Friday, October 31, 2014

An Obstacle-Full Weekend!

Patriot Trail Run
This past weekend was not only busy.  It was messy, as well.  For Mr. Marathon, not me, don't worry.  On Saturday, he had the Patriot Trail Run 5K.  The run didn't start until 10 so we actually got to sleep a little bit, which was refreshing!  Once we woke up, we headed to Patrick Henry Community College, where he is a student, for the second annual Patriot Run.  If you remember the first annual (last year, obviously), then you may or may not remember that he came in first place overall.  This year was no different!  Despite the trail being an actual 5K (last year was short a few tenths of a mile) and having a few more obstacles, he defended his title!  After lots of running on a trail, climbing over 6-foot hay bales, jumping through tires, carrying 50-pound buckets, going through a maze in sand that you had to crawl through, climbing over a cargo net, completing various exercise stations, and balancing on a balance beam (and many more obstacles), he came in a solid first place overall in 25:55.  So that was totally exciting!

1st Place Overall!
Afterwards, we both hit the trail for training runs for the day.  I had a ten miler because I am beginning to taper before my marathon (in 8 days!!!!!!) and he had to do 20.  We knocked out those runs because we knew that Sunday would be a busy day.  And boy, was it!

We woke up at 4:00 AM on Sunday morning for our next adventure.  We were traveling to somewhere near Charlotte, NC, for Mr. Marathon's first Tough Mudder!  After waking up and getting ready, we met the friends we were riding with and hit the road on the two and a half hour journey.

While they were still clean

Taking off

This Tough Mudder was quite the experience for everybody involved.  It was a huge crowd of people and everybody was pumped up and excited, which really set off a good vibe.  After getting all checked in and marked up and photographed while the boys were still clean, they headed toward the start line.  After a little bit of a warm up, they congregated at the starting line, then right on time, they were off.  I was merely spectating with my friend whose hubby was participating too.  So, we followed our trusty spectator map and got on a spectator route to see the various obstacles.  This particular run was 10 miles with tons of obstacles, so we did our fair share of moving as well.  Granted, we got a little less muddy (for the most part....).

Anyway, here is a quick overview of the obstacles that I managed to see hubbs on.  The first one that I got to see was called Quagmire, which was essentially a mud pit that they had to run through.


The next one I saw (we missed a few already by this point) was called Arctic Enema, where they had to jump into pretty much what looked like a dumpster filled with ice water, and duck under the wall in the middle and swim to the other side.

Prairie Dog was the next event we saw (again, missed some more).  Prairie Dog was an obstacle where there were tubes and you had to climb using a rope inside of the tube to pull yourself up the tube, which was going uphill.

The next obstacle seemed pretty scary.  It was like a high dive into a pool of water.  The jump was pretty high!!!

Arctic Enema

Prairie Dog

High Dive

At this point, my friend and I got kinda lost and sidetracked from the other people we were with.  We were becoming thirsty, tired, and delirious (from all the running and obstacles of course... oh wait, we didn't do any running or obstacles... heh...)  so we found a water stop, then got lost, then came back to the water stop, then decided to park it in front of an obstacle that we were sure they hadn't come to yet because at this point we had no idea how they were doing and where they were.

Pitfall... Surprise!!!!

So we just waited at Pitfall, which is an obstacle that is a pool of water and holes are dug randomly so you never know when the water is shallow, or when it's deep.  Surprise!

The obstacle almost directly after Pitfall, we managed to watch, and it was just this big inflatable thing the runners had to jump over.

Big Inflatable Thing...?

We also got to see our boys do the Funky Monkey Obstacle twice-- once on sloped monkey bars/ladder things, and the second on pipes and rings.

Funky Monkey

After Funky Monkeying, and going through what's called the "Mud Mile", they  had to conquer Everest, which was a quarter-pipe that they had to run up and get to the top ledge.  This one, Alfredo seemed to not have any trouble with at all!  He just popped right on up there.

Running up Everest
Conquering Everest!
The final obstacle after Everest was the Electro Shock Therapy, which sounds terrifying enough just by hearing the name.  It was a pool of mud and sludge with hay bales in it with dangling wires that were charged and ready to shock anybody who touched them.  As a spectator, this one was awful to watch, because I could hear the zaps and crackles from the wires and the various curse words from the participants.  It seemed really tough, and I'm glad I did not have to do it.  Mr. Marathon and his gang made it through, some fast, some not so fast; some graceful, some not so graceful.  But most important of all, they finished muddy, and in good spirits!

Electro Shock Therapy

Coming up tomorrow, we have the Pancake Run in Danville, as well as the Dirty Dan Dash (for him, not me!!), and the Time Traveler Pi-Miler (again, for him, not me!).  Tomorrow will be a busy day, so look for the upcoming blog post.  Hopefully we'll have it posted by Thanksgiving.....

The boys.... all muddy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon 2014:
We Ran That Beach!

This past weekend was a fun, fast mini vacation with a mini marathon included.  Our running friends have been going to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for the past few  years to participate in the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon.  This year, we were able to go, and we are glad we did!  We headed out as soon as we could on Friday afternoon to get to the beach speedy-quick!  Upon our arrival, we enjoyed birthday shenanigans for one of the friends we went with.  Saturday was a super relaxing beach-bum kind of day.  After birthday shenanigans and beach-bumming on Friday and Saturday, it was time to get down to business.  Well, running business.  But business nonetheless!
The view behind our house... ahhhhh....
I had a little bit of pressure riding on this half marathon.  Last weekend, at the Danville Half Marathon, I was mere seconds from a personal record.  I pushed as hard as I could, and I just didn't quite make it.  I knew that I could do it at Myrtle Beach.  I knew that I had to do it.  So needless to say, I was nervous all weekend (and all of last week while preparing!).  I always get nervous when I'm doing a run away from home, like having to stay the night somewhere else, because I panic about forgetting things or messing up pre-race ritual and stuff.  I tried to stick to the plan as perfectly as possible to ensure I perform as I wanted to.  What's the plan, you're wondering???  Well, I'm glad you asked, because here it is.

STEP 1: Carbo-loading is a must.  We like pasta before a race, like many runners.  Because we were out of town, we found a nice little pizza and pasta restaurant and ordered spaghetti.  Safe and carby!

STEP 2: Prepare.  Preparation is very important to me because I am a worrier.  I had to make sure that I had all my running gear laid out on Thursday before leaving on Friday, and then again Saturday night before the race to make sure I had all my clothes and other necessities.

Getting our bibs ready!

STEP 3: SLEEP.  Sleeping is very important pre-race.  We made sure to hit the hay at a decent hour despite being somewhere else and being SUPER EXCITED.

STEP 4: HYDRATE.  We made sure that even though we spent the whole day before at the beach that we were hydrating.  We were  drinking water and Gatorade the whole weekend, and then  in the morning, we made sure to fuel up with water, even though some people were drinking some delicious coffee.... I wanted some so bad!  But that's their rituals, not ours.

STEP 5: FOOD!  We made sure that we had our pre-run breakfast of oatmeal on Sunday morning.  We actually bought a new box to bring to the beach with us.  However, it stayed in Virginia.  So we made sure to buy some new oatmeal to not throw off our routine.  Regardless, we got some, and it all worked out.

STEP 6:  POTTY!  As soon as we arrived at the race starting location, we made sure to hop in the potty line.  Even though it was ridiculously long, we made it to the starting corrals just as they were starting, which means we allotted just enough time.  Thank goodness.

STEP 7: Rock it out!  Self explanatory.

Ok maybe I should explain Step 7 in more detail.  Because we both made sure that we were prepared in every way, we were ready to run.  We started in our respective pace groups (Mr. Marathon at the very very front, and me somewhere between the 10 and 12 minute mile pacers.... I don't know exactly where I was.... I got lost in the 3,500ish people!).  We started off at good paces and managed to maintain our good paces according to our goals, and not the people around us.  We enjoyed the run, the scenery, and the spectators (near the end anyway).  All of these things caused us to both do something amazing: PR!  Mr. Marathon managed to update his PR from last week to 1:27:19.  I cut mine from 2:24:43 in 2013 to 2:19:55!!!!!!  That's practically 5 minutes faster!  All I wanted was a PR but as I was closing in, I kept thinking to myself IS THIS ACTUALLY GOING TO HAPPEN?!?! IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN!  IT'S HAPPENING!  Then it did.  And I'm THRILLED!!!!  And sore.  But mostly thrilled, so let's stick with that.

The gang!

Aren't we cute?????

All in all, we had a fantastic weekend full of successes.  PRs and SOMEONE ended up placing 3rd in his age group.... can you guess who???  I'll give you a hint: this is the same person who came back for his wife at the half marathon and ended up with a total of 18.5 miles, not just 13.1.  Show off.
His finisher medal, bib and 3rd place age group award

Accepting his award

We have some fun stuff coming up.  Mr. Marathon is going to do the Patriot Trail Run this Saturday, October 25, as well as a Tough Mudder on Sunday!   Oh, and our marathon is coming up in a little over TWO WEEKS!!!!!!!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Danville Half Marathon and Other Fun Things

This weekend I was supposed to have a 20 mile run.  I wasn't feeling very motivated, so we decided to head to Danville, VA, for the Danville Half Marathon for the first 13.1 of those miles.  We headed out early Saturday and set off for 13.1 miles in kind of rainy and dreary weather.  This course was flat, which was very nice, and having on-course aid for a long run was very nice as well.

Mr. Marathon had a good run with a friend, all over downtown Danville and up and down the River Walk along the river.  He ended up finishing in a time of about 1:28!  Official times aren't posted just yet, but either way he is thinking he got himself a PR!

Oh, and we both placed first in our age group!

I, on the other hand, was extremely close to a PR.  I managed to maintain a consistent 10-11 minute per mile pace, and I was feeling good!  In order to PR, I had to maintain faster than an 11:02 pace.  I really thought I had it, but my watch said 2:25:07 and only 13.04 miles, and my PR is 2:24:43 for a full 13.1.  I'm not sure about my official time, but I do know that I was so, so close!  But fortunately, I have another chance to PR again next weekend at the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon!  I am desperately hoping for a PR to round out my intense training before I really crack down and focus solely on my marathon.

Watch time
Speaking of intense training, after the half, we had to continue on to get in our long run, which for me was 20.  We tried continuing on immediately after the run, but I only made it an additional mile.  Then, we decided to head on home and run in the comfort of our own trail, rather than some strange trail.  So after some lunch and a nap, I continued on to make it to my 20.  Mr. Marathon had come back for me at the half, so he ended up with 22.  Again, I say, showoff.  Oh, and he ran 10 miles this morning.  In the rain.  Soaking wet.  I did not participate, and I don't regret that decision!  Anyway, we're looking forward to a fun weekend at the beach with some runner friends, so wish us luck!

Great time!  But that probably has something to do
with the nap and the food...

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Mr. Knucklehead's Gran Fondo Weekend Adventure

So this weekend we had a surprise event, we thought it was next weekend the 11th, but turns out, it was this weekend, the 4th, and we figured this out Thursday morning.... any who it was the Martin's Tour of Richmond Gran Fondo! Mr. Marathon took on a new challenge as we traveled to Richmond VA. He had signed up for this event back in June and he thought that by then he may be able to complete the 78 mile ride. There were four different distances: 29, 58, 78, and 101 mile rides. But Mr. Knucklehead said "Well if I'm going all the way to Richmond I might as well go for the full on Gran Fondo! As in ride the 101 mile distance!" He decided on that just this past week!

Pre-ride fun

Many sights to see in Richmond, rural and urban alike
We arrived at the parking lot to our hotel in Richmond on Saturday at 12:40 am! And then our alarms were set for 5:50 am that way we could be ready to leave by 6:15 am, considering the location of the ride was 5 minutes away, we had plenty of time, just not plenty of sleep. As we arrived, we were being corralled to our designated parking spot, kinda like fancy cows in a fancy pasture! And by pasture, I mean the Richmond International Raceway!  After we parked the car in the fancy pasture, Mr. Marathon bravely approached the bib pick up tent, ready to up his distance from the 78 miler to the 101 miler.  After playing ring around the rosy a few times around the tent to pick up his old number, fill out a form, turn in the form, then get a new number, he was registered and ready to embark on his first century ride... or at least attempt it.  He knew if he was going to survive this, he would have to start slow and steady, which is exactly what he did.  After lining up and taking off at 7:30 am, he was off, slowly and steadily.  As everyone took off, he held back his adrenaline and decided to hang back.  He says at one point he feels like he was the last rider, but I'm fairly certain that's just him being a drama queen.  Either way, he hung back and continued slowly and steadily for the first 45 miles and made some friends along the way, including Jesse, a retired Marine; Ann, a biologist; and Ross, a computer programmer.

After about the 45 mile mark, he was feeling extremely good about his progress and decided not to stop by the aid station/rest stop and continued on, picking up the pace.  He continued on the second half of the course at about a 17 mph pace, and the second part of the course was shady, breezy, and very rural.  Approximately the last 35 miles, the wind picked up drastically.  It was really pushing him back it felt like.  But since he had 35 more miles to go, at this point, he knew he could do it.  It didn't hurt that the aid stations were awesome!  They were well stocked with just about anything you could want, and they were every 10-15 miles, which was nice.  Then, coming back in, he got to do a lap around the race track then came back out to the same place they all started, which was right outside of the track.  He ended up finishing in 7:06:04, which he was very pleased with, considering this was his longest ride to date!  Never did he think he could do something like this!  He certainly proved himself wrong.

Finishing strong!

He feels good!

Showing off his medal
And after we both made it home Saturday night, we went to bed at 8:30, then on Sunday, we both got a chance to do our long run for the week... 14 miles.  It was tough for both of us, not gonna lie.  But we did it!  And now it's over, thank goodness.

We have a busy schedule coming up here soon.  Next weekend on the docket is another 20 miler before I begin tapering down the miles until Savannah Rock and Roll, which is on November 8, just a little over a month away!  We also have a mini marathon coming up that we decided to do with some runner friends:
October 19