Saturday, September 29, 2007

Lake Tahoe Half Marathon

Well folks, I ran my first half marathon today. Whoo-hoo! I wasn't sure at all I wanted to do more than the 10K, but I sucked it up and signed up for the Lake Tahoe Half Marathon. But of course, it had to snow last night- I got just about an inch. Which made for a pretty brisk morning. I still haven't gotten to wear my cute new running outfit I bought at the beginning of the summer (except for the one time I tried it out on my treadmill, which doesn't count). Instead I wore my long Adidas pants and a long sleeve shirt (2007 Reno Journal Jog), and a sweatshirt (2007 Pyramid Lake Sprint Triathlon). And to complete my outfit I wore my favorite wicking hat (2007 UC Davis Sprint Triathlon). So here's how it went. I didn't sleep well last night because I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to run because I didn't pick up my packet yesterday (missed the bolded underlined print at the top of the final instructions they sent me, somehow), and I was nervous about running the longest run of my life (by half!); plus Max insisted on sleeping undercovers and kneeded me and nosed me with her wet nose and made herself a nice nest out of my hair on my pillow. What a spoiled cat! Anyway, this morning dawned bright and clear, and I managed to get this picture of beautiful Lake Tahoe while I was driving. (You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

I was able to pick up my packet this morning, but I got there late and didn't get my bib or running chip until I got to the start line. Talk about last minute! And I even got up early and turned off my alarm. But I managed to get on the bus before it took off, and forgot my medical tape in the car. I wanted to tape up my arches so I wouldn't get a blister. I had hoped to beg some band-aids off someone, but no luck there. The bus got us to the start about an hour before the race started. There was ice on the roads, and lost of shade so my fingers were like little popsicles. Man, I'm glad I had long sleeves! I didn't even take off my gloves and sweatshirt for the first 2 miles. I ate a Cliff Bar (Blueberry!) at 9:45 and decided I needed some water to help get that down. I don't like to drink much water before a race because it sloshes around in my tummy and gives me the worst stitch in my side when I'm running. But I did need something to help get that bar down, just a couple ounces was enough. Then I felt bad about throwing the whole bottle away, so I decided to keep it until the first aid station. I don't like to run with anything in my hands when I run, so I honestly didn't think I'd keep it past the first aid station. There were stations every 2 miles! I even got a strawberry at one. I digress. The half marathon started promptly at 10:41, just one minute after they said they would, after about the first 40 marathoners went by. One of them was my friend Turi, but I never saw him because we were on a side street so we'd be out of the way when they passed. Sad I missed him, but kudos to him because he shattered his personal best by about a half hour. He ran his marathon in under 4 hours, which was his goal. Yeah Turi! I didn't stop until about 11:05, about five minutes into the beginning of "The Hill from Hell," where I stopped for a potty break, then walked about 2/3 of the way up that hill, alternating between running and walking. That was one long hill! Once I got to the top, I started running again, and ran up the next small hill with no problem, but at about mile 5.5 started the second hill. This one was only about half as long, but much steeper, and I didn't even try to run up it (although I got further than a bunch of people before I stopped). I ate my chocolate Power Gel, and when I got to the top of that hill, I didn't stop again until the end of the race! There were a lot of places I could have, but I didn't, and I even picked up the pace the last mile and a half! I kept thinking, the finish must be just around this corner. No, okay, well then the next one! When it finally did come, I sprinted (okay, probably only about 8 mph and then I had to slow a bit because I felt an insta-cramp coming on real quick!) to the line. My time, according to my watch, was 2 hours, 18 minutes, and 12 minutes faster than the goal I set for my self (2:30). I felt so proud of my self, and I would love to do this race again next year (hopefully minus the snow) if I can keep up my training. Right about mile 10 I got a second wind while I running on a little paved bike/running path through a secluded wooded area, and it was so beautiful with that clean brisk fall feel, and it smelled SO good! I thought to myself, there's no where I'd rather be right at this minute then running on this path with the autumn air around me, passing fading runners right and left. Such a great feeling! Well, I ran the entire way with my water bottle, and finished with a couple ounces left at the bottom. I never stopped at any of the aid stations, except to grab that one strawberry which I ate while I ran. That was weird. I managed to find a good balance in my hand so the water didn't slosh around, and I just sipped at it here and there. Better than my Camel Back for this particular race since I had that sweatshirt. At the finish, everyone was awarded a really nice medal, and I was able to procure my wind shirt I didn't get with my packet this morning. A medium that fits like a large. But with a nice logo embroidered on the front.

And here is a picture of Turi and I sporting our new Lake Tahoe Marathon Wind Shirts at the library (we got lots of comments that day :)

And I did get a blister. A nice big one on top of a pre-existing blister I gave myself on Tuesday. It hurts. Melissa wanted to see a picture of it though, so this one's dedicated to her:

Plus Nose-y Max! I'm so proud of me for running the entire thing, minus those hills. Big accomplishment for me. Now I just need to train for the International Triathlon at Donner Lake...

This got a little lengthy didn't it? Thanks for stickin' it out 'till the end. :)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Koreen's Birthday

Tonight I went to my best friend's (Melissa) sister's (Koreen) birthday party- quite the bash, complete with dancing, great food, and kids running around like crazy. (Got some cute clips of my own doing some funky dance moves I'd never seen before! Ask me and I'll show you on my camera sometime.) I wanted to post a picture of me and Melissa's (currently in Des Moines, IA) sisters, just to make her jealous and want to come home. :) It's funny how her family always asks me how she is doing, and even her mom said tonight that whenever she sees me, she looks around expecting to see her too. Just as an automatic reflex. Makes me feel good, like I'm part of their family too- they are a very close-knit bunch, and I always feel warm and loved when I'm with them. So here's the picture- see a family resemblance? (I am NOT wearing my tall shoes in this picture, BTW. I am naturally the tall one for once. :)

From the left: Koreen, Clarisse, Me, Erin.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Reno Journal Jog

Quick running blog- I did the 39th Annual Reno Journal Jog last Saturday (I know, I'm behind with my posts), and I'd like to report that it was a beautiful morning for an 8K run, and the course was mostly flat and quick. It started and ended by Reno High School, and looped through my old neighborhood. I ran it in 44 minutes and 13 seconds, and got 466th place out of 977! Whoo-hoo! I did get 25th in my age group, which is kinda cool. The other cool part was that my co-worker from the South Valleys Library, Turi, ran it with me, and I beat him by a whole second! (But only because he let me- wasn't that nice of him?) I've never done a race With someone before. It was fun to chat and run, and weave through slower runners. Made me feel in shape. :)

Here is the link with the race results.

Icing on the cake, this run! I wasn't planning on running it at the beginning of the summer, but it was good practice for the half marathon I'll be running up at Lake Tahoe on the 29th. AAaaaahhh! At least I have a decent treadmill to train on in the mean time. (Old one is no longer safe- no fair breaking something a mere two weeks before the longest race of my life.) Like running on silk, smooth as butter...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Beloved Snow Leopards

Read this article, then read my rant: Record Cache of Snow Leopard Parts Seized in China via National Geographic News on 9/9/07

I can't help but cry after reading this article- I feel guilty because as much as I love these elusive creatures for their beauty, gentle nature and independence, I have done nothing to help them, other than buy stuff off the snow leopard conservatory website, and spout menial detailed facts at anyone who will stand still long enough to listen. I haven't donated any money to their cause, even though I would like to. If I won the lotto, a great portion would go towards helping teach about conservation, building pens for the wildstock of the local farmers, and funding research. I would so love to visit Tibet, and indeed they do offer guided tours of the area in hopes of glimpsing snow leopards. I guess education of their plight is as much as I can do right now, and get on to writing that book to help spread the word. There is a new non-fiction children's book about snow leopard book coming out in Oct/Nov... (I have ordered it already for the South Valleys Library, of course!)

Further, how can people DO this?! It makes me so angry! How can they kill innocent animals? Retribution killing for the sake of survival is one thing, but just for money I don't understand. Why does everything have to be about money?! Even if someone does buy these illegal pelts, where can they wear them since they're ILLEGAL? Even at their festivals there are law-keepers who will hopefully crack down and bring the wrath of their power down on their heads.

I feel like an emotional hypocrite right now... And I really want that tattoo now!