Tuesday, April 30, 2013

100% for Boston

Last night is my normal weekly Monday night run with Tin Roof 2 Crew, however it was a very special night. Kyle, the owner at Tin Roof, as well as the owners of our local Fleet Feet, both happened to be in Boston running / spectating for the marathon. They wanted to team up together to somehow help those affected by the tragedy and last night is where all the magic happened. 

Together, they picked out a family- 2 daughters and a husband who were all cheering at the finish line in anticipation of their mom finishing her first Boston Marathon. The two daughters both swam for University of TN, and one is still an active athlete, Erika, who happened to lose her lower leg. Since she has ties to the great state of TN her family was picked and 100% of all proceeds from the restaurant, the fleet feet store, as well as specially made shirts went toward purchasing a specially made prosthetic limb for her so she can get back into running. If you aren't familiar with Amputee blade runners, its a non profit organization that helps provide free running limbs for amputees since this is something that insurance does not cover.  The Nashville chapter had agreed to design one specifically for Erika with all the proceeds from 4/28/13 as well as had a few of their runners who use the prosthetics there to join in on our run and answer any questions we may have. 
some of the runners from nashville chapter 

I'll admit, I forgot that they were doing this event yesterday, so when I arrived and couldn't find a parking spot ANYWHERE I was a bit perplexed. I've been going to Tin Roof runs on and off for the last 1.5 years, and I could proudly say that this was by far the BIGGEST crowd (both running, supporting, and diners) I have ever witnessed. 

Before we kicked off the run they talked about Erika and her family and I couldn't help but shed a few tears, I can't imagine what it would be like to lose a leg, and hearing her personal story made it more real. As we set off for one of our routes, I ran alongside one of the blade runners Brandon. (3rd from left in photo)  We talked for a mile and he let me know that he was diagnosed with bone cancer when he was in highschool. His leg was amputated and  he was miserable because he was active on the football team and that wasn't something he could do competitively anymore. He got his prosthetic running leg 2 years ago and was slowly working at getting used to it. He ran in the Country Music 1/2 marathon this past week (my recap still to come) and ran a 1:55!!! He finally feels like he's an athlete again and can't wait to get even faster. 

I was actually taking it super easy that night and couldn't keep up with him so I told him go on without me to which he sped along and I never caught back up. After the run I definitely felt more appreciative of my tired sore legs--- they may not always work the way I want to, but I'm lucky they work at all. I think too often we take the little things for granted and need to remind ourselves how very lucky we are. 

B and P are still recovering from injuries, so they met up later to eat so they could still show their support. We also purchased these awesome shirts since 100% of those profits went into the grand total as well

I'm incredibly excited to see what the grand total raised will be and although its just going to one family, I'm happy to take part in what I could to make her running dreams a reality again!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Five for Friday

1. Headbands: I realized a few weeks ago that a large chunk of my running headbands no longer fit--- either my head is shrinking, or they are so overused and stretched out. I did the math and realized that I haven't really bought any new ones in over a year. As luck would have it Razzy Roo had a contest on facebook for naming their new bus, and those that gave valid suggestions were emailed a discount code and the winner got so much free money toward purchasing. I didn't win, but I did get the code so I decided to buy two sparkly ones since they are so versatile- love me some blue and black!!!
Double score when Angela at Happy Fit Mama was giving away a BAMR band to two lucky readers. Low and behold I entered and I was one of the lucky 2!!! The owner Katie, who is also a blogger, reached out to me on Monday to congratulate me and see what a few options that I liked. I told her my favorite colors of the chevron pattern and it came in the mail yesterday (talk about quick turnaround!)- was so excited it was yellow because I have ZERO yellow bands. 

2. Skin: Remember last week when I was complaining about my Mexican looking spray tan? My face, hands, stomach, and back all faded normally, but I'm a splotch monster on my arms, legs, and chest. My arms are quite hilarious as they are super dark with white around the elbows (where I spray my perfume)

It's very sexy, I know, I know. I had my annual check up yesterday and was so embarrassed at how uneven my skin was, but obviously they were happy I opted for the sunless route. I had a few spots I was concerned about, and the one on my chest the doctor was too so I had it removed for a biopsy. I found out within a week if its cancerous, in the meantime I'm supposed to keep the area dry, yet I'm running CMM tomorrow and its supposed to storm the whole time, awesome.

3. Country Music Marathon- So this will be my 3rd year running Country Music Marathon. Not a huge fan of the race due to crowds and logistics, but work re-imburses us when we complete it, so the steep $120 registration is taken care of. This was the first half I EVER ran, and unfortunately I didn't train for. It was awful and I ran a 2:22 and change. I decided to give it a go last year, was equally as miserable and hot and ran a 1:55. This year all I have is a loose goal to finish in the 1:40s, thats it.

4. Healthways shirts for Marathon-
Due to the reimbursement for colleagues to particpate in this race, lots of co-workers sign up every year. To keep it it fun, we always order shirts (for free) to hand out to all the colleagues. Although I'm in charge of organizing and distribution, I didnt pick out the design, but I do like them

back of shirt, front just says Healthways

After Boston tragedy last week, one of my co-workers called the print shop to make an adjustment to our shirt- Boston on the sleeve

Due to large crowds and traffic on race day, I decided this year that no meeting up in the morning to take a photo, its stressful, hard to find individuals and we have a lot of first timers who I want them to just enjoy the experience and not worry about having to get there at an insanely early hour. We decided to have everyone wear their shirts yesterday and meet in our lobby for our team photo. Granted it is extremely difficult to get 40+ colleagues together where everyone is free, so here is who could make it
Photo: This is just some of the  Healthways colleagues who are running in Country Music Marathon tomorrow--- look at that healthy bunch!

5. Boston Tribute at the Expo- I'm not sure if RnR is doing this for all their races, or if this is special due to it being one of their first events after the Boston Tragedy- regardless they had a nice booth set up and tons of different "walls" you could sign about Boston. The line was incredibly long to do this, so I skipped the signing.

Also when you picked up your bib you got a free Boston arm band that has  the date on one side and the #Run Now on the other. I'm sporting it at work today... along with my alcohol wrist band. I tried to class it up by covering it with a gold bracelet- you hardly notice it right?

It's supposed to storm all day tomorrow during the race--- combine that with the never ending hills and I'm not too sure how I feel about that. At least the one good thing is that it will not be hot... AMEN!!

Are you racing at all this weekend?

Good luck to all those running Eugene, so incredibly jealous!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ryan Hall and kickball!

First off a Huge thank you to all the amazing comments, texts, facebooks, and best of all Kim's angry "what is wrong with guys" voicemail, in regards to yesterday's post. Although the "men" topic of change was short, lots picked up on the significance and it means  the world to me that I do have a virtual support group of ladies I can turn to when life isn't always peachy.

Monday we had our weekly night run with fleet feet and what I was told was going to be  a "slow easy run" turned into us speeding up and mile 3 clocking in at 7:20--- good news is I was somewhat able to talk while doing it, bad news is I couldn't hang and got left in the dust. Afterward a bunch of us sat around for 1.5 hours talking and eating. One of the gals, Ashley (who is in the process of trying to qualify for elite status at Chicago- which is 1:21:59 or lower) is on team Oiselle and although she doesn't blog, we were laughing at all the Oiselle ladies we stalk via blog land Difference between her and I is I know the details via their blog, and she's actually met them all... details. Apparently she is the only person on the team representing TN so she's trying to convince me to apply-- I'm not on the same level of any of the other ladies in terms of speed, is that okay? After about 20 minutes of chatter around that, I told her I would think about it.

Later it came out from my super awesome roommate Leah (how this came up in conversation I cannot remember)  went to Ryan Hall and Sara Hall's wedding... ya no big deal. Apparently her and Sara ran track together in college and were good buddies and still talk to this day.

Naturally I was all like "oh my God how are you THIS awesome, you have so many cool points in my book" blah blah blah (sadly that really did come from my mouth)

She mentioned that one of his sponsors is Nissan and their HQ is 400m or so from where I work. She said next time he comes to town she will invite him to our Monday night runs--- wait WHAT?!?! Then I jokingly said how cool that would be, but nearly not as cool as having her and her roommate take him out to dinner to which her response was "I'm totally going to ask him!"

Ladies and gentleman, I have hit the roommate jackpot and girl crush commences... 

If / When this happens, I'll try to keep my cool, but no promises.

In other less exciting to you, but still exciting to me news...

My Tuesday night kickball team FINALLY won a game. This is a huge deal as we are last in the league. We are a 'free agent' team which means we all signed up not knowing anyone and the Nashville Sport's League put the team together. It's not that we're bad, its just everyone else has been playing and practicing together for years and we're just trying to figure out one another's strengths and weaknesses. We only had 9 show up and you need 10 to play, but we convinced the ref we were okay and low and behold, it worked---- booyah

one of our girls left before we could take the photo

I'm also on a work league kickball team that has yet to play a single game due to rain out everytime its our turn. Our first rescheduled game is tomorrow and naturally its storming all day today, so looks like it might be another week--- oh mother nature how you like to play games. 

Anything exciting going on in our week?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cha cha changes!

Ever had one of those days where you're embracing change in all different aspects of your life? For me it seems like its everywhere in my life.

De-cluttering: My lease is up in a month and I've slowly started the moving process already- constantly putting yourself in that 'spring clean' frame of mind on what can stay and what can go.
My room was a disaster zone for hours while sifting through everything

 I've officially taken over 9 huge bags to good will--- man does that feel good.  (this is just round 1)

Roommate: With this new move I will have a brand new roommate, Leah. Although my current roommate, Krista, and I get along just fine, she was looking for something in a different area, and I wanted to stay close to work. Up until about 3 weeks ago I didn't have a plan. I was freaking out a little bit about where I was going to live and if I would be able to find a roommate. In my part of town its easy to spend $1000 / month on rent and utilties if you're on your own, however with a roommate you're looking at about $600 with everything. Although I can afford the $1000/ mo, I really want to focus on saving as my 50 state quest is nearing an end and thus my need for a roommate. I couldn't find anything on Craigslist, so I decided to write my own ad and within two days Leah responded. She's my age, a physical therapist, runner, triathathlete, and beer enthusiast. Apparently she goes to the same Monday night running group I go to but we never knew one another. Aside from being cool as all get out shes is FAST. Her last 1/2 was a 1:27 and I've ran that race before, it is HARD. I already asked her if she'd helped me get faster--- she claims she doesn't know how to do that, but I think me just running with her will do the trick. So excited to learn from her!!

Work: We FINALLY hired a replacement for some of the duties I had been carrying out for the last 4 months even though my role changed. Luckily she starts today so I get to train her all week. Now that those duties are off my plate coupled with some of the accounts I work on announcing termination, I got asked to switch what I do and start on a completely 'new to me' area at work. I'm actually pretty pumped as it will expose me to so many different parts of the company as well as allow interaction with more colleagues that up until now, wouldn't have needed to work with. I'll continue carrying on my current role till fall along with the new role as I'm able-,after that I'm not sure if i'll get a different title or if there will be new accounts to work on etc. I'm just thrilled to have my plate full again because I was going a little stir crazy.

Faith: Rarely will you catch me in an open conversation about religion. These days you never know who you are going to offend, so I've always been more of a private person on this topic. Because of this, a long time ago I didn't see the need to go to church. I kept the philosophy that God doesn't judge on how often you walk in and out of a building, but more so on how you live your life and the example you set. I still firmly believe that, however someone finally gave me the nudge that I needed to find a church that is right for me  so I can have more people in my life that will continue to encourage my development in God. No worries, I'm still a private person and won't blog about it, but this is a huge shift for me. 

Men: I was 'dating' one of my good friends and somewhere along the lines he had a change of heart but neglected to inform me of this. I won't go into all the back and forths that ensued, but the aftermath left me completely torn. Something about the way things were handled / said left me feeling like I "wasn't good enough" and that everything I was doing was constantly being judged. In addition to that I had never had someone have the power to make me feel so unattractive and 'manly'. As I write this he sounds like an awful person haha, but I can assure you he is not and we are still good friends despite the change in hearts. Last weekend everything was still fresh and I was confiding in another guy friend about all that had happened etc and later that night he sent me the nicest text that kind of changed my whole attitude around...

"Remember... you past does not define you... your ability to face the obstacles in life define you. You are one of the most awesome persons I know, do not let ANYONE dictate your happiness. You are smart, intelligent, beautiful, and truly a great person, you will prevail. Believe in yourself, because I do"

Too often I do place too much power on men determining my happiness. Maybe its the curse of the eternally single girl? I have finally, finally FINALLY at the age of almost 29 decided that whoever Mr. Right is will be so incredible that there won't be a shadow of doubt when I meet him that he will be the one for me and all the heartache I've had to endure up until that point will all be worth it in the end. Until that happens, I'm going to embrace who I am and just be HAPPY!

Hair: For those that know me outside of my racing pony tail, I have fairly long hair. Once I hit puberty it turned curly and for years I didn't know what to do with it. In highschool I was able to manage it by waking up at 5am every day to take a shower and make sure the curls were fresh, but once I entered the real world- college and later, that was no longer feasible. I was ALWAYS self conscious about my hair because I felt that curly hair was unattractive (yeah I know I sound like I have the confidence of a gnat in this post, I promise I don't)  At some point I invested in a CHI straightner and pretty much straightened my hair everyday out of convenience as well as a way to 'fit in' with what is normal. This backstory has a point, I promise... basically my long, "straight" hair is a crutch- its something I always wanted as a teen so I've always kept it as an adult. On thursday I was watching a recent episode of MTV's AWKWARD and one of the main character's who had gorgeous long hair cut it short... and it looked good. So I thought, 'screw it- I want short hair too!' 
So I went from this...

To 8 inches lighter on Saturday!

I have to admit, it was a challenge getting it into a pony tail for yesterday's run, for now I'll call it a 'nub' until it hits pony tail status

But for now, I embrace the shortness, no more hiding behind my hair and now I can wear things that show my back- I feel strong when my back is exposed for some reason and strong is the new sexy! Time to go be sexy! 

Any changes going on in your life?!?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thursday Randomness

This has been a whirlwhind of a week and its only Thursday, in no particular order

1. There isn't really much that I can add to the Boston tragedy that others before me haven't already said so part of me wants to leave it alone. I've never been close to qualifying for Boston as I have yet to run a full marathon, but let's face it, Boston is like the mecca for running. It brings out that  giddy teenage girl who exactly 1 week before Boston Marathon was enjoying the area at  Fenway Park on opening day

and took a pedicab all the way to finish line just so I could stand on it (thanks B for paying the $10 to do so!) 

Then B and I had to walk ALL the way BACK to our car... now its totally worth it and I'm so glad we had that opportunity. When I decide to give the marathon another go, that will be my ultimate goal. Rather than go on and on about the pain and the WTF are people thinking, I'll share something extremely positive about a runner who finished the race on Monday giving his medal to another runner who was stopped 1/2 mile short, truly inspirational : Good Samaritan.

On tuesday I had a ton of meetings so I couldn't wear a race shirt, but I tried to incorporate blue and yellow dress (along with a bunch of other colors) Every Wed is workout wed at work, so we were encouraged to wear a race shirt- it just so happens my recent race shirt from Maine is Boston colors, naturally I sported that as well

In the midst of all this negativity and the constant whys, I've been impressed with the coming together and strengthening of our running community- for those that are not a part of our community, its neat to see something ignite within themselves to want to join and to go on a remembrance run. There is still so much good left in the world, why not focus on that?

On a MUCH lighter note

2. Spray tan:
I found out that one of the chain tanning salons in the area were hosting 1 free spray tan between Sun and Wed. The good news is you don't have to be a member to go, no strings attached, so I decided why not. Oh My GAWD... I got a "medium clear" because that is what my roommate got and she looks fab... I'm pretty sure what they gave me was a medium tinted. The above photos dont do it justice, nor do the other photos I tried to take, but I look Mexican. I felt so stupid when I went into work on Tuesday and everyone asked me if I was at the beach because I was that dark... no not Ross dark (thank goodness) but definitely too dark for it to be April.
Although everyone said I look fine, I'm super self conscious because a few of my sun spots are even more noticeable. I guess that was the motivation I needed to do my skin check as I scheduled one for next week! I can now add porous skin to the list right next to porous hair, check! 

3. Dentist:
Monday I had my first dentist appointment in 5.5 years--- crazy I know, so its kind of a big deal that I went. I remember the last dentist appointment I had was when I was just about to turn 23 and my parent's insurance for me would run out. I'm really not sure why I waited so long, but I'm proud to announce that in 5.5 years my teeth are in perfect shape, no cavities or sensitivities, just sore gums since they aren't used to being manhandled that way. 

4. I'm not 100% positive, but I thnk the last time I went to church was the week after 4th of July in 2008 when I had JUST moved to Lousiville. It's hard to find a church I like as well as not feel judged. I've been talking with P a lot about faith and such and via a few recommendations I went to church by myself on sunday and actually enjoyed it. The same church has a HUGE young adult program on tuesday nights and me, P and Krista went... part of me is finally starting to feel whole again.

5. I've been working for my company for almost 3.5 years... I just enrolled in our 401k this week. Yes i know how I shouldn't have waited this long. While I'm currently an income supporting one I will be contributing a bit more to help catch up a bit, and then I'll reduce as needed.

6. I signed my lease on new apartment with a new roommate (which I'll divuldge into tomorrow). I moved to Nashville Jan 28, 2010. Next month will be my 6th move since I've been here---gah! Out of all the moves, this is the one I am most excited about and just feels like a good fit in every aspect of my life!!

7.I worked out 4x yesterday- yoga at lunch, bootcamp at 4, kettlebells at 5, 3.5 mile run afterward. Needless to say my hips are K-I-L-L-I-N-G me today with all the lunges and stretches galore. Now that summer is pretty much here in Nashvegas, I need to get serious about swim suit body, so double and triple workouts at least once a week may be part of the normal routine for awhile. Operation 2 piece, commence!! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Last minute 5k PR* (adult age)

Since my 50 state journey is nearing a close this year, I decided I finally want to get faster. I'm not the best with training plans, so I committed to at least doing 1 speed workout a week. After last week's double headers in Maine and New Hampshire, my calves were incredibly tight and by no means were they ready to tackle speeds on Wednesday (the day I designated my speedwork days)

Friday night I was texting my soon to be new roommate who is uuber fast, more on this exciting new information later, and she mentioned she was doing the Dairy Dash the next day and I should join in since they are both flat and fast. 

I hate 5ks, I hate 10ks, but I knew I needed at least one day to practice going fast. I REALLY want a 10k redemption race since I've only ran one and it was in 1:00:01. My 7 miles during the half marathon is faster than that, so needless to say, one of these days I just need to suck it up and do one.  

Although I do want my redemption race, it was pointed out to me that for working on turnover I would be better off doing the 5k so I could really push myself- so that is what I did. 

As you might have guessed it, the race is sponsored by Purity Dairy, so not only are there a ton of their products at start / finish line, but the overall male and female winners get a YEAR's supply of ice cream.  What is ironic is that proceeds of this race help fight juvenile diabetes... because that makes sense, especially the 100s of free Krispy Kremes given out before and after?!?! 

Due to the great refreshments, along with a 1 mile fun run, 5k, 10k, and for the crazies running the 5k and 10k back to back, this is one of the larger shorter distanced races in Nashville--- as an added bonus, the race is held in Metro Center which is north of downtown.... one of the few rare completely flat areas in the city, aka fast times. 

5k starts at 8am so I made sure to get there just a little after 7 to allow time for parking, registration, stretching etc.  Thanks to the sock of the month discount (somf4) with Pro Compression, I was excited to rock my new purple compression socks! (the discount is also for baby blue, but I own that color already) This would also be the first time wearing my Saucony Viratas for a race-- I do love them, however I'm fairly confident I wouldn't be able to pull them off for a half marathon distance. 

Weather was ABSOLUTELY pristine. Sunny outside, low 50s, no wind, really ideal racing temps

This is the first race in awhile that I did solo, so feeling like a loner I just stretched near a tree and kept to myself. I did have a few ladies that asked about my chevron skirt, but aside from that, I was pretty bored and kept an eye out for anyone I may know.... man I need to race in Nashville more often. 

As we were nearing the start I realized my watch wasn't going to make it through the whole race due to low battery, rookie mistake. I had zero plans for this race other than to not die. Last 5k (real race, not virtual) was the Snowflake 5k back in December and to say I died would put it mildly... I walked a lot... DURING a 5k! Luckily there wasn't much competition in my age group and it still enabled me to place- I knew today would not be the same as 1.) I wasn't going to go out too fast, and 2.) chances would be be VERY slim if I placed at all due to large field size. 

I wasn't able to get near the front and unfortunately got stuck behind a family who were CLEARLY going to walk- don't you hate that?!?! There was a faulty gun start (it wouldn't go off), so finally after a minute or so, they just yelled "go" and we were off. 

After a little bobbing and weaving I found a comfortable pace- not too fast, not too slow. Despite being comfortable, my breathing was so erratic / "wheeze like", but since this was only going to be 3 miles, I figured just go with it vs. trying to breathe comfortably. We did a small out and turnaround after .8 miles- as I was watching the top runners pass by, I noticed my future roommate Leah was in 3rd for overall female, WOW is she fast. If I wasn't breathing so heavily I may have actually shouted her name, but at this point that would have been too much effort. Mile 1 clocked in at 6:48

Mile 2 I just didn't want to lose too much steam. I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up the current pace, so I told myself just to not get passed by another girl and if I did to hang on. In these shorter distances I really need to work on shortening stride so I can have a faster turnover, and I tried it, however my legs were not cooperating today, so I just had to do my longer slower strides and hope that would be enough for this go round. We passed the leaders again and Leah and I crossed paths RIGHT as I hit mile 2-  7:13- definitely slowing down

Last mile they say its all guts. I say its me just slowing down even further. I seriously don't know what is going on with my breathing. Obvious answer would be "i went out too fast" but that wasn't it because I was definitely holding back, AND my breathing was 'off' from the beginning.  My watch died about 2.4 miles in, so I had literally no idea what I was running or what my finish time was going to look like. I decided I wasn't even going to attempt to kick it in till I saw the mile 3 sign as I was having trouble adjusting my stride. I finally got passed by a female, however she was much older (40s maybe), so I didn't bother to catch her. I saw the finish line in the distance, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't go faster. Based on miles 1 and 2 I knew I broke 23 which would be a new adult PR and that was good enough in my book.

Crossed finish line with an official time of  22:11, 7:09 overall pace. 

I haven't seen 22s in the 5k distance since high school- normal times for me back then were in 20s and 21s. Although i don't think its realistic right now to get in the 20s, I definitely think I have it in my to break 22 the time is right.

Due to 2 of the top 3 females being in my age group, it bumped me up to placing 4 out of 132 in my age group, 98/1632 overall.  My roommate did end up with 3rd overall with a time of 18:58- rethinking the idea of running with her as I will surely be left in the dust.

There was free ice cream, chocolate milk, spaghetti, mac and cheese, doughnuts, fruit afterward, however I wasn't hungry so after chatting with a few people, I just headed home and did a slower 5 miles so I could get in 8 for the day.

Overall I'm pleased to finally get in the 22s, however disappointed at not being able to properly pace myself and just get slower and slower. When I decide to do another 5k (probably not for some time due to heat), my goal will just be to have consistent splits, so for now, I'm happy! 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Great Bay Half Recap (State #39- New Hampshire)

State #39
Lifetime Half # 47
2013 Half #5
Official Time 1:53:30

Even though this was on day 2 of a double header, day 1 was surprise PR in Maine, I was actually excited about this race. The start was 11am (sleeping in), and since we decided to stay an extra night we weren't worried about late finish. The weather was supposed to be tolerable, my legs were feeling pretty good, and it looked like a pretty flat course.... (more on THAT part later)

After freezing our fannies off in Maine, B and I made it a point to hit up a thrift store for a decent throwaway to actually keep us warm for New Hampshire race. Even though it wouldn't be nearly as cold as the day before, it was better to be prepared than not. We found these precious gems at Salvation army for $5---- taking matchy matchy very seriously... (Liberty Mutual golf outing) 

The race start was at one of the schools, however we had to park in an industrial park, take a shuttle to the gym of a different school, then walk about 1/2 mile to the actual start line. Despite the late kickoff, it was still a bit nippy out, so we spent an hour in the gym stretching, staring at all the people in spandex (they LOVE to wear it in the Northeast) and admiring the beautiful paintings on the gym..
Home of the "fighting mules" 

thats a mule, prepping for a fight--- too funny

So let's get back to this whole "flat race" concept.... 

So here is where I digress... I've ran a lot of races... I'm pretty confident in my ability to read an elevation map. This is what is listed on their site--- yes there are a lot of zig zags, but if you pay attention closely, it never goes over 100 ft. Much to my surprise when I was standing in line for the bathroom before the race  I saw the back of last year's shirt saying "My legs conquered the hills of the Great Bay Half Marathon"--- what?!?!? I asked the lady if this course was hilly and her response was laughter, followed by 'it's all hills'--- knowing that I did read the elevation profile I thought maybe it was rolling hills and she said mildly "it's a tough course and if you don't run hills, you're in for a treat"---- that is my disclaimer for the race. 

After learning this new piece of information, I'm less than excited to run it. B and I decide to suffer through the cold and do bag drop so we can enjoy our awesome fleeces AFTER the race as well and brave the chilly walk to start line

There is no sugar coating this, the race was pretty negative for me,I wanted to just quit,and there was zero enjoyment during the whole time I spent running.  As to not divulge into too much negativity, here is the bullet version...
  • I remind myself to go out easy, not get excited and just listen to my breathing. Apparently I wanted to hang with the 7:30 pacer so thats what I did.. only he was going faster and our first mile clocked in at 7:19... seriously?!?
  • Once first mile hit it was all hills from then on out- at first I didn't mind, but then the tightness in my legs reminding me I ran yesterday kicked into full gear. That lethargic / heavy feeling coupled with not caring about pace allowed me to given in mentally and slow down significantly.
Scenery for large part of race, barren trees and hills galore ( i bet its GORGEOUS in fall)

  • I'm pretty positive I 'officially' gave up around mile 6 which is when I introduced walking into every mile- although there really wasn't much to look at, I was trying to be good at 'enjoying the run' and 'taking in the scenery'
  • One kind of different aspect was there were several spectators playing instruments along the course- one lady had a HUGE oboe. This guy was my favorite with his sweet banjo
  • No matter how much I hurt or want to quit a race, there is usually SOME type of competitive streak in me, today was a different story. I can officially say that from mile 6 on, the only people I passed (that didn't pass me back up within a min) was in my final kick... thats right, ZERO.
  • I finally figured out that most people running the race have this thing called 'strategy' where they knew the course was tough and conserved energy so they could make it through the whole race and finish with positive splits... what a novel concept, I may have to try that some time. 
  • Probably the strangest thing I've ever seen on the course were belly dancers- I remember thinking "this doesn't motivate me at all, and the 2 guys sitting in lawn chairs filming them kind of creep me out" At least I know that if I gave up on running, I can always turn to learning belly dancing since apparently stomach size doesn't matter ;)
  • The belly dancers were right at a turn around point to head back toward finish line (seriously the only flattish part of the course) I saw B on my way back and gave her a big thumbs down and shouted "worst race ever"--- she was looking pretty strong vs. my harlem shake shuffle I had started doing. 
  • At some point in the last mile we left the boring trail and started heading into downtown where the scenery is exactly what you would expect a New England town to look like (pictures don't do it justice)

  • I was amazed at the large crowd support the last bit of the race, literally the streets were lined. I somehow managed to have a kick at the end and actually passed 3 people----again, the only 3 people I passed the whole race
  • I got my crappy medal and headed down to finisher area to wrap my sorrows in my yellow fleece and grab some food.
  • The area they chose to host the after race refreshments was hopping and actually quite gorgeous
  • Once B finished we got a quick photo by the water and headed to one of the 2 places that were handing out free beer!

  • Although I love beer, after running I can't drink that much so in the time B was able to finish her 2, I had a measely 1 (there was no limit as to how many you could drink!) 

Afterthoughts of the race:
New Hampshire has potential to probably have some great scenic races--- Great Bay Half was not one of them. I think they need to put an accurate elevation map on the site so runners know what they're getting into when running (granted most everyone was local so they probably know the area) My garmin is currently dead so I don't have my splits, but I DO remember that miles 7,8, AND 9 were all exactly 8:57 pace... how is that for consistency. Although the race severely sucked for me and I felt like death running in slow motion, not disappointed that I was able to pull a 1:53... that is only possible from banking time in the beginning and is in no way a reflection of pacing for that. 

I highly recommend if you don't live in the Northeast to wait till later months to visit. Its such a beautiful area, however the wind and gray just put a damper on the scenery. Needless to say, I was so excited to return to Nashville and be greeted by sunny 80 degrees :)

State 39 done, next up, the big 4-0 is over a month away, in Maryland. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Race the Runways- (Maine- State #38 Recap)

The Race:

State #38- Maine
Lifetime 1/2- #46
13 in 13 progress- #4
Official Time: 1:42:52

Normally when you think of racing in Maine, beautiful coast line and mild summer temps are what would come to mind. What you probably are not looking for is running back and forth on asphalt in freezing temps, trying not to let the wind knock you down, yet that is what I got. 

Although I knew Race the Runways was not going to be scenic and most likely cold for this time of year, it was flat and I was able to turn it into a double header with New Hampshire so that out won beauty. For those looking to run in Maine or New Hampshire, your best bet to save money is to look in Southern Maine and then fly into Boston, MA. B and I lucked out and found a R/T for $330- cheapest I've been able to get out to East Coast yet.

Our first day in Maine was tolerable, temps in lower 50s with a slight breeze....

On race day it dropped to lower 30s with a windchill of 20 degrees. Crazy as it sounds, the 30 degrees wasn't even that bad, however that wind.... gah I have never wanted to NOT race as much as when I got outside Saturday morning. 

Race the Runways is organized by the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, Midcoast Triathalon Club, and the Maine Track Club- although the race was around 1,000, definitely a small town feel. The 'runway' part of this race uses the Brunswick Executive Airport and Naval Air Station which closed down in 2011. 

Race Day:
Race started at 9:30am, however, bib pick up ended at 8:30, so we had to get to the race early in time to pick up our bibs and shirts. We had the longest /2 mile walk to the gym to get everything, and in that process we had several people tell us how crazy we were for wearing skirts. The race announcer was directing people over the megaphone where to go and even said I had guts haha. Once we got what we needed we ran back to the car and blasted the heat for the next hour and rested our eyes. Finalllllllly at 9:15 we emerged from the car and walked over to use potties with a few min to spare.

Clenched fists = COLD

I can do cold, it sucks, but I run decent in it. What I can't do is headwinds... I have no clue how to run in that. I decided to just go out easy, conserve energy, and do my best to stay warm. Surprisingly the first 2 miles weren't bad in terms of wind- I was actually feeling good and both miles clocked in at 7:30s. As we head into miles 3.5 AND 4.5 we are on the runway going SMACK into the wind. I kept thinking 
1. I have never been so cold running before in my life
2. I think the snot in my nose is frozen
3. I can't believe how hard I'm working and its only yielding XYZ pace. (mile 3- 7:40, 4- 8:21, 5- 8:08)

There was a herd of 10 or so people maybe 100 yards in front of me all drafting off one another, I kept trying to convince myself to stride it out to catch up to them, but man is wind tiring! Eventually (thankfully) we turned off the runway and although the wind never stopped during the race, the most intense part was over. 

After a mile or so we entered the 'loop' part of the course- it was an 'out and back' and then turn around and do the same 'out and back' again - this pretty much covered miles 6-11. Although it was boring and there was nothing spectacular to photograph, it was neat to see the leaders, and then see all the people you were ahead of. I also got to see B 3x on this part, making it 4 total for the race:
yup thats snow

she took the photo way far away

Another bonus was that the gu stop  was during the out and back x2, sooooooo I passed the gu station 3x. Although I still took my cliff double shot energy gel, I did manage to snag 2 extra vanillas and a chocolate outrage. I'm  convinced cliff double shot energy gels are the best thing since sliced bread. 

They don't sponsor me, send me free stuff, or give me some personalized coupon code for a discount... HOWEVER if they are reading... I will gladly accept any of the 3 items listed above :) 
Mile 6 and 7- 8:19, 8:04

Typically when it come to halfs, I don't really know how I'm faring till about mile 7ish- this is when the wheels have a tendency to come off. Despite what the above picture shows, once I started looping people, there were tons of runners to pass which I think helped me bring my pace down.  I also have a theory that the cold numbs the pain, so my body can keep going if my lungs are willing to hold up. 

I don't keep total time on my main screen of my watch, just avg pace, current pace of mile i'm in, and distance. Since I didn't care how I did in the race, I wasn't actually paying attention to my splits, however I did notice my average pace was still in the 7:50s... I'll take that

I decided I just wanted to break 1:45 (8:08) pace and that would be good enough for me. Literally when I made that decision, the times went down
Mile 8- 7:39
Mile 9- 8:01
Mile 10- 8:12
Mile 11- 7:48

We finally finish the out and back loop mess - which sidebar, totally would be easy for someone to cheat and just do one out and back vs. 2--- B said they are only cheating theirselves but I still say not fair! Once we head back for last 2 miles it is literally just me and 3 guys in sight- due to not being surrounded I can hear my loud wheezing and wonder how am I even still running right now? I've come to the conclusion that as long as my legs are fresh enough, they can handle faster paces, but my lungs are like that little fat kid inside me screaming "no more! I want cake (or bacon)!!"

At this point I have no desire to 'kick in the last 2 miles', but I told myself if I could just do sub 8s, it would all be over in 16 minutes... so thats what I did. 
Mile 12- 7:40
Mile 13- 7:45

Somewhere in in the last 1/2 mile I got HAWKED by this chick as she was making a mad dash toward the finish line. I kept thinking how it would suck if she was in my age group and then I caught myself and for once told myself I honestly didn't care how I did. I ran WAY faster than I anticipated, especially on day 1 of a double header, and I was just proud that I was able to pick it back up in the 2nd half. ( I think not keeling over from hypothermia was an accomplishment as well)

Mile .1 - 6:46

As I crossed the clock it read 1:42:54... for those that don't know, that is my PR from Cinco De Mayo back in Portland, OR last year. I knew I didn't cross the start line right at the gun so I just ran a freakin PR and didn't even know it!!! 
Official results finally came in and it was only 2 seconds faster, 1:42:52, 7:51 pace, but hey I'll take it. 

Even as I type this I'm not super jacked about the PR itself since I have plans to break 1:40 this year. I think what I'm most ecstatic about was that I fell apart for a few miles in the race but managed to pick myself up and finish strong--- that is NOT something that comes easy in the Lisa mental game, so HUGE win in my book. From a numbers perspective I'm doubly stoked because without that wind and me conserving energy for day 2 of double header, 1:40 would have been extremely realistic... she will be mine :)

B also ran a PR without realizing it (she was sans garmin all weekend)- she went from a high 2:04 / 2:05 to a 2:03 and change. Whats great for her is that the last several years shes been a solid 2:10/ 2:15 gal (her PR is from a few years ago), so she finally broke free from that benchmark and now has the mentality to go along with her training to break 2 hours this year---super pumped for her WHEN that happens. Main thing that changed for her... SPEEDWORK. (you can betcha i'm making sure to include it 1x a week, no questions)

As an unexpected bonus, I placed 3rd in my age group. Apparently all those women ahead of me were young looking gals in the 30-39 age group and not 20-29!Yup, still wearing my 'throwaway'- first time in a race I never even thought about taking it off...

Immediately after receiving my award we head back out to brave the cold and take the hottest showers of our lives before checking out and heading down to Portland, ME for exploration. 

State # 38 complete
Unexpected PR and AG win, but thats a-okay.

My afterthoughts:
The event was well organized and the bling definitely goes down as one of my favorites. Since the naval base closed in 2011, there are ZERO planes on the runway or the entire course (except one plane on display at the entrance of the 'park')---if you want to geek out on seeing planes, I highly suggest Air Force marathon. For being part of a double header, the race served its purpose. If you are seeking out more scenery, I would definitely wait till summer / early fall for decent temps and when everything is green and in full bloom!