Sunday, March 31, 2013

2013 spartan sprint carolinas :::: recap & review

spartan sprint carolinas
march 23, 2013
time: 1:34:13

my brother and i ran this race last year, if you want you can read about it here. this year we dragged brad along too :)

our heat was scheduled for 10a so we drove to charlotte that morning. we got to the race site [us national whitewater center] and went up the hill to get checked in. i had ezekiel toast with PB before we left asheville and that seemed to do a lot better than last year's clif bar.

of note::: it was COLD this year. i was not looking forward to the water obstacles!

we made ourselves get out of the car and get our bibs on, then we headed up to get marked up. volunteers write your bib number on your face, arm, and leg [from what i can tell this is mostly for pictures because bibs tend to be covered in mud].

then we headed to the start line. i believe they release heats of 200 every 30 minutes. i don't normally start near the front of any race, but we lined up pretty far up for this. last year we got behind a lot of people on a single track trail at the beginning so we wanted to avoid that.

.: obstacles that i remember :.

  • up and down a set of stairs
  • pretty technical trail running
  • set of 4 foot [i think] walls, one you go over, one under, then one through the middle
  • the trenches [barbed wire mud pit] i'm talking mud up to your chest. 
  • the mud pit led into the river, which we waded in for a bit
  • one seven foot wall followed by an 8 foot wall
    • obviously matthew and brad helped me here. matthew gave me a knee then they made sure i was steady at the top. i slipped coming off the back side and hurt my palm pretty badly. i should have just let go when i slipped but my reaction was instead to grip harder.  it immediately started turning blue so i skipped the second wall and went to do burpees. 
  • tractor pull [i managed this one all by myself this year!]
  • back to the river for some more wading
  • three mud pits that were shaped like this VVV you walked down into them then had to climb up the other side. it looked super easy but was actually pretty hard. it was slippery but that's where the teamwork comes in. [TMI alert - i ripped my bootie to shreds sliding into the pits, OUCH!]
  • barbed wire crawl
  • monkey bars = my second set of burpees
  • bucket pulley - they actually had girl and boy buckets this year and i was so happy to be able to complete this obstacle. 
  • climb through a concrete tunnel
  • cargo net climbs
  • sandbag carry [they also had added a girl version of this, last year we all carried the same sandbags]
  • traverse wall [burpees for me]
  • tire flip
  • spear throw [30 more burpees]
  • rope climb [umm... burpees]
  • a ladder type wall that you climbed up, over and down
  • an incline wall that you used a rope to climb over
  • fire jump
  • gladiator pit
.:my race:.
  • i felt like it was easier this year [matthew said the same]. 
  • i feel like i could do another one and let the boys go on ahead of me. while it was nice to have them as my safety net and cheering me on, i know they would like to see how fast they could actually do a course. 
  • i was disappointed in myself for skipping that second wall. i let my fear get the best of me and i regret it. 
  • i made a point to stop and help people when and where i could. i love the camaraderie that comes with spartan race. it's all about getting everyone across the finish line. 
  • i did two obstacles that i wasn't able to do last year.
  • once again, my brother stepped up big for me. he and brad went ahead and finished because the they thought i could do the final obstacles myself.
    •  matthew ran back to encourage me, telling me i was almost there and giving me tips on the final wall. 
    • last year i burpeed out of this wall because people were killing themselves on it. they had put dish liquid on it to make it super slick and i have this unrational fear of busting my teeth out!
    •  matthew told me that i could do it so i said i'd try even though i wanted to burpee out of it.
    • i started up it and started to have a mini freak out because my feet started slipping out from under me. i was about to let myself slide down when i heard my brother at the top of it telling me to lean into my heels and that i could do it. 
    • i climbed up to him and he helped me over the top. he had come back onto the course to help me. love him. 

this was after we hosed off. still freezing our tails off. and here are some pics from the race photographers:

i think brad win's for best picture! side note::: they allow you to download hi res copies of these pics FOR FREE. huge kudos to spartan race for providing that. 

they also send you a video of yourself completing some of the obstacles. here's mine, if you're so inclined you can see me crawling through the barbed wire pit, finishing the last incline wall, and running through the gladiator pit:::: click for video.

improvements from last year:

  • ladies versions of some obstacles
  • mile markers
  • more water stations
  • the shirts said 'finisher' on them. however they still give them to you at the end of the race when you're covered in mud. they're still black cotton. yuck. 
  • bibs were nicer

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

earth fare friends 5k :::: april 13th

for those of you in and around asheville i wanted to share this... earth fare is hosting a 5k in a few weeks  (saturday april 13th). all the proceeds are being put towards the goal of eliminating childhood obesity.

and what's even better? i have a discount code! use the code  EF2013Friends for $5 off your registration! you can find out all the details on their website. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

oskar blues 4 miler:::: brevard, nc

oskar blues 4 miler
brevard, north carolina
sunday march 17, 2013
time:::: 37:38

i was so excited when i saw this race because brad LOVES oskar blues and we haven't been able to make it down to their brewery since it opened in december. i figured the promise of post race beer might just convince him to join me for the race [so far i had only been able to talk him into 5Ks]. i was right, he was in!

i didn't realize we'd have to miss church to go though. i ASSUMED that since the race was at the brewery that the start time would be later [you can't serve alcohol in NC until after noon on sundays], but i was wrong. whoops.

here was my original outfit [and our unmade bed]:

at the very last minute i changed into my usual capris... it was a little chilly outside... and while i've ran 4 miles in this skirt before, unfortunately my legs have changed shape a little since i haven't been lifting legs, so i was worried about chaffing]. we made it down to brevard and got checked it and picked up our packets. i loved the race shirts [and they're north face technical shirts!]

john tuttle, an olympic marathoner, started the race for us. the race was really fairly flat for a race here. there was one big hill, but it wasn't bad and there was a nice downhill following it.

during the first mile i felt horrible. when my watch beeped my first mile i figured out why... i was running way too fast for me!
don't get me wrong, i'm pumped that i'm even able to run that fast [i had no idea that was even possible for me!] but i wasn't running this race seriously, it was just something fun for us to do together [and by "together" i mean we both had a bib. i saw brad at the start line and then again at the finish. he's way to competitive to stick with me]. i had run 3 miles since the marathon, obviously i was not training!

i slowed down so my heart didn't explode and started to feel a lot better. there was a water stop around mile 2 then we finished the loop back to the brewery. i finished strong [even though i really wanted to walk at about 3.8 miles]. the race was run entirely on the roads, and while it wasn't terribly scenic, it was a really great, relatively flat course.

after the race we got some water and we decided to wait around for awards [we should definitely do this more often, especially for smaller races!]. they also had 'medals' for us which i though was super cute. they were unique!

fyi - brad did have on some green... one measly stripe on his shorts. he's a party pooper. and there were like 5 people with the same RNR savannah shirt on, random!

during the awards,  i won a door prize (25 bucks to a local outdoor store, black dome!) and brad found out that he missed 3rd place in his age group by 3 seconds! it sucked a little, but i think it actually encouraged him a lot. he's really competitive and i think he knows if had trained for more than 1 week for this race that he'd have easily placed. i hope it'll give him the bug to start running with me more!

after awards we went to get breakfast [i'll post on this later this week, i want to start posting more info on local eats] then came back to the brewery tasting room [the tasty weasel]. we enjoyed some fresh oskar blues brews.

such a great day and i cannot wait to do this race again next year. pisgah running organized the race and i thought they did a wonderful job! great course, well organized, and wonderful volunteers.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Three Things Thursday... a day earlier!

i've apparently lost my blogging mojo... so it's time for a list post :)

first things first... brad made my day on saturday. he texted me saying he wanted some trail shoes (shopping for running shoes? don't mind if i do!) because he wants to start running trails with me! color me pumped. i love the trails but i don't love going on them by myself. i'm always trying to trick someone into going with me and looks like brad fell for my schemes! :)

he ended up getting the saucony progrid peregrine... and i got a pair of brooks pure grit :) i've been running trails in the brooks cascadia, but i am pumped to try these beauties out!

on saturday brad, my brother, and i will be heading to charlotte to participate in the spartan sprint! matthew and i did this race last year and it was a blast! but it was also very hard. like push you to your limits hard. i'm nervous... but very glad that brad and matthew will be there to help me :)

oh, and i was selected to be an earthfare ambassador! SUPER pumped about this! brad and i both love earthfare. i picked up my gear last week and i'm excited to wear it for my next race (i didn't wear it saturday because it's not green!). 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

spring bootie buster challenge::: week 1 and other goings-on

did you all sign up for the spring bootie buster challenge? i hope so! i knew i'd need something to challenge me after the marathon and this has done the trick in the past. this week was all about recovery for me, and i'm hoping that by taking it easy this week i can jump back in next.

m: 20 minutes stretching/light yoga
t:   60 minutes yoga
w: 30 minutes stretching/light yoga
r:   60 minutes yoga
f:   20 minutes stretching/light yoga
s:   30 minute walk with riley
s:   20 minutes stretching/light yoga

i also got water on 5/7 days and freggies on 4/7 days.

other goings-on::::

dawn over at the rushing herd is having a virtual race series to benefit girls on the run. it's a three part race and the medals are so cute! here's the proof for the first one:

check out her facebook page for all race updates including all the awesome prizes and medal proofs!

and click here for the virtual race post and to sign up!!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Inaugural Asheville Marathon on the Biltmore Estate:::: Recap & Review

inaugural asheville marathon on the biltmore estate, asheville north carolina
my first full marathon
time:  4:58:42 (PR)
overall:  646/1004
age group:  55/96

the race expo was held saturday at the double tree hotel in asheville. 

it was one of the smallest expos i've ever been to. i was hoping that iFitness would be there because i want an attachment for my belt, but no such luck. i was also hoping that i could get a 26.2 sticker but no one had those either. i did purchase this shirt from recover brands:
all their shirts are made from recycled cotton and plastic bottles and they are so soft! i liked the design too, i'm pretty dang proud to show off those hills i ran!

i wasn't really impressed with mizuno's race apparel. the shirts were cute but the tech material was practically see through. no thanks. i did chat with the sierra nevada rep and am now totally excited for their brewery to open this fall. 

i was trying to figure out where to buy a spectator ticket [spectators had to purchase a ticket to watch the race since it was on the private estate, $32] for brad when i saw a woman with tickets. i walked up to her and asked for a spectator ticket. the tickets she had were actually for runners and we needed them to get onto the estate. it was total dumb luck that i stopped to ask her! i'm not sure why the weren't with our bibs or why we weren't directed to get a ticket from her. 

other cool things at the expo::
  • balega designed a special sock for the race and the proceeds went to the race charity [leukemia and lymphoma society]
  • the biltmore estate put out two special edition wines for the event. 

.:packet pick up:.
packet pick up was a bit unorganized. i got my bib okay but then everything got confusing. there was a wristband stapled to our bib and we were told we had to have this on to get onto the west side of the estate during the race. i thought this was super weird. if we have a bib on, we're obviously racing, so why do we need a bracelet? [side note: no one ever checked this bracelet so i'm still unsure of the point]. 

after i got my bib i walked over to get my shirt. i was told that they were out of the size i registered for. this is one of my racing pet peeves. if you're going to give away shirts first come, first serve, announce it before hand. when i pre-register for a shirt, i expect to be guaranteed the size i chose. i know this might sound silly, but this was my first marathon and i paid good money to race it. i wanted the shirt to prove it and i wanted said shirt to fit. [later the volunteer got my attention and let me know that they'd found some more shirts so i actually did get a shirt that fit.]

when i went back to get the correct size shirt i saw another volunteer giving out gloves [i hadn't been offered any]. i went and asked for them. i thought they were a wonderful idea and a great thing to offer considering the weather forecast for race day, but i'm not sure why they weren't being given out to us all. 
this is the shirt. i was really impressed with all the graphics on the website so i thought the shirt would be really cool. while i really like the graphics, i was bummed by the lack of color and once again, the mizuno shirt is practically see through. even in the picture above you can see the sponsors on the back of the shirt. 

.:race morning:.
i got up around 430am and started getting ready. i had some natural jif on a slice of ezekiel toast. i coated myself in body glide and got dressed. 
i was having a worse time that usual figuring out what to wear! i wasn't sure if it was going to be snowing or raining so i had to prepare for everything! here's what i ended up choosing:
brad and i left the house around 545a and got down to the biltmore at 6ish. the line was backed up out of the gate. i took a detour and got us inside the gate a little quicker, but once we got in the line it traffic was creeping! i immediately start freaking out because i knew i'd be cutting it close to get to the start line on time. after about 15 minutes traffic started moving more quickly and apparently it was because they quit checking tickets [so much for the $32 spectator ticket we purchased]. 

after that traffic moved pretty rapidly and we made it to the parking lot. i took the shuttle to the start line and brad stayed in the car to try to get a little sleep. when i arrived at the start line i joined the restroom line. 

i cannot even express to you all how cold it was!! my fingers and toes were numb within a matter of minutes (with gloves on!). when i exited the restrooms around 655a i knew the race had to have been delayed. no one was even heading to the start line. i kept my jacket on and tried to get close to a furnace. start time was delayed to 715a. i waited until the very last minute and ran over to drop off my jacket and bag at the bag check. it was all i could do to get my playlist up on my phone [i had a second when i considered pitching it across the field because i couldn't get it to work and my fingers were so numb!]. 

.:the race:.
i just tried to tell myself that i would warm up when i started running. the first two miles i couldn't think about anything but how cold i was! i even stopped around mile two to check my shoe. i felt like i had a rock stuck in the tread of my shoes or something. thankfully it went away after about a mile. 

as you can see, the first  part of the race was pretty hilly. i didn't want to walk at mile 2 of a full marathon, but you know what, sometimes you've gotta do what's smart for you, and this was smart for me. 

i struggled to find my stride during this race. it took me about 2 miles for my body to warm up, but it took me FOREVER to feel like i was warmed up and ready to run if that makes sense. i didn't feel warmed up and ready to go until about mile 7 or 8. 

at the aid stations the water cups had frozen over on the top so you had to bust through the layer of ice to get to the water. my gu's had the consistency of peanut butter! all the aid stations were stocked like crazy. i saw Gu gels, chomps, roctane, brew, water, pretzels, coke, and cookies. it was great!

i was really excited to get to mile 10 because i knew i'd see brad and that it would help me. but i got to the cheer stop and i couldn't find him. i'm not going to lie, i had a small mental breakdown at that point. i'm not all co-dependent or anything, but i had it in my head for 10 miles that i would see him. at mile 10 we crossed a bridge over to the west side of the estate [not open to the public]. i tried to tell myself to enjoy it because i had never seen this side. i tried to enjoy the sights and sounds, but part of me was bummed because i knew we wouldn't cross back over to the spectator area until mile 20.  that was my first mental hurdle. 

around mile 12.5 we started down a hill and it was a crappy hill. it seemed like a dried out creek bed and it was full of loose rock. i couldn't look up at all because i was too busy watching where my feet were landing. so many people were biting the dust. to make it even better, it was an out and back so you couldn't pass. yuck. this was one of my slowest miles.

miles 15 and 16 weren't bad at all. i felt like i had found my stride and i was cruising along. mile 17 sucked a little because you entered a loop that you had to run twice. as i entered the loop i could see people who were on their second loop coming up a very steep hill, so i knew i had that to look forward to. luckily the loop was pretty nice. other than 'dam hill' which was aptly named. i was so happy to finish that second loop and head back toward the east side of the estate.

at mile 21 we crossed back over and i finally saw brad. i was so excited, and he said only 5 more miles! boy did that seem like a lot!! i start to it and then i heard someone holler my name. it was krissie! she asked how i was doing and i told her that i was trying not to die! :)

this was one of the hardest parts of the race for me. an out and back at mile 21. when i could see the finish line but i had to run away from it. right along the river = crazy wind. and in case you were wondering, it had not warmed up. so i felt like this was really a test of my mental and physical health. i just keep telling myself that i can do hard things. and i prayed. A LOT.  

once i turned around i was pumped. i knew i could do it. but dang it was cold! also i almost got hit by a car around mile 24 or so. the estate was open at this point so there was a little bit of traffic. the volunteers were directing it and as i was approaching they were letting some cars by. the volunteer was trying to let one too many cars by and told me to 'hold on don't get hit by a car.' i don't think that dude understood. if i stopped i was going to be done! so i kind of skimmed the car and went on. 

i saw brad again around mile 25 and he even ran with me for a bit. i loved it and he did a great job of encouraging me. it meant the world to me. he broke off as we entered antler village and told me he'd see me at the finish that i just had one little loop left. that last loop sucked! i could see the finish line but i had to run all around to get to it! 

there was an icy paved hill during this time and everyone was walking it, and i reluctantly did the same. i was afraid to stop but i was more afraid to slip. i knew i wouldn't have a quick enough reaction to catch myself! 

after that we looped around and ran downhill the the finish. i surprised myself that i had a kick left! i could see the clock and i wanted to beat 5:00:00. i knew i hadn't started right when the gun went off but i wasn't chancing a repeat of the hot chocolate 10K

i can't even describe how i felt when i crossed the finish line! elated. proud. blessed. thankful. excited. cold. tired. grateful. 

i got my medal and a finisher's blanket and then i saw my friend linsday and some of the other lulu girls. i tried to talk but i couldn't even put a complete sentence together! i think i was a little delirious. she snapped this pic of me:

i made it to the beer tent for my free sierra nevada, then wanted to go home. i honestly couldn't think straight and all i could think of was getting warm. i stretched a little while waiting on the shuttle and then again when i got home. normally i'd take an ice bath after this kind of mileage, but that was just not happening. i knew i'd hyperventilate. 

so i took a hot bath with epsom salts and dressed in some warm comfy clothes. 

here are the splits from my garmin:
definitely not the prettiest chart i've ever seen. i'm encouraged by several things on in though, mile 10, mile 19, and mile 22. and i'm proud that i had a little kick left in me at the end. 

and lastly, i have to include this... the volunteers made this race. i was blown away. the only reason i was out there in that crazy weather was because i had trained for this race for 18 weeks. they were out there to support and encourage us and it was totally selfless. they were AMAZING. so if you were out there cheering, working those aid stations, wrapping us in blankets after the race, handing out medals.... THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART. you all rock. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

pictures from the asheville marathon and a pro compression winner

they just posted the pictures from the marathon, i'm not that impressed.

when i think of running my first marathon on the biltmore estate, i'd like a good picture of me running with the biltmore in the background... but no such luck. there were photographers on both sides but apparently only one of them was the official race photographer. i was looking at the wrong one.

this is one thing that i think rock and roll does really well... the race photographers are in bright orange or yellow vests. you know who to look at. and when there's a big landmark they even have stations set up where you can run over and get your pic taken [las vegas sign].

but anyways, there you go. i'm working on my recap which will probably be the longest post i've ever done. i apologize in advance :)

and what you've all been waiting for, the winner of the pro compression socks is:::
christy email me what size and color socks you want, plus your address and i'll get that over to pro compression. a big thank you to all of you all for entering [apparently you all LOVE pro] and thanks to pro compression for offering a pair of socks for this giveaway!

if you want to order some pro compression, use the code MARCH for 40% off and free shipping. plus you get entered in a giveaway that they're hosting!

Monday, March 4, 2013

i survived the asheville marathon!

i'll have lots more later, it's going to take me a while to attempt to put everything in words. and y'all will be sick of hearing about it by the time i'm finished! 

i just wanted to let you all know and to say thank you again for your sweet comments, texts, and encouragement! it truly meant the world to me!

Friday, March 1, 2013

my favorite things:::: giveaway #3

so here's the last giveaway in my 'marathon must haves".... the pro compression marathon sock.

i love them for running:

i love them for recovery:

riley even loves them:

pro compression was the third compression company that i tried, and luckily, the third time was a charm! :) i have no reason to look any further!

how i use pro compression::::

  • running
  • recovery
  • i sleep in them the night before long runs to make sure my legs are fresh
  • as my mid week runs got longer i even wore them to work so my legs would be ready to run when i got home... then i noticed how much they helped [i'm on my feet for 10.5 hours straight] so now i wear them to work a couple a times a week!
what sets them apart::::
  • higher quality materials [helps with comfort and also great moisture control]
  • great compression level [mmHg 22-26]
  • great colors and fun prints
  • they're constantly working and finding ways to improve their products
  • i have larger calves and i like that while these socks offer great compression, they don't cut off my circulation right below my knee
  • they're made in the USA
  • i know first hand that their customer service is amazing. seriously. timely, considerate, attentive, and really a pleasure to work with. 
pro compression has generously offered up a pair of marathon socks to one of my readers! you can gain entries by:
  • checking out their website and telling me what color you'd choose.
  • follow pro compression on twitter
  • tweet about the giveaway ( include @courtneymelson and @procompression)
pro compression also does a sock of the month and check out this month's socks!!!
how cute are these? you can use the code SOM3 to get 40% off [it works for calf sleeves too!]

leave me a comment for each entry. this giveaway will end at midnight [est] on tuesday march 5th. 
pro compression is providing one pair of marathon socks to the winner, i purchased my own. all opinions are my own.