Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tiny things - Fondren Urban Ultra (12 hr) 2014 Race Recap

So this past weekend I sort of ran my first ultra marathon - the Fondren Urban 12 hr Ultra.  I've been eying ultras for quite some time now, but none ever seem to fit into my schedule (there's always a marathon in the way).  This ultra was perfect for several reasons:

1 - It was local (so I could sleep in my own bed and use my own shower);
2 - It was cheap ($25); 
3 - It was to benefit a good cause (Cheshire Abbey - a dog rescue organization);
4 - It was an URBAN ultra (meaning no trails since I still am scared of trails); and
5 - It didn't conflict with any other races on my schedule.

So it was pretty much a done deal when I read the announcement. 

Ready to run in circles for 12 hours!

I sort of did and sort of didn't train specifically for this race.  My goal was to run 50 miles in the 12 hours.  I mean, I can run a double marathon so I should be able to run 50 miles, I think.  My training consisted of doing many marathons this year and really only one weekend (recently) where I ran back to back long runs (21 miles on Saturday, 21 miles on Sunday).  Good thing about a timed race is that there really is no finish line.  You run whatever you want to and stop whenever you want to.  If you want to run 6 miles that day, then that's what you do.  If you want to run 60 miles that day, well then that's okay too!  So I didn't really feel any pressure to complete 50 miles, it was just sort of a soft goal.  To be considered a "race" for me, I only needed to complete a 50k, which I'm pretty sure I could do in my sleep. 

Packet pickup was at the local Lululemon store in the Fondren area of Jackson.  For this race there was the 12 hr solo race, 12 hr 4-person relay, and a 5k race.  All races were $25/person (so $100 for the relay).  Our packets included some cool snacks, a water bottle, some discount coupons, a Fondren Urban Ultra sticker, and a Fondren Urban Ultra t-shirt.  I love that it was a cotton blend shirt as I have way too many tech shirts!  I wish more races would give out cotton shirts!  

Lucky number 43.

Race morning I was up early so hubby and I could get a good spot to set up my tent.  I think that we were the first ones there (besides for the RD's).  We got a pretty good spot and hubby was able to set up my stuff without problems.  The course for the race was a 3.1 mile loop.  So when completing each loop, I would be able to grab anything that I needed from my tent.  I packed my hydration pack full of enough goodies so that I would not have to stop until after my 4th loop.  I planned on taking in some food after every loop.

Ready to see what the day will bring.

At 7:00 AM we were off.  Obviously my plan for this race was to go out slow and then slow down and of course walk the hills (there were two on the course).   As I said before, this was a 3.1 mile loop course.  There was an aid station at the 1.5 mile mark and then also at the start/finish.  Both were stocked with water and Gatorade.  I never stopped at the 1.5 mile aid station so I am not sure what kind of snacks they had, but the start/finish aid station had lots of goodies - pretzels, peanut butter, chips, candy, cookies, bananas, oranges, etc.  Good selection and I was never in need of anything.  Many people probably think that a 3.1 mile loop course for an ultra sounds just awful, but it is actually kind of nice.  First of all, you never go a long time without passing your "stuff" and the aid stations.  I also had several objects that I looked for on every loop........

Tiny dead turtle just before mile 1
Tiny dead snake just after mile 1.75-ish
Tiny horse.  This was a later addition to the race but a welcome one.

After the tiny horse, there was a hill.  I always looked forward to the hill because I could definitely WALK!

Tiny library at the top of the hill.  How adorable!  Right at mile 2.  Ya know, just in case I needed to sit down and take a reading break.

The tiny library was followed by about a half mile stretch of flatish road and then you start to make your way up the other hill on the loop.  This is the "big" hill on the course and was about a half mile long - practically all the way to the finish.  I, of course, walked it.  So that's a snapshot of the course.  Fairly "flat" except for two noticeable hills that I walked from the very beginning. 

I finished the first few laps with no trouble except that my right hamstring just never wanted to loosen up.  It started to just become annoying.  Fueling seemed to be going well.  At each loop I ate something - Honey Stinger Waffle, Salted Caramel GU (yummy), Peanut Butter Power Bar, banana, chips, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Pop-Tarts - so pretty much mostly junk.  I didn't wear my GPS since I knew that the battery would not last 12 hours and I didn't want to be consumed with my pace at every mile.  I was more concerned with my time for each 3.1 mile lap so I just used a cheap-o Timex Ironman watch with a timer and a lap function.   This went well and I was able to stay about 20 or so minutes ahead of where I needed to be after each lap.  After 7 or 8 laps my hamstring was full blown hurting.  I texted hubby to please bring me some ibuprofen to see if that would help.  I hate to take the stuff while running (I have recently weened myself completely off using it during long runs), but this was an emergency.   Everything else felt great - no tummy issues and feeling full of energy.  I resolved to just getting to the 50k mark and then taking a short break and reassessing everything.  Hamstring was definitely starting to slow me down a lot and I finished the 50k in a not very respectable time of about 6:43 (although I didn't check in with the timing people until after 7:00).

Done with 50k

After finishing the 50K, I stretched a little and even used someone's foam roller but nothing seemed to help loosen my hamstring up.  I pretty much figured that I probably wouldn't be able to do 50 miles and I would likely have to walk for the rest of the time.  So I ate my piece of pizza and proceeded to walk the next lap. While walking that lap, I called hubby to see if he wanted to walk the next lap with me.  He ended up walking the next two laps with me.  I ended up walking the 3 laps after the 50k mark and that brought me to about 10:40:00 into the race.  The walking had loosened my hammy up a bit, but it was still sore.  I decided to do one more lap and call it a day.  I actually ran (although very slowly) that last lap.  A pretty decent time too - about 40 minutes - which put me at 11:20:00 when I finished the lap.  I was VERY tempted to do another lap, but I decided to call it a day after 14 laps and a total of about 44 miles - only 6 miles short of my soft goal of the day.  

Happy finisher!

Overall,  I was pretty happy with the day (besides the hamstring thing).  My fueling was pretty good for a first attempt at taking in "real" food while running.  No tummy issues to speak of and I felt full of energy the whole time.  I probably could have hydrated a little better but I'm not sure how to stay 100% on top of that.  I never felt thirsty so I guess that's good.  I did get one small blister on one of my toes where my toe sock was pulled down too tight.  Nothing major.  I'd say my biggest complaint was that there were hives on the top of my feet when I took my shoes/socks off.  Never had that before.  They didn't itch, but were "hot".  They went away by the next day though.  No big deal.  

This was a great first ultra and I look forward to doing it every year!  It was only $25 but I'd easily pay double that and not blink an eye since the money went to a great cause (Cheshire Abbey dog rescue).  This was a local race for me so obviously there were no other expenses for me.  

Next up for me is the great state of California!!!!  I get to cross both a half marathon and a marathon in California off at the end of April - American Parkway River Half Marathon on April 26 and then BIG SUR MARATHON in April 27!  Pretty stoked about that! 

Oh, and we got another dog...............

Bella makes 4........

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Insignificant - Part 2: Bataan Memorial Death March 2014 Race Recap

So I was just about to cross the start line and begin my 26.2 mile journey through the New Mexico desert.  Once out of the protection of the crowd, I was greeted by a fierce wind.  I was still cold, but the sun was coming up quickly.  Like I said in my last post, this "race" starts with the slowest marchers - the wounded vets and all the military wearing their heavy ruck sacks.  There are also "teams" that do this march.  A "team" consists of 5 members that must stay together for the entire race.  Both civilians and military, heavy and light, can sign up as a team.  What this all means is that there was A LOT of weaving around large groups of people as I started this race with the intention of running a good bit of it.  Unlike Little Rock, this did not bother me since it was mostly members of the military that filled the course and this was their race, not mine.  The first two miles weaved around the base on pavement and even with all the weaving around people, I still managed to keep around an 11:00 pace.  

Somewhere around mile 2, we entered a pretty sandy/gravelly trail..................

Just entering the trail

So just after making that video I started to pass some of the wounded vets.  I passed a group of about 4 men missing one or more limbs and heard them telling each other their stories of how they had become injured.  Coming into this race, like any runner/marathoner, I had some idea of what my plan was and a rough estimate of when I wanted to finish based on descriptions of the course and elevation profiles.  After the first few miles on the course, I realized just how insignificant that all was.  This "race" wasn't about me or my time goal or crossing off another state.  It was about honoring the military, our vets, and a special group of men that endured horrific conditions.  The next few miles I spent just taking everything in around me.  Around mile 6 I started to chat with fellow Maniac Scott.  Our "runs" got shorter and our walks got longer.  

More pictures from miles 2 to 8.5................

Pretty much what 90% of the course looked like
Organ Mountains
Maniacs at mile7
Scott around mile 8

We stayed on the sandy/gravelly trail from mile 2 to about 8.5 and then we were dumped out onto pavement again.  If you look at the elevation profile of this "race", you can see that we are going up up up at this point.  Somewhere between miles 6 and 7, we started to go up and over a mountain range.  We continued to go up up up until about mile 13 or 14.  Oh, and did I mention that it was SUNNY???  Not a single cloud in the sky and not a single bit of shade on the course.  I had a long sleeve shirt on and although I was kind of hot, I didn't want to take it off and expose more of my skin to the sun.  I had gotten some gravel in my shoes earlier in the race that was beginning to rub on the bottom of my foot so I stopped to dump them out.  It was along this stretch of pavement that we saw the leaders coming back DOWN the mountain.  They were at mile 18-19.  We had a long ways to go.  We saw the male and female leaders and also the lead team which was all but carrying one of their teammates.  It was inspiring to see them encouraging each other and working together as a team to get it done! 

Pictures from miles 8.5 to 12...............

Going UP UP UP the mountain
Scott going UP UP UP the mountain
Beautiful!
Military going UP UP UP the mountain.

Around mile 12, we entered the trail again.  Aid stations had been every 2 miles and had everything you could need - water, sports drink, bananas, oranges, sunblock, tents for shade and medical attention, benches to change your socks or dump out your shoes, etc.  At this point, I had been walking since mile 6.  I didn't feel badly or anything, it was just that 99% of the people around me were walking so I kind of felt like an asshole if I tried to run.  I mean try running past some guy with 50 pounds on his back (or a woman with a heavy pack on her back) or past a guy with no legs.  Yeah, makes you feel pretty insignificant.  We stayed on the trail from miles 12 to 18.5.  In my opinion, this was the prettiest part of the course.  Just before mile 13 I caught up with fellow Maniac Barb.  When we stopped at the aid station just before mile 14, we saw Ed!  He was still going strong with his 50 pound pack.  The mile 14 aid station is pretty awesome!  Hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, etc.  Be sure to bring cash because it's all for sale.  This part of the course is mostly downhill with a couple rollers and is mostly packed dirt and rocks.

Pictures from miles 12 to 18.5...............


Mile 12 aid station
Poppies!  Apparently these are all over the place when there is significant rainfall.
Can't escape the Organ Mountains.
Rock star Ed!
Barb and Ed leaving the aid station with a hot dog and chips in tow!
We're more than halfway there.
Some of the rollers
We actually tried to run down some of these hills, but not many.
More rollers
Up as far as the eye could see.

So at this point I still had pretty much been walking since mile 6.  The sun was brutal.  My neck, face, and ears felt like they were on fire!  Just after mile 18 we were dumped back out onto the pavement and continued on that until about mile 20.5.  We stopped at some point along the road to dump our shoes out and I also took my long sleeve shirt off and wrapped it around my head to protect my ears and neck.  I can't remember if it was around mile 18 or 20, but we passed an older man (looked to be at least in his 70s) that was hobbling along the course in his jean shorts and proudly displaying that he was an Army vet.  He had a younger guy with him that was holding him steady and helping him down the hills. I just couldn't believe that he had walked all that way.  What a complete inspiration.

Miles 18.5 to 20.5........................

The only reasonably good picture I took from miles 18.5 to about 20.5.

After being on the road for about 2 miles, we entered another trail.  This one had the loosest/deepest gravel of them all.  We knew that the dreaded "sand pit" wasn't too far ahead (around mile 21).  I was still walking.  I mean, we had been walking since mile 6 so why change that now?  Once we hit the sand pit I really didn't think it was too bad, just a little bit deeper than the first trail that we had gotten on back at mile 2.  Of course I was walking now so I can't comment on how it would be to run through.  It definitely wasn't "ankle deep" like most people described it but it was slightly deeper than anything else we had been on all day.  It lasted about a half a mile and then after that it was mostly packed trail until the finish. 

Pictures from miles 20.5 to 25.....................


Getting deeper
And deeper
Out of the worst of it
Thanks for the clouds at mile 25!

The mile 22 aid station was pretty awesome!  They had all sorts of goodies for us - cookies, dry cereal, trail mix, etc.  I think I ate 4 cookies and had a cup of dry cereal.  It was tasty.  That got me through the next few miles.  By the time I got past mile 24, I was done with the sun.  My face was on fire!  So at mile 25 I decided to just run it in.  

Pictures from mile 25 to the finish..................


Time to get this thing done.
Get me out of the sun before I melt!
Merica!
Ouchie!

I crossed the finish with an incredible new PW - 7:26:xx!!!  Well earned!  As you can see, I was pretty sexy when I finished this race - shirt wrapped around my head like a turban, awesome $10 sunglasses that barely fit around my head, and a sweet tan line from my shorts.  I slathered myself in sunblock constantly throughout the race except for on my legs.  This tan was made even more ridiculous with the addition of the compression calf sleeves.  Three days later and the only thing that ever hurt was this sunburn on my thighs.  Barb and Ed weren't too far behind me (they continued to walk the last mile).  When they finished we headed to the car and made our way back to El Paso.

Commemorative dog tag that we got at in-processing.  Remember, no "medal" for finishing.

So obviously I highly recommend this race.  This is probably my most favorite-est "race" ever!  Is it sick that I am kind of intrigued at the thought of doing this "heavy" someday?  I think I must be.  If you are going to do this race I would definitely recommend gaiters (you are on loose gravel for about 18 of the 26.2 miles), a light colored long sleeve shirt, lots of sunblock, sunglasses, and possibly a neck gaiter or something that will cover your neck and ears (all for protection from the sun and/or wind).  My long sleeve shirt did the trick when it was wrapped around my head.  Apparently this was "good" weather for the race - cooler than usual and no wind - so I guess I was lucky.

As for travel tips - I flew into El Paso.  I think that is the nearest large airport.  Staying in El Paso is a breeze.  White Sands Missile Range is only about an hour up the road.  Very easy drive.  Other cities that people commonly stay in are Las Cruces, NM, and Alamogordo, NM.  You can also camp or stay in the gym (first come, first served) on the Missile Range.  Be prepared to arrive early (like before 5 AM) to avoid a long line at security.  

The race registration fee was $92 ($85 + processing fees).  My plane ticket to El Paso was $35.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I had Southwest points so the only thing I paid for was the 9/11 fee ($5/way) and the Early Bird Check-in fee ($12.50/way).  I had no hotel costs since I stayed with a friend.  I paid $98 for a car that I never picked up (boo) and spent a total of about $100 on food and other stuff.  So this trip cost me a total of about $325 (if I don't count what it cost me to have my passport overnighted to me which was $90).  Not a bad price tag overall.

My next race is this coming weekend.  It's just a little local race.  Nothing too special or exciting........... 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sorry this is two parts - Part 1: Bataan Memorial Death March 2014 Race Recap

This past weekend I had the most incredible experience.  I had the complete honor of participating in the 25th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March on the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.  This is a challenging march on high desert terrain that commemorates the actual Bataan Death March that took place during WWII.  Please take a few minutes to learn about this piece of history.  You can do that here and here.  I will apologize on the front end for breaking this "race" recap into two parts.  It would just be too darn long as one post.  I took sooooo many pictures and even video and I really want to describe this event in as much detail that I can possibly remember.  And even in doing this I fear that I still will not convey the weight of this experience very well.  But I shall try................


One of my best friends lives in El Paso, TX, so the plan was to stay with her as this is not too far from the March.  I left bright and early Friday morning to head to the airport only to be told (or really reminded) that my license was expired!  Shit shit shit!  The TSA agent let me through but then I spent the next several hours having a near anxiety attack thinking about how I wasn't going to be allowed on the military base and how I wasn't going to be able to get my rental car (which I had already paid for through Priceline - ugh).  I honestly wasn't too worried about the car since I knew so many people in El Paso that could help me out with rides.  A quick email to my friend Ed and he was picking me up from the airport and taking me to packet pickup at the White Sands Missile Range (even though he had plans to go the next day with other Maniacs).  I needed to go Friday so I could spend Saturday with my friend Tiffany and her family.  This meant that I didn't get to hear the survivor stories on Saturday which made me sad.  Ed was doing this march "heavy" so I put on his ruck sack to see what it was all about.

Not bad just standing there but I imagine horrible while marching 26.2 miles in the high desert.
Ed getting ready to weigh his ruck sack.  It was 46 pounds that day and the only thing he had in it was all of his marathon medals!

Ed has military cred, so the guards didn't even ask for my ID upon entering the missile range.  Packet pickup (or "in-processing") was a breeze.  We got our bibs, goody bag, participation certificate, T-shirt, and timing chip.  I was hoping to see and meet the survivors of the actual march on Bataan, but we got there around lunch time so they had just left.  Bummer.  In our goody bag was our "medal", which is a dog tag.  You do not get a medal for finishing this race.  Your participation medal is given to you at packet pickup and you have the opportunity to have it, along with your participation certificate, framed.  I did not do this since I like to hang my medals and I wanted to be able to put the dog tag on as soon as I finished the "race".  I keep putting "race" in quotation marks because this really isn't a race.  It's a march.  The word "marathon" isn't even in the name of the event.

I got to look at the Organ Mountains a lot!

I decided to just bag the car and eat the hundred bucks I had spent on it.  I had access to a car and rides so it wasn't really a big deal.  The instructions on the race website said that everyone should have ID to enter the base on race morning or be prepared for a lengthy delay so I got hubby to overnight me my passport.  Another hundred bucks down the drain for being stupid and forgetting to renew my license.  Ed finally dropped me off at Tiffany's house.  Later that night we went out for some tasty sushi and drinks at Freedom Crossing on Fort Bliss.  I have never really been on a military base so I thought it was kinda neat.

You could land a plane on my big ol' forehead!  Wowza!

I woke up on Saturday to a delivered passport.  It had arrived via Fed Ex at 7:00 AM!!  Money well spent.  Tiffany and I then took the kids up to White Sands National Monument, about an hour and half away.  Such a beautiful place and the kids had such a good time sliding down the dunes!

I wasn't too scared of getting this sand on me.

Since I had to be up super early for the march on Sunday (like 2:30 AM), I just had Tiffany drop me off at Ed's house Saturday night.  I was catching a ride with him and the crew of Maniacs at his house and we planned to leave the house at 3:30 AM so we could clear security and park with no problems.  Ed has a beautiful home and I got to sleep on a super comfy couch.  It was pretty late by the time we got to bed (after 10 PM) so I only got about 4 hours of sleep.  The ride to White Sands Missile Range was easy.  We didn't encounter any line when we got to the base and got through security very quickly.  Yeah, you know that passport I had overnighted to me?  They didn't even ask for it!  They only looked at the driver's ID!!!!!  Ugh!  We were able to park and then rest for about an hour before heading over to opening ceremonies.  Fellow Maniacs Nichole and her dad were doing this march in the civilian heavy division (meaning you carry a 35 pound ruck sack for the entire march).  I wished everyone luck and headed into my place for the ceremonies.

Opening ceremonies in the shadows of the Organ Mountains

This is predominantly a military event.  In fact, I think this event has more military support than any other "marathon".  For those that don't know (and I really didn't until a few days before the march), the actual Bataan Death March occurred in 1942.  Some 75,000 Filipino and American soldiers were surrendered to the Japanese and then forced to march some 60+ miles.  The prisoners were tortured and murdered along the way.  They were not allowed to eat or drink and were sometimes forced to sit out in the sun for hours at a time.  Once to their destination at the POW camp, the conditions were deplorable.  Malaria and dysentery were rampant.  At packet pickup on Saturday (which I did not attend), some of the survivors told their stories of the march and how they were tortured.  The Memorial March is held in New Mexico every year since many members of the actual March were from New Mexico.

I am not one of the survivors.

For opening ceremonies (and then for the actual start of the race), wounded warriors are in the front, military heavy and light are next, then civilians (heavy and light), and then the honorary marchers (this is a 14.2 mile march).  So essentially the slowest people go first and the fastest people go last - the complete opposite of any other marathon that I have done.  Opening ceremonies were emotional.  There were four survivors present who were able to answer when their name was called during the roll call.  After the survivors were called, they called the names of all of the survivors who had passed away since the last march.  It was a long list followed by silence after each name.  The remaining survivors are very old (in their 90s I think) so I am so glad that I got to participate in this event before there are no answers when roll is called. 


"We’re the Battling Bastards of Bataan. 
No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam. 
No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces.
No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces. 
And nobody gives a damn!”

From what I could gather about this march, I was going to be running through sand/loose gravel for many many miles, so I was advised to wear gaiters.  For people that do not know me, I absolutely hate sand and dirt.  I do not want it to touch me and I will spend a great deal of time trying to get it off of me.  This march is also in the desert and there was no shade meaning lots of greasy sunblock.  I also hate to be greasy.  So combine sand/dirt with greasy sunblock and you pretty much have my worst nightmare.  But this year is all about getting out of my comfort zone and overcoming my fears.  

Dirty Girl gaiters
 
After the ceremony, the survivors and wounded warriors led the way to the actual start line.  This was a very slow process.  This process started around 7 AM, but I didn't cross the start line until about 8 AM.  I heard several boys complain about how awful the organiztion was and I just wanted to punch them in the face.  Even I, an extremely self-centered person, knew that this day was not about me.  It was about celebrating our military and memorializing the actual Bataan Death March.  I was sooooooooo cold.  My entire body was aching from shivering for almost two hours.  Even my jaw hurt.  I tried to get in the middle of the pack to protect myself from the wind, but that didn't help too much.  Just before crossing the start line, we passed two survivors and shook their hands.  

Fellow Maniac JC shaking one of the survivor's hand just before crossing the start line.

I'm going to stop here for this part of the recap.  Part II (the actual March) to come in a day or two..........

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The lamest race recap ever - Germantown Half Marathon 2014 Race Recap

So I guess I lied in my last post about Bataan being my next race.  Apparently when it's your birthday people want to shower you with race registrations.  And so that's how it came to be that I ran the Germantown Half Marathon in Germantown, TN this past weekend.

Since Germantown (now dubbed GT because Germantown is too long of a word to keep typing) is right outside of Memphis, we (me, JB, and her hubby PB) stayed with JB's aunt and uncle the night before the race (they live about 30 minutes from GT).  Upon arrival to their house, I was greeted by the three cutest little chihuahuas and the tastiest, most delicious cupcakes in the entire world!  I need to have a birthday more than once a year!  We eventually made our way to dinner and then went to bed.  

Laser eyes!

In the morning, we drove up to GT and found a place to park relatively close to the start.  This was actually a bigger race than I was expecting - about 1800 in both the 5k and the half marathon.  Both races started at the same time right outside of the GT Athletic Center.  



We met up with a few of JB's friends that would be running their first half marathons.  Well, technically only one was running her true first half marathon.  The other had done a half marathon before but it was on a trail and she didn't get a medal.  This would be her first road half marathon experience.  Our goal was to get them to the finish line with smiles on their faces and ready to sign up for their next race.


The race started on time and we made our way through neighborhoods and parks in GT.  The course was mostly flat with a few changes in elevation to keep it interesting.  I thought the first few aid stations were a little far apart but after that they were plentiful.  I think I saw at least 4 aid stations handing out GU!!!  Who in the world needs 4 GU's during a half marathon?   


JB and I let the first timers take the lead on the pacing.  We mostly ran but walked when we needed to.  This is going to be the world's shortest and lamest race recap because I didn't take any pictures and I really didn't pay attention to too much.  Plus I need to pack for Bataan (leaving for El Paso tomorrow).

Thanks HW for coming out to cheer on the runners!
We ended up finishing in 2:45-ish, which is a new PW for me, but I was satisfied with being able to see two first-timers to the finish.  

 
We grabbed a quick bite at the race - they had all sorts of cookies and goodies including some sort of BBQ (I don't eat meat so I cannot provide you with a better description) - and then headed to get some delicious brunch.  


This is a nice race and I am glad that I was able to do it.  I'm especially grateful that I got to run with a few ladies doing their first half marathon.  I'd like to do that some more.  As for costs, the race is $65-75 (depending on when you sign up) but I got this as a gift.  I also didn't pay for my dinner or my brunch (again, people like to spoil me for my birthday).  I chipped in $20 for gas.  So, in total I spent $20 for this race.  I like it!!!  Thanks to all that made my birthday race a great experience!

Now my next race really is Bataan because that's in like three days.  Unless I find a race to run on Saturday..........but I already looked and didn't see anything.