Taking on marathon #2: Rome 2014

I can’t believe that next weekend will mark 2 years since I ran the Dublin marathon. I started training for it last year and got all the way to week 13 and had a great 16 mile training run before the wheels came off. I suddenly had extreme pain in my right hip. It hurt so bad that 9 miles into my 18 mile long run I had to sit down in the middle of the cornfield, where I had successfully trained in the year prior, and call D to come get me with the car. I was deflated. I went to an osteopath in Brussels and was told the marathon wasn’t out completely but I should rest and then try another run. If there was still pain I’d need to sit it out. After a week and a half of rest I could still barely run 2 miles. With just 10 days to the race, I had to pull out. I was pissed. I swore I would get revenge this year. I was all set to go in June after coming off a good spring of half marathons. But mid July we suddenly had to move. We had been looking for a house with more land for Beta, also something slightly less expensive and more rural. It all happened so fast and so sudden. The house we got ended up getting needed A LOT of work so we spend most of August living with a friend and working on our house. The only marathon I was going to be able to do was of the scraping old wallpaper variety.

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Now that we are somewhat settled in our new house and loving it, I decided that I should try for another marathon. I have been really slacking in the diet and running department since the move and need that great of a challenge to get me back on track. I decided to aim for doing both the Roma Ostia Half Marathon and the Rome Marathon just 3 weeks later. It’s going to be a lot but I need that right now. I am really hoping to get my time down at RO and make a huge improvement at the marathon…don’t want to get too crazy but I’m hoping for at least an hour PR which would put me at under 4:30 for the full. I think I can! I think I can!

Training starts today because I wanted to give myself a few extra weeks in case anything should go haywire and so I could fit in an extra 20 miler. I am following the same program as as I did for Dublin, Higdon’s novice 1, but will repeat weeks 15 and 16 (to get two 20 milers and a step back week after each). I’m still not sure how I will approach RO with it falling on the same day I am due to run the last 20 miler of the training plan..any ideas??? I don’t think that I will race it all out so close to the full but I am still hoping for under 2:16….fingers crossed!

I hope I’m not crazy!

Beta's ready!

Beta’s ready!

Brussels Color Run 2013 “Race” Recap

I have to say when I first heard about color runs I thought it was dumb. I seriously didn’t get it. Why pay huge race fees for what is essentially a 5km with color corn starch that will ruin all your running gear. Peer pressure is a curious thing, so I somehow ended up agreeing to go (there was probably too much wine involved). So September 29th rolls around and Anita, her friend Alexia and I pile in her car and head to Brussels. I left all my favorite running stuff at home including my garmin because I read numerous reports online of the powder ruining cameras, cell phones and other such items.


The day of the run my friends gave me all the colory shit they bought for the race like arm bands, sunglasses and various hair accessories. After being called a grump I tried to be a good sport and have fun. I just feel there is something so fundamentally wrong paying 40 euro for an untimed 5km…



We arrived to Tours & Taxis and grabbed our shirts and race bags. Inside the race bag was the famous cotton color run t-shirt, the headband thing, and a tattoo which I threw away.

We basically just hung around because we were way early. There was LOADS of people and most of them were in the 15-20 age group. It was like that day you realize you are too old to shop at forever 21.


There were loads of kids eating from the fast food stands: chips. burgers, frites and drinking booze of course. It was all very weird compared to the normal race environment I’m used to, but then again they are there for friends and fun and probably drinking because they are half my age!!!

We snapped a few pics while we waited around:



We ended up being in the first wave out of mainly boredom. We were pretty cramped in the corral which is normal but usually you aren’t with a bunch of rowdy drunk guys. The race started and we set off on top of a bunch of large, dangerous gravel and broken glass. Unfortunately the course didn’t get much better as we went along. We ran through a scary looking neighborhood that wasn’t really roped off in anyway and had a lot of confused looking residents trying to park and shop in the street. At one point everyone got confused by the lack of signage and no course volunteers so we ended up going the wrong way and had to turn back around and search for the course. That was really bizarre. The color stations were also a let down. I thought we would actually get color thrown at us but they put the powder into empty ketchup type bottles and barely squirted you. My friend Alexia went almost the whole race with out anything thrown on her. sportograf-43657933_lowressportograf-43681060_lowres (1) sportograf-43644327_lowres

so much color



Look how white I am!

I got slightly more color at the end, but it’s definitely less than I was expecting…

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We got to the finish area and were given a pouch of color to save for the color blast or whatever that was later and a disgusting Tao tea which is not what you are craving at all after a run of any kind, but especially one where you have a bunch of corn starch in your mouth.

As much as I wasn’t impressed with this race/run there was an upside. Alexia had never run more than maybe a mile at once before and she was able to run the whole 5km without stopping. I was really proud of her!!!

We left before the color blast to have pizza (which was totally awesome!) so here is what we look like from just the color thrown during the race: 1273733_10151953620181663_198191216_o 857860_10151953620411663_1703178477_o 1239911_10151953621341663_845505318_n1268562_10151953621061663_1766889385_o 1272953_10151953622256663_1173389418_o

Won’t be doing this one again!





La Parisienne 2013

For the fourth consecutive year I signed up for La Parisienne, perhaps one of the biggest female only races in Europe. It was my very first race back in the day so I like to keep doing it year after year and see how I improve (or not haha). This year my friend Anita came along too. Again not really being in tip top racing shape my only goal was to have fun.

One reason I love this race is the awesome shirts, medals and of course you get to run in prime Parisian real estate. Not too bad for a 35 euro race fee.IMG_1889 IMG_1888

The day of packet pick up was awful! Cold and rainy! Luckily on race morning it was sunny and cool!

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It’s crazy every time I realize just how many ladies there are at the start.


The theme this year was Japan. Next year’s is California! Being a West Coaster I’m curious to see what that will be like .IMG_1905

Was slightly slower than laster year ( by 4 seconds) and finished in 42:49. Not too bad for a crowded course with no waves divided by predicted finish time (aka you are passing massive hoards of walkers the whole race).

There’s not much else I can say about this race that I haven’t said in years past, but it’s super fun and worth the higher race fee (for a 6.6km). If you are ever in Paris in mid September it’s definitely one you should try to do. But be aware that it always sells out! For this reason I usually have to register in April.

Coeur D’Alene Half Marathon 2013

Just like last year, the CDA half was one week after the Windermere race and my brother and I couldn’t miss it! I really like this race. It’s smallish like the Windermere but a lot of fun. The other fun part was staying at the Coeur D’Alene resort. It is gorgeous and totally worth it for the views!




I didn’t have any great goals for this race, I knew after the Windermere race there was no way I could get under my Half PR of 2:16 so I just wanted to improve my course record (2:33:33 yuck!) and not make any unnecessary bathroom stops haha.


Sean may or may not need a pre race bathroom stop

Unlike last year, we were actually able to start the race on time. Sean and I joked around waiting for the gun. There are no corrals for this race either, so it was fun seeing everyone huddled together under the start line.




Sean wanted to seek revenge over his not so good race the weekend before and went out ahead of me just like last year. Only this time I made sure that I could always see him. So for 75% of the race he was about 50 -100ft in front of me. HUGE improvement for me over last year when he beat me by nearly 30 mins. Finally at around the 9 mile mark, I had fully caught up to him. It was not pretty. He was not feeling good at all. I *could* have left him but I honestly wasn’t feel super amazing and I thought I should stay with him instead of *maybe* coming in 2 minutes faster. He was hurting pretty bad, which always worries me because he has MS. But he said he was good to finish at least. We took it easy and both just wanted to be done during that last mile. The only thing that is really difficult with this race is the last part because you can see the finish area for the whole last mile and it just feels like you are never going to get there. The little hills don’t give you a boost either! As we were coming to the end we got passed by the marathon winner who was flying! It was really cool to see!


not the winner of the marathon!

So in the end we came in at 2:23:58 which is about a 10 minute course PR for me! Also It’s only 11 second slower than my race time the previous weekend, so at least I win at being consistent.

cda2Sean forcing a smile

This year I took my own advice and waited until after the races to get tattoos!



Spokane Windermere Half Marathon 2013

Once again I’m doing my race review months later in an attempt to catch up!

I had high hopes for this race coming off of a good for me time at Roma Ostia and feeling strong at the Dwars de Brugge. I felt I got in some good training runs, following the last 8 weeks of Hal Higdon,s Novice 2 Half plan, the same one I used for Roma Ostia. I knew I would set a course PR for this race but what I didn’t know was whether I could get under my 2:16 half PR.
This year we brought along fresh meat aka our friend Nick who has had a half marathon on his bucket list for awhile now.  We all piled into my sister in law’s scooby doo van and headed to Mirabeau park for the start of the race.



I really like the free flowing feel of this race. There’s no corrals so you can mingle with everyone. I also saw one of my childhood friends! She was doing her first half with a friend and was super nervous. (She ended up doing great!) Sean and I goofed around like we normally do, making half hearted attempts at stretching and proclaiming out loud how we will dominate this race (all sarcastically of course). Nick, who actually takes races seriously, left us to do an actual warm up of strides and probably jumping jacks. We would only see him during the race at the start line where he then proceeded to totally waste us and disappear off into the distance (he beat us by like 30 mins! bastard!).


The race started and me and Sean decided we’d run this one together. Which is the nice way of saying my brother isn’t as fit as he was last year so he didn’t really have a choice but to run with me. I felt pretty good as we got going but not amazing like I felt at Rome. It was really funny being able to run past all the bathrooms I had to wait in line at last year! For the second race in a row I didn’t need to stop at all. WOOT WOOT.

The race went pretty good, there were a few times we felt like dying and the different course heading up to the finish line kinda threw us off. Sean has a habit of running with me until we get to the very end where he smokes me across the finish line, but this time I was ready and we had a very amusing sibling rivalry moment at the end. Even the race announcer mentioned us over the speaker haha.




You’re not beating me this time dude!



Time 2:23:46

I ended up with a 5 minute course PR over last years race, but my overall half marathon PR at Roma Ostia still stands.


Celebrating with Sean and Nick!