Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon Race Report - 2009!

I traveled over to Alamogordo, New Mexico on Friday, although the race wasn't until Sunday. I stayed with my brother-in-law Gary and niece Amanda on Friday night, and Gary pulled his large travel trailer onto White Sands Missile Range on Saturday so I could be by the race start on Sunday! I slept great Saturday night on the queen size bed knowing that I didn't have to worry about getting up so early and traveling to the base (either Alamogordo or Las Cruces are about 40-50 minutes from the base). Thanks Gary!! Here I am in my temporary casa before the race:
This race is to memorialize the soldiers that were forced to march long distances, without food/water in the intense heat of the jungle, when they were surrendered to the Japanese in the Philippines on the Bataan peninsula in WWII. Many died, but there were survivors who are celebrated at the pre-race ceremony.

You can shake their hands as you head to the start line. A huge flag is held up by a monster crane (the flag must be the size of my house.) 2 stealth bombers flew overhead right before the race started, looking like they would collide and then flying off to each side of us with a big WHOOSH! Guns went off, the amputees head out first (these guys are amazing!), then the rest of us. It was fairly cold at the start (around 40-45 degrees), but it sure got to be smoking hot before long. I wore this huge grey sweatshirt for about 5 miles, then ditched it as a throwaway at an aid station.

Total distance: 26.2 miles (although my Garmin calculated only 25.9)

Total chip finish time: 4:19:21 (9:54 pace) I beat my 2008 time, which was 4:35:46. My 2007 time was 4:54:03. The 2007 race was my first marathon ever. I have only raced 3 marathons and all have been at Bataan (I've also run 3 50k's as well).

Place: 9th out of 587 total civilian and military women light category. There are different categories (team, military, civilian, light, heavy (w/ a 35 lb. pack). This race does not provide overall/age group rankings.

Total cumulative elevation gain/(loss): 2,829/(2,815) ft.

This might not be interesting to some people, but I like to document my pace per mile for this race. I like to look back and see how I did to see how I can improve.

By mile:

1: 8:56 I decided I was going a little too fast (for me). I had a lot of caffeine in me. Pavement.
2: 9:10 I think the dirt road starts during this mile and continues until about mile 9. The first 6 miles are slightly downhill.
3: 9:16
4: 9:13 I saw Darryll B. of the Tucson Trail Runners as he passed me. He is the only person at the race that I knew. He recognized me and said hi, although he was careful not to trip this time (remember Pemberton...)
5: 9:11
6: 9:08
7: 9:23
8: 9:58 Beginning of the elevation gain.
9: 9:49
10: 10:55 I am on the road now, heading straight uphill. There is a HUGE misting station on this road, which we pass back through on mile 19.

11: 11:21
12: 11:31 We jump off the paved road and start on a trail/dirt road, but it is still uphill. I really need to work on the uphills. I'm terrible at them. I had to do some walking.
13: 12:08
14: 10:03
15: 8:38 Yep, I'm finally heading downhill. Feels great! I'm not able to keep up with a guy in front of me running with a 35 lb. pack. Holy cow.
16: 8:34
17: 9:52 More uphill before getting back on the road.
18: 9:45
19: 8:40 Back on the road heading downhill. I love the wall of 'marchers' headed uphill against us. They just cheer you on and it is so motivating! At this point, the runners are pretty spread out.

20: 10:00 Stopped to go to the bathroom, which I had been holding for quite a while. I was quick, though; only cost me about 30 seconds.
21: 11:51 Oh man, it starts uphill again as we veer off the pavement and head onto dirt/sand road.
22: 11:57 This is about where the sand pit (wash) is. I just couldn't run through that deep sand very well. Did a lot of walking.
23: 9:19 Out of the sand pit!! Woohoo!
24: 10:11 The wind is picking up. The forecast today was for 20 - 30 mph winds.
25: 11:27 Running into a gusty headwind. This race is cruel!
.9: 8:58 Into the chute and done! As I mentioned previously, my Garmin only calculated 25.9 miles, instead of 26.2.

Oh yeah, they also serve a real meal afterwards, either bratwurst on a hoagie or a burger and the fixin's. Yummy!
I'm already plotting and planning my strategy for next year. My goal was 4:15, so I was happy with 4:19. Even if I had run 4:15, I still would be 9th place female. year I'll most likely be back. This race course is so hard, with the hills, sand and heat, and I have to conquer it! It is my nemesis.

I don't have any races planned for a while (had to cancel my CO Sageburner 50k because of money - sorry Kathleen), but I have some good long group runs coming up over the next few months, which I'll got over in a separate post.

Yay for my 3rd Bataan! It was the 20th anniversary of the march. I love this race.

Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon Finished!

I finished the 26.2 miles in an unofficial 4 hours and 19 minutes! The official results aren't up yet. I beat my last year's time by about 15 minutes, so I was happy with that. I was hoping to do 4:15, but that will just have to be part of next year's goal. At any rate, it was a blast!
I'll do a full race report in a separate post sometime this week. As always with this time of year, I'm working on getting the taxes done!

Thanks to everyone who supported me!
It is hard to believe that less than 14 years ago, I quit smoking. I used to smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day (I smoked for 14 years!) Thank you God for a healthy body! I feel blessed to be able to run like I do.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Starr Pass Trail Run

I was craving a solo trail run today, so I ran Starr Pass trail (and part of Yetman trail) in the Tucson Mountains (Tucson Mountain Park). It is finally staying light longer (Spring is upon us!), so I'm able to check out the trails mid-week after work instead of waiting for the weekend.
It feels like Summer is upon us - it was about 85 degrees at 5:15pm when I headed out. I did about 6.8 miles. My legs felt terrible at first - shins and calves were sore and tight - but they loosened up after a few miles. I think they were a little worked over from the massage yesterday. But they felt great afterwards, so I think the massage did the trick.

My new toy: the Gorillapod. It enables you to take pictures on any non-level surface. Just wrap the tripod legs around anything, including cactus! Of course, mine is pink/black. It just screws into the bottom of the camera. Cool!

Oh yeah, I lost another lip balm. I'm going to attach some velcro to the next one, with some string attached and tie the string to my vest! Any ideas, anyone? I think I've lost about $20 in lip balm in the last two months. Have to have it when I run.
I ran into Bob B. and Gene from the TTR group while I was out there. Bob read me the riot act about not volunteering at OP50 (and instead, I posted to the TTR Yahoo group site asking a question about my Wasson Peak run, which I scheduled for the same day as the race). He wanted to know what I was training for that was so important that I couldn't volunteer that day. So, I told him about Bataan, and he appeared to let me off the hook. Whew! I had thought about volunteering, but I knew I couldn't volunteer one day (it is a bit of a drive from Tucson) and then take up the other day with a long run. Training really does take up a lot of time. But, I think I got the message - make time to volunteer at OP50 next year (unless, of course, I choose to run it).

It was a good run - saw about 25 mountain bikers heading out into the sunset wearing headlamps as I was coming into the trailhead. Guess those crazies are going to be riding their bikes in the dark.
I got back home after dark (actually, it was almost dark when I returned to the trailhead), just in time to watch Lost and do a weight/abs/pushups workout. What a good day!!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

South Mountain trail run

Rounded out the week with a 14.5 mile trail run at South Mountain Park in Phoenix this morning. I was pretty tired today; my life has been crazy and I'm not sleeping well at all. I slept about 3.5 hours last night, but in general, I'm running about 4-6 hours a night lately. I think I'll sleep well tonight. I got pretty sunbaked and that trail just took it out of me. I ran on the National trail, which is so rocky! I wanted to do more, but felt like I had to listen to my body today. The total cumulative elevation gain for the 14.5 miles was 2,551 feet.

On top of that, I accidentally deleted all my pics from the camera at the end, so no pictures of the run. :(

So, here is one from the archives.
I like this one, because I am really happy in it. I feel like I am going to bed happy tonight; I have made some decisions which are hopefully really good ones in the long run for a lot of people around me. I can't always say I'm going to make the best decisions, but my hope is that the decisions I make will allow me to sleep well at night and also be respectful of and loving to all of the people I care about. Thank you God for giving me integrity and bringing so many beautiful people into my life. I feel really blessed. P.S. Also, thank you God for trail running. It is helping to save my sanity right now, too. :)
I ran a total of 41 miles for the week. Time to rest up for the marathon. I get a massage on Tuesday!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Catalina State Park training run...Change of plans

I scrapped the TTR Esperero Canyon run for tomorrow. With 2 weeks out from my marathon, I thought it would be better to do 2 'back to back' runs that are a little shorter. It is billed as an advanced run, and I decided that I didn't want to risk any problems at this point. Plus, I thought the Catalina State Park training run, which was held today in preparation for the upcoming race on April 11th, would be a good run to get in before the Bataan marathon. The course is just filled with sand, and well, so is Bataan.

So, I showed up to do the 10.75 mile course and ran into Martinho, who I haven't seen in a while. He just celebrated his 61st birthday and is so fast, that he usually places in his age group in most races. He ran with me the whole time, even though I was slower. There were only about 2 or 3 other people doing the longer course, with most of the 30 or so people that showed up opting for the 5.5 mile training run. I didn't even recognize anyone else there. Martinho and I looked out of place though; at 45 degrees this morning, we were the only ones with tanks on - everyone else looked dressed for winter! I warmed up pretty quickly, so I was glad I didn't overdress.

It looked like it was going to rain the entire time, but we lucked out. As soon as I drove away from the trailhead, it started pouring!
We ended up doing about 10.5, but I kept it slow to keep from wiping myself out before the run tomorrow. The total elevation gain was 1,237, so it was pretty mellow. Just watch the sand, though! It will wear you out.

Tomorrow, I plan on doing about 16-18 miles, ending up with about 42 - 44 miles for the week. Then, taper time!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saguaro West trail run - 23 miles

Headed out to Saguaro West for a planned 22 mile loop trail run today with David M. from Casa Grande. David is great to run with and we are both about the same pace (although he shows off a lot on the uphills!) We ended up doing about 23 miles, as we missed one of the trails at some point. Bonus mile! I absolutely love the Tucson Mountains - more saguaro cactus than anywhere in Tucson.

Here was the run:

We started off of Picture Rocks Road on the Camboh trail. Ran that trail to the Ringtail trail, then to the Windmill trail (this is why they call it the Windmill trail):The Windmill trail eventually ran into the Gila Monster wash. Well, we were supposed to hook up to the Thunderbird trail and ended up running about 3 miles in the wash instead (or more? It seemed like FOREVER). Wow, that was hard, but we both concluded it was good training for my upcoming Bataan marathon, which is located in White Sands, NM (lots of sand on the course!) The wash popped out right about the El Camino del Cerro trailhead (thank goodness!) so we hopped onto the Sweetwater trail for our ascent of Wasson Peak.

Sweetwater trail is fairly runnable, but soon starts ascending upward and we did some fast hiking instead. The last 1.2 miles was pretty much a hike, as we connected onto the steep Hugh Norris trail. We made it to the top!
It was a little cool and windy at the summit, which is at 4,687 feet elevation. You can see for miles.

We then descended (I love running downhill!) on the Hugh Norris trail. I originally thought there was about 3-400 steps in a previous run of this trail. However, I counted them this time - approximately 1,220 steps (I'm such an accountant)! My legs didn't feel too bad after the steps like I thought they would. We then turned on the Hohokam Rd. (dirt), and connected with the Golden Gate Rd. (also dirt) all the way back to Camboh trail. The last 6 or so miles of dirt road was a little hard (I was getting a little tired), but we knocked out a few fast miles at the end (9:04, 9:17) even after all of challenges of the run.

Overall, it was a fantastic trail run, with lots of small hills in the first section, followed by the sandy/rocky wash, then the ascent of Wasson Peak, then 1,200 steps down, and a slightly hilly dirt road to finish us off. I did lose my map and my lip balm (yeah, I lose one on almost every long run I do). I need to put some velcro on the pocket of my hydration vest - the pull string closure doesn't appear to be too effective.
David is a good companion on the trail; always in a good mood and ready for an adventure. The runs I plan always have some sort of kink in them (okay, we really weren't lost - just not where we wanted to be, or as David says - we're not lost, we just don't know where we are!). It is hard to find someone willing to deal with that.

Total time out (not including the long break at Wasson Peak, but including all other breaks): 5:15
Total cumulative elevation gain/(loss): 4,896/(4,956)
My legs felt good - no nagging physical problems, and my ankle/achilles ache did not bother me a bit during the run (although it still feels stiff when I'm not running). Yay for strong, sturdy legs!

David R. from Sierra Vista is running Old Pueblo 50 miler today, as are a lot of the TTR group. I hope everyone finished without injury! I have a tentative plan to do that race next year (after doing the Ghost Town 38.5 miler).
Next week: running with TTR - 21 miler in Esperero Canyon. Lots of elevation gain. Should be fun (and hard)!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

19 miles for 19 years run

Today, I ran 19 miles in honor of my 19th anniversary of sobriety. 19 years ago, on March 1st, 1990, I quit drinking alcohol entirely. Wow, how my life has changed since then. I reflected back on my life over the last 19 years during my run today.

So, to celebrate, I headed over to Sabino Canyon and did a little running. How else would I celebrate?

I started as the sunrise was peeking over the Rincon Mountains. I started alone and ran the Canyon tram road up and back. There was quite a bit of wind and huge wind gusts made it difficult to run at times. On the way back, I hit the Rattlesnake trail and portion of the Esperero trail back to the tram road. Of course, at this time, a wall of people were headed my way. That is the one downside of Sabino Canyon; if you are looking to 'get away', don't head there. Everyone is there. It sure is pretty in the canyon, though. Here I am at the end of the tram road in road running shoes:
After I had returned to the parking lot, 8 miles later, I met Shari. I changed into my new Montrail Vitesse trail running shoes (yay for new choos!) and put on my pink gaiters, which drew lots of complements today (as did Shari's pink/purple camouflage gaiters). We then both headed out to run Phoneline trail (does that trail ever get easier?), and then looped back on the tram road for another 9 miles.
Afterwards, Shari had to take off, so I went back out on Bear Canyon trail for another mile out and mile back, for a total of 19 miles. It was pretty smoking hot here in Tucson today and I was glad to be done.

Total time: 3:44 (running time only)

Total cumulative elevation gain/(loss): 3,361/(3,367)

Overall, a really good run. I had a fun time running with Shari, and felt good about the 19 miles. The Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon is one month from today, so I'll be doing 2 more long runs in the 20 - 22 mile range and then it is time to taper again. I'm hoping to beat my 2 prior year times for this race. In 2007, I ran that marathon in 4:55; in 2008, I ran it in 4:35. This year, I want to do it in 4:15. We'll see.
I ran 34 miles for the week.

More than anything, I just want to have fun doing it. That's what I'm talking 'bout.