Haunted Half {Recap!}

I hope everyone had a good weekend and if you celebrated Halloween, you’ve recovered from your sugar coma 😀

I ran Phoenix’s first Haunted Half Marathon and even though it was advertised as “Phoenix,” it was actually in a suburb right next to where I live, lol! That was one of the reasons I was enticed to run it. That, and the medal. Seriously.

Anyway, I had heard about the race a long while ago but was iffy on it because it was three weeks after Chicago and I wasn’t sure I’d be up for 13.1 miles. Then about a week after the marathon, my friend posted there was a Groupon for the race and an additional 20% off making the entry fee under $40. I was sold. A bunch of my friends were also running it and I knew it’d be a lot of fun. Plus, medal.

My husband and I headed to the “expo” on Friday and maybe there was more inside Sports Chalet but packet pick up booths were outside and there wasn’t anything else there to see. No vendors, no nothing. The swag was pretty sweet though and considering I’d gotten a deal on my entry free, I was very satisfied.

Cotton V-neck tee, gloves, KT tape, and scary bag

Cotton V-neck tee, gloves, KT tape, and scary bag

They also had a little photo op thingy which of course I had my husband snap a shot

12189331_980428305354804_6055491130843991867_o

The race was seriously right down the street from me, so I woke up the next morning around 4:30ish which is my usual wake-up time. I got dressed and realized there were several “firsts” happening with my outfit. It was the first race I would wear with full compression socks–up til then, I’d occasionally race in calf sleeves. It was also the first time I’d be racing in a skirt–a buddy loaned me a really pretty Sparkle Skirt, which I pulled over some shorts.

Then, because I figured I needed a third first (since you know, everything comes in threes), I brewed me some coffee. I’ve never had coffee before a run or a race. It was 5 in the morning and the race didn’t start til 7; I figured it was enough time and coffee sounded amazing at that moment. It certainly tasted amazing.

The course was a point to point so I arrived early enough to get on the first bus that would take us to the start. I met up with several run club buddies and we chatted as the bus got lost several times.

We finally arrived at the start which was at a familiar place near mountains I often run trails on. It was dark and very cold (for AZ) and volunteers gave us runner’s foil to wrap ourselves around. We found the porta potties and another first happened: I was the first one to use the porta potty. My friend, who was in the potty next to me, shouted, “Make sure you lift the seat!!” And thank goodness because that would’ve been a complete and total disaster.

I had quite a few friends pacing this race and I planned to stick with two who were pacing the 2:00 hour group. I was hoping I was in 2 hour half marathon shape and wanted to see how I could do at that pace. As I hung out with my buddies, I ran into Kindal @runningwithstrength, an Insta/blogging buddy that’s local. She’s got a marathon next weekend so this would be a training run for her and planned to run with the 1:55 group (she’s speedy).

But about 30 minutes before the race started, the coffee I had had worked its magic and I needed a porta potty fast. Unfortunately, many people needed a port potty fast and it took me well over 30 minutes to get to one. Kindal and I were in line together and we looked at each other when the announcer counted down the start–we were gonna miss the start!

We really needed to go so we stayed in line (10 porta potties=not enough, race directors!) and about 5 minutes after the start, Kindal and I crossed the line. We agreed she’d pace me for the first 10 miles and then she’d go on ahead.

Another appeal to this race was the course elevation–

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 6.01.43 PM

It mimicked the start of Phoenix Marathon.

And like with Phoenix, we’re always cautioned to not start off fast…. And we never listen.

Miles 1-8 went like this: Wooohoooo!!!! I got this!! Sub 2 BABY!!!! Yeahhhh!!!!

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 3.54.37 PMMiles 9-13.1: Whhhooaaa!!!! Wind!!! Wall!!! Why??!!! What was I thinking??!!!

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 3.55.21 PM

We made a right turned heading north at mile 9 into a breeze and by then, I was already so tired that trying to maintain a 9 minute pace seemed impossible. Kindal tried her best to get me back on track but when we reached mile 10, I wished her luck and knew it was going to be a tough 3.1. (She finished in 1:55 like a total badass.)

I tried to do math in my head to see what I needed to do to sneak in under 2, but thinking so hard was making me feel worse, so I just kept running as strong as I could. Luckily, no cramps were happening, but the legs were just tired. When I reached mile 12, I told myself to run this last mile fast and the only fast I could muster was a 9:30.

When I turned the last .1 corner, my teammates were along the side and their cheers gave me a surge. I stopped my watch just before I crossed (I didn’t want a watch stopping finish photo, lol!) and headed straight toward my friends. I needed their hugs.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 6.29.07 PM

We were right near the insta results and I saw my name and time– 2:05:xx

I shook my head and everyone told me I was okay. This was a fun race, no pressure, 3 weeks post Chicago. So I got over it, grabbed a beer, and admired my medal.

12188102_10105602689831561_1775122155293364676_o

The medal. IT OPENS.

And when I got home, I told my husband about my race and he asked me about the difference in Garmin time versus race time; four minutes was a lot. I realized I hadn’t even looked at my watch time; after I crossed, I went immediately to my friends (thank goodness for autosave). But I told him my watch kept beeping way before the mile markers so I figured the course was off (longer). He said that was still a lot of time difference so he went online and sure enough

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 6.21.25 PM

You’d think by now I’d know to look at Net Time and not Clock Time…oh, Helly….

Even though I was sooo close to a sub 2 and maaaaybe could’ve done it had I had the ability to do math and get my butt moving, I’m really happy with this time.

I wanted to run this race for a few reasons: 1.) the medal 2.) assess my half marathon skillz 3.) have fun

Check, check, check! 😀

–Ever got your times mixed up?

–Ever ran a race mostly for the medal? (I’m not usually so medal influenced but for some reason, I thought this one was pretty cool, lol!)

–How was your Halloween? Costume?

12197403_10105607273900051_667072108_o

Did you R.I.P?

Night Run 10k Vancouver {Recap!}

So happy to be home!!!

10157328_10105515870627941_2531155432759502604_n

It was a tad nippy in Canada, totally not what I was used to, lol, and I actually looked forward to my Arizona temps! Anyway, I arrived to Canada Thursday evening and we immediately went to dinner. It was absolutely amazing–steak and salmon for the win!

The race was on Friday night, and earlier in the day we toured the city–I musta walked like 5 miles! We had amazing lunch at this place called Joe Fortes (to die, seriously!) and we were back at the hotel around 3 for an afternoon siesta.

When I awoke, I got dressed and ready and we walked the about a mile walk to the race site. I was hoping I’d get my usual pre-race jitters (i.e. need to use the restroom) but I didn’t have to go. This was a little disconcerting considering I had two big meals still in the stomach.

Anyway, what was nice about the race was that it was at beautiful Stanley Park

Surrounded by water the entire way :)

Surrounded by water the entire way 🙂

and there was a building at the race start where runners could hang out in–this was GREAT for me because I was freezing. They were playing music, there was a photo op place, FREE McCafe, and even a no-line bathroom! (Except I still didn’t have to go 😦 )

Freeeeee!!!

Freeeeee!!!

It wasn’t long before it was time for the 10Kers to line up. The 5k runners had just left and there was about a 10-15 minute wait before our turn.

There were no corrals but “fast” runners were told to head to the front (this is where my husband left me, lol!)

The countdown started and we were off! The beginning portion was a downhill and really, I should have kept this in mind for later–I didn’t.

I was gunning for an 8:45 average pace and when the first mile beeped 8:45 I was THRILLED. I had this guy in front of me who was running a good pace so I stuck with him.

The view were uh-mazing. This was Stanley Park after all. The sun was setting and the colors on the water were so beautiful. We had the city lights behind us and the green trees next to us; it was awesome.

20150925_182425

On one side, water….

20150925_182415

on the other, city….so beautiful! (pictures are pre-race, lol!)

The second mile beeped 8:35 and I was happy that I was still feeling pretty good. I kept it going with my “pacer” to mile 3 and that beeped at 8:45!

And then my pacer slowed down 😦 I wanted to yell at him, “Keep it going!! I need you!!” lol, but of course I didn’t and I told myself to put my big girl panties on and do it myself.

Yeah, that didn’t work out so well.

Almost immediately after crossing the 5k mark, I begin to falter.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 6.28.44 PM

And maybe that guy knew the uphill was coming or something, but I didn’t. I felt like I was still going my pace but mile 4 beeped away at 9:04 and I was buuuuummed.

I tried to get it together and at least keep it under 9 minutes which I barely managed to when mile 5 beeped 8:58.

Mile 6, 8:53.

I was so happy to only have .2 left. SO happy.

And then the goddamn hill. Yes, the one that when I started, took me on a nice swift decline.

I had been trying so hard to get sub 9 miles that I felt I had nothing left to give on that effing uphill–I practically crawled up it and the last .28 took me 2 minutes and 50 seconds (a 10 minute pace). Seriously, Helly.

IMG_20150925_214953

I crossed the finish line in 55:49 missing my sub 54 goal by a minute and 50. Ugh.

On a positive note, I was pleased my overall pace was under 9 at an 8:53 pace, so YAY to that!! 😀

On an even more positive note, my husband finished 10th overall!!!

The post-race was super cool–they fed us a burrito, fries, and a beer–and they had a DJ playing music. We were inside a building, nice and warm too so it was definitely comfortable and fun.

12030492_10105508665786501_7272303332225304307_o

20150925_203851

The DJ announced he’d be awarding top overall male and females so we hung out to see the speedsters. The top 3 men and top 3 women were awarded their medals and then the DJ went back to his music right afterward.

20150925_210439

Aaaaand this is when things went awry. About 30 minutes later, my husband and I decided to head back to the hotel. It was late, about 10 o’clock, and we didn’t want to be out in the streets at dark. As soon as we got to the hotel, we checked our results again but this time online. My husband said he’d gotten 1st in his age group!!! Woohoo!!!

Seriously, not about 5 minutes later, I posted our Instagram pic with the hashtag #NightRunVancouver and #RunVan and when I searched both tags, I saw a guy showing off his Age Group medal! Whaaat??? How in the world did we miss that??? We had been inside the ENTIRE time and not once did they announce Age Group awards! I messaged the guy and he told me that he had seen a table with medals and that was how he had gotten his. Whaaaat???? No announcement? No sign? Nada???

We decided we’d head to the running store the next day where packet pick-up for the race was. My husband ran the mile to the store Saturday morning only to be told by the employees there that they had no idea what he was talking about.

My husband returned bummed but over it–it was just a medal.

But I was upset! I don’t know why, maybe the Type A organizer in me, but c’mon! So I e-mailed the race director who responded the next day, Sunday, the day we were leaving, that he’d drop off the medal at the running store my husband had been to the day before, lol!

That e-mail was sent right before we got on the plane to come home, so of course there was no going back to the store.

Bummer, no medal (and again, my husband did not care, lol!) but it peeved me a little that there had been NO announcement whatsoever post-race and I made sure to let the race director know that that was an area which needed improvement–because besides that, it had been a great race. And during my Instagram search, I had found another girl who experienced the same thing.

Not how we wanted to end the race but we decided to solely focus on the positive (or really, my husband kept telling me to focus on the positive, lol!!). The race had amazing views the entire way, it was a single loop which for 10k’s I’ve run is rare, and it had great pre and post race festivities. If I was to eliminate the medal fiasco, this would definitely be a race I’d recommend. Thanks for making it this far and sorry for my long-winded vent, lol!

I’ll be re-capping the rest of my amazing trip later this week–I hope everyone had a great weekend!! ❤ , helly

–Have you ran a race and missed the medal?

–Ever ran a race with super cool pre and post race parties??

 

 

 

 

Rock n Roll Arizona 1/2 Marathon Recap

I’ve been noticing a trend with my races lately–the less I stress and the less pressure I put on myself has proven to be the best race strategy. I went into the Fiesta Bowl 1/2 Marathon last month not sure what I wanted to do and ended the race with a killer PR of 1:55:37 (beating my previous by almost 3 full minutes). On Sunday, I was debating about treating this like a legit training run or going for another sub 2 (but not at all thinking about a PR).

My husband, who was also racing, my daughter (who wasn’t racing 😉 ), and I didn’t spend too much time at the Expo itself. We got our bibs and shirts and took a few quick pics:

20150117_115021

Checkin’ in!

My little runner <3

My little runner ❤

After, we started making our way to a group social–I’d planned on meeting up with my #RunEatTweetAZ peeps 🙂

#RunEatTweetAZ :)

#RunEatTweetAZ 🙂

The meet up was so much fun! There were a bunch of giveaways and the grand prize was a free race entry from a local racing company, StartLine Racing. Guess who won? MEEEEE!!!!!

I'm a winner!!!

I’m a winner!!!

My daughter had had a blast at the social, even getting to meet Elsa and Anna! and then we had lunch downtown. It was such a beautiful, relaxed Saturday.

Me with the princesses

Me and 3 princesses

I carried that momentum to the next morning as I got ready. We arrived to the race early and well prepared. Prepared as in I was not cold. I know, I know, I’m in Arizona but cold for us lol! It was actually supposed to be a gorgeous day–and it was–but the morning was a bit chilly (41 degrees is COLD! lol!). I had on sweats and a sweater and was very comfortable up to the start. We gear checked our stuff and then made our way to our corrals.

I met up with with one of my running buddies and wished him luck. Along the way, I ran into another friend from my running club, Harry, who is super fast (he’s attempting a BQ time at Phoenix). I asked him what his goal time was and he said that he was just going have fun with this one and was going to help a friend pace. Their time was around what I had thought I’d like to be, 9 minute miles. I figured I’d hang out with them and see where it took me.

My husband wished me luck and he moved up to his corral. The gun went off and we were on our way!

We started off at a very good pace and I felt it was smart that I had decided to start easy and relaxed. The first mile ticked off 8:51 and I thought, this is good. So far, so good.

I could feel myself start to pick up the pace a little but still felt good and mile two went by at 8:47. It was here that Harry and I somehow lost our other friend. She had made a pit stop at the first water station unexpectedly and we couldn’t find her. Harry even went back to look and met up with me later when he couldn’t find her. We continued on our way and stayed consistently near 9:00 up to mile 9.

Mile 7 was a Gu stop and Mile 9 was a killer hill.

Mile 7 was a Gu stop and Mile 9 was a killer hill.

I was very pleased with mile 9. The entire first 3/4 of the race is an incline that culminates with a huge hill at mile 9. This is usually where I bonk (last year miles 8 and 9 were 9:26 and 9:22) so when I saw 9:09 I was so happy! It had felt like a 20 minute mile lol!

nice...steady...incline

nice…steady…incline

Seeing how well I had done up to that point motivated me to continue. I ran the last 4 miles strong and the last mile with all heart. I had done the math, I was going to kill last year’s time (1:58:11)! This fact made me so incredibly happy; I had no idea that I was actually going to be close to a PR. Had I known, maybe I would have pushed it but because I was so thrilled with how I was doing up to that point, I wasn’t at all thinking about even being close to PRing. As each mile clicked away, I became more and more elated!

Yaaaay!!!

Yaaaay!!!

And somehow, I ended up finishing 15 seconds away from my PR (1:55:37) on a muuuuch tougher course!! I was (and still am) on cloud 9!!! 😀

There was no plan, no strategy, I just started out with what felt good and carried my momentum the rest of the way trying my best to stay consistent.

What capped off the race, how could it possibly get better you might ask, is that my husband did absolutely amazing. He way surpassed his previous year’s time at this course (1:48) and then beat his PR from last month of 1:42, finishing RnR AZ at 1:40:49. One-freaking-forty!! He’s come such a long way for his short running career; I’m so pumped for what his running future holds for him ❤

Me and my speedy <3

Me and my speedy ❤

Partaking in some post race celebration hydration

Partaking in some post race celebration hydration

yaaaaay!!!

yaaaaay!!!

This was a race that was by no means easy; I felt like I was working the entire way. But, I wasn’t dying at the end (my race pictures show otherwise lol!) or felt like I had overworked my body. I just felt really good.

Strong. I felt strong. And that seriously is the best feeling ever 🙂

–Do you always have a race/game plan/strategy?

–How would you describe yourself (or the way you feel) at the end of a race?