Saturday, October 30, 2010

2011 Los Angeles Marathon Course Map Pics.

I was at the RnR Los Angeles 1/2 Marathon Expo recently and came across the LA Marathon booth.

They had a course map of the 2011 LA Marathon.  I would assume it's not final and is tentative.

I did the 2010 Los Angeles Marathon and had fun.  Budget permitting, I would do it again.

I took a few pics of the course maps at the booth:
Mile 1 thru 12.  Notice they omitted the parking lot loop that was not popular last year.
Miles 9 thru 16.
Miles 14 thru 21.
Miles 20 thru The Finish.  Note:  The Final Line Festival looks to be moved further south.

For more info. on the Los Angeles Marathon, click here.

Walking: 1) Macy's; 2) San Francisco Giants, the World Series and AT&T Park; and 3) Blue Bottle Coffee. 10/29/10.

Some days there are just too many errands, and I can't make it to the gym or go on a run.  I try to walk on such days.

Tons of walking today, 10/29/10, with errands.

By the Numbers.
Miles:  4.75 miles walked
Calories:  237 calories gross

Places I Went By.
I went by the following:
  1. Macy's Union Square
  2. AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team.  Currently, the team is playing in the World Series.
  3. Blue Bottle Coffee at the Ferry Building.
Christmas Shopping Already:  Macy's.
Went by the Macy's in Union Square.  I was surprised by the Christmas windows already up.  Halloween and Thanksgiving aren't over and here are the Christmas windows.
Christmas is early this year.
AT&T Park:  San Francisco Giants in World Series 2010.
The area seemed to be filled with World Series fever since the San Francisco Giants baseball team made it to the 2010 World Series.  Recently, there have been many folks around town sporting the team's colors of black and orange.

Games 1 and 2 had already been played with the Giants winning both games.

I went to AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, to check out some souvenirs.
AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.
Blue Bottle Coffee.
Afterwards, I went to the Ferry Building and came across Blue Bottle Coffee.  I had heard of them before but I had never tried one.  It's an upscale coffee and expresso bar.  Even their drip coffee is made individually using filters one by one.

I ordered a Latte.
Latte from Blue Bottle Coffee.

2010 Nike Women's Half Marathon Review. Event date: 10/17/10.

I woke up at a un-Godly hour and stopped by a Starbuck's for coffee.

When I got to the Start, the Team in Training (TNT) folks were in the corrals about to leave on an early start.  There were lots more doing the early start compared to last year.  My Garmin was not on, so I had no idea what time they took off.

Pending Rain?
Rain drops were dropping lightly when I got to The Start.  They eventually stopped, but my gut feeling was that it would probably rain later on.  The forecast called for 30% showers this day.  I had checked the weather and tossed am umbrella into my gear check along with some change of clothing.

Ran into my FB friend, Joelle, in the Nike+ tent.  She was doing the Half Marathon today also.

Members of Nike+ got a few perks during the event.  This year those perks included a corral, pre-race tent and post race areas and gear check.

There were no pre-race food available in the Nike+ tent.  But, I brought 2 bagels with me.

The Race.
The Start - Crowded.  I couldn't get into my corral again just like last year.  To me, no big deal, as I haven't been able to get into my RnR San Jose 1/2 corral 2 years in a row now.  Once the race start, folks would move forward, I'll get into my corral.
That packed like a can of sardines feeling at The Start.
Mile 1 - Crowded.

Mile 2 - Once we got onto the Embarcadero, the road widened, and the crowding thinned a bit.  Went by Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf.

Mile 3 - The BIG Fort Mason Hill.

Mile 4 - Went by the Marina Safeway.  Later into the Presidio and pass Crissy Field.
Running by Crissy Field.
Then went by the Sports Basement cheer section and store.  I stopped to see someone at the Sports Basement cheer section for a treat.
Thanks, Sports Basement, for the treat.
Mile 6 - Up another BIG hill.  At the top of the hill on the side, there was a small line of folks lining up to pose for race photographer the Golden Gate Bridge in the backdrop.  I didn't stop.

Then, I saw the "Pink" people.
Good idea.  I did just that
Mile 7 - lululemon cheer section and saw their van.  Thanks for cheering.

Mile 8 - Kaiser Permanente Mile.  Thanks to Kaiser and their employees and families who came out to volunteer.
Thanks, Kaiser folks, for passing out the orange slices.
Eventually turned onto Clement Street for the long up hill slog.  I then came across the Luna folks.  They gave out Luna Bars and Shot Bloks.  I got 1/2 a pack of Shot Bloks.
Thanks, Luna.
Mile 9 - Continued with the up hill slog on Clement Street.  Eventually turning onto Geary Blvd and then a MAJOR downhill past the Cliff House with the Power Song, "Don't Stop Believin'," by Journey on the large speakers in the area.

Mile 10 - Running into Golden Gate Park, heading away from the ocean.  There was a large screen showing runners passing by at one point.  Some folks got silly and stood there, making faces.  At another point, there was a DJ station spinning some tunes.

Mile 11 - Dirt Oval at the Polo Field.  Suddenly, it's a trail event.

Mile 12 - Ghirardeli Chocolate Mile.  Last year, I ate my chocolate piece immediately, but it felt like gagging.  This year I saved the piece for afterwards.  Much wiser decision this year to save it for later.

Running downhill thru Golden Gate Park to Ocean Beach.  I came upon a wall of large ladies.  They were not dressed for running or even walking.  I have no idea what they were doing blocking the road; I had to go around them.

I eventually reached the Great Highway and made a right turn.  I then finally saw The Finish ahead.
I started sprinting towards The Finish.
The Finish - Just like last year, once I crossed The Finish, it became a screeching halt.  It was a Tiffany box traffic jam.  Unlike last year, this year had a lot of finishers stopping the handsome firemen in tux from handing out the boxes to pose for pics.  The firemen couldn't keep up with those crossing The Finish and posing for pics. 

By the Numbers.
Garmin:  2:50:09 New course PR
Gun time:  2:50:52  New course PR  (Last year:  2:52:13.  I believe this was Chip.)
Chip:  ?  I had my chip on, but I have no idea why there isn't a chip time listed for me and I believe, everyone else.

Garmin:  13.23 miles
Calories:  1,552 gross

Finisher Photography "Delay"
The wait in the photograph line felt like forever, and it was raining.  I had a mylar blankie covering parts of me.  I was still warm from running, so I didn't feel cold.

When I got closer to the front of the photograph line, the reasons for the delay was because of the following:
  1. Finishers were trying to tidy up before having their pics taken.
  2. Some finishers wanted pics with friends, family, etc.
  3. Finishers were changing clothes into the Finisher's shirt.
  4. And, in changing into their Finisher's shirt, some had to go back into the pile of where they had put their bib away to get the bib out for the photos
  5. The photographers were incredibly patient with the pic taking.  They took multiple shots.  At other events, they would just snap 1 pic and kinda of  "shove" you on along.  With these photographers, not so.  They took their time.  I have no doubt there are many great pics amongst those they took.
Post Race Cramps.
I was changing into warmer clothes when my ab muscles cramped up.  I was literally stuck with one leg threaded into one pants leg and the other not.

I must have looked pretty bad.  A lady nearby asked me if I was OK.

Moments later, I try to thread my other leg in and my ab muscles cramped up again.

I eventually got into my warmer clothes and then waited around the Nike+ post race area as a precaution.

The Tiffany necklace.

I qualified for the Nike+ amenities.  For this year, they included a corral, post race lounge areas, post race food and gear check.

In the post race Nike+ area, I came across some breakfast burritos, coffee and tea.  My appetite is usually gone after an event, but I made myself down a burrito, coffee and tea.

I didn't have any issues until after the event was over.  I wish they would fix their timing.  I course PR'd and had a chip on.  But, only my gun time was recorded.

What I thought of the event?
I was surprised by my course PR this year over last year.  I had been working on the supposed flat and fast Chicago Marathon and had not been working on hills at all.

Would I do it again?
Yes.  But, it's not up to me.  This event is a very popular event and hard to get into.  It's even on the bucket list of women who don't run at all!

Ways to get into This Race.
The following are ways to get into the race: 
  1. Lottery.
  2. Nike+ challenges.  The mileage challenges tend to favor the unemployed ultra runners.
  3. This year:  Nike did a College program for college students.  They had a van going around some universities.  Not sure if they'll do it again.
  4. This year:  Drawings at Nike Mobile events and stores.
  5. Thru TNT, if you are rich, have rich relatives or rich friends willing to give you money.
Would I recommend it?
Yes, if you're not afraid of hills.
    Special Thanks.
    A special thanks to all the hardworking volunteers. It was cold and wet for many of them standing out there this year.  Unlike us, finishers, who are free to change clothing and leave the area after we finish, many of the volunteers are literally stuck at stationary positions and can't just abandon their posts when conditions get worse.
    It was a cold and wet one this year.

    Friday, October 29, 2010

    2010 Nike Women's Marathon Expotique Review.

    I am going to break up the 2010 Nike Women's Marathon Expotique review and the Event review into 2 sections.  The Expotique review is a bit long, similar to bigger Expos.

    This post will be about the Expotique.

    I went to pick up my packet late Thursday afternoon/early evening at Union Square.
    "I Run to Be" was this year's slogan.
    Big Turnout.
    A lot more folks showed up on Thursday compared to last year.  The line was 2 blocks going in waiting for the Expotique to open.  And, as I got closer to the front of the line, more folks got in line that it was again 2 blocks long getting in.

    Once inside the tent, it was very obvious the venue was too small for the number of folks who had shown up.  It was chaotic.  There were lines everywhere, and it was difficult at times to figure out what the lines were for and where the lines were going.

    The "Hiccups."
    1.  Missed station.  My packet pickup was anything but smooth.  I missed a station only to be sent back from a further station.

    2. Wrong directions.  Someone with credentials on gave me a wrong set of directions.

    Fortunately, I came across and recognized Aileen, who has worked some of the Nike events.  She led me passed a "No Entry" point to get the item I had missed.  Without her, I would have been forced to exit, reenter and (gulp) start in the back of a horrendous line.

    Thank you very, very much, Aileen.

    2.  Technical Difficulties.  A rep was trying to gift me a free Power Song for being a Nike+ member.  He tried one terminal, but it wasn't working.  We eventually had to go to another terminal.

    The Nibbles.
    Just for Thursday, appetizers and wine were provided by Safeway.  The food line was also long.  ID checks and 1 drink ticket were handed out before folks entered the Expotique.

    My favorite was the Safeway Smoothie.  The free smoothies were a daily offering.
    Safeway Smoothie area.  I lost count of how many I had.

    Gatorade drinks were also on hand with the following samples:
    1.  Gatorade Endurance - listed as on course drink
    2.  Gatorade Prime - the pre-event drink
    3.  Gatorade Recovery

    Samples from Luna Bar were also available.

    The Activities.
    There were many activities, ranging from massages, customizing Nike ID products to previewing the course.

    My favorites were the following:
    1.  Video Gait Analysis.  You can see what shoes you belong in.
    You can also see just how off you are.
    2.  JetBlue Course Preview area.
    Where's them hills?
    3.  Nike Women's Marathon Facebook App.
    You can message your FB friends when you cross certain points during the event.  No folks, I was not texting away while wogging along during the event.
    Raffle Prizes.
    Just for Thursday.  Nice prizes from sponsors, including Cole Haan and Safeway.  I didn't win.

    Elite Nike Athletes.
    Legendary runner, Joan Benoit Samuelson, made appearances over the course of the Expotique.  In 1984 when the Women's Marathon was first introduced in the Olympics, she won the Gold Medal.  She is considered a pioneer in women's athletics.
    Joan Benoit Samuelson addresses the audience.
    Shannon Rowbury also made appearances over the course of the Expotique.  In 2008, she competed in the Women's 1500 m in the Beijing Olympics.  In 2009, she won the Bronze Medal in the Women's 1500 m in the IAAF World Championships in Athletics.
    Shannon Rowbury with a fireman in tux during the raffle.
    No Selling Allowed.
    Odd as it sounds, the Power Balance folks were there with their wristbands.  They were free to sign up folks for their newsletters and free to talk to and demo with those at the Expotique.  But, one of their reps said Nike is very strict and that there would be no selling, disappointing some attendees.

    Runner's Supplies Available
    In year's past, folks were literally running around town looking for gels and runner essentials because the Expotique and Niketown San Francisco didn't sell them.  This year, they can stop running around town.
    Gels, Shot Bloks and Body Glide were among the items sold at the Runner Essentials booth.
    Niketown San Francisco.
    A wide range of event apparel was sold by the nearby Niketown San Francisco.
    Niketown San Francisco.
    Names Wall.
    During the time of the Nike Women's Marathon, there's a list of names of those participating in the marathon and half marathon just outside Niketown San Francisco.

    This year I was lucky my name, "Mae Lee," was fairly easy to find.
    "Names Wall" outside Niketown San Francisco.
    A poster of the "Names Wall" was sold by Niketown San Francisco.  It cost $10 with proceeds benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the official charity of the Nike Women's Marathon.

    Photo Booth
    There was also a photo booth inside Niketown.  Fortunately, when I got there, there wasn't much of a line.

    Beware of the POM Line Nazi.
    I had a problem with one of the sample stations at the Expotique and was fortunate I didn't get injured.

    The POM station was offering free samples of their product.  I saw some folks helping themselves to bottles of their product from a bin near an aisle.  I tried to help myself at one point.  But, when I opened the lid and was about to reach into the bin, one of their reps pushed down the lid, closing it.  She then said, "The entrance is 5 feet away."

    She didn't say anything further to me but then said to one of her fellow reps, "We shouldn't have that bin near the aisle."

    Fortunately, my hand and arm wasn't trapped and I wasn't injured by the actions of the POM rep.  But, seriously, beware of any POM samplers you see.  Someone isn't there in the interest of your personal safety.

    What I thought of the Expotique?
    The many activities are fun when the lines aren't long.

    When they are long, it's no fun.

    Just so long as they keep the Safeway Smoothie section, I am a happy tortoise.

    I'll try to post my 2010 Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon review tomorrow.

    Power Songs: Sean Kingston is Awesome; Justin Bieber in San Jose, CA. Event date: 10/28/10.

    Some folks enjoy listening to music with running, jogging, wogging, walking or working out.  Some might even say they can't do it without their Power Song.

    I went to a Justin Bieber concert at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA, and I came away with some ideas for some new Power Songs.

    For starters, thank God, for Hearos.  Without them, I am not sure if my hearing would have survived all those crazy screaming girls.
    My hearing was saved!!!
    There were several opening acts.  They were the following:
    1. Burnham - A 3 brother act.  Kind of reminded me of the Jonas Brothers - type concept but probably without the religious part.  For more info., click here.
    2. Jasmine V. - Local home girl.  She is from San Jose, CA.  For more info., click here.
    3. Sean Kingston - His tunes had the crowd dancing and moving.  For more info., click here.
    I am sure many of the screaming Justin Bieber fans would disagree with me, but I thought Sean Kingston's songs would be better suited for Power Songs and working out compared to the Bieber's.

    The lighting wasn't great; they moved too fast; and the crazed screaming fans in front of me just couldn't keep their hands out of the air, blocking my view, but I managed a couple of pics.

    Awesome Power Songs:  Sean Kingston, who was 1 of the opening acts.
    Justin Bieber.
    It was an interesting experience.

    When I was much younger, my parents wouldn't take me to such events.

    At this event, I saw tweens and teens with parents in tow.  I am sure it might be the first concert ever for some of them.  I saw many parents at the souvenir stands shelling out some serious bucks for multiple souvenir items for their kids.

    Those kids are pretty darn lucky.

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    Halloween Party: Brooks BBQ, Catch the Ghost Fun Run and Anniversary Sale at Fleet Feet Menlo Park, Menlo Park, CA. Event date: 10/30/10. Time: Varies.

    I dropped by Fleet Feet Menlo Park to hear Dean Karnazes speak and a couple of signs in the store indicated some of their upcoming events.

    1 sign read:
    Halloween Party Events
    My apologies...  The lighting wasn't very good, and the pic didn't turn out as well as I had hoped.

    Events on 10/30/10:
    1. Brooks-a-cue  12 Noon to 3 PM
    2. Catch the Ghost Family Fun Run  [I believe it's at 3 pm...please confirm with the store at:  (650) 325 - 9432 to avoid disappointment.  Update:  I heard the Ghost is fast and there will be T-shirts passed out to those who tag/touch the Ghost, so I guess it's probably not tortoise-friendly.]
    3. Anniversary Sale
    If you're in the area, it sounds like a fun event.

    Dean Karnazes at Fleet Feet Menlo Park. Event date: 10/27/10.

    I wasn't sure if I was going to make it to this one, but I did.

    I made it down to Fleet Feet Menlo Park to hear Ultra marathoner, Dean Karnazes, speak.
    Fleet Feet Menlo Park
    Dean spoke about ultra running and fielded questions from those in the audience before signing books and posing for pics.
    Dean Karnazes
    Questions ranged from what keeps him going; how does he handle carrying fluids on his long runs; nutrition and injuries.

    The rumors about him ordering pizza and having it delivered to some side of the road during his runs are true.

    I came across him several times before.  Most recently before today, he was at the Chicago Marathon Expo.

    Today, I asked him, "How did you do in Chicago?" because it got incredibly hot; it was 89 F at its hottest that day.

    He said he never seen that much carnage (at an event), but he said actually likes the heat.

    He seems like a very nice guy and an incredibly amazing athlete.  If I tried to do a fraction of what he does, I think I would land on the injured list in no time flat.

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    RnR Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon's "7 Deadly Sins" Promos. $20 off.

    There are just too many sins and promos for me to list for this one.

    If you're considering the RnR Las Vegas Marathon or Half Marathon, I suggest checking out their "7 Deadly Sin" promos.  Those who register on a certain date, gets entered into a drawing to win that date's prize.

    To see which sin you might want, click here.

    Those who register on 11/2/10 only, gets $20 off.  Code:  SINFUL

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    10% Off Fall Sale from Brightroom Event Photography. Expires: 10/31/10.

    My event pics usually don't turn up very good.  Every now and then, they do.

    Brightroom is currently having a sale.

    10% off
    Code:  FALLSALE2010
    Expires:  Midnight 10/31/10 (I suspect it's Fort Worth, TX time as their addie is in Fort Worth, TX.)

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    2010 RnR Los Angeles 1/2 Marathon Snippet.

    I completed the RnR Los Angeles Half Marathon on Sunday.

    The course was much hillier than I expected.  My legs were fatigued and tired from the 1 marathon, 2 - 1/2 marathons and a 5k hike which I completed earlier this month.

    I finished at:  2:50:44, which I am OK with.

    I'll try to have a review of the Expo and Event itself before the end of next week.

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    RSVP for Dean Karnazes Talk and Book Signing, Fleet Feet Menlo Park. Event date: 10/27/10 at 7 pm.

    I posted on 10/20/10, Wednesday that Dean Karnazes will be doing a talk and book signing at the following:

    Fleet Feet Menlo Park
    859 Santa Cruz Avenue
    Menlo Park, CA 94025
    (650) 325-9432

    Date:  10/27/10
    Starts:  7 pm

    I now noticed that Fleet Feet is asking folks to RSVP off of their website for the event.

    To RSVP, click here.

    Good luck!

    Load up $40 of more on iTunes Card at Safeway, get $8 on your Safeway Club Card towards next order. Expires: 11/2/10.

    I was at the supermarket, and I noticed a sign at the gift card area.

    It said if you load $40 or more onto an iTunes gift card, you will get $8 loaded onto your Safeway Club Card towards your next grocery order.
    The load up $40 or more onto an iTunes card, get $8 on your Safeway Club Card.
    Since everyone has to purchase groceries at one point or another, this one seems to be a great deal.

    On your next trip to the supermarket, it doesn't hurt to check out the gift card section to see if they have the same or similar offer.

    Happy shopping!

    Saturday, October 23, 2010

    Roasted and Toasted: My 2010 Chicago Marathon Review. Event date: 10/10/10.

    This is from a tortoise's point of view.  It may be informative to those in the back of the pack.

    The Chicago Marathon course has a reputation for being flat and fast.  In recent years, the event has also earned a reputation of having unpredictable weather.  In 2007, it was hot and humid enough that many participants had heat issues, and the event organizers stopped the event in the middle.  In 2009, it was very cold.

    In the interest of safety, the race organizers developed an Emergency Alert System (EAS) to enable them to notify participants on the course of changing conditions as the the event went on.
    The EAS flag at the Expo.  Green means Low Level of Alert.
    The EAS alert levels are as follows:
    1. Green - Low; good conditions.
    2. Yellow - Moderate; less than ideal conditions.
    3. Red - High; potentially dangerous conditions.
    4. Black - Event is canceled.

    Race Morning
    As usual, I don't sleep well the night before an event.  I was also anxious because I found out at the Expo that the course time is based on 6 hours and 30 minutes gun time.  I had signed up for the event thinking that it was 6 hours and 30 minutes chip time.

    I stayed near The Start and the Finish, so I didn't use gear check.  I also didn't use the porta potties; the lines were long.

    Free Gatorade Prime was available for free.  But, I didn't see much takers.  Folks just don't gamble on things they didn't do outside of their training.

    Since I am on the borderline on finishing this event on time, I carried my own fluids, a course map and a few dollars just in case I have to duck into a store along the way for refreshments.

    The Corrals
    I was in the back.  Plenty of room.  It felt spooky being in the way back.  Visually, I imagined getting left behind with myself running down the streets of the Windy City with no one near me.  I don't want the spotlight that much.  Someone else can have it.

    Pace Groups
    Although I didn't sign up for a pace group, I decided to tag along the 5:45 pace groups and kinda of changed off the groups as we went on for a while into the event.  There were 3 pace groups aiming for 5:45.  They ran accordingly:
    1. 4:1 run and walk ratio
    2. 2:1 run and walk ratio
    3. continuously running, except thru the aid stations
    Course:  6 hours and 30 minutes gun time
    Several folks in the pace groups asked the pace leaders how long the course was opened for.  The pace leaders said it's 6 hours and 30 minutes from gun time...and not chip time, as I had found out the day before the race.

    The pace leaders reassured folks that the organizers will leave The Finish open and if something should happen, we were allowed to finish on the sidewalk.

    The Race
    The Start -The Emergency Alert System (EAS) was Green.

    Miles 1 to 3 - Went thru the downtown Loop.  Plenty of people lined the streets cheering even though we were in the back.  More importantly, plenty of tall buildings for shade.

    Mile 4 - I noticed things were getting warmer.  And, no more tall buildings for shade.

    Mile 5 - Went by the zoo. The EAS flags on the course changed to Yellow.

    The 1st - 5 miles went by quickly.  As we were going along, I noticed I was passing up lots of people, many of them attempting to speed walk and can't keep up.

    Mile 8 - Boys town.  Men in drag.  Go, go boy dancers.  Looks like one nice street party as we went by.

    Mile 13 - Went by the United Center.  Made it past the half way mark and made a porta potty stop just past it, losing all the pace groups.  Fortunately, there was no lines for the porta potties.

    Mile 14 - Things started getting warmer and warmer, and I noticed my pace was slipping despite putting in more effort.  I noticed a lot more people walking.

    At one point, a police vehicle slowly rolled by, announcing on the PA system that walkers should walk on the sidewalk, allowing runners to run thru the streets.  I noticed not many people were running.  I was still run/walking, but it didn't feel good.

    Mile 15 - The Gatorade was literally HOT at the aid station.  I have never been served HOT Gatorade before.  At that point, I realized that this event is going bad.  Not long after the HOT Gatorade, a woman just a bit ahead of me, pulled off to the sidewalk.  I thought she was going to stretch.  Instead, she threw up.

    Mile 16 - My running and walking pretty much ended during this mile.  It was hot.  And, the EAS flags on the course was changed to Red.  I pretty much walked and speed walked from this point on.

    Flasthback to being cooked at the 2009 RnR Arizona Half Marathon
    In 2009, I did the hot RnR Arizona Half Marathon.  The temp. at that event was 76 F.  I had pushed hard early on during this event, got dehydrated, was sick for 8 to 9 hours afterwards and tossed my cookies.  I didn't want to have the same experience again.

    Mile 17 - Got my Accel Gel.  Vanilla flavored.  I saved them for later.

    Mile 18 - Pilsen neighborhood.  Heavily Hispanic.  It reminded me of the Mission at home.  There were a few families here and there on the side cheering although everyone by now was walking.  I saw a push cart vendor selling icicles.  I thought of buying 1 but figured I couldn't stop at one...or possibly this heat.

    Mile 19 - I know now what the Official End Vehicle looks like.  It was just a regular vehicle with decals stuck to it saying that it was the official end vehicle.  The clock on top of it says 4:41:xx as it passes me.  The vehicle's occupants didn't make any announcements telling me to use the sidewalk or anything else as it passed me.

    For a few seconds, I was thinking of darting in front of the vehicle and just trying to stay ahead of it barely.  But, common sense prevailed, it's just too hot to try to stay in front of any vehicle.

    Mile 20 - Went by a building.  The temperature on the building said it was, "88 F," much worst than the forecast of 86 F from the day before.  I was told later by several people that it was 89 F during parts of the event.

    I made another porta potty stop.  Fortunately, no lines again.

    But, I noticed that the aid stations were being dismantled as I went by.

    Mile 21 - Made it to Chinatown.  I noticed all these sanitation vehicles were driving by us cleaning up the course.  The fumes from the vehicles didn't make breathing fun.

    Mile 23 - I believe this was the first mile we were told to use the sidewalks instead.  But as we went on to The Finish, the items from the dismantled aid stations forced us back into the streets along the way.

    Mile 24 - I went by a Burger King.  I thought of getting lunch but decided against it as not sure how my stomach would respond.

    Mile 25 - As I was near the end of Mile 25, I saw the right turn going up hill heading towards The Finish and started running.  I noticed no one was running with me.  And, only 2 people speed walking not far ahead of me.  At this point, I figure I can survive running to The Finish since I am that close.

    Mile 26 - As I was running towards Mile 26, someone was walking away with the Mile 26 sign.  I made a left turn, saw The Finish ahead and kept running towards it.  To my surprise, there were a few spectators on the side cheering me on.  I thought everyone would have been gone by now.  I have a feeling they were waiting for a relative or someone they know.

    The Finish line - Crossing The Finish felt surreal.  This was my 2nd marathon.  My socks and shoes were soaked repeatedly as I went thru hoses and sprinklers along the way.  I was sure I had a blister on the bottom of my feet; I later found out I didn't.  My feet were aching.

    Post Race Area
    The tents and food were still intact.

    The post event celebration, however, had already ended.  I arrived 15 minutes after their closing time. So, no free beer.

    I got my bling, a mylar blankie and bottle of water.  There was plenty of post race food left.  One of the ladies attempted to give me an extra banana, but I declined.  I have a feeling there isn't many folks left behind me to give the items to, and she was just trying to get rid of the items.

    Chip:  7:16:38
    Calories:  2,800 gross

    1. This event was pretty brutal during the 2nd - Half.  My 1st Half was a bit slower than I would have liked, but the heat totally destroyed my 2nd - Half.
    2. When I was walking most of my 2nd - Half, I was feeling pretty dejected.  It took me a few days before I snapped out of it.
    3. I was very glad I carried my own fluids when so many didn't.
    4. I also felt bad for those who were trying to BQ.  I have no doubt that the heat prevented some from BQ'ing.
    5. Because of the heat, it left me in great shape for the Nike Women's Half Marathon next weekend.
    Pros and Cons
    1. Definitely pretty flat with the exceptions of the bridges
    2. Well done sprinklers and hoses along the way.  I lost count how many I went thru.
    3. As they had mentioned, The Finish was left opened for slower folks.
    4. The EAS to alert runners of bad running conditions definitely saved countless of folks from trouble.
    1. The temperature for this event is all over the place, varying annually.
    2. To those that care, those finishing after 6 hours and 30 minutes gun time are not considered Official Finishers and won't see their names in the Chicago Tribune, I believe.
    Would I do this one again?

    Would I recommend this one?
    Yes to those willing to take chances on the weather.

    Would I do another marathon?
    Yes, a tortoise-friendly one.


    Add on:
    Post Race Bonuses from Nike
    The next day I made my trip to Niketown Chicago to see what Nike+ members get.  Nike+ is a fun way to track your distance runned/walked.  There are also challenges now and then, and you can score some neat perks or Nike items.

    I was told at the Expo that if I finished the event I would get something at Niketown.

    On my way to Niketown, I went over a bridge across the Chicago River.
    The Chicago River

    I was fortunate I have found my name on the "Names Wall" at the Expo because at the Niketown Chicago, it was too tall for me to look.  I probably needed a ladder or something.
    "Names Wall" outside Niketown Chicago.  As a Nike+ member, I went home with poster of it.
    Nike also gave me pint glasses for being a Nike+ member and for finishing the event.  Thanks, Nike.

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    2010 Chicago Marathon Expo Review.

    The 2010 Chicago Marathon was my 2nd marathon ever.

    My 1st marathon was the 2010 Los Angeles Marathon.  It was on their new course, starting at Dodgers Stadium to the sea in Santa Monica, CA.  I finished at a conservative and easy:  6:11:xx over a not very flat and fast course.

    Because the Chicago Marathon Expo and event itself are pretty big by themselves, I'll cover them in separate posts.

    Today's post is about the Expo.

    Expo: Friday
    Free shuttles were available to the Expo from several locations.  I took a shuttle from the Chicago Hilton to McCormick Place, the site of the Expo.
    The event was on 10/10/10.  The event slogan was, "Date to Motivate."
    Wrong T Shirt
    My packet pickup had only 1 hiccup.  They had defaulted me to a Women's L.  Because of my broad shoulders, I have always put down Men's/Unisex L.

    To my relief, the T shirt exchange was rather painless.

    Appearances of Elite Runners and Coaches
    I was in awe of some of the elite runners and coaches appearing at the Expo.

    Ultramathoner Dean Karnazes appeared at the North Face and WV booths.
    Ryan Hall appeared at the Asics and the Hall Steps Foundation booths.
    Bart Yassos greeted runners and signed books at the Runner's World booth.
    Famed coach, Hal Hidgon, greeted runners and signed books at his own booth, I believe.

    Fun Stuff
    In some ways, I am glad I am not winning this hefty trophy because I don't want to imagine the cost of shipping it or what my luggage fees would be.
    The Chicago Marathon Trophy.  The course preview is in the background.
    Nike was a huge sponsor for the event and had a large retail floor space for their apparel, shoes and Nike+ computers.  I recognized and said, "Hello," to Lauren, who works for Nike.  She works some of the running events in my area and was in town working at the Expo.

    Nike also had a names wall, listing the names of all the participants in the marathon.  A names wall also appears outside the Niketown store in Chicago, IL.
    The Nike names wall proclaimed, "We are all marathoners."
    It took me a short while, but I eventually found my name, "Mae Lee."
    In the VW booth, they had the Doodle Bug.
    Now kids, don't try this at home now.
    Bank of America also had a photo booth were you can pose for a pic in front of a green screen, and they'll insert a background into the back.

    Those who love to shop can also do some serious damage to their wallets.  Plenty of runners clothing and accessories to choose from.  All the big names were there:  Nike, Brooks, Asics, New Balance, the North Face and Mizuno.

    Currently, I seem to have everything.  I spent less than $40.  I purchased an Asics T shirt, 2 Accel Gels and a packet of orange-flavored Endurox R4.

    The food samples I paid most attention to was the following:
    1. Gatorade - Official course fluids.
    2. Accel Gel - Official course gel.

    Expo:  Saturday
    I also stopped by the Expo briefly on Saturday.

    I ran into the Prez.  He and a couple of frequent marathoners founded the Marathon Maniacs and later founded the Half Fanatics.

    The Prez and Me.
    I also stopped by the New Balance booth.
    Khalid Khannouchi appeared at the New Balance and Gatorade booths.  He won the Chicago Marathon twice and is the American world record holder for the marathon.

    The Course Seminar
    I only attended 1 seminar over the course of the Expo.  It was the Course Seminar, which brought some anxiety to my race day.

    The Good:
    Aid stations are a block long or longer.

    The Bad:
    1. Course of 6 hours and 30 minutes is based on gun time, not chip time.
    2. Uh, oh...  I had signed up for the event thinking it was 6 hours and 30 minutes chip time.
    3. I heard there were 45,000 participants for this event, leaving me in way back.
    4. I was told that they do leave The Finish opened for slower folks, but they might have to use sidewalks and stop signs along the way.
    5. Also, the aid stations won't be opened past a certain point when the end vehicle goes thru.
    Training Going In
    I did 3 - 20 mile wogs going into the Chicago Marathon.
    1. The Best:  4:11:xx
    2. The Worst:  4:31:xx  ( @ Mile 16: felt overheated and @ Mile 19:  cramped up)
    Given the times of my 20 mile wogs, this can get awfully close to 6 hours and 30 minutes gun time.

    I left the Expo with some anxiety.

    I'll try to cover my Chicago Marathon within the next couple of days.

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Grand Opening - Road Runners Sports, Campbell, CA. Event date: 11/13/10.

    This event is a bit far for me, but it may work for someone out there:

    Grand Opening
    Road Runner Sports - Campbell
    877 E. Hamilton Ave Campbell, CA 95008
    (408) 796-6979

    Event date:  11/13/10.
    Time listed:  9 am to 2 pm

    VIP's get 20% off.
    There will be raffles.
    Meet Shoe Dog.
    Sports bra fittings.
    Expo booths from 9 am to 2 pm.

    Sounds like a fun event!!!

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    Dean Karnazes Talk and Book Signing, Fleet Feet Menlo Park, CA. Event date: 10/27/10 at 7 pm.

    Dean Karnazes will be doing a talk and book signing at the following:

    Fleet Feet Menlo Park
    859 Santa Cruz Avenue
    Menlo Park, CA 94025
    (650) 325-9432

    Date:  10/27/10
    Starts:  7 pm

    It doesn't hurt to ring up the store to confirm as the date approaches.

    Good luck!

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    New Course and Event PR: Nike Women's Half Marathon.

    Finished the 2010 Nike Women's Half Marathon today in San Francisco, CA.

    "I Run to Be" was the slogan for this year's Nike Women's Marathon and Half Marathon.
    It was cold and started to rain during the middle of the event.

    Garmin:  2:50:09, a new course and event PR.

    I was quite surprised as I hadn't train on hills recently and had been focused so much on the supposed flat and fast Chicago Marathon.

    More details about my Nike Women's Half Marathon to be posted before next week's end.

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    Gone Hiking at the Rocky Ridge 5k.

    OK.  I became the hiking tortoise today at Brazen Racing's Rocky Ridge event all in the name of a tech T.  Yes, folks.  I did it for a T shirt.

    Brazen Racing generally does challenging trail events around the greater San Francisco Bay Area.  Perhaps, once in a blue moon they do a flat and fast one.

    Las Trampas where the Rocky Ridge events were held.  San Ramon, CA.
    Too Early Might Be Bad for You.
    I woke up too early and didn't get lost on the way over, which meant I got there when it was pitch black dark.

    As I was walking from the dirt parking area, passed a gate and then down a dirt trail to the set up area, I kept thinking a mountain lion might just jump on me and make a meal out of me.  Another lady who arrived after I did said she thought the same thing as she was making her way through the darkness to the set up area.

    The Start and The Finish.

    Chip Timing.  Must return chip afterwards, or else...
    Nice single track in the shade.

    The Mile Markers were well done.  In addition, there was flour to mark off confusing intersections.
    Nice flat patch.
    Oh, how I wish everything was pancake flat!

    Challenging Events.
    I was told that their Rocky Ridge Half Marathon, 10k and 5k were their most challenging events.  The Half Marathon featured an elevation change of almost 4,000 feet.  The 10k had an elevation change of almost 1,500 feet.  And, the 5k event I did had an elevation change of almost 800 feet.

    For the 5k, the big accent up hill started at around Mile 1.75.  It was a genuine slog fest.  A few folks even stopped along the way up to catch their breaths. 
    Looking down from near the top.

    Those thinking of flying downhill better take care.  It was steep enough where one had to slow down or risk injury.

    There wasn't much to see out there.
    The Spectators.

    The weather started to get warm, but shade never seemed too far away along the course.
    Enjoying the Shade.

    Afterwards, I celebrated my hike with an It's It, which Brazen Racing is known for.
    It's It.
    By the Calories. 
    I kinda of feel guilty for munching down on the It's It.  It has 340 calories, while my hike only burned up 298 calories.

    I then reasoned that I have the Nike Women's Half Marathon the next day, so I will burn up those calories and then some the next day.

    I also ate a couple of slices of watermelon, some orange slices, 1/2 a bagel with Nutella and 2 small pieces of chocolate chip cookies.

    The Bling and Shirt.
    The Bling.
    The Shirt.

    I had a fun hike today.