one last hill leading into the stadium and we had to a lap- I was less than thrilled.  The hill wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and I ended up passing 4-5 people by then.  I was surprised that I crossed the finish in 2:09 ish.  My final time was 2:07:38- I was expecting to worse to be honest!!  I grabbed a water and picked up my back of stuff I checked and got stretched out by the PT people.  Best thing about the race? SHOWERS AT THE FINISH! Since we finished at a stadium, there were locker rooms.  Locker rooms have showers- this meant I didn’t have go to LA Fitness to shower.  The water was a little cold, but sweatshirts were invented for a reason.  I grabbed some food and hit the road.

In 6 days, I do it all again in Columbus.  And, I have a mission to accomplish- whether it happens, is TBD!

Picture-esque Pre Race Thoughts

Tomorrow, I run the first of my 2 half marathons this week in Allentown PA, the St. Luke’s Half Marathon.  Today, I picked up my bib and a few other things from the expo.  Needless to say, I may not take tomorrow too seriously, but here’s some inspiration for you:

St Luke's 1/2 Marathon Bib #2454

26.2 Marathon Stories and Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer

Christine! You know this is the best thing we do! Be fearless! K. Switzer, Allentown 4/29/2012

Capital City Half Marathon

With less then 2 weeks before the Cap City Half, people are tapering or making the last minute decision to sign up. Yes, deciding to sign up- a friend of mine decided to sign up last week (and I’ve been known to do that too)!  Wondering what you need to know about the Cap City Half?

  1. The Expo: open 5/3 from 2-8 PM, 5/4 from 10-8 PM
  2. There’s an app for that: Use your smart phone to scan this pic or search for M3S Sports in the App Store
  3. Corral Times: wondering what separates people in the A,B,C,D,E corrals?  Here you go: Corral A:<1:45, Corral B: 1:46 to 2:00, Corral C: 2:01 to 2:25, Corral D: 2:26 to 2:50, Corral E: 2:51 and up
  4. Gear. You know you want it so have at it!
  5. Last (and not least), make it the yearly runnervention with you and a bunch of your friends (or internet friends) and then have brunch afterwards!


Narberth CF 5 Miler

After last weekend’s issue of not paying enough attention to detail and going to the wrong place to register a race, I made up for it this weekend.  I was (luckily) able to come home from my rotation in Renovo, PA a day early and was googling what to do this weekend.  I found the Narberth CF 5 Miler last weekend on Active, but had kept it in the back of my head since I didn’t know what my plans would be.  Yesterday, I made the 10 minute drive to Narberth to register and pick up my bib since it’s not a regular occurrence to have races over 5 miles or so.  That, and it was practically in my backyard and for a good cause, so how could I say no?

This morning, I left around 8:10 to have enough time to park (hey, it’s the Philadelphia area, parking is always a problem).  Since I’m familiar with the area, I knew there was a shopping center with a parking lot close by and I (along with a whole bunch of people) parked over there.  Since I was planning to do more than 5 miles, I pulled up RunKeeper on my phone and just started running and warming up.  After 1.75 miles, I headed to the start.  This was one of the more organized races I’ve run.  They had stuff to keep the kids entertained, you knew where to go, and better yet, it was small.  A few minutes after 9, we were off.  The course was one of those runs where you go through side streets to get your miles in, or at least that’s how it felt.  There were also more hills than I thought there would be, but I don’t run out there often (OK, so this was the first time).  My first 3 miles or so, I was running just under 9 minute miles and I was excited because it was turning out to be a fast course, despite the hills.  Then, I have no idea what happen.  I got somewhat shaky and didn’t feel right.  This is one of those you should probably eat something before you run or hydrate more.  By the time I got to mile 4, I had run a 10 minute split but was able to get myself together.  I made up some time and survived some more hills to finish in 46:03, at 9:12 minute/mile pace.  A 5 mile/8K PR for me :-).  What I liked about this race was the amount of people who came out for it, especially for a small race (all of 690 ish runners).  At one point, some guy came running out of his house shirtless (but wearing shorts) to cheer on runners.  Little kids had water stands set up for runners along the course and people had come up with teams supporting friends of theirs.  It reminded me why I like the smaller races :-).

The weather was also perfect.  It was in the low 60s ish, but it felt humid to me.  I was sweating buckets (or so it felt like) by the time I finished.  Water and some bananas/oranges at the finish made me feel better.  I still haven’t figured out why I felt bad during that one mile stretch.  It wasn’t the runner’s wall that I’ve felt before, but just shakiness and feeling off.  As much as I didn’t feel like racing today, I liked this race.  Local, for a good cause, kids race after the main race and a local restaurant was giving away a free beer to runners who came in with their bibs.  Take a look at them, definitely a race to do!  Did you run?  Run the Day has results posted!

How Did Boston Treat You?

Yesterday was the 116th running of the Boston Marathon.  One day, I’ll decide how badly I want to run it and endure Heartbreak Hill and all the glam that comes with Boston.  What can I say, the best I’ve done in the marathon is a 4:54 and it’s ridiculous to try and get the magical BQ time.

Yesterday, it was in mid-upper 80s temperature wise.  Yes Bostoners, I feel your pain.  I ran the 2010 Chicago Marathon.  When I started the race, it was a good 73 degrees outside.  When I finished some 5 hrs and change later, it was 93 and people were lined up at medical tents.  This was 3 years after the 2007 Chicago Marathon which had diverted runners and was canceled after a certain time due to heat.  We had no deferral option (and I’m ok with that, I was running either way).  The BAA gave runners the option to defer their entry to the 2013.  They’d of course have to pay for entry again next year (which isn’t cheap) and lose whatever they put down money wise this year.  The catch? Runners had to pick up their bibs (or email the BAA and have their bibs set aside) AND not start the race yesterday.  Confused?  Take a look at this article tweeted by Runner’s World.  Of the people who registered for Boston, only 427 of the 16% who didn’t race can defer until next year.  Initially, I agree that I was thinking that it was going to be 4,000-5,000 people.  But, since you had to pick up your bib and not start, that changes things.  That’s a plus if you got hurt close to the race and wouldn’t have been able to run this year anyways!  What are your thoughts about deferring Boston?

Stroehmann Bakeries Run Against Hunger 5K

Normally I don’t sign up for 5K’s willingly.  The last time I did a 5K was back in October and even then, I was planning on running the 10K but I wasn’t doing the same loop 4 times.  I had to come back to Philadelphia Wednesday night from Renovo, PA to take care of some things on Thursday and was told I didn’t have to drive the 4 hrs back for work on Friday.  On Friday, I headed to Philadelphia Runner to sign up for a 5 Mile race, the Gener8tion Run 8K.  If I would have read correctly, I would have gone to the correct Philadelphia Runner Store in University City.  Instead, I ended up at their Center City location (at 5:30 on a Friday, no less).  Instead, I ended up finding the Hunger Coalition 5K run and walk.  I didn’t realize I was signing up for the 5K until after I signed the waiver (I do know how to read, I promise!).  Needless to say, I had a bib and a shirt.  And, we’re talking basic bib here:

This morning, I made my way to the Art Museum steps.  I parked my car about 1/2 mile away from the start.  Worked for me since I wanted to do around 8 miles anyways.  I ran about 5 minutes to the start and waited about 10 minutes before the race started.  When we lined up, we were waiting for a gun or horn start.  However, we heard something on the microphone and a buzzer and we were off, something we weren’t expecting.  We were shocked by the quick start.  Off we went down Kelly Drive and hit some Irish Step Dancers before mile 1.  A short time later, we hit the turnaround point at a little over 1.55 miles.  I was at roughly 12-13 minutes at the halfway point.  I began making my way back on some sore legs after a 7.5 mile run yesterday.  Back, past Boat House Row, the Irish Step Dancers, the traffic on I 76.  We crossed the path leading up to the Art Museum and up a slight incline to where we started.  The clock read just under 26 minutes.  I finished in 26:12, 17th/135 in my age group of 20-29 yo females.  Woot!!  I grabbed a water and got some hydration and made the 1/2 mile run back to my car.

Afterwards, I went and finished another 4 miles, grand total of 8 for the day.  If only I would have been able to read and go to the correct Philadelphia Runner to sign up for the 5 mile (and not the 5K) race I wanted.  Lesson of the day: check your location!

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

March has gone and April is here in full force.  This past weekend was the 40th running of the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in DC.  I’m currently rotating in Renovo, PA which is up a mountain with no cell phone service unless you’re in the ER or standing on the helicopter pad (I kid you not).  We have no MRI/CT scan at the hospital I’m at, no respirator and everything serious is transported to Williamsport or Geisinger.  Anyways, I digress.  Friday afternoon, I left at lunch and headed to Philadelphia to pick up some stuff I forgot at my apartment and then headed to DC.  I met up with my parents and some friends of the family after parking at the hotel for dinner.  We ate at J. Paul’s in Georgetown (good food there btw!!) and then headed to the hotel.

Saturday morning, I headed out for an early morning run since I was stiff from sitting in the car all of Friday.  Needless to say, I took a little bit of crap from the Cherry Blossom Run Twitter team, but hey, when you’re stiff, you need a run.  We then headed out to the expo to pick up bibs and to volunteer.  Guaranteed entry for next year, check!  I also was able to get Joan Benoit Samuelson’s autograph.  Definitely a cool person to meet and very down to earth.  I mean the woman won the first women’s Olympic Marathon in 1984 and ran in 1:01 on Sunday!  After heading to church, I went to get some work done while the rest of the family headed to dinner at my dad’s cousin’s house in Alexandria, VA.

Sunday morning, we were up bright and early at 6 AM.  We were staying close to the Rossyln metro so we hopped on and headed to the Smithsonian stop.  My parents headed off to the bathroom, I headed to check a bag that we had extra shirts and powerades in.  I jumped in the blue corral while my parents ended up in the orange corral.  The elite women started off and soon after, the rest of the elite followed by all of us mortal runners.  I unloaded a throwaway shirt right before crossing the start.  The first mile or so was really congested with runners and I’m not entirely sure how fast I ran that mile.  Things spread out some and I got into a groove.  It was in the high 40s, low 50s at the start of the race and the cherry blossoms had actually peaked the week before due to the warm weather and spring deciding to show up early (hence the “There may be no blossoms, but you runners are awesome” sign).  We pounded some pavement and hit some fans set up around one of the out and back pieces of the course (which we shouted for some more cow bell).  As we were heading out, we saw the lead women pack (that’s kinda discouraging actually) and everyone else in front of us.  Oh well.  We ran over some bridges, passed one of DC’s airport and took our time along one of the bike/run trails.  At mile 4, I took a bathroom break that wasn’t worth waiting in line for at the start.  Other than that, I took advantage of the water every 1.5 miles or so.  Around mile 7.5, our guy from last year with the beer and oreos was at his spot.  Nothing like oreos dunked in beer for some runners.  Truck on some more and with less than a mile left, we passed a guy pouring Miller Light (because regular Miller would have been too much to ask for) for runners who wanted it and there was definitely at least one toast that happened in front of me between runners.  What I conveniently forgot about this race was the hill it decides to end on.  I mean, what’s more fun than a hill when you’re tired?!  I finished in 1:32:07, so a good 6 minutes better than last year.

I hung out and waited for the rest of Team Guenther at the finish and then caught up with my parents about 25 minutes later.  I was cold and as we were heading back to the metro, I decided to have the breakfast of champions, diet coke and a hot dog.  Hey, it sounded good and I needed food.  My mom got a laugh (and a picture) out of it.  I got first dibs on the shower and finished packing my stuff.  I headed back to lovely Renovo PA and headed to the hospital to do laundry because I wasn’t smelling my running clothes all week.  Looking forward to it next year, as always!!

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler: Warm Up




Daddy, Did You Win?

Juggling being a husband, a father, work, and running


Follow my journey in running, hiking, biking, and the outdoors!

Out Running

outrunning our goals together


Eating Plants and Running the 50 States

Mom in the Mtns

The adventures of a mom (and her wild child) in the mountains of Alaska

Angie Runs

3.1 - 6.2 - 13.1 - 26.2 - 50k

for the love of nike

tales from a conflicted sneakerhead

The Fit Wanderer.

forever wandering

Keny'inz 2012

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matthew 5:6

the fight and flight response

running through the wall, one goal at a time

Simple Speedy Snacks

Recipes and stories about snacking


Just another site

Run The Long Road

hard work, determination, and a little luck...