Vancouver USA Half Marathon – Vancouver, WA – June 15, 2014

Last Sunday was Lisa and I’s second in a series of three half marathons this summer. (I never got around to blogging about the Oregon Spring Half on May 3.  I’ll get that soon).  Vancouver represented a new state for both of us as well as a city we spend a lot of time in.  I work there, Lisa’s parents live there, we are getting married there.  The other fun thing about this race is it included a beer festival at the finish!


A nice shirt and a beer mug for the festival were the swag for this race! Pretty exciting!

Lisa’s cousin Karadee as well as Karadee’s sister Zandra and Zandra’s husband Mike were running this race as well.  We managed to find them at the start and while Zandra and Mike were planning a much faster pace than us, Karadee was right where we were planning to be and so we promised to stay together as best we could.  It worked out really well.  We stayed together most of the way and also hung around with the 2:45 pacer (a fellow Half Fanatic!) most of the way as well.  Our goal for this race was merely to finish and enjoy the race.  No PRs for this one, at least not for Lisa and I.  Karadee and Zandra both PR’d!

The race started at Esther Short park in downtown Vancouver and wound it’s way through downtown, through Officers Row of Fort Vancouver (which was awesome!) and then up the only major hill of the course but it was a doozy! A mile and a half slog up the hill of death.  Then we careened down the hill through a couple parks and then along the waterfront and back through Fort Vancouver to finish back in Esther Short park.  It was a really nice course, even with the hill of death.  We all stayed together until about mile 8 when Karadee just caught some kind of groove or second wind and she took off! We cheered her on as she pulled away.  At about mile 11 my calves started cramping up (again!) and we had to stop and walk a bit.  Tried to run again but only made it another 1/4 mile or so before they cramped up again.  The only complaint I could have about this race is the late stage water stops had run out of gatorade.  I doubled up the water and even ate a second Gu for the sodium and potassium but it wasn’t enough to help.  We had to walk until mile 13 and then we just had one corner to turn for the finish, so we jogged it out to the finish.  I cramped up again immediately but I was able to keep going just until the finish.


We finished! HUGE medals! Very nice.

After the race we grabbed some much needed food and gatorade and then walked to the car to change clothes and get our beer mugs.  We headed back to the beer festival for some beer and food!  We didn’t realize until too late that the gear check tag from the bottom of the bib got us a free beer from the beer sponser Heathen Brewing in Vancouver.  Oh well.  But we had our free tokens to get some samples.  We had enough tokens to get two samplers (one token each) and then one full beer pour (4 tokens) with our dinner.  I sampled a NW Red Ale from McMenamins, a Saison from Heathen and then got a full pour of Kiwanas Cream ale from Pelican Brewing.  Lisa tried a Porter from Heathen, another one I don’t remember that she just liked the name, and then got a full pour of Irish Stout from Breakside.

10419484_10152171479252543_4023595224265889456_nBeer fest selfie!

It did suck to cramp up towards the end, for like the 4th race in a row no less, but we finished and we made it.  We had a great time and got to spend most of the race with Karadee which was really fun and made the miles FLY by.

Up next is the Foot Traffic Flat on July 4th, which I spectated last year, but this year I get to run it.  This will be the 3rd race in well under 90 days to qualify Lisa for the half fanatics, but after this race we are going to take a break from halfs for a while.  The training has been grueling and trying to fit it in among work, school, church and wedding planning has been daunting.  For the rest of this year and probably all of next year we are going to concentrate on shorter races, mostly 5Ks but some 10Ks and one 15K (Shamrock).  We’ll set different goals, like go for time and work on speed.  Both of us would love to nail a sub 30 minute 5K.

On to the next!


Virtual Half Marathon?

Yesterday I applied for the Hot for the Holidays virtual half marathon.  What is a virtual half marathon? It’s a race organized online, and the participants run the distance wherever they live and may or may not report the time/mileage to the race organizer, if required, and then usually get some swag in return, sometimes a medal, maybe a shirt and some other goodies.

I considered a virtual half the weekend before the Raleigh half, which was attached to a real race, the Halloween Halfathon in Florida.  The deal for that race was that the 4 days of race weekend thu-sun, to run 13.1 miles and then you would get mailed a medal.  You didn’t have to run the whole 13 miles at once, you could break it up into any combination of miles as you wanted over the course of the 4 days.  This caught my eye since the weekend before Raleigh I would be running 4 and then 10, and so could accomplish this without messing up my Raleigh training schedule.  I hemmed and hawed about it for a while, and decided not to do it for a couple reasons.  The fact that you could break up the mileage was convenient but it also meant you weren’t actually running a half marathon.  The registration was also about the same as a 5K, I believe 40$, which is not bad for a half, but I don’t think I had it at the time, and I kinda felt like I was just “buying” a medal.  I wasn’t earning it.

For the Hot for the Holidays virtual half, of course it’s basically the same set up, but I don’t feel like I’m “cheating” on this one since the time frame for this virtual half (Thanksgiving to New Years) is wide enough to include one of my real half marathons, the Mistletoe Half on Dec 1.  So at one point within that time frame I will be running the full 13.1 at once and not breaking it up into chunks.  Also, the registration for this race was only 20$ which was easier to swing than the Halloween Halfathon.  The organizer of this race is raising money for a Florida shelter for homeless and at risk youth/teens the Covenant House, and if she raises over 600$ she’ll get to run the Walt Disney Half Marathon (which I will also be running!) as part of the Covenant House Home team, so I had to help her out with that right?

A 20$ donation to a worthy charity and earn 2 medals for my next half marathon, one “real” and one “virtual”? Sounds good to me!

Week 5 Half Marathon Training Recap

Tough week this week, been tired and sore all week long after my 5 mile Sunday (last week’s long run) then my 4 milers from Hell on Tuesday and a tough Yoga class Wednesday.  Whewww.  Took my long run real easy today and ran with a friend at an easy pace.  Was a good time though, kept the conversation flowing and 5.1 miles and an hour 27 minutes flew by.  Also gained weight this week, but I think I’m seeing some water weight fluctuations.  My big loss last week was almost even bigger, since early week was looking at a 5 pound loss but I “gained” some back over the week, so obviously water weight.  Not surprised I gained a little of it back, but still down versus two weeks ago.  Probably lose again next week and start going back and forth.  Here’s the tale of the tape.

Starting weight – 282.2
Running (4,4,5.1) – 13.1 miles (hey what do ya know! half marathon distance this week)
Cycling – Crosstraining – 5.7 miles
Yoga – 60 minutes
Ending weight – 283.3 (1.1 pound gain)

The 5.1 was from Jennifer’s 10K training who I ran with this morning (my schedule was 5).  I just noticed when I added it up it totaled 13.1 for this week.  Nice week long half marathon! (Now just to do it all at once). 🙂

Half Marathon Training

Monday starts my Half-Marathon training course in preparation for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in New Orleans on March 4, 2012.  I am following the Hal Hidgen Novice Half Marathon trainer.  This is a twelve week program, and since I have 14 weeks between now and the race, and to help ease me into my first long distance trainer of any kind, I will be completing Week 1 three times, before advancing to Week 2 and continuing with the schedule.  This schedule also changes my workout days from the 5K trainer I was following.  Now, rather than running Mon, Wed, Fri to prep for a Saturday race, now I will be running Tues, Thurs, Sun to prep for a Sunday race (with an optional run on Wed).  Here’s what the weeks will look like with the week 1 distances.  Week 1 and 2 are the same, Week 3 and 4 are the same and then the distances increase each week.

Monday – Stretch and Strengthen (Yoga? Weights? Haven’t decided)
Tuesday – 3 mile run
Wednesday – 2 mile run or crosstrain (bike, swim, walk etc)
Thursday – 3 mile run
Friday – REST
Saturday – 30 minute crosstrain
Sunday – 4 mile run

Sunday’s will always be the longest run of the week.  I can already see some places where I will need to make adjustments, but the good thing about the Hidgen trainer is it is very flexible.  Christmas Day will be a Sunday this year, so I will have to do my long run on Saturday.  Also, New Years Day will be Sunday, and I will be running the midnight 5.5K race that night.  But the Higden trainer has spots for races in the training, so I will be doing the 5.5K week 3 instead of week 6 and just adjust down the other long runs.  Week 9 has a 10K race, but I’m not sure if there is one scheduled that weekend.  I would like to do a 10K before the half, but there’s not a lot of races scheduled this time of year. 

This is what I will be doing for the next 14 weeks.  Can’t wait for New Orleans! I hope by then I am ready!

  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.