Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Virginia Beach Shamrock Marathon Race Report and Video

Here's Holly's race report for Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach:

The quest for a marathon in all 50 states continues. We decided on the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon for a few reasons. Number one is that my brother lives in Virginia Beach and it would be good to see him. Number two my parents live kind of close and I figured they would come down and cheer me on as well. Number three, Yuengling sponsors it! These are in no particular order, LOL.

We got into VA Beach Friday night and went right to the expo to pick up our packets for the races. I was doing the 8k on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday. This is called the “Whale” Challenge. If you do both they mail you a pin after the races. Dave was doing the 8k on Saturday. The expo was packed. We waited an hour to buy some official race merchandise. Normally I would have skipped it, but the stuff was cute and said “Yuengling”. We left expo and met up with my parents and brother and had dinner. Then it was off to bed to get up early for the 8k.

We drove to the 8k and then hung out in the warm Hilton and used the bathrooms. Very nice. Dave and I did the race together. I would jog ahead and then stop for a walk break and Dave would power walk right by. I don’t know how he can walk that fast. The course was nice with half of it right on the boardwalk with a great view of the ocean. My parents and brother saw us on the course. We finished up and got a cool medal, beer coozie, and best of all, 4 free Yuengling beers. Now I had the marathon the next day so had to behave, but the after party on the beach was awesome. It was a beautiful morning.

The next day was the marathon. The marathon started 90 minutes after the half marathon. When we got close to the start line we could tell that we were never going to find a place to park. Dave dropped me off and I was going to be solo from now on. Luckily I found a place in the Hilton to sit and even a free paper to read. Pretty soon it was time to make my way out to the start.

There were about 3,000 people in the full marathon. Before I knew it we were off. The first few miles went really fast. I was warm at first but eventually with the wind the weather ended up being perfect.

I saw Dave, my brother and parents several times during the first 11 miles. It was awesome to have such a big cheering section. We ran through one military area and the guys and girls there were very enthusiastic cheerleaders. It was such a great feeling. The run up the boardwalk was tough as it was into the wind. I was feeling pretty good and kept it up through mile 20. I started tiring here but I sucked it up and kept pushing. Unfortunately at mile 23, I got really dizzy and it freaked me out, so I stopped and walked and drank a bunch of water for a mile. There goes the PR! Right after that some college guys were partying and they gave me a Guinness! It was great! That is a first for me. We made the turn onto the Boardwalk and I passed my family and that was a very special feeling for me. The first time my whole family saw me finish a marathon. I finished in 5:23 and it is my second fastest time ever. I got a cool medal, finishers’ hat and sweatshirt and 4 more beers! This time I did enjoy some. The post race party on the beach was again awesome. I highly recommend this weekend to anyone. Great course, well organized, a bunch of races to choose from, great swag and the best post race party I have seen.
Dave's comments:
The 8k was fun. I enjoyed the beach party.

The first half of the marathon course was great for spectating. The road they were running on was open heading in the same direction as the runners so you could easily pull over at a few places. Parking was easy to find around Mile 11 (boardwalk area). We had trouble cutting back roads to mile 16 due to road closures and traffic volume. We missed Holly at that marker and decided to cut our losses and go wait by the finish line.

Great snacking opportunities: businesses were open on Atlantic at the start, Miles 5/6.5 were by a 7-11 and McDonald's, Mile 11 was on the Boardwalk and some of those restaurants were open. The finish line was at the Hilton so we hung at their outdoor bar until it was time to wait for Holly's approach. Great seafood (obviously) and some really good beer selections at local restaurants.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fun Day

A few weeks ago holly ran the Maple Leaf Indoor Marathon in Goshen, IN. As some of you can imagine, indoor marathons are not the best events for spectators. Once Dave came back to the race from lunch he settled in to watch 3.5 hours of Holly running around in circles. To thank him for his support, Holly declared the next Saturday Fun Day! Dave got to pick the events for the weekend.

Saturday kicked off with lunch at Paradise Pup in Des Plaines, Il. We saw this place on a local show called Chicago's Best and it was also featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. The burger was the showcase item here. They use Merck's cheese spread and place the bun crown with the cheese on top of the meat to melt it together with the grilled onions. Awesome! The onion rings were excellent too. While here, Dave also ordered the Chicago Style Hot Dog. We've lived in Illinois for 17 years and he's never had one. He didn't like it. Too much junk on it.

The next stop was just down the road, The Rivers Casino. This recently opened casino has been on Dave's radar for a while. It's relatively small but offers a few good dining options, nice bars, and a great parking garage. They tell you how many spaces are available on each level and there are little lights above the cars that are red for occupied and green for empty. You can easily look down a row and tell where an empty space is. Genius. We played a few slots and Dave even got to play his favorite machine Mermaid's Wonder. He really enjoys how the graphics overlay the mechanical reels and the mini games are fun. After donating a few dollars we had a drink at the bar and took off.

Our next stops were in Libertyville. First, Lovin' Oven Bakery for some dessert items. Dave got a Napoleon and Holly got a Red Velvet slice. These were huge portions and lasted us two servings.

Up next, The Firkin. This is one of the area's best beer bars. Great selections on draft and in bottle, plus really good food. We went for the Left Hand Milk Stout (of course) on nitro.

We picked up dinner from our favorite Chinese place in Mundelin (i.e. our favorite place for Chinese food, not our favorite place in all of Mundelein) China Court.
Time to get back to Fox Lake. We decided to try one of the newer bars by our house and we got a pleasant surprise. The Route 12 Bar and Grill actually had decent craft beers. The staff was very friendly and a few of the patrons were raving about the food. This place has made it into our rotation (ok we went there one more time after fun day, but we like it).

Bonus Fun!
We extended Fun Day a bit by going out for breakfast. We've lived just a few miles from KC's Cabin for almost ten years and never visited the place. We both had the Hangover Helper which contained hash browns, peppers, bacon, ham, and cheese (egg optional). Delicious! Even bigger bonus: a skeet ball machine and Big Buck Hunter Safari Edition. Fun! The rest of the day was filled with watching Mad Men on Netflix and playing some PS3.

Awesome weekend!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Draw Something

Recently Holly heard about an iPad game called Draw Something. It's a 2 player game played over the internet (like Words with Friends) where players draw pictures with the goal of having the other player guess what the drawing is. There's a free and full version (full has 2,000 more words to pick from).

Guessers are given the number of letters in the word and a selection of letter tiles to choose from. If you need some help,you can eliminate some of the tiles.

Drawers are given a choice of three words (of varying difficulty) to draw. There appears to be no time limit. You're given 4 color choices and a few pen sizes. You can use in-game coins to buy extra colors (coins can also be purchased from the app store).

Dave has gotten into this. Here's a selection of his work. Can you guess the word?




Feel free to add your guesses in the comments section. Have an idevice? Give Draw Something a try.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Maple Leaf Indoor Marathon Report and Video

Here's Holly's report about the 2012 MapleLeaf Indoor Marathon in Goshen, IN:

It all started with making a plan. We were sitting down trying to figure out my marathon race schedule for the rest of 2012. I was trying to find a marathon in Indiana to add it to my "50 States" marathon goal. I happened upon the Maple Leaf Indoor Marathon in Goshen, IN. It was the next weekend. I was sure it was already full, but I emailed the race director anyway. He came back and said that the Saturday and Sunday morning races were full but he had added a marathon at 2:30 pm on Saturday and he would let me in. I freaked out. How can I run a marathon 6 days from now? In the afternoon? I thought about it and figured I had to run 20 miles anyway that day and how bad can indoor marathon be? I signed up that night.

During the week I entered panic mode. Dave got sick and I knew I would end up getting sick by the marathon. I did. It was a chest cold as well. I was freaking out about what to eat as I normally just get up early and run and don’t eat. I usually have half of a Powerbar a half an hour before a race.

Race day approached and we got up at a reasonable hour for once. We only had a 3 hour drive to Goshen. I had some peanut butter toast when I woke up and then a turkey sandwich about 3 hours before the race. I was winging it!

We got to the gym at Goshen College where the race was being held and saw the track. 204 laps around this thing??? I was nervous about the air quality. There was also a pool in the gym so the building was humid and dry at the same time. The morning marathon was just finishing and it looked like the final runners were struggling, but not too bad, so I figured I could handle it.

There were only 8 runners in the afternoon race. We started going round and round. I had met my lap counter before the race. His name was Tim and I think he was 12. I swear the first few laps he never saw me go by. I was freaking out. Also I got a terrible side stitch at Mile 2. Must have been that turkey sandwich! It was really hard to run and I was already considering pulling out. Dave had left to go get lunch and explore the town. I decided to keep going. I had already been lapped several times by the other runners. There was one other guy who was at my pace and we would stay together pretty much the whole race. Thankfully the stitch lessened but it was a nagging thing the whole race. Dave returned and I was about 10 miles in at that point and feeling ok, but knew this was going to be tough. We would switch directions every half hour, which helped with the monotony but man what a mental challenge.

The winner finished in 3:30 and the others were done by 4:05. Then there was me and Mike the other runner. I would lap him and then he would lap me and then I was done and he lapped me again. He ended up finishing a couple laps ahead of me. Dave walked a couple laps with me, and that helped. I was just not feeling well. Finally got to 5 laps to go and was so excited and then as I completed that lap they said sorry we miscounted NOW you have 5 laps to go. What the heck??!! The final lap was wonderful and they even put up tape for me to break through. I was never so happy to be done with a race. They were all very nice for sticking around while I finished. I’m glad Mike was there as well or I really would have felt bad. I finished under the course time limit of 6:00, 5:53:44. I grabbed a super quick shower and we got out of there. I had no voice at the end and was dehydrated.

My fascination with doing an indoor marathon is over and I never want to do another one of those again. It was very well organized and the volunteers were great, but the concrete track and the monotony really beat me up physically and mentally. Thanks to the race director for letting me in at the last minute. One more state completed!!

Dave's comments:
While Holly ran the first part of the race I had set a plan to explore a few local businesses. First I had lunch at the South Side Soda Shop which was featured on "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives". Didn't think it was worth the hype. Next, I wanted to go to Olympia Candy (they made chocolates for several presidential inaugurations as I learned from the tourist guide), but they closed at 3pm on Saturday. After that I went to The Chalet Party Store to buy some local beer - real nice options. I had done some research online and found a local bar had excellent beers on tap, including a new release from Left Hand. I got there at 4:00 and they didn't open until 6:00 - which was the time I had to get back to the gym before it closed to the public. Disgusted, I went to a winery for a tasting, then a smoke-filled townie bar for a beer, and finally a coffee bar to provision up for heading back to the race. Snacking: the gym had an excellent vend machine and I stocked up on things Holly may have wanted after the race:  Zapp's Voodoo chips, Snyder's pretzels, and Sun Chips.  Earlier, I bought some Cracker Jacks at the CVS.

Here's the video:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Jost Van Dyke 5K Round-up

This post may seem outdated, but we were finally able to put the Jost Van Dyke Invitational 5K video together:

When we get home from the race we also recap events with a newsletter (use this link to get to a PDF version):