Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ragnar- Wasatch Back + unclaimed prizes!

Life is finally starting to slow down a bit after Ragnar this past weekend.  No time to sit at the computer, though, because my in-laws are visiting from South Carolina and I'm spending every waking moment either entertaining them or proving what a great person I am by baking bread and cookies, cleaning the house thoroughly, and anticipating their every need.  Let me tell you- I'm exhausted!  I really wish I were more of the perfect housewife type but it's too hard! Or I'm too lazy.  Oh well.  I've got a couple of hours to myself while they are at the dinosaur museum with Thai Guy and the boys so time for a quick update post!

1. Ragnar was a blast! Absolutely a different experience from last year but great nonetheless.  I hope to have a full recap "relatively" soon. (Get it? Because my relatives are here. I crack myself up.)  Here's a pic of my pal, Dianna, and I at the finish line.  We were delirious and had pretty much no sleep at all for about 40 hours at this point.  Want to know how tired I was?  As I was driving our van in the middle of the night, I hit myself in the face, not once but TWICE with the window as I tried rolling it up.  It's a special kind of sleep depravity that makes you forget to move your head out of the way when rolling the window up.  Ragnar- a race for special people like me. ;)
We had some sweet polka dotted compression socks on, too. Got lots of compliments on our ensembles. :)
2. Just want to quickly tell the world what an amazing husband I have.  The past two weekends, he has sacrificed BIG in order to support me at my races.  First, running the aid station at the Utah Valley Marathon and then getting up in the middle of the night to come and volunteer at Ragnar. 
Thai Guy and I after UVM and during his shift at Exchange 30 at Ragnar.  (That hat is seriously too low, Alicia.)

He never hesitates to help out. I love that he always supports me and all my crazy goals. Also, I am super excited to announce that we will be running the next marathon TOGETHER!  I thought that he never wanted to run another marathon after our first was less than ideal for him but he has told me to sign him up. We are going to kill the next one! We will be running the SoJo Marathon on Oct. 15th. Can't wait to get training!

3. My Virtual Race for Autism was a HUGE success and wanted to say "Thank you!" again to everyone who participated.  I announced the raffle winners last week and have heard from most of you but I just wanted to mention that there are a couple of unclaimed prizes-
  • MaxsMom- please contact me with your address so that I can send you your RoadID gift cards AND
  • Christine and Giraffy- you guys won Runnerd stickers and I'd love to send them to you!
You can email me at aliciaruns @ with your addresses. Everybody else- I got your emails and will be sending your prizes out this week! Thanks again!

  Hoping to post all the ridiculousness of Ragnar soon!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Utah Valley Marathon '11

2:35 am
My alarm went of at the insane time of 2:35 am. I have seen 2:35 in the morning before but never on this side of it.  Who wakes up at 2:35 for anything?! Well, I do. At least this day I did.  All I can say is it's a good thing I had everything already laid out because I think I would have put my skirt on backwards if the bib hadn't been pinned on already. Obligatory race morning pic-
Oh, and don't expect a smile this early, either. I actually tried to smile in another pic and I just looked cracked. :)

3:20 am
I grabbed my usual prerace breakfast (waffle w. PB) and a z-bar to eat on the bus and I was out the door.  I felt pretty sleepy relaxed so no real nerves to speak of. I was just focused on getting to the bus on time.  I got to Provo in plenty of time and even snagged a great parking spot in a garage right next to where the finish was going to be.  I was on the bus and on my way up the canyon by 4:00.

4:30 am
Made it to the start and jumped in line at the porta-potty. The lines were short but people seemed to be taking their time. Totally not what you want when you are the next in line. (ew!) Anyhow, I survived the porta-potty and then just walked around a bit, partly to look for people I knew and partly just to keep warm. It was pretty chilly so I was really glad that I had a blanket to snuggle up in until last call for bag drop. I ran into Sam (of Operation Jack/Train4Autism) while I was wondering around. He was pacing the 3:40 group that day. Easy-peasy for him, a real stretch of the imagination for me. He knew my goal was to get under 4:30 so he told me to go for even 10:00 splits which would get me a finish of 4:22.  I told him I'd try and then left as he was getting surrounded by his 3:40 groupies.

6:00 am
Start time!  I lined up at the back of the pack and was thrilled to spot Julia right before the gun went off.  (She would end up playing a big role in my race that day.)  I quickly introduced myself and said that we should run together since we had the same goal. She was just as cute and nice as I expected her to be and I spent the 1st mile chatting away with her and her friend, Jen, as the crowd of runners moved forward.

Miles 1-5 (10:29, 9:09, 9:12, 9:23, 9:28)
Just getting going. Some weaving and getting out of the way for that first mile.  When my Garmin beeped and told me the first mile was only a 10:29 pace, though, I figured I had better speed up. I might have gone a little too fast the next couple of miles but I felt good so I went with it. I left Julia and Jen figuring I would see them again. These miles were through the small town of Wallsburg and the weather and scenery was beautiful! There were even some sweet residents that woke up early to enjoy watching and cheering the runners going by.  This is a real event for their sleepy farming town.

Miles 6-10 (9:26, 9:18, 11:17, 10:17, 9:38)
Miles 6 and 7, we were still in Wallsburg but we were about to be kicked out onto the main canyon road.  I stopped for a few seconds at a porta-potty line at mile 7 but quickly realized the line wasn't really moving and hopped back out onto the course. I might have stood there for about 30 seconds but it felt like forever as I watched the pace on my Garmin go up.  I just couldn't stand it! (Wearing my Garmin for this race sure did help keep me motivated!)  Julia must have passed by while I was in line because right before we came into the canyon, I saw her ahead of me and decided to catch up to her so that we could run the hill together. That first hill was a doozy so I'm so glad I caught her!  We chatted like old friends and it took the focus off of the hill and onto the conversation. Loved that!  Can I just say that for a downhill course there were a lot more hills than I expected! Those little blips on the elevation chart look harmless but there were some tough ones! Thankfully, we had the downhill to more than make up for it.

Julia and I after the race.
 Miles 11-15 (9:34, 10:07, 11:01, 8:58, 8:56)
Around here somewhere I noticed that the average pace on my Garmin had been consistently a 9:44 pace.  I felt really good about it because I didn't feel I was pushing too hard. We were going up and down hills and the average pace was sticking right around the same place.  I knew I had it in me to finish under a 10:00 average pace even after those dreaded final miles. I hit the half-marathon mark at 2:10:18. (And finally stopped to use the bathroom!)  I told Julia that maybe I'd catch back up to her and she ran ahead.

Miles 16-20 (10:05, 9:37, 9:29, 9:09, 9:57)
I was thankful to catch Julia right before the mile 16 hill which was another tough one.  We really didn't say a word to each other on this hill but we powered up it like nobody's business. I know just having her running there next to me was keeping me going and I felt super strong.  We totally owned it and were rewarded with some downhill miles. Whew! Miles 19 and 20, I was pushed along by the fact that my husband and all of my Train4Autism crew would be there at the mile #21 aid station.  I even got teary-eyed as I thought about the time and effort they were putting into making this day a success, not only for me, but for our T4A chapter.  I sucked it up because I realized that I can't cry and run at the same time. It totally messes up my breathing. ;)

Miles 21-25 (9:33, 10:34, 9:58, 10:55, 10:49)
Our T4A aid station crew (minus hubby, who's taking the pic). Can't even tell you how grateful I am for their hard work that day.
Mile 21, I finally see the T4A crew and my husband! That was a great moment for me.  They were doing a fantastic job and cheered me on as a ran through. Just what I needed at that moment.  The next 4 miles were slow but I remember thinking to myself that I could run 12 min/miles the rest of the way and still finish in under 4:30, so I was feeling pretty happy.  I even thought that I'd meet my new goal of 4:22.  Sweet!  My hamstrings were getting pretty tight and I made 2 quick stops to stretch them out but other than that it was just running through the pain.  Julia and I met back up around mile 24.  She had a sweet friend from school with her that came to run her in.  I relished the opportunity to run with someone with fresh legs.  She was friendly and motivating and kept us on task. When she mentioned that we had 30 minutes to run less than 2 miles, I thought that I just might go under 4:20.  What?!  I hadn't even thought that was really possible!

Somewhere around Mile 21-ish. Julia and I were never far from each other. Check it. In this photo, we are even on the same stride! Haha. Love it!  By the way, could I wear that hat any lower?!
Mile 26 and the last .37 (10:04, 3:14)
Somewhere in this last mile, Sam ran back out to find me and run me in.  He said, "Do you wanna go under 4:20? Am I going to have to make you do this??" "Yes!" He told me to stick with him and he'd get me to the finish under 4:20. I ran as fast as my legs would take me and ran that last 1/2 mile or so at an 8:40 pace! I didn't know that I had it in me but I was really happy that Sam pulled it out of me. What a fantastic finish to an unforgettable race!
Sam and I after the race. I really owe him for my strong finish. Thanks, Sam!

 Chip time 4:19:44
(a 34 second negative split!)
Gun time 4:19:51

Overall Place 925/1635

Age Group 106/174

An extra special "Thank You!" to Candice for sticking around to meet me at the finish. I LOVE this gal! She PRed in the half that day.  Love our PR smiles!

Congrats to all those that ran that day! I read all the recaps and, while some had better days than others, we all finished and that deserves some MAJOR pats on the back!  Can't wait for this race next year!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

a Virtual Race for Autism 5k- Winners Announced!!!

I am nearly finished with my race recap from Saturday's marathon but my pictures are on another computer (doh!) so it looks I won't be posting the full recap until Wednesday.  Until then I am kicking my feet up in Park City on a mini vacation (ie. husband's work trip). I always love this trip because he gets to bring the whole family and I am especially loving it this year.  Such a nice time to be within a few steps of the nearest hot tub, sauna, or steam room. It sure is helping my recovery!  Three days post marathon and I'm feeling like I may try to run today. Maybe just a couple miles to shake everything out.  I don't want to overdo it with Ragnar coming in 4 DAYS! (Wahoo!)

Here's a quick review of Saturday's race: I got up really early, ran pretty steady, a couple of hills but no big issues and a PR!  Amazing how I turned all that into such a long post earlier.

I figured the least I could do while I'm hangin' here by the pool is post the winners from my virtual 5k.  Thirty-eight of you participated and helped me get about $400 closer to my goal! Wow! Thank you guys so much!  I can't even begin to tell you how much it means to me.  I loved hearing about your personal connections to autism.  I was also so touched by those who participated just as a chance to support me and my goals.  Amazing!  I have been so overwhelmed with emotion and have had a hard time really expressing what this experience has meant to me. I was nearly in tears as I spoke with Candice about it after the race on Saturday. I hope that each of you get the chance to train and raise money for a cause that is dear to you. Truly an incredible experience.

Ok. I've got my random number generator all set to go so let's start with a list of all the participants.

First through the finish line-
Rachelle @RunningforTrevor coming in at 20:54!  
Congrats, Rachelle! I've got something fun coming your way for being our fastest 5k-er and you are absolutely still in the running for the raffle prizes!   

Click HERE to see the rest of the crew!  Good job guys! I heard from more than a few of you that running this virtual 5k helped put a little OOMPH in your workout.  Feels SO good to leave it all out there on the pavement, right?!  (Look for more virtual 5k pics in coming posts.)

Now for the prizes! I've really been looking forward to this!

The Winner of the Allied Medal Hanger is #2- Erin!

The 3 Winners that will each win a Bondi Band are #4, #11 and #36- Amy C., Melissa, and Blaine (your wife or daughter will love it!)

The Winner of a BIG box of Blueberry Crisp Clif Bars is #23- Anne Marie!

The 2 Winners of the the GU Electrolyte Tablets are #6 and #18- Christy and Rochelle!

The 2 Winners of the Nathan Trail Mix Hydration Packs are #10 and #3- Jennifer F. and Sarah @RunningIsALife!

The Winner of the Pink Series 10k entry is #9- Kim! (Kim- if you can't make it to this race, let me know and I'll get you another prize.) The 2 Winners of the Pink Series shirts are #34 and #7- Mom and Margaret!

The 2 Winners of a RazzyRoo Headband are #14 and #28- Candice and Ros!

The 6 winners that will each get a $15 gift certificate to RoadID are #32, #5, #19, #21, #16 and #37- Stephanie C., Brandy, Kara G., KayeLynne, Stacie, and MaxsMom.

Finally, the 6 winners of a Runnerd sticker are #26, #31, #8, #27, #13, and #25 - Haley, Maria, Julia, Emily G., Christine and Giraffy!

(You may notice a couple of missing prizes. Sadly, 2 companies that had offered prizes originally have ignored my subsequent emails. Really disappointing. BUT to make up for those missing prizes, I will be sending a surprise goodies to #33, #29 and #17 - Kelly, Sarah @RunningOnWords and Nancy!  I am absolutely happy to do it!)

You guys rock for supporting me and this really special autism classroom! If you won a prize, please send me an email to aliciaruns @ Include your name and address and the prize that you won and I will get it out to you ASAP!

Utah Valley Marathon race recap coming tomorrow!

*I really hope to make this an annual event so hopefully you guys will give me some feedback about things I can do better next year. Comments, suggestions??

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Under 4:30?

P'shaw! Try under 4:20!

 The laptop is out of order (blogging from my phone is cool but not easy), so this is all for now. So much more to come + virtual race winners!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Last minute thoughts...

  1. Tomorrow is the day! June 11th. Marathon #4. Wow. For the amount of focus that I've been putting on this one date, it sure did sneak up on me! Ha!
  2. I checked Utah Valley's website this morning. My official number is 5210. I like it!
  3. After checking 4 stores, I was finally able to track down my Hammer Gel of choice- Montana Huckleberry. It's the only one I wanted even if it meant driving (okay, having the husband drive) a couple towns over to get it.
  4. I'm super excited that my husband (and all of our awesome Train4Autism volunteers) are going to be at the aid station at mile #21 tomorrow. It will be so great to see them right when I need that extra boost to finish.
  5. I totally forgot to mention that tomorrow's marathon actually qualifies me to be a Marathon Maniac. Cool, right?  It will be really great to meet that personal goal but it seriously has been in the background of my BIG goal...
  6. ...which is to raise money for the amazing autism classroom my son attended a couple of years ago.  I am right now $95 to my goal of $1500 and I couldn't be more thrilled! Thanks to everybody that donated. You rock!
  7. The virtual 5k has been an amazing success.  I have been super excited to see all of the race times coming in and reading all of the recaps.  (I promise you, I've read them all! Keep 'em comin'!) You guys sure had fun with it. I'll be posting more pics and recaps and prizes (!) this weekend. (By the way, it's not too late to enter. You have until midnight tonight to get your times into me and, of course, I'm being super flexible here. Just join us! I'd love to have you. Click HERE to see how.) 
  8. I leave you with one of my personal favorite virtual 5k pics...
My Mom did the 3.1 on her treadmill, 2000 miles away from here in West Virginia, wore the bib #509 (for her 5 kids, and 9 grandchildren) and walked in support of her first grandchild, my son, who was diagnosed with autism in 2005.  This is a woman who was just in the hospital for nearly a month! Wow! Thanks, Mom! Now go take a nap! Haha. XOXO

 Good luck to everyone else racing this weekend! PR wishes to you all! ;)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

a Virtual Race for Autism Update + Join the Fun!

Uh. I'm running a marathon on Saturday!  There has been so much stuff going on that I nearly forgot!  Here's what I've been up to since my last post...

I watched Little Red graduate from PreK. That kid is such a goof!
I've been playing with my boys as much as possible.

I turned this mess...

...into this graduation cake for a super sweet high school graduate.

And this morning, I made this yummy oatmeal pancake and topped it with PB, dried cranberries, coconut, buckwheat groats, and a little syrup. Recipe from Kath Eats Real Food.
(Like my attempt at taking a pretty food picture?)

Oh, and I also went to pump class. And ran a mile afterwards since class ended a few minutes early.

That's not to mention all the craziness that goes into making sure Train4Autism's aid station at the Utah Valley Marathon is the best!  And still doing last minute prep for Ragnar next weekend. And filling in our playground with pea gravel. And doing all the mom stuff like laundry, cooking, know the drill. I'm exhausted!

Enough about me, here's what you guys have been up to-

You've been running!  And I've got pics to prove it!  I am loving all these results coming in for my virtual 5k.  Don't wait to join in!  Click HERE to find out how to participate. You've got until Friday at midnight to get in your results to me. Good luck!!
Sarah @ RunningIsALife ran for 2 causes at once by running my virtual 5k as part of a local 5k.  Great idea, Sarah!  I loved reading her recap.  Written just as a competitive runner thinks.
Julia @ PainPridePerseverance sent this treadmill shot after running a speedy 5k for autism.  Julia is a psychologist in training and has worked with families affected by autism.  She listed lots a great reasons to support my cause along with her race recap. Thanks, Julia!

This Garmin picture is courtesy of Rochelle @ BabesOnAMission. She pushed herself and ran faster with each mile. Congrats, Rochelle!
Maria @ TheSplendiferousLife ran the 5k with her buddy Alissa and her sweet Julia.  I can tell from her recap that they really had fun with it. Maria's cute yellow button earrings I think say it all about this girl's fun personality.

Here's the list of participants I have so far. If you are not on this list and should be let me know!  If you are not on this list and really want to be click HERE to find out how to participate and win some really cool prizes all in the name of charity! Gotta love it!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The excitement builds.

I celebrated National Running Day by running 4 miles uphill on my treadmill this morning.  I was SUPER sweaty when I was done so you know I started the day a happy girl!  I spent the rest of the morning and afternoon at my son's school Field Day and then running errands.  When I finally arrived home, I felt ready for a nap until...I found 2 boxes on my front step! 

The first one was unexpected.  I had written Clif Bar to see if they would contribute to my virtual race but hadn't heard back so I was thrilled to see that they had sent a whole box of yummy Blueberry Crisp Clif Bars! Sweet!

The second box I had been waiting for.  I knew Nathan Sports was sending something but I wasn't sure what.  I saw this on the outside of the box and knew it was the one I had been waiting for.
I opened it to find-
Two Nathan Trail Mix hydration packs! Wow, oh, wow! I have one of these myself and I love it, so you guys are seriously getting lucky here. Amazing!  You can see me with my Trail Mix pack on during my 2nd Ragnar leg last year up in my blog header.  Oh, and here I am with my pack at the Salt Lake City Marathon. 
Ok, I guess you really can't see it too well here but I promise you it carried everything I needed that day and more AND it stayed right in place down lower on my hips without jostling around. Great product!  Whomever wins these will be tickled pink!

National Running Day is the perfect day to sign up for a race, so "race" over HERE to find out how to enter my Virtual Race for Autism 5k.  Just take a look at what you could win just for participating!

  • an Allied Medal Display
  • one of 3 Bondi Bands
  • a box of Blueberry Crisp Clif Bars
  • one of 2 pieces of jewelry from Endure Shop
  • a running product from Get Fit Athletic Wear
  • one of 2 GU Brew Electrolyte Tablets
  • one of 2 Nathan Sports Trail Mix Hydration Packs
  • an entry in to the Pink Series 10k
  • one of 2 Pink Series shirts
  • one of 2 RazzyRoo Headbands
  • one of 6 RoadID $15 gift cards
  • or one of 6 Runnerd stickers
Click HERE to see the full descriptions and links for each prize.

That's 30 raffle prizes, y'all!  And only $5 to participate that goes directly to an autism classroom that I've been feverishly trying to raise money for. So for $5, you get- a fun run (or walk), a chance to donate to an autism charity and a chance at some amazing prizes! What's not to love about that?!  You have until June 10th so there is still plenty of time to get your run in. Go, go, GO!

*Bloggy buddies, friends, family and neighbors!  Please post about this race on your blog, facebook page, or twitter!  I could really use the help getting the word out. If you've already posted it- THANK YOU!! You've done your good deed for the week. ;)