A Running Throwback Thursday

It’s been a week of reminiscing as I’ve been reminded of a lot fun memories that happened around this time of the year.

Two years ago, in a lot of ways spontaneously, my husband and I flew to Europe (Spain, Italy, and France). We ran Rock n Roll Madrid, Spain April, 27th as our first out of the country race.

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It was an absolute blast and super interesting to see how races are somewhere besides the States. I wrote about it here, but one of the funner tid bits was that there were no portapotties!! Or like, very few. I remember as a I ran, seeing dudes just pull up to the side and do their thing, lol!!

Another interesting note was that the water stations consisted of water bottles, not cups. It pained me a bit to see people take sips and then toss the bottles but then remembering how expensive bottled water was in Europe, I decided to hoard some and run double fisted.

There were no waves. As soon as the horn blew, everyone just went. There were corrals but I wasn’t sure the purpose if everyone started at the same time, lol! And boy, was it crowded! Oh , and it was vastly men running and my bib had a big fat “F” for female.

One of my fave race pics -- having fun doing what I love (and in Spain!)

One of my fave race pics — having fun doing what I love (and in Spain!)

Anyway, Miranda @ThoughtsAndPavement commented on my recap that she’d run the race this year and reignited the fun times I had during the race and my time in Europe. She also noticed many of the same things, most especially how crowded the race was.

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This weekend last year, I flew to Ohio, also sorta last minute, to see my brother run his FIRST half marathon. He had been training hard, and I was so proud of him. I said out loud to my husband after reading one my brother’s training runs (he texted them all to me ❤ ) how I wished I could be there to see him. My husband immediately got me a plane ticket.

I’ve written about my brother before and his amazing transformation. A total non-runner, overweight, sedentary but awesomely good guy. Last year, he lost over 60 pounds and completely changed his life.

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The Flying Pig Half Marathon last year was his first half, and he shocked the hell out of me by finishing in 2:10, smashing his sub 2:30 goal.

Me and the bro after his first half marathon

Me and the bro after his first half marathon

He ran a second half marathon later in the year with a lofty goal of snagging a sub 2 hour half. And you know what? He did it!!

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Oh what fun to look back at such amazing memories. I sit here drinking coffee and typing and smiling…at how wonderful life is ❤

–What are some of your favorite running memories?

 

 

Friday Five: Fave Race Memories

Hooking up again today with the DC Trifecta girls Mar on the Run, You Signed Up For What!?, and Eat Pray Run DC for this week’s topic of “Favorite Races”.

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This is a tough one.

But, if I had to narrow things down, here are my top 5 so far:

1. Bisbee 1000

My husband and I did the Bisbee 1000 Ultimate Stairclimb race a couple of Octobers ago. Bisbee is 25 minutes away from where we grew up and we actually had never heard of the race til a few months prior! Once we did, we knew we had to do it. It was actually my husbands first race ever!! What a way to start–with a 1000 stairs to climb lol! The steps weren’t consecutive, but they totaled 1000 once all was said and done. The course ended up being a little over 4 miles and it was definitely a challenge but sooo much fun.

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2. Rock n Roll Arizona 2014

This was my first big race post baby #2 and I had the ambitious goal of getting a 1/2 marathon sub 2 hour finish.

And I did it!!!

I trained so hard for this race and knew that I was putting maybe too much pressure on myself considering I had given birth to my second child 6 months prior. But I really wanted to challenge myself and I really wanted to work towards something. My husband also ran this race and the feeling I had when I finished and fell into his arms is something I’ll never forget. 1:58:11!!!

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3. Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon–Madrid, Spain

It’s Spain, need I say more? 🙂 This was another fun race my husband and I did. Actually, I’m noticing a trend. All my faves so far I’ve run with my husband 🙂
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Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 10.25.47 PMIt was a hilly couse and definitley different in a lot of ways compared to American races but I was extremely pleased with my 2:08 finish.

4. Grand Canyon Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim

Doing R2R2R is something I will NEVER forget. By far the most challenging and most exciting thing I’ve ever done.

Over 45 miles in two days. 100+ degree temps. Insane elevation changes.

It was simply amazing.

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at the finish line of the Canyon :)

at the finish line of the Canyon 🙂

5. Phoenix Marathon

My first. You’ll never forget your first.

Again, I was ambitous attempting this 7 months after having my son, but I wanted to do it. I didn’t have any “real” goals. I had a time I was shooting for but wouldn’t be devastated not getting (I didn’t get it)–I just wanted to cross that finish line.

And I did in 4:44:12 🙂

My husband didn’t officially run the race but he might as well have as he carried my the last 6.2 miles. When I hit the wall, I thought I was done and I was frustrated I couldn’t keep going. He kept pushing me though and ran/walked with me those last miles. And I’ll never forget his words when we saw the “final mile” sign: “This is the last mile of the first marathon of your life. Finish strong.” I ran that entire last mile.

Crossing that finish line=best feeling ever

Crossing that finish line=best feeling ever (my husband took this pick 🙂 )

Yep, I'm a finisher!

Yep, I’m a finisher!

–What would say is your favorite race or race memory?

Have a great weekend amigos!!

Rock n Roll Madrid, Spain 1/2 Marathon Recap

What a week!

I’m so happy to be back in the states! Traveling is so much fun but there truly is no place like home 🙂

We left on Friday afternoon catching a 12:30 flight from Phoenix to Dallas, TX. From Dallas, we flew out at around 6 p.m. to Madrid, Spain where we arrived at 10:30 Saturday morning (1:30 a.m. Phoenix time). From the airport we took a taxi to our hotel in downtown Madrid.

My husband and I speak Spanish fluently so we were able to communicate with our driver easily and sparked up a good convo with him. He was actually a runner! He asked us what our times were and when we answered, immediately told us we had a lot of work to do–his 1/2 marathon PR was 1:25!!

When we arrived at our hotel, we dropped off our luggage and headed out to find the Expo. After consulting a map, it seemed like taking the Metro was the way to go. My first Metro experience!

The Expo was a happening place and we had to wait in line for about an hour to get inside. Once we did, it was easy to get our bib and race goodies.

I learned that their size medium is actually a U.S. small lol

I learned that their size medium is actually a U.S. small lol

We hung out for a little bit but we were starving so we headed back to our hotel. We ate at a restaurant nearby and then walked around downtown for a couple of hours before we decided to head back to our room and get a good nights rest. We hadn’t really slept since the night before!

We managed to immediately crash as we were pretty exhausted and woke up around 6. The race started at 9 a.m. so we had plenty of time to get ready and walk the mile to the start line. When we got there, we noticed how there wasn’t a whole lot happening and wondered where all the people were at. We walked around for a while and then decided to drop off our bag at gear check. We looked at our map and realized it was about another mile away near the finish line! We immediately bolted towards it–it wasn’t an easy warm-up run either with hills along the way. (A preview of what awaited us). When we got there, we saw that this was where everyone was at; gear check was packed! We hurried, dropped it off, and headed back–it was getting close to go time.

Before the race :)

A quick pic before the race 🙂

My husband was in Corral 2 and I was in Corral 4. I hung out with him for a little while but then headed to my corral with about 10 minutes to go.

The vibe was really energetic. There were people everywhere! We heard the announcer start to count down and then the elites were off! It wasn’t too long after that it was our turn (It turned out that once they said “Go!” all corrals went. There weren’t actual wave starts). So with “Highway to Hell” blasting from the speakers, I began to run.

It was the typical crowded start. I tried navigating my way around people but we were pretty elbow to elbow. I hoped it’d dissipate after a while but it never really did. At mile 3, I was still bumper to bumper with people and knew that any chance of PRing was out of the question. It wouldn’t have happened any way because the course was H-I-L-L-Y.

Side note: There were no port-a-pottys. I mean, there were some at the start line but none throughout the race. Within the first mile, I saw a ton of guys just stop along the side and hang out with trees. It was crazy!

Moving on. Once I decided this was going to be a race that would challenge my hill limits, I set my focus on maintaining a decent pace. I wanted to stay in the 10:00 minute and under range and was able to do that with the exception of one 10:27 hilly mile.

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I slowed at each water station and was surprised by something else. They gave out bottles of water instead of water cups. I saw hundreds of people take one swig from the bottle and then toss it. 😦 It made me so sad to see all of it go to waste. When I got to the Powerade station same thing. 😦

At mile 8, the full marathoners separated from the halfs and it was only then that you had room to maneuver around people. Of course by that time I was too exhausted to even make an attempt lol! (Although I did muster up a 9:00 minute 11 miler.)

My new goal was to finish under 2:15 and I could tell that I was well on my way to do so, so I changed my goal to under 2:10. This would take some major mental strength but at mile 12 I knew that I had I gotten it.

I wanted to finish strong so the last half mile I picked up my pace to surge the last bit. Almost immediately, I felt my calves clench and felt intense pain shoot up my legs. It almost made me stop dead in my tracks but I told myself that I was SO close–the finish line was just right there! I forced myself to keep going and I did, grimacing the entire way. I knew that finish line photo wasn’t going to be pretty.

I crossed the line with a frozen smile at 2:08:26. I was incredibly happy with my overall time and pace (9:43) considering the race had started at 9 a.m. (midnight back home) and it being a tougher course than what I was used to. I met up with my husband and he did awesome finishing better than what he expected.

I was so exhausted the only thing I wanted to do was lay down. So I did. For like 30 minutes.

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This was only Day 2 of my trip and it was already such an incredible experience. Getting to run a race in a different country was something I only dreamed of doing and it had become a reality. I loved every minute of it. I loved that it was hard. I loved that so much about it was different than what I was used to. I loved that I got to share the experience with my husband. And I love that this will be a memory that will absolutely last a lifetime.

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I’ll be recapping the rest of the trip in the next few days 🙂

–Have you ran a race in a different country than you live?

–If not, if you could choose anywhere in the world, where would you like to run a race?

–What’s the randomest/grossest/weirdest thing you’ve seen during a race? (Those guys peeing along the course was just crazy to me lol!)