Thursday, July 25, 2013

Boilermaker 15k Race Report- Part Two

Before we begin our regularly scheduled program, we bring you this important news bulletin: 
There is a mole in our apartment!! 

Long story short, we woke up to some noises early Saturday morning but found nothing. Fast forward to Wednesday evening when I was having a quiet night home alone getting ideas for our honeymoon location, when low and behold a little four legged friend decided to walk right by and scare the crap out of me. It would appear as though I scared him as well, but who cares about his feelings. I had him trapped in the corner behind our entertainment center and frantically called my sister and Rob. Rob was on his way home and Meredith gave me some tips. When Rob got home we each took a side, but that little sucker was wicked fast and he headed for our dining room/office. It was trapped underneath my filing cabinet and Rob thought he could get it, but he didn't. So then the little fur ball headed into the kitchen and squeezed itself behind our dishwasher. So we stood watch, nothing happened, my brother in law came over and we put two mouse traps by the edges of the dishwasher, at this time we thought it was a mouse. So now I am totally freaked out and pissed that the little booger is in our kitchen. We haven't seen any droppings or any signs of chewing and it didn't really look like a mouse to me, so I googled mole and the mug shot of the culprit seemed to resembled our guest. I also researched trapping methods but they were all suggestions for outside infestation, nothing for inside, because they aren't supposed to be inside!!!   

This may or may not be to scale. 

So the Boilermaker seems like forever ago now, but I'll do my best to try to capture the excitement. Once we got moving I was surprised at how exactly the same the race was from the previous year. Katie and I ran together for a short bit and Dad ran up just ahead of us. I was worried that he would go out too fast, since he sometimes does but we slowly caught back up to him. My favorite sign at this race is at one of the first houses you pass and it says ".1 down, 9.2 to go". At this point in the race a sign like this is amusing, being told "you're almost there" at mile 5, not so much. Katie ran off and Dad and I stuck together for the rest of the race. This race has water/ice stops everywhere you look, at least it feels that way. I kept telling Dad that something that helped me last year was the ice. Always holding a cup of ice, putting ice in my hands, cold water on my head, drinking it, helped so much to beat the heat last year. In fact, I adopted this technique to get me through the marathon too. We ran the first couple miles straight, with only slowing at water stops. The 5k mark is at the beginning of the biggest hill on the course, and as we approached the base of the hill (golf course) I asked Dad how he wanted to handle this challenging part of the course. We decided we would pick different landmarks (signs, mile markers, bands) to run to and then do the same for walking portions. The hill is long, really long. When you think you are at the top, you aren't. Our technique worked great, but when we approached the water stop at a point where it levels out a bit they told us they had run out of ice. Okay no big deal, just get some at the next stop. We pressed on, talked to some of our fellow racers and tried to enjoy the scenery and constant music playing. When I say constant music I mean it. By the time one band/DJ/musician/car speaker/speaker on a front porch is out of ear shot, you can hear another one coming. We survived the hill and enjoyed the descent, but the next water stop was out of ice too and now it was beginning to get sunny and hotter. A bit down the road someone from behind started talking to me about my shirt and she had a Fleet Feet No Boundaries shirt on. Turns out she was from Fairport also and had done the HFM program this spring to train for the Flower City Half Marathon. I told her I trained for and completed a full this spring and she seemed impressed. The zoo animals were up next and last year I missed them so I wanted to pay more attention this year. There were all sorts of animals, but my favorite was a giant tortoise just walking around in the grass munching on some lunch. The next few stops had ice and I began to take multiple cups, I also got Dad using this cool down method and it seemed to be working for him too. At one point the Red Cross was giving out ice and they were in big red solo cups, we continued to run with them for a long time, I think Dad even crossed the finish line with his, and the song "red solo cup" followed us from spectators and fellow racers along the way. I was too slow this year for popsicles, freeze pops and oranges on the course, but I was running with Dad and we were getting through it together. 

This may or may not be a proof. 

During the last mile we were plugging away and all of a sudden my Dad said "HOLY SHIT". I said nervously, "what Dad?" and he said, "we are actually gonna finish this!" Apparently up until that point he had doubts. It was neat to see him capture a new distance PR, experiment with fueling while running, staying hydrated and racing smart to get it done! It was also around this time that I heard the crowd saying "Go Canada" and "look our neighbors to the North". All of a sudden I had a flashback to the same point in the race last year, when I was passed by four Canadian women, all decked out in red, white, maple leaves and cowboy hats. And wouldn't you know it the same ladies were going to pass me around the same spot as last year. The crowd loved them and clearly they were having a great time. I could hear the bagpipes ahead which is a clear sign that you are getting close to the end, so Dad and I picked up our speed and ran down into the finishing chute looking for Mom who was there waiting to cheer us in. As we were running along the yellow barriers, I mentioned to Dad that the announcer from last year was my former band director and I wondered if he would announce our names this year. Sure enough, with tons of enthusiasm and excitement I heard him say "Art and Stephanie Keiser" we made eye contact and thumbs up, waves and smiles and then he said "good job old man". Haha, priceless. 

I love MarathonFoto!

So my time was drastically slower compared to last year, but I haven't been training as much, I have slowed down and I wanted to stick with Dad. I wouldn't change a thing. However, as we walked through the coral they told us that they had run out of pins. Which is the traditional thing they present you with at the finish line. WHAT?!?! Seriously, how do you run out, you know exactly how many people are running this thing. Last year (and it sounds like this year too) they have run out of food for the finishers as well. We were upset but continued through the mob of people to get to the post race party. I headed to claim my pint glass and to check out the merchandise table, Dad headed to the line to get a beer. I decided to buy Dad a finishers medal since he has never earned one before. Even though he came over to me before I was done paying for it, I unwrapped it and placed it around his neck. We were both pretty proud in that moment. I also happened to run into Rob's boss Glenn, what are the odds with 20,000 you would see someone you know! After a snow cone or two we met up with Mom and headed over to the Polish community center, as I discovered last year, it was a nice, dark, air conditioned place to sit and relax. They also had a fundraiser of traditional Polish cuisine so we carb loaded back up. 

Soooo good!

Everyone was hot and sweaty!
While we were getting settled Katie wound up coming in and finding us, everything was really going so smoothly. We all swapped stories and relaxed for a bit before Katie and I had to board the bus to head back home. Once we went our separate ways I crouched down in the tiny bus bathroom to change out of my wet and stinky clothes and felt so much better after that. 

Wilt took attendance, passed around some snacks and we were off headed back home to Rochester. As I sat there and thought about next year, I thought about how cool it would be to be a volunteer. As much fun as it is to race it, it has to be pretty fun to spectate as well. On FB it was posted that if you didn't receive a pin to send an email. So I sent an email on behalf of my Dad and myself but never heard anything back from them. Then Dad sent me this the other day:

Pretty clever, but still not acceptable. 

This weekend we are heading to Lake Placid for vacation and to volunteer for the Lake Placid Ironman. I cannot wait!! I will be doing a post or two on that, look for them in about a week!! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Boilermaker 15k Race Report- Part One

So I got a text message this morning from my Dad asking where my Boilermaker race report was. Geez Dad no pressure or anything, but I am a little preoccupied with working (part time) and getting ready for the wedding (sunning myself at the pool to even out my farmers tan). Tough work, ya know? But I guess it is a bit delayed so let's get to it.

The Boilermaker is a huge 15k race in Utica, NY that boasts an elite group of runners, wheelchair race division and running with 15,000 of your closest friends. I had done the race for the first time last year and even though it was really hot and challenging there was no doubt I would sign up again. The race has become more and more popular and actually sold out in 3 days this year. Shortly after signing up I noticed my Dad wearing a Boilermaker training shirt and so unbeknownst to me he had signed up as well! To that date he had only run 5 miles so I was curious to see how he would handle the longer distance.

Add caption

Last year I had taken the "Boilermaker Bus" sponsored by The Greater Rochester Track Club and Fleet Feet. For $35 dollars or $15 if you are a member like me, you get bagels, coffee, water, gatorade, snacks after the race, dropped off at the bib pick up tent and picked up at the post-race party. It doesn't get much better then that. Aside from the 4am meeting time, it is a blast!!

Up and at em'

Ahhh the Golden Memories

Watching the sunrise

Andy & Katie at the rest stop
Dad and Mom drove themselves and I had plans to meet Dad at the bib pick up tent on race morning. He had gone to the expo the previous day and seemed to really enjoy it. Maybe next year he'll let me go with him so  I can rub elbows with elites like him.

No lucky number this race

Dad got Bill Rodger's Autograph
This years pint glass, mine has a printing flaw, boo.

We were a tiny bit delayed getting to the bib pick up tent because of traffic, but I spotted Dad right away and he had already met up with some people he knew.

Katie and I grabbed our bibs pretty quickly and talked strategy. Last year I spent the entire time in the port a potty line and I did not want to do that again this year. So I spotted a bunch of people heading over to the woods to do their business and I grabbed some tissues and joined them. And not to get into too many personal details but this year I rocked my running skirt and that makes going to the bathroom on the fly so much easier, if you know what I mean.

The sea of people and port a potties
We made arrangements to meet up with Katie near the coral and hung out with some family friends in the shade. It was already pretty warm and humid, but there was a good amount of cloud cover which was way better then the sunny start/race last year.

2012 Boilermaker Photo

With about 10-15 minutes before the official race start we made our way to our peach "coral" and found Katie. Last year I started farther back and realized that the street before mine fed into the line first, so this year I pushed my way through the crowd and found a comfy spot to listen to the announcements and national anthem. Standing in such a compact group of people was making me warmer and finding fresh air to breath became more and more difficult. I was looking forward to getting started and spreading out for some clean air. After the gun went off and the Rocky Theme started playing we waited over ten minutes to get to the start line. I was excited to be back, looking forward to the crowd and atmosphere, anxious about my lack of running lately, since I know the course is challenging and hilly and nervous for my Dad to complete this PR distance in the heat and humidity.

Come back next week for part two!!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Race Recap: Fairport Firecracker 5 Mile

New logo this year!

I have a love/hate relationship with this annual race. There I said it. I love this race because it is in my stomping grounds and it has become a family tradition. Plus, it was my first race beyond the 5k distance. In addition to my Dad and myself, I knew I would wind up running with tons of familiar faces and that is always a perk. Part of the course switches back so I always look for friends and running peeps to cheer on when we cross paths.  I hate this race because of the sun & heat and challenging, hilly course.

Lucky number! 

This year the race started at 8am so I picked up Evan at 7am and headed over to meet up with my parents, Molly and Katie. Evan hadn't picked up his packet so we went to the tent to get his stuff. This would be Evan's farthest distance to date so he may have been a bit nervous, but didn't show it at all! My first year I was a nervous wreck and lucked out when my Dad had surprised me and signed up to race as well. It was our second 3-peat race and since last year I wore the previous years race shirt, I decided to continue the tradition this year.

Near the start line
Dad, Evan and I began the walk over to the start line and I hit the power button on my Garmin to get it going and connected to satellites. Not too long after I hit the button it beeped to let me know that I had a low battery. WHAT?!?! SERIOUSLY?!?! In 3 years of running I have never not had my Garmin for a race. Not too long after it beeped it shut itself off. Holy cow, what was I going to do. The kicker is that I haven't even been running that much lately. How did this happen? Ugh. Add another point to the "hate" column. Luckily Dad had his Garmin, but it just isn't the same. So while we were walking over Katie caught up to us but there was still no sign of Molly. Evan found a friend and ran off to join her and Dad and I greeted other runners. Apparently we were having our photo taken too...

Borrowed from the FF FB page, thanks!
In blue and green on the right. 

Overall I felt pretty good but wondered if the hour spin class and strength training the day before would come back to bite me during those hills. The weather was really humid but it was cloudy so we didn't have to deal with the sun that normally beats down on your for the first half of the race. Before we knew it the race started and I just gave my Garmin a dirty look as we crossed the start line. I settled into a comfortable pace, exactly what that pace was I did not know. Overall it felt a little faster then what I have been running lately. Not long into the race you hit a long uphill battle. I just settled into it and set the goal to run the whole thing and take a brief walk break at the top. Along the way I had some great help from Anita to keep me focused on forward motion. Thanks! After the first major hill there is a water station at one of the fire stations. I gladly took water and walked through the water stop. After that I kept trudging along and turned on to Turk Hill Road where large hill number two is located. I set the same goal to run to the top of it and walk through the intersection. I cheered along some FF team members along the way and they repaid the favor when they passed me at the top. Love that runner camaraderie. It was here, about mile 1.77 according to my Dad whose Garmin was working fantastically, that I realized that my legs felt like I was carrying two cement blocks. There is a nice down hill after the intersection so I tried to let gravity help a little.

In my opinion the race can be broken into three sections: hills, Cobb's lane and main street. I was about to enter the second, an out and back along the canal that on a sunny day can make you think your never going to get to the turn around and your never going to make it back. The two perks are that since it is an out and back you get to pass other runners & see your friends and that there is a water stop in the middle, so you get to pass it twice. However as we were approaching the water station they were announcing that they had just run out of water. Now I realize I was slower then the average runner, but there were still a lot of runners to come through. I don't think I have ever done a FF race and have them run out of water. Also, not that it mattered, but the water stop was not in the middle, it was only on the side of the road for the runners on their way back through. During this section I had a proud mama bear moment when I saw a young female runner coming towards me and realized it was one of my former girls on the run. She came in second in her age group in a five mile race! So proud. We passed Evan and Katie, who both appeared to be doing quite well, but still no sign of Molly. I was hoping after we made the turn around we would see if she was able to make it in time.

I finally felt like I had warmed up and now that the big hills were behind me I was running longer consistent chunks. We did spot Molly and even though she got a bit of a late start she was plugging right along. Dad and I mostly stuck together and before we knew it we were approaching the last chunk which is our favorite part of the race. Fairport has their 4th of July parade following the race and the course goes along the parade route, so the last mile and change has a decent amount of spectators who are out cheering for the runners. It is also tree lined so there is a lot of shade. There was one more water spot at the other fire station and I was happy to see they had water and also a hose spraying water on the runners as well. Not too far after that was Mom cheering and photographing. Dad grabbed an extra Gatorade from her as we ran by and I was happy to guzzle some down. I was feeling pretty good during this stretch and I continued to thank spectators and volunteers and chat with Dad and Molly. With a little under a mile left it started raining and it felt really good. We turned into the park and saw Thea and her daughter cheering and began to hear music and Ellen's voice announcing runners at the finish line. Dad and I ran in together and heard both of our names announced and Molly came in not too long after. I knew my time would be the slowest out of my 3 Firecracker races, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was about 7 minutes faster then my run the previous week, running the same distance and an easier course.

We met up with Evan and Katie at the finish, got some fruit and drinks and swapped finishing times. Katie got a new PR, Evan did fantastic for his first 5 mile race, beating all of my times, and I was just happy to be done. Evan, Dad and I began our walk back down the course to join my Mom to watch the parade. I grabbed a drink and salty snack from the gas station and welcomed my sister and her family to our spot.

We stayed and watched the parade and as it was close to finishing the cloudy sky opened up on us again, but this time it poured heavily. We all gathered our items and fled as quickly as possible to our car. Overall it was a good morning and even though I have a love/hate relationship with this race, I am sure I'll sign up again next year and then wonder why during mile 2-3. But it's tradition!

Ever done a 4th of July race?

Have any love/hate running moments?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Week I Became A Gym Rat

Last week was my first full week off for summer vacation. Two years ago I spent most of my summer in the gym and loved the results by summers end. I would do cardio, strength training and swimming in some sort of combination. My real goal was to bring down the average age of the ladies in the gym. Plus no one will complement you more on your outfit, shoes or progress, like little old grandmas lifting the 3 pound weights.

Go get em' grandma! Not my actual grandma.

Going into this summer, with the big W-day at the end of it, I knew if I didn't start off strong I would go down a slippery, lazy slope. Last summer my focus was on running and racing, but with feeling burnt out still, going to the gym has given me some motivation rejuvenation. Last week I wound up getting 5 work outs in. 4 trips to the gym and one run. 3 spin classes and lots of core, arm and leg strength training.

Daily Mile Report Card

The RAC always offers a Summer Sizzle competition. I've never paid much attention to it or signed up for it because it is geared towards their fitness classes. But in the fall I started spinning and did it consistently throughout the school year, so I thought it might be fun to sign up for the challenge and do something new. I believe the way it works is that if you do 30 classes in 60 days you get a free t-shirt. The t-shirt is nice and all, but the best part are the stickers and the tracking chart. Pause and rewind to elementary school and there is nothing you wont do to get your name on the chart with a long line of stickers trailing it.


So I caved to my own peer pressure and signed up. Monday was the first day of the contest and even though I went and did cardio and strength training, I didn't take a class. I guess I didn't know how cut throat this contest was, but when I saw the name beneath mine and saw that they had already collected 3 stickers, my competitive side kicked in! Oh those powerful, glittery, little circles of my affection. So yesterday I was determined to get my first sticker and checked out the class schedule. I found a late morning 45-minute spin class, which would be perfect to get in before I spent the day with my Mom. The class was good. It is always interesting to see how the different instructors vary their class, music and style. At the end I proudly collected my sticker and affixed it to the chart next to my name. One down, 29 to go! Happy Fourth of July everyone!! 

Coming Soon: Firecracker 5 Mile Race Report