Monday, May 30, 2011

Seattle's Best 15K Recap

Despite how confident I tried to seem about this race, I was so nervous! My stomach started roiling on Thursday. On Friday, I tried to keep busy and think about anything but the race. On Saturday morning — May 21, my 24th birthday — I was a nervous wreck. I ate a banana on the way to Gas Works Park and almost puked halfway through it.

And the weather? So much for the email about it being "perfect." It rained as we waited for the race to start, and we huddled under a tent to keep dry. I wouldn't be dry for long, though!

My mom (left) and Aaron's mom, Greta, came out to support me! I was thrilled to have them there. And Aaron took all of the amazing photos, of course!

The day before the race, I went to the D.O.L. to renew my driver's license. I wore ill-advised sandals and got blisters on the bottoms of my feet from scurrying around downtown Seattle to get there before it closed! My calf muscles were also tight. Silly, silly me!

This race was limited to 1,000 participants, but only 417 people ran. It was a very nice, small, uncrowded race! I lined up in the starting corral at the 9:30 pace sign — that was my goal pace.

Game face!

Aaand this picture scares me. Number 122 looks like he's ready to eat me alive.

Once the race began, I almost started crying immediately. I was so happy to be running this race — my farthest distance ever — on my 24th birthday! I also quickly realized that my legs and feet felt perfectly fine — no pain from the blisters or calves. So lucky!!

Off I go with my gigantic protruding bun. Ha!

A police escort led us through Gas Works Park and through the streets of Fremont to the Fremont Bridge. Right after the bridge, I passed a marker that said "1." I checked my watch and it said I'd only been running for a little over 6 minutes and 0.6 miles. WTF? I started thinking the race organizers had massively screwed up the mile markers.

After crossing the bridge, I started a little out-and-back along the Fremont Ship Canal that seemed to take for-ev-er. Every time I thought the turnaround point would be coming up, I kept seeing more and more trail stretch ahead of me. The frontrunners started running back the other way. I kept seeing more confusing mile markers that couldn't possibly be right. That part started making me mad!

But I was doing well and the rain was light. I felt good, but really needed the boost of being done with the "out" portion of the out-and-back. A person dressed as a giant bird was dancing at the end of the trail to signal the turnaround, and I laughed and cheered as I turned back.

The first aid station was on the "back" side of the out-and-back, and I grabbed a cup of some sort of sports drink and an apple-cinnamon Hammer Gel. I chugged the drink and tucked the gel in my pants, where it stayed until mile 7 or so.

The "back" portion was awesome because now I was the one passing people the other way! I was so inspired by the people chugging along the opposite direction, too. Yayyy, runners!

With the out-and-back done, I still had an entire lake to run around. No big deal.

At this point, the woman behind me (Meredith) had identified me as her pacer, telling me I had good form and a strong pace. This gave me a huge boost of confidence and a reason to never give up in this race!

As I ran along the west end of the lake, I tried to stay at what my watch told me was a 9:30 pace. I felt really good at that pace and didn't want to burn out by trying to speed up or get too off track by slowing down. I listened to Meredith's conversation with her male running buddy to distract me from the running — they actually discussed his adoption, looking for his birth parents, etc. Really interesting stuff! I also thought, How the hell are these people having a conversation right now!? It was not a talking pace for me!

The route around the lake was awesome because I could always tell exactly where I was and how much farther I had to run by looking out at the lake. It was also nice and scenic, even though the weather was drizzly and gray.

I just kept chugging along and cursing the awful mile markers, which kept saying I was at mile 7, 8, 9 when I clearly wasn't. It wasn't until marker 10 that I realized they were kilometer markers. Duhhh, Devon!! I'm so used to mile markers in every race I've done that it didn't occur to me that this one would mark kilometers!

I perked up at that point as I looked at my watch and saw 55:50 — a definite 10K PR, as my 10K race time was 56:25. I started my watch a little early before crossing the start line, so I think my 10K time was about 55:40. I realized I was blowing my goal pace out of the water!! And my watch was definitely off in terms of telling me my current pace — I was running faster than what it told me.

I saw Aaron, my mom and Greta just after the 10K mark, which was another HUGE boost!

There's Meredith and her adopted running buddy trailing me. Greta and my mom were cheering like crazy, and I wanted to yell, "I haven't stopped running!" or "I beat my 10K PR!" but I didn't know if I could muster the breath, so I settled for a smile and a wave.

After this, I plotted to take my Hammer Gel right before the next aid station so I could wash it down. I ate maybe 1/4 of it as I eyed the volunteers with cups, then threw the rest away after I chugged my drink. I didn't really want to take the time to take the whole thing, and since I hadn't practiced with gel, I didn't want to risk a stomach cramp.

As I ran along the east side of the lake, the course dipped down into a neighborhood right on the water, and I knew at some point it would go back uphill to get to the main street and the University Bridge. I kept chugging along, and there were about three little hills at various points. I powered up them by shortening my stride and swinging my arms to give myself more momentum, like I've learned to do from training with DetermiNation. It worked amazingly, and I passed quite a few people (including some who stopped to walk) on the hills! Hill repeats pay off!!!

By the time I made it to the University Bridge, I really wanted to walk. I had just climbed the last hill, which was the steepest, and I was exhausted from the effort. This is where I started chanting in my head, "Do not stop. You are doing this. You are almost done. Just do it," and that continued for the rest of this race. I NEVER WALKED. Mental cheerleading, people!

After crossing the bridge, I knew I was in the home stretch. I kept a strong pace as the course jumped back onto the Burke-Gilman Trail, and I saw my crew again at what I think was mile 8.5 or so.

There's my shadow, Meredith, in the white jacket! I'm not sure what happened to her buddy.

I worried that Aaron and our moms wouldn't make it to the finish line in time, but I had plenty of distance left to run. I really started pushing it here and felt like I was flying-slash-dying. More mental chanting.

Finally, finally, FINALLY I saw the entrance to Gas Works Park and knew I was almost done. I rounded a corner and saw my crew cheering like crazy! HI GUYS!!!

My mom yelled, "GO DEV!" Greta yelled, "LOOK AT YOUR TIME!!!" Indeed, I looked at my time, and was so, so thrilled. I hadn't been keeping track of the time on my watch — just my pace — and I was pretty shocked.

Meredith stayed on me till the end, finishing right behind me and even matching my stride!

Official chip time: 1:23:07
Average pace: 8:55
Amount of joy I got out of this race: Infinite

My first medal!

I'll forgive the missing apostrophe.

I was thirsty and needed to sit down for a minute after I finished, but other than that I felt GREAT! I'm amazed how good I felt after 9.3 miles and I have so much more confidence for my first half-marathon next month!

This race had some of the most bomb food available — peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and WATERMELON, also known as the greatest thing I've ever tasted in my life. There were also about 4 laptops lined up on a table, which you could use to immediately look up your time! Genius!!!

This was my best race yet. I have no idea how I managed to run more than 9 miles at a sub-9-minute pace, but I'll chalk it up to these things:

- diligent speed training, hill work and long runs
- abstaining from alcohol for 3 weeks
- finally having the right shoes and arch supports

When I turned 23, I could barely run a mile. What a great way to kick off age 24!


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Sunday, May 22, 2011


6 days. 40 generous people. $963 raised for the American Cancer Society.

I'd say The Best Running Raffle EVER! was a great success!

Huge thanks to EVERYONE who donated, and to those who blogged, Facebooked and otherwise spread the word about this raffle. We went from having three donors on day two to 40 donors by the end of day six. That's amazing!

Of the 40, only seven are people I know in "real life." That means most people who pitched in don't know me aside from my blog, and I'm so thankful for their generosity in showing their support of my fundraising efforts. You guys rock!

Without further ado... on to the prizes!!!

I did this raffle old-school style, with actual raffle tickets.

I recruited Aaron to do the actual drawing. Yayyy, Aaron!

We drew for the most valuable prizes first so everyone would have the best shot.

And... the winner of her choice of Brooks shoes is Heather R.!

The winner of a $50 lululemon gift card is Michelle L.! (I didn't have a lululemon prop, so Aaron just made a funny face.)

The winner of The Athlete's Palate Cookbook is Jenna O.!

The winner of The Runner's Rule Book is Carrie H.!

The winner of a Do Life shirt and a bunch of race fuel is Jenny P.! (Aaron got camera-shy...)

And finally, the winner of another Do Life shirt and a bunch of race fuel is Trang V.!

That was so much fun! I love giving stuff away.

BIG THANKS to Brooks Running, Runner's World and Do Life for donating their respective prizes. We couldn't have raised all this money without your contributions.

And THANK YOU wonderful people again for your support. I'm just tickled.


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Monday, May 16, 2011

Brooks, lululemon, Runner's World and Do Life Raffle!

How would you like to win an awesome prize while also supporting a great cause? This raffle benefits my American Cancer Society fundraising efforts as I train for my first half-marathon with the DetermiNation team. I appreciate your support!

1. Here's what you can win:

* One (1) pair of Brooks Running shoes — winner's choice!

The very generous folks at Brooks have donated a pair of their awesome running shoes to the winner of this prize. You get to choose which style, size and color you want!

Desiree Davila rocked Brooks shoes as the first American female finisher and second overall female finisher at this year's Boston Marathon. Brooks shoes continually win "Editor's Choice" awards from Runner's World. And I "Run Happy" in my Brooks Ghost 3 and Brooks Defyance 4 shoes. You will LOVE your Brooks!

* One (1) $50 lululemon gift card — it'll fit you perfectly!

Whether you're into running, yoga or just lookin' fine in stretchy black pants, lululemon has something you'll love — and yes, guys, lululemon offers awesome gear for men, too! Or, your wife/girlfriend/other special lady will love you for this one. (Prize sponsored by me, myself and I.)

* One (1) copy of The Athlete's Palate Cookbook — generously donated by Runner's World!

"With healthy and delicious recipes for all phases of training along with labels for quick-and-easy meals, The Athlete’s Palate Cookbook is perfect for any runner, cyclist, swimmer, or triathlete who wants to train hard while eating well." --Rodale Books

* One (1) copy of The Runner's Rule Book — generously donated by Runner's World!

"With 100+ rules that cover the basics of running, racing, track etiquette, and apparel and gear, including hilarious running commentary on running culture, The Runner’s Rule Book will be the reference guide you’ll turn to again and again for answers to your burning running questions." --Rodale Books

* Two (2) Do Life/race fuel prize packs — look good and run strong!

Do Life, Inc. has generously donated two Do Life shirts of the winners' choices — black, white or pink cotton tee, OR black tech tee! — along with Do Life stickers. Plus, these two winners will receive a fun selection of race fuel from me! Enjoy some Gu, Shot Bloks, Sport Beans and more for your next race.

2. Here's how you can win:

Make a donation to my American Cancer Society fundraising page between NOW and May 21, 2011. You can donate up until midnight Pacific time on May 21 to enter the raffle!

  • $5 gets you ONE raffle entry.
  • $10 gets you TWO raffle entries.
  • $15 gets you THREE raffle entries.
  • $25 gets you SEVEN raffle entries.
  • $50 gets you FIFTEEN raffle entries.

I'll draw the four winners and post the results on Sunday, May 22. Woo-hoo!

IN ADDITION, I'll add a second pair of Brooks shoes to the prize pool if donations received between May 16 and May 21 reach $1,500. I know that's a big number, so please spread the word to your family and friends to encourage participation! We can do it if lots of people pitch in! (This second pair of shoes will be sponsored by me, myself and I as a personal thank-you!!!)

3. In conclusion, all you need to do is...

  •  Donate to my fundraising page by midnight Pacific time on May 21, 2011.
  • Spread the word to help me add a SECOND pair of Brooks shoes to the prize pool.
  •  Be able to provide a valid shipping address in the United States to claim your awesome prize.

Whatcha waiting for? Go ahead and throw your hat into the ring! You might just win a fantastic prize — and you'll definitely feel good about supporting a fantastic cause.

BIG THANKS to Brooks Running, Runner's World and Do Life, Inc. — aka Ben, Jed and Pa — for donating some great stuff to help make this raffle possible. You all rock!


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