Monday, June 25, 2007

Half-Marathon Personal Best!

The short version: A new half-marathon PR: 2:31:15. :-D :-D :-D (Old PR: 2:35:40). (According to the Garmin, we actually ran 13.25)

The long version:

I guess all that long, slow marathon training finally paid off! : pbbt:

This race was not a goal race at all. I was just planning on running it as a long run, and having fun running through the city. I did have a great 8 miler last weekend, that was a lot faster than I expected, but I had no expectations of running that same kind of pace today. For once, my bad weather luck was absent, and conditions were fairly nice. It was a little warmer and sunnier than forecast, but nothing major, and most of the run was through the Englischer Garten, a large park in the middle of Munich, so we were running along nice shady paths with lots of trees. The few times we were running directly in the sun (especially at the end of the race), you could really feel the difference. But it was still lovely weather: 16°C when we started and a high of 20°C (68°F) by the end, with just very light winds (7 km/hr / 5 mph at the most).

The race started at 8:00 am, and there were tons of people out to run. A record number of registrants: 17 000. But that was between the half, the 10K, and the 5K. So it took us about 10 minutes to cross the start line. We started in downtown Munich, at Marienplatz, and ran towards the Englischer Garten. Once in the Garten, we were running in very familiar territory. Hubby and I do most of our runs, especially our long runs, on the various paths there, and the race went along many of the same paths that we regularly run on.

The first several kilometre markers were way off, so I had no idea what kind of pace I was really running, but hubby had the Garmin on and although he kept asking me if I felt okay, he had no concerns about my pace. Turns out I was running at a good clip. Everything was feeling good though. Legs felt fine, I was breathing comfortably and talking to hubby. The only thing that told me I was running a little on the fast side was that I didn't want to take in anything other than Gatorade. Gels, bananas, etc. all held no appeal.

The course was very flat, with two exceptions: going over a bridge in the Englischer Garten to cross over major roads at one point, and then right before the 20km point, there was a hill to get out of the Isar River valley where the Englischer Garten is, back to the normal city elevation.

Kept a good, fairly even clip up until the 11 mile point. Then I started to feel a little tired. Wasn't sore, but the legs were starting to get tired and I was starting to breathe a little harder. So miles 12 and 13.1 were slower. But I had a bit of a kick at the finish, and was delighted to cross the finish line in 2:31:15, a huge PR for me!

After the race, we were given water, then made our way to where we could gets bananas, apples, Semmel (buns), Breze (Bavarian soft pretzels), and Alkoholfrei Bier (non-alcoholic beer). The banana, Breze and beer were great post-run food.

This was a Stadtlauf (City Run) so it was a little different from other races. We did have chips, and very nice technical race t-shirts, but we all had to wear the race t-shirt as part of the run (to have access to all the race stuff, including the refreshment stations during the race and after). No bibs, no personal photos, and no medals. But hubby and I took some photos of each other after the race. There were also only four refreshment stations along the route, with only water and Sprudel (carbonated mineral water) at the first two, and water along with bananas and apple juice at the last two. Hubby carried two bottles of Powerade for us, however, so that was what we drank. After the race, we slowly walked home, taking about an hour and a half. It was a nice, long cooldown, although my hamstrings were starting to complain (didn't bother me at all during the run) and they really didn't like having to climb out of the Isar River valley.

I wore one of my running skirts, along with the race shirt, and it was very comfortable. I'm sure it helped me run faster. ;-) Photos below.

So I finally had decent weather for a run, and I finally ran another PR! :-D :-D :-D Now I'm actually thinking of doing a 30km run in the fall, instead of a half, and then hopefully try to break 2:30 for a half next spring. :-)

Here are the photos we took.

Splits (some of them are really off, although my total time is close to my chip time):

1 km: 8:13
2 km: 7:20
3 km: 7:51
4 km: 5:27 (this can't be right!)
5 km: 4:54 (I'm definitely not running this fast!)
6 km: 7:14
7 km: 6:56
8 km: 6:53
9 km: 7:33 (don't think I slowed down that much)
10km: 7:06 (that's more like it)
11km: 6:33
12km: 6:59
13km: 7:13
14km: 6:58
15km: 7:12
16km: 6:56
17km: 7:22
18km: 7:14
19km: 7:36
20km: 9:40 (this seems off too - I was slowing down, but not this much! This was the hill out of the Isar River Valley)
21.1km: 7:56

Garmin splits for the miles are much more even:

Mile 1: 11:34
2: 11:33
3: 11:04
4: 11:10
5: 11:21
6: 11:35
7: 11:11
8: 11:34
9: 11:21
10: 11:32
11: 11:25
12: 11:56
13: 12:09
0.1: 1:01

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Blog Blast for Peace

Also visit Dragonheart's blog, for our thoughts on peace.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Photo Hunters

Grab the Photo Hunt code.
Join the blogroll. Visit participants.


Five photos, showing some of the various sights in Munich.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Foto Pherrets: Fly

Foto Pherrets
Hump Day Hunt - Week Seventy-One

Birds do it...
Bees do it...

Our word for the week is:

It's been a while since I've participated in Foto Pherrets because my husband and I were busy training for the Hamburg Marathon (which we ran) and I've been busy studying Anatomy and Physiology (I'm working on a Masters degree in physiotherapy.) Now that the marathon is over, I have time to participate in some of my favourite memes again. So here is my "Fly" photo.

Paragliding in SwitzerlandWhen my husband and I were in Switzerland in February, we went paragliding. It was an amazing experience. We each went tandem, strapped to an experienced paragliding instructor, and we flew through the air. It was awesome to be flying, just like a bird. We took off at the top of a mountain, and just drifted under canopy.

Paragliding in Switzerland
I've skydived before, but didn't enjoy free-fall. Once the parachute opened and we were under canopy, however, I loved skydiving. So paragliding was perfect for me, since there was no free-fall and we were under canopy the entire time. It was a fabulous experience.

(Click either of the photos above for a larger image)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Hamburg Marathon Race Report

The short version: Excellent race organization. Very well run. Great crowd support, even for us turtles (or penguins). A marathon PR for me by almost 7 minutes. Chip time: 5:51:11.

The good: Cooler than forecast
The bad: Windier than forecast
The ugly: I had major stomach problems, which I normally don't have.

The long version:

I had several goals heading into this race. One, simply to finish the race before the course closed (accomplished). Two: PR (accomplished). Three: Run the entire race (didn't happen because of my upset belly.) Four: Run it in 5:45 (didn't happen, again, probably largely due to the belly.)

Normally, my stomach doesn't bother me at all when I run or race. The only time I've had an upset stomach while running was on our last 20 mile training run, and as I was dealing with major endometriosis pain at the time, and had taken a painkiller before the run, I figured those two things combined contributed to my upset stomach. But then I had my stomach be very unhappy today. I'm not sure why - I didn't eat anything that I don't normally eat the night before the race, and this morning I ate my normal pre-race food. Didn't do anything new during the race - the only difference is that I was drinking Hamburg water, which I've never had before. So who knows? Anyhow, it really affected me for a while. Basically, from about the 24 km mark on, my stomach didn't let me run as fast as my legs wanted to, and really slowed me down for a while.

The race started at 9:00. Our time group (5+ hours) started at 9:15. We had to be in line at 8:35 for the race organizers to check our bibs and make sure we were in the right corral (there was a letter on your bib indicating where you should line up.) There were starts on three different streets - they converged later on with no congestion, because the elites and fast runners started first, on their street, then another group started five minutes later, then another group, then the final group. It seemed to work really well. There wasn't a crazy amount of crowding at the start and there was no crowding at all where all the start lines came together.

It was nice and cool when we started. We were running slightly uphill for about the first 5 km, through a very nice neighbourhood, then slightly downhill for the next 5 km, with a large portion of the course along the harbourfront. Just after 10 km, there was a nice, long downhill, where I just let gravity pull me down. After the harbour, we turned into the city, and started experiencing some wind. The wind wasn't too bad until the 19 km mark, where it suddenly was blowing very strong. Got through the half in a time that I was happy with.

After the halfway point, things started going downhill. The wind was really blowing, and my stomach started acting up. It just wouldn't settle down, and the pounding was making it worse. My legs wanted to run faster, but my belly was saying no way. When I ran slow enough to keep my belly happy, my quads started complaining. So finally I took a walk break, which helped to settle my stomach, and I continued to take them whenever my stomach got really bad. So I didn't make my goal of running the entire thing. But since when I tried to run with my belly, I had slowed to a crawl, I was actually faster walking and then running!

Near the end, the shade that had lined most of the course disappeared for a long while. Although it didn't get terribly hot out there today (high of about 17°C), being in the direct sun felt really hot, and that slowed me down a bit. Tried to kick it into high gear at the end of the race, but although I was running, I wasn't able to sprint as fast as I would have liked, since my stomach was holding me back.

Received our medals at the end, and then our "Verpflegung" kits, which consisted of a banana, apple, granola bar and bottle of water in a plastic bag. Went to get a glass of non-alcoholic beer, then went to the massage area, and I got a massage, which felt really good.

The race didn't run out of anything, even for the slowpokes like me! :grin: There was plenty of water, sports drink, bananas, etc. at all of the water stations, and there were still lots of spectators lining the streets, cheering us on. Because our bibs also had our first names printed on the front, we heard our names called out a lot! Mine as pronounced the German way, which threw me at first, until I realized they were calling out to me! Hubby's name (Keith) was more problematic. You see, in German, and "ei" is pronounced "eye" and they don't do the "th" combination. So those who didn't know English were pronouncing it "Kite". Cute, anyhow, especially when the little kids tried to say it!

Kilometre splits and commentary on some of them:

1 & 2: 16:15 (missed the first kilometre marker)
3: 8:17 (uphill)
4: 8:05 (slight uphill)
5: 8:03 (slight uphill)
6: 7:46 (slight downhill)
7: 7:36 (slight downhill)
8: 8:04 (fiddling with my first gel)
9: 7:41 (feeling good)
10: 7:51
11: 7:10 (big downhill)
12: 7:39
13: 8:00
14: 8:07 (a little windy here)
15: 7:56
16: 7:56
17: 8:07 (took my second gel)
18: 7:53
19: 8:26 (strong winds: 20 km/hr with gusts up to 40 km/hr :mutmad:)
20: 7:52
21: 8:06
22: 8:42 (more strong wind :mutmad:)
23: 8:31 (still windy)
24: 8:54 (stomach starting to bother me :mutmad:)
25: 9:26 (stomach not happy)
26: 9:36 (stomach not happy)
27: 9:51 (stomach REALLY not happy :cry:)
28: 9:21 (took walk break to try to settle stomach)
29: 8:27 (stomach happier after the walk break)
30 & 31: 16:38 (missed 30 km mark - had photo and video taken)
32: 8:32 (stomach acting up a bit again)
33: 8:05
34: 7:57
35: 8:14 (stomach not letting me run any faster :sad:)
36: 8:09
37: 8:22 (starting to get tired)
38: 9:47 (tired and hot - it's too sunny - where's my shade? :mutmad:)
39: 8:31
40: 8:51 (slight uphill right here)
41: 8:23 (then a little bit of a downhill - stomach still not terribly happy)
42: 8:35 (trying to turn it on, but my stomach didn't want me going faster)
0.2: 1:14

Total time (watch): 5:51:18 Chip time: 5:51:11 Clock time: 5:54:09

So, I'm happy that I have a new marathon PR, but upset that I didn't manage to run the entire thing, and didn't manage that 5:45 I had hoped for. For the next while, I think I'm going to stick with half-marathons. For someone as slow as I am, you are out there for a LONG time when running a marathon and it's probably not something I'll do again soon. The half is a nice distance. Long enough to be challenging, but the training doesn't consume your life like the marathon does (again, especially when you are as slow as I am, and an easy 5 miles takes an hour to complete.) But who knows, I may change my mind in a few days, especially since I didn't meet my goal of running the entire thing. But if I do another marathon, I'll either look for a trail one, to minimize the pounding on the asphalt, or maybe even do a 50K :shocker!: that's on the trails. I'm sure one of the reasons I've been able to run more since moving to Munich is due to the fact that just about all of my runs are done on dirt or gravel trails, with minimal asphalt.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Anniversary My Love

3 years ago today, you made me the happiest woman on Earth. We were married on the Mayan Riviera in Mexico, and it was a perfect fairy-tale wedding.

I love you so much. You mean more to me than words could ever express. Thank you for being my best friend and my husband. I love you.