Moms RUN San Jose

For Moms who run, by Moms who run…Moms RUN this Town!

Making a Dream a Reality by Judie W.

My Ironman Race Experience…The weekend started on Thursday when Aleks and I went up to Windsor to check in.  I was so glad to be there with someone else as it was all a bit overwhelming.  We drove up in the morning and got our race numbers, all the gear bags and a very lovely Ironman Vineman backpack to put it all in.  After having a quick browse around the pretty small expo, we went to the athlete briefing.  As always, the briefing was anything but brief but it was good to get the information and actually feel like this was going to happen.  Then after a quick stop for food, we drove back to San Jose.

On Thursday night my kids had decorated my gear bags so I could find them easily and then I packed up all the stuff I needed for the race.  Friday morning I set off for the real deal.  I drove straight to the bike drop off.  The traffic was complete carnage with everyone trying to drop their bikes off and have a look at the river for the swim.

After dropping my bike I wanted to drive the bike course just to get a bit of a feel for it.  I’m really glad I did as it gave me a bit of confidence for the next day.  The course was marked really well and I didn’t get lost driving, so could see that I wouldn’t get lost during the actual race.  The hills didn’t seem too dreadful, either up or down.

My drive took me to the high school where I dropped off my run gear bag.  This was where I made the most mistakes.  I forgot to put in my running sunglasses, food for the run and a bottle of Nuun but these all turned out fine in the end really.  After dropping off my run bag, I checked into my hotel, had dinner, just chilled out for the evening and tried to get some sleep.

I woke up at 3am on Saturday morning.  My alarm was set for 4 but I just couldn’t get back to sleep.  So I had my breakfast, put on my swim clothes and warm clothes over the top and went downstairs.  The hotel had moved their complimentary breakfast earlier so it started at 4!  I had thought that there was a shuttle from the High School (the finish area) to the swim start but there wasn’t, so I thought I would have to drive to the swim start, leave my car there all day then get the shuttle (there was one afterwards) back to get it after the race.  That didn’t sound too appealing, so I was cheeky and when some people got up from breakfast to leave, I asked them if they had room for me in their car.  Luckily they did and I got a lift with some very nice people to the start.

The swim was utter carnage.  Firstly the river is very shallow in a few places – so much so that my hand was scraping across the floor as I swam.  Lots of people opted just to get up and walk instead.  This caused a few problems because the walkers were slower than the swimmers so were just in the way.  Secondly though, people were just really aggressive.  There was lots of pushing and shoving – me also after a while!  It was just hard to find space to swim.  My swim time was 1:18.  My aim was to be out of transition by 1hr 30, so I am pleased with this time.  If I do another Ironman, I’d line up with the 1:10-1:20 people rather than 1:20-1:30 and hopefully it would be a bit easier to swim properly rather than trying to do lots of overtaking.

Transition was really funny.  You get out the water and there are people there to get your wetsuit off.  So I just had to sit on the mat and someone pulled and pulled!  Then I found my beautifully decorated gear bag and went to the women’s changing tent.  It was such a fun atmosphere in there.  We were all smiling and telling stories of our epic swim, but also trying to get ready for the bike.

On the way out of transition, I saw Aleks.  She had done a faster swim but slower transition so we got our bikes at the same time.  She raced off to do a fabulous bike split.  And I was off on the bike.  The first half went really well.  I was fast and confident.  It is quite a hilly course – not big scary hills but just rolling constant ones.

The second half was when the tiredness kicked in.  By mile 70 (nope, still can’t get over the incredible distances!) I was seriously flagging and by mile 80 I decided I had to give myself a break.  I told myself just to sit up and go slow for a while just to get some strength back.  It worked and by the nastiest section of the course – mile 95-100 – I felt much better.

The bike was really fun.  Lots of people overtook me as I’m on the slower side but I also overtook quite a few people.  There would be sections where I’d overtake someone on an uphill, they’d overtake me going downhill and we’d continue that for a while.  There was a guy in a blue shirt that I think I passed about 8 times and another guy with a black aero helmet that kept passing me but I don’t remember me overtaking him!  He probably stopped at more aid stations or something.  Then there were other people like the girl in the patterned dress and the woman with the pink bike.  After a couple of to and fro’s we would have a quick chat on the way past each time.  It was a fun atmosphere.

The last few miles of the bike were really just a slog.  After the hill just before 100, it was just trying to pick off each mile until I got to transition.  The second transition was similar to the first.  Someone took my bike off me and I got my run gear bag and went into the tent.  I think I took about 10 minutes that time and then it was off on the run.

The run course was 3 loops of an out and back, which was really great.  It broke it up into really manageable sections.  Each was about 4 miles – just a neighborhood run with Darlene and Sarah.  The course was also mainly rolling hills and the secret of Ironman seems to be that almost no-one runs the whole thing.  So I walked through the aid stations and many of the hills.

The first lap was probably the hardest as it felt like there was just so far to go and my legs were completely dead after the bike.  I saw Aleks on the start of my second lap and end of her second.  She was doing great and seeing her gave me a huge boost.  She overtook me near the end of my second lap, when she had just a mile or so to go.  She was running with her husband and looked so strong!

The second lap was when they brought out the chicken bouillion.  This is famed in Ironman as being the best pick-up in the world, and they were right.  It was like nectar.  It is just really salty, warm broth – exactly what you need during the run.  My second lap was pretty uneventful but at the end of it, I got my run special needs bag.  The volunteers thought I was really funny because I put all the contents in the trash and kept the bag – my daughter had decorated it and as we weren’t getting the special needs bags back, I wanted to keep it.  (I also kept my bike special needs bag.)

The run was a lot quieter than the bike.  People were friendly but not really chatty.  We were all just in our own spaces trying to get it done.  I did pass a guy who was 75 – I think he was the oldest I saw.  He was very chatty and had lots of advice.  This wasn’t his first Ironman.  (We all have our ages written on our left calf so it was easy to see how old people are.)

Then near the end, I was walking and trying to keep up with another woman who was also walking.  She was really fast so I couldn’t catch her until I started running again.  She was only on her second lap and had to walk fast just to make the cut-off.  I felt so dreadful for her as it didn’t look like she was going to make it, but I really hope she did.  That was the worst thing about the final bit of the run – seeing people going out on their final lap and not being sure if they would make the cut off.

The third lap was when it started to get dark.  Going out was ok but coming back I really wished I had a head torch.  I think I lost a bit of time because I just couldn’t see and was more wary of where I was putting my feet.  Just after mile 23, my watch alarm went off.  (I have a daily alarm at 9:15pm to tell me to go to sleep.)  I realized that if I pushed it, I could go under 15 hours.  My goals before the race were first to finish the bike under the cut-off, next to finish the run under 17 hours and finally to finish under 16 hours.  Under 15 just didn’t seem possible.   But when my alarm went off, I knew I could do it if I just pushed.  So I did!  I know my time for the final lap was the slowest but I did push my hardest for it.  My marathon time was only 20 minutes longer than my marathon personal best!  (That’s definitely something I’ll need to do some work on.)

And then you get to the turnaround where it says finish one way, more laps another way.  There was another 5 minutes of running after that but you don’t know that – you just have to keep going.  You feel all happy because you have done all the laps but you still have to keep pushing and I had no idea how far I had to go because they didn’t have a marker for 26 miles.  Keeping myself going for those minutes was so hard.  I just wanted to walk or sit down but of course I didn’t and kept on running.  Going through the finish chute is surreal.  I have dreamed for so long about it and it really didn’t disappoint.  The announcer says “Judie Wilcox, you are an Ironman!” and you run through massive floodlights so you can’t really see anything.

I didn’t know what my finish time was until much later.  I did check my watch and knew I’d finished under 15 hours – woo hoo! But I didn’t know any more than that as I didn’t have my phone to look it up.  With the rolling swim start it is hard to know exactly and the finish clock showed the time from the elite start.  To be honest, I didn’t really care much about anything just that I had finished.

After the race I went to the food area and got pizza.  I don’t eat pizza usually but I figured that I didn’t really care.  It was perfect!  Once I got my morning clothes bag back I wanted to put my warm-up pants back on.  I think that was one of the hardest parts of the day!  I must have looked so funny trying to get them on but it was so hard getting my legs high enough!  Aleks’ husband had picked up my bike and other gear bags.  We had to pick up our bikes by midnight and seeing as I wasn’t expecting to finish until near to midnight, knowing that someone else was collecting my bike took a huge weight off my mind.  Thank you Nikolai.

Then I had to walk back to my hotel.  It took about 30 mins and was good to keep my legs moving.  The only problem was that I didn’t actually know how to get there so I had to ask at the info desk.  The lovely volunteer there looked it up on her phone for me.

Once back, I had a shower.  That’s when I find all the places that have chafed because they sting as the water hits them.  My heart rate monitor and bra were the main culprits.  I have another nasty welt on my back from the bra clasps but as that happens during most of my long runs, I wasn’t surprised.  My little toes are just big blisters but other than that, I’m relatively ok.  My legs are completely beaten up obviously and my arms are tired.

Sunday was the athlete celebration banquet and awards ceremony.  More importantly I could now to go the shop and buy all the things that I couldn’t bring myself to buy before.  I wanted a 140.6 sticker for my car.  I wanted a t-shirt.  I would have bought pretty much anything that says I am an Ironman.  In the end I bought a lovely hoodie and a few other bits and pieces.  The breakfast was really good, healthy food but I just wanted a proper breakfast, so after I picked up my bike from Aleks, I went back to my hotel and ate properly!

It was a truly amazing experience.  I’m not sure I’ll do it again any time soon as the training was brutal but once the kids are busy with their own lives, maybe I will.  The woman who I drove to the swim start with is in her 60’s and just did her 7th Ironman, so there is still time.

The thing to take away from this whole thing is that you can do it.  I have no idea what your “it” is, but I know you can do it.  Whatever “it” is, find out what you need to do to get there.  You might need to train to even get to the start of the training plan – I did!  But have that goal and work for it.  Always have your goal in your mind and every day do something towards it.  That might be training but that also might be resting and recovering.  It might take you a long time to reach your goal but I know you can do it, because I did. I am an Ironman!!

 

 

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Reflections – Big Sur International Marathon

The Story of my 1st Marathon – Big Sur, April 2015  Guest post by Alejandra Chavez

I went to bed around 9pm the night before and got up a couple of times as I always seem to do before race-day.  But then eventually, one of the times I looked at my phone and it was almost 3:20am — it was time to get up! The shuttle would be picking me up at the hotel at 4am. I thought it was a great sign when the bus that I got on was a Pajaro Valley Unified School District bus (the school district I attended in Watsonville and where my mom currently works).

I tried to nap on the bus, but I could hear the runners around me so I was in and out of sleep. Some of them were making the mistake of paying attention to the route – a big no, no. I looked at my watch when it was finally time to get off the bus – 5:22am. I guess we had been on the bus for awhile.

There was a lot of time spent waiting for the race to start.  However, before I knew it – it was time to start gathering in the corrals. As I was making my way to the corral, I finally saw some familiar MRTT faces in the sea of runners: Wendy, Josephine, and Ann. We exchanged hugs and good wishes.  I made my way towards Star, the 4:45 pacer. When they started to sing the Star Spangled Banner, I remember closing my eyes and just having a moment – wow! I’m really doing this! I was already feeling overwhelmed and I began to cry tears of joy. It was crazy to think that I was taking on my first marathon.

I had everything I needed for race day, including prayer cards that sweet Maria Trees made for me, 1 bible verse for every mile. Eventually it was go time!  The first 2 miles seem to fly by and they felt nice. I remember small groups of people along those early miles – near the Big Sur campgrounds. They came out to cheer us on.  There was an older woman who was out in her bathrobe playing her guitar and singing a cheezy song.

I was in a happy place those first few miles. One of the most memorable moments came when we turned a corner after mile 9 and we got our first glimpse of Hurricane Point. It was a sight to behold, not because of the incline but for its sheer magnificence and beauty. It was breathtaking.  You had Hurricane Point in the distance and you could see the Taiko drummers at the bottom. I was still in a happy place and honestly wasn’t that scared of Hurricane Point. Our pacer did a great job of getting us up that hill by running for 2 mins/walking 1 minute. The whole time we were going up I channeled my time on the switchbacks at Rancho. I drew on that training and pretended that I was just back at the switchbacks with Patti, Suki, & Monica during one our regular runs. This made it so much more do-able.  And then we came to the Bixby Bridge which was another magical moment, with a gentleman playing the piano on the side of Highway 1!

Runners crossing a Bridge

Running Bixby Bridge

The first 14 miles felt awesome! I was feeling great and really enjoying the experience, the scenery, everything.  I was feeling so good that I wondered, should I try and go faster? But everyone had warned me about those hills!  I couldn’t break away yet. At that point I thought, maybe I can speed up at mile 20 (ha, ha, ha).

It was after we had crossed the half-way mark that my legs probably felt the consequences of Hurricane Point.  Even though  I felt fine going up, they were starting to get a bit tired. Sometime during mile 15 I decided to put in the headphones and listen to my music.  The music helped and I started to get lost in the miles. I made mistake of choosing an old playlist, but it created quite a moment as Florence & The Machine’s Dog Days came on. As the chorus came on I reflected on how the dog/or dark days are over for me – the old me that wasn’t exercising and didn’t have as much joy in her life – she is gone. That life is gone.  I cried tears of joy as I thought about all the changes that had taken place and now here I am – running a friggin’ marathon!

At mile 20, I was still hanging in there.  I remember a little girl on the sidelines saying “only 6 more miles to go!” 6 miles actually didn’t sound that bad.  It was at mile 21 that things got a bit hazy.  I hit the wall somewhere around mile 22/23. It is hard to put into words what my legs were experiencing at that point, when all I wanted to do was walk. Please can we just walk?!  Legs…..are…..so….tired.  At mile 23, my legs were so ready to part ways with our pacer, Star.

But I couldn’t leave Star, the pacer, who became my running coach. She kept us entertained during the early miles with pacing stories and now she was proving to be a heaven-sent running coach. I needed her words of encouragement: She told us that we had the strength within us, to believe in ourselves, and that this was the day we got to cash in on all of the months of training. She told us to think about our loved ones waiting for us at the finish line who believed we could do this and to draw on their strength. I had to stay with her! And I did think about my friends and family who believed I could do this, when I was not even fully convinced.  My mind said you have to stay with Star – you  have been with her for too long to quit now and her words are helping! You can still finish this race in 4:45.

Alejandra and pacer Star

Alejandra with pacer Star

 

When I saw the 25 mile marker – I thought OMG I’m at mile 25 and OMG there’s another hill!!! But after I climbed that hill I finally felt like I could break away from Star and pick up the pace. It was UNBELIEVABLE to see the finish line. And when the finish line was near I could hear my son, “Mommy! Mommy!” I caught a glimpse of my family and blew a kiss.

It was amazing to cross the finish line, to have powered through the pain, to come out on the other side and to know I had not quit.  It is incredibly empowering to get to the point where it is no longer your legs carrying you forward – you are running with your heart and your mind. You come into contact with a strength and power that had always been within you, but that you’d never tapped into before.  That is the power of the marathon.

God willing, I’ll get to have a new 26.2 journey as I take on the NYC Marathon this fall.

About the Author: Alejandra has been running since 2011 and she joined MRTT in the spring of 2014. She is a mother of two boys: ages 10 and 6. She works for a local nonprofit that is working on issues around homelessness in Santa Clara County.

Alejandra Big Sur Finish

Run a Marathon – CHECK!

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Little Baby Fast Steps Going Up the Hill

This was my mantra at the 2014 Big Sur International Marathon this past weekend.  “Little baby fast steps going up the hill”….say it with a steady cadence and it can get you up those big hills on Highway 1 with pretty decent form.  This was a FUN race! Yes, I said FUN because when you get 40-some mother runners together at 3 AM on a Sunday morning to run 26.2, 21 or the various distances of the relay…well, you get delirious, giddy FUN!!  Add in the beautiful views that you can only see from running on the “ragged edge” and what you have is a definite “bucket list” race that is challenging and oh-so-satisfying at the end.

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I signed up for this race because I was awake and on Facebook when registration opened.  It had only opened for 5 minutes and I get my first message from one of the moms from our San Jose Moms RUN thi town group. “Hey, are you going to sign up? It’s going to sell out soon!”  Conversation went back and forth: relay vs. 21-miler vs marathon, haven’t done that mileage before, girls weekend or bring the family, are the hills big or really, really, really big?

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In the end, I went for the 21-miler and thought I would use it as a gauge to see who well I would do for my September marathon.  I didn’t do too badly for my first over half-marathon length run.  One of the moms who I was running the 21-miler with injured her leg at the race so I did mostly run/walk with her…well, it was more like a run/walk/sing/dance/yoga/chant mantras/take pictures kind of race.  Anything to keep our legs moving for those 21 miles! We ended up getting separated towards the end and that was hardest part of the race for me.  Running sola after having 17 miles of conversation and fun…well, it just wasn’t the same.  I did catch up with another MRTT member who was running with her husband and that kept me going until the last mile when they decided to sprint to the end while I kept to my steady plod.

The finish was incredible though! 21 miles RUN and DONE!!

big sur IM button

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Books from Bug Virtual Race

Virtual races seem all the rage right now.  You can run a virtual race any time, any where – that’s the beauty of it! If you’re going to run the distance anyway, might as well get a medal for it, right?  One of my favorite sites for virtual races is the Fit4Life Race Series – great bling and they have tons of virtual races to keep you motivated if bling is your thing!

This past Thursday, August 15, 2013, the San Jose Chapter of Moms RUN this Town participated in a virtual race started by one of our virtual members.  I call her a virtual member because she lives in Washington, but really, Crissy is a true San Jose Mother Runner!  She’s one of those runners who travels for races and she’s been down to the SJ area enough that she qualifies to be one of us.  Now, if you ask her, Crissy will tell you she’s “just a wogger” but Crissy is much more than that!  Crissy is one of our most inspirational members! She created the Books from Bug Virtual Race to honor the memory of her daughter, Halleigh, who passed away due to epilepsy when she was 14 years old after battling the disease from the age of 8.  Crissy has also run 34 half marathons in 22 months to remember her precious, Bug.  All the proceeds from this virtual go to buying books which are then donated to hospitals, schools, libraries, shelters and other places to benefit kids age 3-14.  Since Crissy started the Books from Bug Virtual Race, books have been donated to facilities in 8 states and 2 countries.  Such is the power of a mother runner’s love!

As a mom who has also lost children, I know how devastating it can be….the sadness of losing  someone who you birthed can be paralyzing and numbing.  For me, running was what started me moving again. The simple “left foot, right foot” movement kept my sadness from totally consuming me and allowing me to move forward – not running away from the pain, but each footstep a way to honor my babies, my empty arms and make meaning of that pain.

For our Books from Bug Virtual Run, we had 7 mamas come out and run.  It was a beautiful summer day and we met at great park with an out and back running trail.  We each went our own pace, did our own miles and in our own way, honored Halleigh and all the babies and children who have left us too soon.

Our lovely mamas and kiddos after our run! Plus, the awesome medal and swag.

Our lovely mamas and kiddos after our run! Plus, the awesome medal and swag.

“Running in the New Normal”   for Lucas and Larissa, written Sept 2006.

Running through the Fall

Leaves crunch under my feet

Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot

Steady rhythm

Like a heartbeat

or the flap of (angel) wings.

I think about my babies

Born too early, born too small.

They will never feel the crisp autumn air

Or see the brilliant golds and reds against

a cloudless blue sky.

I have to see for them

Feel for them

A memory of lost opportunities

Lost What Ifs

Lost Possibilities

Lost Little Lives

How can I go on?

Left right, left right

Through the pain

Left right, left right

Through the sad beauty of death

Lack-luster red and gold beneath my feet.

I look up, I look ahead

Trusting that this season will pass

Leaves crunch under my feet

Left right, left right

And I move forward.

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Running MAD…The Right Way

Summers can be hectic and this summer was no different for our moms at the San Jose Chapter of Moms RUN this Town.  Our race calendar has been full with several of our moms doing local races as well as larger races like Ragnar.  Our chapter has also grown to over 230 mother runners!!  WOOHOO!!!

Two weeks ago, we had  25 running mamas participate in MRTT’s 2nd Annual Summer virtual race, RUNNING MAD!  We had an “Alice in Wonderland” theme for this race and let me tell you our mamas are MAD about running!  We were originally going to have a 6 AM start for the half-marathon runners to beat the heat, but these mamas then requested (that’s right, they ASKED for it!) to start at 5:30 instead!!  CRAZY MOTHER RUNNERS!!!  Here they are at the start…

Running before the sun rises doesn't phase these Crazy Awesome Mother Runners!

Running before the sun rises doesn’t phase these Crazy Awesome Mother Runners!

Our 10K and 5K runners started at a more reasonable 7 AM.

We're ready to run this MAD Race!!

We’re ready to run this MAD Race!!

Some of our moms brought their kids with them (older kids as well as the little ones in the strollers).  Some of our moms ran for time and some enjoyed a lovely early morning walk with some great swag at the end!

Mad Swag!!

Mad Swag!!  We had a medal, a koozie, and a Running Mad for Boston bracelet. Not shown are the nail polish, Burt’s Bees lip gloss and lip balm, various yummy energy bar samples, a hair tie and other little treats!

 

We all enjoyed some post race refreshments at the end.  We had some lovely mamas who came to cheer us on and who brought yummies to enjoy as well.  If there is a reason to wake up early and run, these mamas are IT!!

This past Friday, we also hosted a running form clinic at a local running store, Running Revolution.  The clinic was sponsored by Newton Shoes.  Brad from Newton Shoes explained to us as well as showed us how the correct running form can really improve your ability to run longer and faster.  I definitely learned a lot!  Some of the drills were funny but when done right, you can really tell the difference.

So, "left, right, left, right" and not "right, left, right, left"? =)

So, “left, right, left, right” and not “right, left, right, left”? =)

High knee drill – I’ve only seen this done in the movies….

No, we are not doing the Sloppy Swish dance from SNL…it’s a running drill!!(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBzG0CCAx4U)

Yes, mother runners know how to have fun on a Friday night!!  Raffles and refreshments ended this clinic on a high note (and by “high”, I mean “great” – we’re not “those” kind of moms!).

Our fall race calendar is getting full and there are still some great races to be done in August!

On a personal note, I have just started back to running after having my babe in April.  Yes – it was a long hiatus and I am paying dearly for it, but I have enjoyed sleeping in and nursing these past few months.  After a few “false starts”, I feel I am back in the game and my mind is set that I am getting back into my usual running routine.  I have a few races scheduled for this fall – the Title 9K, SJ RnR, the Mermaid 10-miler in SF – so I need to get to running!

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Running…it’s a “Girl” thing…Race Reviews for the Hellyer HM/10K/5K and the JUGS Virtual 10K

I know it’s more than a “girl” thing – and fact is, we’re not “girls” here – we are women, mothers, wives/partners/lovers, sisters, daughters, friends, workers, advocators…the list can go on of all the different “hats” we wear every day of our lives being female in this world.

But one of the things that I LOVE about being part of the running community and being female is the connection you feel to others- whether you know them personally or not.  The simple fact that you have run a mile or 2 or 13.1 or 26.2 with another person creates a bond that usually lasts longer than the run.  The added bonus of being female enhances that connection since (I believe) most women live in relation to others.

In the past two weeks, the women of the SJ-MRTT have run several races that have proven once again that moms DO RUN this town!!  And we run it, not just for ourselves but to honor others as well.

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On March 2, we had moms running the Hellyer Half Marathon/10K/5K; the Kings Mountain Trail Race and the SF Color Run.  That’s right – 3 races in one day and our moms were there!!!  I went to the Helllyer Race which was a lot of fun (even though I didn’t run it).  I did hear from our other mamas that the Kings Trail Race and the SF Color Run were a blast!!

The Hellyer Half Marathon/10K/5K is part of the Brazen Racing Race series.  They really put on a well organized race that is walker and hiker friendly.  This race was lead by a bunny on a bike – I guess the premise is that the runners are a pack of dogs chasing the cute little rabbit.

Yeah, I know this is the 2011 medal, but the premise is still the same....

Yeah, I know this is the 2011 medal, but the premise is still the same….

While I am not a proponent of this (poor bunny!), I did really like the scenic route, the food and the fun atmosphere at this race.  We had 4 mamas running this race and they all had great time!

Moms RUN Hellyer!

Moms RUN Hellyer!

Hellyer Ann E Hellyer Ann E 2 Hellyer Atsuko and Pat

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On Sunday, March 3, we also did a virtual 10K for JUGS which stands for Just Us Girls Sharing, a non-profit from Walla Walla, WA who help give financial support to people who are undergoing cancer treatment.  One of our members was being honored by JUGS.  She’s undergone 3 battles with cancer and is currently in treatment again.

So, if she (and countless others) can go through chemo and radiation and still run…then so can we!!  I am always so amazed and humbled at how strong our bodies (and minds) are.  And how hard we can push ourselves – whether it’s running or staying up late with a sick child or having enough patience to not yell when they spill the milk – AGAIN.

We had 6 mamas running this virtual 10K and a lovely day to go along with our lovely run.

JUGS Janice JUGS Virtual 10K post3Mar13

Will run for JUGS!  Boo to cancer!!

Will run for JUGS! Boo to cancer!!

And to top it all off, check out this great BLING!! It’s so unique and fabulous! It’s a necklace and you can interchange the setting inside.  How cool is that??

Yes, one of the reasons why I run is for the BLING!!

Yes, one of the reasons why I run is for the BLING!!

But wait there’s more….our mamas have been busy so look out for MORE race reviews….

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The Campbell Valentine 10K/5K Fun Run – Race Review

We had a great time at the Campbell Valentine Fun Run this past Saturday, Feb 9th. We had about 25 moms show up to run, plus a few dads and kids.  For some of the moms, this was their 1st race since joining our group.  Here’s a pre-race picture of some of us with the Campbell Heart!

Who loves to run?? MOMS love to run!!

Who loves to run?? MOMS love to run!!

There were booths set up  from Whole Foods and few other vendors (no, I didn’t get a picture, but I will next time!).  Our moms really liked the “hometown” feel of the race – they had volunteers cheering on the runners, several water stops, friendly runners who cheered each other on.  It was also small enough that it wasn’t overwhelming for those running a race for the 1st time, but large enough that it felt like a “real race”.  There were also a variety of runners – young, old, various body types, families enjoying the race environment and those looking for a PR.  The overall female winner of the 5K was 47 years old (see results here) and the overall female winner of the 10K was 49 years old (see results here)!!!  How AWESOME is that?!?  We had several moms run with strollers (singles and a double) – the paved path and volunteers directing the way made it easy to navigate the route.  And a few of our moms PR’d on this route.  YAY!!!  One of our moms, Lorena, even won 3rd place in her age division for the 10K.  Way to go, Lorena!!

Some of us post race.  Our own, Lorena, won 3rd place in her age division! WOOHOO!!

Some of us post race. Our own, Lorena, won 3rd place in her age division! WOOHOO!!

There was a different out-n-back trail for the 5K versus the 10K.  For those doing the 10K, there were several places where runners had to go single file (so not double stroller friendly at those points).  There were also several bridges to cross or go under which could get confusing, but the volunteers did a great job of steering runners to the right route.  The swag bag was full of yummy goodies, but the shirts could be updated to tech shirts with a women’s cut option (currently they are unisex cotton shirts).  Cute design though!

Here's a lovely volunteer with a shirt (courtesy of the City of Campbell Website)

Here’s a lovely volunteer with a shirt (courtesy of the City of Campbell Website)

 

Overall – we had a GREAT time at this race and would definitely do it again next year!  The Campbell Valentine 10K/5K Fun Run is definitely a well run race, with great people running and volunteering/working the race.  If you’re looking for a race with that home town feel (even if you’re not a Campbellian…Campbellite??) – check out this race for 2014!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Love, Love, Love!!!

Love, Love, Love!!!

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Running in a Winter RUNNER LAND!

Running during the winter is not that much different than running during the summer here in San Jose, CA, but it was a little chilly (read: 60 degrees) this past Saturday when our chapter ran our 1st Annual Moms RUN this Town Winter RUNNER LAND Virtual 5K/10K/Half Marathon.

We had 12 moms attend (13 including me) and some moms came just to cheer the rest of us on.  We also had a couple of dads and a handful of kids join in the festivities.  This was our biggest turn out yet for a group run (12 is about 1/4 of our current membership).

Maybe it was the lure of the bling…although some ladies showed up just to run  and didn’t even sign up for the medal.

Ooooo - shiny!! Love the sparkle of our Winter Runnerland Medal
Ooooo – shiny!! Love the sparkle of our Winter Runnerland Medal

 

Maybe it was getting recognition for running a route that we run almost weekly…although, the “bow tie” route that the half marathoners had to do which took them past the start line/finish line/water stop 3 times probably wasn’t a favorite.

This was our "Ode to Baywatch" running pose!
This was our “Ode to Baywatch” running pose! (Thanks for the pic, Lorena)

Or maybe it was just the camaraderie of getting together with other like minded women to run on a beautiful Saturday morning.

Yeah – that was probably it!!

Some of our lovely mamas at our 1st Annual Winter Runnerland Race
Some of our lovely mamas at our 1st Annual Winter Runnerland Race

And the winners are:

But we were all winners that beautiful morning!!
But we were all winners that beautiful morning!!

Rachel R. – 10K – 1st Place

Me – I didn’t place, but I bought the food!

Lorena G. – Half Marathon – 1st Place

Aleks T. – Half Marathon – 2nd Place

** And check out Aleks’ review of the race on her blog here.

 

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The San Jose Color Run 2012 – Race Review

One of the things I love about running is how you can involve your entire family.  Junella, mom extraordinaire of 4 and training for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in October, did the Color Run in San Francisco with her family (the day before she PR’d at the 10K Jungle Run – that race review coming next).  Want to encourage your kids to run and stay physically fit? Check out our kids’ virtual race at Kids RUN this Town. Or just show them these great photos! Gives a totally new meaning to “fun run”!

This is Junella’s race review (as told to me via email interview).  To find out more about Junella, check out the “Moms who RUN San Jose” page.

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MRTT: Tell us the basics about the race.

Junella: The Color Run 5K- July 14, 2012. Route: Candlestick park.  Flat terrain that ran around the 49ers stadium (parking lot). Registration was $35 and went up to $55 after they opened a 2nd wave. We did the 8am wave.  There was also a 1pm wave. I don’t know how many people were there but it was fairly large. I know they sold out quickly. When I bought it on the first day it sold out in a few hours.

MRTT:  What made you decide to do the Color Run?

Junella: Anything that looks like fun, I’ll do!!!!!  Especially getting dirty 🙂  This was the 1st time I’ve run it.  My whole family ran. (Or rather socialized and slowly walked through the “dusting” to get as dirty as we could).  We were joined by 2 other families from my children’s school.  They had 6 year olds and 8 year olds.  There were 18 of us total.

MRTT: Did you do anything special to prepare for it?

Junella: No preparation needed.   We planned to walk it since we had a 10K the following day.   We only had to make sure we were wearing white.:)

pic from Junella 7/2012

Minty fresh!
Junella and family before the Color Run.

MRTT:  What was your favorite aspect of the walk? What was your least favorite?

Junella:  Favorite part was getting DIRTY/COLORED!!!  I’m so into that kind of stuff and so were my family.  We were really looking forward to this one.

MRTT:  What was your least favorite?

Junella: It was too short.  🙂  We honestly all wanted to get more dirty.

pic from Junella 7/12

More dirty? Did you say “more dirty”? Not sure that’s possible, Junella….=)

MRTT: Did you think the walk was well organized?

Junella:  Yes!   Especially loved all the free samples and music/party at the finish.  Bib pick up was fast and quick.  Only unfortunate thing was that it was in SF Sports Basement.  Would have loved a South Bay option.  They had 1 water station and NO marked miles (I don’t think people cared).  The atmosphere was FUN, not RUN. 🙂

MRTT:  Was there any “swag” (i.e. free stuff) for the walk?

Junella:  Great goodies!  T-shirt. Woman’s Brooks tech shirt (had to be picked up @ Hillsdale Mall), free bag of color, tattoos, sweatband.  You could buy additional swag at bib pick up.  Well priced too!  Kids shirts $10, $1 for silicon wristbands.  Free samples at the end: kombucha (I think) a fermented tea drink, coconut water, pop chips, slurpees, and fuze.  Some great stuff!

MRTT: Would you do the Jungle Run again?

Junella: YES!  We all can’t wait.

pic from Junella 7/12

“Yeah, Mom, we can’t wait until next year! “
Great action shot!

MRTT: Would you recommend this race to others?

Junella:  YES!!!  Many people who saw our pictures wish they had joined us (same effect I had for the Warrior dash).  So I’m going to pull together more families for next year.   If they keep early registration to $35 then it is definitely worth the $$$.  I’m not sure if I would be happy to pay for my whole family if I had to pay the $50.  I would definitely be on the hunt for some kind of discount code!!

MRTT: Do you want to share how long it took you to finish?

Junella:  Honestly, I don’t know.  I think it took us a little over an hour.  We hung out at all the color stations.

MRTT: Any other stories you want to share about this race?  What about the clean up?

Junella: There are  quite a few from here!
a.  Contacts were dry from the dust.  I couldn’t take it so I was about to threw it on the ground.  Husband saw me and said, “No way!”, that I should save it because he knew that I would later complain of being one-eyed.  He said to pick it back up and stick it in my mouth.  It sounded gross, but if you saw how dirty we were and how much was already going in my mouth and eyes.  It was no biggie!   In the end, no more dry eyes 🙂
b.  The blue color was a fun group of volunteers who were throwing the dye.  We called it, “Smurf Land”.  I have a picture of my son with one of the bluest guys there and my friend who’s teeth were all blue.  🙂
c.  Orange had a lot of dust too.  There was so much on the ground that my kids were making dust angels.  Pictures made it look like we were in the dessert.
d.  The Clean up.  OH MY!!!  We went to eat afterwards (no cleaning up).  It was really fun to see all the color in everyone’s ears, nose, hair, and underarms.  Haha!  Many of us shared the colorful baths we all took.  The kids LOVED their rainbow showers.  I have a pic of the bathtub when I soaked our clothes.  It was ORANGE.

pic from Junella 7/12

Tickled pink and purple and orange! Great smiles after the Color Run but before the “orange bathtub” incident…

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Looking for another color-filled race? While the next Color Run 5K won’t be coming back to San Francisco until July 2012,  there is the Color Me Rad 5K on Saturday, September 1st at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds.  Same concept – different name.  Another of our lovely members did that run as well! We’ll post her review here (after she gets back from a well deserve vacation).  In the meantime, you can check out fellow blogger, Brittany’s post about the race on Live.Learn.Love.

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Avon Walk for Breast Cancer 2012 – Race Review

It’s not really a “race”, but the San Francisco 2-Day Avon Walk for Breast Cancer (July 7-8, 2012) is certainly a worthy enough cause to be featured in our race reviews.  Our very own, Alison S., from the San Jose Chapter of Moms RUN this Town, did the walk this year.  This is her race review (as told to me via email interview).  To find out more about Ali, check out the “Moms who RUN San Jose” page.

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MRTT: Tell us the basics about the race.

Ali: I did the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer 2-Day. I believe there were around 3,000 walkers (give or take). It is a 39.3 mile walk through San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge and into the North Bay. Day one of the walked kicked off at Fort Mason. We walked down the Embarcadero, through the financial district, through China Town, up into Pacific Heights, down past the Palace of Fine Arts, through Chrissy Field, over the Golden Gate Bridge, through Sausalito, into Mill Valley and into Corte Madera. Day 2 was from Corte Madera, back the same way, over the Golden Gate and the directly back to Fort Mason

MRTT:  What made you decide to do the walk?

Ali: Back in March, a girlfriend of mine asked me if I wanted to walk in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. She and a few other friends had formed a team – Team Hooter Helpers. Since I have personally been touched by breast cancer (Mom is a 17 year survivor), it seemed impossible to say no.

Pic from Ali S., July 2012

Team Hooter Helpers – ready for action!!
What a great view!
(Yes, we’re talking about the bridge and the fog…but the ladies also ROCK!!)

MRTT: How did you prepare for the walk? Was it hard to raise money?

Ali: On average, I did 4-5 training walks a week, sometimes more. I walked 20-30 miles/week. We did a few endurance walks, but I think we probably could have done more. Fortunately other than a vacation, I didn’t have any training set backs.  There was a minimum donation of $1800. We did a number of fundraising events, such as dinner at Aqui’s and Sweet Tomatoes (where a portion of the proceeds were donated to the walk), a bunco fundraiser and letters and emails to our friends, family, colleagues, etc. begging for donations.

MRTT:  What was your favorite aspect of the walk? What was your least favorite?

Ali: Overall, the walk was an amazing experience. The enthusiasm everyone was emitting, was infectious! Over the entire course there were hundreds of people cheering for us, handing out candy, beaded necklaces, fruit, etc. There was a motorcycle crew that directed us where to go – of course, they were all decked out in pink and sparkles and decorated bras (even the men). There were several sweep teams that came around in decorated vans (hookers for hooters was my absolute favorite!!!) to pick up anyone that was injured or struggling. San Jose PD bike patrol was also on hand for the walk, riding along next to us to make sure we were safe. They were a great source of entertainment as well, dressed in tutus and bras, blaring girl power music. There were so many great aspects to the walk that I can honestly say that I do not have a least favorite moment…even after walking all day and being tired and sore.

MRTT: How did you feel at the start/middle/end of the walk?  Nervous, energized, needed to pee?

Ali: The morning of Day 1, Saturday, there was an opening ceremony. We had to be on the bus headed to Fort Mason no later that 5:45am. Since it was so early, my brain and body hadn’t quite figured out what it was doing up so early, so there weren’t a lot of nerves. I was, however, very excited to get the day and walk started.

MRTT: Do you want to share how long it took you to finish?

Ali: We walked 23.8 miles Saturday and 15.5 miles Sunday. While they didnt actually time the walk, we walked around 10 hours the first day (including rest stops and lunch) and around 6.5 hours the second day.

MRTT: Did you think the walk was well organized?

Ali: The walk is extremely well organized. You have the option of completing early check in online or you can check in at “Event Eve” the night before the walk. Every mile of the walk is marked (with exception to the miles immediately proceeding, on and preceding the Golden Gate Bridge) and there are pit stops (sometimes called Tit Stops :o) or rest stops every 2-4 miles.

MRTT:  Was there any “swag” (i.e. free stuff) for the walk?

Ali:  Free stuff!!! Everyone loves free stuff, right. While Avon does not give out medals, you do get a good amount of free stuff. You get a shirt when you sign up for the walk, fundraising incentives such as Marine World tickets, socks and shoe laces, tons for water, gatorade and snacks at each rest/tit stop, all meals are included and last but not least, another tee shirt when you finish the walk.

MRTT: Would you do the Avon walk again?

Ali: Hands down, no doubt, YES!!!  Of course I would recommend this walk. Not only is it for a great cause (and um, hello, EVERYONE has boobies!) it is also a great event that will push you beyond your
limits and comfort zone.

Pic from Ali s., July 2012

Finishing the Avon Walk and saving boobies – PRICELESS!!
Great job, Ali and Team Hooter Helpers!

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Next year, the San Francisco Avon Walk will be held on September 28-29, 2013.  If you’re interested in doing a great walk for a great cause, check out their website here.

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