Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Medicine Bow 1/2 Recap (WY state #41)

State #41
Life time half--- the big 50!!
13 in 2013 progress- 8/13
Finish Time: 2:03xx

Wyoming races are few and far between AND not the easiest to get to as most of the towns are hundreds of miles apart from one another.  When I was looking for one to choose for Wyoming, I was sold on the fact that I could fly into Denver airport and it was only a 2 hour drive to Laramie- sign me up.  All excited I reached out to Kim who was 100% on board and then B and L since they live in Colorado. B’s response was “Read my recap from Last year” which I did and can be found here. What is absolutely hilarious is the comment that both myself AND Kim had left a year ago when first reading about this race. 

Despite the challenges we knew we’d face, the logistics were perfect and thus a girls weekend was born between myself, L, Kim and Becca, BH as I will refer to her since B is already taken. 

Early race start at 6am + our hotel 30 miles away = a 4:30 am wake up call.. We arrived at our destination ext 323 off of I-80 ext ( a rest stop) with 30 min to spare. We cycled through the bathrooms, picked up our bib and shirt, and BARELY had time for this photo before the gun went off. (I think the girl was in a rush to take it, thus not bothering to zoom since there was no chip timing and she wanted to get in good position.)

We walked over to the start and although I *thought* my Garmin had a full signal, when I pressed start after the gun, it picked up and started building on the last run I did and I wasn't able to stop in and start over.Since I had no goals for this race, I wasn't too upset about turning my watch off and running the whole race without a clue on where I was pace or mileage wise... just using what I remember from the elevation chart to give me some guidance based on the hills. 

  • As you can see above, the altitude was over 8700 ft.... I train at 500 ft, so to say I nervous above being able to breath is an understatement. I'm no expert by any means, but I have found that your first mile makes or breaks your breathing at altitude, so I knew If I went out easy it wouldn't be as taxing on my breathing. That "plan" coupled with the fact that the first 4 miles were downhill, it was manageable to keep it in check and just enjoy the scenery. 
  • The only crowded part of the course was the beginning-  bobbing and weaving people while running down what felt like a mountain, all while on dirt trail, after that it was very spread out
From this in the beginning 

oh look actual people

To this the rest of the race- reminds me of Nebraska (stolen from Kim)
  • Once we started the climb around mile 5, I finally saw another female- not that I had any concept of how I was doing or had any goal in mind, I could’t help but wonder where I was in relation to the other females. I kept my eye on girl in grey (who after the turnaround I realized was in 2nd place, putting me in 3rd) There was not a chance to catch up to the first place girl, but going down those hills on the way back I could surely open up my stride and catch grey. That’s exactly what happened probably about 30 sec or so before passing Kim, BH, and L heading back 
doing airplanes. 
  • Running the steep and windy downhills for about 2 or so miles after the turnaround was actually fun and great practice for SD which is ALL downhill and luckily starts at 6,000 ft elevation. It was so awesome to have the other runners cheer and say "You're in 2nd!"- put a little smile and pep in my step as well. 
  • After that 2 or so miles leveled out and the climb began, the wheels came off and the rest of the race was BRUTAL. Imagine 4-5 miles of continual climb, on gravel, constantly having to watch your footing so you don't hit a divot  and only having 1 person in front of you the entire time- that was me. At one point I caught up to man in orange during one of his frequent walk breaks and asked him what mile we were on, hadn't even reached mile 11 yet and I was done. 
  • We ran through where all the 5k participants were lined up, they 'parted seas' and allowed me, man in orange, and one girl who came out of no where to run through. It was neat to have them all form a tunnel and clap and cheer. The adrenaline from that was SEVERELY short lived as I walked within 20 sec of passing them (and continued to walk pretty much the last mile). Girl from no where passed me and patted me on the back and said to keep on going- I laughed and said for her to go on as I continue the non stop climb unsure of where the finish line was.
  • Finally see the camper at the top of hill and managed to jog in at a 2:03 and change (no official times are posted) What's hilarious is shortly after a few more girls came in and one of them said I was super speedy (obviously they were no where around me the last 4 or 5 miles or they would have been impressed with how much one person could walk in the last mile of the race) 
  • Upon completion I couldn't stop coughing and only then did my lungs burn, surprisingly the altitude did not bother me at all during the entire race--- dumb luck 
  • After dropping off some items at the car, I was feeling pretty good so I decided it would be fun to jog the course until I came across the trio and run in with them. Turns out Kim separated from  BH & L so we ran for a bit, but pretty much walked the last 3/4 of the STEEP mile and managed to jog in the last 20 yards or so.
proof that we finally DID "run together" 
  • B & L finished about 7 or so minutes after Kim and met up with us for the obligatory Abraham Lincoln photo

Even zoomed in I bet you can't tell that B and I are wearing Sparkle Hearts and Kim and L are wearing Superstar- both Runningskirts... sneaky sneaky

As a group, we all ran slow times, however none of us were that upset about it. We went into the race knowing it wasn't going to be easy, and man I tell you what- just having that mindset ahead of time completely made the race more enjoyable. I'm not going to lie, this was the hardest half I've ever done thus far, but I wasn't hating myself the entire time... just the last few miles. 

Thanks for not completely sucking Wyoming, however I have no plans to visit any time soon! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Five for Friday!

1.  FRIENDS One of the great benefits of racing the states is the opportunity to catch up with friends. Unfortunately I don't really have any friends in the states that I have left (minus Minnesota) so last weekend after finishing my Maryland  race I still had some weekend left so I hopped on a plane back to Nashville then immediately drove the 2.5/ 3 hours to Louisville to catch up with 2 of my FAVORITE ladies who are near and dear to my heart.
Natalie helped me out in a very crucial time in my life and we shared a 1 bedroom apt for 4 months while I was transitioning and found my job in Nashville. 

Jenna helps keep me sane. We lived together for a total of 3 years (combined in Ohio and Louisville) and tell each other EVERYTHING. She is probably my absolute best friend and if I EVER get married, I'm confident she'll be the maid of honor. 

2. Derby Horses I LOVE to take photos with random statues / objects. If you've ever been to Louisville you may have noticed they have Derby horses all around town with different decorations and such. Jenna and I would make it a point to see how many we could find and get photo with each one. I have a whole album on facebook devoted to these gems and when my family came down for my 25th birthday they got in on the action too. As I was driving up to meet Jenna last week I saw one on the side of the photo (last photo bottom right) so I pulled over and took a self portrait. The first photo in collage is what started the obsession at Thunder Over Louisville back in 2009, and the rest are just some of my faves.
Am I the only one, or do others like to take photos like this as well?

3. Wyoming: This weekend I'm crossing off State #41, "The Cowboy / Equality State" ,also known as Wyoming. This will also be the big # 50 in terms of lifetime halves run... damn.  Although it's a girls weekend and I'm looking forward to seeing L and Kim (and of course B is tagging along but I see her everyday at work so its not the same) , what I'm not looking forward to is the elevation and altitude. I'm not going to lie- Miles 1-5 will be fun and excellent downhill training for SD's all downhill course, but 5- 13.1 are going to suck. Let's just say there are ZERO time goals involved.

4. Bootcamp It's no secret I'm not the best with an exact training plan so a lot of people have asked me how I've gotten faster. CROSS TRAINING hands down. For the last 1.5 years I've been going to bootcamp pretty consistently 1-2x week, kettle bells a few times a month (and I have my own at home), and most recently yoga 1-2x week. Everything I do is offered at work which is why its easy for me to be consistent. With bootcamp you get out of it what you put into it, but I've noticed a HUGE increase in strength and endurance from this.
That's me in the bright yellow shirt

Probably the sexiest photo of myself I've ever posted (trying to listen to instructions while sticking out my stomach)

On Wed there was a challenge out there to get 100 colleagues to attend, I believe we ended up just shy of 120!

This is reason #14343232 on why I truly absolutely LOVE the company I work for!

5. Moving Update: Finally found out I get to move in to new apt June 1. Currently my stuff is residing in the living room piled up- mattress, dressers, clothes tables EVERYTHING is in that 10.x10 space... that's talent. 
Photo is loading
In the mean time I spent a week crashing at my friend Ts and starting today I'll be crashing at Bs and taking care of her cat since she will stay out West for a week after our Wyoming race. It's so frustrating trying to find things since most of it is in new apt, so I constantly have been feeling like a mooch having to borrow something pretty much every day from some one.  June 1 can't come soon enough! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The big 4-0, Maryland! St. Michael's Running Festival Race Review

The Race:

State # 40!
Half # 49
13 in 13 progress: 7/ 13 

Official Time: 1:40:59
Overall Place: 75/ 1182
Age group: 4/133

Why I chose this one for Maryland?

  • No preference of what part of state I see, therefore was just looking for a weekend free in spring before it gets too hot
  • Elevation profile or lack there of. It was PANCAKE flat 

  • This would be its 2nd year for race, which means still small enough to be enjoyable and not have to bob and weave around runners the whole time. Generally smaller races have better after parties / swag/ home town feel as well.  
  • Originally I had shared this race with P and he was all about it in attempt to get a shiny new PR and qualify for Corral 1 at Chicago, so I would have a travel buddy. On top of that I found a race, Marine Corp 1/2, in VA the following day to allow for a double header.
    • Plans fell through with P- he got injured and didn't want to fly out if he couldn't PR so I no longer had a travel partner. I nixed VA immediately because there was no way I was doing a double header solo, and after looking at hotels and seeing they were all sold out in the area for St. Michael's, I nixed this race altogether. 
  • It wasn't until 2 weeks ago I decided that I wanted to give it a go and see if I could break 1:40, so I traded in my southwest points for a super cheap flight, got a hotel 25 miles away, and paid out the wazoo for a rental car to get from Baltimore airport to St. Michaels (about 1.5 hour drive) 
  • Last and certainly not least--- whatever race I ran next was going to be the big 40th state, no offense if I have any Wyoming readers out there, but I didn't really want to celebrate a milestone in my racing quest this upcoming weekend at a race in Laramie that I'm almost positive I'm going to hate (8,000+ ft elevation, hills galore, wind, potential cold, etc). I wanted 40 to be a positive race memory, even if that meant I was going to do it by myself. 

Pre Race:
  • For those that travel with me... I have a tendency to be a super forgetful person... its to the point that you would think it was my first time ever racing. For this race- I was super prepared- I packed away my garmin and couldn't find it so I emailed my coworker thursday night asking if he could bring it to work so I could get the charge up to 100%. I haven't had time to buy a car charger for iphone yet, so I texted P and asked if I could use his knowing I would be using my phone for GPS. Lastly and most importantly I was having issues with my Ipod not holding a charge so I asked B if I could borrow hers- whew ALL bases covered last minute. 
  • Packet Pickup was SUPER accommodating-  Thurs: 12-6, Fri: 12-8pm both at host hotel, then again at the school 8:30- 10pm, Sat morning: 6-7:15 am. 
  • I flew in to Baltimore around 4ish and was able to fight traffic and arrive to pick up my packet around 630ish without a problem. I had debated on just doing it race morning, but since I had to pass St. Michaels to get to my hotel in Camden, I figured might as well
  • Loved the shirts and medal, however on the website it just asked for your size, there was no male or female option so NATURALLY I assumed they were unisex and I chose medium... they were not and I look like I'm wearing a kids shirt when I try to sport it... stupid long torso. At least the middle part of medal spins to make up for shirt. 
  • There is ZERO to do in Camden where I stayed along with not a lot of restaurants, so I had Denny's and enjoyed my pancakes, hashbrowns, and Bacon.... got to have the bacon. 
  • Race start was 7:30am and they made it pretty clear the 2 lane road to get to the highschool was closing at 7, so leave early. I woke up at 5:15, had a waffle in the lobby, and was out the door by 6am. 
  • Arrived in plenty of time to stretch and unwind, and naturally race got delayed an additional 10 min due to many runners getting stuck in traffic. 
The Race:
  • If you're my friend on FB or read any of my previous posts, I decided a few weeks ago I wanted to see if I could break 1:40 today. I'll be honest- never really thought about what that would look like till night before... apparently that is a 7:37 pace... CRAP.  Deep down I didn't know if I had it in me, but my plan was just to go out and see what happens aka, there was no plan.
  • I found out the night before that the music on B's ipod was NOT going to cut it in the 'pump up and run fast' factor, so I downloaded pandora last minute and found an "alternative endurance exercise" station... seriously it was absolutely perfect. The first song that came on was one of my faves from my actual workout playlist so I went out faster than anticipated- and when I saw my time I decided that I didn't feel like it was that hard, but I should slow down a tad and conserve some energy.  First 3 miles clocked in 7:11, 7:25, 7:21.
  • I remember thinking to myself "Holy Shit, I can't believe I'm doing this right now!!" My watch is set to have the biggest part of my screen set on avg pace- naturally I knew I just needed to keep it under 7:37 and I would be good. It was so refreshing to be in the 7:20s and know that I had room to breathe and slow down when I needed it. 
  • Although the weather was pristine and I never felt "thirsty", I knew I needed to fuel more than normal due to my faster pace and requiring more energy--- to this day I still have not mastered the run and drink out of a cup, so I had to walk through all the stops. I cannot emphasize enough how just those little walk breaks took such a beating on my time- Its hard for me to stop and pick back up, its like my legs get confused and I kept spending all the time after the water stops trying to speed up to 'catch up' my time for each mile to even out my average pace. 7:36, 7:44, 7:39
  • Once mile 6.5 hit I started getting giddy because I was about 1/2 way through and I still had some cushion to hit the sub 1:40 mark- as nerdy as this sounds, I kept visualizing crossing the finish line and seeing a 1:3x:xx on the clock and just bursting into tears. I was thinking to myself how (to me) the 1:30s is like a special club that is hard to get into, but once you do it feels sooooooo good. I started thinking about how just 1 year ago my goal was to break 1:50 and here I am a year later about to break 1:40 which I never thought was possible... naturally tears of joy were streaming down my face. Unfortunately, my legs and mind were not working together and all that time spent day dreaming and not focusing put me in 7:50 robot pace: 7:36, 7:51, 7:50, 7:50. 
  • This brings me to mile 10--- when I felt apart mentally and physically- Mile 1- is when I saw the 7:37, switch to a 7:38 and I came to the sudden snap back to reality that maybe I wouldn't be hitting 1:40. I started crying (ya I know, I'm pathetic) because I was working so hard in the race and I generally don't push myself  or actually RACE my runs, but today was a different story. For the first time in a LONG time, I was putting it out there and I was potentially going to fail. I tried to speed up, but my quads were NOT having it. I even tried to pick points out to sprint to... apparently this made me go slower as mile 11 was my slowest mile, 8:05
  • The last 2 miles were ROUGH, I was telling myself if I really picked it up I could potentially still hit my mark, unfortunately I didn't pick it up enough at mile 12 was 7:48. Last mile felt like the longest mile of my life- I accepted that I wouldn't be hitting 1:40, I knew I was getting a PR, but I just had NOTHING left to give. My legs felt like rocks and each step it was just getting harder and harder to move. Even when I saw the finish line in sight I didn't feel like I could really kick it in. Within the last 100 meters 2 girls flew by me-awesome!
  • Last mile, 7:55, last .16 7:16 <---- no idea how THAT happened. Official time, 1:40:59
  • Only thing handed out at finish line was water- I asked around if there was gatorade or food and they told me to go to Runner's Village which was a couple blocks away. I walked there, waited in line for beer first only to find out you had to pay for your beer-- no where did it say that on website and I had no cash on me. There was also NO food to be found. I finally found a girl eating a banana and asked her where she got it... back at the finish line a several yards from the chute. 
  • I had to walk ALL the way BACK to finish line, got 2 small pb & J sandwiches, a banana, and granola bar.... no gatorade. I was able to look at results and see I got 4th, luckily the 2 women that passed me were older as the 3rd place female in my age group was 15 sec ahead of me. 
  • Afterward I walked back to car, grabbed my stuff to shower in high school, then after getting clean and lunch headed back to airport--- extremely anti-climatic. 
Since the photo didn't show from my last post that I put up from iphone- 

Afterthoughts of the race: 
My Mentality

I had a brief post after the race on Saturday where I discussed how I was so upset with myself about not hitting the 1:40 mark... I got some flack from some and from others there was total agreement how they are that way too... my true thoughts on this topic are a post all in itself which I'll write down later this week.

This was the hardest race mentally I've ever run. Every.single.mile I was looking at the clock. Every second counted. This is how anal I am and this is why I don't race most runs I do because I get so anxious / nervous that my mind is in overdrive the entire time. 

  • Weather- 60s and overcast
  • Smaller field size, 1182 for the half. 
  • The course was easy- flat the whole time, mix of neighborhoods and highways, scenery was so so. 
  • ease of packet pickup, race parking, course markings etc
  • They had Cliff energy gels... boxes of them at tables. I had to stop and look through to see if they had double espresso... they did! I ended up taking 4 (2 at each table) so a major score :)
  • The bling- see above photo 
  • Ability to shower after race so I didn't have to go back to hotel
  • hotels in St. Michaels were crazy expensive, then sold out- had to stay 25 miles away, but it was a 40 min drive due to the roads being 2 lanes
  • Not really a pro or con for me, but for some No spectators, so a true "runner's course" who doesn't need that extrinsic motivation.
  • Unclear instructions on what was in runner's village. Having to walk back and forth on tired legs just to find a banana was ridiculous. Also I can't believe there was so gatorade. 
  • I wouldn't have minded paying for a beer, but since it didn't say 'bring your money' I didn't want to go all the way back to car just for a drink. 
I would recommend this race for those looking to cross Maryland off their list. It's an easy drive from the Baltimore airport to St. Michaels. I would HIGHLY suggest booking the Host Hotel, Best Western early since that is where packet pickup up is and its 1 mile from race start. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sub 1:40 for State 40 fail

       State #40, Maryland, complete.
A goal was to break 1:40
B goal was to be under 1:42
C goal was to get a new PR (breaking 1:42:52)

I really didnt plan very well with logistics of what it would take to break 1:40. I FINALLY did the math yesterday on what my total avg pace would have to be...7:37. As you can see from above, I ended with a 7:40 pace, final time 1:41:00.

Although I'm proud to beat my old PR by just shy of 2 min, I did cry a little around mile 10 when I saw the 7:37 move to a 7:39 on my garmin.

I was so focused on that allusive 1:3x:xx that I actually felt like a failure when I realized I wasn't going to hit it. So, yes I do have a new PR under my belt, but its overshadowed by the "oh so close" ultimate 2013 goal for me. 

I'll write a full recap when my mentality is in a little more positive- for now ill be wallowing in my jamocah milkshake while waiting for my flight.

Anyone else out there hard on themselves and have difficultly enjoying their accomplishments if its shy of what you truly are aiming for??

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday Tangents

What a whirlwind of the last few weeks- its funny because I feel like each week SO MUCH happens, yet I don't blog about it

  • Skin Cancer- I got a lot of flack from some individuals for just  nonchalantly mentioning it in my April recap that I was having skin cancer removed.   I have 'beauty marks" EVERYWHERE, so its hard for me to keep track when I have new spots or when existing ones change.  Within the last year  a 'patch' appeared slightly above my right boob. It wasn't a freckle, but at first looked like a red zit. Over the course of a few months it changed to a scab, fell off, bled, got scaly, then just was a mark. Since this was definitely a new marking on my body,I made sure to point it out to the Dr. and sure enough after she took a biopsy it came back as basal cell cancer. For those that aren't familiar, its the least threatening of the cancers as it is the most superficial and easily treatable. I opted for the scrape and burn method vs. chemo cream due to it being summer and I didn't want to apply a cream for 6 weeks before having any resolution. Its been about a week since I had it removed and it's still healing. I have to wear a band aid with aquaphor at all times and I try to shower immediately after exercise to wash out the sweat. Once the scar is healed you can bet I will be applying mederma to help lessen the appearance. 
  • New shoes: Although I do love the virattas, I know they are not shoes for running my half marathons in. I am partial to Saucony's, so I started research some of their neutral models. Although I tried the mirages 2 years ago and wasn't a big fan, I was also coming off of ITBS and had to be in stability shoe. I kept reading that the upgrades to the 3 were amazing and voted one of the best upgrades by Runner's World, so I thought, why not?

I've ran in them twice- 7 miles and 11 miles--- they are a 4mm drop so I had some slight calf tightness, but nothing major. Aside from the awesome colors, they are also super light- 7.5 oz, so I may be in love.... we'll see how they perform for my PR attempt this weekend. 
  • 1:40 or bust: I decided to cash in on my Southwest points and go ahead and run the St. Michael's Running  Festival - elevation is non existent and I really don't have the opportunity to even attempt to break 1:40 again till probably fall due to temps and elevations of the races i have schedule, it sucks that this will be a solo race for me, but at least I get I get the big 4-0 out of the way so I can finally be in single digits!! 
  • Moving- This Saturday I rented a U-haul and had P come over to help me load all my belongings and carry over to the new apt. Unfortunately I am taking over for another roommate who won't be moving out till June 1st so that means all my stuff was stored in the dining 'alcove' in the corner and we piled up 7ft high... its quite comical. I'm a bad blogger and forgot to take a photo, then my phone died which is a whole different bullet, so instead just pretend this is my stuff, only taller. 
    • Good bye to an era:  I'm fully convinced I repel technology. Sunday I went for my long run and my garmin was wigging out- no big deal, I know the exact route mileage so I should be good. Then I plug in my mp3 player and it immediately dies- gah 11 miles without music? I decide to take my phone with me tucked into my ifitness belt. Around mile 2.5 there is a water fountain and a bathroom so I decided to stop off, get some water, and use the potty. Midstream somehow my phone falls out of my pouch and into the toilet- I grab it, manage to pee all over it and all over the floor- very classy but this is how fast everything happened. I tried to dry it off, but the water / pee had already gotten under the screen-  sigh. I manage to run the remaining 8.5 miles music less and dreading that my phone was unsalvageable. It was. As luck would have it my contract was up, so instead of upgrading I thought long and hard and decided to just use my work phone as my personal phone since its paid for and deactivate my number. I've had my Dayton number for 10 years, freshman year of college. I guess I'm offically a Nashville girl now with just a 615 number. 
    • Not a fan of the Iphone: So my work phone is an Iphone- sure there are some cool features such as I don't have the ability to text right now until work updates my plan but I can text other iphone users just fine. What I don't like is how everything is so closed on the iphone- I can't seem to get my contacts transferred from google- so basically I know NO ONE's number and its frustrating bc it looks like i might need to manually add everyone one by one :(  I can't get my itunes from computer to be recognized on my phone, There are no apps to download free music on my phone (which is what I always did w/ droid to make my playlists for running... even the facebook app is different and I can't figure out who to check in or tag people... yes i know #firstworldproblems
    • I saw the Great Gatsby this weekend--- Oh emmmm geeee did I love it. I'm a big fan of  the director Baz Lurhman (he also did Romeo and Juliet) and the soundtrack did not disappoint. I really want to be able to gets some of the songs onto my running playlist- hence the frustration with the iphone. My two 'upbeat' favorites are :
    Will.I.Am- Bang Bang

    Fergie- A little party never killed nobody

    • Testing out shoes: Last night at our fleet feet run, Nike came out and let us test out either Vomeros or Frees. Since I'm in a neutral shoe, they recommended  the vomeros. Immediately I noticed they were heavier than what I was used to with the extra cushion, but yet they felt like I was running on clouds. 

    The honeymoon phase ended less than 1 mile in and my arches and lateral edges of my feet felt like they were on fire. I was so uncomfortable that I had to cut my run down from 6miles to 4. Good news is that despite feeling like I was moving in slow motion my avg pace for the run was 8:20s. Immediately when I was done running and just walking around in them, my feet were fine?!?! This is the 3rd show I've tested out on a Fleet Feet run and the 3rd shoe I hated. I guess its good to know what you don't like, just as importantly as what you do like. 

    That's all the updates for now, anything exciting in your world?

    Tuesday, May 7, 2013

    Looking back at April

    April was surprisingly a busy month that involved a lot of life changes as well as some unplanned PRs :)

    Total Mileage: I finally freaking did it, I hit my goal I set which was 100 miles!! I looked at Daily Mile on 4/30 to see how many miles I needed to hit 100, 7 miles it was (need to start doing this more often)  As you can see below its been a LONG time since I hit 100 miles. The last year is quite laughable at how my mileage is all over the place-only hitting 100 miles twice in 10 months,definitely need to buckle down!!
    May Mileage: We've been blessed with much more milder temps than usual this time of year, so aside from this PNW kind of rain we've been having, weather should not be an excuse to not run. Goal is to hit 100 miles again and hopefully increase it by another 10 miles.

    Highest Mileage week: 40! Another goal I told myself I'd hit and I did. The first week in April I had a double header so I knew that was my best shot.
    May: I'd like another 40 mile week, however my goal this month is to not have any weeks under 20 miles. Seems crazy, but lately  I have a few 15-17 mile weeks thrown in there, and that can not continue.

    Races Planned / Completed: 3/2 

    May: Originally I had planned a double header mid May in Maryland and Va--- but my traveling companion who said he'd go bailed. I already registered for MD and I'm debating on doing this solo in attempt for breaking 1:40. I will decide in next day or two if the $ is worth it- Have to do MD anyway, might as well get something out of it.
    The races I'm for sure doing is a Tap n Run 4k (beer + running, yes please) this weekend, as well as what is bound to be a sucky half marathon in Wyomming @ 8,000ft + elevation -yipee!

    Accomplishments for April:
    • Getting speed back- 2 shiny PRs: 
      • New 1/2 marathon PR in Maine- 1:42:52
      • New adult 5k PR @ Dairy Dash-22:11
    • Found a new roommate who is awesomely fast, is good friends with Ryan & Sara Hall, as well as Lauren Fleshman...man I'm going to learn a lot. 
    • Along with the new roommate came meeting quite a few more local runners- something I've been lacking in since I've been here 
    • Yoga consistently 2x a week (HUGE for me) 
    • Went to dentist for first time in 6 years
    • Got back into church after 5 years
    • Finally started contributing to my 401k after 3 years
    Upsets in April:
    • Men in general and the idiosyncratic behavior
    • Haven't blogged about it, but the biopsy that was taken on my chest did come back positive for cancer- getting it removed tomorrow. Elizabeth has a GREAT post on sun safety-- for those who don't know, she works as a sales rep for dermatology practices, so she DEFINITELY knows what she is talking about.
     Current Book:  No reading this past month-life has been busy 

    Current Excitements/ Obsessions:
    • Moving. 
    • Family vacation in 31 days in Outerbanks
    • Reaching state 41 so then I can be in the S-I-N-G-L-E digits for what I have left
    • Devising a secret mission race plan that only a few know about--- just found out that one of our local running group members who is 6x all american is going to help me get to what my ultimate race goal is this year. I decided that mum is the word on this until it actually happens, so in a few short months I'm sure i'll quite the post about it :) 
    Current Treat: I've been on a cereal kick lately-Capn Crunch peanut butter. Luckily I finished the box last night so thats over. Now I just need to finish my Everything bagels and then its bye bye carbs for a bit.

    Current Goal (s):  
    • Breaking 1:40 in the half. I guess I should just break down and do Maryland because its not happening in Wyoming, and then not sure when the next half will be. 
    • Developing a solid race plan for my secret race
    • Getting more involved in local running community 

    April Major takeaway:  After the whole Boston tragedy I was reminded how awesome the running community truly is. These past few years getting back into running I have been so wrapped up in the virtual community, that I haven't taken the time to get more involved right here in Nashville. There are so many talented runners that are in my Monday night group that I can learn so much from, so after a few conversations with some of them, I decided to finally stop resisting and start actually training for real. The only way to get better is if I stop going through the motions and start pushing myself. The old saying is quite true "There is no comfort in growth" and that is going to be my motto this summer as I try to whittle down my weight and pace :) 

    How was your April?
    April was a huge growing month for me. A lot of emotional personal stuff came to a head and now that it has passed I believe I came out a stronger person. Running was a huge outlet for me to let out aggression, and I feel like I'm in a much more stable place now.  
    Any Major takeaways?
    If you want something and are willing to push for it, you might actually surprise yourself.  . 

    Wednesday, May 1, 2013

    Country Music 1/2 round 3.

    Race: Country Music 1/2 
    Lifetime half: #48
    TN Half: # 7
    13 in 2013 progress- #6
    Official time: 1:47:20
    Overall place: 1357 / 17892

    13.1 things about this race... 

    1. This is my 3rd time running CMM. 2010 it served as my first have ever, (horrible experience)  I skipped 2011, and last year B and L used this to cross TN off their states so I decided to join last minute. This is the first time doing this race solo, not worrying about rushing around doing a photo meetup at Parthenon or trying to find people in the sea of THOUSANDS of runners.

    2. For some reason I thought the race started at 7:30. I roll out of bed at 5am, check facebook, and see a few friends already updated their status that they just got to LP field. I thought to myself that was ridiculously early, but got ready in a hurry and was out the door by 5:20. Traffic on the highway was a breeze and I thought MAYBE just maybe i'd get to LP field with no difficulty. To put it lightly- I waited in line for 30 min about 200 feet from turning into LP field- ridiculous. On the shuttle I sat next to some guy and he was joking about how it seemed no one was in a 'rush' to get to the start- it was 6:45.... thats when he dropped the bomb on me that the race started at 7 (and I'm in corral 2 so I NEED to get there)

    3. Immediately when the shuttle drops us off (at 6:50) I haul ass (in the pouring rain) across a muddy field to get to gear check (dry clothes and umbrella for after race). As I get there they inform me they are shutting down and I'm the last person they are taking items from (wow what about all the thousands of runners still waiting for shuttles or haven't made their way up to the trucks yet?)

    4. I run to the start with 5 min to spare, do a quick hip stretches, then stand in corral waiting for start.
     Turns out there was a car on the course so we were delayed by 10 min- in that 10 min it went from mildly sprinkling, to all out downpour. This also translated into literally 30 sec before the race start my watch went into navigation mode and all that would display on my screen was a compass. Luckily I didn't care how I did in this race since I really didn't want to run it and I'm not a fan of the course.

    5. First mile is downhill so I reminded myself to take it easy as there are uphills the rest of the course. I have NO IDEA my pace, but I assume it was faster than I intended considering I caught up to my friend Michael who was in Corral 1 and averaging 8 min/ miles. We chatted for a bit and then I went on since his stride is super short and it always throws me off when we run together.

    6. I took it easy on one of the worst and by far the longest hills- Demonbreun (this is where Country Music Hall of Fame and Bridgestone arena are). I was amazed at how I was getting passed left and right and kept reminding myself I just didn't care- 2 mini goals this race: Just come in under 1:50,  and don't walk. I'll admit, I think having a goal to not walk is a terrible goal because who the heck cares if you walk? (i'm not referring to water breaks)- if you body needs rest, it needs rest--- for me its more a mental battle though and I need to work on becoming mentally tough.

    7. Somewhere in the 4th mile this guy got creepily close to me, like within 1 foot, then I feel his eyes on me. I finally turn and its P- he also started in corral 1 and I already feel like I'm running in slow motion, so how the heck did I catch up to him? He's still injured and let me know he was taking walk breaks and keeping it around 8 min pace. We ran together for a bit but I let him know I was looking for my friend Mike's house to grab a beer so I would be detouring off.

    8. Mike's house came and went so I started to speed up- low and behold he gave me horrible directions on where his house was, so when I passed it he screamed my name and I turned around and stopped by. He had a bottle of Heineken waiting for me--- under normal circumstances this would have been awesome, however drinking beer while its POURING rain out and you look and feel like a drowned rat isn't as enjoyable as it sounds. We chatted for a bit and then I went on my merry way.

    9. Not sure if it was the beer, stopping for almost 2 minutes, or just bored / no motivation, but shortly after I was just "done" with the race.  Somewhere between miles 6-8 I got passed by not one, but two different 1:45 pace groups. The roommate was a pacer for that group, however there must have been 3 separate 1:45s because I did not see her. The race itself is CROWDED, however since I started in Corral 2 it was manageable--- both times when the pace groups were passing it was like a giant stampede coming through.. so annoying.

    10. Honestly there was nothing else eventful in this race- I played leap frog with guy in orange (he beat me), tried my best to avoid puddles, and just sang in my head the songs that came on. I tried to shorten my stride on the hills so I could go up them faster, but I decided I just didn't care. I had no concept of time so I just told myself it was an easy long run. 

    Shot of shortened stride- PLUS it looks like I have cleavage in this photo... such a rarity I had to share

    11. Toward the end my legs were just on robot pace (whatever pace that was)- I didn't go fast, I didn't go slow, I just went. For those that don't know... CMM is a HARD course.... its not that there is anything too challenging, its just that its all hills. Nashville hills aren't the real steep kind that you get a nice downhill after, they are the L-O-N-G and S-L-O-W GRADUAL uphills that just take forever and you wish would end, then when it does, you do it all over again and again and again. By the end your legs are just dead. The good news is, that this is MY town, I know how to run these hills so I'm used to them. Does it make it easy, NO, but it doesn't really eat away at me like it does for others- almost all my practice runs have these hills in them, so I'm used to running on dead legs. 

    12. The last mile seemed to be the longest. I knew we'd have a few uphills, then the last .3 or so would be nice downhill (where were those the rest of the course) I'm not sure how, but I managed to catch a lot of people on the downhill and have a semi-kick to the finish- clocked in at 1:47:20

    13. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty shocked at my time. Even though I didn't know how far I was behind the official clock, I knew I broke 1:50, but I had no idea I was in the 1:47s. Considering I stopped for 2 whole minutes, I didn't put forth any effort in this race, and I couldn't care less how I did, I'm INCREDIBLY happy with my time. I guess this shows that I AM getting stronger and slowly but surely my paces are getting faster. As an added bonus, Top female finisher for my company, and came in 4th overall. 

    13.1 Immediately after race I grabbed a few snacks, headed to gear check, then attempted to change out of wet clothes when I ran into Michael doing the same thing

    I love this photo because it goes to show how wet it was. He ran a PR that race, as well as a few others (apparently rain makes your run fast?) We both immediately headed to our cars and said "screw it" to cheering for others. 

    This is the first race in a long time where I just show up, run, and leave. I really just don't like the course, the medals, or the size, but I'll admit it is fun coming to work after the weekend and everyone comparing how they did and sharing stories. 

    Next year, I fully plan on not being in town for this race and running in Eugene so I can experience some of that magic!