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Race to find the Clouds

Yesterdays run was hot, hot, hot! It reminded me why I usually run more in the spring and fall than in the summer. I hate running when it is hot. The sad part is the high was only 80 degrees. But at 4:00 in the afternoon with dry heat, it felt much hotter. My mouth was thirsty 1/2 mile into the run.

Sweaty Mess!

While I was struggling during this run, I kept thinking about how I ran a marathon in the hills of San Fran, but was struggling with a 6 mile run in the heat in Denver. When the two clouds in the sky blocked the sun, I ran as fast as I could. When the sun was beating down on me, I slowed the pace considerably.

Run Stats:
6 miles/AP 9:12

I'm still lacking the motivation to officially start training for the NYCM. With only 70 days left to go, I should probably get on that. I am going to try for 10 this weekend, which will be my first double digit run since SF. I submitted my SF time for NY and it put me in the 3:30 group. Ummm, I don't think so!!! Hopefully I can move back on race day.

Any advice on running back to back marathons? I feel like I can really only do minimal training for NY and I hope that is enough!

Happy Birthday Husband!

Yesterday was my husband's birthday. Since it was on a Monday, we celebrated all weekend. On Friday, we headed out on a bike ride to Wash Park to play some tennis and have a wine and cheese picnic.

After reading Jenna (from Eat, Live, Run) rave about Murphy Goode's wine, I picked up a bottle of their Sauvignon Blanc. Our cheese selection included Smoked Gouda, Fresh Mozzarella and an Apple Cider English Cheddar. All three were delish and went really well with the Blanc.

On Saturday, I surprised the Hubs by taking him to dinner at a new restaurant called the Squeaky Bean. We had an awesome meal there! This area is not known for having any ambiance, but we had a great time sitting on their patio enjoying our food and drinks.

We ordered:

crispy medjool dates- cambazola, prosciutto
tuna tonnato - sliced ahi, spicy cucumber and fennel piccalilli, tonnato sauce
beets - roasted beets, hazelnuts, pecorino
shrimp BLTA - shrimp, tomato, boar bacon, green, avocado, roasted pepper aioli
The only dish I wasn't crazy about was the tuna tonnato. To drink we had the squeaky spritz, which is a mix of Prosecco, Aperol and Sparkling Water. According to google, Aperol is an Italian aperitif. This drink was muy delicioso! They have happy hour Tues-Sat so we will be back very soon.

Happy Birthday Hubs!!! I love you very much and hope you had a great birthday weekend!

Wine..Marathoner's Recovery Drink

The San Fran Marathon was really just the start to our fantastic vacation in San Francisco and Napa Valley. This was my first trip to San Fran, and I really wanted to enjoy and get to know the city.

Day 1

Pam, Hubs and I flew into SF late Thursday. We took the BART to the Hilton in Union Square and grabbed a quick bite to eat at a Japanese Restaurant around the corner. We ate pretty late around 10:00, so all three of us crashed early that night.

Day 2

Our day started off with a delicious breakfast at Honey Honey Cafe a few blocks from our hotel. After breakfast, Pam and I walked around Union Square to get in some shopping on our way back to the hotel. For the next three nights we had booked a room at the Hilton Financial District.

We quickly packed our stuff hopped in a cab to drop it off, and then headed to the Ferry Building for lunch at the Slanted Door. Both breakfast and lunch were fantastic! I am still dreaming about the Vietnamese Food we had at the Slanted Door.

After our lunch, we walked around the Ferry Building, checked out the views of the Bay Bridge and made our way down the Embarcadero.

We had tickets for the Alcatraz Tour at 2:00, but we had some time to kill before so we walked up to Pier 39 to check out the seals. Pier 39 and Fisherman's Warf were way too touristy, but I guess it never hurts to visit those places at least once. The audio tour was fantastic. Hubs and I LOVE the movie The Rock so we really enjoyed being there.

By Friday evening the rest of our crew had flown in from Denver and Chicago, so we all met up at Piperade for dinner. I really enjoyed this restaurant and the atmosphere, but I wasn't that crazy about the food. Granted I was being a little bit more cautious about what I ate since I was going to be running a marathon in less than 48 hours.

Day 3

After a quick breakfast at our hotel, we headed to the expo. The expo was a decent size, but was in a fairly cramped location. We grabbed our bibs, changed waves so we could run with the 3:40 pace leader, snagged as many LaraBars as possible (I love the minis) and called it good. We decided to try to find a cafe for a sandwich by our hotel and found a little hole in the wall called Cafe Macaroni. I split the gnocchi and a pesto zucchini sandwich with Pam and it was fantastic!!! We decided to nap and lounge the rest of the day for the race. My legs were a little sore from walking a lot on Friday, so I iced on and off. For dinner we hit up Whole Foods for our pre-race meal.

Day 4

Race Day! You can find my re-cap here.

After dropping off Jess at the hospital to get checked out, we stopped at Alamo Square to see Postcard Row before heading back to the hotel. We crashed as soon as we got back to the hotel. We all proceed to take ice bath and hot showers before heading out to dinner.

Finding a dinner reservation for ten on a Sunday in SF, turned out to be more of a hassle than we imagined. We finally decided on RN74. It felt so good to be able to order everything I wanted! Our meal was really good, and it was just so nice to be able to relax.

Day 5

Our day started off earlier than I would have liked, but we had to make the drive all the way to Napa and then Calistoga for our first winery of the day. After grabbing a SLOW bite to eat at a cafe in Napa, we headed straight to Schramsberg. Zach set up a fabulous tour of the winery and caves for free! The sales director used to work for his company. Joe was fantastic and we had such a blast tasting and touring the place. Joe was even nice enough to give us a few bottles for FREE on our way out to enjoy during our stay. Needless to say, we were all very big fans of Schramsberg sparking wines by the time we left.

Our next stop was Chateau Montalena (the winery from Bottle Shock). It was cool to stop by, but wasn't one of my favorites.

We rounded out our day with stops at Stag's Leap and Domaine Chandon. By this point, I had a pretty good buzz going so I don't think I am "qualified" to judge the wines. However, I will say, at Stag's Leap the guy charging for the Reserve($30) gave it to our friends for free and the guy charging for the cheap wine($15) charged us full price. Ugh hello, there is a reason why we chose the cheap stuff buddy! The boys decided to test the grapes right off the vine as we left Domain Chandon. I thought they would be gross but they weren't that bad!

For dinner, we decided on Tra Vigne in St. Helena. Some more friends from Denver and St. Louis were able to join us. We had fantastic food, but the service was horrible! I am completely fine with eating a slow dinner, but when half the table is asleep because we finished our meal an hour ago and you still haven't brought us a dessert menu or a check or OFFERED us another glass of wine, then there is a problem. I'm sure the desserts would have been delish had we been given time to order them.

Day 6

After a very busy Monday, we all wanted some R and R on Tuesday morning. We started the day with a delicious break buffet at our hotel the Vintage Inn, and then hit up the pool for some sun. After our down time, we grabbed some sandwiches in town and headed to Rutherford Hill for a picnic. Instead of a tasting, we bought two bottles to split. Our picnic was awesome, and we all had a blast. I would definitely recommend going there just for the view. On our way home we stopped by Mumm to indulge in some more sparkling wine. Mumm had a great patio area and a free art exhibit which was cool. All in all it was another very successful day in Napa!

Day 7

Back to San Francisco we go! Pam, Hubs and I headed back to the city for a two days before flying home. We checked into the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill and headed to Fisherman's Warf and Ghiradelli Square for some tourista action. Fisherman's Warf wasn't that enjoyable, but I wasn't expecting much. I actually kind of liked Ghiradelli Square, but I also love chocolate and we grabbed cupcakes which definitely hit the spot. For dinner we decided on sushi as Mas Sake in Cow Hollow. This place would be perfect before a night out on the town. It has a club atmosphere and really creative and delicious sushi rolls.

Day 8

We spent our last day in San Fran lounging around in the hotel before deciding to leave for breakfast. Our first stop was La Boulange, which was again fantastic. San Francisco definitely knows food and does it well. Andrew wanted to sleep longer, so Pam and I decided to do a mega shopping walk. From our hotel we headed down California to Fillmore and then up Fillmore to Union Street. Andrew caught a cab to meet us for lunch. Out of all the places we could grab a bite, Pam and the Hubs were both insistent on In n Out! I don't understand it, but what can you do. At least I've had my fix for the year.

San Francisco is at the top of my list for favorite city. I really enjoyed being there and EATING there. It is like a food lover's mecca. The best part is the Hub's cousin lives there so I can definitely see a return trip within the year!

What's your favorite city?


I am really counting my blessings right now. I think I lucked out with my foot big time! I went from barely being able to walk two weeks ago, to testing my foot out on a VERY short run this Thursday. With my taped on orthotic, I walked on the treadmill for 1/2 a mile and then decided to see how it would feel to run a mile. I felt pretty good, but I decided to not push it. I did walk a few more miles with zero pain after. I am so excited! I am still going to take it slow for the next few weeks, but at least I can try a few short runs!

I am still undecided about the New York Marathon. I think I will start a modified training plan in a few weeks and make a decision closer to the race. There is a half marathon in Boulder in September called the Indian Summer Half around the Boulder Resevoir that I am almost 99% sure I will run. I love racing in new locations, and the last three miles are suppose to have fantastic views of the flatirons. only $50 it is much cheapter than running the Denver Half in October!

Foot Update and Runner's Envy

I went to the podiatrist yesterday to get my right foot checked out. As soon as I made the appointment, my foot started feeling a little bit better. Of course! I decided to go in anyway to get an x-ray, make sure nothing was fractured and to get checked for tendonitis. Based on where I was feeling pain, the doc dismissed tendonitis right away. After the x-ray came back, he said there was no sign of any major stress fracture. His diagnosis was that I sprained the bottom side bone of my foot. I had no idea that was even possible! I remember pretty distinctly knowing something happened around mile 22, but now it is so hard for me to remember what the pain felt like. He wrapped my foot in basically an attached orthotic that I need to keep on for 3-4 days. I didn't get a timeline for when I can workout again, but I am thinking next week looks good for at least some tennis and maybe biking.

My lovely orthotic

The pain is right below the white tape

I live across the street from a big park so every morning I see lots of runners out and about. Today was the very first time I felt serious runner's envy. I work fairly early so morning runs are tought for me to squeeze in. I am always a little bit jealous of the people who have schedules that allow them to run at 7:30 in the morning, but today was different. I was seriously pissed as I watched so many people enjoying their leisurely run when I can't run. I don't know how those of you that have had injuries that prevent you from running weeks and even months do it. I don't even think I actually need to run right now. It just sucks knowing that I can't!

San Francisco Marathon Race Report

We're home!! Hubs and I flew home late Thursday night from San Francisco. Unfortunately, we had a hectic Friday with work and a wedding to attend so this post is a little late. This race report was very difficult to write. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life and also one of the hardest. I'm going to do a separate post on the vacation aspects of our trip, including our two days in Napa! But first, the race report. Warning, this post is going to be ridiculously long. So if you want the short version...I qualified for Boston!!!!

Thursday - Saturday

After flying into San Fran on Thursday night, Hubs,my best friend Pam and I checked into our hotel and did some sightseeing on Friday. The rest of our group flew in on Friday night, and we all went to a nice dinner. On Saturday, we headed over to the expo to pick up our bibs and chips and walk around. The expo was really nice, and much larger than most of the expos in Denver. I wish I would have bought another marathon shirt since the shirt they gave out are white and definitely see through. Hubs and I hit the LaraBar booth a few too many times, but we needed to replenish our stock of the minis because they are the perfect size!

Lunch on Saturday was at a cute little Italian cafe a few blocks from our hotel. I had some delicious gnocchi and half a pesto zucchini sandwich. The rest of the afternoon was spent napping and resting our feet. The biggest mistake I made before the marathon was going to see Alcatraz on Friday. I think we did a little too much walking and the backs of my knees were very sore. I tried not to think about them and I iced as much as possible.

For Dinner, we headed to Whole Foods so I could "sort of" recreate what I usually eat before a long run. My go to meal has been a tofu and broccoli stir fry with brown rice. At Whole Foods, I got all three ingredients but the tofu was pretty gross and the broccoli wasn't cooked. Oh well, I tried! I took half a Tylenol PM at 7:30 hoping I would be out by 10:00. I did fall asleep around 10:30, but at 1:00 I woke up freaking out that I forgot my running shoes (which I had worn on the plane and in San Fran). I knew I was screwed for getting much more sleep that night. I slept maybe another hour and half before the alarm went off at 3:30.

The Big Day

I woke up with lots of butterflies in my stomach Sunday morning. I downed my oatmeal with peanut butter and chocolate chips as best I could that early in the morning, and started getting ready. Pam's wave started an hour after mine so we said our goodbyes. Andrew, Dave and Dave's brother Pauly walked down to the start together. Dave and I jumped in the porti-potty line and started to stretch. Jess met up with us a few minutes later. We took our pre-race photos and then headed toward the Wave 2 corral.

At the expo, I decided to sign up for the 3:40 pace group. I know most people say for your first marathon your goal should be to finish and not to worry about a time. I thought about doing that, but I just don't think it is my personality to not set goals for each race. I decided to make multiple goals so that at the end of the race I would feel accomplished no matter the time. My goals were:

1. Finish the Marathon and Have Fun!
2. Finish Under 4:30
3. Finish Under 4:00
4. Finish Under 3:40 and Boston Qualify

Based off my last half marathon time of 1:46, McMillian said that I could run a marathon in 3:45. My choice to go with the 3:40 pace group instead of the 3:50 definitely made me nervous. I decided to stay with the 3:40 for at least 6 or 7 miles and if it felt too fast, I would slow down and conserve my energy. Jess also ran with the 3:40 pace group so I was very excited we would be together!

After the gun went off, we crossed the start line very quickly and with minimal pushing. One thing I thought was odd was that the 3:30 pace group lined up behind the 3:40, and after 1/2 mile they proceeded to pass us. Is that normal? The first few miles were blurry. It was still very dark. Jess and I thought the pace felt unusually comfortable, but sure enough by mile 3 we had picked up the pace. We were running under an 8:00 for almost two miles. Our pace leader told us it was to make up for time lost going up the hills to the bridge. As we made our way up the biggest hill of the course, things definitely started to get difficult. I had prepared myself for this being the hardest hill of the course, but it surprisingly wasn't that bad!

Running over the bridge was by far my favorite part of the course. The wind was calm and it was really foggy, but it was such a cool experience (even though we couldn't see anything!) On the way back across the bridge there were two other runners wearing the exact same blue and black outfit that Jess was wearing. We got to talking and I chatted with a guy named David who was also running his first marathon. We talked for probably two miles and it was a really nice distraction.

After crossing the bridge, we entered the Presidio. We had another big hill to climb and fairly substantial downhill. This was one was definitely a surprise. Apparently, I had missed it on the elevation map!?!? The view of the Pacific was spectacular from this area. A few miles later we split from the half marathoners and the full marathoners continued through Golden Gate Park. This park is absolutely an oasis. It was very quiet and peaceful, and I can see why so many people would want to run here. My only complain about this section was that it felt like we were climbing hills the whole time. Looking at the elevation map, we were climbing hills the whole time.

Andrew and Zach (Jess' boyfriend) found us one their bikes around mile 15. It was so great to see them and very nice to unload the jacket I had been wearing for the first half. Around mile 18, Jess said she was starting to struggle keeping up with the 3:40 pace group. I think I was feeling the same exact thing. We had hit our first mini-wall. I hoped with all this climbing we would start to go back downhill eventually. I was very happy to exit the park around mile 19.

Somewhere between mile 19 and 20 we had lost our pace group leader behind us. Another chic from our group and a guy from Colorado Springs proceeded down the steep hill on Haight Street. Jess and the other girl sprinted down the hill, while the guy and I held back. Downhill is not my friend, and I didn't want to do something now that hurt later when we got to 23 or 24. Jess and I had talked about finishing together, but she was feeling much stronger at this point. I hoped I would be able to catch up to her some time later.

Around mile 22, is when things started to get really tough. I felt something twinge in my right foot, and I started praying that it wasn't a stress fracture. I hobbled on for a another 20 yards and the pain started to subside. This part of the race was very boring. It goes through a very industrial area with zero crowd support. My stomach had started acting up around mile 18, but every time we passed a porti-potty it started to feel better.

I had taken a peppermint pill at 4:00 in the morning, and at mile 24 it was starting to do its job. I felt like I was burping peppermint with each step. At the last water stop, I knew water would not help my situation but I was soooo thirsty. I took two cups and immediately regretted it. My body wanted to puke the water back up, but I was so dehydrated so nothing happened. I had caught up to Jess at this point, and I told her to keep running strong. She said she could see our pace leader behind me, but he was still pretty far behind us. At mile 24.5, I walked for the first time. The second I put my arms down my muscles burned like crazy. I knew if I started walking now it would be hard to get going again, but I had to due to my stomach pain. I decided to take 10-15 steps and then run again. I did that three times and I slowly made my way to the Giant's stadium.

Around mile 25, Andrew showed up on his bike at the exact perfect moment and motivated me to keep going to the finish line. It is crazy how close I was to Boston qualifying, and yet I was so ready to give up. I started to pick up my pace because the 3:40 pace leader was just a few steps behind me. I knew we were close to being done so I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. About 40 yards from the finish line, the pace leader started screaming ladies we are going to Boston, and right then I knew I had done it.

(My I am never going to walk again face!)

I crossed the finish line with the biggest smile I could muster and proceeded to completely loose it. I cried because I was happy, in so much pain, and so proud all at the same time. I gave Jess a big hug and we cried in celebration that we both had completed our goal of qualifying for Boston together. What an awesome experience!

(Boston Qualifiers!)

After grabbing water and food, Andrew and I sat on the side of the course and I continued to cry. I was in a LOT of pain at this point. I couldn't walk or put weight on my right foot. My stomach was also still queasy. As time passed, things started to feel a little more bearable, but my right foot was still bothering me. Jess and I sat down and rooted for Dave and Pam at the finish line.

Final stats were 3:39:20 (8:22 pace)

Before running San Fran, I knew I wanted to run another marathon. I signed up for NYCM this year and got in! I didn't expect to Boston qualify the first time out so I definitely have some decision to make about whether I want to run NY this year or pay another $180 to run it in 2010. I think my only option for Boston is running the 2010 marathon. So some big decisions will be made fairly soon. First, I need to heal my right foot. I don't think it was a stress fracture, but it could possibly be peroneus longus tendonitis. It is a dull pain that I feel all the time on the side of my foot. It probably didn't help that we were still walking quite a bit on our vacation. I thought the pain was normal after a marathon, but my body actually feels fine now expect for the foot. I am heading to the doctor today to get it checked out.

Look for the vacation post soon. If you are still reading this, thanks! :)

Just Like That

When I signed up for the San Francisco Marathon back in October, July 26th 2009 seemed so far away!!! Now I am only three short runs away from running my first full marathon. This process has been very educational not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. After I cross the finish line next Sunday, I will have over 875 miles of running for the year. That is equivalent to running from Denver to Tucson, Arizona!!

After trying to schedule long runs for so many Sunday mornings, it seemed odd this week to only have 8 miles. I am a big believer in visualizing success beforehand, so with each run I keep re-enacting what I think it will feel like to run the race and cross the finish line. I have come up with different aspects to focus on for different parts of the race. This is my plan so far:

Miles 1-6: Have fun, enjoy the crowd, excitement, and adrenaline
Miles 7-11: Focus on finding a comfortable pace and stride
Miles 12-16: Focus on consistency in fueling and pacing, zone out
Miles 17-21: Focus on form - arms down, elbows in
Miles 22-26.2: Run with passion, think about the journey leading up to this moment

During the past two weeks, I have definitely experienced taper madness. Most people say it is caused by the cut back in mileage, but that is not the case for me. What worries me the most is just minor aches and pains that I have been having. They say that during your taper, you can't enhance anything you have done for your marathon, but you can undo what you have done. So basically, don't do anything stupid the weeks leading up to the race!

Runner's World has an awesome article about what to do during the last three weeks. I am really going to try hard to eat well and drink lots of water this week. I am also trying to add an extra half hour of sleep each night.

The great thing about this race is that I get to look forward to a vacation after it is done. We will be spending two nights in Napa and then back to San Francisco for some more sightseeing once the legs have recovered. So worse comes to worse, I can always distract myself at the end with thoughts of wine, cheese and chocolate! :)

I hope I can post one more time before we leave on Thursday. If not, I will have a full race report when we get back!

Chi-Town and Updates

I'm back!!! I can't believe it is already the middle of July. Where did the summer go? Hubs and I have had a jam packed schedule since we got back from Chicago, and I am just now starting to feel like I have a handle on things. Does everyone else struggle getting back into the real world after vacation? I always feel like it takes me at least a week to get caught up.

Before we left for Chicago, I did my long run on Thursday morning. This is the first time I have ever done a long run in the middle of the week, and it was my last long run before the marathon. My legs were definitely tired for this run since I had done a 14 mile trail run on Sunday and I had a make-up tennis match on Wednesday night that lasted over 3 hours!!! Not exactly an ideal situation, but running 20 miles during my vacation in Chicago didn't sound like a smart idea. Good thing since I didn't even manage to run my 10 mile run I had scheduled.

Even with tired legs, this run was pretty uneventful. My friend Jess joined me out on the highline canal again and the miles ticked away fast since we were talking so much. During training, the long runs have always been my favorite. It is the mid-long runs (9-12) during the week that I haven't really enjoyed.

After we finished, I hurried home to shower, pack and head to the airport. Chicago was absolutely fantastic. I can see why so many young professionals choose to live in Chicago. I could never live there because of the miserable winters and I would miss the mountains too much. I never realized how FLAT Chicago is. Since pictures are much more fun I will let them tell the story of our trip! :)

Dinner and drinks at Moe's in Wrigleyville

Cubs Game (They won in the 10th inning!)

Watching the fireworks at Navy Pier

The top floor of the Hancock building after shopping on Michigan Ave.

Dinner at Japonais on the Chicago River

I'm in Chicago!

At the Bean in Millennium Park

North St. Beach

At the beach with the Chicago skyline

Architectural Boat Cruise

Sears Tower

My two favorite buildings are the ones on the right

Grant Park

We definitely had a great trip, and can't wait to plan another visit to Chicago. I still can't believe how much we did in 3 1/2 days. I think we got a good feel of the city. Another part of the trip that I really enjoyed was walking around Bucktown. It has a bunch of cute boutiques and restaurants and I thought it was a really cool part of the city. Less than two weeks till our next vacation....San Fran!!!