Category Archives: Half Marathon

Team Chocolate Milk interview: Jen Ator

You read my interview with Team Chocolate Milk member Apolo Ohno. If you didn’t, check it out here.

Another member of Team Chocolate Milk is Jen Ator, Women’s Health Fitness Director.

Jen is currently training for the 2014 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii in October. Follow her training at GotChocolateMilk.com.

She hit the pavement with Apolo in the streets of Seattle in her first Mission Apolo: BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK race – Rock n’ Roll Seattle Half-Marathon.

Unfortunately due to Jen’s travel schedule I was unable to meet up with her prior to her run. I was super bummed!

However, she was awesome to answer some questions via email.


How do you balance work and training?


Balancing work and training is far from easy—both are demanding, and both have to be a top priority. Working out in the morning has been crucial for me—not only in terms of being able to balance both, but also to be fully present at both. When I’m up in the morning, the only thing that matters is my training. That has my full attention. Then, once it’s done, I can get to work and be completely focused on what I need to do that day at my job (rather than being distracted or stressed about getting my workout in later that day). It also has helped me stay consistent with training; if something comes up at work and I have to stay late (which happens a lot), it doesn’t mean missing a workout.

I think the other big component to balancing everything is that going into this journey I knew I would have to make sacrifices in other areas of my life and I was comfortable with doing that. It might mean I have to skip that happy hour or pass on taking a long lunch break with a co-worker. For me it’s worth it because I know what my priorities are right now and that’s where I need to be focused. My schedule is pretty simplified these days: train, work, sleep, repeat.


What has been the biggest obstacle in training? How are you getting over it?


I think two of the biggest obstacles have been nutrition and sleep. You can only train as effectively as you’ve recovered, which means how I perform in my workouts is directly linked to how I take care of my body during the remainder of each day, outside of my training. With all that I need to get done in any given day, it’s all too easy for nutrition and sleep to fall off my radar and not get the adequate attention they need.

With nutrition, it’s all about setting myself up for success by planning ahead. I stash a bottle of chocolate milk in my gym bag so I have it immediately after my workout (I have a freezable lunch pack that I use each day to keep my meals cold while I’m at the gym – really useful!); I do a little prep work each week so that I have simple ingredients that can be tossed together in less than 10 minutes for dinner when I get home late; I keep healthy, well-balanced snacks in my office so that I can grab something in between meals if I can’t get away from my desk.

Getting enough sleep is an everyday struggle—there are not enough hours in the day! Like I said before, when something is a priority in your life, you find a way to make time for it. I’m turning off the TV earlier (or not turning it on at all), and trying to create a habit of unwinding before bed—10 to 30 minutes without my computer, or phone, or other distractions to help improve my sleep quality.


Which event (swimming, biking, running) are you the strongest? Why?


Running is the event in which I have the most experience and that I’m the most comfortable with but that doesn’t mean it has been easy. Coming back from knee surgery, I’ve had to adjust to a slower pace and tolerate a few more aches and pains along the way. I really enjoy swimming and biking in general, but both come with their own challenges when training for this race: I’m an anxious swimmer in open water and I will be learning to ride a TT bike for the first time.


Jen has a busy schedule , but really knows how to efficiently make the most out of time and stay on top of her training!

Be sure to follow her journey at GotChocolateMilk.com.

Team Chocolate Milk interview: Apolo Ohno

I had the pleasure of meeting eight-time medalist for short-track speedskating, Apolo Ohno.

Apolo is on Team Chocolate Milk and currently training for the 2014 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii in October. Follow his training at GotChocolateMilk.com.

I had a quick meet and greet with Apolo after an autograph session at the Chocolate Milk both at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle expo.

RunWithWes and Apolo Ohno

My first question was, “Are you running the Rock ‘n’ Roll half or full marathon?”. He was running the half marathon and shooting for a 1:45 finish, about a 8 minute mile.

Apolo was born in Washington State. I asked how it felt to be back in his hometown. He was excited and happy to back and see his family, even if it was only for a few short days. Side note: his dad was at the booth too.

I asked which event of the triathlon – swimming, biking or swimming is the the toughest for him. Running is definitely the hardest event. He said that he needed more open water swimming practice. He has been mainly practicing in a pool. The other tough part of training was shedding mass to be leaner and faster for the triathlon.

Apolo Ohno After Rock 'n' Seattle

Apolo Ohno After Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle

I caught up with Apolo after the race. I was eager to find out how he did. He happily said he finished in 1:36, which is about a 7:20-ish pace. Definitely an awesome time for someone who doesn’t like to run!

Overall, Apolo was a down to earth, chill, easy to talk to guy. I wish him good luck at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii in October! He is going to kill it!

Be sure to follow his journey at GotChocolateMilk.com.

 

Built With Chocolate Milk

Disclosure: BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK contacted me to write a sponsored blog post about TEAM CHOCOLATE MILK and their work with eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno. In return I was given a complimentary entry to Rock n Roll Seattle and a meet & greet with Apolo Ohno. Chocolate Milk is the Official REFUEL Beverage of Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.

The Science Behind Chocolate Milk:

More than 20 studies support the benefits of recovering with the high-quality protein and nutrients in chocolate milk after a tough workout.

Chocolate milk is a natural source of high-quality protein to build lean muscle. It has the right mix of protein and carbs, scientifically shown to refuel exhausted muscles and help return muscles to peek potential. It provides fluids and electrolytes – like calcium, potassium and magnesium and sodium – to rehydrate and help replenish critical nutrients lost in sweat.

Team Chocolate Milk & Apolo Ohno

Apolo Ohno is an eight-time medalist for short-track speedskating and is recognized as the most decorated winter sports athlete of all time.

As part of this year’s BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK campaign, they’ve launched a “Mission Apolo” series that challenges Apolo Ohno, to translate his power and speed to the sport of triathlon. With the help and training from experts on TEAM CHOCOLATE MILK, Apolo will compete in the 2014 IRONMAN World Championship Race in Kona.

Click on the picture above to see the latest Mission Apolo clip, which features Apolo, Jen Ator, Women’s Health Magazine fitness director and 6X IRONMAN Champ Luke McKenzie.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle 

As part of Apolo’s training routine, he will be running Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle!

During my meet and greet with Apolo, I can ask him questions about his training.

What questions would you ask Apolo Ohno about his training for 2014 IRONMAN World Championship Race in Kona with Team CHOCOLATE MILK?

 

 

RECAP: Seattle (Half) Marathon 2013

3 years ago my first race was the Seattle Marathon. I was undertrained and overconfident. Needless to say the race didn’t go as planned, which you can read here.

I woke up at 5:30AM sharp! Got ready and caught the bus  to the Seattle Center. The bus was 5 minutes late, go figure!  I arrived and walked fairly quickly to the start to get into the mass corral. Lucky I arrived with 15 minutes to spare. Though I didn’t have enough time to check in my bag. A friend was nice enough to hold it. I made my way to the corral, but for the life of me couldn’t find an opening through the barricades. Me, and everyone else, climbed over the barricades into the corral. I made it just in time. The National Anthem was starting.

BOOM! The gun goes off. It took a few minutes to get to the start line and for the crowd to open up. I started my Garmin. It was the last time I would look at it until the finish line. Miles 1 -4 were great! Running under the monorail tracks, through downtown and then eventually onto the I-90 Express Way. I was running at a comfortable pace. I felt really good.

After coming off I-90, the course turned onto Lake Washington Blvd. Miles 5-6 are my  favorite miles of the entire course. Running by Lake Washington and the great views of the other side of the lake. This part seemed to go faster than I expected. I didn’t want to run too fast, so I ran behind people who were running a decent pace.

I knew what was coming up. The part of that course I wasn’t looking forward to, miles 7-9. Hills. Big hills. These hills kill my legs. I knew that I couldn’t power up them. I ran to the top of the first hill and had to walk for 30 seconds before running up the next hill. Geesh! Needless to say I was really happy when I was at the top.

Miles 10-12. I was starting to run out of steam. I popped a couple of Cytomax chews. It gave me the boost I needed to get through miles 10 and 11. Mile 12 was tough. I was spent! I knew I ran at race at a faster than I wanted to pace. Did I mention this race was the furtherest I ran since my ITBS injury earlier this year? And it was the first long run for my LA Marathon 2014 training.

Proof!

Proof!

The last mile I gave it my all. I knew the finish line was close. Before I knew it, I crossed the finish line. I did it! I got my revenge on the Seattle Half Marathon!

I finished in a faster time than I expected – 2:00:05. I planned on running a lot slower, easier pace and not pushing myself too much. Overall not a bad training run!

Giveaway: Win an entry to the Berkeley Half Marathon!

Berkeley Half Marathon

What exactly is the Berkeley Half Marathon?

It is a 13.1 mile point-to-point race route that was created to show off Berkeley’s favorite spots – from the city center to the UC Berkeley Campus and the beautiful waterfront and marina, this 13.1 mile race will not disappoint. The route is flat, fast, and net-downhill, so it’s perfect for a new PR or tune-up before your next big event.

Course map is here!

When and where is the Berkeley Half Marathon?

It is on Sunday November 24, 2013 at 8:00am. The race is in Berkeley (duh!), California.

Now, how do you win an entry to this awesome race?!

Click here: A Rafflecopter giveaway!

Giveaway starts at 12:00AM PST on August 13, 2013 and ends at 12:00AM PST on August 21, 2013. Winner will be announced on August 21, 2013.

San Francisco Marathon 2013 Recaps

Usually I would be posting a recap of the San Francisco Marathon. However I was unable to run it this year due to an IT band issue. Instead I’m posting the recaps of my fellow AWESOME San Francisco Ambassadors.

First Half Marathon Recaps

Heather Gonzalez – San Francisco Marathon First Half – Race Recap

Meg Gudgeirsson – THE AMAZING FIRST HALF OF THE SAN FRANCISCO MARATHON

Second Half Marathon Recaps

Alisyn Gularte – #SFM2013

Paulette Ference – SF 2nd Half Marathon Race Report

Full Marathon Recaps

Krissy Murphy – WORTH THE HURT: The 2013 San Francisco Marathon Recap

Christopher Malenab – Race Recap: 2013 Wipro San Francisco Marathon

Alyssa Yell – Race Recap: The San Francisco Marathon, take 3

Moving Forward

Roughly a month ago I did not finish (DNF) the LA Marathon. Since then I have taken some time off from running to reflect and heal.

I have decided not to run Rock N Roll Portland Half Marathon in May to focus on rehabbing and strengthening my legs. Every race after that is also up in the air. I don’t want to jump back in too quickly.

However, there is one race that I do plan to run. But luckily that is much later in the year, which gives me plenty of time to train and be 100%. That race is (drum roll please!) the Amica Insurance Seattle Marathon!

In November of 2010 I ran the my 1st half marathon ever at the Seattle Marathon (see full post here). That didn’t go well as planned. Now it’s time for revenge. Back to where it all started. Yes, I will CRUSH the Seattle Marathon. I will be documenting my training up until the big day on December 1st, 2013.

Seattle Marathon Logo

This year I have been very fortunate to be a Seattle Marathon Ambassador! I’m very humbled and honored to be part of the Seattle Marathon Association. Full disclosure: They have provided me with a race entry as part of being a Seattle Marathon Ambassador.

San Francisco Marathon Ambassador 2013

I’ve been selected as a San Francisco Marathon Ambassador for 2013! I’m humbled and honored to be selected as an ambassador for a second year! Can’t wait to meet all the new ambassadors and everyone running the San Francisco Marathon!

From the San Francisco Marathon website:

This year we received a record number of Ambassador applications!  A special thank-you to EVERYONE who applied for the Ambassador program, we’re endlessly appreciative to the leaders in this running community.  These 40 enthusiastic runners below are the best of the best, from all over the U.S, ready to lead 25,000 SF Marathoners to the finish line.  Congratulations to our 2012-2013 team!

Rock n Roll Portland 2012

Note: Sorry for the late posting!

I left Seattle on Saturday morning by train to make it to Portland by the afternoon. However, there were issues with the train – they had to replace a wheel and there were some brake issues. I ended up leaving an hour and a half late.

I finally arrived in Portland in the afternoon. I made my way to the hotel by the waterfront. It was right near the finish line and not too far from the start. Check into the hotel, dropped my stuff off and went to Subway for lunch. I think I wolfed down my food in a matter of minutes. Jumped on Max to the convention center.

At the Expo I picked up my bib, swag bag and walked around the expo for about 45 minutes. The expo wasn’t too packed, which was really nice! Much easier to check out each of the booths. I must have had about 10 samples of various food and energy chews. Needless to say, I was stuffed!

My Rock n Roll Portland bib with motivation!

I headed back to the hotel to drop off my swag bag and relax a bit before dinner. I forgot that about 75% of the swag bag is papers and other stuff that I don’t really want. What a waste! I wish they didn’t fill it with so much waste that will just gend up in the trash!

I had no idea what to eat for dinner. I checked Yelp for Italian restaurants and found one that sounded good. However, I could not find it even with the map on my phone! Pretty frustrating, but finally decided on Romano’s Macaroni Grill. I would have rather ate at a local restaurant, but was pretty hungry and just wanted to eat! I ordered a nice bowl of pasta with meat sauce. It really hit the spot and I didn’t feel too full.

Again back to the hotel to relax and get ready for tomorrow. Did my my usual list of things the night prior to a race – laid out my running clothes for the next day, tied my timing chip to my shoes, attached my bib, charged my Garmin, set an alarm for 6:15AM and checked the weather. I usually check a bag into gear check, but luckily did not have anything to check in this time. For the rest of the night I just watched some television. I went to bed around 10:30PM.

Slept really well! Woke up about 6AM, 15 minutes earlier than expected, but still got up and got ready. Showered, dressed, stretched and was ready to go! I did put one of the samples, Jelly Belly Sports Beans, in my back pocket in case I needed an extra boost during the race. Off I went! The start line was just a few blocks from the hotel, so it was a short walk and a nice warm up.

Arrived at the start line, grabbed a water and half a bagel. I was looking for bananas, but the bagel ended up hitting the spot. Found corral 7 and stretched a little bit more. By now it was about 7:45, so had 15 minutes before the race started. The music really got me pumped to run, specifically Calvin Harris “Feel So Close”. I’m not sure why. It was the right song for the right time.

It was finally time for my corral to make it’s way to the start line. We had about 45 seconds to kill, so the announcer held us back. Then…3, 2, 1 and off we went!!

The first 4 miles I ran a nice pace – it just right. I was loving the course! I’ve never been to the east side of Portland. I didn’t know where I was going, which was really nice. No expectations! The bands were nicely spaces, but at some points it seemed that there weren’t any for too long of a stretch.

Around mile 5 there was a nice big hill. As I approached it, I saw a lot of people stop and start to walk up it. The hill reminded me of one of the hills I trained on, so it wasn’t a big deal to me. It was like I was training at home! I powered up the hill and didn’t look back.

After mile 6 it was pretty much down hill until mile 12. I love that there were a lot of people cheering along the way, being that it was so early and that it was the first time this race was held. Some were eating breakfast and had setup a table on the sidewalk. Other were ringing bells, playing music, holding signs and cheering. I have to admit that I was a little emotional around mile 7 when I realized that all the people were out there cheering for everyone. The last few miles I was in my zone. I know I was so close to the finish line. A slight sprinkle of rain started, but it wasn’t that bad. There was a slight uphill at mile 13 and then it flattened out.

Photo by fellow SFM Ambassador Albert. Photobomb by girl in pink.

When I got close to the finish line, I heard someone yell my name. It was fellow San Francisco Marathon Ambassador Albert! He finished about a half hour earlier (yeah, he’s fast!). He ran with me for a short while. We talked for a bit and he snapped some pictures. And before you know it, I crossed the finish line! My time was just under 2 hours – official time 1:59:57!

Fellow SFM Ambassador Albert with our Rock n Roll Portland Medals.

I was in quite the daze after I was finished. I picked up my medal, water, Gatorade, snacks, etc. My arms were full! I finished most of it and made my way over to the free beer booth (priorities!). Drank most of it. It started to rain more and I was getting really cold. I was ready to head back to the hotel to relax before I had to head back to Seattle.

Showered, relaxed, had a quick lunch and headed to the train station. Waited at the train station for awhile to find out that the train would be delayed. 3 hours later I finally boarded the train! When I arrived in Seattle I took a taxi home, since it was a bit late for buses.

Overall I had an awesome time in Portland. I plan to run Rock n Roll Portland 2013!

New shoes

I’ve been looking for a new pair of running shoes for about a month. I wanted to get a pair before my current pair were at the end of their life and a month before the Rock n Roll Portland Half Marathon.

Looking through Runners World, various online shoe stores, running sites, and different shoe brand websites I finally found the perfect pair! Drum roll please…

Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 7

I purchased these, because they had the cushioning I needed and I wanted to try a different brand. Bonus that the colors are awesome! This picture does NOT do these justice. These shoes are BRIGHT. Another bonus, the toe and heal glow in the dark.

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