Monday, December 19, 2016

Running in Los Cabos

I don't know about you, but I (usually) like to run while on vacation. We went to Los Cabos back in October/November right in the midst of peak training for the Route 66 Marathon, and I knew I'd need to get serious miles in. There weren't many routes on Map My Run and the satellite view of our hotel location was not promising. I rarely run on the treadmill so I figured I could just suck it up for a couple key runs and maybe I'd luck out on finding somewhere to run outside.

Skull Spandits for Dia de los Muertos
The day after we arrived was the Ironman Los Cabos, which shut down most of the main road from San Jose del Cabo to Cabo San Lucas (the two towns are about 20 miles apart). I was soo tempted to run on the bike course while the triathletes were swimming, but at the same time I didn't want to be arrested by la policia. Plus I overslept. Instead I suffered through 15 miles on the hotel treadmill which used up my treadmill tolerance for the week.

I tried beach running one day, but the sand was terrible for running. I've never enjoyed beach running anyway. I meant to try running near the hotel to (what looked like) a neighborhood across the highway but I overslept too often - as in I didn't get up at 5:30 to run before the heat. It was vacation after all.

Soft, sinking, sloped sand
Prior to the trip, I'd discovered Running Tours Los Cabos via Instagram. I knew I wanted to try to run with them, but didn't know if I could make the scheduled tour times. Turns out I couldn't make one of the tours, but I was able to coordinate a private/custom tour with Patty in the middle of the week. This was hands down the best run of the week (obviously) but also a great way to see the town.

Photos from the run courtesy of Patty
We toured around Cabo San Lucas for about 7-8 miles. Since we met up at 6:30a, the sidewalks were clear of tourists and timeshare salespeople. Patty's route started with a conveniently-located bridge to catch the perfect sunrise, and from there we looped around town and the marina. She gave local insight to restaurants and things to do, took pictures along the way, and was the perfect running partner. I enjoyed chatting with her though I should have practiced my Spanish more.

After the run, we stopped at El Dengue for fresh juice. I was tempted to try "the Vampire" (beets and other stuff) but ultimately played it safe with an orange and carrot combo. I was spoiled in Los Cabos - fresh juice bars and public transportation! Take notes, South Carolina.

Fresh post-run juice from El Dengue
RTLC souvenirs - bag, bottle & t-shirt
Overall, I got in 27.5 miles on vacation. Not great for marathon training, but better than nothing. If you're ever in the Los Cabos area, I highly recommend joining the Running Tours Los Cabos team for a run. It was one of my favorite things about our week in Cabo. Other (non-running) highlights were an ATV tour, the Art Walk in San Jose, and lots of pool/beach-side lounging.

*Disclaimer: I paid full-price for my custom tour. Just sharing the experience as it was a lot of fun.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Get Your Kicks: Route 66 Marathon

After a 5 year hiatus from marathoning, I've forgotten how to pack/dress for marathons. The Route 66 Marathon was no different, and I was out shopping for warmer clothing the day before the race. It was forecast to be 33 degrees at the start (I know, I know that's not THAT bad) but I was chickening out of the shorts/tank top/arm warmers I had planned on wearing. Knowing I already have a dresser dedicated to running clothes at home, I really didn't need to buy more. Ultimately, I decided on wearing the leggings I had traveled in and the race 1/4 zip shirt (I have long since stopped caring about that "rule"), with the tank top/arm warmers underneath.

Pretty sure I'm Victoria's Secret's first marathoner.
I had never ran in/worked out in these leggings before, so that was a bit of a gamble.
I actually ran the Relay and the Full marathon at the same time (hence the two bibs above). Some former co-workers invited me to do the relay with them so I double-dipped (/paid for both races). I would run the first two legs, hand the ankle timer off to the next runner, and continue on my way.

Walking to the start line my right hip flexor started hurting pretty intensely. What the hell! Fortunately I massaged it away before the race started and it didn't come back. I made it to my corral with about 10 minutes to spare, and positioned myself near the back of the corral, behind the 1:50 half pacer (the full, half and relay all start together). They counted down the wheelchair start and we runners started shortly after. In my opinion, they should have given the wheelchair athletes a little more time to get ahead as we caught up to a couple of them.

Because the last three weeks of training had been terrible (cement legs, no rhythm) I had planned to go out conservatively at a 9:00/pace and pick it up at mile 15 if my legs were cooperating. Per usual, I couldn't even get that right.

Miles 1-5 (8:32, 8:57, 8:43, 8:44, 8;51) - Leaving downtown, up a big hill. Yes, Tulsa has (rolling) hills. Met a fellow runner from South Carolina.

Miles 6-10 (8:48, 8:26, 8:39, 8:38, 8:51) - Took a Gu around mile 6 (I think). Course went through Brookside area which had super high energy. A local gym held a spin class on the sidewalk, providing upbeat music and a great cheering section.

Miles 11-15 (8:56, 8:47, 8:37, 8:32, 9:22) - Stopped in mile 11 to hand off Relay anklet and take off Relay bib (Full bib was underneath). Stopped in mile 12 to take a selfie - it's the important things. Passed a Whataburger and the employees were handing out water bottles and said to come back later for a free burger. Not sure what happened in mile 15, I'm guessing there was an extra long walk break for water/gatorade? It's also when my stomach started hinting at high-maintenance needs.

Miles 16-20 (8:58, 9:20, 10:05, 8:40, 9:36) - Gu'd again in mile 16 (I think). I had to force myself to Gu during this race. Usually in long runs I can't wait for a Gu break but this time it was the last thing I wanted. I also mentally blacked out - I remember being at mile 17, then mile 20, and then the next thing I knew it was mile 23. There was a port-a-potty stop in mile 18 for the high maintenance needs that started during mile 15. I ALMOST used a port-a-potty that was in front of a house being remodeled, but then I saw a row of official race port-a-potties so I used those instead. There was another potty stop in mile 20... I dashed across the street to a QT (gas station). Stomach was not happy today!

Miles 21-26 (8:30, 8:58, 8:28, 8:36, 8:25, 8:13) - At least all those bathroom stops and walking the water stops seemed to help me maintain a better running pace for these final miles. I forced down half of a Gu in mile 21, even though I wondered if the Gu was causing my distress. In mile 23 I passed by the AirBnB we had rented, and was definitely tempted to stop. In the final mile you can take a detour to the "Center of the Universe" for the World's Shortest Ultra (26.5 miles). I had debated it before hand, but when I got to the detour I knew there was no way I was taking one more step than necessary. I trucked onward, picked up the pace for a strong finish, collected my heat blanket and medals, and promptly sat down.

After the race, we walked to see the "Center of the Universe" and I needed another visit to the port-a-potty. We got lunch at Hideaway Pizza where I ate 3 slices and a chocolate chip cookie sundae. Earned it.

MarathonFoto was there for pictures, which forces you to decide between paying your mortgage or purchasing your race photos. I might have considered buying them, but there are only 8 pictures of "me" and 7 of them were at the finish. The 8th one is not even me, haha.

The Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, OK is a terrific race and the people of Tulsa are fantastic hosts. If you're looking for a high-energy, well-organized race I highly suggest checking it out! Much of the race course passed through neighborhoods, and the residents were out in full force with block parties, jello shots, and high-fives. I recommend carbo loading at Mondo's and treating yourself to the Mile High Pie at Antoinette Baking Co. I enjoyed exploring Tulsa and I'd go back for the half marathon with friends.