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Whoa.

On Saturday the plan was that I was going to spectate for the first time ever at a race! The race of choice: Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle.

But things unexpectedly changed. What was supposed to be a “viewing party,” at the Nuun headquarters (with some tables of Nuun set up for runners who may want it) became a super crazy hydration effort of excellence and chaos…to say the least.

We had a few tables set up with cups of Nuun at mile 2 along the route, figuring that maybe some people would want to stop…no biggy. Um. Except TONS of people stopped. They even waited in line because, well, we weren’t quite prepared for all that, so we were filling cups and handing them off immediately and feeling bad that we couldn’t fill them faster. We were trying to be speedy and we got covered in Nuun. Every time we thought it might be near the end of the crowd, we’d look up…and see huge masses of people still on the way. It was chaos! But fun chaos.

This is what it was like at the very END. I didn’t get a good picture of the chaos because, well, I was too busy crazily filling cups of Nuun.

I had hoped to see some of my NUUNKOTB teammates, but since I was filling cups and trying to keep up with the crazy demand for Nuun, I only saw Lauren. She looked great! Way to go on your 9th half-marathon, Lauren! I also looked up from my cup-filling long enough to see Nicole, and she was her energetic happy self! Way to go on a sub-4 marathon, Nicole!

Four of my NUUNKOTB teammates ran yesterday who I didn’t see at the race: Alanna, Holly, Stacie, and Dawn. BUT I did get to meet Alanna, Stacie, and Dawn at dinner on Friday night, which was exciting! (And they were nice to me too!). Tasha was also in Seattle cheering the ladies on, but I didn’t get to see her either. Hopefully she was able to see more of the ladies running than I was!

As the last few runners passed the Nuun headquarters, I realized: We may be to the end of the runners, but we have a bit of cleaning up to do:

We had created a bit of a cup problem in the streets of Seattle.

Crazy, huh?

I asked Caitlin, a Nuun employee, if there was a broom to sweep the cups with, when two huge Penske trucks pulled up. And guess what jumped out? Tons of guys with rakes! They cleaned up all the cups in a matter of minutes, while we stared at them in shock. It was a marathon miracle!

The amazing helper guys who magically appeared from a Penske truck!

Since we were at mile 2, the race was still going on, so I decided to go do some spectating.

I felt bad that the runners couldn’t see the beauty behind them. One elderly couple chose to run backwards for awhile so that they could see the skyline! It was so cute!

Most of the people I knew running the half were finished by this time, but I was hopeful that I would see Nicole from Ricole Runs, since she was running the full marathon. Unfortunately, before I saw her, my husband called; he was downtown and ready to pick me up. I was walking to find him when I saw Nicole. Guys, she was moving well and looked strong, except her face. (Remember how at mile 2 she was happy and energetic? Not anymore). Her face made it clear that she was miserable. It honestly kind of terrified me seeing her agony, and I questioned my ability to finish a marathon in a few months. I shouted for her, but she didn’t hear me. She was running with someone who was coaching her through. The coach was reassuring her of something; I’m sure telling her how close she was and that she would make it. What a nice coach!

I didn’t have my camera ready when I saw Nicole, so I only managed to snap this picture of Nicole and her coach:

What a good friend I was to snap this picture for them!
(I actually had really hoped to have been able to get a photo of her with the skyline from above, but the timing was off…)

I later learned that the coach was Robyn of Run Birdie Run. What a great friend! I’m sad that I didn’t get to meet her!

Were you racing or spectating this weekend? How’d it go? Is finishing 26.2 miles pure agony???

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One of the first things I usually ask people when I meet them is, “Where are you from?”

For some people, this question really throws them off. Some people have moved around so much that they’re not sure what the answer is. Some people reject where they’re from, so they’ll answer my question, but their accent makes it clear to me that they are from someplace entirely different. Some people don’t understand why I would care about where they are from.

The reason I ask people where they’re from is because it means something to me.

I live in Washington State.

I’ve lived in South Florida.

I’ve lived in Southern California.

I’ve lived in New Zealand.

I’ve lived in Australia.

But I’m proudly from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

When I tell you this, I’m not just telling you about some silly point on the map. I’m telling you about who I am.

I’m from Minnesota. Translation:

-       I value hard work

-       I like my foods bland

-       I spent my summers at camp

-       I mix up my vowel sounds at times

-       I feel most at home at the lake

-       I am very concerned about never inconveniencing others

-       I’m loyal

-       I like the outdoors

-       I think snow is the best ever

I’m from Minneapolis. Translation:

-       I value diversity

-       I’ve never been rich

-       I’m artistic and creative

-       I’m liberal

-       I say things like they are

-       I really, really don’t like suburbs

So when I say that I’m from Minneapolis, I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve, and telling you who I am.

I really, truly love my hometown.

This past weekend was Grandma’s Marathon, which takes place in Duluth, MN, and got me lusting after my home.

Two weekends ago was a marathon I dream of completing: The Minneapolis Marathon.

The Minneapolis Marathon is new. It wasn’t even around when I lived in Minneapolis. I don’t even know what the route is. What I do know is that it takes place in the city of my heart. I also know how beautiful Minneapolis is in June, so I don’t doubt that the route is amazing, regardless of where it runs. I also know that the medal this year looked like this:

The medal of my dreams.

I realize that if you don’t love my city, you might not think that this is the most amazing medal in the world. But I do. It’s got a silhouette of downtown Minneapolis, and some beautiful Minneapolis water glistening in it.

I need this medal. I can’t stop thinking about how gorgeous it is.

Do you still love your hometown? Do you see where you’re from as somehow defining who you are? Is there a particular race medal that would be super meaningful to you?

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Race Prices

You know, I like running, but I haven’t run in a whole lot of races. Why? Because they’re expensive! When I do choose a race, cost is the first thing I consider. I also consider the course, convenience, etc, but the cost is the bottom line. For this reason, I’m not sure that I’ll ever run a “big” race. Big races tend to be expensive!

Take the marathon I’m running in October. It’s the same weekend as the Portland Marathon. I heard the Portland Marathon is supposed to be one of the best, so I considered running it. But when I looked into it, it just didn’t make sense to me to go with Portland. Both the Portland and the Leavenworth marathon are a bit of a drive from where we live, but nothing overwhelming. Both would require us to stay at a hotel. Both have unique courses that sound fun. Yet there is one glaring difference between the two: The price. I’m not sure what the difference in price is now, but when I was considering which marathon to run, PDX was $130 and Leavenworth was $81. I am not sure why there is such a price difference. Do you think they’d give me $50 worth of GU at the Portland Marathon? Or is there $50 worth of trail mix at the end? Or is the rose that they give to each participant dipped in gold?

This is me with the new purse and new heels that I could by with the $50 I didn’t spend on the Portland Marathon.

I don’t want to be too sarcastic. It’s not that I don’t understand why it would cost more money to put on the Portland Marathon…as a city, there’s going to be more money put into blocking streets, security, etc. But I wonder what the value is to the runners that choose to run the more expensive races. Is the Portland Marathon really $50 more fun? I’m not sure that it would be. I look forward to having just as much fun at my $81 race as I would have at a $130 race!

Do you consider price when choosing races? What is your price limit? Are more expensive races better?

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I am finally registered for the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon, and I am so excited! This really looks like a ridiculously fun course!

Here are my three favorite things about the course:

1. The race starts at an airport where runners run by parked airplanes!

running at the airport

2. Runners run across the Narrows Bridge, a 2800 foot suspension bridge that runs over Puget Sound. (This is the part of the race that I’m most excited for! It should be really pretty).

running across the bridge

3. Runners get to run onto a baseball field where they will be seen on the huge Jumbotron above the stadium!

being broadcast on the jumbotron while running through the stadium

Do you have any super fun race courses coming up? What do you think makes a “fun” race course?

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Runnah Numbah Five!

For those of you who didn’t catch it, that’s supposed to sound like “Mambo Number Five.” See? It’s my running leg theme song.

Yesterday we were given our running leg assignments for the Nuun Ragnar Northwest Passage Team. We had been told to pick our top 3 choices and then our Nuun friend, Caitlin, told us who was to run each leg.

Well…in picking my 3, I was super confused for what to look for. I knew I shouldn’t try to do anything crazy like try to run the longest distance or the steepest hills, since I’m currently not even running. But, at the same time I didn’t want to be a slacker and choose the easiest legs.

So, I picked the two legs I would have most liked to run, #9 and #10, because they looked like they’d be pretty and somewhat challenging. I also decided to play it safe with #5, which is listed on the Ragnar website as consisting of 1 moderate leg and 2 easy legs.

Well, the results came out today and I’m Runnah Numbah Five! I looked back at what I was running and realized…I am literally running the easiest leg.

Oh no! I’m the team slacker!

I’m honestly a little bit embarrassed about it! I was actually uncomfortable picking my legs, because I’m a nice little Midwestern girl. Usually when it comes to teams or group assignments, I let everyone else pick what works for them, and I say, “Okay, I’ll do whatever no one else wants to do.” I now realize that I always do that because I’m completely uncomfortable with taking the easy road. Even though (hopefully) none of my teammates will think of me as “Slacker Becky.”

Me slacking while my teammates run.

So, here I am, Runnah Numbah Five, learning to take it easy, and hoping to not be called the slacker girl!

How do you usually choose your legs in a relay? Have you ever taken the easiest legs? Have you ever taken the hardest legs?

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Usually on running blogs, people recap their races. I plan to do this with my future races, and also decided to write about my past race because…well, there’s only one past race, so if I just write about the one, I’ll have all my races documented here in a lovely organized fashion.

In 2008, I decided to run the Santa Barbara Wine Country ½ Marathon, and I convinced my friend Jeff to run it with me. I thought it would be great because it sounded like a beautiful course (running past vineyards, etc), and at the end they give you a wine glass and free wine. Plus it ended in the beautiful town of Solvang, pretty much the cutest town in America.

Here’s a picture I took once in Solvang. Cutest thing ever? Yes. Especially if that minivan wasn’t there!

My training wasn’t much, I was already running 5 miles 5 days a week, so all I really did was add weekend long-runs, and that seemed fine.

My friend Jeff ended up getting injured, so I had to run the race myself…with no one cheering me on. Yep, that was awesome.

It was a long time ago, and I don’t want to bore you with the details, but here’s what I remember:

Beautiful course. Gorgeous. Running past vineyards, farms, and horses. I honestly can’t imagine a better course, with the exception of running in Big Sur.

Yep, here’s an illegit race photo. With my amazing heel strike.

There were no mile markers. And I didn’t have a way to track my mileage, so at every aid station I would ask. I eventually realized how very off the aid stations were when their reports of where I was at meant I had just run 2 sub-7 miles. Nope. So then I was paranoid, because I didn’t know how close or far I was from coming in sub-2 hours. (My goal).

They had our names on our bibs. I love that. I found it to be so encouraging and kind when people yelled my name, especially since I was running this thing with no friends or family there to cheer me on. (However, I had registered as “Rebecca,” so they were cheering for me with a name I don’t use, which made me a little sad).

There was one hill. It was hard. But my only goal for the hill was to not walk, and I didn’t. And plenty of my fellow racers ended up walking that hill, so I was proud.

I made the mistake of drinking strongly-mixed Gatorade towards the end and nearly puked all over myself. So. Gross.

I was not pacing myself nicely. I was in the restroom when the gun went off. So when I finally got to the start line, the slow people had already taken off. My first mile was spent trying to get around strollers and walkers. I went faster than was ideal from a pacing perspective, but I couldn’t handle getting trapped behind large groups of chatters, so I thought it was worth it. Then for the last mile or so I was BEAT, and went rather slow I believe. I was so exhausted. I must have looked it because a kind runner came and told me I was getting close to the finish line and to keep pushing.

Yet another stolen photograph. And yes, those are cotton shorts. I didn’t know about running shorts yet.

Somehow I made it to the finish, and within my goal of under-2 hours. 1:54:59 to be exact, but I think that was the gun-time, so I don’t know my actual time. I remember being super proud, exhausted and a little sad because I didn’t have anyone to share the moment with.

Along with medals, they gave us wine glasses and a bunch of local vineyards were there offering up free wine to finishers. I drank a little wine at the post-race celebration. But I was by myself and it was lonely, so I quickly left after just having a few sips.

In conclusion, it was a great race. I know the course has changed a lot from when I ran it, but I’m sure it’s still beautiful and would be a really fun race to run. I think the wine party would have been really really fun for anyone who had friends or family there.

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When I was a child, I remember admiring my friends’ trophies. As an unathletic kid, trophies were an absolute novelty to me. I thought they were amazing and I really wanted one…but since I didn’t play sports, I never had any of my own.

Despite my lack of athleticism, I managed to play on a sports team for two seasons: Seventh grade basketball, and tenth grade rugby. Neither of these sports resulted in me receiving any sort of medal or trophy.

Maybe that’s why medals are still a big deal to me. I really want a medal when I run a race! It means something to me. It means I’ve accomplished something big, something real.

On the other hand, I don’t care for race t-shirts. Actually, they make me a little bit anxious. I’ve spent so much of my life participating in activities that involved free t-shirts. T-shirts that either were never worn again, or if I was feeling particularly generous, were used as pajama t-shirts. I really hate being wasteful so I’d rather not be given one, because when I am given one, I feel guilty for not wanting to wear it.

But, like I said, I want the medals. Medals are so special!

My desire for medals has gotten a little out of control. Due to volunteering for the Tacoma City Marathon, I can get a discount off of another race being produced by the Tacoma City Marathon Association. There are two half-marathons, one that has a really exciting course and one that has a really uneventful course. The obvious choice was the exciting course, right? Well, one would think so…the only problem is that the one with the exciting course has traditionally given out finisher’s glasses instead of medals.

This clumsy-child-turned-athlete is not interested in a glass. I want a medal that I can proudly wear around my neck for at least an hour or two following the race.

So, what’s a girl to do? Choose a less-exciting course just so that I can get the medal I want? Or choose the exciting course but miss out on the satisfaction of having earned a medal?

Thankfully, I recently learned that things have changed, and the race with the more exciting course will now give finishers medals instead of a glass!

Woo-hoo! I no longer have to obsess with my childish desire for a medal and how that’s crazily influencing my race choice! I now can make a grown-up decision, because my childish desires will be fulfilled regardless of which race I choose! See you at the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon…wearing my ballin’ finisher’s medal!

Question: What’s your favorite thing to get for finishing a race?

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