Sunday, May 29, 2016

Ottawa Marathon

Ottawa is a beautiful city.  I enjoyed  a few days of long walks and even a little river cruise as I explored the city. But one worry was hanging over the heads of all the runners as well as the race directors.  The forecast was for 90 degrees plus it has been in the high 80's to 90's for the last few days.  There was even talk of canceling the race.  They did finally move the half Marathon and the 10K races to an earlier start but left us marathoners with the original 7 am start.

But it was rather cool this morning plus overcast with a pretty good breeze.  Bystanders had hoses and sprinklers and sprayed us all as we passed by.  I was honestly never really too hot.  The water cooled me off.  I really did push myself though.  I finished at 6:10, which is quite the improvement over all those long ones I just completed.  I was worried that they would close the race before I finished.  The last 10K was a little warm but again it wasn't that bad with all the water that people were spraying on me.  I found out after I finished that those who didn't cross the bridge leaving Quebec by 11 am ended up being directed past the last 10K loop and finishing only a 20 mile course instead of 26.2.  Fortunately I was fast enough that it didn't happen to me. I was so happy to finish in time and I still had energy.  I've said before that it's really easier to run faster and get finished than to take your time and take 8 hours.  It's all about the amount of time on your feet.

I'm pretty happy that I was able to run 14 full marathons this month, plus one last month and also walk about 200 miles through Italy.  I am ready for a day at home and a more restful month up in Deadhorse at work.  But I think I will miss the daily marathons.  It becomes habit when you run that far day after day.  It was hard but I really did enjoy it.

The Medal is Gorgeous!

Crossing the finish line in Ottawa

Saturday, May 21, 2016

New England Series Day 7 New York

Today is simply a repeat of the New York New Paltz run from the Independence Series.  I liked this funny course the first time so enjoyed it the second time too.  I didn't even mind the 20 lap part.  I was also feeling a little more energetic.  Perhaps that was just from knowing it was the last day. I'm hoping to get some time to walk on the beach and visit my cousins before I fly up to Canada. I wasn't exactly speedy today but did beat the 8 hours with a time of 7:45. I'm trying not to be concerned over the 6:30 time limit I have to deal with in Ottawa.  But I plan to run the whole way on that one and not do any walking to chit chat with my friends.  This is the last of the take my time and relax my way to the finish line races.  It has warmed up a bit so was pleasant. I ran with my dress and no long warm leggings, even bringing Hello Kitty along for the ride.

Many of the others dressed as their favorite super hero.  So I added some pink hair and said my super hero was Crazy Cat Woman.

I found a tiny fox on the grass watching us go by.

Here is the final long medal with all 7 states.

Friday, May 20, 2016

New England Series Day 6 Connecticut

Another slow one for me.  This one seemed tiring for some reason.  Most likely it has something to do with the previous 5 races.  It was along the Iron Horse Greenway in Simsbury, Connecticut.  It was conveniently close to my hotel, basically across the street. It still took me 8 hours.  I spent some time walking and chatting with the other runners. too.  It was a long straight gentle sloping paved trail and quiet and green.  I'm ready for the last day tomorrow.  I can tell I'm getting tired.  I'm looking forward to a few days off before hitting the race in Ottawa that actually has a time limit.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

New England Series Day 5 Rhode Island

Day 5 brings us to Rhode Island and the pleasant Coventry Center Park.
It's definitely getting greener now.  These trees all have their leaves. Rhode Island is such a small state that I've heard many people having trouble even finding a race to run here.  So it is nice to have the chance to run Rhode Island. I was really poking along at 8 hours again though. I'm sure not breaking any speed records on these races.  I have to wonder if they are really being a good workout or if the are just not much more than long walks.  But by the end of each one, I can hardly stand up. So I must be making some progress in fitness. I find it's actually more difficult to take 8 hours versus taking only 5 or 6 hours.  Even if you are just walking, you are still spending that much more time n your feet.  I really prefer running to walking and try to limit the amount of time that I spend walking.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

New England Series Day 4 Massachusetts

There was something about this course that seemed to bother almost everyone.  Personally I kind of liked it.  Most of it was on grass, so to begin with, the grass was wet in the morning. So my shoes got a little wet at first. But the main complaint was that the ground was kind of lumpy and uneven.  I liked it because the grass was soft.  Sometimes the pavement makes the bottom of my feet hurt. I liked that it was kind of spongy even if it was a little uneven. It was like a softer version of the cobblestones of the Rome Marathon. The weather is still kind of cold but still no rain or high winds.  I have no complaints.  I compare everything to the nightmare of the New Jersey Marathon.  And so far nothing has come close to that level of agony! Things are starting to green up so it is getting a little prettier as we move south. It was a slow course because it climbed partway up a hill.  I was a little over 8 hours today.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

New England Series Day 3 Vermont

Now for the third day in a row in Springfield, Vermont. This course was easier than some for whatever reason.  I was back to 7:15 instead of closing in on 8 hours. There was a nice creek running beside most of the course so it was more like a nice walk in nature. I was feeling a little better and less tired for this one.  I always enjoy the sound of running water.

Monday, May 16, 2016

New England Series Day 2 New Hampshire

Now day two in Greenfield State Park in New Hampshire.  Once again we ran in a pleasant state park that was quite green with evergreen trees but with few leaves on the other trees. I was closing in on 8 hours again at 7:52. In the mornings following each race I am exhausted from the day before. I have been getting up at 4 am for each of these races.  That alone is enough to make a person slow down.  I seem to get progressively slower with each passing day.  It's an ever increasing accumulation of tiredness.  Plus each day after our race we have to scramble on to the next state which is often over 100 miles away.  Even the driving and the search for a meal when I get there tend to add to the general tiredness. But in spite of that, it is really fun to run with Mainly Marathons.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

New England Series Day 1 Maine

Now we begin the New England Series with Mainly Marathons.  The first race, Day 1 is in Sanford, Maine. A rather flat course and rather pleasant.  Again kind of cold.  Spring has not quite reached Maine yet.  But I did find some pretty flowers along the route where we passed a few homes.  But there were no leaves on the trees yet.  No rain though. I enjoyed quite a bit of traveling through Maine before today.  I even got to visit a few friends who live up this way.

I was recovered from the last series so was back to just a little over 7 hours.  Even if I were to run as fast as possible, I would still end up being rather slow simply because it is so easy to linger at the food table with each loop or to walk a lap or two while talking to one of the other runners.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Independence Series Day 5 New York

Finally the last day of the Independence Series. This was a crazy course that zig zagged back and forth so that we were passing each other several times.  I thought it was kind of a fun course, around a track, through a barn and back again for 20 laps. I was a lot faster on this one. It was totally flat which definitely speeds things up.  I was still not breaking any speed records at 7:47.  It is nice to be done with races for a few days.  I plan to drive up through the New England states and do some sightseeing before I begin the next series which has 7 marathons 7 states in 7 days.  I have about a week to recover from this series before I start the next one.

I love the medals when you do a complete series.  Each day you get a new state to attach to the big medal.  They are really cute and that is one reason I like to run the entire series even if I don't particularly need all of the states.

Here is the finishers medal for the whole Independence Series.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Independence Series Day 4 New Jersey

Here I am back in New Jersey again.  This time in Clinton New Jersey for Day 4 of the Independence Series.  Of course I didn't really need to run another race in New Jersey, but it's more fun to run the entire series.  Today was pleasant with a small lake in a nice park. It was cloudy and cool but at least it wasn't raining.  In all ways it was easier than the other New Jersey run. But I am definitely wearing out because I still took 8 hours and 34 minutes.  I did a lot of walking and visiting with the other runners.  It easy to take your time on these because the object is to finish and there is no real purpose in pushing as hard as you can.  So I relaxed a lot today.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Independence Series Day 3 Pennsylvania

Today in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania at the Daniel Boone Homestead we really got to see what it's like to run a marathon in the pouring rain. It poured rain the entire day.  The course was basically trail with gentle hills.  Some parts were paved trail but other parts were gravel.  All of the low sections were eventually flooded. At times the water was actually over my ankles.  There was a bridge over a creek and as the hours passed the creek became higher and higher.  I wondered if it would finally flood right over the little wooden bridge. But I did finish before that happened.  This was a very slow race and I found that my raincoat was totally worthless.  I was soaked to the skin.  My shoes were so wet that I washed them out in the bathtub when I got back to my hotel.  I was really slow as I splashed through that course.  The only saving grace that made it better than the New Jersey Marathon was that it didn't include any wind.  Thank goodness!  But I was out there for 8 hours and 34 minutes, thinking that there must be a better was to check off a marathon in Pennsylvania!

There were a few sheep out there along the trail likely wondering what in the world the crazy humans were doing out there.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Independence Series Day 2 Maryland

Today's event was so close to yesterday's that I was able to stay in the same hotel for two nights.  My friend Ila shared the room with me for both nights.  It's always nice to have some company.  Today was in Elkton Maryland.  It was very green but again rather cold.  But at least not raining.  I was kind of tired from the day before so took about 8 hours to reach the finish. But I got there!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Independence Series Day 1 Delaware

Now that I've thawed out and basically recovered from the icy cold New Jersey Marathon, I have begun the Mainly Marathons Independence Series of 5 marathons, 5 days 5 states.

Today was Delaware.  We ran in the lovely Lums Pond State Park in Bear Delaware.  This is a beautiful time of year in this part of the country.  There are blossoming fruit trees blooming everywhere. That is something we don't see much of in Alaska. Since there is no actual time limit, I didn't push myself too hard, considering I still have 4 more marathons to do in the next 4 days. I took about 7:15 and walked a little here and there while visiting with my friends along the way.  We did numerous loops while counting our loops by picking up rubber bands each time we returned to the start.  It was still kind of chilly but not as bad as the New Jersey freezing cold race.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

New Jersey Marathon

This was probably one of the most difficult marathons I have ever run.  The weather was terrible. It rained almost the entire time, but along with the wind it was very cold and extremely windy.  I noticed that I ran faster just to try to stay warm.  I was only wearing my running skirt and a light T-shirt, although I did have one of those disposable rain ponchos to help protect me from the wind.  But it really was not doing a very good job.  By mile 17 I felt that I was getting into trouble simply from the cold. The wind had pretty much destroyed the poncho by then.  I started looking for anything that I could use for wind protection.  Finally I found a heavy fleece pullover that someone had discarded.  Of course it was soaking wet, but I grabbed it and put it on over my T-shirt.  It was very helpful because fleece tends to hold onto some warmth even when it is wet.  My number and my purple shirt were so covered that the Team In Training coaches were having trouble recognizing me.  There were only 14 of us who ran the full marathon and as usual I was last among our group. Finally the TNT coaches all ran with me and encouraged me as I shivered through the last 5 or 6 miles.  My feet were so cold that for most of the race I never even felt them.  But towards the end they started to thaw out and the pain was excruciating.  I was very close to tears just from the pain to my feet.  But I managed to make my way all the way to the finish line.  I kept remembering that no matter how miserable I was, it was not as miserable as chemo.  And after all, finding a cure for cancer was my motivation for running this race..  I did finish, and managed to stay well under the time limit of 6:30.

I greatly appreciate the help and support I received from the NJ Team In Training coaches.  They were wonderful and I know they really helped me make it to the finish line.

This race weekend greatly increased my medal collection. One for the 5K, one for the marathon, a TNT Alumni medal and a special one for the fundraising increase by doing both events.