Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November was a wash

November was ridiculous... I didn't reach a single goal...
Thats right Mr. Polar bear, HUGE disappointment. 

Miles for November- I'm now comfortable with finally entering the 100 miles a month which was my original intention for 2011- Since I have no 1/2 mary(s) planned that means I'm really going to have to buckle down and plan my runs out- no more 'fly by the seat of my pants run when I want to' 
Actual- 58- pretty much about 1/2 of what was planned. 
December- I need a bare minimum of 56 miles to break into 700 miles for the year (far cry from my original goal of 1,000- stupid ITBS set back)- anything after 56 is bonus. 

Cross Training: Now that its pitch black when I get off work, I'll be going to the gym more. I think its realistic to say 1 day a week is devoted to non-running workouts. 
Actual: Well work shift changed so its no longer dark when I get off so I don't have the greatest desire to go to gym. I managed one p90x "shoulder & arms" with the roommate, and 1 bootcamp with work colleagues. 2 whole cross training workouts in 1 month, bah!
December: I already talked with the roommate about having 1 day a week to do a p90x workout together, AND I talked with B about 1 day a week doing a class at the gym together after work- soooo this all kicks off next week  which means I should have at least 6 cross training days before I leave for Christmas vacation.
Highest Mileage Week for November-  I'm going to aim to have 1 30 week- which means I'll have to do a LONG run on weekend or make myself run more during the week. 
Actual- 25
December: no goal on this one, feels kind of nice.

November Races: As of right now, just 2. It will be my 2nd time running both the TN Ragnar Relay, as well as the Turkey Trot 5 miler back home in Dayton.
Actual- Only did the TN Relay. It actually went way better than anticipated and was shocked by my times. Report HERE. Since Turkey Trot was sold out before I was able to register, I decided not to run it. 
December- Keeping up with the theme of repeat races, I'll be doing the Rudolph 5k this Friday again with B to kick off our Christmas parade. 
Last year before race.
Current Book: Hunger Games- I finally finished the first book, am into the 2nd, and will get the 3rd from my brother next time I'm home. Open to suggestions for another series or good books for the new year (need to be entertained on planes!)

Current Obsessions: Figuring out what to get the rest of the family for Christmas and crossing them off my list. THIS MEANS YOU MAMA and PAPA J! 

Current Drink: Water and Pumpkin Spice or Butter Toffee K-cups In January I'm going to finally bit the bullet and get Shakeology! 

Current Weight: Proud to say I'm the same weight today as when I wrote November's goal- 158lbs. As an added bonus, "that time" should be coming in the next day or so, which means I'm generally 1-3lbs heavier than normal. SUCK IT holiday 'weight gain.'  :) 

Current Wish- List: Finish christmas shopping and of course can't wait for the holiday to get here. Otherwise I need to take full advantage of 'holiday activities'- This weekend kicks it off with Christmas parade and walking around Opryland at Christmastime----- gorgeous!  

Current Dislike: SUPER BUSY. I cannot wait until everything calms down at work- lately I get super excited when someone cancels their appointment last minute or doesn't answer because that means I can actually walk away from my desk (sad I know)   

Current Goal: Rudolph 5k is HARD since there are some major hills. I think its safe to say I will never set a new PR in 5k again (20:39), so time goals for 5ks aren't my priority. Last year's race was miserable and I walked a ton.  I would like to say I'd be satisfied with not walking and pace myself to have a strong race. 

Quick change of rules on giveaway

So earlier I posted my amazon giftcard giveaway HERE. So far everyone commented that they didn't have a photo of an ugly sweater, thus I decided to change the rules. Sorry for the extra post, but I was unable to email most of you back since you haven't chosen to let blogger show your email when you leave comments :(

Leave all comments on original giveaway post, not this one :) 

New rules:

1.) Be or Become a follower of this blog (and tell me in in a comment)
2.) Vote for which option you like the best of my ugly christmas outfit

+1- Blog or facebook this giveaway
+5  extra entries if you send me a photo of you  in an ugly sweater... doesn't have to be recent, just a photo with you and your prized outfit.
+2 f extra entries or every additional photo you send me, you get an extra 2 entries. 
(hint: may be an additional prize for best outfit) 

Send email photos to

Winner will be chosen Friday 12/9/11

Ugly Christmas Sweater + Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

One of my favorite dress up days is Ugly Christmas Sweater. My work makes a BIG DEAL  of who can wear the ugliest sweater / outfit... I'm talking Ipads and plane tickets as prizes. So I need your help to pick my outfit. Quality of the photos isn't the best since I use my phone, but you get the idea.

Option 1- Christmas Tree Sweater + leggings (kissy face included) 

 Option 2- Hundreds of Santas on my dress
 this pic doesn't do it justice, so here it is in action 6 years ago (yup its been passed around a bit) 

Option 3- Christmas Tree shirt + leggings! 

So for helping me choose which option to go with, I figured I would do a fun little Christmas giveaway

So here's how to enter: ( Must leave a separate comment for each)
1.) Be or Become a follower of this blog (and tell me in in a comment)
2.) Vote for which option you like the best of my ugly christmas outfit

+1- Blog or facebook this giveaway
+5  extra entries if you send me a photo of you  in an ugly sweater... doesn't have to be recent, just a photo with you and your prized outfit.
+2 extra entries for every additional photo you send me, you get an extra 2 entries. 
(hint: there be an additional prize for best outfit sent) 

Send email photos to

Winner will be chosen Friday 12/9/11

Look forward to seeing all your photos :) 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

4 mile turkey trot, shopping, sunglasses

I've been a huge slacker while running over the holidays. I've been home since sunday and ran monday, wednesday, and today. Something about running in subdivisions is so mind - numbingly (yes I just made that up) boring. Each day I've had to be super creative with adding in extra loops here and there to make up for mileage.

 Ashley is hosting a 4 mile turkey trot to be completed by tomorrow HERE for a chance to win fun prizes and of course remind us not to be lazy while on vacation :)  Both my parents were running errands, so mirror pic will have to do for my race bib- should have written in backwards :)

I decided I would go longer than 4, but man do you  know how much thought goes into how to get in 6 miles without having to double back over the same roads?!?! Quite a lot.
4 mile time was 31:37, 6 mile total time was 47:11. Lately I've been getting more and more tired during my runs, so I'm HOPING that once I get back to Tennessee and have better scenery, the tiredness won't set in as quick.

Afterward I went shopping with my mom for a few hours around our outdoor mall. Every year I've gotten a pic in front of the giant Christmas tree. This year, the exciting part was that Ohio is having fluke warm weather- yay for no jacket!

Yesterday was my first black friday shopping experience. No I wasn't one of the crazies going out super early for anything in particular, we managed to get to the mall around 7:30 am and the crowds were doable. Although I didn't get anyone crossed off my list, my mom got me the Magic Bullet and a George Foreman Grill- 2 tools I've been wanting to help make it even easier to prepare healthy meals for one :)  (now just have to wait 1 month to unwrap, 'be surprised', and able to test out.

Did anyone score any great black friday deals?!?!
I'm hoping to get some people crossed off on cyber monday!

Since I really didn't ask for too much for Christmas, I've been brain storming on gifts and I realized that its time to test out some sun glasses I can wear while running. I have no preference other than I want them to stay put, light weight, and not be too large (i overheat when run so normal glasses cause my eyes to sweat.... no joke). So I thought I would put the question out there to all you:

Any recommendations or stay away froms when searching for running sun glasses?!?!?
I feel like this MAY be something I need to try on first, but any input will at least point me in the right direction. 

I hope everyone is enjoying whats left of the holiday! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Finally the rain has lifted! I give so much credit to all the PNWers who are consistently running in damp environments, just don't think I could do it.

Confession #1
I told myself that I would run every day once I made it to Ohio. Well.....yesterday the rain didn't lift till evening and normally I would just drive to the YMCA but my car was in the shop, so no running and was stranded in the house... what is a girl to do?!?!

I attempted to start organizing / cleaning out my room in my parent's house. How in the world did I accumulate so much stuff. A few good things came out of it in regards to what I can share with you all.

Confession #2-  Back in August I had a post HERE that mentioned how I used to be a huge Garfield nut and even had 'professional Olan Mills photos' taken.  I finally found it! I'm too lazy to figure out our scanner, so I just took a photo of the photo.

 I'm the awkward, frizzy haired, mouth full of braces gem in the bottom right corner. Single men of America: Eat. Your. Heart. Out!

Confession #3
For all those ladies who told me that you too had seen Breaking Dawn, I'm sure you saw the preview for the re-release of Titanic back in theaters. So this whole time I've secretly laughed as Fruit Fly  discusses her great love for Titanic and how her and S,  Kim's husband share this obsession. Reason why secretly I'm laughing is because I used to be ridiculously obsessed. This is back in the day when it came out and chatrooms were the new sliced bread. I would spend hours in Titanic chatrooms sharing audio files and pictures hoping to come across something unique. I even met a friend, Heather, whom I still talk to today, 14 years later :)

Here is a glimpse of what my room looked like in 8th grade

So obviously you can't see the other walls, but there were a total of 74 Leonardo DiCaprio posters and hand made collages. Yup, I was THAT girl who bought every Teen Beat and BOP magazine that had anything to do with Leo or Titanic. Also went through a TON of computer ink printing off Leo images. What is SUPER embarrassing is that somehow I cam across a naked photo of Leo on the internet. I printed it off and brought it to the 8th grade boys basketball game to show all my gfs. Naturally all the giggling drew attention and one of the guys took it, turned it into one of the faculty members and I got in trouble---- what a rebel I was ;)  ** updated- so after I posted this, my dad read it and commented on how he was never informed that I brought a naked pic to school- ooops! **

did anyone else out there have a teen heart throb crush?!?!

Confession #4- I used to be big into scrap booking. Once college ended I was "too busy with real life" to do"such frivolous things" with my time. I forgot that I actually used to be kind of crafty.  In an attempt to cut down on the massive amounts of photos I have stashed in drawers in my room + continue to work toward channeling my inner 'creative genius', I picked up with the last scrap book I stopped mid book- sophomore year of college. Proud that in the last 24 hours I've done 12 pages! My creative juices are still rusty, but I'm happy to finally finish something I started a LONG time ago. 

Only part of my Bahamas Spring Break Extravaganza 

ZTA Semi- Formal with my best friend Jackson 

Halloween, I was a 'lady pimp' 

This got me to wonder if it would be feasible for me to back track and have a scrap book for my 50 states challenge---- does anyone keep a running scrap book?!?! 
I feel now its harder because everything is digital. I literally have tens of thousands of photos from hs and college because you had to actually get the photos developed before being able to view them. Oh technology, you help us, but at the same time hinder us! 

So I guess the rain + having no mode of transportation wasn't so bad after all. I did go for a run today, and although I didn't have as bad of a wardrobe malfunction as monday's run, my capris wouldn't stay up for nothing. I was seriously debating on back tracking back home to switch out to shorts, despite the chilly temps. Luckily at my dad's request, I put on a last minute long sleeve shirt- about 1.3 miles into the run I started over-heating, had to tie the shirt around my waist, and just like that it fixed the problem. Soooooooo for all those out there who have problems with the athletic skirts, this may be a slight solution (other than just not buying them altogether)

I'm thoroughly convinced now from both Monday's and  today's run  that when you're completely comfortable in what you're running in, it shows in your performance. 
Mile 1: 8:17
Mile 2: 7:29
Mile 3: 8:02
Mile 4: 8:15
Mile 5: 7:43
Total average pace 7:57

Monday, November 21, 2011

1 week off and back in saddle

I haven't been doing much blogging because I haven't actually been doing much running. No I'm not injured like some of my fellow bloggers, its more just figuring out my schedule
Last week I started my new schedule at work. Although getting off at 4 is great, it really tests my discipline, or lack thereof, for running. It used to be I eat lunch at my desk and then use my actual lunch break somewhere around 3-4 pm to go for a run.  Now after taking over Bs schedule in addition to mine, I have zero time, let alone a whole hour, to take off and go for a run. After work does seem the most logical since its the same time I was going before, but alas the laziness "i just want to get home" bug gets me every time. I did go for a run today though, first run since last Monday- doesn't solve my work issue considering I'm back home in Ohio and have all this free time.
My run today was 4.5 miles all over the neighborhood I grew up in. It's tricky trying to run long distances in the area unless I go to a park- which since my car is being serviced, isn't an option till Wednesday. Since I haven't run in a week I was worried it would affect my legs, breathing, or speed- happy to report I felt great! Despite the low 40s and rain drizzle, still wore a skirt, and for a little warmth- cotton t-shirt (yes I know, cotton is rotten). 
Highlights of the run:
  • Shortly after 1 mile into my run, something happened that I'm both embarrassed, annoyed, and ecstatic about! My skirt fell down to my mid quads for a few brief seconds. 
    • Embarrassed: Since it had built in shorts, I didn't wear underwear (luckily no one was around I hope to witness it) First time I "flashed" anyone if they were. 
    • Annoyed: the whole run it kept sliding down and every min or so I had to pull it up
    • Ecstatic: this isn't a new skirt- I've worn it countless times and this is the first time I've had issues. Guess that's one of the "negatives" of losing weight / inches!!

before Mississippi Blues 1/2 Mary 

    • Obviously when it comes to weight loss, numbers on the scale can be extremely misleading, but when clothes start fitting different, thats something for me to get giddy about! 
  • The longer I was out there, the heavier my shirt was feeling, again why I never wear cotton. I told myself that the last 1/2 mile I would take off my shirt and run in my sports bra. This has been one of my non time related running goals for awhile "to feel comfortable just running in my sports bra and bottoms". Happy to report, I did feel comfortable, but more importantly I didn't feel like everything was jiggling (which has been my biggest fear) The icing on the cake was about 15 min after my run one of my hs girl friends came over and I was still in sports bra and skirt- she said she wished her stomach was still flat!! Nice ego boost for the day :) 
  • Last highlight of the run was my total time. 4.5 miles in 36:28- 8:06 pace. I didn't feel like I was going that fast, however I assume my legs were super fresh for having a week off + cold weather naturally makes me go faster, woo hoo. 
Plan for the week is to get in a run everyday- hopefully 1 with my brother, 1 with my friend Kory, and maybe the Turkey Trot. My last post from 3 things thursday HERE  talked about potentially bandit running the Turkey Trot since its sold out. Obviously you can see all the negative comments I had about it + I got a few nasty private emails about the topic, so I figured I'd explain a little. 

I DON'T condone bandit running if you're just trying to save on registration. The one time I did it was because the race was sold out, my brother wanted me to pace him for his first 1/2 marathon, and a few people had commented on the race's facebook page that they were injured and unable to run. With the Turkey Trot coming up  there are no medals, no awards, so I'm not taking anything away from one other person, hence why I'm debating on doing it just to see how my time compares to last year + catch up with several friends that are doing it. Jury is still out on what I decide, but I can assure you that if I do run on thursday, it won't be 'to get a deal' or to 'stick it to the race directors' as some people had suggested.

Ending on a happy note- I got to see Breaking Dawn Twice since it came out. 

Saturday with my gf Jenna in Louisville, then last night with my mom back here in Dayton, Oh. I was thoroughly impressed with both the music, and the transformation they made on Bella for her pregnancy transformation. Some people have their little quirks, mine  is that I'm a Twilight Fan (team Edward all the way) 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Three Things Thursday

  1. This week marked the first week with my brand new work schedule!! 2 years ago I started out 1-9:30pm, then after 6 months I got an upgrade to 10-7pm, and finally I hit the cream of the crop.... 7:30-4! This opens so many doors for me, including workouts. The roommate and I decided that at least 1x a week (i'm trying to convince him to up that number) we'll do p90x together first thing after work.  Last night was day 1- Shoulders and arms
This is us after getting our 'swoll' on

2. Man I am  SO AMAZING at procrastination. I went online last night to sign up for this bad boy 

and wouldn't you know it that its SOLD OUT! 5 mile capped out at 7,000 runners- bah.  Not only did I not do it in time, but my brother didn't register either. I suggested to him that we run bandit since they don't give out medals or anything anyway..... he's still processing the idea. (come on Eric, you know you want to?)

Have you ever run a race bandit? (if you don't know what that is, then the answer is most likely no)
I actually ran the Air Force 1/2 marathon bandit style to pace my brother (again they were sold out--- oops!)


  Jill C is hosting a 12 half marathons in 2012 challenge. For those of you who agree to at least complete 12 half mary(s) over the course of 2012 you  will be supplied with goodies from ifitness, chica bands, and other companies that are still in the works. How easy is that?!?! Obviously for more (and detailed) instructions, hop on over to Jill's blog to contact her about how it will all work. Seriously though- who doesn't like free stuff?!?!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday- Austin

So after much back and forth facebooking all over Kim Rs wall (you're oh so welcome Kim) I have picked my Texas race (Finally!!)

Who wants to join our party with: 
Yours truly 

L & B  


Super excited for so many reasons

  1. First time in Texas, I heard Austin is a cool city, so we're spending an extra day! 
  2.  FINALLY get to race with Kim... and its not even in PNW
  3.  B & I  haven't traveled together since AUGUST for our RnR Chicago
  4.  Potential 5 way matchy matchy?!?!? Oh ya! 
Anyone want to join us?!?! You know you do. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Vote for Trunk Monkey!

So our Trunk Monkey Ragnar team put together a video for the Ragnar Relay contest to win a free entry for next year.

So how you can help- go the Ragnar Facebook page HERE, like the page, then click on TN Video Contest and vote for our video. You can only vote once, so every vote is crucial!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fitness Friday- What do you get from your running

I used to constantly get the question from others: Why do you run? or Why are you trying to do a half in each state? I didn't have a great reason so my response was always just "Because I CAN"- hence the blog name.
After thinking about it, there are so many great benefits I've had over the last year by getting back to running that weren't even a factor for why I started

The obvious:

  • The 'no brainer' with running is getting in shape. My weight varies about 3lbs in general, but overall I've lost a solid 10lbs, went down 1 waist size, (us tall people don't always buy pants buy standard size 8 or 10, but more xx waist by xx inseam) and finally got the tone back in my legs. 
  • Fills up my free time with something productive. 
  • Gives me a direction with my running- have goals, races, competition, having fun. 
What I didn't expect

Re-connection with old friends
  • A lot of my high school friends that I have lost touch with over the years came out of the wood work. Although there is more than one, I'll just highlight Heidi. She's a fellow cross country and track friend, and she decided to join me and B for our New Orleans 1/2, as well as the Go! St Louis 1/2. We had so much fun in St. Louis that we decided to stay there the next weekend once we completed our Kansas Wickedly Fast 1/2. Her and I are now in talks of going to race in New York to see one of our fellow track mates, Toya. Prior to our re-connection, we probably hadn't talk in maybe 3 or 4 years?
Me, Heidi, Becca after New Orleans

Heidi, me, Becca after Go! St Louis

Involvement of my family!
  • My parents have been to 6 of my races (and only 1 of the 6 were in my hometown)- feels like highschool all over again having them on different parts of the course cheering me on!
  • I've had to opportunity to see more family members- Stayed with my aunt & uncle in Indianapolis for my Indy race, as well as a pit stop to RnR Chicago. For the Indy race my mom decided to tag along and convinced my aunt to walk the 5k with her. They used to do so many charity walks over the years and stopped for various reasons- it was good to see them complete another race.
Aunt Susie & Mom 

  • I also got to visit my family that lives in San Jose for the RnR San Jose 1/2- I haven't been out to California since 2005, so it was a treat to catch up and spend some quality time with them
 Uncle Ted, Bryan, Me- enjoying Fischer Beer (my mom's side's last name) 
 Aunt Nancy and I at San Francisco's Oktoberfest

Bryan's adorable twin daughters- Alexis and Brooklyn 

  • Probably the most rewarding aspect of drawing me closer to family is watching my brother Eric progress as a runner. He started out last summer just doing 5ks, then last year he raced the Turkey Trot 5 miler with me-- shortly after, he caught 'the bug' and told me I had inspired him to run his first ever half marathon!! Me?!?! His baby sister inspired him?!?! What a huge honor. 1 month prior to his race I decided it would be a treat to run alongside and pace / motivate him during the Air Force 1/2- it was such a rewarding and proud moment for myself to see how far he had come. I only wish my other brother, Andy, didn't have ACL repair in both knees so that he too could  could join us in our running adventures 
After the air force 1/2 

Gaining confidence in myself ( I could literally write a 5 pager on this one) 
  • I've always had a slight self-confidence issue- maybe its because I've been taller than everyone my whole life? Maybe its because I feel that I have some 'defect' since I've literally been single pretty much all my dating years? Maybe it's because I'm shy until the ice is broken? Regardless of the reason- its always nagged at me how I put myself down. This past year I've had the ability to break down a lot of those mental barriers that puts doubt in my head and instead have risen to not let the small stuff screw with my mind. 
  • I've developed a passion for doing whats best for ME. For a long time I put other's happiness before my own- some may think that is noble, but I'm here to say that its STUPID (unless I'm a mother, which I"m not) If I don't take care of me, who will? Too often I talk with clients who are NOT AT ALL the driver in their own life and let everything else get taken care of before they even remotely take time for themselves. Running has renewed my sense of self worth and reminds me that I only have one body, one life, so there is no sense in neglecting it. 
  • Since I'm finally starting to see more improvement in my running abilities, it has given me confidence to pursue other avenues of my life I always wanted to but doubted myself (more on that later) 
  • Lastly and probably most importantly- Running has given me a great sense of self-reflection and introspection. I think its extremely important and beneficial to 'check in' with yourself every so often and ask yourself:
    • Am I truly happy? If not, what can I do to make myself happy?
    • Is there something I am truly passionate about right now?
    • Am I living up to my potential in XYZ?
    • Can I work harder at XYZ than I'm currently doing right now?
    • How is my mindset right now?
    • so on and so on. 

See here is just a glimpse of how running has improved my life outside of my physical health. I'd love to hear from you all

How has running made a positive impact on your life???

Hop on over to join the blog hop HERE

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Three things Thursday

1. In case you didn't get the memo...
Tomorrow the Rock and Roll series is offering $20 off all their races from 11am-11pm PST. I'm registering for Arizona, Seattle, and MAYBE Dallas- its a toss up b/n that race or if I can get B to do the Live Strong 1/2 in Austin- then I could also meet KIM since she said she is planning on doing it.

2. Have you heard of the twinkie diet?!? No?!?!
Check out the article HERE
Basically its a professor that did an experiment. For 10 weeks he ate basically crap for all his meals- twinkies, cookies, little debbies, doritos etc. Because he just did a few of them per meal, he went from doing 2600 cal to 1800 cal a day. He lost 27lbs, dropped BF%, and ALL his cholesterol numbers drastically improved. Crazy right? Don't get the wrong idea. It was mainly to show that its all about calorie input vs calorie output AND what measures being healthy? By looking soley at all his numbers, one would assume that he is MORE healthier now than before (which obviously he is not) Even though he was hesitant to state it directly in the article, it can be attributed to that majority of "numbers" are related to weight- lose the weight, improve the numbers.

What do YOU think makes you healthy?!?!

3. I think a lot of times we focus on our running that we lose sight of other areas of our health that may be lacking that same amount of dedication or passion. I have ALWAYS wanted to be crafty. About 1 month ago I started following Roadkill rescue. The premise of this blog is that everyday it features someones 'junk' that they found and how they transformed it into a unique treasure. I seriously look forward to reading this everyday to see if I can find inspiration. I FINALLY finished a project I had been thinking about for quite some time and coming from a non-creative mind like myself, this is HUGE :)

I was bad and forgot to do a before photo which I understand is 1/2 the fun. The chair was that blah boring blonde wood and the seat was a dingy stained cream woven fabric. 
It's amazing what a can of paint and fabric can do!

Chair I've had since May- goodwill find $7
1 yard of clearance fabric @ JoAnns     $3
Originally tried spray paint, didn't work  $7
Had to go to Home Depot for paint (mint majesty) did 1 quart of primer + color... I should have got the itty bitty cans, but now I know for next time $15
Paintbrush I had was bristle which sucks so I bought a new one $6.
Grand Total -     $38, not too bad + I have leftover paint, fabric and the paint brush 
If I didn't get the spray paint or bought the right size paint the grand total would be $20. Now I know :) 

do you have anything fun and crafty you made?!!?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday's Tangents in photos

First off I had 2 events pass by me completely unnoticed the last few weeks:

  • I hit my 1 year blog anniversary October 25th- and here I am 2 weeks later just now realizing this missed occasion. It's been a whirlwind year of successes, failures, and most importantly..... lessons learned. Thanks to all who've shared in my journey and brought me to where I am today. 
  • Can anyone guess what this photo from HIMYM is from???  If you answered : the gang sitting in the waiting room of the garage to see if Marshall's fiero is going to make it, you are correct.  So how is this relevant??? My Toyota Camry recently hit the big 200,000 miles and I didnt' even realize it! I happen to look down the other day and see 200,084 --- I missed my Marshall moment. 
  • Lastly: I'm still struggling with my race schedule for 2012. Since the Rock n Roll series is honoring the $20 discount for 11-11-11, I decided on Friday I'm signing up for 2 . I know that I'm racing MUCH MORE than whats below, but for now, I'm excited to at least have 4 down in the books. These are my DEFINITES to block off 

Running this one with our all female all blogger relay! 

Team Trunk Monkey had so much fun this weekend, HEREwe decided to do another relay together!

Because I knocked out 23 states in my first year, I have less options to choose from, which means more money on flights and travel expenses. To keep cost low I only plan on traveling for 1 race in Jan, Feb, and probably march before hitting the big months, April and May hard. 

Anyone going to be at these  4?

If you click on the tab at the top titled "states completed"- all the blanks ones I still need to race.... any suggestions for those?!?!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Trunk Monkey TN Ragnar Recap

Tennessee Ragnar Relay Nov 4-5 2011 

Another successful Ragnar complete. This marks my 3rd Ragnar total, and the second time racing the Tennessee Ragnar.

This race was much different (not bad, just different) from the other two Ragnars I ran for various reasons:

  • first off the last 2 I had pretty much the same people in my van and this go round was with fellow co-workers from different departments. 
  • lack of competitive spirit. Because there was so many different types of runners on my teams (seasoned, coming off injuries, brand new runners, and runner / walkers) it was more about having fun- which we did, vs. keeping a certain pace. 
  • Music- we either didn't listen to any, or it was more 'mellow' music you want to chill to. 
  • age variety- I was the youngest person on my team. We had an inside joke in van 2. I made a comment about the music not being very motivating- David Gray (whom I love, but it does ZERO in the 'pumping me up to run' category)- to humor me they put on some 80s and after a few songs that I had NEVER heard of, I finally said "I'm still in my twenties guys"- everyone else was 34 or older. It was hilarious how many times it was referenced that I was still in my 20s throughout the trip. 
  • Our van DIDN'T smell- it was amazing to be able to open up the doors and not want to hold my nose at the stench ( i think this was largely due to the fact that there were 4 girls and 2 guys in the van) 
  • We were organized- Jill brought this shelf her husband made and we used it in the back of the van to make for better storage- much easier to find things this time around.
  • Our van itself was HUGE. We got a 15 passenger van so it was nice to spread out. Both other Ragnars it was a normal mini van, ie. not a lot of room to move around. 
  • Support- our van was good about this, but apparently the other van didn't cheer for their teammates while running and instead just drove ahead to the next exchange--- that wouldn't fly for me if I were in van 1. 
Prep Time:
Once we arrive in Jasper, TN - we may have about an hour to quickly decorate our van before Rick leaves for his first leg up Monteagle- its the "Ragnar leg" aka hardest leg of the entire race. 5.5 miles STRAIGHT UP the mountain. 
As exciting as photos of us putting together a van may sound, I'll just share with you the finished product (and for the most part, our vans were identical) 

Minus the 5 ft tall giant inflatable monkey, Jill supplied all the decorations- complete with stencils to draw on monkeys with markers! 

Kristi, Mike, Me, Jill, Suzanne- waiting for Rick to finish his first leg. 

Although there was running, we still had some fun too. It was Kristi's 40th birthday on Friday, so we had a little surprise for her: 
Holding up the "caution 40 yrs old" tape for her to cross during the exchange

running through

Photo after the finish
Everyone at the exchange randomly broke out into song singing her happy birthday- how awesome is that?

Some of us with our monkey masks- Rick decided that a mask was unnecessary 

Also During Kristi's last run (final leg) we had some time to kill on 2nd avenue and Chris had tons of fun wearing the monkey mask- just had to share. Photos compliment of Jill H

 Trunk Monkey hanging around

 Trunk Monkey - performer
Trunk Monkey, beggar

Trunk Monkey trying to keep up with Kristi as we run down 2nd avenue to round out to the finish

Now onto the actual running- my legs (runner 10)
Leg 1- 6.6 Miles. Total Time 51:50- 7:51 pace 
  • I decided to run with a monkey pinned to my torso in honor of our team name- I named him George Jr. and I didn't take him off till my night run. He enjoyed the scenery on the run  and the beer at dinner (I taught him well) 
I only pinned his arms and feet down, so his head was drooping, had to hold it up for the photo opp! 

yup he's still strapped on, enjoying a Bass
  • The weather was not great for standing around, low 40s and windy, but man do I run better when its chilly. I know I told myself that I didn't need to run fast for this relay since the main focus was on just having fun, but I wanted to see if I truly was getting faster, or if it was just a fluke (silly I know, but I never claimed to make a lot of sense) 
  • I ran about 3 miles with my water belt, then threw it to my teammates because that + the monkey was getting heavy. Bad decision as that was the last time I saw them and I was THIRSTY
  • This run was great because all the 'kills' were spread out and forced me to have long term thinking and pacing so I didn't die out. I had been eyeing a guy in the distance with a camel pack and blue shorts. FINALLY 4 miles in I got him... sucker
  • Large part of this run was on the side of the road- about 2 feet wide of running space which included the tire grooves to wake up the drivers if they fall asleep. This made it extremely annoying and when at all possible I would be a rebel and run in the actual road (afternoon traffic was picking up, so I couldn't do it often.)
  • As I said earlier I didn't see my team after 3 miles- I forgot that part of the course veered off to a loose gravel road (for those that ran Vegas--- the 7 mile stretch is similar)- although it sucked being away from anyone cheering, I was appreciative I didn't have to breathe in dust that surely would have been kicked up by vans. 
  • I started to tire by the time there was 1.5 mile left to go, but it was finally all flat (rolling hills throughout course earlier)- so I just decided to push and see how long I could withstand.  Luckily I vividly remember this leg from last year, so once we were out of the gravel path, I knew exactly where I was in terms of the exchange... this helps greatly. 
  • Happy to report I finished strong and had a nice kick and was able to pass 1 more person- total kills for this run-7. 
as a side note- if you live within 200 miles of the race, you are required to supply 3 or 4 volunteers. 2 of our volunteers happened to be working my exchange and were in my work kickball team for the past 2 years. Naturally I gave them both a sweaty hug. I'm pretty sure they appreciated the extra body heat as it was COLD (as you can tell by their dress attire)
Jim, me, Craig

Leg 2 (Night run) 4.2 miles Total Time 31:23 - 7:28 pace
  • There is something about running at night that I just love. As long as I have a bright head lamp and tissues to wipe my nose (when its cold it runs), then I'm good to go. 
  • Mike who I hand off to, asked when he should expect me so he knew how long he had to warm up- I had high hopes of secretly going at a sub 7:30 pace so I told him b/n 30-35 minutes. (mission accomplished!) 
  • Even though I knew I would heat up, I decided to wear a loose, breathable long sleeve + capris to run in- temp was 30s, but just as expected I was sweating bullets when I was done. 
  • This run was kind of lonely, as there weren't a lot of people around. I passed 5 people total during the run, but they were all women who I passed because they were slow, not because I was pushing myself to beat them (not as fun)
  • At one point my van was pulled over but I don't think they were expecting me (Vegas repeat all over again) but I ran over to it and was knocking on the driver side asking for water (didn't use my fuel belt rest of my legs)- took a bit for them to locate some water before I was given any- so I decided I'd make up time by just going faster for a bit after. 
  • Thank goodness I have a gps watch. When it said that I had 1 mile to go, it was more closer to 1.5. The poor suckers that don't run with a watch probably got so excited, only to be let down when they realized "I've been running longer than 1 mile" 
  • The race was anti-climatic- just kept pushing myself to keep going. Since it was cold out, I partly feel that my legs go a little numb. My calves were tight, but it wasn't hindering me like normal. Because the markings were so off, I had no idea when I would reach the exchange. It wasn't until I saw the walkie talkie guy that I decided to kick it in to exchange. 
  • Best part of this leg- when I was done it was just Rick at the exchange and we walked back to the van and Jill and Suzanne were getting out to cheer for me- they looked at me and said something to the effect of "You're seriously already done?!?!" came out of their mouth :) 
Leg 3- 6.45 miles- Total Time - 53:42- 8:19 pace
Getting ready for the final leg! 

such a lovely face- trying to see if that is Jill coming or not

Get the baton from Jill & I'm off

  • I already told my team that I would be going slower on this run since I was tired and the soreness of sitting in a van for hours on end was starting to get to me.  
  • Within the first 400m there were all these people to catch- I didn't think about it at the time, but I thought it was kind of weird considering there weren't all these same people standing around at the exchange with me (come to find out later from Jill that they were cheating)
  • So I pass all the people right away, I'm feeling strong and then just shy of a mile we get stopped at a stop light- seriously?!!? I stopped my watch just so I would have an accurate assessment of my pace (yes I'm one of THOSE people)- the downside was you had to cross the street, then turn right and cross again- got stuck at the turn right and cross. 3 of the people I passed just ran out in front of cars while me and this other guy are just watching and literally said to eachother "wow this isn't fair".
  • Finally after what feels like a solid 2 minutes, we get to cross. Since we had time to chat at the light, we ended up running together. We passed one of the girls back up and she asks us our pace since she didn't have a watch- he shouts back 7:40s and then comments to me how thats too fast for him and if I plan on keeping this pace the whole time....
  • My response- since he's miss chatty Cathy and I normally don't like to talk when I run (unless its a leisurely run) I tell him that if he plans on me having a conversation with him, then no, I can't keep up the pace (i said it laughingly vs. bitchy though) - just then my team passes by in the van and sees us laughing so they assume he's me new "friend" 
  • Once we hit the first mile, 7:20, I knew I was going too fast. He asked me to go ahead of him so we could be single file- after a few minutes I made the decision to slow down. My left side of my body was acting up- tight calf, knee, and IT Band- right side--- just dandy. I deduce its probably from the left side constantly being a little lower due to running on uneven ground on side of road. 
  • About 1.5 mile in we hit some major hills and I tell 'my friend' to go along without me and I was going to slow down. Shortly after I do the unthinkable (something I promised myself I wouldn't do this race)--- I walked. I walked A LOT this leg actually. My team informed me they wouldn't be able to give me water or cheer until mile 3 when the road was wider. I took full advantage and did a run / walk up all the hills--- I felt defeated :(
  • As I was nearing 3 miles, I picked up my pace knowing that I would get some encouragement from my team to carry me through - sure enough, they were right where they said they would be...
  • I would LOVE to report that stopping and talking to them while getting some water helped, but not really. I think the stopping completely made things worse. I was hot, I was sore, and I was getting slower, and my 'friend' was no longer in view anymore. 
  • I kept my self-affirmations up- telling myself I was stronger than I give myself credit for, to ignore the heat, and just push through the pain. It didn't work the greatest, but at least I never walked for very long. 
  • At one point while I was walking, I had a speedy guy pass by me clapping telling me there is no walking in Ragnar. Normally I'd be annoyed, but since I was about 4 miles into my last leg and he was the FIRST person to pass me, I didn't let it phase me. 
  • See my team one more time before the exchange, and this time it did help (thank goodness) to pick up the pace a little and wait to walk. 
  • Once I saw the last mile sign it finally was shady for a bit and there was a break, but it was short lived. I got stuck at another light (during this run I got stuck at 4.... 4!!!) but it was enough break to finally tell myself no more walking and to finish strong. 
kicking it in to the exchange

  • I was tired, hot, and thirsty upon my finish, but I managed to jog over to my 'friend' to see how he did- low 7s pace (hmmm ODD considering he said 7:40 was fast?!?!)
  • Although this leg was much tougher than the others and I walked a ton, I was surprised that my overall time was still good (oh the power of banking time of the beginning)- This gave me the confidence I needed that even if everything doesn't go perfectly (as a lot of my run have been lately) that I am still faster and stronger than I thought. 
Celebratory beer after finished with my legs (so delicious) 

Fast forward to Finish Line

Back row- Jill, Chris M, Suzanne, Kristi, Chris U (the trunk monkey), Cheryl, Mike, Jeremy, Rick, Jason
Front Row- Me, George, Garrett 

 Mike and I earned the Deuce medal since we did Ragnar 2 weeks ago! 

So like I said in the beginning, this race was different, but I learned a lot.  Aside from my body being MUCH MORE sore than normal for the final leg, I was satisfied with my times. It was a weird experience for me because I was the fastest person on my team. I don't mind compliments, but too much sometimes makes me uncomfortable. One of my teammates was talking me up to his buddy at the finish line about all my races and how my times have improved and such. He  could see I was embarrassed and was so sweet and apologized about putting me on a pedestal, but he doesn't know anyone that has done what I done- an average person who works during the day so doesn't have time to put in some serious training, yet still manages to  travel and race all the time on the weekends. Thats when it dawned on me- our running community is truly unique. We get so accustomed to all these accomplishments of our surrounding runners, that we forget that we ourselves are an accomplishment for just following through and finishing our races. It doesn't matter if you're fast, slow, consistent, inconsistent- just the fact that we're out there, trying to be better is truly amazing and truly worth something.