Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tough Mudder Registration

I can't believe I forgot to mention this earlier, but I registered for the Virginia Tough Mudder over the weekend.


This race isn't until October, and while it's ridiculously rare for me to register for a race this far in advance, my running friends have been trying to convince me to sign up for weeks and since the prices were increasing on over the weekend, I finally broke down and registered last Friday.

What did I get myself in to?


My running friends did this race in PA (in fact they're in this video twice).

Not only will this be my first mud run ever, but it's also pretty much the most insane mud run around. The race bills itself as "the toughest event on the planet."

Here's how Tough Mudder describes itself:

"Tough Mudder is not your average lame-ass mud run or spirit-crushing ‘endurance’ road race. It’s Ironman meets Burning Man, and it is coming to a location near you. Our 10-12 mile obstacle courses are designed by British Special Forces to test all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. Forget finish times. Simply completing a Tough Mudder is a badge of honor. All Tough Mudder sponsorship proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project.

WARNING: Tough Mudder is 3-4 times longer and MUCH TOUGHER than a typical mud run such as Warrior Dash. On average, only 78% of participants finish a Tough Mudder event. Only those in strong physical condition should enter."

The Virginia Tough Mudder course takes place on a ski mountain, and yes, you do run up and down the ski slopes while completing a ton of obstacles.

The course itself is about 10 miles long and features all kinds of obstacles.

Here's just a sample of the ones on this course:
  • Running through live electrical wires
  • Scaling 12-ft high walls
  • Crawling in the mud under wire 8 inches off the ground
  • Running through waist deep muddy water
  • Doing the monkey bars, where some of the handles are greased with butter

I'm slightly terrified and I have no idea what I got myself in to. My teammates have promised they won't let me die though, so I've got that going for me. Come October, I guess we'll find out if all my extra strength training actually paid off.

My teammates slip n sliding down the mountain in the PA Tough Mudder.

I'm excited and terrified. I have a feeling this will be a race to remember.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mizuno's Response

When I got home from PA yesterday, I had two things waiting for me.

The first were new pairs of Mizuno Wave Inspire 6's. I didn't even attempt to unpack all my bags before I had ripped the box open, pulled on the new shoes and did a couple test laps through my living room and dining room. They fit perfectly! I was so excited, I did a happy dance around my house. I can't wait to take them out for a run.

The second thing waiting for me was an email from the VP of running at Mizuno. He had read my post on how unhappy I was with the Inspire 7's and was reaching out to let me know they were taking into account my comments (and all comments) about the 7's as they worked on the new model.

As a loyal Mizuno customer, I was really impressed someone took the time to contact me and let me know that they had not only read my post, but that they actually cared that I wasn't happy with the shoes.

I can't say enough about how impressed I am with Mizuno as a company after this small interaction. Knowing that companies are listening to their customers and care about what they say makes me happy.

Mizuno makes great running shoes. I would have tried the Inspire 8's when my new 6's wore out anyway, but knowing that the company heard my complaints and plans to make changes accordingly makes me really excited to try the new model even though it won't be out for several months. I criticized several design elements of the Inspire 7's and I'm looking forward to seeing how Mizuno takes that feedback and uses it in the new model.

Mizuno is open to hearing more comments about the Inspire 7's, so if there was something you particularly loved or hated about the model, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll pass it on.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Retiring My Shoes

I knew I was pushing my luck trying to squeeze one more long run in on my old Mizunos, but since my new ones hadn't arrived by the time I left for PA, I didn't have much of a choice.

Unfortunately, the shoes didn't have one more run in them.

Two miles into my 12 miler, my shins and knees were aching from the pounding.

I stopped to walk hoping a quick break would help, but when I tried running again, it was no good.

At that point, my mom who was out for her own run, caught up with me and we ended up walking the rest of the way back home together. It was nice walking and chatting with my mom, and after the rainy weather we've been having lately, being outside in the sunshine was nice.

Lucky for me, my new shoes will be waiting for me when I get back to Maryland. My roommate let me know they arrived Saturday afternoon. I can't wait to get home and get some nice runs in with my new kicks.

I'm a little bummed about my failed 12-miler, but I know I'll still be fine for my race. I still have one more week to get in a nice, confidence boosting long run.

For now, I'll be retiring my current Mizunos and slipping in to my new ones.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Three Things Thursday

Happy Thursday! Just a few quick training and life updates today!

1. I'm heading home to Allentown tonight for Easter and I'm insanely excited. It will be my first time back to PA since Christmas! I can't believe it's been that long, but between races, vacations, wedding showers and baby showers, I feel like my weekends have been crazy busy and I just haven't been able to carve out a minute to get back home. It'll be good to see the fam!

2. Yesterday I slept in a little bit and headed out for my run around 6 a.m. It was a beautiful day for a run and running while the sun was coming up reminded me of all the training runs I used to do in college at 6 a.m., a time my friends couldn't even fathom being awake at, let alone being up and running. I miss those runs. There was just enough light so that it wasn't creepy and you could see where you were going, but it was still pretty quiet. And nothing beats watching the sun rise while you're running. Now if I want to run before work it's at 4:30 a.m. in the dark.

3. I can't believe the Frederick Half marathon is only two weeks away! Where the heck has this spring gone? I feel like this training cycle has come and gone in the blink of an eye. About half way through I made some tweaks to my training plan that made it easier to fit in with my schedule and I'm liking the new plan much better. I'm still doing the same workouts each week, I just shuffled which days they were on. I'm excited for the race and want it to hurry up and get here!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mizuno Meltdown

I'm having a Mizuno Meltdown!

Look what came for me yesterday!!!
Zappos arrival

Mizuno box

Brand spanking new running shoes!

Mizuno Wave Inspire 7

When my friend Tracy asked me how long it had been since I replaced my shoes I honestly couldn't remember. So I logged into Mint.com to see the last time I had a sizeable credit card charge from the running store. The answer: Labor Day weekend.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 6
Mizuno Wave Inspire 6

Wow. These babies have been with me for a while. Three half marathons. One full marathon. One 10 miler and countless miles of training.

While they still feel OK, I knew they were on their last leg so I ordered a new pair over the weekend.

I've been running in Mizuno Wave Inspires since I started running seriously five years ago. They are a moderate stability shoe and I love them. Through every updated style, version and color they have been extremely comfortable and fit my foot like a glove.

That is until the most recent edition.

all wave inspires
From left to right Wave Inspires 4, 4, 5, 6, 6 and 7

(This isn't even my full collection, at least one pair of fours and a pair of fives are at my parents house and one pair of fives was thrown out after I hiked the Jamaican waterfall in them)

Mizuno why did you change what was so good?

I ordered the Mizuno Wave Inspire 7's in the same size I've been wearing for five years and suddenly now my toes jam against the front.

The sides of the shoes are tighter and higher and rub uncomfortably against my ankle bone.

And the laces. I don't even know how to describe this and certainly can't fathom a reason for why someone would do this to a shoe.

lace gap
Weird gap between the lower laces and the upper laces.

The non-attached lace part bent very, very easily. I actually thought the shoe was damaged when I first pulled it out of the box.

It's a good thing Zappos has free return shipping because these babies are going right back where they came from.

Looks like I'll be heading out to my running store to find a new pair of shoes. I'm really sad that I might have to switch brands. I've tried on other brands before and nothing has come close to the comfort that I've had with the Mizunos.

I've searched to the depths of the interwebs to see if anyone was still selling Mizuno Wave Inspire 6's in a women's size nine, but I've found nothing.

Yes I am currently having a meltdown over my running shoes. Please don't judge me.

Update: By some small miracle I found a store that still had the Wave Inspire 6's in stock in my size! I ordered two pair and was able to use a $20 coupon. With tax and shipping, I paid $148. I'm hoping these get me through this year and that I'll like the Mizuno Wave Inspire 8's better.

-----

Sony Walkman W Series Winners:

According to Random.org, the winners of the Sony Walkman W Series players are

Katie who said
"I used to use shuffle but now I more or less "choreograph" my playlist to my run. I'll warm up with slower songs and speed them up as the playlist goes along to help me kick it up a notch!"


and Bridget who said
"Shuffle!"

Congrats guys! Please email me (jess@jessruns.com) your shipping address by noon EST on Thursday so I can get your players shipped. If I don't hear from you by then, I'll select another winner.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Should I Do The Runner's World Challenge?

Not long after I crossed the finish line of the Philadelphia Marathon last year, I knew I would be back to do the half marathon this year.

634283787195970020

It's a great course in a great city and the entire event is extremely well organized.

Plus the race is in mid-November, when temperatures are ideal for racing. Not too hot, not too cold. And the mostly flat course makes it the perfect place to PR.

Post race pretzel

The big question mark in my mind is whether or not to run this race as part of the Runner's World Challenge.

By running with the Runner's World Challenge I'd get:
  • A training plan designed by Bart Yasso
  • Weekly e-mails from Bart explaining the workouts for the week ahead
  • Access to a private website for runners taking the Challenge
  • A trial of RW's Personal Trainer online training tool
  • A copy of "Going Long", the "Runner's World Guide to Road Racing", or "The Runner's Field Manual" (your choice)
  • A technical t-shirt with the Runner's World Challenge logo
  • A race entry
  • Access to VIP areas near the start and finish lines (private bathrooms!)
  • Race-day packet pickup
  • Free postrace massage
  • A special baggage-check area
  • An opportunity to hang out with Bart Yasso, and the editors of Runner's World
That's a long list, but the most important thing to me on there is the training plan designed to help you reach your goals, although the private bathrooms would be nice too. The lines last year were ridic.

Anyway, I think it would be fun to run with the editors and have Bart Yasso put together a plan based on my goals.

Here's the catch. The cost of the Runner's World Challenge is $199. The cost of the Philly half is either $75, $85 or $100 depending when I register.

I know I can successfully run a half marathon without help. I've done it countless times. So I'm trying to decide if the extra $100 is worth it knowing that there are many other races I want to run in the fall that have their own set of expensive entry fees. At the same time though, the RW Challenge could be the extra something I need to help break the two hour mark.

I posed the question on Twitter and got some good feedback.

philly tweet 2

philly tweet

But I'm still unsure.

So blogging friends, what do you think? Is the Runner's World Challenge worth the extra $100 or should I do this one on my own?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Third Time's a Charm (Sort Of)

Happy Marathon Monday and good luck to everyone running today!!!

Who knew getting in an 11-mile long run this weekend would be such a challenge? It took me three tries before I could actually get it done.

Attempt One:
It was my short day at work Friday (meaning I only had to work eight hours instead of my usual 9) so I got off plenty early in the afternoon and had every intention of knocking out my 11 miles since it was supposed to rain all day Saturday.

Unfortunately, my stomach had other plans. It cramped miserably from miles one to three, and left me hustling into the bathrooms at the park thinking I was about to toss my cookies. Although I didn't, I decided it was time to throw in the towel and slowly walked the 1.5 miles back home. I'm pretty sure lunch just wasn't sitting well.

Attempt Two:
Even though I didn't get to bed until 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning after a night of swing dancing and IHOP, I was still wide awake at 9 ready to go on my run. The weather, however, had other plans. It was pouring rain.

I stepped outside, thought about it for a few minutes and decided I'd rather not be squishing in my shoes for 11 miles. I went back inside and curled up with some Netflix instead.

Attempt Three:
After falling asleep at 8 p.m. Saturday night and getting a full 12 hours of sleep, I finally felt ready to tackle my 11 miles for real Sunday morning. It was a gorgeous day. The sun was shining and even though there was a really strong wind, I didn't mind because it was keeping me cool.

The 11 miles were a struggle though from beginning to end. I think in large part it was because my fueling and nutrition were just completely out of whack. Between napping and running errands on Saturday, I didn't eat as much as usual, and I definitely didn't eat my normal night-before-a-long-run, carb-heavy dinner.

I also didn't have any Gatorade or Gu with me on the run, so really, it was just a giant fueling fail.

At the end of the day, I got the miles in though, even though they were some of the slowest I've averaged in a long time. It might have taken me three tries, but I was determined to make that long run happen.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sony Walkman W Series Giveaway

Good Morning and Happy Friday!

It's a beautiful day here in the D.C. area and since I'm working from home today, I'm hoping to spend some time out on the porch enjoying the fresh air. Can you tell I'm excited that spring is here?

Fun Friday Giveaway

A little while back Sony sent me one of their cordless mp3 players to review and two to giveaway to readers.


I was really excited to try a cordless player because I've had my fair share of issues with my headphone cords getting tangled around Garmin or twisting around my arm while I'm running. It's annoying to say the very least.

It took me a little while to figure out how to put music on to the device. I have a Mac and I could only find the directions on how to load music from a PC. Once the PR lady got me straightened out, I was able to plug in the player via USB and just drag and drop my music from iTunes. Easy-peasey.

One of my biggest concerns about this player was that I wouldn't be able scroll through a playlist and select the exact music I wanted to play like I can with my iPod. I thought that would really annoy me, but it actually didn't at all.

When you load your music on the player, it shuffles it for you, but there's also a "zappin" feature that lets you play short clips of all the songs. When you hear one you like you can select it.

As far as performance while running, the player bounced minimally and it never felt like it was going to fall out. I didn't have to constantly try to jam a headphone back in my ear like I do with my iPod, even when the little earbud got sweaty.

Functunality-wise, it was easy to change songs and volume on the go. I just tapped the two little buttons on one of the ear pieces.

One thing I couldn't get over was how much it looked like I was running with a giant bluetooth in each ear. Seriously, it's such a strange thing, but initially I felt really silly wearing the Sony player.

Once I got moving though, I stopped caring about how it looked and really loved that I wasn't getting tangled in cords. That outweighed the fact that I felt ridiculous wearing something that looked like a bluetooth.

Overall I was a big fan of the lack of cords and thought the player performed well on my runs.

If you're interested in trying one of the Sony players for yourself, here's how to enter the giveaway:

1. Leave me a comment telling me whether your build special running playlists or rely on shuffle.

2. Tweet about this contest and leave a separate comment telling me you did. (Make sure you include @run_girl_run somewhere in the tweet).

I will select a winner Wednesday morning.

Hope you all have an awesome weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Intervals on a New Treadmill

After a busy day of work yesterday, I was more than ready to head to the fitness center and kick my butt with some intervals.

The fitness center where I live is free for residents, which is awesome, but the equipment isn't the best. It's very old and sometimes I think the treadmills are going to fall apart when I run fast on them. But they get the job done, and I've gotten used to working out on them.

Yesterday, when I climbed onto my normal treadmill, something looked a little different.

It looked a little bigger and a little more sturdy than the machine I normally use.

Then I noticed there was jack to plug in an iPod and all sorts of fancy new things on the display screen. I realized my landlords had sprung for a new treadmill!

Wheee!!!

The new treadmill was awesome. It wasn't obnoxiously loud when I turned up the speed. The iPod jack not only let you control the music through the control panel on the machine, but it also charged your iPod. And there were a ton of new program options, including one for speed intervals.

The speed intervals option was a new-to-me function that let you pre-program your easy speed and your hard speed. Then when you wanted to switch, you just pushed the interval button and the treadmill sped up or slowed down to your desired speed. No more mashing the mph button multiple times until it got to the speed I was looking for.

It was awesome!

The intervals themselves were a struggle.
I'm still trying to find the best pace so I can finish the intervals strong, but still feel like I pushed it. I tend to be overly ambitious and start at a way-too-fast pace and then need to slow down after the third repeat.

I think by the end of the workout I finally found something that worked:
2:30 on a 7.3 pace followed by 1:30 at an easy pace. I'm still experimenting with an easy pace, but I think I've nailed down the fast pace.

It was a good workout and I was covered in sweat by the time I was finished. I left the gym feeling very accomplished and I look forward to playing around on the new treadmill some more.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fuel for Intervals

Do you know what drives me bananas?

After I wait forever for my work computer to boot up and I'm finally connected to the VPN, I get a little pop up message that says updates have finished installing and I need to reboot the computer.

Serrrrriously? Yes I'd love to wait another 20 minutes for my computer to be up and running.

But on the bright side, I'm working from home today and get to avoid commuting in the rain! Yay!

I also get to avoid running in the rain because it's interval day, which means I'll be heading down to the fitness center at lunch to use the treadmill.

Last time I did intervals my stomach was grumbling half way through the workout and I could feel my legs getting more and more sluggish as I got hungrier. This week I'm going to experiment some different pre-workout snack options to make sure I have enough energy to get through the workout.

What do you use as a pre-workout snack for your tough runs? I'm not sure what I have in my cabinets, but I'm open to any suggestions.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

First Hot Run of the Season

Signs of the first hot run of the season:

1. Completely flushed and sweaty face.
Sweat covered face

2. Swollen fingers that look like little sausages.
Swollen fingers

3. A giant post-run glass of chocolate milk that I guzzled half of before taking a picture.
Chocolate milk

The first hot run of the season is always the most brutal miserable running experience of the year. My body isn't adapted to the heat and humidity and so my perceived level of exertion is way higher than it would be later in the summer in the same conditions.

It was 86 and sunny when I left for my run yesterday after work and as soon as I started moving I knew it wasn't going to go well. My legs were heavy, my mouth immediately went dry and I felt like I was roasting.

Despite all that I finished four miles. It was at a snails pace because I took a ton of walk breaks, but I got it done.

The run was a reminder of why I run in the mornings in the summer. It might still be hot and humid, but at least the sun is beating down on me at 4:30 a.m.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Five Years Ago

Happy Blogiversary to me!

It's crazy to think that five years ago yesterday, I was sitting in my sophomore year dorm room debating whether or not I should sign up for my first marathon.

Me, sophomore year

I can so clearly picture sitting at my standard dorm-issue desk in my not so comfortable desk chair starring at the Baltimore Marathon website on my monitor.

My roommate was sitting a few feet away encouraging me to hit the submit button.

Me and my roommate at the Cherry Blossom Festival a few days before I registered for Baltimore

"Just let me check Notre Dame's football schedule," I said. "If they have a bye that Saturday, I'll take it as a sign I'm meant to run this race."

So I hopped over to Notre Dame's website, checked the football schedule and was stunned to see the team did in fact have a bye.

I clicked back over to the marathon website, took a deep breath and hit submit.

And then my roommate and I squealed a lot in high pitches voices. Would you expect anything else? We were sophomores in college.

After the "Omgs" and the "I can't believe you're going to run a marathon"s died down, I remember logging in to Blogger and starting this blog.

I wanted a place where I could track all my runs and measure my progress, and that's how this little blog was born.

A lot has changed in five years:

I've run 25 races


Graduated from college


Started my first job

Moved back to DC and started my second (and current) job

Coworkers at a going away party

Stayed in love with all things UMD, especially our tailgates.

And I've blogged through the entire process. Thanks to everyone who has followed along this crazy process with me. It's been a blast so far, and it definitely wouldn't be the same without you.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Furlough Stress

Yesterday was my first run since the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler. My legs were still sore from the race, and boy did it ever show in my run.

I felt like I was moving at a snail's pace and my legs just felt like bricks.

So much for getting in a nice tempo run. I was just happy to average around 9:24 for the 4.25 miles I ran. It was a beautiful day outside though and despite the fact that my run was less than stellar, I really enjoyed being outside enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. Maybe spring is really almost here!

---

In other news, the possibility of a government shutdown has been consuming my life. I'm not sure if the news is as big in other parts of the country as it is here.

Here it's all anyone talks about.

(If you're curious, here's the latest from the Washington Post as of this morning.)

It's the not knowing that gets to me. Will I be going to work on Monday, or will I be sitting at home waiting for Congress to pass a budget? No one knows.

And if the government does shut down, no one knows how long it will be closed. We could shutdown on Friday, Congress could work through the weekend and we could be open on Monday. Or we could shut down Friday and be sitting at home, not getting paid for all of next week or more.

Or we could not shut down at all. I'm obviously hoping for the last option.

Until then I'll be spending a large chunk of my free time Googling, "government shutdown" to see where the latest negotiations stand.

Have you ever been furloughed? Did you know how long your furlough would last? And what did you do in your free time?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Commuting in my FiveFingers

Yesterday I decided to mix things up and commute to work in my Vibrams. It's been a while since I've run in them. I've been holding out for warmer weather, but I really missed wearing them.

Since I have a bit of a walk from my house to the Metro and then the Metro the office, I thought it would be more fun to wear my Vibrams than my regular shoes for my commute.

I loved walking to work in my FiveFingers.

But what I might have loved even more was the conversation the FiveFingers started in the office and some of the hilarious comments I got from my coworkers.

One guy told me he thought my shoes were "creepy."

But most of my coworkers were really intrigued and asked me a lot of questions about how I liked the shoes, how comfortable they really were and of course commented that it looked like I had frog feet.

As the weather gets nicer I'll probably start to commute to work in my FiveFingers more often. They're just so comfortable to walk around in.

In barefoot running news, I'm working on another video soon that answers a bunch of questions about my FiveFingers. I'll be addressing questions that some of you asked previously, but if you have anything else you want to know, go ahead and leave it in the comments.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Rest Day and a New Running Blog

I took yesterday as a rest day after my 10 mile race on Sunday, and instead of heading to the gym for some light cross training like I had originally planned, I laid out in my backyard and soaked up the sun.

It hit 85 degrees yesterday in D.C., warm enough to set a new record high temperature for the season, and perfect weather to head outside and dive into my new Runner's World magazine.

It was a great way to spend the afternoon.

I spent the morning buried in code designing and setting up a running blog for my friend Chris (you might remember him from yesterday's race recap). The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler was his first race, and he wrote one hell of a recap. If you've got a minute today, go check it out. I think it perfectly captures every emotion that a first time racer goes through.

Plus the blog looks pretty awesome. (Although, I'm probably biased because I did a lot of the work on it.) Chris is a big Terps fan, and I love that we were able to play up the Maryland red and black in the blog design.

OK, enough nerd talk for one day. Go head over to Chris' blog and congratulate him on a great race!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Race Recap

I have a brand new 10 mile PR!

The Cherry Blossom 10 Mile course is probably one of the best places to PR because despite the masses of people running, it is pancake flat except for a small hill at the end.

Matt and I woke up plenty early to Metro into the city for the race. You can never be too careful with Metro because it pretty much fails constantly. But we got lucky and had a smooth ride, only waiting a few minutes for the connecting train.

Of course that meant we also got to the start line insanely early.

But minutes after we got there we found our friends Chris and Michelle who were also running the race. We hung out and tried not to freeze, while we waited for the race to start.

Chris, Michelle and Jess before the race
Chris, Michelle and me

Jess and Matt before Cherry Blossom Run
Me and Matt in front of the Washington Monument

Unfortunately, lines at the porta-potties were out of control and I missed the start of the race while standing in line.

I knew I was in the third corral and had a little bit of extra time, but there were still at least 40 people in front of me in line.

Panic in the porta-potty line
Smile on the outside, panic on the inside

This is my "I'm trying not to panic, but seriously I need to go run" face.

I eventually got in and out of a porta-potty and sprinted to the start line just in time for the last corral to be lining up to start.

PANIC!!!!

I was so frazzled I started off way too fast. My well structured race plan just went completely out the window as I tried to dodge around slower runners and find my groove.

I flew through the first two miles fueled purely off adrendaline from almost missing the start of the race.

By mile 3, my panic had subsided a little bit and I was starting to settle into my groove. The sun had also come out and warmed things up so I was able to shed one of my layers. (Unfortunately this meant Matt missed me at the finish line because he was looking for a gray shirt and I was now wearing blue.)

Miles 4 and 5 were uneventful. I was still running much faster than I expected to, but I was feeling pretty good so I decided to see how long I could hold on to my pace.

Miles 6 through 9 were out on Haines Point, the most boring part of the course because there is no crowd support. It's just you, your fellow runners and a bunch of cherry blossom trees.

The only remotely exciting thing that happened during these miles is that I almost got wacked in the face by a tree branch when I jumped up into the grass to pass someone. I was looking at the ground making sure I didn't roll an ankle and look up just in time to duck my head and narrowly avoid getting cherry blossoms to the face.

I started running out of steam around mile 7.5 so I sucked down another Gu and then waited in line at the next fluid station to grab some Gatorade. I lost a ton of time at the water stations because there were so many people and the tables water tables were only on one side of the road. Major, major bottlenecking.

Despite losing tons of time at the aid stations, I was still making good time and I was pretty sure a PR was in my reach.

I pushed hard up the final hill and scanned the crowd for Matt and my friends who had come to watch the race. I didn't see anyone, but I heard someone yell my name (turns out it was Chris) as I cruised down the hill and through the finish line.

My final time was 1:32:02, an average of 9:13 per mile, and nearly four-minute PR.

Thumbs up for a great finish
Thumbs up for a great race!

There was a good group of people that came out to watch, so it was nice to catch up with everyone.

Emily, Emily, and Jess
Emily, me and Emily

And everyone who ran kicked butt:

Chris and Michelle finished in 1:18 and 1:19, and Jason, who you may remember from my Marine Corp Marathon spectating, finished in 1:31:43.

Jess and Jason at the finish
Jason and me at the finish

All in all it was a great race, with great people and a really fun way to spend a Sunday morning.