Sunday, December 22, 2013

Magical Milestone

I skipped my run on Friday because I was simply too tired. The pre Xmas time is just a little tiring :))) Fortunately I have learnt to listen to my body. Saturday we had Xmas dinner with the girls and I was still sleeping half a day being super tired. I didn't have time for the 18 km of my scheduled run, so I did faster 12 km fartlek instead to give the body more training load in the shorter time. Finally Sunday was time for the long run. Had 25 km scheduled, but wanted to do more as I missed on my previous runs. Had to divide the run in two: 13 miles outside in the morning and 7 miles on my treadmill in the evening.

What is with the magic? Well, you should walk 10,000 steps a day to keep your cardiovascular system healthy. Today, while updating the stats on my blog I realized I have hit different 10,000 ... I have ran 10,000 km up to today!!! I know it is just a number, but it feels kind of exciting!!! :) So I thought I would share that with you before I head for the next 10,000 km ... Can't wait. 

I LOVE running. I am grateful for every single run. Lacing up and heading out of the door is the best feeling in the world. Have a great Cristmas week everybody! Don't forget to give yourself the best gift - go for a run :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Estian Treadmill Marathon 2013 Race Recap

As I announced in the previous post, I got myself in a pretty crazy event of running a race on treadmill. Not any race - full marathon to be exact. I know that The Hungry Runner Girl ran a treadmill marathon, bit apart from that, it seemed as a pretty crazy event :) Just to be clear this definitely wasn't "A" list race for me. I was curious for the experience, thought that push my body little more than the "usual" long run 25-30 km (16-20 miles) might be useful as I am now in the volume part of training cycle. 

I ran 30 km 6 days before the race - on my treadmill at home to get the feeling. There was almost no taper, took the mileage little bit down as it was the fourth "scale back a little" week of the training cycle. But no special tuning up, no special nutrition, sleep regime, no caffeine and 0 alcohol regime I do before the big races. Overall: I didn't know what to expect as I wasn't really doing any speed work until the last week for the three months following the Berlin marathon.

Pre-race - all happy and shiny :D The gear: shoes (Lunar MTRL+), skirt, t-shirt, bra (Pro collection)  & headbands from Nike, compression socks Royal Bay.

Nutrition: my "secret" matcha sports drink: melt bigger pinch of salt an big spoon of honey in warm water, add freshly squeezed lime and serving of matcha, add cold water and shake well :) Also GU gels (I used 1 before the start and total of 3 during the race) and salt packs, plain water to wash down the gels.

About the race, I actually drove to a party on Friday night where I wasn't drinking, but got to bed as late as after midnight. Had to get up early to prep all the fueling and be at the 8 am bus to České Budějovice. Only carb loaded for the day before the race and the race morning: sushi for lunch on Friday, bananas and turkey ham for dinner, more bananas with some cashew butter for breakfast. I arrived to the Fitness Pouzar where the event was held slightly after 11 am and the first runner of the 8 am starting group already finished. Petr Vabroušek did great and finished in 2:35:10!!!

I was slowly getting ready, we were supposed to start at noon, but the start was pushed off little. So I spent time cheering up friends who were in their last km (Petr Říman and Míra Hasal from Bě Also chatted with the two endurance monsters - Petr Vabroušek (Iron Man) and Dan Orálek (ultra marathoner). Petr was casually spinning out his legs on the stationary bike. Telling us stories about the recent Antarctic marathon he won just few weeks ago. My dear friends, you can now see another level of being crazy :D

I did easy 500 m to warm up on one of the treadmills, did few dynamic warm up stretches and we were off to start. I started at 5:30 min/km (8:02 min/mile) and after 3 km worked up my pace to feeling comfortable at 4:45 min/km. As I was settling in my groove, boom the electricity on mine and two neighboring treadmills went off - luckily I remembered my number of km finished - 3,9. Electricity was switched back on and we went back to running. When this happened two more times it was darn upsetting, the organizers finally put the fans on another circuit and we were good to go for the rest of the race. The ultra marathoner Dan next to me was cruising at crazy speed of 16.3 km/hour!!! I settled at 12.8 km/h = 4:41 min/km which is little faster than my average split in Berlin.

The distance covered on the the treadmill screen was off due to the electricity cut offs so I knew I had 6.1 km more than the treadmill was showing. Played little mental game of counting how many km I have left until the next official time marking (5-10-15-20-25-30-35-40-42.2 km) . Also remembering to do manual lap for each km on my Garmin as the cadence speed was quite off (didn't remember to do this at the beginning). Took first gel at 10 km and half of the second at 20 km. Unfortunately my stomach started acting up a little or better to say the bowel movements... I lasted until 23rd km and hat to go to the toilet - you can do that, but have to stop the treadmill to 0 speed and your time is still running. The approx 90 seconds were totally worth it as I got back to my groove afterwards.

Dan next to me was already about 5 km ahead of me, I knew I was by far the fastest running woman for this year so basically it was running against myself and the clock. As I was approaching the 30 km mark, I started to suffer. I was taking half of a gel each 5 km - easier for the digestion, that pumped me up a little each time. But had to take the speed down a little. I was afraid that I will need to slow down a lot, but even going down to 5 min/km helped a lot, so I went like that for 1 km and took it up to 4:47 min/km again. It can seem silly, but each 0.1 km/h of speeding up really hurts. When I was around 32nd km my dad arrived!!! That helped me a ton. He came to pick me up to spend the rest of the weekend in Vienna. When he arrived I knew I wouldn't give up. And trust me that idea crept up my mind when I was struggling for each following km.

There was the 35 km mark - only 7 km to go, I can do this!!! Dan was finishing, huge clapping and cheers for him. I was aware of it but couldn't cheer him up, I needed every single bit of my energy for myself... But his last km was cool everybody was clapping and shouting - people could you do that for the next 25 minutes before I finish? :))) I took one more "resting" km after km 36 at 5 min/km pace and sped up back to 4:47 min/km. 5 km to go - I can do this!!! I sped up a little each km closer to the finish. 

Petr and Mira came back, taking photos and cheering me up - I knew I looked exhausted and my clothes were soaking wet (I took the tshirt down at 3 km into the race). But I was really happy knowing that I didn't give up. Managed to speed up to 13.5 km/h - I guess little faster than 4:30 min/km ... Don't know exactly, was just running and enjoying the groove. Now I had my 5 minutes of glory as everyone was cheering up for my last km. Really cool, Official time: 3:23:00. Pretty excited about it, only 4 minutes behind my PR from full volume training without any tune up or taper.

This is how 35+ km of relatively fast treadmill run looks like... Photo courtesy Mira Hasal :)

Just after getting down from the treadmill...

Photo by Dan Orálek

Prize giving ceremony - first time ever winning the female division of a marathon!!! 

Running on matcha worked for me again! :) (Photo by Dan Orálek)

Dan Orálek improved his last year's time by 2 minutes but still lacked 2 minutes on Petr Vabroušek, so he finished second - great job for both of them!

I got quick massage after the race and was competing like a champ half of the car drive to Vienna :)

Interesting fact: we had to weight ourselves before and after the race. Even though my clothes were soaking wet and I drank more than 2 liters of liquids plus the gels, I lost 2 kilograms! Most of it is definitely dehydration.

Anyway, I am really excited about this experience that proves my hard training pays off. I hope I will recover quickly so I can continue with the big volumes and the speed spice ups :)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Going Crazy :D

I went little bit crazy: in just a few minutes I am starting a marathon on a treadmill!!! :D

The guys from the first group that started at 8 am almost at the finish :)

Nutrition: matcha tea with lemon and honey and GU gels...

With Petr Vabroušek - the professional Iron Man - he looks so great after the marathon!!!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Change of Scenery

I have been looking forward to this weekend for quite some time. I don't have usually things planned that much in advance (except for my marathon of course - I know my plans for two years ahead :))) ). But this ladies weekend is something special, booked it already in spring and now I have my reservation ready for spring 2014!

What's this about? Girls only weekend with power yoga classes with the beautiful and inspiring Petra Polanská as our instructor but also buddy in crime ;) Friday evening started with boss class but I missed out on that one because I left Prague too late. Wasn't too sporran out that since my 14 mile "easy tempo" run did not feel easy at all in the morning so I didn't feel like any more training ... I only joined for the right time for dinner. We are staying at nice and modern Ski Resort OMNIA in Janské Lázně, fortunately the food they make is quite good. I am spoiled, but for Czech mountains it is even excellent, unfortunately still far behind most of Austrian, Swiss, Frapench and Italian places in the Alps. Bummer, but Alps are not 90 minutes drive from home... I am still doing this 21 Day Paleo Cleanse, so no alcohol and many other no things. I am basically eating meat, veggies and fruit. Honestly, I am pretty happy with it. I only miss eggs and coffee... Guess what I am having for breakfast on Monday? :)
My dinner was delicious "home made" goose broth followed by a salmon and snow peas. Yummy!!! I was hesitating about having the 500 g ribs, but I already had some pork for lunch and wanted to feel light for the morning class of yoga. Given the end of week tiredness element, I said bye to the girls at 10 pm, was not at all social and went to bed to watch Tomas Berdych fight and unfortunately loose to Raffael Nadal. But the game was great! I never played tennis, not even tried, but love watching the great players play. 11 pm and I was fell asleep like a champ!

7:30 was wake up and 8 am first power yoga class. What a start of the day! I think I need Petra at my place every morning so I can get the right stretches and moves :) I could feel that my body was tired and not that flexible as I am used to, but was way better at the end of the class. Quick shower and off for breakfast! The choice for me was bacon and veggies as I don't eat any grains and diary and am off eggs for the 21 day period (I actually had two such plates as in the photo!). The breakfast was decent, everyone could choose according to preference, quite generous buffet. Though I make better one and far far from the crazy yummy things we got at the Westin in Berlin for the Berlin marathon over month ago (omg it feels like yesterday!?).

Had little rest and at 11 am I was at the lift to the Black mountain in my running gear. I really didn't feel like running all the way up the mountain (the top is 1 260 m above sea level), so I did the easy thing of taking the lift and then running mostly on the mountain tops and down to the hotel. I did a mistake on one of the crossings so that made me go really down and then I had to climb back up and I was definitely not running most of the uphill. I was shooting for heart rate of 148 BPM and that was easily attained while walking. 

But the downhills!!! If I am ever doing Boston again, this is where I will train. We did some work on letting my legs run on the downhill with The Coach on Monady, so I tried to practice that. I think my legs are trashed. But on the other hand, I think the downhill is really good for getting some faster leg turnover without rising your heart rate and stressing your heart too much. What do you think? Any experts?

Did little under 9 miles of total, love the feeling after the run that challanges you in new ways - new scenery, altitude, navigation, lot of downhills ... Had only the broth for lunch again as I directly headed to the wellness where I am typing this post right now. It is decent but for a hotel at ski resort I find it really small, cannot imagine it winter when everyone wants to use the sauna after all day skiing. The sauna can fit in like 3-5 people. Luckily for me, not that many people go to sauna at 2 pm :) Now off to little beauty sleep and then more yoga later in the afternoon!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Being a Proud "Mom"

Warning: this post is not really running related (although there is a great Training Log tool as a part of eVito online portal :D ). Now that you are warned, what is on my mind? I had the best end of a work week yesterday, I am very proud "mom" of our almost three year old project eVito! Because yesterday evening, we got featured in the main news at one of the four major TV stations ... YAYYYY! Of course they cannot say the name of the product / service, but you could have seen the logo on the mobile app, PC screen etc. I am beyond excited! What is more, the reason why we got featured is, because we are bringing a powerful tool of home care for people with diabetes - we can help them. Of course, we are normal commercial business aiming for profit, but it feels really great if your work has a meaning and can help quite lot of people :o) I am really grateful for doing a job I love and here I can connect my professional skills with my love for sports, nutrition and healthy living.

Here is the link to the video ... we are mentioned in the main 3 headlines at the beginning of the news and then you can jump to 11:30 :o) I'm just excited... (the video is in Czech only...).

Well, I will add two print screens from the training log, so it is at least a bit running related :D

Detail of my easy tempo yesterday eveing.

Weekly overview in the training log.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Nike Winter Flashes

Not too much writing so we can get straight to the photos :) Nike introduced today the new products and materials for the winter collection of 2013 / 2014. It is a part of a Designblok and Fashionweek event, so you can check out the exposition from Tuesday October 8 until Sunday October 13. It is actually pretty amazing and there are lot of other interesting things to see. Unfortunately I had to rush back to work, so I din't see the rest, only ran through it.

The main attraction of the show were probably the jerseys for the Czech national ice hockey team, but I preferred the running section way more :D You can see all the reflective gear how it lightens up with just using the iPhone camera flash. Pretty cool? So I really DO NEED the Nike Flash Jacket, I just don't know where to get money for it ... Hmmm, bummer, I guess my xmas list is getting really long and cannot see many non-running items on it :)

Apart from that, today morning was another easy run slightly over 5 miles and I enjoyed it so much! I am having fun with the off season no training plan time and am really exited to start working hard again.

What are you running plans this week?

Any tips for my running wish list for xmas? :D

Photos from the press conference / event:

... the famous national ice hockey jersey :D

New Nike Aeroflot running vest keeps your chest and core warm, but vents on the back. If it gets warmer, you can fold it in your pocket. How cool is that? You cannot see it on the photo but they are really feather like super light.

These cuties are way more interesting for me!!!
It has been improved from the previous models so it stretches now...

The reflective prints are really fun!

And some official photos ... Check out how Allyson Felix and Ashton Eaton are rocking these outfits!!!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

40th Berlin Marathon 2013 - Part 2

Second and hopefully final part of the Berlin Marathon race recap. This should actually be the race recap as I only described the beginning of the marathon weekend in the Part 1 of this mini series :)

Warning: this post is probably gonna get kind of long, so I am putting up important facts first. Berlin was beautiful race, little crowded for how fast I wanted to run, but beautiful and still a huge PR. Trust me, 6 minute PR is huge :D My official chip time: 3:19:01 which places me 216th woman among the 8 992 who finished the race! I couldn't figure out the exact overall result - around 4 300th out of approx 40 thousand runners. The conditions on the marathon Sunday in Berlin were perfect as can be confirmed by the new world record of 2:03:25 that was set by Wilson Kipsang from Kenya. Can you imagine how fast that is? Crazy fast! Florence Kiplagat was fastest among women with 2:21:13 - still have 1 hour to cut off my time :D

The marathon morning: As our hotel was just about 1 km from the start/finish area I didn't need to leave super early. The start was at 8:45 am so the main reason to get up relatively early was to get in the breakfast early enough so I have time to properly digest it. 6 am alarm clock it was, I woke up just few minutes before it. Got straight to the business = eating :D Goat milk cottage cheese with two bananas, bit of home made nutbutter and honey. And double Nespresso - the true one WITH caffeine. Oh that felt great!!! I don't have problem limiting things to lower quantities, but when you totally cross out something, you might be really craving it soon :)

After that I put the warming massage emulsion on my legs to keep them warm in the first parts of the race. It was supposed quite chilly in the morning - around 8 degrees Celsius, rising towards 12 degrees towards noon. I was counting on the sunshine making the temparuter feel little higher. And I am very glad I was right, because if not, it would have been too cold. So dressing up, deciding whether I am taking headband or cap (headband), stocking everything in my dop bag. Bathroom business, final photos and we were ready to go. I started to be little nervous about the time, but still had 45 mintues to go, which meant I started sipping the beetroot juice and took the Tylenol pills (I take them before every marathon/half).

Took few photos at the Unter den Linden street in front of the Brandenburg gate and in front of the Reichstag/Bundestag (the Parliament building) and it was time to say goodbye - as the starting area was restricted to runners only based on ID wristbands attached at the expo. We rechecked the cheering points on the course and I was all by myself. Have to admit, I was getting really emotional. Fortunately, this was good emotional, feeling I am going to put all the hard work in and enjoy the beautiful run in beautiful city. 

Little did I know that I had crazy half an hour ahead of me instead of calm concentration. The closed up area for runners was crowded in the direction of starting corridors and unfortunately the female baggage drop offs were on the way towards corridors so it was double crowded. I called my mom to say hi and figure out where they will be on the course and dropped off my bag. Didn't see any porta potties around and was really getting late so squatting down behind a bush it was - I wasn't gonna screw my race perfomance and all the preparation for not peeing before the race. The warm up and strides were happening on the actual way towards the corridor and here was the trouble. I sucked in my first GU gel and flushed it down with the last bit of beetroot juice on the way to the start. One of the Matt Fitzgerald's tips: when you get the gel/energy in just before the start, it's actually counting towards the calories / carbs ingested during the race, but since you are not running yet, you are not risking the GI distress.

I was in the E corridor which was the last one going out in the first wave, but access to the corridor was together for E and F even though F was starting later. We found ourselves 50 m from the corridor stuck, because it seemed they were not letting the runners in to the F. 5 minutes to the gun. I knew that it is chip measured race so even if I started with the later waves I was totally OK, but still wanted to start in "my" corridor. Went through the "forrest" with other runners which meant that we reached the barrier around corridor like 1 minute before the gun - crazy! And had to go over it, I was really scared of hruting myself, but fortunately runners are great people so two strangers helped me over the barrier and there were we just few seconds before the gun. No time to overthink. 

The commentator said there were several world record marathoners at the start with Haile Gebrselassie and Patrick Makau among them starting the race. I wondered for few seconds whether Paula was there, but I guessed she whould have told me when we met in Prague few weeks ago. And she is always in my thoughts so no time to disturb myself. After the start I realized that we still have few minutes until we actually cross the starting line. It took me like 5 minutes to get there. The crowd of such a huge race helps you to keep the reasonable pace at the beginning and not go out too fast. As I again rediscovered and reconfirmed that  I need to warm up and get in my pace rather slowly. 

The first kilometers were ticking by pretty quickly, I was around the 7:38 min/mile (4:45 min/km) pace and was pretty happy with for the beginning of the race and wanted to pick this up after 3-5 km towards 7:15 min/mile (4:30 min/km). Little did I know that this wasn't gonna happen. But not due to me not being ready to hold the pace. Unfortunately there were too many runners going at slower pace (I was assigned to the corridor according to my previous best time of 3:25). Note to self: if you want to go at the faster pace of the corridor, get there early enough to be at the front of the corridor. 

Almost forgot the ultimate first that I fortunately didn't let to screw up my race - my lace untied at around km 2-3, which made me go crazy for a moment. I was afraid too tie it to tight as I can easily have shin splints when my shoes are too tight. On the other hand that left me checking the laces every now and than visually, because I was afraid the lace would untie again. As this wasn't happening, I finally let it go of my mind around the halfway mark. Back to the race: at 5 km mark I really wanted to speed up to my goal pace as I was feeling great, unfortunately due to the crowds ahead this was tough to do. I speeded up a little, but kept slowing down and speeding up because of the way ahead of me being crowded. It seems to me that I was especially surrounded by huge numbers of Danish runners. I do not have anything against them, but lot of them were running in groups of 2, 3 or even more - side by side. And it is virtually impossible to overpass such a group. Life was tough and I was getting little frustrated, but told myself that I have to be positive and I will probably be able to use the spared energy in the second half. Unfortunately speeding up and slowing down is way more energy demanding than going at the steady pace.

Another slow down were the refreshment points. They were not as frequent as they are usually in the US races, here they were spaced out 3-5 km at time. That made them really crowded because you couldn't afford to miss one of them. Back on the course, oh yes the course, I cannot really remember lot of it. I was focusing on my race, the pace, the nutrition and the great support I had on course. I knew dad and my aunt were going to be btw km 7 and 8, this is where we were getting close back in sight of Reichstag and yay there was my dad in the first part of a slight incline. Very clever - I was up the climb I even didn't know how, because of the excitement of seeing dad :) Now I knew it was going to be quite some time until the half way mark where I was gonna see them again. But yuppiii there was mom and her boyfriend, cool! it is great to have on course support.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

40th Berlin Marathon 2013 - Part 1

Warning: this post is probably gonna get kind of long, so I am putting up important facts first. Berlin was beautiful race, little crowded for how fast I wanted to run, but beautiful and still a huge PR. Trust me, 6 minute PR is huge :D My official chip time: 3:19:01 which places me 216th woman among the 8 992 who finished the race! I couldn't figure out the exact overall result - around 4 300th out of approx 40 thousand runners. The conditions on the marathon Sunday in Berlin were perfect as can be confirmed by the new world record of 2:03:25 that was set by Wilson Kipsang from Kenya. Can you imagine how fast that is? Crazy fast! Florence Kiplagat was fastest among women with 2:21:13 - still have 1 hour to cut off my time :D

The Czech gang at the Berlin marathon expo.

Now let's get to the lengthy version :o) Berlin was definitely my "A" race of 2013. With Amsterdam 2012 and Boston 2013 not going as great as I expected, I really needed a race to confirm to myself that what I am doing makes sense. Running is my thing, it is what I decided to do and what makes my life full and meaningful. Admitting this and sorting this out was a huge thing for me. Also huge relief, makes things way easier when you take time to sort out what you want to do. Having the mental coach as a part of my team for the past two months helped a ton! Nike and Matcha Tea are also supporting me on my way toward becoming the best runner I can. Long story short, I really needed to have a solid race. But didn't wanna put too much pressure on myself :)

After the work related stressed kind of screwed up my performance in Amsterdam 2012 I was gonna be sure this does not happen, so I took Friday off work. Had an easy relaxed day, bought some food supplies so I am not dependent on what is available in the hotel and as my dad picked me up at 5 pm we were ready to hit the road. Berlin is just 350 km far, so was an easy ride. Up to the point when we hit the evening traffic jam upon arrival to Berlin. We finally got to the hotel around 9 pm, checked in, got a crazy upgrade for our room (we had a steam cabin in our bath room apart from beautiful shower and bath tub). All that ment it was 10 pm when we got to the dinner. Beef broth, steak and baked potato it was. Broth and potato for the marathon nutrition, steak to spoil myself :D Have been eating mostly carbs in form of fruit and honey etc. all day, so the steak was delicious.

Saturday morning I woke up at 7, but put my sleep mask on to avoid the sunlight and managed to sleep until 8:30 :o) We met up with my aunt who was staying at the same hotel (she is like a sister to me - just 4 and half years older than I am) and went for a breakfast. Honestly, having delicious breakfast buffet is a torture when you love all the great food, but you actually cannot eat what you want because of your race. But you know, as runners we do sacrifice way more in the months coming toward our race, so the decisions should be smart not screwing up everything on the last few days :) I have read Matt Fitzgerald's new book: The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition before coming to this race - lot of valuable information!

Treat part of the bfast was salmon and bit of eggs followed by the carb loading part of fruit, jam and honey ... Was pretty full after eating all this, so got an easy massage from my aunt to let the food set in and went for the last pre race tune up run at around 11. The weather was beautiful, I checked the way to the starting area that was only about 1 km from our hotel. Did little over 1 mile at the race pace which I can now say I intended  to be around 7:15 min/mile. My heart ratew was little higher than in the last training but I knew that was all due to the  excitement. Seeing the Brandenburg gate where I knew we would be runnig towards the finish next day... I don't think the pre-race glitters ever get smaller before marathons :)

Took a shower and we went for a lunch because the dinner was gonna be early - involves lots of eating this marathon thing :) We went to an all you can eat sushi place - soo yummy! Great choice and I think I am making this my new pre race tradition having sushi for lunch before the race day. 

And off we were in taxi towards the race expo which was at an old airport that actually is almost in the city center and now serves as a convention center. The expo was pretty huge and unfortunately not very well situated, so we had to cue to pick up the numbers. Was kind of funny as this was my dad's first time at race expo. 

Met with the great Czech running gang at the number pick up where we somehow also decided that the next year's autumn marathon is gonna be New York for us :) Wandered through the expo, my dad got me a cute Nike event tshirt because the official tshirt is Adidas and I have always been a Nike girl! I am pretty proud that it was the only thing I got there.

We couldn't get the taxi so took subway on our way back to the hotel. Unfortunately there was some construciton going on, so we ended up walking quite a part of the route. 

Saturday afternoon the inlineskaters did almost the same as marathon route - this is the first guy - so damn fast!!!

Made it to the hotel just in time to get a bit of nap before the dinner. I made the clever thing to reserve us paleo restaurant for the pre race dinner - I wanted me some delicious broth and sweet potatoes. Both were succesfully achieved at the Sauvage - can only recommend this place. Grat food, great atmosphere, great interior and great service!

Amuse bouche: pumpkin puree in coconut oil.

Turkey broth ... yummy and powerful for the race.

Turkey breast and sweet potato with more sweet potato puree on top - I actually gave up the bacon on the top of the puree to my dad and aunt and didn't finish the meat and asked for extra sweet potato ... Carb loading for the race is a tough job!!!

... the extra sweet potato

Interesting decor at the Sauvage restaurant - lamps made of fish skin.

Back at the hotel, I laid out all my racing gear and my aunt gave me the final massage - so cool to have such a great support team with me. Final touch was painting my nails of course! I also spent some time going through photos from previous races - especially NYC and Prague. Re-read the NYC marathon race recap and was looking forward to enjoy the race day at least the same. Fortunately I only woke up once and had a good night sleep.

Since this got really long ... TO BE CONTINUED in Part 2 :)