Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Race Pictures!!

Here are the exciting race photos courtesy of marathonfoto.com (obviously). Stupid watermark.

There are a ton. I guess that's what happens when you stay to the side to do walk breaks, you get in every picture!

This is towards the start as you can see by the big-ass grin on my face.
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This is what happens to your shirt when you try to run through a water stop.
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Still looking pretty happy...
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Flat course, my ass.
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Here we go, now we are getting more accurate.
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Look at how fast I am pretending to be!
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This is the ONE picture I wish would have come out well (in front of Ohio Stadium on campus). Of course, we were taking a walk break!
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This is the very last stretch to the finish (The part where I was crying like a big-baby!)
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Not the best finishing picture. These girls in front of us stopped as soon as they crossed and we almost crashed into them.
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Here is my proof that I finished. Get it?!?! "PROOF"!?!? Hehe, that joke never gets old.
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Check out some more pictures of our trip to Columbus here. Including the marathon, our B&B in German Village, the OSU tailgate and various other spots of Columbus. Enjoy!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Columbus Marathon (Part 2)

I woke up early, refreshed and surprisingly not stressed.

And like a gift from God, my knee felt a million times better. The ache was still there, but much less threatening. And when I jogged back and forth across the hotel room, I couldn't feel the ache at all. I held my breath and said a prayer that after 20 miles of pounding, I still wouldn't feel it.

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We met Kevin and Marissa in the lobby. I peed for the 15th time, and then we headed outside. I have to say, our hotel was perfect. It was only like a hundred bucks (I'm used to Miami prices) and it was a HUGE suite, very clean, comfortable, had a great view of the river and was RIGHT in front of the start of the race.

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So close in fact, that when J decided he needed to use the bathroom before the start, instead of the port-o-potty (about 5 people deep, not too bad), he instead went to the hotel to our room on the 7th floor.

I of course had to pee again since 15 times is obviously not enough. The lines closer to the start were miraculously short and I will say this about the Columbus Marathon. Those port-o-potties has T.P. ALL DAY LONG! I don't know how they did it, but it was awesome.

As we waited for the gun to go off, I felt really calm and happy. It was chilly, but the weather was going to end up in the mid-70's so I knew it was going to be warm. I tossed off my long sleeve and felt great knowing that I wasn't going to be soaked in sweat in 30 minutes.

The gun went off (of course I never hear it) and we shuffled our way to the mat. Once we hit the mat, we instantly had room to run. They capped the registration at 10,000 and it made for a nice race. Not too big, not too small.

The course was amazing. We started out on E. Broad which is lined with countless amazing, old churches. This part of the race was filled with laughter, smiles, hope and adrenaline. I felt great and so did everyone around me. Kevin and Marissa were right behind us for the first few miles. We all did our first few walk breaks together, making each other take them, clearing our way off to the side, making sure we walked fast and single file, But as the miles went on, we wished each other well, and Jeremy and I were off.

Next we ran through Bexley's orange and red tree-lined streets. The fall leaves popped brightly against the deep blue sky and the air was still crisp but comfortable.

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The homes in this hood were out of control and Jeremy and I were quick to realize that we had no business being in this neighborhood when we were living in Columbus, which is why we didn't recognize it. It seemed as though every 10 seconds you would hear someone say "Holy shit, look at that house!" or "Wow, look at that beautiful park!". It definitely kept the mind off running for awhile as we contemplated how much a house that size would cost in Miami and why exactly we moved again.

It was also nice how everyone in the neighborhood seemed to come out to sit on their lawn (big-ass lawn) with their kids and their dogs and cheer us on. It was like people were tailgating the marathon! I loved it and it kept the smile on my face for miles. People in Columbus are so damn friendly!

I took my first GU at mile 5 and subsequently at 10,15 and 20. Since I wasn't carrying water I realized the easiest way to take it was to open the pouch when I saw water up ahead and take the GU as I was running. Then I could walk through water and wash it down. It worked out really well and I did a good job of taking fluids at every stop and mixing my Gatorade and water at every other stop.

The only bad thing about stopping for water while doing walk breaks is that sometimes we would finish a walk break and there would be water about 20 yards ahead. So, sometimes our walk breaks ended up a little long which made for some weird splits that were all over the place.

Soon we ran through picturesque German Village which was awesome.

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They had some great bands playing in the streets and there was still a lot of crowd support. Then we turned for our 5 mile trek up High Street. A lot of people said that this was the hardest part for them (including J) but I loved it. High Street was fun because you get to see so many different pockets of Columbus. First we ran by the Brewery District, then as we got closer to downtown, the half-marathoners were finishing their race. This was great for about 5 minutes as we heard the rush of the crowd cheering "ALMOST DONE!", until we realized they aren't talking to us. Next thing you know, it was suddenly quiet, much less congested and the race was finally starting to begin.

I should say that it was about at this point where I first felt myself getting tired, although it was short lived and faded fast. I got my head straight and soon felt fine.

I also noticed that I really didn't even start sweating till about mile 10. And it wasn't so much a sweat as it was a light perspiration. In Miami, my clothes are SOAKED by mile three. The only reason I was soaked in Columbus was from Gatorade sloshed on the front of my shirt.

Next on High we ran by our old gym.

Eight years ago, after Jeremy and I started dating we both suddenly gained a lot of weight (like most new couples do).When I say a lot, I don't mean like 10 lbs. J was about 60 lbs heavier than he is now and I was about 20. Six months later after seeing some Christmas pictures of ourselves, we'd had enough and decided to do something about it. We joined this gym in downtown Columbus which was a huge feat for me since I had never worked out a day in my life. The first day we were there, after we lifted, Jeremy told me to walk for 20 minutes on the treadmill. I remember barely being able to get through those 20 minutes. The treadmills faced a wall of windows that looked down over High Street and I remember staring down at the Statehouse and thinking I would never finish. When I was done, I was so out of breath and red that it looked as though I had run a 10K. Three months later and 15 lbs thinner walking wasn't keeping me entertained enough and I decided to attempt the one thing I always said I would try but never did, running. I got on that treadmill and ran (with walk breaks) for 20 minutes. It was one of the proudest days of my life.

So here I am with Jeremy running past that old gym, looking up at the wall of windows and seeing the treadmills lined up where it all began. I wouldn't have bet a cent back then that one day I would run a marathon past that building.

An emotional moment to say the least.

We continued up High Street. We passed the Short North and all our old, favorite bars.

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We passed the Ohio State Campus and marveled at all the shiny new buildings that had replaced the old run down nightclubs. We passed the Newport Music Hall where we went on one of our first dates to see Ben Folds Five.

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And as the neighborhood progressively started to get more shady and run down, we passed Hudson Street, the street where we first lived together. Yes indeed we agreed, we had come a long way.

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As we turned off High Street around mile 17 I was still feeling pretty good. I was tired but not dead. I do remember trying to scratch the back of one leg with the other during a walk break and realizing that my legs were really heavy and my quads were tighter than normal. I commented to Jeremy that it was funny how training in Miami was more a test of endurance since it is so hard to breathe in the heat and humidity, but my legs are ALWAYS warmed up, so they never hurt. But in Ohio I wasn't struggling with my endurance at all but my legs were noticeably sore.

Then we hit Upper Arlington.

Now, everyone had been telling these tales about how flat Columbus is. These people are liars. Of course after living in a place where the highest training hill is 80 feet above sea level, a pancake seems hilly to me. As soon as we got into Upper Arlington we hit a little hill I wasn't prepared for. I mean, we weren't running in San Francisco or anything, but it was gradual and long. We ran it though, as we did every other hill we encountered after that and we didn't walk once. I was pretty proud of this fact especially since we were the ONLY ones running up the first hill. The hill part was OK, but recovering from it was harder than I thought. It kicked my ass and took me about a mile to get my mind and body focused again. This is when I started to get tired, but no matter how hard it was, it still wasn't as bad as my first 20 mile run in Miami in August. I knew I was well prepared for feeling tired and out of it.

The next few miles were kind of a daze. The energy would come to me in waves. I remember running along the outskirts of campus along open fields and it being a pretty boring part of the course. I remember some guy blasting "All That Jazz" from a speaker in his front yard while dancing around. I remember high-fiving little kids as they lined up in the streets, I remember yelling "GO TRIBE" to a lady in a Cleveland Indians Jacket and she replied,

"Go Tribe? GO YOU!".

I remember being exhausted one minute, then focusing on a runner in front of me and going into a complete zone for about another mile. I felt like I could go on forever. Then a few moments later, the wave would crest and I was once again exhausted.

Then I remember crying.

As we ran along Lane Avenue around mile 22 some lady yelled out something encouraging, I don't even remember what it was, but I got really emotional. All the sudden the weight of what I was doing came crashing down on me and I literally felt like I was choking on my emotions. The tears started to flow.

J: "Um what are you doing?"

Me: "I don't know, I just got really emotional all the sudden."

J: "You can't get emotional at mile 22!!! Suck it up lady, we got a job to do!"

This is why I training with J is so good for me. Mr. Common Sense is there to remind me that there's no crying in RUNNING! And sometimes, that's just what I need to hear.

I sucked it up. We kept going. We ran though campus, but it was mostly a blur. We then turned down Neil Ave to run through the Victorian Village and I hit another zone and sped it up a bit. Then, after we took our last water stop and I downed some Gatorade at Mile 25, we took off.

As we turned up to Goodale Park, the crowds suddenly swelled. The cheers got louder and seemed to surround me. As I passed spectators I remember looking them in the eye as they screamed to me "You look strong, keep going!" I tried to thank them but only a muffled grunt came from my mouth as I ran by. I started feeling nervous from the crowds and all the emotions that were building inside of me. The sounds, the cheers, the runners, the sun on my face, it was all too much and I suddenly felt like I was going to throw up. I asked Jeremy where our walk break was and he said,

"Oh, you wanted to take another one?"

I could barely utter the word "yes" as I slowed to a walk. It seemed as though everyone left in the race was suddenly running by us as we passed the last 1/2 mile mark. Jeremy urged me to not leave it on the course when we were so close to being done. I was strong, he said. I was going to beat my time goal. Then after I got mad at myself for waiting till the last possible moment to get tired, (I mean really, who runs 25.5 miles of a marathon and then stops?) I collected myself and with a final "O.K" we were off.

We turned the final bend to the finish line that was (thank God) downhill! As we passed all the cheering spectators my emotions/weariness got the best of me and I started sobbing uncontrollably. I really don't remember anything about this last stretch except me crying, the roar and blur of the crowd and Jeremy grabbing my hand and raising it up as we crossed the finish line. As we slowed down to stop I grabbed him around his waist and he held me as I cried like a baby. A medic actually came over to us and asked Jeremy if I was OK.

"Yes" he assured him with a slight chuckle, "She's fine."

Next thing I knew, he led me to have my chip cut off (still crying). Suddenly a kind lady was hanging a marathon medal around my neck and congratulating me on my achievement. I don't remember seeing her, but the warm-hearted tenderness of her voice made me cry even harder.

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After I composed myself and we made our way through the lines. I grabbed some food, but that last thing I I could do was eat. I nibbled on a few things, drank a ton of Gatorade and hobbled our way to the sidelines to check out our splits.

1. 10:57 (not bad for a start)
2. 10:45
3. 10:48
4. 11:07 (keeping it slow early on)
5. 10:38
6. 10:22
7. 10:11
8. 10:37
9. 10:30 (right on pace)
10. 9:56 (getting a little excited)
11. 10:48
12. 10:36
13. 10:34
14. 10:08
15. 10:48
16. 10:43
17. 10:34
18. 10:13 (Jeremy keeps trying to reel me in)
19. 10.31
20. 11.01
21. 10:33
22. 10:20 (crybaby)
23. 10:43
24. 11:09 ( a long stop with water)
25. 10:40 (felt good this mile)
26. 9:49 (no wonder I wanted to throw up)
.2. 1.45

Our pace was right on and I ran a negative split by less than a minute! Not bad for marathon number one.

Then we watched as Kevin and Marissa came in. Kevin ran it with her as well and she knocked a whole 30 MINUTES off her time from her first marathon! She's my hero!

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The rest of the day was filled with Marathon stories, hobbling around (my knees are still recovering 7 days later), big juicy Mushroom Swiss Burgers and Scottish Ale at Barley's Brewery (the brewpub where J and I met when we both worked there 9 years ago).

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And like the dork I am, I fell asleep on our bed with my medal still draped around my weary little neck.


The Columbus Marathon (Part 1)

First of all, wow you guys! Thanks so much for all the love! I had no idea anyone was that interested in hearing about this race! Although I rambled on about it so much, it's not like any of you had much choice! Muuahahaha...brainwashing!

The race was amazing! I really cant say it enough. I love Columbus so much and going back to run this race with J, in the town where we met, became friends, worked together, fell in love, first lived together, first ran together (the city where I first ran period), meant almost as much to me as the medal I got after crossing the finish.

The fact that we ran it together, as a team and both had such a positive outcome is something that I will always keep close to my heart. I beat my time goal by EIGHT whole minutes and this was the first marathon he ran where he didn't feel completely dead and miserable at the end. I truly believe the only reason for any of it is because we ran it together and we ran it in Columbus. Seriously, if you can run a marathon with your husband and come out closer at the finish than you were at the start, that is a damn good marriage.

I am a lucky girl.

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OK, enough sap.

We arrived in Columbus on Friday afternoon with our friends Kevin and Marissa and went straight to the expo downtown. It was a decent size and still pretty empty since I think most people were coming in on Saturday. It was also very well organized which is good for highly stressed marathon runners. The race shirt was a nice long-sleeved tech shirt even though I will probably never get a chance to wear it much down here. Unfortunately, they really didn't have any marathon merchandise with short sleeves. Oh well, that's what I get for living on The Equator.

I did also pick up a little gift from heaven at the expo. I was freaking about what to do with my GU since I wasn't carrying my fuel belt and found this stand selling SPI Belts for 20 bucks.I had my doubts, but was desperate and bought one. This thing is amazing! I wore it low on my hips, I fit 5 GU's in it and it barely bounced at all. After I was down to 3 Gu's I didn't even notice it. A GREAT investment.

The next day we met up with some of Kevin's old friends at the Ohio State vs. Michigan State homecoming game to tailgate. I have to say, I LOVE Ohio State, I didn't go to school there, but Jeremy did and anyone who lives or lived in Columbus at one point just sort of gets grandfathered in. An Ohio State home-game is one experience I think everyone should have at least once in their life. They know how to do it up right and this day was no exception.

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There were only two little snags in our fun, alcohol free, (HA, OK make that THREE) tailgate.

1. We walked...A LOT. Way more than any sane person should walk the day before they run 26.2 miles. We were walking back and forth across campus for about 5 hours. And Ohio State is one big-ass campus.

2. No alcohol

3. I ran into a fire hydrant.

When I say "I ran into it", what I really mean is that I SMASHED my KNEECAP into the hard part that sticks out as I was walking down the road really fast to, ahem...take a picture.

That's right, my aforementioned love of photography almost killed my chances of running my very first marathon. Like a dumbass, I was walking along a VERY crowded street taking a photo of a frat house and slammed my knee so hard I saw stars. I literally got the wind knocked out of me from MY KNEE!!! I Nancy Kerriganed MYSELF!!! I wanted to cry but the pain was so bad I couldn't do anything but make a grunting noise. Jeremy of course, just stood there like, "You gotta be f-ing kidding me" (Yeah, he's not perfect all the time folks).

Anyway, the agonizing pain went away almost as quickly as it came, but then of course there was a lingering dull ache. Right on the muscle behind the kneecap, you know, one of the most important muscles you need before running 26 miles! I spent the rest of the day beating myself up mentally for being so stupid. Bending my knee, hopping, light jogging, trying to access any damage I might have done. And even though I am pretty positive, I knew I had blew it. I had felt perfect up to that point, done everything right, then with less than 24 hours till game day I messed it all up.

Didn't I say Marathon runners were high-stress?

After a dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse, we went back to the room to bib up for the morning.

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I took a nice warm bath (a pre-race ritual that helps me relax and fall asleep), took 3 Advil and grumpily iced my knee. After about 30 minutes of Jeremy's constant reassuring that I was going to be fine, I floated off to sleep (but not before a few quiet tears about what a dumbass I was).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I did it!!!

I am officially a marathon runner!

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Chip time: 4:36:57!!! Way under my projected 4:45 time. Woo-hoooo!

I can't wait to tell you all about what a perfect first marathon experience this was, but I just got back into town and need a day to organize myself after being gone for a week. Once I unpack, finish all my laundry, upload my 350 pictures, watch The Office and catch up with all of you guys, I will be sure to write the report! Thanks for all the well wishes and good vibes! They helped and I was thinking of you guys during the race!! :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Many Thanks (this is it)!

This is it kids! I can't believe it's finally here!

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•Airline Tickets...check

•Warm and cold clothes for unreliable Ohio autumn weather...check

•Race day uniform (with alternative pieces in case of suddenly changing weather)

•sports bra
•dry fit underwear
•body glide
•clif bars
•something to attach gu to body


•Camera(s) for my photography obsession...check

•Money for beer after race...cheeeeeeccckkkk!

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Looks like I'm good to go!

I had my last training run yesterday morning, a pretty uneventful 3.2 miles. We tried to run really slow, but as I said, I was itching to get out of the gate, so we ended up running it a 9:37 pace (a minute per mile pace faster than we plan to run the marathon). Ooops. Other than the humidity, the run was pretty good and my legs felt great!

I have also been a little better about the whole weather.com issue. Like a few of you reminded me, 75 and sunny are not the worst conditions for a marathon. I need to relax and remember that I have been training though the entire summer in Miami, so a late-October morning in Columbus, Ohio shouldn't kill me too much. My newest obsession has been about how I am going to hold all that GU since my favorite shorts have no pockets and I'm not carrying a fuel belt. Oh yeah, and that my favorite singlet is dark gray and its going to be SUNNY on Sunday. I really don't want to change the shirt since it's my "lucky running shirt". Sigh... See??? There is always something to obsess over.

So the plan is set. I leave tomorrow at 8am to fly to Columbus with J and our friends Kevin and Marissa. We will arrive at our first hotel, check in and make our way to the expo. Then we will probably just wander around, find a place to eat and try and get some sleep.

Saturday, we have totally lucked out! See, anyone who knows anything about Ohio State knows that they have the BEST tailgating in the ENTIRE country, especially now that this week they are ranked NUMBER 1!!! :) The tailgate on campus is INSANE and covers half the city. They close off streets, shut down businesses and it's scarlet and gray as far as the eyes can see! Anyway, Kevin's buddy apparently has a crazy tailgate set up so we may venture out and try to find him. Of course the only thing about this plan that sucks is, of course, we can't drink. But those of you that have ventured to my photoblog know how obsessed I am with taking pictures, so I plan to photograph the madness all day long which should keep my mind off the whole no alcohol thing.

Sunday is race day. We have a decent plan laid out that I hope we can stick to. Since this is my first marathon and we have been training together, Jeremy is going to run it with me at my pace (I know, aaawwwww!). He usually runs it a lot faster, but I think he just wants to relax and enjoy himself this time. We will try and run with Kevin and Marissa for a bit, but since she is running an 11:00mm pace, we will probably take off after mile 3-4.

We have been training with the Galloway method and plan on sticking with it on Sunday with a 10:30 pace and 5:1 walk ratio. I think this is doable, since most of my running has ventured into the 8:45-10:00mm pace. Of course the longer runs get slower, which is where the 10:30's come in.

My initial goal was just to finish. Ha! That one was soon replaced with an under 5 hour race. Now I am really hoping for around 4:45 or under. And by under...I really want to do around 4:30 ;) Funny how competitive I can get with myself when the heat is on. But seriously, if I finish in the realm of 4:45, I will be extremely happy with myself. Especially for a first marathon.

Then from Monday to Thursday we just plan on hanging out, enjoying the autumn weather, going to all our old favorite bars/restaurants, meeting up with some old friends in town and on campus, relaxing at this cute B&B and NOT being in Miami. Ha. I love Miami, but sometimes we REALLY need a break. I will not be able to access a computer probably until I get back next weekend, so I wont be able to do a report until then. A few of you have asked about tracking me, but I don't have my number yet and can't find a spot on the website for it.

I really want to thank you guys for everything over the past year, especially these past few months leading up to this weekend. I don't have too many friends that are into running, so there is a lot of confusion as to why the hell I would want to a marathon in the first place. I love reading about everyones running adventures and getting feedback and encouragement from so many funny, amazing runners I admire. So anyway, thanks. I couldn't have done it without you guys!

Suzanne and Irish Blue, I wish you both luck and I hope to run into both of you there! (Not literally, that would suck.)

Also good luck this weekend to Leana, Dori and Wendy who's races are coming up sooner than later! Good luck guys!

Monday, 10/15 - 5.6 miles/56:01 - 10:00 pace
Wednesday, 10/17 - 3.2 miles/30:59 - 9:37 pace

Total Weekly Mileage: 8.8 (hehe...EIGHT miles!!)

I just got my bib number, it's 2529 in case there ends up being a link on the site to track! Thanks guys! Have a good week!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Taper Madness (I've self-diagnosed)

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Does maniacally checking weather.com every 5 minutes for Columbus constitute a symptom of "Taper Madness"? Cause if so,

"I got a fever and the only cure is not more cowbell, but more weather.com".

I am sick I tell you.

The weather is getting hotter for Sunday, btw. I was so excited for a 65 degree high and it seems to have crept up to 75. I know I shouldn't be complaining about this. I know I should be happy that it is still the ONE day in the whole week I'm there that isn't calling for rain and that the humidity max is only at 53% (I honestly don't even remember what 53% humidity feels like anymore), but I can't HELP IT! I got the FEVER! FEVER I SAY!!!

Oh, I am also terrified that every step I take will result in a broken ankle, have been getting weird "phantom pains" in my knee and I am completely paranoid about catching the cold that has been sweeping the nation.

I have been really good up until now. People are constantly, "So, are you nervous?" and I could honestly say no and believe it. But today things changed as I feverishly started looking at pictures of Columbus on flickr and checking out the course on google earth (it looks REALLY long).

I know I can do the run, so I am not too worried about that. I guess it's more of the anticipation that is getting me. I feel like a horse shoved in the gate right before the Kentucky Derby. I am restless. I need that gate to swing open!

Saturday, October 13, 2007


First off, if any of you reading this ran Chicago or know someone who did, I hope you or they are doing well and recovering from the race, or any race that weekend for that matter. One of my friends ran Twin Cities last weekend and I heard that one was a bitch too! I hope all of you and your running-loved ones are well :)

However, more exciting than any marathon (for me anyway), is that one of my best friends of 16 years and his wife gave birth to their very first little baby on Wednesday. Look at this thing! He's perfect!

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That's my new little buddy, Hamish. Pronounced HAY-mish and not HAM-ish as I made the mistake of doing before being called a "Bloody American" by my aformentioned best friend Mark. Apparently, Hamish is Scottish for James, just so ya know. I prefer "Hamlet" myself, and therefore that's what Auntie Laurie will be calling him.

So here's another random thought. I learned a valuable lesson for all you marathoners out there. Whatever you do, do NOT go bowling right before a marathon, especially if you haven't done it in a few years.

Look at that form!
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Who else is singing the bowling song from Grease 2 in their head right now?!?!

"We're gonna scoooore tonight, we're gonna scoo-oo-ooore toni-iiight..."

Who knew I had all these unused muscles on the side of my left leg and booty? Apparently, after the release of the ball, putting all your weight on one leg can make those muscles very sore after a couple of hours. Especially if you have had a few beers and don't notice it. Who said BOWLING is not a sport!?!? Pfft!

"I need Icy Hot" = Sport.

Speaking of beer, there seems to be a lot more of the devil's brew here in Taper City. I don't know where it came from, but it seems that there are a lot more functions with beer the past two weeks. Maybe the fact that I don't look tired and haggard from waking up at 3 am to run an un-Godly number of miles makes people want to hang out with me out more. Whatever the reason, I've been fairly good and since my bowling night, I am definitely back on the wagon. The race is 8 days away (eek!) and I really don't need to be carrying around a bigger beer gut than I already have on Sunday. The day after the marathon is a different story though. I mean, we will be on vacation after all.

Speaking of vacation...I cannot WAIT! People ask me all the time if I am excited about the marathon. And I am, but honestly I am more excited about the weather. I know it sounds weird, but when you live in a place where it is between 82-92 degrees and 80% humidity for about 10 months, a little crisp weather is like the Loch Ness Monster or Britney Spears' underwear. You've heard of it, but since you've never seen it, you aren't sure if it really exists.

And check this out:
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This is the predicted weather for race day! It doesn't get any better than that folks. Especially since I have been running in 82 degrees and 80-90% humidity for EVERY run for the past FOUR MONTHS! I might need to run in a fur coat. Keep your fingers crossed for me that this will not change too much in the next week.

I am also soooo excited about seeing another season besides summer and lukewarm summer. I love autumn so much! I miss the changing leaves (or any leaves that aren't palms), the smell the wood burning, pumpkin patches, bundling up in something other than tank tops and flip flops. It's by far the best time of the year.

All in all, I just can't wait to return to Columbus. We originally had planned to run Chicago this year (dodged that bullet), but instead settled on Columbus since it was my first and we wanted to do a smaller race. However, we had other reasons as well. Columbus is where Jeremy and I met, fell in love and lived together the first year we were together, 8 1/2 years ago. We just love the town so much and can't wait to run our first marathon together (my first EVER) through all our old haunts, through the OSU campus and past our old hood. It's really going to be something else :)


Anyway, now that the sappy stuff is over with, back to the business at hand.

The taper has been fine. I ran a few shorter runs last week and this week. My long run last Saturday was a slow, easy 12 miles through the Miami Half-Marathon course (if you thought my running pictures were pretty you should see THIS course). Then this morning I had my last "long run" for Columbus with my Miami training group. They had 16 scheduled and I met them at the halfway point and ran the last 8 miles in, nice and easy, with the back of the pack. I even got to sleep in till 5:15am today!!! Better than Christmas!!!

I think I will do about another two shorter runs this week (3-5 miles), two gym days and that will be about it. I can't believe it's almost here!

10/01 - 10/07
Tuesday, 10/02 - 5.6 miles/54:36 - 9:45 pace (soooooo hot this day)
Wednesday, 10/03 - Gym, lift, abs
Thursday, 10/04 - 3.76 miles/33:14 - 8:50 pace (kicked my ass)
Saturday, 10/06 - 12 miles/2:22:00 - 11:50 pace (nice and easy)
Sunday, 10/07 - Gym, lift, abs, 30 minutes elliptical

Total Weekly Mileage: 21.36

10/08 - 10/13
Monday, 10/08 - 5.6 miles/55:05 - 9:50 pace
Wednesday, 10/10 - 5.8 miles/55:57 - 9:31 pace (
Saturday, 10/13 - 8 miles/Forgot my watch, but it was slow.

Total Weekly Mileage: 19.40

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Bienvenidos a Miami

There are often times I run through Miami and think about how lucky I am. For all the bitching I do about this city and the weather (I do much more than you guys ever hear about, trust me), Miami has some pretty spectacular running routes. Filled with beautiful tropical foliage, ocean views, ginormous homes, incredible cityscapes and very interesting people watching, a run around this town is always an experience.

I have always thought it would be cool to document some of these runs, especially my favorite 20 mile route. So after getting inspired by creative posts from runners like Angie and Dori , I decided to grab my camera one day and drive the route so you can all see the areas I run every Saturday.

In the immortal words of William Smith, "Welcome to Miami!"

My favorite 20 mile run is an out and back from my house, past the University of Miami, through Coconut Grove, down Bayshore Blvd, across the Rickenbacker Bridge and then back. Since it's an out and back route, I'll show you what it looks like from mile 10 to mile 20.

This is the view from the turnaround at mile 10 on Key Biscayne just past the Miami Seaquarium. On weekends its flooded with bikers and runners and will keep you out of breath just from all the "Good mornings".
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The bridge looks daunting (and it's hard if you're not prepared), but the pain is pretty much worth the view.
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This is the view from the top overlooking back onto Key Biscayne.
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Here is the old fishing pier that runs along the underside of the bridge. No matter what time of the day or night, there will be a ton of people fishing off this thing. It's really pleasant on the old nostrils as you're breathing heavily after schlepping up the big-ass bridge. Mmmmmm...dead bait rotting in the rising sun! GOOD MORNING! Who needs coffee and bacon?
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At the foot of the bridge, we run along the causeway which gives an awesome sea-level view of the water on one side...
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...and a view of the city on the other.
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Downtown Miami is lined with giant office buildings and condos. The building in the middle of this shot is the Atlantis Condo, made famous in the opening sequence of Miami Vice.
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Once we exit off the causeway we're are done with Key Biscayne.
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Past the old Miami Seaquarium sign, there is a private pedestrian entrance to Brickell Avenue between the trees.
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This is my favorite street on the run. It is lined with huge trees, beautiful homes to gawk at and there are usually no cars!
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There is a great park on this road where early morning bikers meet up as well as pick-up basketball stars. There is also a water fountain and a potty! Woo-hoo!
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At the edge of Brickell Avenue is Sylvester Stallone's old house. Various running clubs usually set up a water stop in front of it. Apparently back in the day when he lived here and Madonna lived a few doors down, it was quite the happening street. Rumor has it, Will and Jada Smith live here now, but I have have never seen them, so who knows.
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Coming out of Brickell Ave, we pass by the Vizcaya Mansion and Gardens, then it is a long trek down Bayshore Blvd. This is the stretch of the run where you are most likely to get run over by drunken fools leaving the Grove early in the A.M.
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As we wind up Bayshore Blvd. we pass many markets, restaurants, condos and marinas before we get to Coconut Grove.
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Around mile 5/15 is the main pedestrian mall in Coconut Grove, called CocoWalk. This is another great bathroom stop because it is always open and clean. There is also water, which we looooove in Miami.
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Next we head out of the Grove past the shops and restaurants, down Old Main Highway.
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Old Main Highway is a beautiful stretch lined with old banyan trees that swoop over the road. The only downside is that people drive like maniacs down this road and if you're running it in the dark (which we always do in the morning) there is not a lot of light which makes it real easy to trip over the big banyan roots that jutt out of the ground. Its a good place to break and ankle and get hit by late night drunks. But it sure is pretty!
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Then there is a little church along this road that has a ton of peacocks that hang around outside. Awwww...
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Off of Main Highway we turn onto Douglas Rd. Seeing this condo is a sign we are leaving the grove and close to our last water stop. You can't tell by this picture, but whoever lives in the top-left-hand-side of this biulding has one hell of a view.
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Off of Douglas we turn onto Edgewater. This is my least favorite stretch of the run coming back. It is on a slight uphill and I know at the top there is a park with our water stop, therefore, this road always feels like it takes FOREVER.
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At the end of Edgewater is what is simply known to the runners and bikers in Miami as "The Circle". It is a park where our running group Footworks, puts out water and Accelerade on Saturday mornings, so it is always filled with people refueling for the rest of their journey. It sits on a canal on the edge of a huge roundabout surrounded by beautiful homes. Twice I have stood at this spot, drinking my water while stretching, and noticed families of Manatees swim by.
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After the break at the circle there is only 2.5 miles left to go. This street is hard at the end because the sun is usually up by now and blazing and there is little shade to cool you off. But that's ok, because usually by this time I am delerious and don't even notice!
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Next we have to cross US1 to get over to the University of Miami. Traffic on this road is insane so it a little scary, but surprisingly not hard to cross. Luckily after this the traffic dies down a bit since we are in smaller neighborhoods.
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Once we cross US 1 we head up to our last mile. As we turn onto the road that runs along campus (also part of my weekly 6 mile runs) we pass the UM baseball field and run along the meters that line the intramural fields and athletic center.
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See the little, yellow fire hydrant? That is a glorious sight to behold since it marks not only the start of our street, but also the end of our 20 mile run (or 18, 16. etc...). Woo-Hoo!
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Then it's a shuffle down our street to get home cause don't you know it, we live on the VERY LAST HOUSE on the block. It is usually a great way to cool down, but after 20 miles, who are we kidding? We just want someone to carry us home.
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There you have it folks! Hope you enjoyed your 20 mile run through Miami with me. Trust me, it's much nicer to sit in your air-conditioned offices/living rooms/bedrooms and look at it online than it is to actually try and run the thing through sweltering Miami summer mornings. But if you're ever in the area and want to experience it, let me know! We are always looking for more people to join us!

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