Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Long Run. Getting it done, safely

My last training post discussed track workouts.  I love track workouts, but I really feel like getting your long runs completed is really the most important part of your training program.  If you miss a shorter distance run, it isn't going to have the same impact on your big picture training as if you miss a long run.  I'm not saying you can't ever miss a long run, in fact, on nearly every marathon training program I have done, I have encountered a week due to illness, injury, or travel that it just didn't happen.  The half marathon is no different, except the long runs are shorter than those for a marathon.

For this fall, I am doing slightly longer runs that I have in the past for a half marathon.  My best half marathons have always come shortly after a full marathon, so I am just trying to have several long runs that are further than 13.1.  If I was only looking to do the Louisville Sports Commission Half Marathon, without having two events leading up to it (Iron Horse and Iceman), then I would likely even try to do a 20 miler, and make my training more like that of a full marathon, yet just race a half.  This might be excessive, but considering I am already looking to do a spring marathon, having higher than average mileage for me right now is on track.  But, I stand firm in that if you can run 10 miles, you can race and half marathon. 

So, this past Thursday was what I think will be my longest run before Iron Horse.  The way my weekends are planned, with Iceman three weeks after, and then the LSC half a week after that, I will essentially be starting a taper followed by recovery period before Iceman and LSC.  Hopefully this goes well.  I'm thinking 10 miles this week for my long run, and then 6 the week before Iron Horse.  Then I will start back around 7 or so, and start adding again before Iceman.  I think I can get back up to 10 before Iceman, and then skip my long run the week of Iceman (travel and other race being the reasoning, and Iceman itself will be a huge enough event that I won't lose any fitness from doing it, just may exhaust myself more!!!)

I have the word "safely" in the title of this post.  It has two purposes.  First, you shouldn't add too many miles per week to your long run.  I typically add one mile each week for two weeks, and then take a step back week on the third, but then on the 4th week, I add one to what I would have run had I not taken a step back.  Here is the pattern, 7,8,6,10, 11, 9, 13, 14 ect.  The step back week allows for some recovery, but it doesn't let you lose fitness, which is why you return the following week as if you have not taken the step back week.  I hope this makes sense, and this has worked for me well out of my almost 10 years of marathon experience.

The second purpose is runner safety.  While I was running on Old La Grange Rd by myself, a resident stopped me and mentioned she was concerned that I was alone.  Yes, I know running alone isn't the best, but sometimes you can't always have everything be the best.  But, you can take precautions.   I am friends with an OC Sheriff, and I spoke to him and he thought that Old LaGrange Road is pretty safe, and hadn't heard any incidents, so I wasn't concerned enough to stop running alone.  I asked about carrying pepper spray, which I haven't even thought to carry since college, and he agreed that it wasn't a bad idea if I am alone, just watch to not spray myself. 

Here is my list of things to aid with runner safety, especially if you are alone.
1.  Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back, and vary your route/time if possible.
2.  Bring your phone, ID, and insurance card.  Also, have someone in mind you can call if you do run into a problem, be it weather, injury, or sickness.  Sometimes you feel great at the start of a run, but feel really bad when you are running or get a muscle pull.  And, there are always those storms that weren't on the radar, but pop up out of no where.
3.  Be visible.  Wear bright colors or reflective fabrics if you will be running at dusk/dark, or in  high traffic areas where being hit by a car is a possibility.  Run facing opposing traffic.
4.  Try to find a balance of being on visible roads, but not so much traffic that you are constantly at risk for being hit by a car.  This is a hard one.  I will sometimes run on the sidewalk of highly trafficked roads so that I am not "alone", but not in traffic either.  I also try to run by businesses and have places on my route that I can seek shelter or assistance. 
5.  Make eye contact with those around you, and be aware of your surroundings.
6.  Carry extra food and water, if you are planning a really long run or will be in a remote area.
7.  Take self defense class and carry personal protection items such as pepper spray, whistle, or other distress signal.

Last week, I had my first long run since having my discussion with the resident of Old La Grange road telling me to watch out for scary looking vans and the sheriff.  Seriously, I started running in a bad part of Columbus, OH, while in college, and have been running by myself for the past 10 years in Detroit suburbs, Toronto, outside of Cleveland, and now here.  Granted, running in a rural area has things that startle me more than those things I am used to in urban areas, and I am not used to being out on roads and not in an enclosed park that is closed to motor vehicle traffic, with a bathroom and drinking fountain every 2-4 miles.  I've gotten used to carrying water, planning bathroom stops to align with the gas stations, and even called dispatch a time or two for finding hunting debris on the side of the road that I mistook for a crime scene.  I was really not worried about myself so much.  I was really worried that my daughter had a school walk a thon at 11:30, and I had to drop my son off at school at 9:00, and I wanted to run 15 or so miles.  I had 2.5 hours to get home, run, and get to school.  The plan was to run as quickly as possible after dropping him off, and then finish my run at the school, since it was on my running route.  It was a walk a thon, so I could show up all sweaty, right?  I wasn't even going to need to go into the school, I had hoped. 

I packed up my camelback with my phone, ID, insurance card, water, 12 clif blocks (2 packages), my camera (in a Ziploc freezer bag), pepper spray, and an alert horn.  That was a ton of stuff!  It was pretty heavy.  I got my son dropped off and home, and it was cool and overcast, but I had plenty of time to run 15, if I hit my splits and didn't take too much time getting my food out of my camelback, I should be at the school in plenty time.  I was going to run back and forth on Old La Grange Road, until I got in enough miles to head home.  I do a lot of business at Tri County Ford, and with the fire station being at the opposite end, I figured I would have a place to seek shelter from the cark clouds that showed up as soon as I got to the fire station.  I thought about all the places I could seek shelter if I needed immediately, and also thought that if I got caught in a storm on my first out and back, I would just head home to get cleaned up before going to the school, but the dark clouds passed.  I thought I was good.  I finished the first out and back and was heading back on my second when the sky opened up, and I got caught in a downpour!  It actually felt great, but I was 2 miles from the school and 3 miles from home, so I was going to be at the school sopping wet!  I did not plan for that!  I did stop quickly under a tree to move my phone from its outside pocket in my camelback to an inner pocket, in the freezer bag with the camera, for added protection from the elements.  Then I just tried to hurry to the school as fast as possible.  I hoped it would stop before I got there.  My daughter's group was the first group after the lunch period to walk, and I thought that maybe they would still be able to walk outside if the rain stopped before their start time.  No such luck.  I arrived at the school in the pouring rain, right at the 15 mile mark, at 11:30.  The only bad thing was that I was drenched, and dripping water everywhere!  All the PTA members who had volunteered for longer shifts than just one grade were wearing school tees.  Maybe I could buy an extra??  Thankfully, the aunt of one of my daughter's friends let me borrow her tee since she had a second one underneath, and I was no longer freezing, but still very wet.  I was making little puddles on the gym floor.  I know attending a walk a thon immediately after a long run probably isn't the smartest or easiest thing to do, but I didn't feel too bad, aside from the embarrassment of being sopping wet.  I did end up mopping the floor around myself a couple of times, and escorted the school mascot around the gym, since seeing out of those costumes is tricky.    It was a blast, and I'm glad everything worked out that I could attend.  Yes, it is my child who chose to wear her Ironman shirt to the walkathon!!

 Keira and I
I hope you have a great week!  Any other tips for staying safe on the run would be appreciated too!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Oldham County Grand Slam Race #4, Apple Patch 5K race and series recap

This morning was the final 5K in the Oldham County Grand Slam 5K. Going into this race, I was pretty well cemented in second place for the series.  Roberta had finished ahead of me in every race, despite not being the OA winner in all of them.  A woman named Shannon won the second race, the OC YMCA race.  Shannon did not run here today, because she was busy winning the Pure Tap 5K to kick off the Fall Runathon.

When I went to bed last night, it was pouring.  I actually had lined up my friend Ginger to watch my kids so that Ryan could do a group ride this morning, but with the amount of rain we were getting, and what was forecasted, it was doubtful he would be able to ride in the am.  Figures.  Usually I am really stressing to find someone to watch the kids for these shorter 5Ks so that Ryan can do a group ride.  With his work schedule the way it is, I really hate to encroach on his Saturday rides, especially for such a short race, since this is one of the few times per week he can get together with friends to ride.  Before going to bed, there were not any group ride emails (on account of the weather), but we figured we would decide in the morning if the kids would go to a friends' house or stay home.

"I woke up to the sound of pouring rain"  Haha.  It wasn't pouring, but it was raining when I woke up at 6:30.  Keira was already up, dressed, and watching TV, so I debated taking her to Ginger's, but I knew it wasn't really necessary, so I texted her and let her know that the kids would be at home, but if it did dry out while I was gone, Ryan may contact her, although with the group rides off, waiting an hour or so to start didn't make a big difference in the grand scheme of things.  With such a busy weekend last weekend, we were all ready for some relaxation. 

It did stop raining, and I arrived to the race scene and there was no one there.  Then I realized I was at the finish and needed to be further down by one drive.  It seems like all the grand slam races have a short walk from the parking to the finish, not a big deal at all.  I moved down one drive, and parked my mazda in a field.  I was really glad I made the last minute decision to wear my old shoes today for two reasons, 1 they are lighter, 2, I didn't want to get my new Mizuno's all dirty, 3 I had worn them for all the other races in the series.  My feet were getting wet from the grass and a bit muddy.  Good call on the old shoes.  I got my packet and peeled off my jacket and pants before walking down to the start.  It was actually cool for a race.  The first 2 races had been really hot, the 3rd was hot and muggy, and this one was cool and humid.  I kept reminding myself that 60 degrees was not cold for running, and that 40 degrees was short weather when it came to a marathon, so I would be fine.  It was just a tad chilly waiting to start, but I met up with Bishop Saxey and the Wayland family.  I was happy I chose to go with my short sleeve shirt and black shorts.  I think I wore a slightly different outfit each race, for a variety of reasons.  Today was just because I knew I would be dirty when I finished up.

I felt a little like a slacker when I started the race.  I knew I couldn't keep my pace with Roberta, because last race I tried to stay with her and ended up feeling miserable as a result.  I wasn't as familiar with the course, but Bishop had told me about it, and it didn't seem to bad from the description, but I knew I really just wanted to run my own race.  It was rolling enough that I didn't think a PR was in reach, but I just wanted to run fast as I could, especially considering I did my long run already this week on Thursday (15 miles).  I was feeling it for sure at the start, but as I got going, I felt better.  I did slow a bit on the middle, and picked it up a little more in the final mile.  This is sort of typical for me in a 5K, really fast mile 1, slow mile 2, and then middle mile 3.  Maybe it was because it was finally typical (or what I know) running weather for me.  I sort of missed the finish, because I thought we had to turn into the drive, so I'm not really sure what my time should be, but I think it was about 22:34.  I was in a solid second place female, so it didn't really make a huge difference in anything.  The race isn't chip timed either, and I was behind Roberta every race, so it wasn't like anything was going to change from my mistake.  A lot of people actually did this too.  It was sort of funny.  They had cones around the clock that made it look like a turn, but also additional cones extending past it. 

Bishop did a great job.  He was 5th overall, and Courtney wasn't that far behind me.  She ran with Grace, who is the younger of the two daughters that ran.  Emma was ahead of both of them, and did a fantastic job.

The awards were funny for this race.  They announced the overall series winner first, and Roberta took that easily.  Then, they announced the overall winner for today's race, and they had ME.  Wait?  Why? Roberta was confused why she didn't get the OA win from today's race too.  That seemed to make sense to me, because if Shannon  had been there today, she would have taken the OA win for the 5K, and Roberta still taken OA series winner.  Right?  The awards were cute little shiny apple medals, and I was worried that I wouldn't get a cute apple medal, which is actually easier for me to display than a winner's plaque, but I thought Courtney would get the AG win then, since we are both in the same AG.  However, it got more strange.  They called me as the AG winner, so I took both the AG and the OA winners for this race.  It didn't seem right.  Roberta got her AG win too, and Courtney got second.  So basically I have an extra plaque.  Here we are with our awards.  Emma and Grace went 1-2 in the 15 and under category, so we all got the cute apples. 
I don't think Roberta will do the series next year.  I asked to see her prize, which was a super cool Louisville Slugger bat that was personalized with "OC Grand Slam winner".  She said I could win it next year.  She lives a bit away, and said it was an awful lot of work for a bat.  However, those bats are not cheap!  They start around $60 or so, and the race entry for the series if you did it up front was $70.  That seems pretty good to me too.  I signed up one at a time, but paid early registration for each of them, so my series cost me $80 ($20/race).  Late registration was $25/race.  I got 5 tee shirts as part of the series too. (the shape on the series shirt is the outline of Oldham County)

Also, here are all the awards I earned from the series, all for placing.  None of the races gave finisher's medals.  I would have to say that I got my money's worth out of the series.  It was fun and I had friends at each race too.  It's been a long time since I have been excited about paying money for a 5K, but when using them as my speedwork, they fit nicely into my plan.  I'm sure I could have done a little better at today's race had I not had a hard really long run on Thursday, but looking at the big picture, that was more important, and I wasn't going to miraculously take 6 minutes off my 5K time for the series win.
Will I do this series again next year and win?  I have no idea.  It is so hard to set a goal to win a race, because you never know who will show up.  I will probably attempt it again, because none of the races were on Sunday, and they all fit pretty well into our schedule.  I hope it does work out for me to do it next year because it is fun.  These races are on tough courses, and are just about running without a lot of the bells and whistles that make races so costly these days.  Plus I am supporting charities close to my home.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Week(end) of Craziness in MI, KY, and IN- Boston Marathon Registration, STRESS, FUN, and Swirlgear!

I can't believe it has been just over a week since my last update, yet so much has happened.  I probably should break this into multiple posts, but I'm going to try to be concise.

The registration opened for the 2014 Boston Marathon last Monday.  They had announced that additional spots would be available, but I wasn't prepared for how fast the field would fill.  By Friday, some people were projecting that it would be full by sometime on Saturday.  To say that I was flipping out would be an understatement.  I spent way too much time online and stressing about it.  I kept trying to tell myself that I couldn't control it, so stop stressing.  This is much easier in theory than in practice.  Ryan and I headed out of town Friday afternoon for a big weekend in MI.  Weekends in Michigan tend to be busy, but fun, so I was hopeful that I would just be having a good time and not think about it until I knew more info. 

Saturday was spent moving.  Constantly.  I woke up at 6:30am to get in my Tuesday Track workout (I try to do 1 speed work session per week, be it a formal track workout or short race) in BRAND NEW shoes. I ordered these shoes and had them shipped to Ryan's parents house as a sales tax evasion technique.  I love them.  I don't know why I took so much time off of Mizunos.  They felt amazing!

I did 1200, 800, 400, 1200, 800, 400.  It was hard.  I am not used to his parents' treadmill, but I knew I could squeeze this in, and doing it on Saturday was more in line with my race last weekend and coming up this week.  Ryan forgot what I said about running on the treadmill in the morning, and was so perplexed at the horrible pounding noise he heard through the ventilation system.  Haha!  Then, it was donut time.  We went to Parmenter's Northville Cider Mill for cider and donuts with the kids.

This was shaping up to be a perfect fall day.  We couldn't stay long because my sister in law had VOLUNTEERED to watch Keira and Soren for Ryan and I so that we could go to the UM vs Akron game. Um, yes please!  I am an OSU and UM alum, and it has been forever since I have been to either team's games, so I jumped at the chance for some fall college football!  Yay!  (OSU friends, don't hate on me.  When you want to watch my kids for FREE so I can go to an OSU game and sell me your tickets, let me know.  I'll be all over that!)

The game as so stressful!  We totally thought they were going to lose!!!  So not what I needed when I was stressed about Boston already!  Ack!  Thankfully, UM made some serious stops at the end to not lose.  Wow.  Next, up, we did some quick errands, like stopping at REI where I scored a pair of Pearl Izumi mountain bike shoes for $22.83!!!  I had to buy them. 

Now, we were at the real reason we came up.  My friend Jessica was getting married!  She was one of my first training partners!  She was a coworker of mine at Ford, when we were both training for our first marathons!  She did Detroit the week after I did Columbus, and she introduced me to my Tuesday Track group, and we did the Detroit half in 2005, Detroit full in 2007, as well as several other races together.  Tuesday track became difficult to do together due to life happening to both of us, but I continued to try to get it in somehow.  It is how you really get faster.  How fitting that I started the day with a workout provided to me by the group she introduced me to!  It was a beautiful ceremony, and we had a blast at the reception.  She went to college with Kristel, and is who introduced us.  It was great to celebrate with her!  So funny, I think after all these years, these are the first photos we have of us NOT in running gear!

What a day!  Oh, and before I went to bed, I noticed that Boston Marathon had a status update that registration would open on Monday.  Yay!  There was still hope!  I still felt like it was unlikely that my time would get accepted, but at least the dream was still alive!

Sunday, we went to church with my brother and sister in law's family, and then went to Three Cedars.  My favorite fall place.  It is just awesome.  The whole experience: cider, donuts, and farm.  The kids love the wooden trains from here and Parmenter's.

Then, we drove back to MI for the night.  I went to work on Monday armed with my computer.  At 9:57 I clocked out, booted up the laptop, and with shaking body, I submitted my time for the Boston Marathon, and clocked back in.  I had done all I could.  It is what it is, and now I must wait.  I won't know anything until next week at the earliest.  I have learned that 7500 people have submitted times for 5000 spots.  Assuming the times are uniformly distributed across the range (which I have no idea if they are or not), a time that is 1:40 or better would get you in.  This also assumes that everyone has signed up on the first day.  There are still more days left for people to get their entries in.  My time was 1:44 better.  It is going to be incredibly close if I get in.  I'm trying to not think about it. (I cut out my reference ID)

Thankfully, Ryan and I had a DATE!  Wow, we are such fun people right now!  My parents drove in to watch the kids overnight so we could go to Indianapolis for the Imagine Dragons concert.  It was AMAZING!  We had so much fun.  We also walked around Indy before the concert, and saw lots of sights that I saw while running the 2011 Monumental (half) Marathon.  It was fun to take more time, and the concert was one of the best I have been to.  I listen to the Imagine Dragons while I run, and they have so many powerful songs.  I have never felt so emotional during a concert.  These were the songs that I listened to on those hard indoor treadmill runs that got me where I am.  I used them to get through the track workouts to get my BQ.  The music felt so huge, and they just rocked out.  I would love to see them again.

We got back into town this afternoon, and Ryan got in his ride, and then I did my run in my brand new Swirlgear top!  I am a new ambassador for the brand, Swirlgear.  It is a line of uniquely dyed women's running apparel.  The tops are very beautiful.  I wore the yellow top, and was initially a bit nervous about wearing such a soft top under my camelback, for fear it would pill or snag, and thankfully, it did not!  I loved the longer length.  I have a long torso, so sometimes running shirts are too short, and they ride up when I have my spibelt or camelback around my waist.  This top was plenty long enough to stay down and not bunch up or get caught in my camelback straps.  They are made of a soft material that is a little thicker than a mesh, but there are little holes in the fabric.  I feel like online, some of the tops look a bit sheer, but I didn't feel like mine were at all.  I'm very fair skinned, and the sports bra I wore underneath is not super bright white (anymore), so I felt like it didn't stand out.  The yellow top seemed to fit a bit looser than the pink long sleeve.  I think the long sleeve will layer nicely under fleeces since it is more snug.  I also was super happy how well they coordinated with things I already owned.  I can't put together a decent outfit to wear during the day, but I can put together a fun running outfit! 

Here is a close up of the fabric:

If you are interesting in placing an order or becoming a Swirlgear Ambassador, check out their website at You can use code "swirlon" for free shipping.

Also, this weekend is the start of the Fall Runathlon with the Pure Tap 5K on Sept 21st!  Go to for more info!!!  You can also check out the LSC half Marathon facebook page or Ken Comb's Running store for information on local track workouts you can do on an actual track on Tuesdays.  When I am not getting my workouts emailed to me from my crew that Jessica introduced me to way back in 2004, I will also get them from the Run Less Run Faster book or Hal Higdon's Marathon.

*FCC regulations require me to state that I am being compensated by both Swirlgear and the LSC Sports Commision for promoting their products/races.  However, the opinions expressed are my own.
*Ken Combs has NOT compensated me.  I just like that store, and they are a sponsor of the Louisville Landsharks, my tri club here, and they have a track workout on Tuesdays.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Apex Oldham County Mini Triathlon Race Recap

This was great race!  It is actually the only local tri I did this year.  Come to think of it, I have actually only done two different local tris since moving here- this mini (2x) and Ironman.  That's kind of funny that my longest and shortest tris have been here, and they are I think my smallest and largest.  This is a 400m swim, 10 mile bike, and 3K run, with only around 110 people.  It sounds like just a fun time, right?  Well, it got really interesting for me this year when with a couple weeks of registration left (after I was already signed up), they announced that there would be prize money for first male and female overall.  Like a lot of prize money.  $500 each winner!!!!  Wow!  The last time I did this race in 2011, I was second, I think, and I knew I would have to be under an hour to be in contention.  Its a pool swim, which means its a time trial start, and that means its really hard to tell where you stand, especially since I am not a strong swimmer.  Also, someone could start 10 minutes ahead of me or after me, and finish faster, and I not see them at all on the course, so you really don't know at all how you do until the very end.  I just knew I would need to go as fast as I could and see how everything shook out, and make sure I was under an hour.  I made sure to get there very early to get an end spot on a rack for fastest transitions.  The spots were first come first served.

The swim. The air was cool enough that the pool water felt pretty comfortable.  It was around 60 degrees at the start.  I opted to not use my garmin at all just to save precious seconds in transition.  Everything would count here.  I was the 33rd person into the water, and it was 8 laps that would serpentine through the pool. Everyone is supposed to check a swim time range on the entry blank.  I had hoped to swim under 9, but I don't think I did it.  There was one point where I got passed in the water in sort of a 4 person collision at one of the walls where I lost a bit of time, but once that was resolved, I had pretty clear water the rest of the swim.  Also, I don't think I did a good job of pushing off the walls at the ends because I was too rushed to get under the lane lines.  Those are the things you don't think you need to practice, right????  Thankfully, I passed the lady who passed me in the swim collision in the run to transition.  I always find it funny the number of people I pass running from the swim.  Perhaps I am a slow enough swimmer that I finish swimming with the people that aren't in it to be competitive or something?  Muncie was a wave start, so there should have been people constantly finishing that were fast, so I just don't get it.  Maybe it is because I am a runner and take every chance I can to run.  I looked at my watch at some point, not sure if it was right out of the water or how far along I was on my run to transition, but it said 9:47.  I just am a slow swimmer!!!

I tried to be a fast as possible in T1.  I had picked a decent spot and I think I passed someone else there too.  I did have a little trouble getting clicked into my left pedal on the bike, but I started in a decent gear so that I was at least moving during it. 

The bike is HARD!  Its only 10 miles, but it's very hilly.  It is an out and back that is U shaped.  I didn't see another person in either direction until I think I was just about to make the second turn, when I finally saw the leaders coming back.  I saw a lady or two ahead of me coming back, and I passed another one before the turn around.  After the turn around, I just tried to go as hard as possible, and caught another few people.  I wanted to be back in transition with at least 15 minutes left for the run, and just kept my eye on my watch and the mile markers since I had no computer.  I think I was faster than 17.5mph, just because I was somewhat less than 35 minutes for the 10 miles.

Again, I tried to be fast in T2, and made sure I was running as much as I could through transition.  Since it is a pretty low key event, I nearly ran over a kid while I was trying to rack my bike who I honestly have no idea if he was a participant or not.  It seemed like everyone should have been out on the bike or run by then, and not coming back from the swim anymore.  Thankfully there wasn't a collision.

The left for the run with around 15 minutes to go before the hour mark.  If this was on the road, it would have been cake, but it was on a lumpy hilly cinder trail.  We had been warned in the pre-race announcements that it was freshly spread and hadn't yet been packed in, so we would need to watch for holes.  I tried to stick to the edges where I could see the ground, but there were some decent hills in this loop.  I saw a few familiar faces out on the run, but it is a big loop so still, just pretty much was with the same couple of guys.  As I made the turn for the finish, I could see that I had less than a minute to get there!!  I finished with an unofficial time of 59:53!

Ryan had brought the kids to the end.  Since it was a TT, the results wouldn't be done until everyone had finished, and this race has some great door prizes worth sticking around for, and Ryan needed to do his ride while I hung out.  Its funny because a lot of the time, Oldham County doesn't get along well with triathletes, unless it is there event I guess.  It is more some of the residents than the county officials themselves and all the bike traffic and road closures from Ironman.  Ironman was a sponsor for this race, and had given $2500 in prize money, with $1000 of it being in cash doorprizes, and you had to be present to win.  I didn't win any of the cash, since I ended up being 3rd overall (I think).  I can't find the official results posted anywhere, so I am just going from memory, but two ladies in the 40-44 (I think, maybe 45-59??) finished ahead of me.  Wow, that was a fast AG!!!  Both ladies ahead of me were in the same AG for certain, though. 

 There were a lot of cool door prizes, and some that were not very useful to me.  They awarded some of them in groups of threes, where the first of 3 people selected got to pick between 3 prizes and it went down with each name.  I was really worried I would win a pool membership to the aquatic center or the free one month YMCA membership, since both of those I didn't really need as a Y employee.  I did win 4 free passes to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.  We went out there last Thanksgiving, and had a good time, but felt like we could have spent more time.  Now we can go back!  I had just said, that would be cool to win, when they called my number!  They also had pizza brought in, and it was a really good time.  It was awesome to have a PR and great race, and not really feel like my crash held me back at all.  I went out and did what I wanted.

Now this was not the end of our day of sporting events.  This was just the end of the madness we knew.  Keira joined her school's cross country team as a second grader.  She had a meet about 40 minutes away and we had to dash off there.  We were asked to be there an hour before the first group of runners from her school were slated to start.  However, that meant she needed to be there 1.5 hours before her race.  I told her coach we would likely be late due to my race, because she said as long as she knows people will be late, it is ok, but said she really wants everyone to be there when she said to be there.  I was really glad we had an excuse to be there late.  It was so hot, and not shaded.  It was also a HUGE meet.  It wasn't like anything I have ever seen before.  I think there were 18 teams?  Craziness.  It was 90+ degrees, and in the middle of a huge field.  The course snaked around with lots of hills, and was the most miserable thing you could think of for a kid to do. Keira wasn't super pleased with the whole situation, but did a good job.  Some of the parents were horrible, though, yelling, not cheering for their kids.  It was sickening.  Way worse than soccer.  I yell at Soren at soccer, but that is because he is not paying attention, and if you don't say something to him, he would stare at the ground, be digging a hole in the dirt, or pretending to be a superhero (usually), pretty much just being off task.  It was crazy hot and parents were screaming at their crying kids.  I nearly burst into tears watching these last place kids with the golf cart sweeper behind them, just looking so defeated.  If it was an adult's race, you know darn well that there would be a ton of people walking and running with them, getting them through, but we weren't allowed.  If that is ever Keira, I have no problem being kicked out of the meet for finishing it with her.  I will be really surprised if we do another season of this.  Fun runs are a lot better, and Keira really doesn't like that I can't run with her at the races.  Also, since there were over 200 kids running in her event, open girls elementary, she didn't get an award.  Its so different than what I do, getting huge @$$ medals for just crossing the finish line.  Keira refused to talk about cross country to me, but seems to have a good time for the first half of practice, until she is really hot and tired.  At the age of 7, I don't feel the need for her to learn about pushing through the pain yet.  She has been fortunate to not really see me when I am struggling with running, since she just sees mostly the finish.  She is funny, though, like me, and knows to pull it together for the camera (except pre-race, when she was super nervous and hot).

We got to see her in several spots on the course.  Ryan was really funny at the race.  He commented on how he couldn't think of a hotter less shaded place except maybe in the middle of Texas.  It was miserable to spectate.  I am imagining Keira's mile run to feel somewhat like my second half of the run in Muncie, or maybe those last couple miles of the Boston Marathon when I baked.  Those really are the things I think I can liken it to, and was glad that I did have an appreciation of what it was like, because some parents obviously did not.

I'm at least having fun with cross country.  Today, I nearly burst out laughing though, at a serious point in the coaching.  There is an issue with kids not going to the bathroom before practice, or drinking all their water too quickly and needing to leave practice.  Coach asked, "Do you think there are porto potties out on the course?"  Um, for me, yes.  For you kids, NO.  HAHAHA!!!  However, since they only run a mile, my courses do not have them more often than a mile either, though.  It would be like a whole marathon of no porto potties.  I'm not allowed to tell them about port o potty stops, and that is fine. 

I'll have some training advice and more news coming soon!  Do you have any interesting or unusual cross country stories.  Am I out of line thinking cross country at this age is nutty?  Any advice here would be appreciated.  I don't get it. I get 7 year old gymnastics meets because you retire at 16, but not running, because heck, I got my butt handed to me by a bunch of master's athletes!!!!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Refuel with Chocolate Milk FINALIST! Vote for me!

Remember how I said I made a video at the Ironman Louisville expo for Team Refuel, Got Chocolate Milk?  Also, they found my picture of the kids.  So adorable!

Can you please vote for me?  At this point, for me to advance to team member, I need to get enough vote to be in one of the top two places.  You can vote daily, and for every vote, $1 goes to the Challenged Athlete Fund, so it is win win!  Please help me out!

That's me in the Detroit hat!

Thank you!!!

Also, Betty Designs has not made selections yet, but it looks like there will be 3 levels of Betties.  People are still recommending others on the facebook page, so if you are inclined to help me out there too, while you are at it, it would be much appreciated!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September Already??? Plank Challenge

I am going to be brief here, but I can't believe it is already September.  I should have give you guys a little bit more advanced notice here on the plank challenge.  I did it back in June, while recovering from my crash and I must say that I was THRILLED with the results.  It was hard, but doable.  I got very shaky in the last minute or so each time I did it.  Since I had such great results, I haven't started it over, but I have tried to keep up with doing planks 3 or 4 days a week, for anywhere between 3 and 4 minutes at a time.  It is still a challenge, but I need to go back to doing them a bit more often and even longer now since I have built up a good plank base.  Some options that were given to me for starting over and making it harder are using a ball, bosu ball, or weights on my back.  I haven't tried any of those methods consistently with the plank challenge, but I think I will do the plank challenge again WITH my 3-4 minute planks several times a week.  Like do my 4 minute plank, take a rest, and then do the plank that goes with the day.  This challenge is set up for June, but it will work with any month as long as you just follow the date, and not the day of the week.  It is a super simple and quick way to add some strength training to your current regimen.  Really, who can't just take 1-5 minutes on any given day before bed or after work do get it done?  You still have to do the first day even though it is crossed out.  This was just when I saved it off the Team Aquaphor page so that I could have it on my computer and not constantly checking fb to find my workout.