Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I am now a Hot Chocolate Ambassador!

Hello everyone! I am super excited to announce that I have been selected a a Hot Chocolate Ambassador! 
I have run two Hot Chocolate 15ks and last year I even paced the Seattle Hot Chocolate 15k

The Hot Chocolate 15/5k series began in Chicago in 2008. The owner of RAM Racing was looking for a fun, holiday event to end the year since the Chicago Marathon was the last major running event of the year (October). Something that wasn’t Christmas or Santa-themed that people would really enjoy. While a Starbucks fanatic, hot chocolate is the only thing he’ll order and as he was pontificating holding a cup of cocoa the light bulb went off!

That year there were 3,000 runners. In 2009 that number grew to 12,000. 2010 – 30,000 runners. 2011 – 40,000. 2012-13 we have hovered around 40,000+ runners, making it the largest race in the city of the Chicago. In 2012 RAM Racing expanded – taking the race to Washington D.C., Dallas and San Diego. Each year we have added 5-7 cities new cities. Today there are 15 Hot Chocolates all over the country between October and April. Runner feedback is important to us and that can seen through the quality of our production value, course, and the goodie bag. Last year 15,000 runners participated in our 3rd Seattle Hot Chocolate race. This year we are hoping for more as we debut a chocolate medal exclusively for 15k finishers!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Frisco Railroad 50 Mile Run

I started this journey with the inspiration to run a race for my beloved grandpa. I knew I wanted to do something big. So I decided to do the same race that I ran 4 years ago as my first half marathon but as a 50 miler this time. I love my grandpa more than anything and this is how I wanted to show him that.
My grandpa and I visiting on the porch like old times.
This whole experience was surreal, it feels like a dream that didn't really happen. Which, I know I am extremely fortunate to be able to say that. I had many downs in my training, from ending a relationship, to trying to find a new place to live and moving, to getting injured but I made it through all of that and race day came whether I was ready or not.
Mom and I doing last minute crew planning the night before!
I had planned on my whole family crewing me during the race but the week of the race things fell apart last minute. My mom (Karen), nephew (Joshua) and best friend (Tiffany) came through for me though. We planned it all out and were ready to go, with the coordinates and maps handed out to each person the night before we were ready.
The next morning my sister (Kaurine) took me to the start line to see me off, which was great! Never want to start a race alone, never as encouraging as when someone is cheering you on.
Aid station 10! 
 Things were going great at the start! The first 10 miles just flew by. I ran into aid station 10 where mom and Joshua were waiting for me with fresh water and gels, after a quick refill I hit the ground running. I was still feeling awesome when I pulled into aid station 15, but noticed my mom and Joshua standing there waiting for me and thought it odd, evidently I had written down the wrong coordinates for the next meet up! I just asked them to meet me at the original meet up of mile 18. I started out again and after a bit I noticed my mom's truck in the distance, oh no! They were still only at mile 16.25! I decided to get aid anyway and dumped out my shoes from the small gravel bits, got water and gels and continued on. 
At mile 23 we met up once again, I was feeling alright but getting a little tired and had started slowing down earlier than I had planned. I changed out my socks, refilled on all of my things and we had debated if mom and Joshua should wait for me there until I hit that spot again or not but we decided they should go on with their other plans for the day and that I would be fine until my next crew spot where Tiffany was to meet me. With my back drop coming up in just two miles. 
I hit the turn around (mile 25), still feeling strong. I sat down for a bit and refueled. I was concerned about meeting the time requirement for the race. But decided that I wanted to keep pushing even if I wouldn't make it.
Mile 25!
I started back out feeling pretty good but starting to feel a bit of the stress from the race. I started to slow down quite a bit, way more than I had planned. I even ended up walking quite a bit. I sat down on a bench just to catch up a bit. I was feeling the mental break down starting. I was having a really hard time by mile 31 and mile 32, where Tiffany was to meet me I lost it. Why? Tiffany wasn't there and I needed the support, more so emotionally than physically and I just wanted to give up. That's when Katie found me, distraught and hopeless.
She calmed me down, refilled my water from her own pack and convinced me to keep going at least to the next aid station. She walked with me a bit and then got me back up and running. We did a 30/30 split. 30 seconds running, 30 seconds walking. And we finally made it to aid station 35. 
I stopped my watch, sat down, said I was quitting, called my mom to have her pick me up, that Tiffany wasn't there and I couldn't do it. 
The crew immediately got into action. They gave me food, pickle juice, water and started saying that I could finish, that I could do it if I had already come that far. Katie started saying the same thing and that if we had already run that far together we could easily finish the race! In the very least, go on to the next aid station and see how I felt there. (Keep in mind, there were still 15 miles left at this point) I said ok, called my mom back, told her to meet me at the next aid station to pick me up and was pulled up out of my bad place, started my watch back up and continued on with Katie. 
Katie kept me going, chatted with me the whole time and completely turned my spirits around. By the time we reached the mile 37 aid station I was ready to finish that race! All of my confidence was restored. 
When we got to mile 37 mom, Joshua and Tiffany were all waiting for us. Turns out that I had just botched the coordinates for Tiffany and she had been waiting for me for hours not knowing where I was. Everyone worked together to get my shoes and socks changed out, they were soaked from 30 miles of running through endless water on the trail. Refilled everything and Katie and I set back out! 
Chowing down at mile 40!
We just carried on, chatting and having a really good time. We reached the mile 40 aid station, had some delicious water melon and other snacks, good music and friendly faces. 
Katie and I at mile 40! We look amazing!
This was the last stop for mom until I saw her at the finish line. It was good to see her one last time before the last 10 miles. Tiffany and Joshua met up with us at mile 47 though! Which was really nice, then Joshua and Kaurine, who popped out of nowhere! Ran Katie and I in the last three miles of the race. It was really really sweet of them to do that. They just kept trying to keep the mood light and by that time Katie and I were starting to feel the time and distance. We slowly chugged along, our 4 person caboose headed into the finish line.
What we met at the finish was completely unexpected. There were dozens of people waiting for us! All sorts of running friends were waiting for us to finish at the beer tent (many waiting over 4 hours to see us cross that finish line!) It was completely overwhelming! 
When we crossed the finish line it was as if a ton of paparazzi were waiting for us. There were so many people taking pictures that I just didn't know where to look! But more importantly, my grandpa and aunt were waiting at the finish line.
I never felt so loved surrounded by my friends and family seeing me complete something that I never thought I could do. 

Crossing that finish line!
Definitely can't forget to stop those watches!
Katie and I were the Caboose of the race.
We all stood around happy to be finished, goofy faced from relief and exhaustion. I remember distinctly saying "Can I take my shoes off now?" Which everyone found hilarious, and I was dead serious. Thankfully I was hastily directed towards a chair in which I could take of my shoes. 

From the left: Kaurine, Joshua, me, and my Grandpa!
After saying many thanks to Katie, we wrapped up the race by heading to Steak and Shake! Where I had my favorite hot-dog and fries and ginormous milk shake. That it turns out was all hard to eat because my mouth was sore from breathing hard for 12:39 hours!
Recovery was interesting. The next day my muscles just didn't seem to want to function. I wasn't sore per say, just had an extremely hard time walking. (It was painful to stand up and sit down but that was about it.) But I managed to go to IHOP, have a great breakfast with my Mom, Grandpa, Aunt Janet and Kaurine. 
Afterward Kaurine and I went to the park and played with my family a bit before I headed back home. 
Both ankles taped as a precaution, not actually injured. I also met my two personal goals for this race, 1) Finish 2) Finish injury free! 
I can't everyone enough who supported me in this journey. 
I love you all! 
Keep on Running! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Color Run Seattle 2016!!!

That's right! It was color run time yet again! It is now officially a tradition to run the color run! This year wasn't quite a fun... I was really really sick but I had to get out there! And it was freezing and rainy :( But I loved the color this year, it was so much better than before! I think this is the 6th color run that I have run. And they are just getting better every time. 
Pre race selfie! I was freezing!
This is still the best 5k I have run. The music, the color, the people! It's so wonderful!
Keep on Running! 

Beat the Bunny 5k

One of my runner friends asked me to be the bunny at the Beat the Bunny 5k! I was super excited and of course said yes without hesitating! It was one of the coolest things that I have ever done. But also one of the hardest. It was by far the hardest 5k I have ever run, as it turns out, it's hard to run in a giant bunny suit!  

The best part of the whole race, taking tons of photos with the kids!
Run Bunny Run!

Pre Race Selfie!
 Yes, I am the blue bunny and yes, I had to run the full 5k in that suit! I would gladly do it again in a heart beat if I could have a different mask. That one was just a bit... hard to breathe in. 
Love my running adventures!
Keep on Running!

Orca Running Races! Plus a Discount Code!

Hi Ya'll! I am super excited to announce that I am now an official blogger for Orca Running! I have run several of their races and LOVE what they do. 

Discount code for your 10% discount for their races!: SKRH16

520 10k

Did you know that Seattle hosts that largest floating bridge in the world! And for their grand opening they hosted a 10k race! The Go Long 520 10k, how cool is that! This was one opportunity that I just couldn't miss. This was the first 10k that I have run in months and months. So I really didn't know what to expect as far as pace. My goal was to get below 1 hour and I did! I came in at 57 minutes! Which is the fastest I have ever run 10k. 
The race had many issues, bottle-necking was the primary one. Thankfully I was keeping a fast enough pace to miss out on those problems though. But considering that it was a pop up race that had never been done before, I think it went very well. 
My power pose for finally getting below 1 hour!
Keep on Running!

Blooms to Brews Full Marathon

As you all know I have been training like crazy for my first ultra marathon. And in my training I decided to use a full marathon as a training run. So I chose a nice easy flat course, Blooms to Brews in Woodland, WA. It is a beautiful country course with lots of flowers and country fields. You even get to run buy a vineyard or two. 
There were only two downsides to this who race. First, there is an inner loop that you have to run and you can see the runners on the loops from miles away. Which is neat at first then daunting later when you realize you still have that far to run! 
The second is that the whole course is on the road but then there is a mile of rough gravel road at the end of the race. The course description was a bit short on how much gravel there was. Other than that, this race is very well organized and very beautiful. 
This race didn't go well for me though. At mile 18 my ankle popped and caused me to be in an extraordinary amount of pain. I pushed through and toughed out the race but it left my whole right leg all janky for about two weeks! 
That was 100% my fault though, I wore trail shoes instead of road shoes. Lesson learned! 
I highly recommend this race to anyone though!
Keep on Running!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Thank you all for your support in my first Ultra!

There is no way to express my gratitude to everyone that gave me support and encouragement for the Frisco Railroad Run 50 mile run. Mom, Joshua and Tiffany who spent their day crewing for me, to Kaurine and Joshua for running us into the finish, to Lori and Aaron who stayed several several hours after their days were over to see me finish, and to my Grandpa and Aunt Janet who waited anxiously at the finish line waiting for me to arrive. Thank you to all of my friends back in Seattle who encouraged me every step of the way and especially Elizabeth who was the one who told me I could do it in the first place and to Theresa for continuous encouragement through all of my doubts, and to all of the other dozens of people I am missing, thank you all so much. I want to give a special thank you to Katie Wohnoutka who found me at mile 32 when I had reached a mental breakdown. My crew wasn't there for me but she got me to mile 35 where again, my crew wasn't there for me and I just wanted to quit. I even called my mom and told her to come pick me up, that I was done. But Katie and the Aid Station crew convinced me to keep going at least the next aid station. So I called my mom back and told her to meet me at mile 37 with my aid. By the time we had reached the next aid station Katie had pulled me out of my rut and lifted my spirits back up so much that we decided to continue on and finish the race together. I've never run 18 miles with anyone nor have I ever met anyone so encouraging and inspiring than Katie. Thank you so much for helping me reach a dream!