Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Trot Recap

Going into this race I had to mentally prepare myself for less than ideal conditions. Back in Nashville it was 75 degrees (around what i'm used to) and in Ohio it was supposed to be 30s / 40s and pouring rain - makes you want to get up early and run 5 miles doesn't it?
Woke up at 6am, put on all my layers only to come to find out its 46 degrees and rising-hallelujah! Switch up game plan and opt for spandex capris with pants over to take off right before race and on top went with tank and running long sleeve spandex w/ a windbreaker to block the rain. Brother Eric came over at 7am so we could hit the road. He was kind enough to lend me one of his Adidas hats to help block the rain from my face. Somewhere between the time we left our house and the 25 minute drive to downtown Miamisburg the rain went from a 'downpour' to a 'drizzle', which obviously will make the run a little easier. Dad drops me, Eric, and mom off so we can walk to start line and warm up while he looks for parking; very sweet.
We have about 20 minutes to kill so there isn't much to do but stand around, stretch, and warm up- so thats what we did.
Despite being almost 8am bc its stormy out it looks super dark

Eric, me, and mom prior to the race
I feel like every time I come home I always run into someone I know. It was crazy to look around at all the runners and see people who I used to compete against back in highschool. We also ran into a family friend, Denny, who is big into running.
Eric, Denny, me- thought it was neat Eric and I had consecutive bib numbers- we must have registered simultaneously!
Since Denny is an avid distance runner I ask him what he's striving for and he tells me 40 min- sounds good to me. In all honesty, I just want to beat my brother, or should I say defend my win against last time we raced- 5k over labor day.
Feeling good and ready to rock it
Finally they call the runners over the megaphone to report to line up. Take my spot near the start line, few people behind Denny, and several people ahead of Eric. This is the first time I had someone sing the star spangled banner before the race while everyone looked up and ahead at a flag hoisted up by a crane. Finally the gun fires and everyone is off. Holy crap these people are fast! I'm getting passed left and right even though I feel that I'm going at a descent pace.
Within 400 meters I catch up to Denny and pace with him since we have a similar goal in mind. 1st mile was 7:20- I know as soon as I see the clock its too fast but lets just see how long I can last. Denny left me around 1.5 miles so I thought I was slowing down dramatically, however when I hit the 2 mile the clock was at 15:06, so a 7:46 2nd mile. Once we reach the turnaround I felt like a hit a brick wall and yet I'm only halfway done. I couldn't help but beat myself up on why I always insist on going out too fast only to significantly slow down my pace and be in pain. On the positive note as I was making my way back I kept my eyes focused on the runners on the opposite side of the road who had yet to reach the turnaround to see where Eric's position was. When I saw him I figured I was about 2 minutes ahead of him- perfect :)
Although my muscles felt great, it was just so hard for me to breathe. Once mile 3 hit- 23:40 I decided to walk for 30 sec so I could catch my breath. I ended up having to do this 2 more times before I even hit mile 4. In the distance I saw what I thought was the clock for the 4th mile marker, so I sped up a little bit, but soon realized that it was a gas station and the red numbers were the prices for the gas- darn. (apparently Eric thought the same thing when he reached this point so I didn't feel as dumb) Finally reach mile 4- 32 and change- if i can pick it up a bit I can hit somewhere in the 40 range. I always tell myself that no matter the race, walking in the last mile is NOT an option so that makes it that much harder.
At this point I'm drenched and I'm not sure if majority of it is rain or sweat. My hair is dripping wet from being hot with wearing a hat (first time ever in a race) and I want nothing more than to take off my top shirt to cool down, but that would take way too much energy- something I was lacking right now. I was getting frustrated because I couldn't remember what the start/finish line looked like, so I had no idea when I was getting close. I saw flashing police lights in the distance- looked to be about 400M so I started to pick it up a little. As I get closer I realize that is not the finish line, however I can finally see it in the distance- too far to pick it up quite yet.
Ugh I want nothing more than to be done and be dry. As I near the line I finally pick it up so I can just be finished. I wouldn't say I had a kick by any means, but it was enough to ensure I did infact get in the 40s- 40:36 official time.

 Once I crossed the finish line had to stand in a line to get my chip removed and returned- generally after a run the first thing I want is a drink before doing anything else- tough luck on this race. After I got my chip removed I had to walk a ways away only to stand in a huge line for 4 minutes just to get a bottle of water and a banana- really?!?! Its cold, I'm wet, and I'm thirsty. Being the good sister that I am I decide to pick up another water and banana for Eric so he doesn't have to suffer like I did.
Soaked and tired after the race.

Us with dad 

Us with mom 
If you were to ask me how I did in this race I would say I felt terrible. Placing wise though, not bad got 9th in my division out of 284, 730th overall out of 4648- plus I also beat Eric as he ran a 43:20. This may sound crazy, but I would much rather run a half marathon than another 5 mile race. I've been training for about 9 min. pace, so when I go faster than that, aka a 7:20 first mile, my pace and breathing are all off and my body punishes me. Looks like it may be awhile before I venture to run another 5 miler race.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jameson Invite repeat

So tomorrow is the Thanksgiving 5 mile Turkey Trot back home in Dayton Ohio. Although this is a race I have never participated in (or any 5 mile race for that matter) its much anticipated due to the fact that apparently its a big show down to see who will win between my older brother Eric and I. I've always been considered the "runner" in the family, so obviously I'm the favorite to win but I can't help but think back to the last time we had a running competition within my family.

I had just finished my 8th grade track season pretty much undefeated in the 400. I was fast in comparison to the other girls, but how many other 5'10 130lb 8th graders are out on the track? My mom kept bragging about my 'speed' to my older brothers (18 and 20 at the time) and thought it would be a grand idea to hold a "Jameson Invitational" down at the track. We scheduled a date to do a 400 meter race, mom bought 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons, and even had spectators show up. I was so mortified because I knew there was probably no way I would win considering they were much older and faster than me, but was forced to go through with it.  To sum it up I got severely beat and I think I just walked off the track with 100 meters left to go. I was embarrassed because running was 'my thing'... it was what I was good at and in that moment it was taken away from me.
Fast forward 13 years later to present day and you've got the race tomorrow (minus my other brother Andy). What should be an enjoyable 5 mile race- despite 30 degrees and pouring, may turn into a 'don't get beat by your brother' race. I told my mom that I anticipate a first place ribbon this time around :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Louisville Half

I lived in Louisville for 1.5 years prior to moving to Nashville- part of my heart remains there still.  I absolutely LOVE the city and the people that I left behind. It just so happens that Louisville sits halfway between Nashville and my hometown, Dayton Ohio, so it makes the perfect stop whenever I travel home and can catch up with my friends in the process... bonus!!  Naturally I was thrilled when I found out there was a half marathon being held there  in the fall, much sooner than the infamous Kentucky Derby Half marathon (which I still may run is Spring just for kicks.) I asked Becca if she wanted to join the 2.5 hr road trip North to my beloved 'derby city' to try out their "Louisville Marathon and Half"- my selling point- course is FLAT ~ completely unheard of in Tennessee.
The race was actually being held on Sunday, which worked perfect for my schedule since I was working a half day on Saturday. Get off work, pick up Becca, and then make our way toward Louisville. Embarrassing to admit, but prior to this trip, I had never been to a pumpkin patch (or at least no memory of one) After some rigorous searching online, we found a farm in Bowling Green, Ky which fit nicely along our route so we could make a pit stop.
Jackson's Orchard! 
We walk around to see what all is available before deciding to get in line to take a hayride to the pumpkin patch! I'm such a nerd when it comes to pictures, that I absolutely LOVE taking pictures with random inanimate objects (or people in costumes  / mascots) Saw this little gem while we were waiting in line- wanted really bad to stick my head in his nose, but at risk that I might get stuck, I decided against it.
Since I've been anxiously awaiting to go to a pumpkin patch for so many years I've built it up in my had that its going to be awesome. Once I see the patch, it was kind of pitiful looking and picked over- bummer
Where are all the pumpkins??
After a lot of searching  B and I finally pick out our prized orange guys, or should i say women. She named hers Sheila, and mine Joy.
The perfect roundess!

Afterward we decide to be super goofy and do a photo shoot with our pumpkins- yes we're 26 and 27 and we like to play around like little kids every so often- Here are some of the results...
Running away with my pumpkin 

This is the classic 'hs senor pic' pose with both pumpkins

Becca rockin the shades and the pumpkins 

Peekaboo I see you! 

I really like how the pumpkin brings out your eyes....

Sheila wanted to see what it was like to be higher off the ground

Re-enacting Mufasa / Simba scene in Lion King--- only w/ my pumpkin

After our photo fun we got some sweet tea and ice cream and hit the road. Decided to do our pre-race dinner before reaching Louisville so we agree on Cracker Barrel. Both get salad w/ chicken and ranch, and I add on the hasbrown casserole- mmmmmmmmm. We finally arrive at our destination- Jenna's house- my friend and past roommate. Due to a long time spent at the pumpkin patch, cracker barrel, and losing an hour since Louisville is on eastern standard time- its already 10pm. We chat for a bit and lights out a little after midnight.

Race Day 
After a very tossing and turning night of little sleep, we get up at 5:30 am to gear up for the race. I decide to opt for something small to eat before race vs. the last one- LARA bar cherry pie flavor (tart but delicious). I knew starting  out it would be cold, but later in day high 60s, so I opt for capris, tank, and a zip up jacket that I can put around my waist if need be.
We arrive at the building we need to go for race day packet pickup- which is right next to start line,  convenient. At 630 its still pitch black out and extremely cold- 30s-40s... ugh. Absolutely LOVE our tech tees since the fleur de lis is my favorite symbol!

 Hammer gels were helping to sponsor the event so had a few of those in goodie bag- first time try those out. Also a first for me was they handed out chips to wear around your ankle that you would then return once you crossed the finish line. Once we got everything taken care of it was only 6:45 and the race didn't start till 8am, so we venture back to my car, 200 yrds from start / finish, and crank up the heat and turn on some upbeat tunes to get us pumped up. 
As more people start to pull in the parking lot we're starting to get antsy. This is a smaller race, only 1,000 people, so our whole goal is to basically take it easy and just figure out how to run it pain free- if thats even possible. No goal times (although I'm determined to do better than the race 3 weeks prior), no expectations, just running! Do some stretching out and then head to start line.
Before race start
My mini game plan is to go out slower in hopes that I'll naturally speed up as my body becomes acclimated to my pace. The reason I normally don't wear a watch for pacing is that the one I do have stops after 30 minutes- sure I could buy a new one, but since I don't know what I'm looking for, I'll wait. Way I figure is I can get in 3 miles under 30, pace appropriate there and then just use that pace for rest of race- lucky for me that is pretty much what happened.

Once the gun went off it was kind of a giant cluster- I tried my best to fight the urge to sprint out there to get in good position, so instead I just slowly bobbed and weaved through runners when I saw the opportunity. Surprisingly I felt good. My legs felt light, breathing was steady- getting good vibes on this race so far. First mile marker hits and no clock- was informed by another runner that there are no clocks throughout the whole race, wow. Thank goodness I have my watch for at least 30 min- 1st mile was 9:30. I told myself that was a good pace and since the crowd had thinned out a bit, I need to start utilizing the other runners and pace off them. There was a couple running about 50 ft in front of me the whole time, the man was probably 6'5 and wearing bright blue, so easy to spot. I decide that as long as the gap between me and him does not get farther away, I'm good. 2nd mile comes- 16:47- faster than anticipated, but thats expected since I was trotting for a few hundred yards after the start- no worries. First water break at 2.5 miles and they are handing out actual water bottles- hilarious but also frustrating because hard to drink, I manage to somehow not spill it all over myself. Forgot to look at my watch at mile 3, so that was a wash, and once I remembered to look down it had already been past 30 minutes, darn. At least I'm still pacing off blue guy. 

It doesn't take long before the intensity of the sun is growing and wearing a long sleeve black jacket seems like an awful idea. Since I'm all about mini goals I tell myself that at the next water stop, which should be a little after the 4 mile marker, I will take a quick stop to have my water and be able to take off my jacket and tie around my waist.  I do just that and what a difference it made- I felt 5lbs lighter INSTANTLY! Now that I have nothing to focus on beside mr. blue I realize how absolutely gorgeous the scenery is. The course is a down and back along River Road, and as the name suggests, we're running right alongside the Ohio River. Love the array of colors from the surrounding trees and landscape this time of year- makes you appreciative to be up this early enjoying nature. 5 miles in I decide to just give my body a mini break and I walk for 30 sec (timed via my watch which decided to work) and its amazing what a difference 30 sec of rest can make on your joints! Within a min or two I was right back to where I needed to be in relation to Mr. Blue. 
In between miles 5-6 was the only hill of the race, more like a quick winding hill that lasted literally 10 seconds, how awesome is that! Take my first gu, vanilla bean (my absolute favorite) at mile 6 and store the Hammer gel (raspberry) that they gave me in my pocket. I was always told to not try new things on race day, which I generally take to heart, so that includes new brands and flavors of gels. I reach the turnaround point and it feels good to know that as I'm making my way back toward the finish line, I'm beating all these people going the opposite direction as myself.
After awhile I start to wonder how come I haven't seen B yet- am I really going that fast?!!? A couple yards ahead of me I see a hand waving- there she is, chit chat as we're passing by and back to focus. I think I'm maybe 1 mile ahead of her, wow no doubt I will beat last months race time. Although my calves are treating me wonderfully, I stat to notice that my hips aren't so forgiving. At mile 8 I tried my run for 5-10min, walk 30-40sec combo to give my body a tiny break. After a few rounds of this, I found a new couple to pace myself off of. Basically I was ahead of them,  then toward the end of my 'walk' they would pass me up and when I started running again I would pass them by. If I can just continue this pattern I know that I'm not losing any ground by walking, and my body is going to thank me the next day. 

All was well until mile 11. I wouldn't say my body fell apart, because I still felt generally okay, I think I was more tired than anything. When I do my walk / run combo, my run is much faster than a normal race run because I know I'm going to be getting a mini break shortly, so I tire out more quickly. Aside from that my right hip was killing me. I set myself another mini goal- I will allow more walking from mile 11-12, but once mile 12 hits, NO WALKING. This may sound easy to some, but for me, that is just how I race so that is a huge deal for me if I can go that long without walking after I've been running for who knows how long -damn I really need a new watch. 
By the time I reached mile 12 I lost my pacing couple due to walking more. I kept true to my promise, and am proud to say I ran the whole way and even passed some people I didn't see the whole race. Unfortunately I got confused where I was at and thought I was much closer to the finish line than what I really was, so as a result I picked it up too soon. Finally get to the corner where its about 200 meters to finish line and start kicking it in. Once I get closer I can see the finish line clock- 2:03, are you kidding me?!?! My last race I finished 2:15 and I was able to knock off 12 minutes despite still walking and not having a watch? Official time 2:03:12 - wahoo! Quickly dropped off my chip, grabbed a bottle of water and a banana and headed to the car to put on flip flops. I decided to go to the corner to wait for B and cheer her on. While waiting I wanted to share my excitement about my improvement so I called my parents, to fill them in! Shortly I see Becca in the distance and start cheering her on.

 Decide to run the rest of race with her, minus crossing the finish line. Once completed we chow down on some peanut butter, bananas, and water.
Make our way back to Jennas so we can shower and get ready to have lunch with some of my ladies that still live in the city. If you're ever in the Louisville area and are looking for a unique, fun, and tasty place to eat, I HIGHLY recommend Lynn's Paradise Cafe.
Outside of Lynn's Paradise Cafe
Apparently on a sunday afternoon Lynn's Paradise Cafe is a happening place, so we had some time to kill before getting a table- photo time
Me and Jenna- Fork ran away with the spoon

Jess, Jenna, Nat, Me- all used to live together. 

Becca showing some love to a silver moose

After we stuffed our faces- Beth, Me, Becca, Nat, Jenna, Jess

Totally want these chairs in my house
After a successful race, meet up with old friends, and consuming just as many calories as I burned off-  Becca and I make our way back to Nashville. After this race I started thinking to myself how I would really like to run more half marathons to see what I was capable of---- and if were going to participate in more races, why not try one in each state? Thus my idea to do 50 halfs in 50 states was formed and the real race planning begins....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why do I run?

Today I went on my usual lunch run with one of my friends Ronnie, and  he asked me what got me back into running. I thought the answer would be easy- to get in shape, or because I enjoy it. To be honest, yes that is why I started, but to stay devoted and competitive you have to have some other driving force. I started to think about what really is motivating me to push myself to the point where I want to devote all this time and money to doing a half marathon in each state.

The real answer is somewhat complicated that can only be best summed up by this: I'm 26, single, no kids, not a lot of money in the bank, still renting vs. owning, and no dream job as of now (although i am employed and love my employer and co-workers) So what do I really have in my life that is a measure of success? Nothing really. Majority of my friends are engaged, married, or having kids. To top it off, both my older brothers just had their first children within the last 3 months, another reminder of something I want but don't have. At times its downright frustrating because I feel like I have nothing to offer to the table. It would be nice to have someone else say about me "Man, Lisa is so lucky to have...."
So running is my relationship, it is my 'baby' - its what fills that void of not feeling adequate. I do have what it takes to become a great runner again. I'm fortunate enough to have the 'come and go' lifestyle that allows me to devote as much or as little time as needed to train. I have a strong desire to prove my worth- that I AM great at something. I have just enough stubborness to not give up too easily until my goals are reached. I'm young enough to where my body will bounce back, even after the worst aches and pains. But most importantly, for the first time in many years, I have found something that I'm passionate about again. I actually look forward to planning out races and seeing what I'm able to achieve with hard work and time. I finally have that satisfaction of people who are close to me and know about my quest for 50 1/2s in 50 states say "I wish I had your determination to do that..."

For me, running is all about finding my inner athlete that once was alive back in high school. I know shes in there, just have to coax her to start shining once again!
                                                            So...why do you run?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Women's Half Marathon

After my last half marathon blunder, I'm surprised that I signed up to do another race- why put myself through the torture again? Simple, it couldn't get any worse. After encouragement from my co-worker and friend Becca that I would have plenty of time from May to September to train I decided to give it another shot. We signed up for a Fleet Feet training group that met from July till weekend before race day (September 25, 2010) Due to my work schedule I was only able to meet up for the long saturday runs, but that happened to be what I needed the most accountability for anyway because lets face it- sleep is more appealing than waking up at 5:45 am on a Saturday morning to go for a muggy run.
Starting out it was difficult for me to even do 4 miles, but once we built up to 7 I thought I was getting the hang of it. 9.5 was the most I was able to do with our group due to family commitments and traveling back home, but since that run went well I didn't worry too much about adding another 3.5 miles to that for race day (adrenaline should carry me right?!?! ha)
Pre-race day
Parents came down from Ohio to visit and cheer me on in my attempt at becoming a long distance runner again. While they were changing at hotel for a night on the town, I hit up the expo to get race packet and check out vendors.
Right when you walk in they hand you your sweet tote bag with lots of goodies inside. Each Women's series chooses a theme based off the city its in. This one is in Nashville and Nashville is donned the 'music city' so our theme was musical notes.
my cool tote bag for the race

Since I've been away from the world of longer distance running for awhile, I was blown away at all the new types of gear that has come out. If I could have bought it all, I would, but since I've yet to make my millions I ended up getting several of the no slip head bands with cool sayings, got a couple of window decals for my car, and a front pocket tank to hold my gus and phone so i don't have to worry about wearing it on my arm. *disclaimer* if you sweat a lot or if its really humid out, may be better to wear on arm as to not ruin your phone or mp3 player by end of race... or just for holding your gu. After an hour spent at the expo I met up with my parents and ventured our way to Spaghetti Warehouse for pre race dinner- fettuccine alfredo, steamed broccoli, and breadsticks!
After dinner I showed my parents around the main strip in downtown Nashville, aka the infamous Broadway. Took pictures of some different monuments, statues, animals and ended with a carriage ride down the strip.
These dogs had hair glued to them- hilarious. had a crowd around the motorcycle, think every one of us put a tip in the tip jar.

Mom and I outside "Boot Country" store w/ their giant boot! 

Parents inside our carriage- we opted for a covered one as it was starting to sprinkle

Me and our Clydesdale horse pulling our carriage.
Afterward we went back to their hotel, watched a movie, then lights out.
Actually got a decent amount of sleep this time around and felt pretty good when I awoke at 5:30- already one over the last race. Nibbled on english muffin with sunflower butter (free sample in my tote), water, swig of coffee, and some yogurt before heading downtown. 
Parking is very tricky downtown Nashville- if you're lucky to find a meter or free parking, GREAT, otherwise you're bound to be paying anywhere between $5-$15 for one of those pre-pay lots. Since I happen to live in Nashville and have a close friend who lives downtown, I direct my parents to his side alley and can park hassle free, score! Make our way to the start line in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame and its an absolute MESS. Race was on the corner of 4th st and Demonbreun- 4th intersects with Broadway and they did not put up any barricades at the Broadway and 4th intersection, so cars were pretty much driving all the way to the start line only to then come to the barricades and having to do a 4 point turnaround and find an alternate route. To be honest I was a little shocked that was not planned out better. Was waiting for Becca near the entrance with my parents and she calls to let me know she is one of the people that turned down 4th only to find she needs to turn around. I hop in the car with her, direct her around traffic, and land her a sweet parking spot next to my parents up the road. 
We venture our way back toward start line where its stretch and warm up time!
Jumping up and down getting blood flowing 

always remember the importance of stretching 
Parents take a 'before photo' before we venture off to our corrals and then say goodbye to them until finish line time.

As we make our to the openings to get to your corrals there is a photographer waiting to take a picture of you and whoever you're with- I thought this was really neat, however it ended up being a bad picture so I didn't order it in the end. We're in corral 2, - about 1,000 in each corral, so not too close to front but still manageable. 
Bikers who lead the way for us
Despite us being in corrals, there was no staggered start. Once the gun went off it was every woman for herself- chaos. It took us a good 30-45 sec just to cross the start line, and even then it was like a slow trot for several hundred yards. The first mile was actually uphill, but due to the congestion and just trying to find a good spot as well as pace, I hadn't even noticed. I don't wear a watch, so when we passed the mile marker and the clock said 10:45 all I could think of was 'damn'. I have to remind myself that is not accurate with where I'm actually at, but its still disheartening to see. About 1.5 to 2 miles in I lengthen my stride a bit and separate from Becca- not a smart move. Although I'm tall and have the potential to have a great stride, I have yet to master that technique without tiring myself too quickly. By mile 3 I had to walk a little bit- nothing major, but I was kind of worried that I was already tired.
Between miles 3-4 there were a lot of mini hills and my calves were already killing me. I walked slightly up this progressive hill and this man yelled at me "Come on hit 36 min for 4 miles you slacker!"- excuse me... I'm out here at least trying, and maybe that isn't even my goal to average 9 minute miles. Then 2 things occurred to me: 1.) I don't really have a goal time for this race other than beating May's time 2.) Holy crap am I about to run 4 miles with the clock saying only 36 min and yet my first mile read 10:45?!?! A lot of people would be excited by the latter, I on the otherhand, knew that meant I was going too fast and I would hit a major wall- which I did around mile 7. Miles 4-6 were okay, crowd support here and there, no major elevation changes. Once 6 came I had to pee... bad. I tried to ignore it for as long as possible, but once I got to mile 7 there were 3 port o lets and 2 people in line- SWEET! What I didn't realize was that one of the toilets was out and the 2 girls ahead of me had decided to do more in there than I was planning on, so by the time I had finished a whole 3 minutes had gone by- 3 whole minutes! Becca ran by as I was waiting so I did cheer her on- she yelled for me to catch back up (or at least that was the plan)
I'm not sure if it was because I was miserably hot and tired, or if the break just interrupted my rhythm, but once I hopped back in there I only lasted a mile before my body just fell apart. Between miles 8 and 10 there were a LOT of slow gradual hills that were just killer on my already sore calves. I wish I had the ability to block out pain, but unfortunately I have a habit of 'babying' my body vs. pushing through it so because of this I slowed down drastically. I started walking and taking mini breaks at all the water stations hoping that would alleviate some pressure off my joints, more specifically my hips- it did, but pain resurfaced after 30 sec back to running. Majority of mile 10 was spent running down Broadway- due to it being downhill as well as knowing my parents would be somewhere along the sidelines cheering me on, I opened my stride again and sped up.
Sure enough amongst the hundreds of spectators cheering on the runners were my parents, encouraging me thats its almost over- 2.5 miles to go! Easier said then done.
Once we ran all the way down Broadway we had to turn left onto 2nd Ave- never noticed till now that it was a  S-L-O-W gradual uphill. By this point my hips and calves are screaming at me, so I decide to give them a break and walk the majority of 2nd ave, right past mile marker 11, and up until the hill finally flattened out. From this point till mile 12 it was relatively flat terrain. I did walk for a min and a lady passed me telling me I shouldn't walk because we have a little over a mile to go, so I ran with her for about 30 sec and she took off. Turn the corner right after mile 12 only to look up and see the gigantic hill we have to run up to cross one of the bridges downtown. I literally blurted out slight profanity on how it was ridiculous to have such a hill in the last mile- a passerby said 'screw this' and she started walking too; at least i'm not alone in this. We talked briefly and then I decided maybe I should start running again.
Reached top of bridge, got a little downhill action then I knew the rest of the way would be flat- thank the lord! As long as I'm giving thanks, I also was extremely grateful for having my name across my bib- definitely motivated me to at least not walk the last 1/2 mile. No seriously I tried to walk and a few people said "Come on Lisa you're so close" ~ I hate being called out by name, so now no more walking it shall be.
Finally reached mile marker 13, and I had no kick in me, luckily no one behind me did either, so at least I didn't get past in the home stretch. Apparently a girl 2 people ahead of me was also named Lisa, so it felt good to at least hear cheers for my name, regardless if they were intended for me or not.
For the record, I did beat the girl in yellow 
 As you get closer to the finish line, there is a guy announcing your name, which is pretty neat (and also how I knew the other girl's name was Lisa)
Just about there...
Finally made it across the finish line. Headed straight for the gatorade and then reconvened with my parents. Although they were proud of me, I did get the question of what happened between when they saw me at mile 10.5 and the finish line- i.e. I majorly slowed down and they were expected me to finish earlier. My response "2 more major hills happened to me"
Dad giving me a hug after my race :) 

Wishing and hoping that some of the pain in my legs is due to lactic acid and elevating them will alleviate that pain- fat chance. 

Can I sleep now?!?!

Post race pic- smile is forced 
So after a lot of stretching and sticking around to hear some of the awards, first place female ran 1:24- sick, we headed back to parents hotel for some good quality pool and hot tub time. Have you ever tried getting in a hot tub with major chaffing on your inner thighs? If you haven't, it BURNS! Chlorine and raw skin do not mix well together. After much coaxing from my mom and about 45 min of delaying, I finally took the plunge, literally. I would have to say that the hot tub did wonders! Although I still had difficulty walking afterward, it only took me 2 days before my body fully recovered and I was ready to run again- last race it was almost a week- wahoo!!
After our pool time we got ready for the wine festival that I bought tickets for all of us to attend. Exhausted mixed with heat = no desire for this girl to drink, so I mostly just followed my parents around having a sample here and there. Afterward we went to my favorite German restaurant in town (obsessed with German food) and called it a night. Once got back to hotel parents were asking me how I felt about my race now that I've had time to 'recover' so to speak.
Looking back at my race  my official time 2:15:22 was a disappointment. Although its a huge improvement from my abomination of a race in May, I was so angry with myself for having to walk so much because I actually trained for this one, why was I in so much pain? Then I got my 'aha' moment- I bet if I weight lifted and worked on my knees, quads, and hip flexors, my body won't torture me as much, ya think? Then as an added bonus I wouldn't have to walk as much and my time could naturally decrease. Even though I hated myself as early as mile 7 for thinking it was a good idea to run this many miles, I decided that I at least had to do one more 1/2 to see what I was able to accomplish!

Lessons learned in this race:
1.) Still need to work on pacing better for first half of race so I don't fall apart in the 2nd.
2.) Hill training will pay off dividends
3.)Always, always, always make sure to go to bathroom right before the race to avoid having it hit you during race.
4.) If you're going to wear shorts either invest in body glide or get a longer pair
5.) Important of weight training. 

My first half marathon experience

Rock and Roll Country Music Half Marathon ~ 04/24/10

My first half marathon... what was I thinking? I decided to run this race ONLY because so many people I knew were running it and I thought it would be a shame to be left out- plus many of them didn't have a running background, so if they can do it, so can I. I probably only ran about 7 x prior to this race, so when asked to put my expected finish time I had no idea what a good pace would be, so I just randomly picked 2:30.

Went to packet pickup and race expo with one of my best friends RJ and was completely blown away- didn't realize that there were 36,000+ runners split up between both the full and half marathon. Although all the excitement of seeing all the runners was getting me pumped up, it also made me realize how truly unprepared I was for the race. Since this was not only my first competitive race in years, but also first half marathon, I decided to capture the moment!

Apparently didn't put the mask on correctly
Check out my sweet guitar! 

Had our pre race dinner with RJs parents at McFaddens Irish Bar- all the pasta places were packed and considering its more beneficial to carb load 2 days prior to the race vs. the race before, I figured we'd be good. I live about 25 minutes south of the city, RJ lives right downtown, so I was lucky enough to crash in his living room- big mistake. To say that I'm a light sleeper would be an understatement. I laid down to sleep at about midnight, but the ticking of his clock was preventing me from falling asleep. I moved his clock into his bathroom and thought I was good to go. Apparently all the drunken partiers walking by his apartment didn't get the memo so last time I looked at my cell phone it was well past 2am. Up at 5am, sleep deprived, cranky,and  nervous about not knowing what to expect... But I put on a good face....

Like I said earlier there were over 36,000 runners for this race so timing to get to the starting line was going to be crucial. Pretty much all of downtown was closed, so unless you knew someone who lived in the vicinity of the start line, you had to go to LP Field (Titans Stadium) wait in a line of hundreds of people to catch a shuttle which would then take you to Centennial Park where there start line was. First corral gun time was 7:30- they gave 2 minutes inbetween each corral so I figured arriving at the stadium at 6am would be plenty of time. 

After waiting in line for an hour they opened up a few more shuttles and RJ and I literally sprinted to try and get on one- whew locked and loaded with a seat and now just waiting to get to Centennial Park. 

Thousands waiting for the shuttles 
We finally arrive at Centennial Park only to have to rush over to the Parthenon to get a few pictures with my coworkers in our matching shirts- I hate being late and this is only adding to the stress- guess thats what I get for volunteering my camera

Some of fellow Healthways colleagues in front of the Parthenon
Becca, Sara, Erin, Me- 2 coworkers and my boss

After our photo taking I go near the start line with Sara and RJ to stretch a little bit. Because there were SO many people I decided instead of starting in Corral 24, why not start with Sara in corral 13! So said goodbye to RJ and found out spots and waited. 

Our corral is finally up- gun goes off and it was complete madness. One thing I've yet to mention about myself is that I'm a HORRIBLE pacer; I usually just go with the flow of whomever I'm with. With that factored in, along with the first mile being on a gradual decline, trying to pass people to get in good position, as well as the attitude "I'm going to die anyway so I might as well go out strong" my first mile was a 7:30. As you can guess that is way too fast and unfortunately I knew it. I promised myself before the race that I would try my hardest to wait until at least mile 5 before walking. Once I past mile marker 2 I broke that promise. If you've ever been to Nashville its all HILLS, and this course definitely stuck true to that elevation. When mile 5 actually did come around I was completely wiped. It was so frustrating because all I wanted to do was walk, but the ENTIRE course was lined with spectators so it made me feel ashamed to walk in front of people. I officially gave up halfway through the race. My calves were in knots, my arches felt like needles were poking them, and I was HOT. The forecast was supposed to be severe thunderstorms so I wore spandex pants to prevent chaffing for when I got wet... only problem is they weren't running spandex. Didn't realize till this race that fashion spandex are extremely NOT BREATHABLE!!! 
Somewhere in the race there were people handing out what I thought was vaseline on a stick. I was so out of it that I picked it up, didn't know what to do with it so I rubbed it on my arm, no clue why.  Found out later from RJ that it was glucose for energy haha. My other 'novice' mistake was 'gu'- never heard of it, didn't know you needed to take it with water, so when I saw it I just put it in my mouth and threw the wrapper on the ground. Needless to say I couldn't wait till the next water station. By this point I lost the feeling in my feet so I would say that the last 4 miles were spent run/limping and walking, with an emphasis on walking (Later found out that I sprained my ankle but was more focused on the pain in my hips and everywhere else to notice) At this point i was just determined to finish, didn't even care what my time was. Once mile 13 came I was surprised I had a kick in me at all and luckily passed a ton of people. 
After I crossed the line I downed two water bottles before getting my medal.

 The next 1.5 hours was spent trying to find RJ and sitting in the torrential downpour with his parents at our 'meeting spot'- icing on the cake to a crappy race. Came home, showered, napped for 5 hours, then went out for a beer. After my awful first impression I learned some valuable lessons
1.  Shoes really DO matter- need to stop going for light and focus on support
2. Imperative to actually train or at least have some consistent running regime before entering the race
3. 7:30 first mile is too fast, PERIOD.
4. "Vaseline" on the stick goes in your mouth, not rubbed on your body
5. Fashion spandex make an awful running choice.
6. Take gu with water.