Thursday, April 28, 2011

3 things Thursday- Pig Edition

1. This weekend is Cincinnati's Flying Pig Marathon and Half. Although I'm not looking forward to the hills galore, my parents, brother, and potentially / hopefully my nephew Joseph will all be there to cheer me on- yay for personal fans!!! ( I expect signs family : cough cough:)

2. Thanks everyone for your input on if I should choose "practical pig" or "party pig" to wear for The Flying Pig half- Winner is.....

Party Pig!!!

Now I just need to make an elastic string to secure it and I should be good to go!!! As always there will pictures for documentation. 

3. Once we're all showered after the race, B and I are meeting my fam for lunch and much deserved beer at Hofbrahaus!!!!! If you like german food, beer, music, dancing on picnic tables, and german outfits, this is the place for you!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

One step closer to bikini ready...

LONG story short, 1 year ago someone decided to order a bunch of health related items in my name and send them to my parents house back in Ohio. I've done all the right actions as far as filing police report, talking with each company, offering to send products back as long as they provide postage and basically I'm told their mine to keep!!

Although I am in possession of a lot of useful items, this by far is something I've been wanting to try for a long time!! Since I'm apparently prone to injury, I won't start up the whole routine till after my first double header in 2 weeks- Wisconsin and Michigan.

Since I've never done this before, any suggestions on equipment I need beforehand or modification would be greatly appreciated. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This little piggy

So in the spirit of 'semi dressing up' for the upcoming Flying Pig 1/2 this weekend, I've decided to wear a hat to show my piggy side. I have 2 to choose from, and need YOUR help in deciding which would work best.
Here are the two candidates:

For both hats the intent is to only wear them for a short period of time. (as long as I can endure) Once I feel I don't want it on my head, I will tie around my spi belt until I see my parents, and then hand off to them (you never know when you are going to need a sweet pig hat, I need to be prepared)

** side note** photos were taken before work, so had to do self portrait since no one was around to assist me. 
 Pig #1 is more simple, a little lighter and has straps that velcro together if I choose to fasten it under my chin. I can then use those straps to velcro around spi belt. 

Pig #2- Much larger, but also more fun. He has a party hat on (couldn't angle to show in this photo), he has a blower out of his mouth, and it says party time on the bottom of hat. If I went with this one I would have to add a makeshift string to hold on while running. 

So now help me decide which would would be the best choice to run in since I'm torn! If I can convince B to wear the other one, both will have the opportunity to be represented this weekend!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Weekend- bullets and pics

After work on Thursday I ventured back home to Ohio for a long Easter Weekend with the family. Lot of fun festivities and catching up was had by all.
  • Thursday night stayed with Jenna, an old friend / roommate from back in Louisville and pigged out ate Melting Pot- shes pregnant so she has an excuse- me, well I just like food. 
Jenna and I last time I visited- we both have an affinity for taking photos with random signs
  • While at the Melting Pot, I had my first EVER stuffed mushroom cap (huge deal because I worked at the Louisville MP for 1.5 years and was too scared to try it) 
  • Arrive in Dayton Friday morning, lounge around during day, and get to play with nephews when they come over!!!
  • First up is Joseph- 8 months. Son to my oldest brother Eric:

  • Then I got to feed Codyn, 6 months- son to my middle brother, Andy

Look at those big blue eyes!! 

  • I finally got to give them their very first Mickey ears I bought them after Princess Half in Disney World
couldn't quite get them both to look at the camera

Codyn and his Mama 

Joseph and his daddy
  • After dinner, one of my good friends Kory came over before he left for a year in Turkey - he left today :( - we all got a little silly telling stories, playing pool and darts, been awhile since I've had THAT much fun (although I only took 2 photos)
I was excited to drink my beer from this itty bitty authentic German stein 

Kory and I
  • Actually got a run in the next morning (rare to run when I go home)
  • Mom wanted to do our annual Easter Egg hunt on saturday since it was supposed to rain all day on Easter Sunday. 
    • Yes I'm 26 and my brothers are 33 and 31- we still have an Easter Egg hunt amongst the 3 of us every year... and we're competitive. 
The ladies with their baskets
Courtney in action of grabbing an egg
Helping Codyn put his 1st easter egg into his basket
The kids and grandkids after the hunt (of course i'm looking at the wrong camera)
  • After the Egg hunt, my mom dumps all the plastic eggs into a giant bowl, and we have 2 minutes to match up PROPERLY as many eggs as we can (color, size etc) and the winner of that gets an additional prize. 
in action putting eggs together- its much harder when there are 5 sets of hands reaching in

after the contest- i lost miserably (first year i've come in last) and loser gets BUBBLES!!

  • Shortly afterward it poured, and poured, and poured some more. I lounged around (its been so long that I didn't have somewhere to be that I took full advantage of being lazy)
  • We had our "easter dinner"- pasta, bbq chicken, garlic bread, and my absolute FAVORITE spinach salad- sorry no pics
  • One of my bfs Jen came over with her fiance and we chatted until wee hours of the morning. 
  • Had Easter breakfast, played with nephews, watched 'Mary Poppins' and 'The Joneses'
  • Eventually everyone parted their ways, but I switched shifts at work for monday to close, so I had one extra night in Ohio before I would head back to work early Monday morning. We had dinner @ Applebees, followed by renting Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1- amazing
    • I have read all books, but for some reason just hadn't gotten around to seeing the last 2 movies. 
  • I went to bed, woke up early in the morning, had a nice omlette from mi madre, then made the 5 hour trip to Nashville. 

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend, and for the lucky ones, spent with family

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Speed Workouts with Kickball

Today was our 2nd kickball game of the season and boy was it a workout. I play 3rd base so I'm used to always having to run and get foul balls, however what I'm not used to is running around the bases. Although I can kick hard, it generally gets caught and thus I rarely make it past 1st base. NOT TODAY MY FELLOW FOLLOWERS!!!

Today not only did I get on base, but I scored... TWICE!!

By the end of the game it was tied 4 -4 (woo woo for getting half the points) We had to do an extra inning with a runner on 2nd- other team got 2 runs and we only had one, so we lost (sigh) but I'm just excited because I got to cross home plate twice and it was a great speed workout outside of the traditional running.
As you can see from photo, it was super windy- holding up a 2 to signify 2 runs!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wickedly Fast Half Marathon (race recap)

Wickedly Fast 1/2 Marathon
State 12/50
Temps high 30s w/ 40 mph wind

This was a last minute decision race- I wanted to do it because it was the closest Kansas race to us so we would still be able to drive, B liked the website and thought it would be fun- win win for both. 
We like to arrive early in the city we race in to explore / go to bed early, so we left Nashville at 5am, had a minor delay due to having to stop and wait out a torrential downpour in Paducah, Ky and arrived in Olathe, KS without any issues around 2:30pm.

First thing we notice when we get there is how cold and WINDY it is.... awesome. We check in, unpack, rest up a bit before deciding to head to Bass Pro Shops where the packet pickup is located. 

When I went through to get my bib and everything, one of the volunteers had said she was impressed I was doing the full marathon- WAIT, WHAT?!?! Apparently I registered for the marathon, guess I like to spend more money than necessary. I had to wait a bit so they could change everything in the system and to get a new half marathon bib, but aside from that everything went speedy. 

I have never been inside a Bass Pro Shop before, so we look around. I met a new friend (see below) and I finally bought a visor for when it gets sunnier out for the late spring / early summer races. B and I have a running joke that you aren't a "real" runner until you have a hat- seems like all the fast and serious ladies are wearing hats. Now I have my own :)

We leave BPS and head in search of food before venturing out to get supplies for our race costumes. We pass an Applebees, and considering there wasn't a lot of cars in the parking lot, we decide on there. B and I both gave up dairy for lent, but I convinced her how awesome the Queso Blanco dip and chips would be and we decided to have a cheat day....
as you can see I was thoroughly excited to eat this!

There was a Goodwill nearby, so we head in there to see if we could find a lion costume so B could wear that for tomorrows race. We didn't have any luck in the lion department, HOWEVER, I did find a sweet rendition of an MC Hammer outfit I was really tempted to buy.... only $5!
Can't touch this
Lastly we head to Walmart and buy enough material and supplies so we can both dress up as Dorothy tomorrow. This is what we started with...
  B is much more artistic than myself, so we collaborated on how it should look, but she did all the craft work and then we each decorated our own. This is the finished project.

At this point it was 9:30 and time for bed!

We were striving to meet up for the 1/2 fanatic, MM, 50 state group pic @ 6:25, so we were aiming to leave at 5:50, wake up 4:45 / 5ish. Bs alarm went off at 4:20, so naturally I got up as well. We did our stretches, morning rituals, and were out the door right on time at 5:50. 

The day before B had put the Garmin World HQ (where race started and finished) into her phone GPS, however when we went to retrieve it, unbeknownst to her, it just gave the street name, NOT the full address. We were driving for a good while and were heading to the middle of nowhere when I finally ask if she's sure she put in the right address. Upon 2nd glance she realized it just had the street name, 151st street. Apparently there are 2 151st streets in Olathe, Kansas, and naturally the gps chose the wrong one. I immediately turn around and head in the opposite direction and thanks to early morning lack of traffic and my lead foot, we only lost 10 minutes.  It was too late to meet up for the group photo, so we head to the port -o -potties instead. 

I don't think I can describe to you how incredibly cold it was outside. Yes the temps were in the high 20s, but the wind, the wind was FIERCE. I had so many people make the comment "you must be freezing you poor thing." I kept telling myself that it would get better once we were running. B saw me shivering like crazy as we're waiting for restrooms so she tried to rub my arms with her sleeves. 
Garmin HQ where race started / ended
 B and I while waiting for bathrooms, don't let my smile fool you, it was miserably cold

Everyone kept commenting on how cute B and I were, made the freezing our butts off a little more endurable. I was surprised at how not that many people dressed up, however we did manage to get photos with a few...
Witches and a scare crow
Pooh and Tigger- they must have been nice and cozy in their outfits

B and I decided to just go in the middle of the starting pack so we could get the wind blocked for us. As I'm gearing up my garmin I decide it would be a good idea to get my music out. I could have sworn I put it in my make shift pocket, but its not there!! CRAP! I always run with music, ALWAYS. I'm hoping / praying that I accidently left my Ipod in the car instead of it falling out of my dress. This will be the 4th time I've misplaced my Ipod since Christmas- oops. 

After a few minutes of hopping up and down / B rubbing my arms to keep me warm, the gun goes off and so do we... SLOWLY. Say goodbye to B and try to make my way into the crowd, unfortunately thats what it is though, a CROWD of people. The first mile was a slight uphill, however I didn't even notice because I couldn't see around all the pace groups. I knew I was going out slower, however I wasn't concerned because judging from the elevation profile miles 7-12 were uphill and I needed all the energy I could to push through the wind and still make it up hills. 

First mile clocked in @ 8:58- aside from FREEZING, my body felt great. The "crowd" was thinning which meant the wind was affecting me even greater as I had no one to draft off of. Occasionally I would pass someone and they would say "Great Costume", but I had no idea how they even recognized me- with the wind blowing, my "dress" was completely twisted and pretty much on the side of me, my straps kept falling down and I was constantly having to readjust. I finally twisted them and tucked them under my sports bra. (the official photos should be pretty interesting when they are released) 

The course was pretty boring, not much to look at. Occasionally there were some spectators (God Bless them for braving the temps) who would shout, GO DOROTHY- silly as this sounds it was pretty motivating. Around mile 4 I caught up to Pooh and Tigger and ran with them for a bit. Turns out they were Marathon Maniacs and they wear these outfits for a few races. It was fun running with them because the spectators would exclaim (in this exact order) "Tigger! Pooh!! Dorothy!!"  Thought it was hilarious that everyone chose that exact order to phrase it. I'm feeling good at this point so I wish them good luck and pick up my pace a little bit. It was probably another mile or so before I could no longer hear "Tigger, Pooh!!!" being shouted behind me. 

The miles are kind of a blur to me as nothing significant stood out- at one point there was a turnaround and on  my way back before turning onto a different road I spotted the other L and we waved at eachother. I saw her and other B from a distance before the race started while at the port-o-potties so I knew what to look for when I was on the course. That little 10 second moment was about all the excitement I had for a few miles. 

Since I didn't have my ear phones in, I could chat with other people, which I don't normally do, and I got on more than one occassion "Dorothy is kicking our ass" from a few guys. I always looked at their bib to see if they were doing the full or half, was always the full so I would just tell them I only am doing half the distance as them so I could afford to go a little faster- they seemed to like that response. I managed to pass all the other Dorothy's that I had spotted (which was a mini goal of mine), and now there were no exciting costumes to look at.

Around mile 9 I realized how consistent my splits were- all around or under 8:30 (with the exception of my gu break) My legs were pain free- my only conclusion for this was that it was so cold, they were numb. My energy was starting to tug a bit. Normally mile 9-10 are harder for me, but once I see that 10 mile marker I keep telling myself I have a 5k left. When I hit mile 10, I was dog tired, but I looked at my watch and saw that I was on pace to PR- SWEET. I ran a 1:53:02 at the Charlotte Thunderroad 1/2 in December, and since my injury I didn't think it would be realistic to get back down there for awhile!!!

Mile 10-12 I noticed that my Garmin was hitting the mile markers sooner than what was appearing on the course. I was starting to get worried because although I was on pace to PR, I didn't have much energy to "kick it up a notch" to make up for longer distance if need be. Apparently I should have held back like everyone else because I was getting passed left and right the last 2 miles. I felt as though I was going in S L O W motion (although my time wasn't bad, I just wasn't feeling it) 

At the mile 12 marker I switched my watch to only show total time, so I could see where I was at in relation to hitting my PR. There was one last aide station somewhere after mile 12 and I actually stopped at it and downed some gatorade.  I never really stop in the mile last because I tell myself "just 9 more minutes" and I'm normally able to push through- not today. We wind through a quick path, turn the corner into the last 1/2 mile and BAM!!! As soon as I turned the corner, the wind was in full effect- I'm tired, I'm getting cold again, I have one last hill to climb, I don't need the wind added to the mix. 

I looked down at my watch- if I really push it, I can get in the 1:53s, but can't break 1:52- damn. Thats when I do the whole beating myself up "if I only I didn't stop at that last station, or stop for a little longer while taking my gu- so on and so forth" This does wonders for my spirits naturally. 

I see the finish line in sight, yet for some reason I literally cannot pick up the pace. I want to be done, but my legs aren't listening to my mind, so I have to just trudge along at my same pace, no kick whatsoever into the finish line and I'm done! I grab some water, get the chip taken off my shoe, and as i'm leaving the finish area I see L finish. I wait for her and then we chat for 15 minutes about travel issues and the race itself while waiting for both Bs. 

My B comes through the finish line, then literally 20 -30 sec later other B crosses. We all chat for a minute, get our official photo together, then part ways and make a mad dash to the car to get warmth. Guess what I find in my car waiting for me... my IPOD!!! I apparently left it in my coat pocket! 

Mile 1  8:58
Mile 2  8:29
Mile 3  8:33
Mile 4  8:21
Mile 5  8:26
Mile 6  8:23
Mile 7  8:27
Mile 8   8:56 (gu stop)
Mile 9   8:27
Mile 10 8:49
Mile 11 8:38
Mile 12 8:33
Mile 13 9:04
     .28   8:49
Total 1:54:22 (2nd fastest time)

We rushed back to hotel, took the hottest shower imaginable, and made our way to stay in St. Louis for the night before heading back to Nashville on Sunday. 

State # 12- done!
Time 1:54:22
Overall 167/836
Age group 15/106
Females 52/516

Overall, race was built up much greater than what anticipated. If you have an awesome website, better put on a great event to back it up. Weather played a huge factor as well, however I'm just thankful to feel normal while racing again!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

3 things Thursday!!!!!

1. This week felt like mini Christmas for me. Not only did I receive my clearance pink marathon skirt from Skirt Sports.
Has skirt written backwards so when you're getting photos its spelled correctly

but also received my 2 books I won from Stephanie @ Running to Health's pay it forward giveaway.

This is perfect timing because I just finished the book I was reading "The Girl who Played with Fire"- AMAZING reads. I'm excited to dive into more running books so I can get motivated to do more cross training and strength training while saying 'bye bye' to all my injuries!

2. Was nervous about going for a run in my Newtons the other day due to potential reinjuring myself. The run went great, HOWEVER, as I was going back into the bathroom to change, I put all my weight on my right hip to push onto the door and immediately fell into the door. OUCH! I have no idea what is going on with my body and why I keep getting injured, so the plan is to try and lead with my left foot with running so my right hip doesn't receive the blunt of the force, we'll see how that goes.

3. In midst of trying to make a costume for the Wickedly Fast 1/2 in Kansas- aka Wizard of Oz theme. I bought blue ribbons to put in my braids- thats the easy part. The hard part is figuring out the best way to do a make shift skirt / dress by saturday.... also I don't know how to use a sewing machine- agh. I'm thinking of saftey pinning the fabric (in the form of a skirt) to my compression shorts so I don't have to worry about them falling down.

Any thoughts / helpful suggestions??

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Date with my Newtons.

Ever since my annoying knee injury, I hung up my Newtons. Majority of the reason being I was only doing training runs in them and I stopped doing training runs, and the other reason being  I thought they might be the cause of my injury.

I later found out the true cause(s) of what was going on in my body, ruling the Newtons out, however I jut felt they weren't stable enough to support my knee. After absolutely NO KNEE PAIN in the St. Louis 1/2 this past Sunday, I decided to break them out and go for one run this week to see how they held up.

Immediately when I started running I felt great. This has been a huge rarity lately with my running. For the past 2 months I've been feeling that my form is all off, that i'm heavy, and  S L O W. Call me crazy, but I just feel more like a runner wearing these shoes- my stride is longer, my shoulders and arms are more relaxed, I have more rhythmnic  breathing, and I'm faster!

I really wanted to turn this run into a speed workout, BUT I didn't want to push my luck, so instead I tried to keep a steady pace and if I didn't hurt afterward, I'll do my first speed workout in over 2 months next week!

End Result- 3.1 miles in 26 min- 8:32 pace. This is consistent with what I want my whole race pace to be to get a new PR, however I can't manage to get past 6 miles at this rate... pretty sure I lost some endurance with taking so much time off. My past few races I have been STRUGGLING and walking has been an absolute necessity. If my knee holds up for 1 week straight, I'm going to start doing 3 runs a week again so my endurance can once again find me :)

Here's to hoping it comes back quickly!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Go! St Louis 1/2 (race recap)

Go! St Louis 1/2- 4/10/11
State- 11/50
Temps- low 90s, sunny, and humid
One of my high school friends / cc teammates, Heidi, lives in St. Louis, so it was a no brainer for B and I to choose this race since we had a place to stay for free with our own tour guide!

Lately B and I have been trying to get to our destination cities early so we have time to explore, this was no exception. B came to pick me up around 6:15, on the road by 6:30, no real traffic or hold ups and we arrived at Heidi's around 11:30am .

Knowing that this race was 17,000+ runners, we head to the expo immediately as to HOPEFULLY avoid the large crowds.

 Welcome to the Expo
B, Heidi, and myself 

For packet pickup I got lucky and  my lady who gave me my bib must have known that this was not my first rodeo and go into the whole time chip spiel or how to put on a bib etc. (I hate that)  so it was a breeze! We turn the corner to check out the expo and get our bags and shirts and this is what we see:
Reminds me of how congested Disney's Princess expo was, so I told myself to just take a quick peak. I got a few Lara Bar samples (my favorite go to pre race food), talked to a representative from the Geist 1/2 marathon since I'm running that in May, and then met back up with Heidi and B to leave (one of the shortest times spend at an expo) We did get a neat recyclable black race tote (not pictured) as well as these BRIGHT GREEN race shirts (first garment of clothing I own to be this color)

After leaving expo we decide to take a tour of the Schafly Brewery and have lunch.
Upon going inside, we find out that this is just the restaurant for Schafly, the touring plant is in a different part of town, darn. Still decide to eat lunch there, and the German inside of me got super excited by sauerkraut and brats- POOR POOR POOR decision on my part, and I will pay for it race day

Finish up lunch, head to the actual tour plant....

When we get there a man tells us there are only 2 spots left for the next tour (there are 3 of us), AND that you cannot wear open toed shoes on the tour- crazy because I've been on SEVERAL tours and have never heard of that rule. Since we are all wearing flip flops, we leave and decide to instead check out Annheiser-Bush. 

Entrance to Annheiser-Busch

This place is HUGE- they have a whole 'campus' of different buildings, even have their own credit union across the street just for all the employees. I was super excited because this tour actually takes you outside and through all the grounds of the plant. (plus i hear you get to see some Clydesdale horses)
Once we get inside we find out that ALL tours for the rest of the day are filled up. We just can't win today apparently. We are at least able to look at a few things inside, so we take a look around, and I actually learned quite a bit on information. 

Next week B and I have a race in Kansas, and since we have to drive through St. Louis to get there, we decided that we would make a stop overnight in St. Louis after the race and come back and actually do a tour. 

Naturally the next touristy place to visit is the infamous St. Louis Arch!

I look so tiny in comparison!!
Had to touch the arch. 

Of course with all the luck we were having previously in the day, it would only make sense that when we were  trying to get a tour inside the arch, that all time slots were sold out for the entire day (ARGH!!) One more thing to add to the list for accomplishing next weekend when there are not all the out of town racers. 

We decide to walk around the surrounding park, and head to the old Riverfront to grab some water and a beer (its unbearably hot)

We go inside the bar / restaurant (name escapes me) and I have the best beer I have ever tasted. It was their own brand winter lager and the bartender described it as: butternut squash, pumpkin vienna, amber- it had slight cinnamon and nutmeg undertones and tasted like thanksgiving or christmas (couldn't decide which) Of course they didn't sell any bottles for me to take home, but I was informed I could buy a growler at their other location (which I'm contemplating doing next weekend) 

Head back to Heidis to relax for a few hours before going back out for dinner. I wish I would have taken photos, but her neighborhood can only be described as everything I would look for if I were to live in the city. Within 2 blocks are rows of different restaurants with outdoor patios, bars, boutiques, antique shops, coffee places and gorgeous neighborhoods to walk through.

I'm still full from my large late lunch, so dinner is small salad with chicken and a side of pomme frittes. At this point I'm ABSOLUTELY exhausted and we head back to her place to lay out our gear for the morning and get our bed ready. B and I were nervous because we had to share a pull out couch- I told her I don't cuddle before races... I could see the look of disappointment on her face haha.  Lights out around 10:00 in hopes to be re-energized for race morning. 


The race starts @ 7am, we have the half fanatic / MM/ 50 stater photo @ 6:25, so we figured as long as we got on the 6am metrolink near the start line, we'd make the photo.
Made it to the metro link with a few minutes to spare...
Obviously we were NOT the only ones to think of this brilliant idea. Of course there were quite a bit of others waiting along with us, but when the cars pulled up, it was already packed from the previous stop. Somehow everyone managed to cram in there, I was just thankful that this was before the race so no one was sweaty and stinky yet
this picture doesn't do it justice. 

Once we unload we are trying to make our way to the photo meetup spot, however Heidi realized she wasn't sure where the soldier memorial was, so we had to wait to find someone who looked like they were from there to point us in the right direction. When we get there Dave greeted me by name and gave me a hug, which was awesome considering how popular he is in the running world. He introduced us to another fanactic (i'm so bad bc i forgot her name) and we chatted while waiting for more people to arrive. 

Everyone is accounted for and the joys of lining everyone up begins, large group this time around
I really need to invest in a shirt!

 Dave had just the fanatics take a photo- we're such a smaller group!!

Afterward we start walking toward the start line- B and H were ready to go to their corrals, since they weren't in my same letter I decided to let them go on ahead so I could stretch more. Before the Little Rock 1/2 I had stretched pretty throughly, and coincidently enough, I had virtual no knee pain, so I thought hoped there was a correlation. In my process of stretching I witnessed the Bud Light marathon from above photo, I HAD to have a photo with her
no idea how she was able to run in that. 

After a few more minutes of stretching I decide to make my way to corral B to mentally prepare for the race. I was nervous because it was getting hot, there were some long hills, my stomach wasn't feeling the best, and as always, wanted my knee to hold up. 
slow moving crow toward start line

all the pacers (men & women) wore the sparkly hearts skirts w/ their pacing shirt- hilarious
view of start line / arch from my starting position. 

Once the announcer says "go go go" to designate the start (which was quite annoying) it takes a few minutes to actually cross the start line. After the hills on last weeks race, my game plan was to go out super easy so I didn't get tired too quickly.

The first mile I was feeling great, I was at a comfortable pace, my knee didn't bother me at all, and it flew by rather quickly. Mile 1 was 8:34- just goes to show that whether I go out fast, or go out slow, my body just likes an 8:30 mile pace. Somewhere between mile 1 and 2 it felt as though someone had turned on a sauna! I was dripping with sweat, which worried me since it was so early in the race. There was a gatorade and water station right before 2 mile mark and I actually stopped to get some. Normally I wait until 2nd station around mile 4 before I hydrate, but today it was definitely a need.

Shortly after mile 2, my stomach went into full rebellion mode- for those of you who have experienced this in a race, you can imagine how uncomfortable I was feeling, especially with the added heat. I saw a row of porta potties (hallelujah) a little after mile 3, and I HAD to stop. After losing over 3 minutes waiting for a bathroom in my Women's 1/2 in September, I've never stopped at a porta potty due to not wanting to lose so much time. Today, it was a necessity. I wish I could say I felt better afterward, but I didn't, infact I think it put me on 'slow mode'- I noticed my stride seemed to be shorter and I was getting sooooooo tired. My face moisturizer was now mixed in with my sweat, thus burning my eyes, one more frustration to add to my mind. 

Around mile 4 we passed the Cardinals stadium, I stopped to take a photo and felt so much better for a few minutes that I decided this might be one of my run/walk races

After those 'few minutes' were up, I started feeling like crap again. Is it the heat? Am I dehydrated? Did I get food poisoning? All these thoughts were racing through my head. I wasn't sure what exactly was going on, but I made sure that at every aide station I had 2 gatorades and 2 waters. 

Miles 5-8 seemed like it was all uphill- in actuality, probably only 2 of those miles really were. I had read there was going to be a station around mile 6, so when I knew we were nearing close, I picked up my pace so I could get some water and take my gu. The 6 mile marker came and went, no water station :( We finally got to the top of the hill, turned right, had a straight flat part for 100 yds, then had to make a left for another hill- still no aide station. FINALLY at mile 6.5 we reach it and I have never been so desperate to suck down a gu during a race. Due to extreme heat it was pure liquid vs. a gel- different texture, but still go the job done. Normally a gu takes about 15 minutes for me to feel its effects- today was not one of those days, because I never felt better. 

I hate admitting this, but it got to the point where I felt so bad, I literally was unable to run more than 2 minutes.... 2 minutes??!!!?? Apparently I wasn't the only one because I had never seen so many people walking, which in turn encouraged me to do more walking. Me and this other girl kept leap frogging eachother so I didn't feel so bad. The sun was taking its toll on me- I could feel the sunburn developing on my face and triceps- one more thing to add to my discomfort. 

Mile 8.5 came, grabbed another gu, and took it along with dumping 2 glasses of water on my head- whew much better. Around this point I start to see more and more EMS people carrying people off the course and giving people fluids- well at least I'm not that bad off. Literally a minute or so after thinking that, my stomach decided it needed to remind me it still wasn't feeling well.I'm only a little into mile 9 and there are no bathrooms in sight, crap!

My favorite running song- "Through the fire and flames" by dragon force came on, since its a 7min 30 sec song I make a promise to myself that if I can run the whole thing, no walk breaks, that will get me to the 10th mile, and hopefully bathrooms because its near the turnaround. Sure enough it does take me to the 10th mile, and a little after that, there was a line of porta potties- I'm pretty sure I sprinted faster in their direction than I did the entire race. If luck would have it, I think that made matters worse. I was able to get another round of water and gatorade, but to no avail it didn't help. 

I'm not sure if the gatorade upset my stomach, or its just the heat with very little breeze and absolute no shade, but at mile 11.5 I keeled over and vomitted. AWESOME. An EMS person came over on his scooter and asked if I was okay, gave me some water, and I said I was still going to finish. Why am I so stubborn?

I've heard the last part of your race is supposed to be run with heart, I would say that this particular race definitely qualified. Its 90+ degrees, I'm soaked from sweat and pouring water over myself, I've already had 2 bathroom bouts, I've vomitted and feel that there may be more to come, my legs are tired from the hills- I have nothing left to keep me going except the sheer satisfaction that I pushed through it. 

Mile 12 came- under normal circumstances I'll either pick up the pace, OR at least tell myself no walking since I have one mile left- neither of these were the case. We hit a final turn and then it was a straightaway to the finish line in the distance. Having both the luxury of a garmin to tell me my expected time (7 more minutes)+ knowledge from previous races that the finish line is farther than it appears, I don't bother picking up my pace. With 5 minutes left I decide that instead of going faster, I'll just open my stride (which obviously will make me go faster) I don't know which is worse, not knowing where the finish line is located, or seeing it in the distance for a long time as a constant tease. 

No idea how I was able to pass people, but I did. I immediately walked over to the waters and grabbed 3 bottles- 1 to dump on my head which I did immediately, 1 to drink for now, 1 for later. I got my medal and then my after race refreshment bag (such a smart idea vs. having a ton of stuff to carry in your arms). Me, B, & H had decided to meet back up at the family meet up letter G, so I went over there. I gorged on my 3 bananas ( i knew i needed it) then stretched and waited for B. 

As soon as she arrived I told her I had to use the bathroom one last time, and FINALLY it made me feel better. We laughed at how ridiculous the race was and she let me use her phone so I could call my folks while we wait for H to finish. Mom told me she was tracking me online and saw how much I slowed down in between the check in points and was worried so she had called me (normally I do run with my phone, but today I decided to take my camera) I guess one positive is that I finished 1 minute faster than my predicted time based on my 11th mile check in time. Woo. 

H finds us, we take an 'after' photo, then head to the metrolink so we can head back to her place to shower

We found out later that the course officials actually closed down the marathon at around the 9 mile mark due to extreme heat and not enough EMS officials to tend to all the people needing medical attention. All marathoners had to finish up the half marathon at that point- talk about a major bummer.

On the upside of things, once I cooled down and got more liquids in me, I felt fine. I wasn't sore at all, and I had zero knee pain!

B and I showered, grabbed some star bucks, then hit the road back home. 

State # 11 completed- St. Louis definitely conquered me vs. the other way arround
Official time 2:12:21
Place not up yet