Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving brought 4 days off!

Wow!!! Nothing like spending my favorite holiday recovering and sleeping!! I did some running, but not as much as I would have liked!

I started the holiday off with a bang, working until 11:48pm on Wednesday, and yes, I had a Turkey Trot early Thursday morning! Kristy and I had planned on running the Long Beach Turkey Trot 10K at 7:30am-yeah I just knew I'd go late Wednesday night. And I have been fighting major exhaustion and burnout on all fronts!!! So starting off the holiday with only 5 hours of sleep was not what I had in mind.

But what is a girl to do! I slept as long as I possibly could, good thing I live close to Long Beach! My son and I got to Long Beach and met Kristy, who had been fighting a holiday illness-she said she sounded like Darth Vader - I dont think she sounded that bad, but I know how it can suck running when you are sick. So I gave her the go ahead to make the "run-time" decision about running the 10K or dropping down to the 5K. She decided at the 5K turnaround that we would run the 5K-Yippee!!! My tired self was super happy!! But a part of me felt super guilty, since I had 6.2 miles on tap for the day!

But, I cherish the races I can run with friends, and had a blast!! I hope we can run this race, or another race every thanksgiving!

We finished in about 37 minutes..and we were not lucky enough to have the last digit that would have given us a pie!

But as we were walking away from the the finish line a very nice girl, who was getting ready to run the 10K after running the 5K asked if I wanted her pie!?? Um hell to the Yes!!!

So I got a pie!

happy me!!!

What were we to do now?? Chuck Chickens!

Yes, you heard it right, after running we went over to the "Chuck Chicken" tent to "Chuck Chickens" for charity. lets just say chucking a rubber chicken that has sand in it is alot harder than you would think!! I can throw a decent throw with a ball (lots of practice with Velcro) but wholly rubber chicken I looked like some sort of Super Bowl failure chucking a rubber chicken. We have video of it-we will not be showing it right now....

But we laughed! And you know what, that is very important!

It was a wonderful way to start my favorite holiday! Time running with my son and my dear friend, Kristy. What a great start to my Thursday!

We left the race and my son and I went back to the house-and yes, you guessed it, we ran some more!

I felt like I hadn't run enough-since 10K was on the training books for the day. So when we got back to the house, we immediately took Velcro out for a 2 mile run! It took us a little bit to get the legs back up to speed. Chucking chickens and sitting in the car makes them want to say "no"...but it sure was nice getting out again and adding to the mileage that we had already run! And of course, Velcro loved running with her family!!

I had 2 nice pleasant fun-filled runs with my son, my dog and my friend. I cant tell you how much I needed these runs! I have major running, work, life burnout! I have had sucky runs-runs that have caused me to cry and want to stop and give it all up! So I really needed a good positive running experience-and I got it on Thanksgiving!

And now we were heading up to the valley to eat!!

My dad and brother decided to have Thanksgiving at their house-so my son, Velcro and I drove up to spend the day in the valley.

It was really nice not to cook. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE cooking. But it was so nice to just sit and have everything taken care of....feet up, glass of wine in hand! nice!!


I slept 11 hours after my vegetarian Thanksgiving feast! Wow! Guess I was tired! Can't tell you the last time I slept that long! It felt great! And we proceeded to do much of nothing all day long! And it felt great!!!

It's really nice when my son comes home. makes me realize how much I miss him when he's at school.

Saturday, we planned on a trail run! I needed to take Velcro to hunt bunnies and I needed to put my shoes in dirt! My son came along as well, but seems to be dealing with an arch injury. So Velcro and i ran while he walked. I love the trails! Must get on them more and I think at some point I'll start running more trail races! it's just so hard to motivate to run any race when I'm working brutal hours!

But I forget how much I really enjoy trail running! And spending it with two of my family-fantastic!

Yes, my son got his hair chopped off during the holiday-yikes! freaked me out-I didn't want it that short....good thing hair grows!

I leave you with a picture of how most of the holiday days looked like. Don't let the sun fool you, it was chilly here in Southern California-and it was brilliant!!! I loved the weather this weekend!! if only the rain had lasted longer than one night!!

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday with their family! I did and am not really looking forward to a full week of work!!

And to top it all off, I had a LR fail today!! Just couldn't motivate this morning, and if I skip my run in the morning, it takes ALOT to get me out the door....yeah, it didn't happen!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Sunday 21st Nov - RUN 8.1 shitty miles (1:46)
Wednesday 24th Nov - RUN 2.11 miles (24:43)
Thursday 25th Nov - RUN 5.24 miles (1:02)
Saturday 27th Nov - TRAIL RUN 4.0 miles


And in case any of you are interested....there are 2 races coming up!

Santa to the Sea Half on December 12th 
Year to Year Fun Run 5K on December 31st

And of course it is mandatory that I start promoting and pushing my upcoming charity race, the Carlsbad Half Marathon in January for one of the races' official charities, Labrador Rescuers. This will be the 3rd year in a row I will be running for this amazing charity! If you can help in any way and with any amount of money, I will be forever grateful!!!! And so will the Labradors you have helped! Thank you so very much!

http://www.active.com/donate/labrescuers2011/PennySprague

If you feel you cant donate but would like to help, for the second year, www.gypsyrunner.com will be donating 20% of sales designated to my charity! All you have to do is shop! When you check out, just add "Penny/Labrador Rescuers" in the comment section and VOILA...you will have helped me raise much needed funds!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Santa Paws Drive for Shelter Animals

As most of you all know, I LOVE animals! And I have a bit of a zoo of my own! Since I really cant adopt anymore animals, I am trying to help the thousands of shelter animals who don't have a warm cozy place to sleep and a mom or dad to love. So many dogs and cats out there don't have a home and will spend the holidays alone and in a shelter. But we can help them! Santa Paws has started collecting toys, food, gift, cleaning supplies, gift cards and money to donate to shelter across the country! Can you help?

I will be starting my own donation box, that I will have at work, but will also be taking donations to give to Santa Paws drive, if you are interested in helping. I will be donating toys and gift cards for the animals at our local shelter. You can to..you can even set up a box at your work to collect lots of stuff for the shelter animals.

Here is the link to the Santa paws-it has all the info you need:

You will see the location of donation boxes all over the country. If you would like to start your own donation box you can contact the organizer at Justin@JustinRudd.com. You can also print out a flyer, start your own box and donate items for your local shelter. Here is the pdf file for your very own Santa Paws poster: http://www.hautedogs.org/santapawsposter8.5x11.pdf or this one 
Please help the shelter dogs and cats if you can!p th

Let me know if you'd like to mail a financial donation, gift card or toy for Santa paws....but if you check the website, they have donation sites all over the country!  Just check http://www.hautedogs.org/santapaws.html

Thanks so much!!

Penny, Velcro, Kodak, 3 Perf, Blossom and Skye


shelter dogs and cats if you can!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Marine Corp Marathon Race report

"I would never run a marathon unless I knew I would finish in about 4 hours and I wouldnt run Marine Corp Marathon in 6 hours and I sure wouldn't run it if I couldn't beat Oprah's time when she ran it..for that matter I'd want to beat "Puffy's" time he ran NYC"..... this is what was said to me when I was re-telling my Marine Corp Marathon weekend to some of my co-workers ... my race time, which was 6:12:06

Yeah, I cried. I cried at work after I was basically shot done 2 days after toeing the start line, running the race, beating that f-ing bridge and finishing my 4th marathon. Yeah, Congrats to me you slow ass runner-hell cant even call myself that-"jogger"...that is how I felt on Tuesday morning at work after I had accomplished ALOT in my book!

It took me so much to sign up for this race. In 2004, after running the NYC Marathon, I had decided that running marathons, which were great, were too hard for me to train for with my ridiculous work schedule! I never thought I'd run another one...and as I trained for Marine Corp, I honestly didn't think 1) I'd get on the plane 2) start 3) beat that godforsaken bridge and 4) finish but I did all of the above! Accomplishing those goals was a win for me-but I felt like a complete failure on Tuesday! I shook that feeling-but it was hard and it's still sometimes hard to call myself a "runner"...

I did get on that plane. I contemplated not getting on the plane when 6 days before the marathon I had a "recurring" pregnancy irritation rear it's ugly head...... GUYS and GALS....you can move onto the next paragraph if you don't want to hear or are squemish about how pregnancy and childbirth left me with a "little gift"...on Monday, 6 days before the marathon, I woke to horrible pain. The hemorrhoid that developed during childbirth was thrombosed. Lets just say walking was painful! I had to work and walk with a thrombosed hemorrhoid-how the hell was I going to run a marathon in 6 days?? I seriously thought about not going! But I "worked" on relieving the pain with the help of my parents-gotta love mom and dad-and was able to get "it" to the point that the pain was alleviated but it was still thrombosed.....so i got on the plane...
@mksinmd, @rshill37,@ultrarunnergirl, @Bklynrunner and @sarahstanley

I arrived in DC around 7:30pm and was immediately whisked away to the Friday tweetup hosted by @ultrarunnergirl . How cool is it that I can fly across the country and meet some amazing runners from Twitter, who I feel I know already! I love the running community! I love runners!

@mksinmd, ME, @sarahthequeen1, @AshinMO,@TinyJenna, @Bklynrunner

By around 9:30 or 10pm I was EXHAUSTED! We left and immediately realized we (Sarah, Ashley, Michelle and myself) we were starving! We were staying with Michelle in Maryland-so we headed back to her house and luckily found a PF Changs that was open and serving food late! Whew! I ate yummy food, had a glass of wine and was so ready to sleep!

Saturday

Saturday was expo day and "move-in" day into our Hotel and of course dinner! We headed into DC so that we could be at the expo around 11:30am. I wanted to also go see my TENNESSEE VOLS play SC at one of the local TENNESSEE bars in DC. Then we had to be back at the expo at 3pm for yet another tweetup!
@britishbulldog,me, @mksinmd and @allyspeirs
I collected my bib number, talked to a very polite marine, picked up my goody bag and of course bought 3 marine Corp marathon shirts. Hell, who knows when I'll run another marathon-might as well buy swag! Then we ran into @Allyspeirs and @Britishbulldog-"the fast kids". I felt in awe in their presence!!


Michelle and I were at the expo, Ashley and Sarah went sightseeing. So after our whirlwind expo jaunt, Michelle and I dashed to the bar to eat lunch and watch a little football. I had a delicious beer-nothing like a little carbo loading. Just before 3pm, we headed back to the expo to meet up with more "running frineds" and of course to finish walking around the expo. The next 2 pictures are thanks to @nycbklyngirl
@Jenzenator and moi

with @MsV

I met old friends and new friends. Friends I had met before and friends I hadn't met before. I love blogging and twitter running friends. Its so amazing that you can travel cross country and not be alone! So very cool!

@deefsu











We hung at the expo tweetup for about 10-15 minutes. I finally got to meet Dee who had flown up from FL to cheer us all on at MCM-wow!!! What a rockstar she is! 
I still had to wander around and so did Jennifer aka @Jenzenator. She had just flown into DC from New Orleans and was staying in the same Hotel as we were! So we had to "do the expo" before heading back to the hotel and dinner at 6pm!


Here are more Expo Tweetup pics:
@Jenzenator, me, @Bklynrunner and @Deefsu
We left the exp and finally were allowed to check in to our hotel room, The Capital Hilton. Nice hotel-had a view if the White House when you walked out of the main door and LOTS of runners were staying here..but in hindsight, far from the finish!! Would change this if I ran the race again!

Dinner was at 6pm and we, Sarah, Ashley, Michelle, Jennifer and myself, raced to the restaurant. Good thing we had made a reservation-it was packed!!! And slow! I had my pasta and lots of water-as we all did! And we were back at the hotel by around 8pm.

Thats when the "fun" started. Do you know how hard it is to find a Starbucks that is open after 8pm in downtown DC? Almost impossible!! Jennifer found one-whew, had to get our morning oatmeal, but it was at least 1.5 miles away at George Washington University. It closed at 10pm, so we had to dash out immediately or we wouldn't have our morning oatmeal!

ok..yeah working my way to race day......for slow penguin penny its as much about the journey and people you meet as it is about the race.... My race outfit I laid out saturday night....


Sunday

I didn't sleep well. I usually don't, but I think my "west coast time" got the best of me! I was wide awake at 10pm on Saturday night while my fellow runners were snoozing away! I think I was pretty worried! I really did not want to be pulled off the course! My last 20 miler was shit-and after it I was a bit worried about "Beating the Bridge."

I came to DC a little concerned about Beating the Bridge and Finishing. I SO wanted to finish...but my training wasn't great, my work schedule was ridiculous (70 hour work weeks), since starting work in July, I've survived off of about 5.5-6 hrs of sleep a night, and I've run 4 x a week, one of those a long run the rest slow slogfest runs before work usually 3 miles!-yeah, fantastic preparation for a marathon, I know..>I can send you all this marathon preparation plan! It's easy! Have no time and think you can finish a marathon!

Deep down, I didn't want to run with anyone because I didn't want to hold anyone back because of my pedestrian pace! We had a huge group at the start and everyone was super excited and stoked. I think I might have been the only one who wasn't. I didn't want to be there! I didn't feel prepared and didnt want to fly from California to DC to be plucked off the course at mile 20 because I'm a Penguin! so when we all had to use the porta potty for the last time, I wasnt concerned that I lost my group.


with Eva and Lauren at the start
After using the porta potty for the second time since arriving at the pentagon-yeah pretty cool start!! I made my way to the Corrals-wow, what a cluster! I knew @Runninglaur was near the 5:29 sign so I was tweeting her as i neared the post. I also ran into @EvaTEesq near the 5:30 area so we all decided to start the race together!

 Eva and i run around the same pace-and in hindsight, when she stopped for her first walk break, I should have stayed with her-stupid me, but I didnt. And never saw her again! I wish i had stayed with her because I was planning on a run/walk strategy as well and it would have been so much easier with her! Instead I continued on with Ms Speedy, Lauren (@RunningLaur) and then once she was warmed up she decided to pick up the pace-yep "fast kid" and off she went. it sure was nice seeing them briefly though!!

I was now alone. We were running and all of a sudden Michelle (@mksinmd) comes up to me. We ran a little together-I let her know I was on a walk/run strategy so if she wanted to leave for her to do that-and she did. i cant remember when she left but once again I was on my own. I was having to look at my watch alot because I cant figure out how to set up a 2:1 and still have total time etc on my garmin. Am I going to have to run with my garmin and an interval watch?

At Mile 5, as we were heading "into the woods" near the Georgetown reservoir I saw Ashley rockin her race-she was at mile 8-yeah i'm slow. This area was beautiful! Green, woods, Green, trees, leaves changing color! I loved it. But it was also hilly! I held to my 2:1 and when we were heading down a hill towards mile 8  I decided I could hold my pee any longer!!! I dashed into the wooded area and peed! Gotta love nature! No porta potty lines for me! I felt so much better after this!

We then headed into the Georgetown area-wow, what a great are! Loved it! Lots of people out cheering, including the Hoya cheerleaders. Lots of shops to look at-yeah i'd go back there to shop!

We were now making our way into DC, running past the Kennedy Center and then onto the area of miles 11-15 aka HELL and boring! Wow, it was pretty but no people cheering and I felt like I was just running and running and not getting anywhere! I talked to a girl just before mile 14 who had been throwing up uncontrollably since grabbing an orange slice just after mile 12. She was looking for the next med tent because she was going to call it a day! As I ran past the med tent just past mile 14, I saw lots of runners who had called it a day. So i said my blessings that I wasnt feeling that bad!

I plodded on! Once I reached mile 16 I was nearing the tourist sights! Now I had something to see and snap pics of! We ran past the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. I was on The Mall.... and was awaiting more sights!

Did I mention that the sun had been out since the start? How could I have forgotten that important "Penny Fact" SUN-yeah hated it! The only saving grace was that it wasn't super hot, it was warm but not hot. But i felt the sun beating down on me and sucking the hydration out of me! Now I was running with my camelbak that had NUUN in it. I decided not to carry any water bottles but since I'm slow I have to carry some fluids-boy was I happy I had my camelbak! I had bought a smaller 45oz container to put in it to keep the weight down-ended up being plenty of fluids for me!

As I was running along The Mall, I ran across a father and his daughter who were running the race. The first thing I noticed was how the dad was yelling at this poor girl, who was obviously struggling with her breathing and running in general! i was horrified and disgusted! This girl may forever be put off by running because her dad was pushing her so hard-just to Beat the Bridge. This fucking Bridge! Wow! Now don't get me wrong, at this point, I was close to the bridge cutoff-well, not close but close enough. i was thinking about not getting there in time and what i'd do. yeah, i'd find a bar and drink lots of beer! I pushed as much as I could. I did briefly stop to take one more picture then I told myself I had to push as much as I could in the sun to reach that bridge before 1:15pm.

Now I had to dig deep. I was nearing mile 19 and honestly didnt know if I would make it. i kept plodding along and told myself to run. This was when I found Michelle again. She was around mile 19 and I think she was in a bit of pain. We knew we were so close to the Bitch of  Bridge so we dug deep together and we stuck together for the rest of the race.

Yes we passed mile 20 saw the bridge sign and knew we had made it! The Bridge became my Bitch-take that you fucking Bridge! I was not going to be plucked off the course! I'd have to wait for my beer now....

with Michelle on the Bridge
The bridge was endless. We walked most of it-at this point my two big toes were so sore. Every step hurt! I have no idea what was causing this! yes, there had been downhills, but I'm used to running downhills. had I not cut my toenails short enough? were my shoes too loose causing me to slide into the toe box of my shoes more? who knows-all I know is that each step hurt!! Running was less painful on my toes than walking so we tried to run as much as we could.

I just wanted to finish! Thats all. Get me to the Fucking finish line with my toes intact!

Once we crossed the bridge and passed mile 22 I was blessed with the hash house Harriers handing out beer-and yes, I took beer and downed it! hell yes!!! I was going to finish this race!

These were a hard 4 miles!  I took my shoes off just before the mile 24 mile marker-I tried to run in my socks-but that didnt last long. I thought it would be less painful because at this point my toes were screaming bloody hell! ouch ouch ouch each step hurt ouch ouch ouch. Fuck! Really? what the hell. I had to put my shoes back on and I did what I could! I knew I had a fantastic cheerleader around mile 25...Dee had come up from Florida to cheer!!! How cool is that!! And she had been out all day cheering all the "fast kids". She was waiting for me at mile 25 with a beer! Can you say "Angel".....!!!

Just after mile 25 I saw Dee...and what did I get-her infectious smile and BEER! Wow it tasted so damn good!! best beer I had all day! thank you so very much Dee! You were my Angel and my savior on that super sunny course!

I dont really remember the last mile-It felt like it kept going and going. I remember that stupid hill up to the finish! Talk about a slap in the face! My toes were so sore at this point I tried to power up the hill but my feet said Hell No. But once I turned the corner and saw the Finish banner, I pushed as much as I could! 

I crossed and looked at my watch-it read over 6 hours. Wow thats a long time to be out running, in the sun. But I got my blanket and headed to the area I was so looking forward to-the area where I get MY MEDAL!

And then I headed to get my official picture taken in front of the Iwo Jima memorial. I will have to buy that picture-even though I'm not a big fan of buying race photos!

Yeah I finished! And I felt pretty damn good, except for my poor toes!

Michelle was now a Marathoner and I had just finished my 4th! Was i happy? hmm, mixed feelings. yes, thrilled that I finished, but as always, I suck as a runner and am sick and tired of being so slow. I don't get faster I get slower! But I accomplished my goals: I beat the bridge and I finished! I really didn't expect anymore than that! I knew I wasn't prepared and really didn't have the best preparation under my belt-no fault of mine just life! But it is still disappointing.

Michelle and i made our way to the Finish Line festival. We bought our Finisher t-shirts (gotta love being slow-I carry credit cards, money, everything) and then the UPS trucks to pick up our bags.

Then we had to stand in a line for the Metro to take us back into DC. A line for the Metro? Really? Are you kidding me. The good thing is it didn't take a long time. We made it back to our hotel stop and then walked the short few blocks to the hotel.  It was a good thing we had to walk-guess i got about 28 miles total!

Once I got back to the hotel (mind you i forgot to let you know that we had to store our bags with the bellman since we couldn't get late checkout). Luckily we were allowed to come back to the hotel and get our bags late. And since i took so long to run, I knew I'd be late in getting my bag. But I left my bag to go to the bar and drink 4 beers!!! Michelle and I sat at the bar and Jennifer met us down there and we had a celebratory brewski!










Yeah the medal is pretty! And will look nice surrounded by my 3 other marathon medals and my half medals! Its pretty and looked so good with a beer as it's background!




We (Ashley, Sarah, Jennifer, Michelle, Mr Z and myself) all went out for food after the race!
I was so hungry! I hadnt eaten anything since my oatmeal at 5am. So I feel like I inhaled my food and another beer. You know beer taste so good after running 26.2 miles in the sun! nectar of the Gods!

After a late lunch, we parted ways with the rest of the gang, and Michelle and i headed back to her house. A boring relaxing evening in front of the tv was in store!!!

I downed more Cherry Juice when i got back to her house (BTW, I am a HUGE advocate of Cherry juice). I had been drinking Cherry Juice a week before the race, had some the morning of and was drinking lots of it as my recovery drink. Fantastic stuff!!

Monday, I had to take lots of pics of trees with the leaves changing color. My favorite season is fall, and in California we don't get to see the leaves changing color!!

I ended up sitting on a plane for 7 hours! Great way to spend the day after a marathon! I got home around 6pm. I had "lost" my camera on the plane somewhere-so my picture taken with 5 marines is in someone else's hands! sad!!

I downed more Cherry juice and got ready for work. yep right back at it early Tuesday morning.

Since I'm writing this on Saturday, I just want to reiterate about my LOVE of Cherry Juice!!! fantastic stuff!!! I was stiff but by Wednesday, I was running and was pain free! I've had 3 post marathon runs: Wednesday 1.35 miles, Thursday 2.2 miles and Friday 3.11 miles. I truly believe drinking Cherry Juice enabled my fast recovery!!

So what is next?

I dont know. I think I want to do another marathon. I'm supposed to run Eco Catalina this coming Saturday and then attempt my first 50K the weekend after that. But I dont have my trail legs under me. And I'm concerned about being stuck on Catalina after the last ferry leaves without a hotel room. The race is on a Saturday, which sucks for me! Saturday races are close to impossible for me to run! And with an 8 hour time limit, I dont think I'd make the last ferry. So I might see if I can run the Wine Vine Half in San Louis Obispo or find something in LA. As for the 50K...hmmmmm

I will run another marathon, maybe LA. I'd like to run Big Sur-but alas I dont think I run fast enough. If you guys have any suggestions let me know. Until then I will continue to run and train to the best of my ability and continue to remind myself how lucky i am to have such amazing friends and to have running in my life!!

RUNS

Sunday Oct 31 26.2 miles 6:12:06
Wednesday Nov 3 1.35 miles (23:28)
Thursday Nov 4 2.2 miles (30:29)
Friday Nov 5 3.11 miles (43:06)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Marine Corp Marathon Cliffnotes version

To be honest- I really didn't feel good about this race! I just didn't feel like I had the training behind me, top that off with my crazy work schedule and lack of sleep- yeah I was just hoping to finish and not hurt myself! I briefly thought about not running! But I guess stubborn Penny won!

All I had to do was "beat the bridge" by 1:15pm- the bridge was at 20 miles. My last 20 miler about a month ago had sucked ass- so "beating the bridge" was a concern of mine! And became more of a concern when the sun came out at sunrise! Not a cloud in the sky! It was cool- my saving grace- but the sun still baked me! And started to suck te life out of me!

I dug deep for marathon #4! But this might as well have been marathon #1a for me since my last full was NYC 2004!

I beat that f-ing bridge! My two big toes were so sore- actually took my shoes off and attempted to run in socks- but that didn't last long! I've never had toe issues! Every step from around mile 20 hurt! But I beatthe bridge so I would finish- even if I walked!!!

Finished! A longer report with pictures (of course I took pictures!! When you are a penguin you enjoy your race with picture taking)

I am a marathoner again!

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