Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Boulder Marathon Race Report

Now that all the non running Colorado stuff is out of the way, let's talk about the real reason why we were there, The Boulder Marathon. I was super nervous for this one as it would be my first time running at altitude. I was trying to remain calm but everyone who I talked to about doing this one kept asking me, "What about the altitude?" It was freaking me out. We got in Friday and the marathon was on Monday so I had a few days to adjust. I was drinking a ton of water as everyone said that would help. I was definitely well hydrated before the race.

Race morning came and it was a chilly start. It was a small group for the marathon, about 250? They billed this as a mostly flat course, but the course elevation chart showed a different story. I started slow because I really didn't know how the altitude and hills would effect me. The first few miles felt great. I felt like I was going ridiculously slow and was having no trouble breathing. Silly me thought the thin air would cause me to lose my breath more quickly. Then the hills started and there were some doozies. I still felt ok and my legs were good. It was getting warm though. The temperature was only in the 60s but we were in full sun the whole time and I was feeling it.

Around Mile 10 I noticed everyone around me was really sweating. I looked at myself and no sweat. Just salt rings on the shirt. Uh Oh. So altitude causes dehydration. I started trying to drink more but by then the damage was done. I told myself to just get to Mile 20 which is what I wanted for my training run and I could walk the last 6 if I needed to. I didn't want to beat myself up to bad for my goal race of the Omaha Marathon 3 weeks later. It was a struggle, my stomach was starting to cramp and I was just done running. I made it to 20 saw Dave and said I'm done, I'm walking and I'll see you in 2 hours.

The first mile of walking was a struggle, but then I started to feel better and felt like I could run a bit. But every time I tried to run my stomach would cramp up. So a fast walk it was.

I still managed to finish in under 6 hours and did manage to run it in across the finish line. I'm glad this one is over and I learned a lot about running in altitude. The course was challenging, but the volunteers were awesome. Every time I came in to an aid station I would be asked what I needed: water, Gatorade, bananas, oranges, Gu even ice! The ice saved me big time.

I would definitely recommend the Boulder Marathon to anyone looking for a challenge.

Here's our video from the race:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Colorado: The Non-Running Stuff Part Three (Off to Nederland!)

We're in Colorado. So we thought we should do something nature-like.

Dave did a little research and found a place to have breakfast in Nederland. On the map it looked like a 1/2 hour drive from Boulder and went through the Roosevelt National Forest. Once we left Boulder-proper it was all trees, streams, and rocks, We noticed a lot of people parked on the side of the road to observe nature, hike, or rock climb. This was a very pretty drive. In a 1/2 hr we went up in elevation +3000 ft. The last two miles of our ride was a steep climb with some sharp turns.

We made our first stop at Sundance Lodge and Cafe. Dave picked this place based on the website photos. We sat outside and got the best seat in-the-house. It was chilly up here, warmer shirts were required. This is not a foodie destination based on our experience, but it's worth the view.

After breakfast we were in search of the Carousel of Happiness. Our friend Craig told us about this one. Short story: this was a carousel at a park in Salt Lake City that was ruined. Some guy bought it and took 26 years to restore it with new hand carved animals. Now it's in the center of town and costs a dollar to ride it. Really a nice piece of art.

It looked like there were a few more points-of-interest in town: a woodcarving shop, microbrewery, and obligatory crystal shop plus something named after "Buffalo Bill". Since we had some more stuff planned in Boulder we headed back. On the way back we stopped at the Barker Reservoir:

After that we stopped at Boulder Falls. This location required a little bit of climbing on slippery rocks to get to. Not a good idea in Crocs (the nicer ones that look like shoes - not the rubber things) and Berkinstocks. Once again, another pretty sight:

We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping Pearl Street and having a rooftop lunch at Lazy Dog. After that we stopped at King Soopers for race day supplies: bottled water, Lara Bars, Diet Cokes, and a Styrofoam cooler. Off to the room to relax before dinner.

Dinner was at Pasta Jay's. This place is popular! This was going to be a fun dinner because we were meeting up with some Teammates from Team AllEars! We had some great food with huge portions. It was a lot of fun talking with everyone and planning some things for our weekend together in Walt Disney World for Marathon Weekend.

Since the next day was race-day we called it a night.

Our next post will be about the Boulder Marathon. Stay tuned.....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Colorado: The Non-Running Stuff Part Two

After lunch we took a very short drive to Longmont's industrial park area to have a sampling at Left Hand Brewing. Dave discovered this place last year when he was visiting his aunt during a work trip. Left Hand's Milk Stout is one of our favorite beers. It was crowded when we arrived because a tour was about to start (we opted-out) so it took a bit to get our beers. We had a sampler of darks and a glass of Oktoberfest. At first, we took our samples outside, but the sun was hot and there was no air movement, so we moved inside. The tasting room has ample seating and lots to look at on the wall.

The beer of note this time was Beer Week Sauce which is described as:

In honor of Craft Beer Weeks all around the US, Left Hand created a special one-off beer called Beer Week Sauce Porter. This American-style porter contains a fair amount of coffee; which is just the thing that you’ll need to keep going through this week!
You could really taste the coffee.

After purchasing a couple of souvenirs we got back in the car and headed down to Boulder. It was a great drive with the mountains on our car's right side. We stopped into Fleet Feet to pick up Holly's race packet and a new running skirt (used coupon in the race packet). After that we made our next stop at Twisted Spoke Brewery. This brewer was also in an industrial park and was not well-marked. On the plus side, they had umbrellas and lots of outdoor tables. Another difference from Left Hand was the fact that they also served food.

We picked up a few samplers that included a raspberry wheat, regular stout, coffee stout, raspberry expresso stout, and honey nut brown. All beers were pretty good. One thing we noticed is samplers cost more in Boulder than in Longmont.
Note:  Some time does elapse between samplings

Next, off to our hotel: The Quality Inn. It was rated very high and a decent price for walking distance to the downtown area. We relaxed a bit before going out. It was about a 10-15 minute walk to the. Start of Pearl Street Mall. The street was turned into a few block long pedestrian mall that has a mix of shops, restaurants, and public square areas. It was very crowded at this time. Lots of street performers ranging from the 60's throwbacks, modern hippies, world beat drummers, balloon artists, and children forced to play the violin.

First stop was Rio Grande famous for it's rooftop seating. This place was hoppin'!

Next, we went to the upscale St. Julien Hotel and had a cocktail in their lounge.  There was a pretty wedding reception occurring in their courtyard:

Afterwards we went to The West End Tavern before heading to dinner at SALT. This is where we learned how casual Boulder was. SALT had a fine dining menu, but everyone just came in as they were. We saw a couple stow their kid (no better way to put it) on a decorative pillowed ledge almost on-top of other diners and they didn't care. We had some Colorado wine and shared mussels for an appetizer. Dave had chicken with risotto and roasted carrots and Holly had pork with a polenta cake. All was excellent. Dave had their coffee ice cream with cocoa nibs and proclaimed it the best ice cream ever!

The final stop of the night was to hear some live music at Chez Cuvee Wine Bar. They had a great jazz trio called Artful Dodger featuring a female vocalist, male bassist, and male guitarist. Both guys were also good singers. Unfortunately the band ended at 10 and the bar closed afterwards. Oh well, time to go home.

We'll finish up the Non-Running portion in our next post!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon 2011

Last month I participated in my third Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon. I was pretty excited for the race as my training was going well and I thought I had a good chance to break the 2:30 time barrier. We drove in early and unfortunately did not leave quite early enough. All of our usual parking spots were taken and I got a bit stressed trying to find a place to park. I had plenty of adrenaline to get me started. Also last year they used a wave start and held each wave for at least one minute so I figured I had at least a half hour until my wave would cross. Nope. I was across in 10 minutes!

The race itself went great. It was a cool morning and it even rained a few times. My Ipod stopped working around Mile 5 but that as OK. I turned it off and just tried to concentrate on the race and runners around me. I saw Dave a few times and felt bad that he was in the rain! I felt pretty good the whole way and was holding back a bit. By the time we turned around on Lake Shore Drive and headed back to the finish, I felt strong and started speeding up. It's so much more fun to pass people at the end than to get passed. I saw Dave at the end and was yelling for him, but he didn't hear me. I actually backtracked and made sure he saw me so he wouldn't be waiting for me to cross the finish line. That cost me a few seconds. It didn't matter since I met my goal. A new PR. 2:22:45. VERY HAPPY!!!

Overall it was a good race. Too cold at the end with the rain and wind to stick around and enjoy the post race festivities. It was great to meet my fellow Team All Ears teammate Laura. Thanks so much for volunteering!

I'm excited to do my fall marathons and am hoping for a nice PR in Omaha as well.

Here's the video we posted a few weeks ago:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Colorado: The Non-Running Stuff Part One

Team Tizzel is back from a short break with part one of a trip report. Dave and Holly just returned from Colorado where Holly participated in the Boulder Marathon. The race itself will be covered in a separate post. This post will start the coverage of the non-running stuff.

Getting There: We flew out Friday afternoon from Milwaukee Airport on Frontier Air. While the flight itself was fine, there were some procedures Frontier follows that make no sense. Not sure how soon I will book with them again. after landing in Denver we caught the shuttle to our car rental agent and found an extremely long line. Since we used Hotwire to book our car we could not use any preferred/member status tricks. After ten minutes and little distance covered, we found out they had self-serve kiosks in the other room. Five minutes later we were in our car......and facing a huge deluge of rain. We were on the 470 when it came down in sheets. Folks were pulling over.  At first we though "what's their problem, it's just hard rain?" We pulled over a minute later. The rain was over in five minutes and we were treated to a vibrant rainbow.

Leg One of the trip was to Masonville to visit Dave's aunt and uncle. After getting our stuff stashed away in the guest room the four of us went into Fort Collins for dinner. Town was real busy that night and it took forever to park. We put our name in for a table at BeauJo's Pizza then walked over to Coopersmith's for a drink. Holly had the Not So Brown and proclaimed it the best nut brown she had. Dave had the Horsetooth Stout and liked it a lot. Once we finished the beers it was time to grab our table. BeauJo's had REALLY good pizza. They have a thick mountain style that is crisp and French-bread crusty. After dinner we headed "back to the ranch".

Saturday: Hung out in the morning while Dave's family prepared for a camping trip. We walked around, took some pictures, and rode around in a 4-wheel thingy.

We left our family's house and headed south to Longmont. Our plan here was lunch at a brewpub and tour another brewery. We got to Longmont a little early for lunch so we walked around. The town had a great tourist infrastructure with lots of sculptures, public parking, directories, and historical markers. However, there really weren't too many interesting stores.

Lunch time arrived and we ate outdoors at The Pumphouse. We tried their porter, stout, cream ale, scotch ale, dunkel, and wheat (these were small samplers). Most were very good. Holly had a Cuban Sandwich and Dave had the Caribbean Chicken (curry/jerk combo). Very good and VERY large sandwiches.

 Dave tried, but failed, to resist buying a tap handle to add to his collection.

More fun to come in our next post as we continue to tour another Longmont favorite!