What do you bring with you when you decide to be part of a relay team covering almost 200 miles? Let me tell you.
Note: This is what I am carrying. This does not include supplies being brought by fellow runners, such as headlamps, food, drinks, etc.
Technical Running Shirts (Count 5)
3 are to run in, the other 2 are our team shirts (one from this year and one from last year). Team shirts will be worn throughout the weekend for cheering on our team
Running Shorts (Count 2)
My first run should start around 4:30 so shorts should be fine. My last run is in the afternoon, so shorts should also be fine.
Running Pants (Count 1)
My middle run (of the 3) is in the pitch black of night... which means cold. So I will be running in pants. I also prefer running in pants for some reason, so this works out perfect. Pants also include reflective strips, perfect for running in the dark
Cotton Shirts (Count 2)
One is from a good facebook friend, Paige, it reads: RunDuvall. She gave it to me last year. She is the RD for Duvall Days Fun Run (in Washington) and the other is from a Hit the Road Jack 10k I ran last year. For some reason wearing running event shirts at a running event makes sense to me.
Jacket (Count 1)
Complete with hood. It's an ESPN jacket I purchased in Las Vegas. There is a great story behind this jacket if you allow me to digress... I was in New York, New York Casino and they have an ESPN store. I saw a jacket I liked, but it was $75 and for me, that seemed like alot. So I made a deal, if I took my $60 and played it in gambling, and won enough (no logic considering if I lost the original $60, I could have had a jacket for $15 more), I would purchase it. About an hour or so later and $100 (plus my original $60) in my pocket courtesy of the black jack table... I walked out with a jacket. Well, it's a story, I LIKE at least. sheesh.
Nike Bottoms (Count 1 and 1)
A pair of comfy Nike shorts and Nike pants, baggy and with pockets. SO COMFORTABLE! These will be worn inbetween runs.
Salami, Cheese and Ritz crackers. A great snack that can packed and unpacked with ease. Additional (and essential food will be supplied by others.
Chocolate Gu: 6, Water bottle and belt, running shoes, socks, glide, nip guards (just incase it rains), Garmin watch, iPod (chargers for both), Nike gloves, red blinking lights, running sunglasses.
That's the list. The photo above is what I will be wearing on my three legs. The first shirt is from last year's Rock n Roll San Jose and plain running shorts. The second set is for my night run: It's a long sleeve shirt from my recent Skyline to the Sea Ultra and adidas pants. (the shirt reminds me of the green lantern because of it's color). And the final set is my US Half shirt from 2008 (one of my fav., running shirts) and adidas shorts. As you can see, I love running in three stripe (adidas) clothing. They have some of the best running gear out there.
I'll be tweeting out updates regularly, so if you want to follow along, check it out on my Twitter page. Occasional Facebook updates will also be sent throughout the weekend. Feel free to send me messages, as I will have plenty of downtime between runs.
This weekend, our team (Lori's Lusty Lads) will be participating again in The Relay. (Not part of the Ragnar Relay series) It is a 199 mile relay ran by teams of 12 runners. This is how it works: A single team is comprised of 12 runners. They split up into 2 vans and run in shifts, or legs. Everyone in Van 1 will run a "leg" of a predetermined distance and course. Van 2 will drive to where the final runner in Van 1 is going to finish. Van 2 will then take over and those six runners each run a leg. While Van 2 is running, Van 1 will rest and drive ahead to a point where the last runner in Van 2 is going to finish. It is like a giant game of leap frog across 199 miles. FUN!
Each runner will run 3 legs in varying distances and difficulties. Here are my three legs and estimated start times (based on what we estimate our team's pace to be — yes, we are extremely organized)
7.4 miles, difficulty = moderate, starting at 4:30 p.m., Saturday, near Vineburg
5.9 miles, difficulty = hard, Starting at 3:40 a.m., Sunday, near Pacifica
4.7 miles, difficulty = easy, starting at 12:31 p.m., Sunday, near Boulder Creek
As you can see, there is plenty of time for recovery in between runs. Rest stops will also be provided by friends throughout the two days for us to shower and grab some shut eye, but most of the weekend will be spent in a van.
Last year we had a blast. It was one of the best weekends I've ever had and am really looking forward to it this year with a majority of the same team that ran it in 2009. Above is the new shirts for this year (that I designed) Last year we finished this race in 28 hours, 36 minutes and 26 seconds. I'm hoping we can beat last year's time. Our current timeline has us finishing in a little over 30 hours, but last year we ran well ahead of schedule and am assuming this year, we will do the same.
I'll be on Twitter and updating my Facebook status as the event unfolds. If you want live coverage, be sure to check it out. With the shenanigans that happened last year, I'm assuming this year will be even better.
The morning started off great. Although I woke up feeling full from the previous night's delicious dinner, the weather was great and I felt relaxed. I was joking in the beginning with Lori (who I would be running with) about how we should adjust our bibs to match the unofficial "Ultra bib." The three PCTR ultra's we have done, we noticed most runners pin their bibs differently (see photo below) compared to other road races by folding it smaller so that only the number appears. So we decided to do what the "cool kids" do and adjusted accordingly — figuring any advantage we could get in conquering this course, would help.
The first 10 miles flew by. Completely different from Woodside where the first few miles dragged on forever. I was highly optimistic about the remaining 21 miles, but knew anything could happen. As we raced up and down hills, passing runners and being passed, we couldn't help but enjoy the scenery. As we got lower into the valleys we could feel the cool breeze coming off the streams. Conversely, as we were at the peaks, climbing over rock cliffs that "were not in the brochure" (as Lori joked) the sun and heat were brutal. Luckily those hot spots were short lived, but did provide spectacular views. Here is a shot from said peaks (below).
As we continued to leap frog runners through 18-20 miles, the downhill segments were starting to take their toll on my legs. They were screaming from the drastic decline portions of the course and as my toes kept getting crammed into my toe box, we just kept chugging along.
Lori led most of the way with a few times me taking the lead pace, but we ran together as conversation flowed about New York, Seattle, work, etc. We also traded general greetings with fellow runners, sometimes sharing in cursing at mountains and poison oak. We also went over the procedure of what to do if we came across a mountain lion. We had the opportunity to chat with a 17 y.o attempting her first marathon, an Ironman triathlete (that does these for fun) and many other brave souls attempting to conquer this course.
As we continued to dodge poison oak, climb over (and under) fallen trees, along streams and past a waterfall, it is expected that with a tough course injury is always a possibility and unfortunately it would take claim several runners. We saw one runner sprain his ankle early on and would come across him later. Apparently, he recovered from the first mishap to only to sprain it again forcing him to stop. Another would severely sprain her ankle and be forced to hobble with a large branch as support. She would later find out she had broken it. Although, neither Lori or I fell (as we have previously on ultras), I would have several "close calls." (future post to elaborate) Luckily, the trail gods were smiling on us on this particular day.
After the mile 20 aid station, there was a large gap between water stops and this would prove to be my downfall. At the aid station they told us the next one was 8 miles, followed by 3 miles to the finish. With my Garmin losing satellite occasionally, I was unsure of how far we had "really" gone up to that point. About an hour or so later, my mind just broke. Lori was still running strong, but I could tell my defeated attitude wasn't helping. She walked with me when I needed to and tried to keep my spirits high. I let her know she could power through to the end and I'd meet her (eventually), but being "Super Lori" wouldn't allow her to leave me, even after I let her know on a couple occasions. She stuck with me and carried me (figuratively — although, I wouldn't put it past her to do it literally). She is truly an amazing person.
That stretch between water stops felt longer than the entire race. At one point I thought I saw the aid station and said "I think I see it" followed by "If that's not it, I'm gonna cry." Sadly, I saw the sunlight reflecting off a tree making it look like a white tent, but thankfully I didn't cry.
After we reached the the aid station we were less than 2 miles to the finish. Apparently runners before us were also having issues with the "long stretch" and incorrect distance estimated by the previous aid station. We refueled and were able to finish strong. We agreed we would take a last walk break, then run it in and pass two runners ahead of us (small goals can be extremely motivating). We crossed the line together and although I felt like "burnt toast" from the picture below you can see, we're all smiles at the end.
I can't thank Lori enough for an awesome and amazing 25 miles, a rough 4 miles — where she would witness grumpy me — and a strong 2 miles to the end. (give or take all around). It's all about finishing strong.
Name: Dana Casanave
Location: Leesburg, VA
10k: Never run anything shorter than a half marathon
Half Marathon: 16 (PR 1:47:35)
Full Marathon: 36 (PR 4:02:06)
I started running... on accident. I honestly had no intentions to ever become a runner. I simply wanted to get in shape and lose weight. Starting out I was obese and couldn't have run half a mile to save my life. I had a treadmill that I used that for the cardio portions of my workouts, but quite frankly I hated every minute on it. It took me many months, and many pounds lost before I began to find it enjoyable. After crossing the finish line of my first race, a half marathon, I truly felt like I could call myself a runner. I enjoyed pushing myself for that accomplishment and I was hooked.
When I'm not running, I... don't know what to do with myself! No really, I have a lot of interests, including photography, cooking, and writing. More than anything I try to spend time with my family. I have three children and between working, caring for them and my extreme running challenge this year, free time is almost non existent.
One time when I was on a long run... I came across a bear. I was running up in the Shenandoah National Park, along the side of the road on Skyline Drive and the bear was in the woods, not more than 20 feet away. I had seen bears before during runs in the Park, but they had always run off. This one didn't budge. He was a huge black bear, probably close to 300 pounds and he just sat and watched me. It was a moment I won't ever forget. At the moment I came across him I had slowed down for a walk break, and I immediately took off again, probably not the smartest idea, but thankfully he didn't decide to follow me.
I choose to run without... limits. I have learned to trust my body, and push myself to meet the goals I set. Quitting is never an option. You can't quit life.
The question I am asked most about running is... "How are you able to run like you do with having kids, work and everything?" Running is my passion and it's made such a positive effect on my life. I can honestly say it has made me a much healthier woman, stronger mother, and more determined employee. Trying to balance everything can be very challenging, but worth the effort and work.
After an event or tough run, I... love to chill out and enjoy the moment. I love pizza and a cold beer after running a marathon, but unfortunately I usually have to rush off for the airport or for my drive back home. I really treasure those times when I can just relax and hang out with friends.
When I'm on the road... nothing else matters. For that moment in time I can leave my stresses, my to-do lists, anything and everything. It's a time when I can get lost in my own thoughts and decompress.
I wish other runners would... join me my journey this year! I would love to have people join me at the start line for these marathons. It's so encouraging running with friends.
If I could run 3-miles with someone famous, it would be... Bill Gates. I'd probably run my slowest 3 miles ever just so I could have more time to talk with him!
Here's my website and link info:
www.2540.org — my charity website page
Thank you Dana. Continue running (and recovering) strong. You are truly an inspiration.
If you'd like to be a part of "An Easy 10 with..." please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. 31+ miles of mixed feelings
9. Amazing aid stations
7. Close calls
5. Speed. Not by us. LOL. We will be running this thing with a goal to finish. Sure there may be some quick miles where we kick it into second gear, but those may be few and far between, but there will be some speed definitely put on display by other runners with a net downhill course.
4. New York conversation
3. Finishing my third Ultra
2. Potty mouths
This past weekend was the Inaugural US Half 2 "The Other Half" in San Francisco. The original US Half still takes place in the fall, but to add some Spring to your step (pun totally intended) they introduced a race earlier in the year.
The morning started off early with trip into the city to pick up a friend before the race. I'm not going to say that he overslept and I'm not going to say that he set the world record for getting dressed and out the door on any given race morning or that he is the perfect example for why you should lay all your race gear out the night before. I'm also not going to imagine his "oh shit" moment when he saw a text, missed call and a voice mail. I wouldn't say any of that and I wouldn't do that to Tom. :)
At the start line, I had an opportunity to meet a facebook friend, Claudia. She is raising money to run the SF Marathon in July for "We Do For The Troops" (donate to her here) and came down from Oregon to run the race. She was unsure if she would be able to run due to injury, but she managed to finish the entire course. We exchanged general pre-race chit chat, took a photo together and wished each other luck as we set off on what looked to be a gloomy and windy day.
I ran with Tardy Tom (ha, I couldn't resist) most of the course. We run similar paces and it was great to catch up over a familiar course. Around mile 7, I decided to pick up the pace and see if I could come in under 2 hours. At the 6.5 half way point I was at 1:02, so if I could turnover quickly on some of the downhill and pick up a few minutes on the return over the Golden Gate, I might just make it. However the head wind had a different take on the situation.
I was able to clock a few low 8 min. miles and some solid 9s, but I just didn't have it in me. Around mile 11 I realized that it most likely wasn't going to happen (I had no more 8s in me) and decided to throw on the headphones and come in comfortably. I finished at 2:02:28 with a smile on my face and a medal around my neck. Tom finished strong a few minutes behind me and the rain came through the clouds for the last couple miles so we didn't hang out at the finish line too long.
Along with the medals, we also received an aluminum water bottle (filled with cold water) at the finish line. It was an eco-friendly solution to all the plastic water bottles typically handed out post-race. We also received eco-friendly technical shirts at the expo the day before and it was great to see some "green" steps being taken by a local event.
If you are interested in running the US Half 1, it happens November 7 and is the exact same course. You can register here and use coupon code THANKYOU to save $15.
As I continued to wait for Chris with Sherlin and Mika, we saw several runners and pacers come through. Some with giant smiles, some leaping over signs and some with "the look" you would expect at mile 41. The aid station was filled with pacers waiting and friends and family supporting and cheering on EVERY runner that came through. The weather was overcast and cool around 12:30 and seemed to be perfect running conditions, but I'm unsure what it was like at 6 a.m.
A man came surging down the hill and I said: "there's Chris." As I made my way through the people and got closer to the aid station, I realized it was Chris' doppelganger. It looked just like him. I would later find out that I was not the only one that confused "the twin" with Chris.
Then the real Chris came through. It took him a minute to recognize me — he had already been running for 7+ hours. As he took off his headphones (most likely listening to the Carpenters, Lady Gaga, or the Glee soundtrack) it registered that it was me. He was full of smiles as always and looked great. He was standing straight, didn't seem to be suffering from any major pains. He re-stocked on water, food, chatted with Sherlin, petted Mika and we were off.
In his own words he "hadnt talked to anyone for 6 hours" (I'm sure other than minor chit chat with runners), so it took a few minutes for him "come together." But he was moving strong. His pace was great and we were moving along. Conversation flowed like it does during our group training runs and the pace was comfortable. If I hadn't been out there, I'm confident Chris would have finished fine without me. There were no motivational speeches to get his legs moving, no assistance needed on my part to pick up his pace or slow it down... we ran the last 9 miles in just under 2 hours like it was nothing. (says the guy who only ran 9, not 50). There were walk breaks, but no more than our typical training runs.
The incline wasn't as bad as I had expected. It was 1,000 foot climb over three miles and we walked good sections of it, but it definitely wasn't this giant overbearing "we're gonna die" mountain (again, ran 9 not 50, so take it with a grain of salt). But Chris looked at ease and finished strong.
Towards the top of the mountain there was a running club that would run down it, grab your water bottle, fill it up and run it back to you if you needed it. Greatest line once we got to the aid station: "your bottle is full, no need to stop." Gotta love it. There was also giant inflatable frog around mile 48. It was wearing an American River 50 shirt... but it wasn't running. That thing must have been 8 feet tall, which was pretty random.
Chris finished (in the top 41% of the men) at 9:35:17 — so he was moving along pretty nicely considering the distance. Finishing under 11.5 hours, he qualified for the Western States 100. I had a blast pacing Chris and he was happy for the company. It is official, Chris is a beast and he has 50 miles under his belt to prove it (and a nice jacket that all the finisher's received).
Yep, that's what I wrote a couple months ago after finishing a muddy 50k Ultra in Woodside with some friends. I felt like I was done with these Ultra's in the mountains. A day later, we (the four of us that ran the Woodside Ultra) were conversing via email about another Ultra in April, but only doing the marathon distance. Here is how I responded:
"I'm leaving my calendar open for a couple weeks to decide what I'm going to do... but keep me posted. I'm sure I can be talked into running anything. And if we do it, might as well tack on the extra flippin' 5 miles."
As you can see, it doesn't take much suggestion for me to pull a Brett Frave or a Michael Jordan and un-retire.
This weekend, I'll be running Skyline to the Sea, a 50k from Saratoga to (just North of) Santa Cruz. Lori, who I have mentioned before, is looking to burn some stress and let it all out over a 31 mile adventure... and who am I to let her enjoy all the fun all by herself? So when she asked me last month, I told her that if I felt good and healthy after Oakland, that I would run it with her. Sure, why not.
Saturday afternoon, I'll be waiting for my friend, Chris, at the Rattlesnake Bar near Folsom Lake to run the last nine miles of his 50 mile endurance run. It'll be the first time I've ever paced a runner in an official event. I think we've all acted as a pacer during group or training runs, so we know generally what is expected. But I'm pretty excited about this... I get to finish with a friend as he accomplishes something amazing.
That night, I'll head back home and get ready for my own race. Sunday morning I'll be running the US Half Marathon 2. I ran the Fall edition of this race in 2008 coming off of a horrible IT band injury. I ended up finishing around 2:40 having to walk most of it. This weekend I'll look for redemption and try to put up a pretty good time. I'd love to set a PR and handily break 2 hours (unofficial half PR is 1:59). The course includes hills and the Golden Gate Bridge, which will be a great tune up for The SF Marathon in July and if the weather cooperates, Sunday could be a gorgeous race day in the marina.
Either way, it'll be a memorable and busy weekend... but if I wasn't running around (literally) what else would I be doing?
I just received confirmation, that my name has been chosen in the 2010 ING NYC Marathon lottery and I will be running my first NYC Marathon on November 7.
pac•er (noun): a horse used to set the pace in racing
I've run in large groups, in a pair, with a dog, with someone who is on a bike and I've run alone, but never as a pacer. This weekend I'll be helping a friend as a pacer for the last nine miles of his 50 mile run. Sure it's the same as running with a friend, but the stakes are higher.
My friend, Chris, will be running the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run this weekend. Yep, fifty miles. Five. Zero. This will be his first attempt at the distance and he is allowed to have a pacer join him after mile 26.77. When he asked our training group, I threw my name in the hat and volunteered to pace him if he needed one. Chris is way faster than me. When we train, I'm usually chasing him like the dogs chase the rabbit at the track. Recently, I've been able to keep up with him for SHORT distances, then he kicks on and I pant. But, I'll be meeting him at the Rattlesnake Bar (how fun does that sound?) at mile 40.94 and with my fresh legs, I'll be able to run strong with him for the last nine miles.
My task will be to run with him, keep his spirits high and help conquer a massive hill (or possibly mountain) at 47. It's a climb over the last three miles from 500' to 1,400'. It'll be a blast. I'll run at Chris' pace. If he's feeling speedy, I'll kick in the burners. If he wants to take it easy, I can do easy. If he wants me to pull him along, I can do that to. Mission is for him to finish (hopefully under 11 hours) so that's what we are going for.
My first time as a pacer. His first 50. We got this!
Side note: I also ran the last 20 of Chris' 37 miler with him last month. Having someone out there to keep conversation with can be key... heck, even just running in silence and not running to run alone can be enough. I'm glad Chris asked and am happy to run the last and final leg with him... and if I ever decide to run the AR50, I'll know what to expect for the last nine miles. See you out there Chris, bring Miriam.
This is the first year that I threw my name in the hat for the ING NYC Marathon. I had always contemplated doing it in previous years, but wanted to improve my marathon time before I entered one of the most well known races in the US... dare I say the world. I felt this year that I was reaching (have not reached it yet) a point where I felt confident that I "deserved" to be a part of this race based on my personal expectations of my performance. I entered under the 4 hour and 20 min. estimated finish time, which means if I get in, I'll have seven months to shave off at least 10 minutes. That's a challenge I am willing to tackle.
This year the NYRR, or the New York Road Runners , are launching a live broadcast that can be watched from any computer on April 7. At noon, on Wednesday, the drawing for the 2010 lottery will take place and eight entrants will win VIP prizes.
“With a record number of applicants, the anticipation as to who’s in is intense as we head to lottery day and the launch of our 2010 marathon season,” said Wittenberg. “Lottery day will be a lucky day for those runners accepted, and it is commitment day for two of the world’s best athletes and for thousands of runners around the globe. With seven months to go until race day, ‘we’re in’ at NYRR and looking forward to celebrating with everyone on lottery day who can cheer, ‘I’m in!’”
The 15-minute program is sure to be one of the most watched videos that day... I'll be watching, will you?