Friday, March 7, 2014

First Thursday - March 6, 2014

The kick-off of the 2014 running season in Portland is officially underway!  Last night was the first First Thursday event through Fit Right (FR).  This scavenger hunt through NW Portland brings together runners and walkers and sets them loose on the streets.  Arrive to find cars parked everywhere bearing those familiar oval stickers with 13.1, 26.2 or even specific race stickers (Rock 'n Roll Portland was a popular one) and runners milling around wearing varying shades of neon colors.

Marilyn and I are sporting our New Balance High-Visibility Neon Jackets

At 6pm on the nose, the MAP is released on Facebook and on a large white-board.  Runners jockey for positions to get close enough to take a photo and then we're off - typically scattering in all directions clustered in small groups.

The map reveal!

 Stopped for a sample of frozen yogurt from Twist before grabbing our raffle tickets!
Each group will have one or two navigators, some with the photo on their smartphones, some with the intersections jotted down on a scrap of paper, some with maps they preprinted and brought with them and then marked with the stops.  The idea is to run to as many of the stops as you can and collect a raffle ticket from each one. The raffle starts at 7pm so you need to back at the starting location and have your raffle tickets organized and 1/2 put into the large ticket bins before it starts.  Each month has different vendors at the event and most of them put something into the raffle as well as a few of the stores we visit along the scavenger hunt.  FR always has a few things to raffle off and/or throw into the audience (a big favorite is socks! this event had lots of beer cozies and a few t-shirts).  You can earn additional raffle tickets by purchasing an event t-shirt at the beginning of the season (this year its a super-soft blue short sleeved t-shirt - you can see the back of it in the map photo).  So, mark your calendars and join the crowd for the First Thursday from March-September with Fit Right!

Apparel Review:  This was my first run in the New Balance High-Visibility Neon Jacket.  Marilyn and I were visible, but I think it was more because of the neon color and reflective striping on the jacket as opposed to our "tiger stripes" of glow in the dark areas.  The visibility is designed in three stages (low light is the coral color, oncoming light are the reflective strips and no-light is the glow in the dark accents).  We didn't get the opportunity to test the glow in the dark sections - they probably work great if you're running in pitch black but we were in the downtown area and there is plenty of ambient light from streetlamps and stores.  The jacket is super stretchy which I love.  It doesn't breathe very well if you tend to run hot, but I was fine for our ~3 mile run with stops.  It has two front pockets with zippers, which held my iPhone as we ran tonight (would bounce around a bit too much on a serious run through).  Nice long length, and it dips down in the back to cover your bum - a feature I always love.  Sleeves are a bit long, which would be great if they have thumb-holes, but sadly they do not.  The price tag is a bit steep - $175 but both Marilyn and I were able to snag ours on the clearance rack at our LRR (Local Running Retailer) for 50% off.  Am I happy I purchased it?  Yes.  Would I pay full price for it? No. In summary, it's a gimmicky jacket, but still cute and wearable for runs.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Muddy Valentine 5K - Race Recap

My Muddy Valentine 5K

February 15, 2014

WHAT FUN!!!!  OMG - I LOVE mud runs!!!!
Okay, anyone that knows me knows that being dirty is completely out of character for me.  Perhaps that's why I had such a great time getting muddy!?!?!?

Let's back up to the beginning of the day.  We started off by running with Foot Traffic University for a nice 5 mile run.  Then hit the annual RaceCenter expo, where we signed up for a few races!!!  Then off to Tualatin to find Lee Farms - the location of My Muddy Valentine.  Keep in mind, it's been raining all morning.  The race - which has waves of runners every half hour - started at 8am.  It's now 11:30am.  Did I say it's been raining?  It's actually been pouring most of the morning.  So, as we headed toward the start line and saw some runners milling around with just a little bit of mud on their shoes... well, I was a bit disappointed.  However, as our wave took off we quickly realized that hours of rain and thousands of feet had pounded the mud into deep rivets and pools of dirty water.  It was GREAT!!! This was an inaugural event... and thinking of doing a mud run in the middle of winter sounded crazy.  It was freezing.  It was VERY wet.  It was VERY dirty.  It was HECKA fun!!!! :D
The obstacles were all pretty easy - honestly, trudging through the long miles of mud was the most challenging part.  Sadly, someone was seriously hurt on the very first obstacle, right in front of us, so they closed that one.  It looked to be the most difficult one (over tall angled walls build out of OSB).  Many were just fun- like crossing a small ravine by walking sideways over two 2x4s or going down a slip-and-slide on your bum.  There was even a root beer option on the beer chug!  Yay!!! I was exhausted by the end but would've happily turned around and done it all again.    

Wished I read something like this:  What To Wear for Your Mud Run
But I didn't.  I knew enough that I wanted everything covered and to be wearing things that I didn't care about if they got ruined.  Black seemed appropriate.  Pigtails were fine but in retrospect might have been better braided or somehow tied up and out of the way.  Fortunately the headband covered most of my head and kept the wet and dirty hair out of my face.  The compression socks became very heavy but honestly I can't imagine what socks would not have.  We were drenched.  The only way to diminish that perhaps would be to wear a pair of running shoes with GoreTex but those are my spendiest shoes and instead I went with my oldest pair.  I was surprised at how much dirt actually permeated through my running tights.

There were hot showers at the finish line but you had to have pre-paid $5 for them.  I didn't see any other options to rinse off.  We did duck inside the tents to use the changing rooms (like a locker room, don't look up).  That all went well with the exception of me packing a pair of white socks.  So... note to self (and you!)... pack clothes that you don't care about for AFTER the run, too.  Even if you do get a shower, chances are you may miss some areas and/or you'll still be dragging yourself through dirt to get to your car.  We had taken a shuttle bus and I feel bad for whoever has to clean them!  Every seat was crusted with mud. 

See advertising for an upcoming mud run?  Don't even hesitate.  DO IT!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holiday 1/2 Marathon - Race Recap

December 15, 2013

Holiday Spirit was definitely in the air at the Holiday Half Marathon 2013!!!

I ran this race as a pace mentor with Foot Traffic University so after we parked the car (a bit further away than we needed to because we hadn't really done our homework researching the area) and made our way through the throngs of people, I headed into the WARM Adidas building where FTU had a table set up for us to meet at.  Shining smiling faces were gathered closely together - barely containing our excitement.  These runners had put in the miles and were ready (for some of them) to run their first half marathon!  Amongst the first-timers was my co-worker and friend, Kris (who hit it out of the park with a sub-2-hour first half marathon!!!):
Kris and I post-half-marathon wearing our medals and smiles!

The first couple of miles found us in a close pack, searching the crowds for the friends we were running with - our pace group numbers pinned to our backs on pieces of paper seemed to draw runners that were not part of FTU.  After a few twists and turns through the neighborhood the course opened up a bit and runners spread out more.  We found our grooves and I ended up with a couple of FTUers running with me.  I was pacing for the 10:30 min group and stuck with that time (finishing at a 10:24 overall) but lost all of my runners along the way - some dropped back and some sprinted forward.  The Holiday Half marathon is a great course to PR if the weather and your training/physical health allows. The course is mainly flat - with an out and back component that may be a little confusing if you haven't previewed the course.... it's further to get to the "out" than half of a half - we did our turnback way past the 6.5 mile marker due to that little tour of the neighborhood for the first bit.  But, the weather was great, the spectators cheered loudly, water stations were plentiful and festive and the DOWNHILL finish made for an elated feeling as you crossed the finish line.

One of the best parts of the Holiday Half!?!?!  What you wear!  
FTU pace mentors all join in the fun.

After the race there was a raffle - we were inside the warm building again - and I won a visor.  Perfect.  My first new piece of running apparel for the spring/summer season. :)

Things I love about the Holiday Half?  The outfits, the the camaraderie, the holiday spirit, the course (an area I rarely run), and how hard Foot Traffic works to improve the experience every year.  There were lots of porta-potties, heated areas, great food (hot black bean soup on a cold December day after a race is DIVINE).  Can't wait for next year!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

About Me

Welcome to Fastanista!  Yes, it is primarily a tongue-in-cheek name, but admit it... most of us have fun dressing up for a run or especially - a race.  It's just fun!  Plus, there's just something about the swish of a running skirt against my legs as I make the turn into a finishing chute that makes me run faster.  :)
Kerianne Christie, Vancouver USA Marathon 2012
My First Full Marathon!!!

So... what will this blog include?  I'm excited to share my running experiences with you - training, race recaps, trends, product reviews, etc.

About me....
I grew up on the east coast (Long Island, NY) but moved to the Pacific NW for graduate school and have been out here since 2010.  I live on the side of a mountain in Washington (the state) just across the river from Portland, Oregon.
I'm slightly over 40.
I'm a Teacher of the Deaf and work with children birth-to-age-three and their families.
I'm crafty and enjoy working on projects - sewing, scrapbooking, mosaics, jewelry, etc - as well as baking - recently I've learned how to make cheese and took a series of cake decorating classes.
I'm always open to learning something new (see above!).
I'm a bit of a shopaholic.
I'm a list-maker and a planner, but I also like to be flexible.
I like to smile.  A lot. :D

Monday, June 18, 2012

Vancouver USA Marathon - June 17, 2012 - Race Recap

My first full marathon!  The week leading up this race was stressful and became worse daily emotionally for both my training partner and myself.  The day before the race we found ourselves crying in each others arms and actually wondering aloud if we should back out of the race.  We decided there was no way we could allow outside influences to destroy the day we had been looking forward to and working towards for such a long time.  So... emotionally drained, we persevered.  I learned that she can take adversity and it makes her a stronger runner!  I also learned that the nauseous feeling I get when emotionally stressed does carry through to a race.  Oh well!  :P

Hugs are the BEST way to start a marathon!

...And we're off!  Me and my awesome BRF (Best Running Friend) - Jillian - 
wearing our "Sole Sisters" shirts she bought us from the Another Mother Runner store!!! 

The first half of the race was easy-peasy and going great - the second half was when my stomach began its upheaval.  I continued on and honestly, I enjoyed the experience.  Another runner friend (Donna) caught up with me and I changed my view of racing to pacing and just appreciated the camaraderie of being out for a long run with friends.  I kept an eye on the time and as long as we were ahead of my outside goal (finishing under 5:30) then I was fine with taking it easy.  Could I have pushed it more in the second half?  Yup.  Do I regret not doing that?  Not at all.

At the VUM Expo, posing in front of Mile Marker 26... We got this!  
Tony, Donna and me :)

The race itself?  Last year I ran the inaugural Vancouver USA 1/2 Marathon one month after my first 1/2 marathon.  I had run the majority of the course.... and the one little mile and a half that I had missed?  It was the biggest hill!  On race day I turned the corner and as we began to head up I went into shock.  Where had this come from?!?!?  It was a mountain we were climbing!  And it was never-ending!  My first road nemesis was born.  Over the past year before the marathon (which placed the hill between miles 19 & 20) I dreaded THE hill.  Finally my running partner inserted it into a training run - I think it was our 18 miler? - near the end.  THE hill won that day, too.  I decided that there was no way I could allow this to continue.  So.... we tackled the hill on a shorter run.  We started a mile and a half away and before we knew it, up we went. Seriously? I thought this was a hill?  Apparently miles on your legs before hitting it makes a huge difference.  It was pretty easy.  Another repeat of the same a couple more times and I was pretty sure I had beat THE hill.  That is, until marathon day.  My stomach had already emptied itself, I was fighting dehydration with all I had and... THE hill?  Well.... I might have given it a shot but by that time I was with a friend who had the theory of "walk the hills."  I do feel slightly disappointed that we didn't even give it a try.  Who knows?  But, I'll keep attacking that hill and I'm ready to run it easily in next years' half! ;)

Soooo happy to be done!!!

Remember that earlier photo?  Here's Tony, Donna and me AFTER the race!!!  LOL

Monday, May 30, 2011

Where it began...

A quick recap to bring you all up to date.

Let's start with my running story.  I was nearing 40 and there was the subconscious (because I would push it back down there whenever it rose to my conscious) knowledge that I was getting older and... ummm.... softer. Somehow I decided that running would fix that.  So I signed up for a 5k and bought a pair of running shoes (yes, I called them sneakers but that's because I grew up in New York).  It was winter in the Pacific NW so I hopped on a treadmill and started off.  The girl next to me was gliding along and looked like a runner - exactly what I was hoping to achieve.  So I assumed whatever she was doing was good.  I peeked at the settings on her treadmill and copied them.  What I did wasn't exactly gliding but I hung in there until after she had completed her (thankfully short) run and left the gym.  Then I immediately slowed it down.  But, I went back the next day and put it all back and tried again - determined to last longer.  Rinse and repeat for almost 2 weeks before I realized that something was wrong.  I had passed the everything is sore stage and now something HURT.  Long story short, I had created some nice stress fractures in my right foot.  Into a boot I went.  Fast forward three months and out of the boot - we're now 6 weeks away from the 5k that I had signed up for.  I'm a little stir crazy from dragging around that boot. So I go out running.  A few times.  Maybe a bit too fast and/or a bit too long.  Race day comes and I'm about 1 mile into it when I feel pain radiate up my right foot and I slow.  Yup - I fractured the same bone again.  Back into the boot.  Lesson learned.  I waited a good 6 months before trying again.  

Late one night I got an email from a coworker/friend.  It said something to the effect of "I know you wanted to start running and have been resting a while. Want to run a half marathon with me?"  I replied with a quick, "Sure!"  She sent back the link for registration.  I happily clicked through, filled out all of the information and paid.  I went to sleep with a smile on my face - I had a new goal!  A couple of hours later I woke up in a panic.  I realized that I had no idea how far a half marathon even was!  A quick google search increased my heart rate and a fine sweat broke out on my brow.  13.1 miles?  What was I thinking?  So... back to the computer and more googling led me to a running training group.  I shot off emails to a few friends to recruit others into this endeavor with me and went back to sleep.  Over the next few days I bribed and cajoled TWO friends into joining and we went shopping for running gear.  We showed up in our shiny new clothes and matching gear every Saturday morning.  We trained slowly and not only did the stress fractures never show up again but injury was kept to a minimum.  My less-than-auspicious start to running had evened itself out and now I was raring to go.  A few smaller races before the half marathon all went fairly well.  Race day itself?  Of course I had two goals - one public and one private.  I actually beat the private goal by 5 minutes!  Whoo hoo.  Somewhere after that I decided that if I were ever to run a full marathon I'd better do it soon.  So... I did.  And now... follow my story as I continue to set goals and challenges and (hopefully) meet them!  :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Shamrock 5K - March 13, 2011 - Race Recap

Race Review: Shamrock 5K

I went for a run with 30,000+ of my best friends today - with most of us decked out in our Shamrock green finery!  It was a typical rainy and windy day in Portland but spirits were high and lots of money was raised for the Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation.

The race is so packed with participants that even with wave starts you will not be getting a PR here - I felt a bit like a cow being herded for at least the first 1/2 of the race.  Instead of racing this one, plan to run with a friend and take time to look around at what everyone else is wearing.  Trust me, I may look all decked out in my greenery above, but my ensemble was very tame compared to many runners!  Think full-on leprechaun suits, red beards, humongous green bow ties, tall foam hats that look like mugs of beer... you get the idea. 

Shauna decided to go with her college colors and skip the green but we added a few touches on her anyway (doubt that Shamrock perched on the tip of her hat made it even a mile into the race).  I was hesitant to wear a running skirt, but they are so adorable and comfortable. I couldn't help myself.  The cotton tee was cute, too and since I've never had any issues with chafing and wore a sports tank beneath I was sure I'd be fine (and I was).

The Shamrock Run is the second largest race in Portland, OR.  The 5k course is a nice course - primarily flat with a good short (1/2 mile) hill at the end - and this is the only event I know of that holds separate events for 5k runners and 5k walkers.  The 8k course is pretty similar with the same hill.  The 15k?  That's the race where you climb the BIG hill in Portland.  Up Terwiliger! Two category 5 elevation increases = 550 feet of elevation over the race.  The beauty?  A nice fast downhill finish.  I'm saving that race for another year...  ;)