Beat The Blerch

  • November 14th, 2015
  • Sacramento, California
  • Beat The Blerch
  • Sharon: 2:31:10
  • Tim: 2:30:15

 

This run made both of us realize how much we missed doing races. Given how I felt about the last month of races during our HM project this was a surprise to me. We have decided to try to do a HM about once a month leading up to our full marathon.

We got a late start (because we are getting old and dotterly) Friday morning so we didn’t get to Sacramento until after 5pm. I think we hit the after work rush at packet pickup. Although the line was long it moved pretty fast. At one point a guy in a blerch suit worked his way up the line, handing out candy and encouraging everyone to carb load.

You must keep up your strength

You must keep up your strength

We got our packets and jumped into another line to get Matt Imman (The Oatmeal) to sign our book and Exploding Kittens card game. There was blerchy merchandise for sale. Tim got another t-shirt (!?) and I got socks. We both got blerch stress balls.

Tim also got a picture with The Oatmeal like the fan boy he is (his words).

Awkward guy hug

Awkward guy hug

Race morning was perfect. It started out a little chilly but was perfect running weather.

Another before picture

Another before picture

A lot of people dressed up. The pre-race was very festive.

I run for cup cakes

I run for cup cakes

I want these running tights

I want these running tights

The perfect couple

The perfect couple

Donuts were a theme

Donuts were a theme

Our packet came with temporary blerch tattoos but we forgot to put them on. I found a girl who put her tatto in the same place I had planned to put mine and she graciously let me take her picture.

Thanks Cinnamon - you look adorable

Thanks Cinnamon – you look adorable

They did a great pre-race party. This was the funnest race I have ever done.

Motivational sign

Motivational sign

Who are we to argue with the wisdom of the blerch?

Who are we to argue with the wisdom of the blerch?

This is before the race started

This is before the race even started

There was a pretty long line to get a picture with these guys so we skipped it. I want to know where to get Nutella in the, bigger than a yeti’s head, size.

Did you get that at Costco?

Did you get that at Costco?

The race itself was great. Tim had a bit of a flareup with his afib at the beginning but it settled down and he was able to run most of the race. They picked a nice route. I was surprised at what a beautiful city Sacramento is. There are lots of paths by rivers and great bridges.

We ran past the capital building.

Beat The Blerch

I heard lots of people laughing when we went by this sign. I wish I had a pen on me so I could have written, “Don’t Jump!”

Fly!

Fly!

As awesome as the scenery was it was the people who were the most interesting.

I think that blerch was flirting with my husband

I think that blerch was flirting with my husband

It's a donut parade

It’s a donut parade

Tim asked if she was the Dark Ghost of Halloween. No - she was a Japanese Hornet

Tim asked if she was the Dark Ghost of Halloween. No – she was a Japanese Hornet

My favorite was the Taco Cat

My favorite was the Taco Cat

Me and Tim ran together most of the race but I had to stop and go to the bathroom around mile 6. One of my only complaints about this race was the lack of bathrooms on the course. I was directed to a building (after asking at 2 aid stations) and there was someone with a blerch suit pointing out the bathroom. Because I came in the wrong door I lost about 5 minutes to 5 seconds of peeing. Tim ran ahead but I did manage to catch back up to him but I ran faster than I should have, trying to do so and payed for it that last 3 miles. I was sore and had to slow down towards the end. A race with cake and Nutella should have more bathrooms, in my opinion.

Most of the running surface was smooth pavement and nice bike paths but there was one section of bumpy wood boardwalk that tried to trip me.

Beat The Blerch

Once we got close to the end Tim was trying to speed up while I had to slow down so I told him to go. Coming through the finish chute I got boxed in by a group of people in banana suits pretending to fly.

Tim was waiting for me across the finish line. The finish line and food line were too close together. This was the only other thing about the race (bathrooms being the first) that was less than ideal. I discovered that banana with Nutella is a perfect after race food.

I love my medal

I love my medal

Cons

  • A couple more bathrooms on the course would have been appreciated (although they did have a few)
  • Finish line chaos

Pros

  • Great pre-party fun vibe
  • Pictures and book signing at the packet pickup
  • Great shirt and swag
  • Well organized
  • Great volunteers
  • People dressed up
  • Awesome food (during and after the race)
  • Beautiful course
  • Bridges and rivers
  • Ending on the track
  • Cool medal
  • Fun
  • Free pictures
After - I wish my hair would grow faster

After – I wish my hair would grow faster

This was one of the funnest races I have ever done. I was never bored even though I forgot my music in the hotel room. It was so fun to run almost the whole way with Tim. This race would be the perfect gateway drug into racing. It was beyond beginner friendly with many half marathoners coming in over 3 hours. It was almost completely flat and had lots of aid stations. Did I mention how fun it was?

Here I am looking like a beet dressed like hipster, posing in front of the Tower Bridge on our way to dinner Saturday night. After dinner we watched the Ronda Rousey fight. I was shocked that she lost.

Beat The Blerch

And here is Tim on our way to dinner and the fight.

Tim gets run over by  river par art

Tim gets run over by river park art

Oh Tim - you're so silly

Oh Tim – you’re so silly

When we got home as soon as Tim sat on the bed he was wearing a cat.

Don't ever leave home for 2 home nights again.

Don’t ever leave me home alone for 2 whole nights again.

Please leave a comment.

Cue sad trombone music. I’m sorry to have to announce that we will not be doing the Beat the Blerch marathon. Although I can now get out of bed without screaming my back is still sore and Tim is having an escalating problem with his afib. We were able to switch to the half marathon so there will still be a blearchy race report/blog post, hopefully with many pictures of much silliness. We did our scheduled long run on Halloween but it was slow and unpleasant. About 15 miles into the run Tim’s afib kicked in and I got annoyed because he hadn’t called the doctor yet, then I felt bad for acting like a nag. We seem to argue a lot while running. Oddly enough, my back only hurt when I stopped running. Getting dressed for Halloween was quite a comedy routine.

Hey - I hardly feel my back at all when I'm drunk

Hey – I hardly feel my back at all when I’m drunk

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Halloween on a Saturday is like finding out your best meal of the year comes with free awesome sauce. We got trashed and had a lot of fun. While looking for old Halloween pictures I found these ghosts of Halloween past.

The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussycat

This is what happens when we get invited to a party with a biblical theme.

Things Moses saw on the way to the promised land

Things Moses saw on the way to the promised land

Do you give up? We were the burning bush and the red sea.

Last weekend our run lasted about 20 seconds. We did our 10 minute warm up walk but as soon as we tried to run Tim’s afib started. He decided to go home. I was going to run alone but when I tried to play my music it was dead so I also stomped home only about 5 minutes behind Tim. We went out for second breakfast and decided to see if it was possible to switch to the half marathon. We suspected that it was too late but Tim shot off an email anyway. A big thanks to the race for letting us do this on such short notice.

We walked 10 minutes this morning, time for second breakfast

We walked 10 minutes this morning, time for second breakfast

Carb loading because Scrabble is a sport, right?

Carb loading because Scrabble is a sport, right?

While I feel a little lame that we will not be doing the full marathon I think it was the smart choice.

Now for some more interesting, not so smart choice, news. We signed up for the Jack and Jill Marathon. It is a gentile downhill marathon in Washington at the end of July. We had to – they sent me an email saying that registration was open and they expected to sell out quickly. At least we will have time to properly train. Although, that doesn’t necessarily mean we will. But I have big plans.

Please leave a comment. I still love comments.

It has been over 3 weeks since my last blog post. That should mean that I have 3 weeks of training runs to report on but sadly, that is not what it means at all.

I may be taking pictures of Tim’s first marathon from the sidelines. Last Thursday (10/22) I threw out my back. Like an idiot, Saturday morning I tried to do our long run (yes honey, I know I can’t straighten my back but I’m sure once I warm up it will be fine). We walk/ran (stumbled) about 3 miles before Tim put an end to that nonsense. So it has been a full week of no running for me.

My favorite part about running at the butt crack of dawn

My favorite part about running at the butt crack of dawn

Working backwards we did have a slow (5:26:55) but successful 20.6 mile run. To beat the 6 hour cutoff I would have to run about 6 miles in half an hour to make up the pace. I did a 5k in a half hour once. So even without back problems beating the cutoff looks iffy.

One thing you never read about in running magazines is asshole chafing. I highly recommend this spray glide.

tri-slide

It even works upside down

The problem with glide around the asshole is that it gets wiped off when you go to the bathroom. Hey – someone has to talk about these things, just be glad I had enough sense not to include a photo.

Also, why the hell are they called blisters? There is nothing blissful about them. I got one on the side of my nail on my big toe. I was actually relieved to see that it was a blister because while running it felt like I was getting an ingrown toenail.

Every weekend we run past this amusing place

Every weekend we run past this amusing place

As for the long run that was supposed to have happened the weekend after my last post – it turned into a long walk. Tim had a problem with his afib that came back every time he tried to run. So we walked. I felt awful for Tim (but a bit worried) because I could tell he was frustrated.

yep - that's a dog chillin' on a paddle board

yep – that’s a dog chillin’ on a paddle board

 

To recap my last 3 weekends.
Weekend 1: Mostly walked 18.3 miles (5:10:28).
Weekend 2: Our longest run, 20.6 miles (5:26:55).
Weekend 3: Made it 3.6 miles (1:13:10) before aborting.

 

Meowse approves of bed rest for my back

Meowse approves of bed rest for my back

If I can walk I’m going to do this race. I always tell people that they want their time to be slow at a new distance so they can beat it next time. Every new distance is a PR. This pep talk is not helping me because I’m not worried about being slow (that is a given) but I’m worried about getting pulled from the course by the sweeper vehicle. I have never had a DNF (did not finish). We have been at a couple of races that had cutoffs but they were never enforced. Maybe that will happen.

Note: I will be posting one more blog before the marathon. Please check it out because I plan to have Halloween pictures. We take Halloween very seriously.

Please leave a comment, question, or encouraging word. I am beyond frustrated with my back and all – you poor thing – sort of comments are appreciated.

I have made an awful mistake. When I was reading the general information about the Beat The Blerch marathon it stated that there was a 7 hour cutoff. I thought that would be cutting it close. It turns out (on a closer reading) that all the Blerch marathons except Sacramento have a 7 hour cutoff. Sacramento has a 6 hour cutoff. Why?! How did I miss this piece of information? If we were to run the marathon at our current pace (note that this pace is at a shorter distance) the – you’re a slow fat ass and we need to open the course to traffic now – sweeper vehicle would be giving us a ride to the finish. I wouldn’t get my medal. Usually I don’t care about medals but I really want a Blerch medal.

Here is the data from our last 5 long runs.

9/5 15 miles 4:10:56 16.73 min/mile
9/12 15.5 miles 4:10:23 16.19 min/mile
9/19 17 miles 4:26:46 15.7 min/mile
9/26 18.7 miles 4:58:07 15.93 min/mile
10/3 19.8 miles 5:07:10 15.5 min/mile



We have only done one long run at Los Peñasquitos Canyon since the last time I wrote. It has been crazy hot in San Diego so we decided to do our Saturday runs closer to home. We hope to get back on the trails as soon as it cools down.

Peace Rocks

Peace Rocks

Although I do have a gay friend who once pooped in the woods

Although I do have a gay friend who once pooped in the woods

Our new route starts on the promenade which is only steps from our door. We leave the house at (you guessed it) Fuck This O’Clock and run a couple miles next to the ocean. The promenade is oddly deserted before dawn. To beat the heat we are running in the dark for at least the first hour.

Sharon running on the beach

Sharon running on the beach

At the end of the promenade we cross the street and get onto the bay path. The bay path is a loop that always has interesting scenery and beautiful views. It’s more practical than running on the trail because the entire route has bathrooms and even vending machines for cold water and Gatorade. Did you know vending machines take credit cards now? I suppose it is old news but I was surprised.

Bird gives us a suspicious look

Bird gives us a suspicious look

Birds give us suspicious looks

Birds give us suspicious looks

It’s nice not to have to drive to our run spot but the downside is that we are running on mostly concrete, not the best surface for old bones and joints. We have also had some interesting issues on our around the bay runs. On our first bay run a section of the path was closed to foot traffic due to boat races. This is a popular running path so there were a lot of confused runners in the street looking for a new route. On our second run we found ourselves in the middle of a race. Volunteers were cheering for racers as well as for those of us who were just out for a run. That was nice. It was weird to be in the middle of a race but not in the race. The third week we finally made it around the bay.

Foot Bridge

We’ll be back here soon

This coming weekend we won’t be doing any trail running. The weather report predicts a high of 89° and I’m taking the route that has cold beverages available. My tummy is a hot weather wimp. It’s hard for me to keep even a Gu down when I’m overheating. That reminds me – we tried a new Gu flavor. They just came out with a Maple Bacon Gu. The nice man at Just Run, a new La Jolla running store, gave me a free sample. I’m not sure what I thought of it but I’m going to stick to Salted Caramel. They need to partner with Nutella. That’s a Gu I would try.

Paddle Boarders

I want to learn to paddle board

In addition to our long runs we have been running a little over 4 miles on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. At least that is the plan, We usually only make it 2 out of the 3 days. We run early enough that the promenade is almost empty. Sometimes we run by parties that are still going on from the night before.

Seen on the promenade around 6 am.

Seen on the promenade around 6 am.

Last weekend we went to the Makers Faire (Sunday) at Balboa Park. I was still sore from running Saturday and would have stayed home had I known it was going to be 6 hours of trains, robots, and electronics.

Tim Poses with one of his heroes.

Tim Poses with one of his heroes.

In other news – I got a haircut. Apparently, about an inch means scalp me in beautician talk.

Sigh - it's even shorter than I thought.

Sigh – it’s even shorter than I thought.

At this point my only goal for this race is to make the 6 hour cutoff. Damn it – I want my Blerch medal.

Please leave a comment, question, or advise.

Run...

I’m doomed. We planned to take 2 weeks off of running after finishing our last HM and then start training for the marathon. Alas – that was not to be. Conveniently, just when we were going to start running again we both got sick with a cold like flu thing. We beat the crap out of our bodies for a year but we got sick after a couple of relaxing weekends looking at the ocean. Go figure. The following weekend I still wasn’t feeling well but was scared enough about the marathon to try running anyway. If I had been thinking clearly I would have suggested that we do a short run but because it was the weekend and that was our long run time we went to San Dieguito Park for a long run. Our long run turned out to be 4 miles and about half of that was walking.

I didn't even enjoy myself running downstairs

I didn’t even enjoy myself running downstairs

This is a beautiful park but not as big as I thought it was. It is too small to do a real long run.

Just look at this bridge

Just look at this bridge

I really gave it my best shot but I had nothing. I was at points chilled yet sweating, hot yet I had goose bumps, nauseous, dizzy, and my legs just refused to run. It took us over an hour to do 4 miles before I admitted that I was still too sick for this. I’m pretty sure Tim knew fairly early on that this was not going to be a long run. You know – because of the cussing, crying, and general lack of running. We went home and took a shower and a nap.

The scenery was beautiful

The scenery was beautiful

Instead of just doing a long run on the weekends like we have been doing for the last year we are actually getting up Tuesday and Thursday mornings to run about 4 miles before Tim goes to work. That means getting up a little before 5am and running while it’s still dark. I promise to take a running beach photo for my next post but this morning Tim spotted this on the beach.

They buried radioactive Mickey and Minnie

They buried radioactive Mickey and Minnie

Our next weekend training run was a little more successful but about half of what we planned to run. It was a hot, hilly 7.1 miles. We should have gotten an earlier start. We have found the trail that we plan to do most of our long runs on. It is Los Peñasquitos Canyon about a 20 minute drive from our house.

What a beautiful trail

What a beautiful trail

I thought I was in Tucson for a minute

I thought I was in Tucson for a minute

We plan to get an early start and double our milage this weekend. To beat the heat we will truly have to get up, once again, at -Fuck This! o’clock.

Our new stomping grounds

Our new stomping grounds

We had a good talk this week about getting serious about our marathon training. We decided to get serious about losing weight again over a plate of Donner Fries and a bottle of wine.

Speaking of Donner Fries – our friends Elise and Jessie from Tucson were in San Diego so we went out for wine and Donner Fries (I just don’t understand why my weight loss has plateaued). Jessie took this picture so, sadly, he isn’t in it.

It was great to see you guys

It was great to see you guys

On a different topic – my massage school is going ok. It is billed as a “holistic” massage school. Apparently, that means a lot of woo-woo nonsense and a bunch of teachers who liked the 70’s so much they decided to stay there. As Tim put it, “Jerry is dead, move on”. If I hear “Thank you for sharing”, one more time I’ll scream. It actually does have a good massage program and I’m learning a lot.

In other non running related news, August 30th was the 20 year anniversary of the night me and Tim met. We went to Amplified to celebrate. We did have wine but not the Donner Fries. Wow – we must really be getting serious. Oddly, it feels, both like we met not so long ago and like we have been together forever. Happy anniversary, my darling. I love you beyond words.

So that has been out marathon training for the last month. A couple 4 mile runs and a long run of 7.1 miles. We got this (sigh).

Please leave a comment or ask a question. I love evidence that I am being read.

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I want to start out my HM project conclusion remarks with a big shoutout to my awesome husband, Tim. This project was as much his as it was mine. He not only agreed to do this HM project with me (I thought for sure he would tell me I was crazy)[I think I did! – Tim] for my birthday but he financed the whole thing, did all the driving, typed the blog, took pictures, and saw me through some pretty embarrassing meltdowns. Thanks Tim, this project helped me wake up from the depression I was sinking into in Elkton. It reversed my weight gain trend and helped me feel a sense of control over my life again.

On a lighter note, we still didn’t get to sleep in last weekend. Our sleeping plans were thwarted by our cat, Meowse, who has developed a strange new behavior. Between 4 and 5am, she starts walking around the apartment, meowing at the top of her voice. I have to figure out how to make this stop. Yelling, “Shut the fuck up”, does not work and I’m sure, just annoys the neighbors.

A Meowse on Tim's lap

She is usually so quiet.

So here we go with one of Sharon’s favorite activities, making lists.

 

Worst 3 runs

  1. Gateway to the Gorge (this was a no brainer for both of us)
  2. Shoreline Half Marathon (Sharon)
    St. Patrick’s Day Half Marathon (Tim)
  3. St. Patrick’s Day Half Marathon (Sharon)
    Mojave Marathon (Tim)

Top 3 runs

  1. Bizz Johnson Express Half Marathon
  2. Newport Half Marathon
  3. The Enchanted Forest Wine Run

Top 3 uncoolest things about the HM Project

  1. Chafing (ballsack, underarms, nipples, arms, anus, thighs)
  2. The weekly commute
  3. Running in cold rain (Sharon)
    Running in heat (Tim)

Top 3 coolest things about the HM Project

  1. Meeting awesome people, hearing their stories and making new friends
  2. Exploring new places
  3. Testing our physical (and mental) limits

It was impossible for us to pick our top 3 favorite pictures so I am just going to end this with a bunch of our favorite photos. Remember you can click on the photo to make it full screen.

#52 - San Francisco

This is my favorite picture of us

#46 Wild Horse Half Marathon

Photography by Pat
Tim Takes the high road

#34 Spring Equinox

Our first sign

San Dieguito - Hash House Harriers

I want to join this club

EWEB Run to Stay Warm - Tim

This is what happens when Tim dresses himself

Run Like Hell - Ms. Kraut

Know what goes great with a hot dog – beers

Run Like Hell - Costumed

Drowned butterfly and butterfly hunter

Fans with Tim Olsen

Fans with Tim Olsen

Tim Olsen - The Mad Hatter

Tim Olsen – The Mad Hatter

Shoe Tree

Shoe Tree

Sharon on the beach

Sharon on the beach

#49 7 Day

Tim knew

#47 Mammoth Half Marathon

At least our before picture looks different this time

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#52 - San Francisco

They monogrammed our city for us – Tim

Bizz Johnson -

Camping at Wooldridge winery

Camping at Wooldridge winery

#42 Mojave

Look closely

20150118_084959

4midible

#36 Peace-Love-Run

Awesome!

#42 Mojave

#35 Chino Hills

I’ve had better runs

#44 San Diego Rock 'n' Roll

It’s a race, don’t shoot

Big Sur - Sunrise

Normal people are all still in bed

 

What’s next?

This is by no means the end of our running journey. We are doing our first full marathon (Beat the Blearch) in November. I plan to write a couple blog posts about our training and of course, a longer piece after our first marathon. I’m scared about doing a marathon so soon but comforted by the fact that there will be couches (really). As this was Tim’s idea, I look forward to doing something crazy that he suggested for once.

Thank you everyone who has been reading me throughout this journey. A special thank you to those of you who took the time to comment. It’s not over yet. Please continue to read as we work towards our first full marathon.

Last chance to leave a comment on 52-Tshirts.

#52 - San Francisco

 

52 down 0 to go!
 

What a long strange trip it’s been – Grateful Dead
 

This whole weekend was awesome. Awesome hotel, awesome food, awesome race, awesome shopping, awesome city – just fucking awesome. I’m downright giddy to have completed a HM a week for a whole year. The best part was sharing the experience with my awesome husband. Thanks Tim, your awesome. OK – I promise not to use the word awesome again for the rest of this post.

Tim made this whole weekend a birthday extravaganza. We got a fancy room for 2 nights, went to a couple posh restaurants and went shopping. I loved our hotel. It was high end (for us) without being pretentious. The lobby had free wine during happy hour. The bed was so comfortable that I threatened not to get up for the race Sunday morning.

#52 - San Francisco

I highly recommend this charming hotel

#52 - San Francisco

In the hotel lobby, race morning

This HM echoed our first HM in many ways. Both Eugene and SF are iconic, large races and we decided to run both together. Just like our first race, I was moving slower than was comfortable for Tim and just like our first race, Tim’s afib kicked in during the last 5 miles. We also held hands as we crossed the finish line in both races.

#52 - San Francisco

Just a few blocks into our last HM

While this was the best possible race for us to end our adventure with they did have some serious issues. The parking at the expo was a giant cluster fuck. They really needed someone directing traffic. It took over half an hour to get out of the parking lot. Luckily, Tim can be an aggressive driver when he needs to be. I don’t think I have ever seen a parking situation so messed up. The expo itself was ok, nothing special. Because we got there about an hour before closing it was winding down. We did get about 10 bags of potato chips. They just kept giving them to us.

We got to sleep until 5am. It will be so nice to sleep in on weekends again. Our hotel was about a half mile from the start. It was a nice walk.

We goofed off a lot during this race. This is going to be a photo race report.

#52 - San Francisco

Tim veers off course to stick his head through a hole

The crowd support at this race was great. This girl screamed loud for everyone. She was adorable. Our wave started a full half hour after the first wave so she must have had a sore throat by the time she was screaming for us.

#52 - San Francisco

If I had her energy I would take over the world

Scenery wise this was a most incredible course

#52 - San Francisco

Yep – that’s a nice view

We met a really amazing guy, Dennis Cannon. He was running the full marathon while fighting cancer. He is still going through chemo. We have met a couple of people who started running after beating cancer but this is the first time we have met someone who was running while they were still going through chemo and fighting cancer. He was a really nice guy as well. Way to go Dennis. We wish you all the best.

#52 - San Francisco

#52 - San Francisco

Awesome Beyond impressive

I got all excited when I saw the bridge. Dennis asked us if we wanted him to take our picture. At first we said we didn’t want to interrupt his race but he insisted that it was no problem. I’m glad we did.

#52 - San Francisco

This is my favorite picture of us

We saw quite a few runners in fun costumes.

#52 - San Francisco

#52 - San Francisco

Running on the Golden Gate Bridge was a highlight of the year for me. Everyone who has been reading me knows that I love to run on bridges and this is my favorite bridge. I find it amazing that they were able to close 3 lanes of traffic, over the bridge, for runners. They even had a buffer lane between traffic and the runners.

#52 - San Francisco

#52 - San Francisco

Traffic Control was excellent. The police stopped traffic for runners. This woman was my favorite. When we slowed down coming up to the road, she yelled at us to keep going, that she was here for us and we were more important than cars. She was so enthusiastic and cheerful that she made both of us happy.

#52 - San Francisco

She appeared to get a malicious delight from stopping traffic

I’m not sure where these pictures were taken because they are two of the free photos but I like them.

#52 - San Francisco

Just look at that flying ponytail

#52 - San Francisco

Just look at that flying ponytail

Unfortunately, Tim had an issue with his afib. I don’t think he appreciated me taking pictures of him walking.

#52 - San Francisco

#52 - San Francisco

We ran by this cool sculpture in a playground. Tim got a good picture of it and I managed to get, what I thought was a good picture of Tim, getting a picture of the sculpture.

#52 - San Francisco

#52 - San Francisco

I ran ahead to get this unbelievable picture of a guy who was juggling while dribbling a basketball.

#52 - San Francisco

How do you do that?

Over the year I have seen a lot of interesting and funny signs but this guy took silliness to a new level.

#52 - San Francisco

His beer belly made the cat look 3D

We held hands and ran across the finish line together. Kudos to this race for offering free photos. Although we look like hell this is a special picture.

#52 - San Francisco

What a happy couple

After the race we noticed this cool music area that was powered by 5 bicycles.

#52 - San Francisco

Bicycle power

#52 - San Francisco

Tim did his part

This race had a major snafu involving the challenge medals. The challenge medal was an extra medal for doing both the Surf City and The San Francisco HM. Tim got his medal while I ran off to find a bathroom. While I was in line to get my medal they announced that they had run out of medals and would have to mail them. Usually, I don’t care very much about medals but this one was a really cool beer opener.

#52 - San Francisco

Tim gets a challenge medal

UPS had the brilliant idea of consolidating the drop bags at the end. That meant that some bags were not where they should be. They called the last bus while Tim was trying to find our bag. That meant that after getting our bag and trying to get my medal we didn’t have time to eat or get our free beer. I thought the buses were poorly timed as there were still a lot of people on the course. I hope no one got left behind.

#52 - San Francisco

Look – our hands are making a 52 (because we’re dorks)

There was a really long bus line but that was ok because we got to meet this nice couple. They emailed me a picture with a happy birthday note.

#52 - San Francisco

We have met so many cool people

Cons

  • Traffic nightmare at packet pickup
  • Ran out of challenge medals
  • Bag check was a mess at the end
  • Last buses were leaving before we had a chance to eat or drink a beer

Pros

  • Running over the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Nice course through San Francisco
  • Wonderful volunteers
  • Enthusiastic traffic control
  • Fun crowd support
  • Wearable long sleeve tech shirt (logo free)
  • Free pictures (special shoutout to Hoka)
  • Sent race results and pictures via email
  • Lots of port-o-pots before, during, and after race
#52 - San Francisco

Rose garden by the bus line

I really enjoyed this race but I am not sure if I would recommend it. The race itself was well organized (and that is what is most important) but the before and after was a bit off. If Tim hadn’t been driving I would have taken hours to get out of the expo parking lot. The drop bag mess up, lack of challenge medals, and the last buses leaving around 10am, added up to a race that didn’t seem to care much about slower runners. There were a couple things that made this race a challenge. As you would expect in SF it was hilly. It was also windy going over the bridge. That said, the race itself was stellar. The volunteers were amazing and they didn’t run out of anything. If you love SF and want to run over the Golden Gate Bridge as much as I did this race is for you. I loved it in spite of hills, wind, humidity, and a few snafus.

It was nice not to have to rush back to our hotel, take a shower and get on the road, after the race. Sunday night Tim took me out to a nice restaurant. It had a great atmosphere, our food and wine were excellent, and we had a sweet waiter.

#52 - San Francisco

Check out the ceviche served in half a coconut

Our waiter didn’t speak the best English and somehow got the idea that we were celebrating our anniversary. He brought us free cake. Tim called it my birthday cake.

#52 - San Francisco

Happy Anniversary

Yipee – we don’t have to run this weekend!

I will have a last blog post that sums up the adventure so please read my last post next week.

Doesn’t a record number of pictures deserve a record number of comments? Only 1 more chance to make Sharon happy by leaving a comment. I love comments almost as much as I love being done with this project.

#52 - San Francisco

#51 - Rock the Ocean

  • July 18th, 2015
  • Long Beach, California
  • Rock The Ocean
  • Sharon: 2:38:15
  • Tim: 2:39:29

 

51 down only 1 to go!

It just got real. About the middle of this run, it hit me that unless one of us brakes a leg or the Zombie Apocalypse happens before next Sunday, we really are going to finish this HM project. I got a little emotional (but I didn’t cry). I have a tendency to start projects then move on to something else before completing the project I’m working on, so it feels good to know I’m going to see this through, regardless of how misguided it may have been.

#51 - Rock the Ocean

Sunrises never get old

This race was a bit of a disappointment. It was both me and Tim’s least favorite Charlie Alewine Racing, race but nowhere near our least favorite race of the HM year. Charlie was out of town and Haywood was filling in for him. This is a hard race report for me to write because I like Haywood but I need to write an honest report about my experience. This was another repeat race and at this point a big draw for me about repeating Charlies races is that Charlie recognizes us and treats us like old friends. Haywood asked my name twice even though it was a small race and he had met me at 4 other races, one of which he talked to us for a while and we told him about our HM project. Unfortunately, Haywood needs to work on his organizational skills. Some examples… He told us we had 5 minutes before the start of the race at 6:14 (the race started at 6:30) so I ran to the bathroom. He thought I was doing the quarter marathon when I came through the first loop (that bothered me way more than it should have). He asked me my time as I sprinted to the finish and asked me a couple of time before someone told him to give me a minute. I was literally so winded I couldn’t talk and it was distressing that he didn’t notice something that obvious. I was making – give me a minute – hand gestures. He also had no table and had food and drink on his car hood. I like that Charlies races are low-key but all of these little things added up to a race that bordered on being sloppy. To be fair, Haywood had been up since 3am so it is not surprising that he was a little loopy.

#51 - Rock the Ocean

Yay clouds – I hate it when the sun tries to kill me during a race

The weather was blissfully cloudy. It even rained a bit. A nice rain, not like the mean, cold rains that we endured in Oregon.

This just wasn’t my day. I was hoping everything would come together and I would have a chance to go after a final PR but my Achilles started hurting almost right away. Even so, I tried to run for as long as I could. It helped that Tim ran with me for the first half of the race. I made it almost 10 miles before I had to take a walk break. At the half way point Tim had to stop and deal with the parking. He lost over 15 minutes because the parking ticket machine was having issues.

There were a couple of things about this race that made it more of an obstacle course than usual. There was some sort of beach festival and trucks were parked in the pedestrian path for unloading.

#51 - Rock the Ocean

Tempting to stop running and go shopping

Another issue was that A Better World Running was also having a race that day. It was a fairly large race (for a beach path) and had some oblivious runners hogging the path.

#51 - Rock the Ocean

Please share the path

My body was exhausted before, during, and after this race. I was glad when it was over. My favorite thing about this race was thinking about how I only have 1 more race to run and then I get to not run for 2 weeks (or until my Achilles stops hurting). Although that makes it sound like I just want to get this project over, I am super excited to be running in my favorite city, San Francisco, next weekend. I tried to run as hard as I could but by mile 2 I knew I had no chance of a PR. I did manage a finishing sprint but my asthma does not like the humidity, so I was gasping for air and unable to talk for about 5 minutes. My Tucson lungs find high humidity like breathing soup. Nothing too awful happened this race. I didn’t have stomach problems and I didn’t feel like I was going to pass out from heat but I just couldn’t find the motivation to ignore my pain and dig deep. I missed my PR by over 10 minutes. I was sore on the way home but not as sore as last week, so that’s something. I know I really pushed this race because I was sore the next day.

#51 - Rock the Ocean

Hang in there – only one more race

Haywood did a great job with the after race food and beverages. I discovered that I love Vitamin Water after running. I took a Martinelli’s to go. Haywood also had a giant bag (50 pounds) of giant potatoes. So everyone got a potato. I like potatoes. Thanks Haywood – that was a nice touch.

#51 - Rock the Ocean

This wins the unique swag award

Cons

  • We missed Charlie
  • Haywood needs to be a little more organized
  • Charlie has done away with trophies ( this is one of the few races that we actually have a chance at a trophy)
  • Better World Running seems to be taking over this location
  • Unloading trucks on the path
  • Parking ticket machine was on the fritz

Pros

  • Parking at the start/finish
  • Great running surface
  • Beautiful views
  • Free giant potato
  • Overcast
  • Excellent assortment of food and beverages
  • Although he was a bit scattered Haywood obviously cared about this race and was very friendly
#51 - Rock the Ocean

Raul Santana doing the 50K

Although it sounds like I am so over this HM running thing I am really looking forward to next weekend. We are finishing our project in style with the The San Francisco 1st Half Marathon. San Francisco is a very special place for us. We moved there shortly after we met and SF is where Tim proposed to me. I’m going to enjoy that race if I have to walk the entire course. There will be no PR attempts next weekend. My goal is to take a record number of pictures.

I would always recommend Charlies races, preferably when Charlie is there, which is most of the time. Charlie is clearly the heart of his races and the vibe is different when he is absent. I missed his upbeat but calm and focused energy. If you decide to do this race and Better World Running is having an event as well, pay close attention to the turnaround markers. If I wasn’t familiar with this course, I would have turned around a little too soon because BWR starts in a different place and has their own chalk directions. This will not be our last Charlie Alewine Racing race. And that is the best recommendation I can give. If you read this, Sorry Charlie (I’ve been dying to write that), I know this is the most negative review I have given any of your races. We will see you some weekend as a training run, as we are foolishly doing a full marathon in November.

Only 2 more chances to leave a comment. I love comments as much as I love bridges and chocolate milk at races.

#50 Shoreline

 

50 down only 2 to go!

Since my last couple posts have been whiny, bitch fests, I see no reason to change my tone now. Seriously – I was hoping my last 3 race reports would be positive, inspirational, and fun to read. But alas, it was not to be. This race was a mess.

The race was on Sunday so we got a hotel Saturday night planning to get a good nights sleep before the race. Alas, that was not to be, either. Around midnight a loud girl was fighting with someone and the cops came. Then, about 2am some people decided to have a party in the courtyard right outside our window. Tim asked them to keep it down and they did, for about 5 minutes. He called the front desk and someone kicked them out. We got up at 6am. Tim commented that we would have been better off if we had skipped the hotel and just got up at 3am (the usual) to drive to Ventura.

The area we stayed at in Ventura had lots of thrift stores. I love thrift stores! I bought 2 shirts (only $3 each) and helped an animal shelter.

#50 Shoreline

No – I will not dress my age

The HM started out at 8am, which I think is a little late for a race in July. This was one of the most disorganized races we have done. I’m glad we didn’t opt for the day of race packet pickup. There was a long, slow moving line. The MC announced that the race started in 20 minutes and people should have gotten there earlier or picked up their packets the day before. Really? – Dont offer a service and then berate people for using it. They also said they had a bag check but no one knew where it was. A pacer who needed to get to her corral was frantically trying to find the bag check. We finally got our bags checked but some of the volunteers were downright rude.

#50 Shoreline

The weather report said cool and cloudy

Standing in our corral we got talking to a guy name Dale who was doing a HM a month. He started running after beating cancer. This was his 26th HM. We talked to him and his wife after the race, as well.

#50 Shoreline

Just an awesome dude kicking cancers ass

The weather report said cool and cloudy. It lied. This was the hottest race we have done this year. We have been really lucky this summer but this race was hot and I definitely got a case of heat exhaustion. I was really worried about Tim because one of his afib triggers is heat but he had a great race (yay).

I’m glad I wore my goofy looking Hoka shoes because my feet hurt more during this HM than any other race. In spite of my not running at all during the week for the last couple of weeks, my Achilles tendon started hurting almost immedieatly, as soon as I started to run. Also, a blister popped. Did I mention my black toenails. Poor feet – I promise to rest you after 2 more races.

#50 Shoreline

Really – you had to show us that?

I did have some good conversations this race. I talked to a guy who was running with his son in the same way I run with Tim, meaning they were both way ahead of us. We ran together for about 3 miles. I also talked to a woman and her teenage daughter who were running together.

It was a beautiful course. At least they did that right. Unfortunately it was a popular path with agro guys on 10 speeds who appeared to be out for a training ride, very scary. You also had to watch out not to get clotheslined by dogs on leashes.

#50 Shoreline

The views were the best thing about this HM

This race started out warm and got hot. No clouds. The last half of the race I was both sweating and had chills. I got to the point where I was walking every couple of minutes.

This race made the one unforgivable fuck up. They ran out of water. As a race director, even if you get everything else right (not something this race was guilty of) you have failed if you run out of water. The last 2 aid stations were out of water and one before it ran out of cups. I came in 380th out of 415, so there were a lot of people behind me who had a long way to go without water. The volunteers blamed the heat. I understand that people drank more because it was hot out but the heat made it even more dangerous for runners who now had no water. They had water at the end and someone could have taken water to an aid station. When I suggested it to a group of volunteers just hanging out (8 teenagers) they shrugged with a not my job attitude.

#50 Shoreline

Weird running kit

They had tacos and beer after the race but the line was so long we didn’t even bother. I felt so awful I just wanted to take a shower and go home. This was one of the most demoralizing races of this project for me. I thought I had made a breakthrough and here I am back at my old race times. Everything hurt after this race. I practically crawled the 3 blocks back to the hotel.

Next week we are doing a repeat Charlie Alewine race. That’s the race I targeted for my last PR attempt. I may need to rethink that. I want to be able to run our last race. Even if I take it easy next weekend I will still be happy to be doing a familiar race that I know has a good running surface. Damn it feet – heal.

Cons

  • Chaotic bag drop
  • MC berates runners in line at packet pickup
  • Very hot
  • Agressive bicyclists
  • Crowded course
  • Uninformed volunteers
  • Ugly t-shirt with lots of sponsor logos
  • After finish you had to walk to the other side of expo for water
  • Long line for tacos and beer
  • Ran out of cups
  • Ran out of water! Last 2 aid stations
  • An overall lack of caring about runners

Pros

  • Many very nice volunteers
  • Nice beach views
#50 Shoreline

But she did survive

I hated this race. Even if they hadn’t run out of cups and water this would have been a mediocre race at best. The combination of my body falling apart (sore feet and heat) and the one fuck up after another that this HM was, mentally defeated me. I do not recommend this race. I would never recommend a race that runs out of water with almost 100 runners still on the course. Shame on you, Shoreline HM. Even carrying my own water I got a nasty case of heat exhaustion that lasted about 9 hours. Come run the beach path but don’t bother with this race. It was a mess with a bad attitude.

#50 Shoreline

Dinner

Oh no, what have we done? We signed up for our first full marathon. We are doing the Beat the Blerch marathon in November. I don’t think that is enough time to train for a marathon but it’s on Tim’s birthday weekend and that’s what he wants to do.

Please cheer Sharon up by leaving a comment. Come on – only 2 more chances to leave a comment.

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#49 7 Day

 

49 down only 3 to go.

Just like last weeks race this was another, it’s the closest race to us, repeat race. We did this exact race only 4 races ago (#45 Rock The Ocean). At the end of that post I wrote, “Well damn – next month I have to run faster than 2:27:10.” At the time I did have this race pegged as my next PR attempt. I nixed that idea in a rare fit of common sense. I have been having a problem with my left Achilles tendon. It is sore even when I walk. Also, the 2 blisters on the pads of my feet, while almost gone, are still tender. Because I have been trying to let my Achilles tendon heal I haven’t been running during the week. I have also gained back 4-6 pounds (damn it). So while I did try to run most of this race I took it relatively easy, meaning I actually looked at the ocean more than I looked at my watch.

I love that Charlies races start at 6:30am. It helps beat the heat but also means that we have to get up at 3:00am to be there by 6ish.

#49 7 Day

Don’t we look patriotic

Although charlie has t-shirts we decided not to take one this race. We already have 3 of his shirts, any more and it will start to look like Charlie dresses us.

This was a special race because it was Hank Donigan’s 100th marathon! Charlie brought a cake.

#49 7 Day

Cake!

Once again my stomach was nauseous before and during the race. This time I can’t blame french fries or killer Mai Tais. Luckily, the course route had lots of bathrooms. I have had to duck into the facilities in a couple of races but this is the first time I had to use the restroom twice in one race. I’m so glad I didn’t target this race for a PR or I would have been sitting on the toilet pulling my hair out.

#49 7 Day

Did I forget to mention that my big toe hurts?

Even though I had tummy issues and my feet hurt, I enjoyed this run. This race is all run on a beautiful beach path. What’s not to love? My life is so awesome that I can choose to suffer for fun.

#49 7 Day

That girl has terrible running form

#49 7 Day

And she is really blurry

We wanted to dress a little patriotic for the 4th of July so I tried on my only pair of blue running shorts fully expecting them to cut off my circulation. They fit! These are the shorts I used to run in before I gained my Elkton weight. I am over the moon happy about fitting into my old running clothes, even if they are a little tight. I found a great shirt for Tim. I wasn’t sure he would wear it running because it’s cotton but he did. He said it gave him one chaffed nipple. Yes – just one. It’s not recommended to run in cotton. I think he looked awesome.

#49 7 Day

Damn – I’m good at shopping

This course was an out and back, done twice for the HM ( 4 times for the full marathon). I like seeing Tim. He always looks so happy to see me that I get an energy boost.

There was another, much larger, 4th of July race that started at 7:30am. I managed to time it just right. I was running towards their start line right before their race started, so the entire path was blocked. Again, I’m glad I wasn’t trying for a PR or I probably would have tried to barrel through the crowd. It wasn’t a big deal to go around them. The only reason I am even mentioning it is because it was a pretty uneventful race for me and this was one of the only out of the ordinary things that happened, except for my bathroom issues, which I am being vague about on purpose because I want readers next week.

#49 7 Day

Hah – Tim is usually the one doing the photo bombing

#49 7 Day

Tim knew

On a completely different topic I just started massage school and, so far, I love it. I’m very excited about starting a life in San Diego.

Cons

  • No trophies this week (We both would have gotten one)
  • Charlie’s website dosen’t work on my phone

Pros

  • Another well organized race
  • Close parking
  • Cool medal featuring Hanks 100th marathon
  • Beautiful course
  • Great running surface
  • Great food
  • Interesting, friendly runners
  • We are fond of Charlie, which make his races more enjoyable for us

I don’t think it will come as a surprise that I would indeed recommend this, or any of Charlie’s races. He puts on a well organized, fun event with great food. This is the 4th Charlie Alewine race we have run and at every race we have met some fascinating people. Being able to park next to the start/finish line is a big plus for a beginning runner, or anyone attempting a new distance. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that this race is on a public beach path with plenty of bathrooms and water fountains, so anyone can just come out and run this course for free. That maybe true but being in a race is fun. We always enjoy Charlie’s races. And really, that’s what it’s all about.

#49 7 Day

In fact, we like this race so much that we are going to run it again in 2 weeks. OK – we’re doing it because it’s the closest race that weekend but we did have an option that was only about another hour away. We chose this race for a reason other than laziness, cost and the pleasure of Charlies company. I wanted to do this race again because I am going to make a last attempt at a PR. My A goal is 2:25 and my B goal is 2:27:09. Even if I fail I promise to run as hard as I can.

Only 3 more chances to leave a comment.