TOP

12 Half Marathons Completed for 2012

It is so hard to believe that it is already mid December 2012.  Seems like yesterday when I set my goal to run twelve half marathons by the end of the year. Planning to run one a month, and use September to make up for no races in January. This was, by far, the highlight of my running career.

The journey along the way brought many things. Fourteen degree weather at the starting line, frozen water at aid stations, no water at aid stations, gale force head winds, foot injury resulting in walking boot, travel to other states, raising money for cancer, first true trail race, new friends, spectacular views, and the list goes on and on.

Here is the list of the races:

  1. Ralston Creek Half Marathon – Feb 12 – 2:46:26
  2. That Dam Run Half Marathon – March 4 – 2:46:57
  3. Platte River Half Marathon – April 15 – 2:37:09
  4. Colfax Half Marathon – May 20 – 2:37:10 (my overall PR is 2:20:33 in 2011 – by far a favorite!)
  5. Rock n Roll Seattle Half Marathon – June 23 – 2:28:24 (ended up in walking boot after – no running in July)
  6. Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon – August 11 – 2:37:49
  7. Denver Half Marathon – Sept 9 – 2:31:56 (took 8 minutes off last years time)
  8. Rock n Roll Denver Half Marathon – Sept 22 – 2:23:33 (took 3 minutes off last years time)
  9. Bear Chase Trail Half Marathon – Sept 30 – 2:56:21 (first true trail run)
  10. Boulder Half Marathon – Oct 21 – 2:36:26 (took 7 minutes off 2010 time)
  11. Backcountry Wilderness Half Marathon – Nov 11 – 2:40:22 (took 9 minutes off last years time)
  12. Hoover Dam Half Marathon – Dec 15 – 2:36:27

Running is what I love to do. I may not be as fast as a Kenyan or other runners, but I finish and I get the runners high in doing so. I love helping others accomplish their running goals as well. Working with the American Cancer Society DetermiNation running group along with Life Time Fitness Run group I have been able to make that love of helping others a reality.

We all started at square one. Bought a pair of running shoes and just went out and ran. We didn’t really know what we were doing, how hard can running be? After not being able to walk after my first half marathon in 2003, I realized that there is a lot more to running than just going out and doing it. You need the proper shoes, apparel, training, nutrition and mental preparation to reach your goal. With that knowledge, I have grown as a person and athlete. I have created runners out of non-runners and helped other runners become even better runners. It is my passion.

At the end of February I will start coaching a group of Life Time Runners to train for the Colfax Half Marathon. April will start the the Life Time Run group training for the Bolder Boulder 10K, most of which I have been coaching for the Commitment Day 5K. Set goals and get out there. Start with walking and work your way up to running. It is not all a sprint.

48 GUs $50
4 Pairs of Running Shoes $250 (Thank-you Runners Roost sales)
12 Race Entries Hundreds of $$
Completing Twelve Half Marathons in 2012…PRICELESS!

Read More
TOP

Cancer is Stupid and Dumb

Cancer: The uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancerous cells are also called malignant cells.

It leaves most of us feeling helpless when friends and or loved ones are hit with it. No one should have to deal with this disease. I decided to do something to help find a cure… run! Not to run away from cancer, but to run for cancer. Running is a HUGE passion of mine, ok, ok, it’s an addiction, but as a friend said, “At least it is a healthy one”. I am running a half marathon (13.1 miles) each month this year.

  • February 12th = Ralston Creek Half Marathon
  • March 4th = That Dam Run Half Marathon
  • April 15th = Platte River Half Marathon
  • May 20th = Colfax Half Marathon
  • June 23rd = Rock n Roll Seattle Half Marathon
  • July = TBD
  • August 11th = Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon
  • September 9th and 22nd = Denver 1/2 Marathon AND Rock n Roll Denver Half Marathon
  • October 21st = Boulder Half Marathon
  • November 10th = Backcountry Wilderness Half Marathon
  • December 15th = Hoover Dam Half Marathon

I know a lot of you don’t run unless someone is chasing you. Running for me is therapy. I am not the fastest runner, but I finish the race. This is how I’m going to help find a cure for cancer, by running.

In January, I received an email from the American Cancer Society telling me about the DetermiNation Team, in Denver, that would be running the Rock n Roll Seattle Marathon and Half Marathons. I have seen their booths in various race expos, and my nephews used one of their signs to decorate for me when I ran the 2010 Rock n Roll Denver Half Marathon. That sign hangs in my apartment. Cancer was still very fresh in my hurting heart after losing someone to it in December. I decided to go to one of the informational meetings and see what it was all about.

Team DetermiNation

During my Ralston Creek Half Marathon in February I met Meghan, from the American Cancer Society. We had been emailing back and forth about DetermiNation. After talking to her at the race, I was convinced this is what I had been looking for – running for cancer! The next week I went to the meeting and signed up to join the DetermiNation Team. I was so excited I thought I was going to burst! Finally I was going to use my passion to help others!

Our Kick-Off Party was held at the Uptown Tavern and we got to meet most of the runners, the coach and our mentors. We all had a great time and I could tell it was a fantastic group of people – this was going to be AWESOME! Friendships were formed right away.

The training would be 16 weeks long, and our first training run was on Saturday March 3rd at Washington Park. It was just a quick run around the park, which was fine with me since I was running That Dam Run Half the next day. After the run, we met in the parking lot for a stretch and information from Meghan. My mentor, Eileen, found out that two birthdays had occurred within the past few days, so she made one cake (yellow with chocolate frosting – my favorite) for Steve, and brought an angel-food cake with strawberries for Meghan! OMG that cake was YUMMY!!! Perfect post run snack in my book!

Eileen also came to my race the next day and ran me in for the last 3 miles – more on that in my That Dam Run post…

Each training run is at a different location on Saturdays. I love that, for I am finding new places to run along with new people to run with! This last Saturday’s run was on St Patricks Day at Runners Roost. So we all wore green to celebrate!

I am running for Kathie Thiessen. We lost her in December after only just being diagnosed in August with cancer. She fought hard, but cancer finally won. Everyone called her mom. She is greatly missed. She raised 4 wonderful children, one being my former brother-in-law, Kendall, that I love dearly! I love his 3 sisters, Monica, Andrea, and Jenelle as well. I know Kathie is proud of all of you!

My list of survivors and those I’ve lost is an ever growing list – each one of them will have a place on my shirt during the Rock n Roll Seattle Half Marathon. I’m going to Kick Cancer’s Butt One Mile at a Time!

You can help support my mission by donating to my site http://main.acsevents.org/goto/kristenirene EVERY dollar helps, no donation is too small.

Lets Kick Cancer’s Butt together!

 

 

 

Read More
TOP

Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 2010

On June 26, 2010, I ran the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. It took 6 months of training, 345 running miles, one toe nail, a little blood, some tears and a huge amount of desire and determination to complete the race.  I am not a fast runner, by any means, but I finish.  The challenge for me is the thrill of the race. Endorphins kick in and you just GO!

Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon

Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

This was my fourth

marathon. The other three marathons were as follows:

  1. North Olympic Discovery Marathon 2006 (Port Angeles, WA)
  2. Chicago Marathon 2006 (my favorite one by far)
  3. Eugene Marathon 2007 (Eugene, OR)

People thought I was nuts to go on vacation to run a marathon. Actually, most people just thought I was plain crazy. These comments were, of course, from my non-running friends and family. I would get asked “will some body be chasing you?!” or “how far is that marathon?!”. I would just laugh and educate these couch potatoes.

How did I come to decide to run the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon when I live in Colorado? Yes, there are much closer races to home, but this one was special.  Back in October 2009, I went to the Denver Marathon & Half Marathon race expo to pick up my packet for the Half Marathon. The Denver Marathon was going to be joining the Rock ‘n’ Roll series in 2010, so they had a variety of booths set up for the various Rock ‘n’ Roll races.  One booth was for Seattle and you could enter to win a free entry into a Rock ‘n’ Roll race of your choice. I moved to Colorado in 2007 from Seattle, so of course Seattle was my FIRST choice on the entry. I ran the race and time went by. About 2 months later, I received an email that I had won a free entry to the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon from the Denver Marathon! I FLEW out of my chair at work and ran up and down the halls jumping up and down with joy!

There was absolutely NO question that I would indeed sign up and run the full marathon!

Deep Snow

Colorado Snow Storm

Training started Christmas weekend. My plan was all laid out and ready to go. Living in Colorado, weather can be an issue in the winter. A Summer marathon, means training in all different types of weather. I had everything from ice, hail, rain, snow, overcast, sunny, hot and cold. The first 6 mile run of my training was on icy sidewalks. Yes, right after mile one…BOOM down I went. It seemed to not fail, that on the weekends, we would get a snow storm and I was forced to run my long run on a treadmill at Life Time Fitness. I did not want to risk any more falls. My longest treadmill run during this training was 15 miles. Luckily, I am a TV and sports junkie, so the row of TVs on the wall at Life Time Fitness made these mile go by quickly.

In March I joined running group with Road Runner Sports. I had not been in a running group since leaving Seattle in 2007. To gain a larger participation base, I helped the leader with ideas to get the group more exposure. I created a Google Groups page, this is how we all communication with one another for long runs, races, training plans etc. It is a GREAT group of people. We run every Saturday morning at 8am (and added a 6:30am group to beat the summer heat), and on Wednesdays at 6pm. This group really helped me get more out of my training.

Seattle Sights

Seattle Sights

Finally after all of the training, my trip to Seattle was here.  I left Tuesday after work and stayed until the following Wednesday.  This way I had time before and after the marathon to have fun and relax. It was great to go back and act like a tourist. I took in the Cubs vs Mariners game after I hit the race expo. Those are my dream World Series teams! The Cubs ended up winning in 13 innings!

The day before the marathon, I made sure to take it easy and drink lots of fluids.  I was staying with my friend Matt, so we stayed in and got pizza for dinner and watched a movie.  All of my race day items were laid out. I built a mini-Kristen to make sure I had everything. This is a ritual of mine and a lot of runners. You lay out your entire outfit for the race, this includes shirt, shorts, socks, shoes, race bib, timing chip, iPod, and any nutrition you plan to carry during the race.  Also packed was clothing for after the race. This all goes into the “bag check” bag that you load on UPS trucks before the start of the race. At the end you find your bag waiting patiently for you. We made it an early night since we had to leave the house at 4:30am.

Race morning, I got up as soon as my alarm went off. Got dressed & made my pre-race oatmeal with protein powder.  I put it in a paper cup so I could eat it on the way to the shuttle buses.  This was a point to point race.  So we all loaded shuttle buses at the finish of the race (near Qwest Field and Safeco Field) and were bused South to Tukwilla for the start.  Matt was kind enough to get up early and drop me off at the buses.

We loaded the bus and were on our way… unfortunately, our driver had NEVER been to Seattle in his life AND was not given a map to the start! Yes, he got us lost! Luckily, another runner when up to the front of the bus and directed him to where we needed to go.  This is why you get to races early, to plan for the unexpected. We clapped and thanked our driver when we arrived safely. It was an hour and a half until the race was to start.  I walked around to scope everything out, then found a spot to sit and eat the rest of my breakfast.  I brought another paper cup, a small carton of milk & Cheerios – YUMMY! After cereal I had a banana along with a bagel the race provided. In my scoping adventure, I had found a row of Port-a-Potties that did not have a line, so I took the opportunity to use it before the line began!

Seattle RocknRoll Marathon Start

Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Start

This race was also to start in waves. I was in wave number 27, so at 7am I entered my coral and waited for us to make our way to the start.  While waiting, I made friends with a girl from Chicago, Monica, and we are now Facebook friends! It took 45 minutes for our wave to hit the start line! AND WE WERE OFF!!!

After training at the mile high altitude of Colorado, this Sea-Level running was AWESOME!!! I was NEVER out of breath in the entire race! WOW what a difference that made.

This was quite a hilly course, with many out and back spurs. Our first spur was once we hit the I-90 floating bridge.  Here the half-marathon headed west and the full-marathon headed east across the bridge. So of course this was an uphill battle. Being out on the bridge also brought the wind. At least once we turned around on the bridge, it was downhill until we headed up to the tunnel. At the tunnel is where the half and full marathoners met up again. There was a band in the tunnel and MAN that was LOUD!!! Once out of the tunnel, we headed towards downtown Seattle and worked our way to the Columbia street on-ramp to the Viaduct. Here was another half and full split.  The half went South and full went North.  We were on the lower level of the Viaduct and headed through the Battery Street Tunnel. Here again we encountered a long gradual hill up and over the Aurora Bridge. At the turn around it was downhill back across the bridge and through the tunnel. This brought us to the top level of the Viaduct with great views of Puget Sound, the waterfront, Mount Rainier and the stadiums.

Mile 22 is where it all changed… Approaching the off-ramp from the Viaduct, that goes down to the stadiums where the finish was, I noticed we were not turning, but kept on going forward instead. WHAT?! I can hear the finish line and smell victory! No! we still had another hill to go down, up, down and up before we got to come back and take that exit. So yes, it was another spur of an out and back.  At this point my feet were really starting to hurt and my big right toe was in agonizing pain. I swore I was running on bloody stumps for feet and kept looking down at my shoes half expecting them to be turning red… they didn’t. I had to start walking, and run just spurts. The pain was becoming too much. Made it to the top of the hill and turn around and thought, OK you are on the home stretch!

I finally made it to that off-ramp which was all downhill! Fans lined the remaining of the route. Got to the bottom of the ramp and waved my arms up and down for people to cheer more!  I knew all I had left was a turn through a parking lot and then the finish line was right around the corner!  Looking down at my watch, I saw it was at 5 hours and 58 minutes… I am NOT going to go over 6 hours! So I hauled ass, as fast as I possibly could, with my bloody stumps for feet to the finish line. It felt like I was running faster than the Road Runner. There it was! The Finish Line!!! As I crossed I raised my arms, screamed out a YES and jumped in the air!!! My watch read 6 hours and 15 seconds! Not my best finish, but I was happy!

Crossing Finish Line

Kristen Crossing the Finish Line!

They put my finisher medal around my neck, and I could not get the smile off my face! I had just finished my 4th marathon!!!

Marathon Finisher Medal

Marathon Finisher Medal

I worked my way through the finishing chute to the food. Got my water, banana, orange slices and bagel. Next stop would be the UPS trucks to get my bag. Now it was time to sit, eat, and get my shoes off. I was so afraid to see what my socks were going to look like. Ever so gingerly I took my shoes off, and my socks were still white. Slipped on my slides and put the shoes away.  Rested for a bit while I ate and got a hold of my friend Matt on the phone to see where he wanted to meet. Several streets downtown were still closed, so we agreed I would just head towards Pike Place Market and we would eventually run into each other. OMG, getting back up from that chair and trying to walk was another story. I hobbled along for a while, then finally got my feet back under me. Had to go quite a few blocks through Pioneer Square. About 2 blocks from Pike Place Market, Matt came driving up and I hopped in.

Marathon Finisher

Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Finisher!

Back to his house in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle we went. Still afraid to take off my socks, I got ready to take a shower. Peeled my socks off and not a single blister in sight! Guess the pain was just friction.

My big toe still hurt like heck, and I had blue nail polish on so I could not see what was happening.  I figured it was bruised from all the up and down running, and just from running the marathon period. Got all cleaned up and we headed to a friend’s for a BBQ.

Of course it was a house full of non-runners, so they all made fun of me hobbling around after being in a seated position for any amount of time. That was the BEST BBQ I ever tasted. Ok, Ok, I guess I may of been a little hungry. I probably could of eaten a heal and thought it was delicious.

It took about 2-3 days to comfortably walk and go up or down stairs. Keeping active after the marathon really helped get the legs working again. All-in-all it was a TERRIFIC way to spend my vacation. Not only did I get to run a marathon, I got to see old friends and have a great time. Playing tourist was awesome! Pike Place Market, Mariners game, Storm WNBA game, Pride Parade, BBQs, old High School friends, IKEA and much much more. Thank-you Seattle for a everything!

Ended up having to go to the doctor after I got back to Colorado for my toe. It was still hurting like a son-of-a-gun the Friday after my race (almost a week). I got the nail polish off and saw the bruising. A lot of pressure had built up causing the pain. My doctor laid me down and drilled a hole in the nail to relieve the pressure. YOWCH!!! I think the entire doctors office heard me scream when she got through the nail. There was no numbing before hand, it was just drill and relieve! She put me on antibiotics bandaged me up and sent me on my way. I will probably lose the nail, but at least some of the pain was relieved. One month later, the nail is still intact, but still badly bruised. Only time will tell.

What’s next? I will be running several half marathons this summer leading up to the Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in October. A special medal will be mailed to me after that race that says 39.3. If you complete two Rock ‘n’ Roll events in one year, you get a special medal with that mileage (26.2 for the marathon and 13.1 for the half marathon = 39.3). I can’t wait!

Read More