Category Archives: Races

Ojai 2 Ocean Race Reveiw

Continuing on from my last post

After the race, we headed over to the beer garden for a celebratory brew.

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And since my brother looked all sad and lonely standing on the other side of the orange fence, they let him in too.

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I  thought this race was really well done. The course was absolutely gorgeous. At times it didn’t even feel like we were running in Southern California.

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Madison had mentioned the lack of water stations last year so I carried my own bottle of Nuun but they really did seem to have aid station ever couple of miles.

They also handed out gels at a few of the stations, but I took my own preferred Gu’s in Chocolate Outrage, Peanut Butter and Espresso Love. Thank God, because Michael said the ones they gave were a bit nasty. Like snot nasty.

They also had a ton of things right at the finish line like bagels, orange slices (cold!), bananas, water, Gat0rade and Clif bars.

The only real negative about this race was the lack of bathrooms at the shuttle pick-up.

I’ve actually said multiple times that I will definitely be running O2O again. I’m still not sure if next year I’ll take on the full again or try for a major PR in the half, but overall I would tell everyone to try this race at least once.

Now off to start a busy Saturday of oil changes and trips to Lowes and Home Depot. Exciting lives we lead!

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Ojai 2 Ocean Race Recap (aka my first 26.2)

You obviously already know that I DID IT! I finished my first full marathon!

I also managed to do it without crying, puking or peeing myself (all of these were fears going into the race).

Race day started with a brightandfreakingearly 3AM wake up call. SarahOUaL crashed our guestroom so I at least had someone else to share the pain of pulling myself out of bed at a time that most people our age are just getting to sleep.

I’ve pretty much decided she’s the greatest person ever – besides helping me calm my prerace jitters and offering amazing marathon advice, she brought me this:

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Yes, that is an freezable gift bag. Amazeballs.

We hit the road and got up to Ventura pretty quickly. The race was a point-to-point so we had to hop on shuttles at the Fairgrounds in Ventura to take us up to the start in Ojai. We were lucky we took off early because I later found out that they ran out of parking space in the Fairgrounds lot and my Dad and Michael had to park further from the finish line and almost didn’t make it to the start on time.

First (and maybe only) mistake by the race – no porta potties or open bathrooms at the shuttle pick up. We ended up walking through the grounds and finding an open bathroom between some airplane hangars. Luckily, we were able to actually use the bathroom before security showed up and informed us we weren’t supposed to be in there. WTF Compete Green? Runners need to pee A LOT pre-race!

After the bathroom adventure, we hopped on the shuttle and had a 20 minute ride up to Ojai. The entire shuttle ride I kept thinking “Oh my God I need to run this back. Holycrapholycrapholycrap.”

We got to the start, I peed like 3 more times (nerves? or optimal hydration?) and then it was go time.

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I actually managed to find my Dad and Michael as we lined up at the start line. Michael stuck with us for the first maybe .6 mile and then took off (like I said… 3:17 finish… I was surprised he stuck with us that long!).

After about 3 miles I started to feel pain in my right knee. This seemed super weird because of all the pains I’ve experienced during the last year of running, I’ve NEVER had knee pain. Not at all. It actually got to the point where I was running while keeping that leg as straight as possible because it hurt so bad to bend it. Around mile 6 I stopped at the aid station to pop a couple of advil. Luckily, the advil did the trick and the pain quickly became less noticeable.

Mile 1 – 10:24, Mile 2 – 10:09, Mile 3 – 10:27

Mile 4 – 11:23, Mile 5 – 11:30, Mile 6 – 10:59

I took my first gel at Mile 6 and felt a surge of energy despite the knee pain. I also started looking forward to hitting that 10-mile mark. One of the best pieces of advice Sarah gave me was to split the race up into smaller distances by giving myself things to look forward to. Mile 10 = iPod time.

Mile 7 – 11:12, Mile 8 – 10:51

Mile 9 – 11:15, Mile 10 – 10:56

I finally hit play on my iPod and started focusing on the next mini tasks ahead. Besides trying to take in all the scenery (this course was beautiful) I also decided to start looking forward to each water station as my small “break”. I told myself I could only walk through the water stations – no other time – until I hit the 20 mile mark. After all, once I hit 20 miles, I only had to run a 10k. I kept telling myself how easy that would be. “Just get to 20 and then press the restart button. After 20, it’s just a 10k. That’s all.”

I also started focusing on looking for the cowbell guy. This guy managed to show up EVERYWHERE along the course. He was great! He just rang his cowbell, cheered everyone on, and told us how great/strong/awesome we are. My Dad also enjoyed telling him each time we passed “Hey, I saw your brother back there!”

Mile 11 – 10:56, Mile 12 – 11:05, Mile 13 – 11:38

I definitely started to fade once we hit mile 13. As hard as I tried to not let it happen, that one little thought crept up into my head and I couldn’t let it go for quite a while.

“13 miles. If this was a half marathon, I’d be done. I’d be celebrating. I’d be drinking ice cold water. But it’s not a half marathon. I have to do that again.

That was brutal. I knew crossing that 13 mile mark would be a bit rough, but I didn’t realize how much my mental attitude would affect my running.

Mile 14 – 11:36, Mile 15 – 11:27

Mile 16 – 11:40, Mile 17 – 12:50

My Dad and I did about a half mile of walking during mile 17. I also took my third gel and after a few minutes I felt a lot of energy coming back. My Dad’s feet were really bugging him so he told me to take off whenever. I run/walked the next couple of miles, really feeling the pain all over now. My feet hurt, my ankles hurt, my knee was stiff. But I kept pushing. I started running again after Mile 19 and that’s when I realized something big – I COULD DO THIS.

I could seriously finish this. I could be a MARATHONER. No joke. I got so excited when I realized this. I guess I always had that little bit of doubt, and the knowledge that if I needed to just stop running, I could. But I wasn’t going to and I didn’t need to. I decided that no matter how bad it hurt and how slow I was running, I was going to just keep doing it. Just keep running. My feet were hurting me more than anything and I knew that the sooner I finished the sooner I could get off my poor dying feet.

Mile 18 – 11:45, Mile 19 – 12:48, Mile 20 – 10:40

Mile 21 – 12:04, Mile 22 – 11:47, Mile 23 – 11:40

I also met a nice woman named Stephanie somewhere during this realization. She was running O2O as her 40th birthday present to herself. She was awesome and distracted me for about a mile while we talked Ragnar, previous races and our post-race food plans (she wanted a pie, I wanted lemonade).

(Specifically Hot Dog on a Stick Lemonade – which I have yet to go get) [source]

Once I hit 23 miles and knew I only had a 5k left, I made the decision that I was not going to walk at all. I have never wanted to be done with something so badly. I could feel my whole body just plain hurting. Luckily, I got a HUGE mental boost when a car drove by and I heard someone screaming out “GOOOO DANICA!!!!!! WOOO!!” I turned to see Nicole speeding by hanging out the car window cheering me on. Seriously amazing! Thanks Nicole – I needed that!!!

I turned down my music as the finish line came into view so I could take it all. So many people were cheering and at the last mile I saw Jason and Michael jumping up and down and yelling for me. I think Jason offered to run a little ways with me and I think I told him no (sorry babe!) but I was just so delusional and driven and focused at that point that I couldn’t really process anything but the giant FINISH up ahead. I also knew I had a shot at finishing under 5 hours and I didn’t want to miss that.

Mile 24 – 12:27, Mile 25 – 12:27, Mile 26 – 11:35

.2 – 9:36

When I crossed that finish, I was so overwhelmed/happy/excited/exhausted/emotional and absolutely drained. I have never been so proud of myself for accomplishing something so mentally and physically draining. It was definitely a surreal experience. I get chills just thinking about it.

Final Time – 26.2 miles: 4:59:35

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#1 – Done.

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(Post-race recap coming tomorrow – this post is way too long already.)

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I Did It!

First marathon – 4:59:35. I ‘m already looking forward to beating that next year. Complete recap up tomorrow, but for now I plan on eating, hydrating, and not moving for 12 hours at least.

Great job to everyone else who ran! Especially all the Ragnar Girls that were there – you have no idea how much you all inspire me to keep working harder and getting faster. Thank you for all your encouragement!

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The Night Before: O2O

Excuse me while I freak the eff out. It’s the night before my first marathon, I’m sort of doubting myself, I keep thinking my knees hurt, and I’m worried about everything from Porta Potties to when to take gels to which socks to wear ( compression or no?).

But most of all

I’m really freaking excited.

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(Drinks weren’t consumed today – but I might be thinking about one of those bad boys as soon as I hit that finish line).

I can’t wait to post an update tomorrow, but in the meantime – good luck to everyone else running O2O (sarah, nicole, madison, cha cha who is running as the volunteer 4:25 pacer)!!

Marathon #1 – Let’s Do This.

 

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Nice to See You Again

I should just change my middle name from Lynne to Slacker. Or Procrastinator. Or maybe I should just stop immediately logging on to Pinterest every time I turn on my computer and actually blog for once. I can’t help it though. How can I resist pinning wonderful pieces of magic like this:

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Or this:

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Or, better yet, THIS:

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Luckily, I also like to do this almost as much as I love sweets.

[image from prettyfittie’s ragnar recap]

And I’ve been doing a good amount of running in preparation for this:

In just under 3 weeks I’ll be taking on my first 26.2. I feel like I should be more nervous than I am right now, but I’m sure the nerves will sink in sometime the weekend before while I’m relaxing by a pool in Vegas during taper week and mentally freaking out that I should be running instead.

On Saturday I ran my longest run to date – 15.5 miles:

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My plan was to run 18 miles and I honestly could have done 2.5 more but our town is deceivingly small and I needed to run the same loop twice to get in the mileage. Little did I know there would be a massive street fair happening halfway through my second loop. The good news was I was able to pick up free water and a free berry smoothie for some refueling, but it also made it difficult to keep running so I cut it a little short. I probably got in the last 2.5 walking around the mall later anyways.

I held a steady 10:41 pace through the 15.5 which is actually less than the 11:10 pace that my training plan had me running. I even ran the first 13.1 in 2:17 – a minute faster than my first half and 2 minutes faster than the Agoura Half!

Today’s plan is 4-5 miles with Jason after work. Running with him has been great because it forces me to keep a pace around 8:50-9:10. Running with him has also been terrible because it forces me to keep a pace around 8:50-9:10. Seriously. 1 or 2 or even 3 miles at that is fine, but when I start hitting that 5+ mile range I basically feel like my legs are going to fall off. It really is great though because it takes all the mental work away from me and I just follow him and try to catch up. I can already tell I’m getting stronger and faster and maybe if he really gets into running with me there will be a sub-2 half in our future.

Well I’m off to another day of listening to “90s Hits of the Summer” Pandora while sadly staring out the office window at the hills blocking my view of the beach I’d rather be at today. Seriously, Summer at my job is torture. We’re not even 20 minutes down the road to Malibu and nothing makes me happier than lounging at the beach with a good Young Adult Fiction book and Venti Iced Green Tea. Boo to being responsible.

Anyone else racing Ojai2Ocean?

I know this girl, this girl and this girl will be there looking to score some big PRs so send them some good luck vibes!

Any tips/advice/warnings for my first marathon?

Got any fun vacations planned?

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PR’s–Yeah, They’re Nice

Yesterday my Dad and I ran Compete Green’s Half Marathon of the Harbors in Ventura. As you can already tell from the title, I PR’d. But I didn’t just PR. I kicked my previous 2:18 half marathon’s butt.

2:10:04 – 9:55 pace – heck.yes.

I cannot even begin to explain how good it felt to see that 2:10 on the clock when I crossed the finish line.

It felt even better than finding out Adam Levine is back on the market (for my single friends of course, Jas).

I’m still riding the runner’s high today and considering some bigger (maybe twice as big?) races in the near future.

I woke up at the lovely hour of 4AM to down a couple cups of coffee, eat my PB toast and watch “Unwrapped” – Easter Treats” where I learned the first Peep took 27 hours to make by hand.

Since my favorite cheerleader was sitting this one out (and sleeping in) I had to resort to a Myspace-era self portrait for race morning.

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All set for #3 and rocking my SkinnyRunner shirt and white sparkle BIC Band

I really enjoyed this race. The course was flat and fast. I started out really strong and my legs felt nice and warmed up from last week’s race. I was shocked to look down and see I was hitting well below my 10-minute mile goal pace right off the bat.

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The course was an out and back from Ventura Harbor to Channel Islands with great views of the ocean and million dollar beach homes. The first couple miles do pass by a sewage refinery so if you have a sensitive nose that could be a problem.

We hit the halfway point and turned back and that’s when I hit the wall. Not the mental runner’s wall, the actual physical wall of wind. Holy smokes was it windy. I literally felt like I was pushing through an air tunnel at some points. The last half of my splits definitely reflect the change in conditions:

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I forgot to hit stop on my Garmin until a few seconds after I came through the finish so I wasn’t sure of my actual time until the results were posted today. But now it’s official:

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Now the only problem is I’m going to have to set a new goal. Sub-2 half marathon? It could happen.

All in all, I would absolutely recommend the Half Marathon of the Harbors. It was definitely a small race (only about 500 runners), but it was well organized. They had water and Gatorade about every 2 miles and they handed out gels at the halfway point and again at about mile 9 or 10. The volunteers were great and although there wasn’t a ton of crowd support until the finish, all the volunteers and police made sure to cheer on the runners. Also, the yells of “Don’t Stop!” whenever people saw my shirt were super helpful. How could I be caught walking while wearing that? I couldn’t. Embarrassing.

If anyone is looking for a flat, fast and well-run small race then check out Compete Green! They have a ton of different events that sound really fun and they put in a lot of effort to make everything environmentally friendly – from using no paper goods to advertise to using plastic cups at the aid stations (that volunteers pick up and recycle after!) they really put on a great race that everyone can feel great about. Love that!

So here’s to finishing half #3! I’ve got the annual Gator Run 5k in a couple weeks followed by Ragnar SoCal in just under 3 weeks! It’s going to be an exciting month! I hope your April is off to just as a great of a start!

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Great Race of Agoura Pacific Half Marathon

Alternate Title: I’m Moving to Kansas so I can Live Where It’s Flat and Never Run Hills Again

I definitely seem to have a knack for picking hilly races. The Thousand Oaks Turkey Day Dash – hilly, the 4th of July 5k in Newbury Park – hilly, my first half marathon in Pomona – hilly. But yesterday’s half takes the cake. I don’t know why I didn’t think anything of it when I saw this:

But then again, being still “new” to the world of elevation charts, I didn’t realize how brutal that should have looked.

So the morning started early. Like, 5 AM early. After the Holiday Half I realized that my brain did not enjoy functioning without coffee and I think I had a migraine for 3 days following. So yesterday morning I got up and had a couple cups of coffee and an english muffin with peanut butter before heading out to Agoura Hills. Jason was kind enough to wake up before the sun to tag along as my valet/stuff holder/photographer/cheerleader.

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The start line was super easy to get to and it began at Paramount Ranch, where they used to film a ton of old Western movies and shows like Dr. Quinn Medicine Women. It was so neat to see all those old buildings and they still use it as a movie set today!

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Tired eyes. I also rocked my Black Sparkle Bic Band and loved it. It didn’t budge once.

The race wound through the roads of Malibu and Agoura Hills. We ran along Kanan Rd., which was awesome because I’ve spent years taking that road to the beach and seen many runners and cyclists and always thought “What crazy person would run/bike this!?”, but now I can annoy all my friends on our beach drives by telling them my race story every time.

We also ran along Mulholland, past some gorgeous houses, wineries, and Malibou Lake, which was gorgeous.

At about 2.86 miles we hit the beast-hill where I spent the entire .8 mile hill climb cursing the hill, cursing the person that set the course, cursing Malibu for having hill, cursing my legs for hating hills, etc. Luckily, that hill eventually ended and I flew back down with a 9-minute mile. I wish I had been able to keep a steady pace through the whole race but with that massive hill at the beginning and the many smaller ones that followed my splits were all over the place.

I saw J right at the end of the race toward the finish line and I kicked it as hard as I could to pass 5 women I’d been running alongside for most of the course.

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I ended up finishing in 2:19:38 but according to my Garmin the course was 13.2 miles. I didn’t beat my first time of 2:18:00, but I am pretty happy considering that this course was much tougher than the Pomona course and I ran this one alone so I didn’t have my Dad to pace me.

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Done with #2!

Next week’s half is in Ventura with an elevation change of 72 feet so I think that will be a better PR opportunity than the 1,221 ft. elevation gain of the Pacific Half Smile

The Great Race of Agoura has an awesome after party was well. I saw tons of vendors with food like pancakes and granola bars and fruit. J and I grabbed some drinks from the FRS Energy Drink booth because I was craving something tart (their Cherry Limeade is delicious) and then took off because he had to park my car a million miles away and *gasp* I didn’t feel like pancakes or any of the other sweet items available.

We swung by Trader Joes to get some ingredients for Eggs Benedict (and we also ran into the pet adoption next door where I fell in love with every puppy). When we got home, Mr. Gourmet Chef Extraordinaire whipped up this:

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While I iced and refueled:

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Overall, it was a fun race with a beautiful and scenic course and beyond perfect weather. I’m not going to lie though, I’m looking forward to kicking some half marathon butt on a flat course next weekend and I might start sticking to some flatter races going forward. My booty is SORE this morning!

Great Race of Agoura – Pacific Half Marathon: 2:19:38, 29th/55 age group

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