Monday, April 30, 2012

Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon Race Recap: Unicorn and Pegasus Medals in the same month!

I am crazy, but I think a lot of my readers are too.  It was less than one week after the Boston Marathon, and I hadn't even run at all yet, and I was already trying to find a bib that would go unused for the Derby Min Marathon.  This race is special.  It was my first race last year in my new hometown.  It was my killer PR that has proven to be untouchable.  It is the big race that practically everyone does.  They had even increased the field size dramatically from last year, which sold out VERY early.  I had thought I stood a chance to register legitly after Boston, but no such luck.  I was able to easily find a bib the same day I started looking, and was in recover/taper mode at the same time.  I had 3 toenails fall off, and a 4th turn black.    My feet were trashed going into it, but my legs had stopped aching.  My first run post Boston was a painfully slow 8 miler for my birthday that was a week out from race day.  It hurt.  Ugh, what had I gotten myself into? 

However, race day came, and I was feeling pretty good!  I rode in with neighbors, John and Greg, and Jessica and her friend Natalie followed us down.  I was glad to not need to drive.  John and his wife Lisa (who just had a baby and wasn't running for the first time in a LONG time) have their race day routine down, so it was nice to not worry about that.  We parked outside the course about a mile, for free, and then stopped at a hotel to use the restrooms, and then we were ready to get lined up for the start.

Don't I look fast? 

I put that picture on f/b.  I love how the police officers look very unamused.  One of my friends thought one of them looked like he was going to get me with a tazer.  I just hate it when I get my race photos back and I look like I am not even moving.  This is my fake action shot.  Too bad I am running sideways across the course!

I got lined up without any problem I couldn't fix on my own.  Since I had borrowed a bib, I was supposed to be in corral "I".  Wow, that was back there!  I am sorry if that is your corral, and I don't mean any offense, but I needed to be in corral B.  Thankfully, I learned how to squeeze through the lattice of the corral barricades in Boston after I missed my wave start.  After the woman rejected my plan to start with John (who is smoking fast, BTW), I just walked back a ways and then went through the side, then worked my way over to the middle where I couldn't get kicked out.  I had thought about turning the "I" into a "B" with a sharpie, but I was worried that I would end up getting kicked out of the race entirely, and this worked.  I felt pretty good at the start, but it was a bit windy when we made a turn.  I was wondering, hmm, could I PR?  Then I realized how crazy that was.  NO, I was not going to PR, and if I wasn't careful, I was going to completely bomb and be miserable.  I backed off a bit, but the damage of starting too fast/overtrained was already done.  I got to mile 8 and into Churchill Downs feeling pretty good, but the last 5 miles were sheer will to stay on pace and keep it as close to 8 flat.  Miles 10, 11, and 12 were all a little over, but mile 13 dropped back down.  I ended up with a 1:42:03.  It was a 7:42avg according to my garmin.  It was very average.  I seem to be really stuck in the 1:42s.  In 2010 and 2011, I did 6 half marathons.  Of those, 3 were in the 1:42s.  One was in 1:41, one in 1:45, and then the mystical 1:38:39 that still eludes me. 

I am glad I did it, though.  I felt pretty good stomach wise the whole race, so it is great to know that I have gotten my nutrition down for the most part.  I mean, I am not feeling sick at all, so that is great.  I might be able to tweak it even more to feel better when I race.  I only used 1 roctane, and perhaps I need to use all of them for a race like this.  I am not sure.  I also realized it was too soon to race again.  I am so tired.  It is sort of unreal how tired I am.   I think hydration was also an issue.  I felt a bit thirsty before the race.  I don't think I drank enough on Friday.  Also, last year, they gave out whole tiny water bottles on the course.  This year, then just gave out puny plastic cups.  There were a couple of stations where it was really hard to tell which had water and which had gatorade, and I almost missed the water.  I should have had more to drink before the race, because I was so thirsty all afternoon, yesterday, and even today!   It has been a bit frustrating that since we officially moved, with the exception of the sprint tri that I did that was a weird (and new) distance, I have not had an exceptional race.  I really hope I am not at the point where I am not going to get any faster.  I felt like was still improving for a while, so I don't know what it doing on.  On of my team CLIF teammates wondered if it is allergies affecting me.  This is the second worst place in the country for allergies.  Also, I don't sleep as much as I did before because of Keira's school schedule.  I am counting the days until she is done for the summer.  Hopefully I can get into my tr training and have a good summer and fall.  Maybe I am just at the age where I really need to work a lot harder, or maybe I need to be working out with faster people more often.  I don't know.  I know every day can't be my day for many reasons, but it is starting to mess with my head a bit.  It will be interesting to start the RLRF plans to see how those go.  Maybe I am just in a rut and need some rest and to shake things up.

Keira was excited that I raced.  She is completely in love with my "unicorn medal" from Boston.  She was very excited that my latest medal had a pegasus on it for the Derby.  Now if only they made a "pegasus unicorn" medal, I think she would really be in heaven.

Soren, on the other hand, has his sights set on a medal from the US Air Force Marathon/Half.  We visited the booth at the Derby expo and he nearly stole one of the medals off the table.  I had to pry it out of his hands.  I can now say that I am officially entered into this race for the half.  Maybe this will be my "unicorn" and I can finally PR at the half marathon.  I don't know.  It is September 15th, so it is a ways off.  Also, I am considering going back to Indy to do the full the day before the NYC marathon since I didn't get it.  Doing Detroit half 2 weeks prior fits perfectly with the Run Less Run Faster plan.  The Air Force race sort of throws a wrench into it, especially if I want that to be an "A" race, but I have time to work that out.  I might be able to just start the plan a few weeks early and then add some cushion weeks in there for a mini taper/recovery period, or just swap the all out race for a longer workout.  I'm not sure yet.  The Air Force race is filling up quickly, and I had to just enter now and get the details worked out later.  I am excited because Kim from Just Trying is For Little Girls will be coming out for it.  I had it on my radar from a flyer that I received at Indy last year, and then Soren's scene really tipped me over the edge.  The museum is free to the public, and it is perfect timing for the little airplane obsessed dude's birthday.  Hopefully we can get the logistics worked out so that the kids don't need to wake up at the crack of dawn or I can finish fast enough that they just sleep in and I get them after the race do do the museum.  There is time to work this out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

And just as quickly as I did it, I am OUT

I did not win the lottery for NYC.  It is really funny how the emotions went down on this.  I hadn't thought about it much since last Nov when I cried and cried about it.  Then I got to Boston, and it was insane hot, and I mentioned it to my friend Cristie, who had already entered the lottery.  Then I didn't think about it again until the last day.  I was super excited to enter, and even had my lodging lined up! I couldn't sleep all night after I hit submit.  I knew the chances were slim.  Then, I wasn't sure if I even wanted to spend the money IF I got in.  We had just gotten two quotes for some work on the outside of the house that neither Ryan or I really felt like doing ourselves and one for new countertops and a new really awesome sink.  Ryan isn't 100% down with the sink I chose, because neither of us are fabulous plumbers, and it is going to take a lot of plumbing work to go from 2 bowls to 1 bowl.  It seemed like an arm and a leg for the plumber to just disconnect and then reconnect the existing configuration, not move the disposal from the right to the center, and remove a drain.  We had a discussion, and Ryan suggested that we look at some two bowl sinks.  I informed him that I did not want new countertops unless I could have THAT sink.  (and to be honest, the two bowl sinks we looked before we found the SUPER SINK did not have the drains the same space as the existing configuration EITHER, so they would need some work to line everything back up too!) If we aren't getting that sink, we don't need a new one, just a new faucet, thank you very much.  I would rather have my ski trip or NYC trip.  Well, now that we don't have that NYC trip looming, I had better get my sink!

Pegasus Dual Mount Granite 33x22x10 4-Hole Large Single Bowl Kitchen Sink in Metallic Black, image via Home Depot

History-  the faucet in our house has leaked if you are not super careful with it since we moved in.  We have a stainless steel sink with two equally sized bowls.  I hate it, because for the past 14 years I have had a large single bowl sink. We hand wash all our pots and pans, and only our smallest two pans/pots fit flat in our current sink.  I am constantly sloshing water all over the floor and myself because I can't scrub the bottom of the pan properly with it rocking back and forth at an angle in the sink to fit.  I also can't soak any pans in the sink either, because they don't sit flat.   It drives me nut.  So, between the chinese water torture faucet and the small sink bowls, the kitchen can drive me crazy some days.  We want a new faucet, and don't want to replace just the faucet, but the sink too.  The type of mounting for a granite countertop is different than that for a formica countertop, and Ryan has said that if we  just get a new sink, we can never have granite while we live here because I can't have 2 sinks for this house.  Easy enough, we can get the granite now too.  Now we are getting it all quoted for real, and it is adding up a bit faster than it did in our heads on the showroom.  And then I go and enter the NYC lottery.  If I can't run the NYC marathon, I WANT THAT SINK!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Oh No, what have I done this time?

I mentioned to a few people that I was worried about being a little depressed after Boston.  I mean, when you have a goal for 8 YEARS and it finally comes to an end, what is next? 

Well, let me tell  you what is next.  REDEMPTION from that Personal WORST!  I know that with the heat and everything, I can't complain about my time.  In fact, I am quite happy with it.  I just wish that I could have another day to run another marathon.

So what have I done?  I went ahead and threw my name in the hat for the NYC lottery.  Chances are, I won't get in.  However, I was willing to take those chances.  I thought about it at Boston, thinking that I can't go out this way.  I was initially thinking my next marathon after Boston would be at the end of an Ironman, but truthfully, I love running!  And I don't have time right now to train for an IM.  After all, I did try to qualify seriously 2 times last fall, and then once more just for fun, and didn't get there.  This is my wild card.  We'll see what happens.  Ryan will never work nights again and leave me unattended with the compter!  Ha ha!  I couldn't get in touch with him at first (although he was full aware of my desire to do it and my qualification attempts), so I called his brother, who lives in NYC.  He said do it.  There, it is his fault! 

However, I do not want to get divorced over the NYC marathon, so I did get in touch with Ryan, and just before I hit the submit button, I asked if he would be mad if I told him I did, and he just said, "whatever".  Then I hit submit.  Not the most honest way to ask, but I have asked him about stuff this way before, and then made the right decision.  We did talk about it in Feb, with his brother.  This very well may be the last marathon that they live a couple blocks from the course.  This will be Cristina's last NYC, and my new friend Dan from KY should also be out there.  I also convinced Erin to enter too! 

Let's see what happens on Wed!  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

2012 Boston Marathon Race Recap- The Race (or Part 2)

So, I have done all this work, and spent all this time WANTING to run the Boston Marathon.  I am checking the weather reports, and it is not looking very good.  It looks like it is going to be hot.  The first report I saw said 70s, then it dropped down to 60s, and then it went back up to the 80s and just kept climbing!  Oh no!  And then my Garmin breaks, my CPA calls b/c I sent the wrong form for our taxes, and ACK!  The stress!  I borrowed a garmin, got the taxes straightened out, but the weather remained problematic.

The BAA starts sending out all these notes warning people that if they are not really fit, have experience with training in the heat, or are not an experienced marathoner, that they can defer until next year.  WHAT?  This was scaring me, but it was OUT OF THE QUESTION!  I mentioned this to Ryan, and he was not amused.  Basically, my options were 1.  Not run the race and die by Ryan killing me over all the money we spent or 2.  Run the race and maybe die.  I opted for #2.  I mean really, I had been wanting this for SO LONG, there was NOTHING that was going to ruin it for me.  NOTHING!  I had to try.  I could do it.  I was trained.  I had asked for character building in my training, and here it is on race day.  With the heat the way it was,  there would be no PRs.  We were cautioned to slow down anywhere from 30sec to 2 minutes per mile, depending on who you talked to.  Finishing would be winning today.  It was an experience, not a race, is what I have been told many times by friends and now by the BAA.

It would be my dream day.  That was what I had wanted for so long, and I was going to take it!

I woke up at 3:30am too excited to sleep anymore.  We had gone to bed around 10pm since we were sharing the room with the kids and it took us that long to get them to go to sleep.  So I had about 5 hours of sleep, plus another 1.5 hours of laying in bed, trying to fall back asleep and at least rest.  That is really not too bad when I think of how early I have gotten up before for races just because they are that early and I haven't had my stuff in order the night before.  I got ready, and my dad rode the subway with me to Boston Common where I rode the bus to Hopkinton. 

The wait for the buses took a long time.  I really needed to go to the bathroom.  I should have stopped before leaving my dad to enter the Common, but I didn't think I would need to wait that long for a bus, or realize how long the ride would be.  I was pretty stressed and uncomfortable on the bus ride.  My stomach knotted up just because my bladder was so full.  I put my gear back on my leg, and it turned my whole right quad orange from the sunscreen!  It was mortifying!  As soon as I got off the bus, I went to the bathroom, and then straight to medical for alcohol wipes to try to get rid of the orange!  It was no use.  I finally got a sufficient amount off, but my stomach still didn't feel great.  I told myself it was just nerves, and that it would take a few minutes for the pain to subside.  I was sitting there in medical, and I was so afraid to mention my stomach for fear that I wouldn't be allowed to start.  I kept quiet and found my Team Aquaphor teammate, Cristie, and finally settled down. 

I went to the bathroom with her friend Karen, and it took forever!  By the time we got done, they had already called my wave to start assembling and putting our bags on the buses.  We ended up missing our wave, and then hit the bathrooms again, and tried to make our way to the front.  They wouldn't let us just go ahead and start on our own, but held us back to the final wave, second corral.  Had I realized the advantage that the folks that started earlier would have on us that started later due to the temps rising beforehand, I would have made a better effort to be on time, but I don't know that it mattered too much.  I was glad that I could start with an empty bladder for sure! 

And then we were off!  There was a bit of jostling for positions, since we had several corrals worth of people ahead of us, and it was hard to know how fast to run.  I wanted to just keep it to a training pace, like 8:30s or so, I thought at first.  I had a strong start, and got to the 5K checkpoint in under 26 minutes, my 10K time was 52, and my half time was 1:52!  At this point I was projected by the tracker to be done at 3:45!  Not a PR or a BQ, but totally acceptable.  The spectators were amazing.  They lined the entire course, and had hoses, ice, water, fruit, candy, super soakers, EVERYTHING.  It was great.  I kept putting ice in my sports bra, and I felt pretty good.  Hard, but good.  It was hot, but I was hanging in there.  And then it got really HOT!  The half way point was when it just seemed to really start to take its toll.  Running through Wellsley was fun and a great pick me up.  I didn't see any ladies holding KY signs, but I saw a Yooper and some MI gals.  It was fun to read their signs.

Everything seemed to just SLOW.DOWN.  It was crazy.  Everyone was struggling together.  The whole mass just sort of slowed down.  At one point, I didn't even realize how slow I was going because I was still with the same crowd of people.  Normally, when I fall off pace in a race, it is like I am going backwards, against the current, but not this time.  I got passed when I walked, but then I caught back up because someone else was walking.   Mile 18 was super hard.  I think this was in the Newton Hills, and I did a lot of walking.  Someone was counting the km, and I was unable to do the math to have any idea of how many km we even had left.  It was bad.  I refused to look any medical people in the eye, and any time I got near their tents, tried to drift inward to the center.  It was hard, but no one was going to ruin my day for me.  Keep making forward progress!  I took this picture of a sign as I ran.

At mile 20, I almost forgot to take a GU.  I took it, and then checked my watch.  It was just under 3 hours.  I could break 4 hours!  Well, not really when I looked at my current pace.  I had slowed so much!  I was going to need to speed up, but how?  I was walk/running at this point, but made a point to run up heartbreak hill.  At that point, everything sucked so bad that running up was so satisfying metally.  I didn't want to let it "get me".  It was actually easier to run uphill at this point than downhill because my quads were on fire.  They were killing me!  It continued to suck from 18-24.  I remembed one guy telling me/everyone "you want to be over there, it is better over there" in an attempt to get people to run faster.  I was also in front of a girl guys were calling "the six pack ab lady", and they yelled a lot at her.  I wished I would have written my name on either my bib or my arm so people would know my name.  I didn't have any distinguishing marks on me, really, but that is OK.  I was super excited when I saw someone with the scripture reference "run and not be weary, walk and not faint".  Equally as pleasing (and on the opposite end of the taste spectrum) was "Honey Badger don't care that it is HOT".  At mile 24, things got better.  It always gets better when there are only 2 miles left!  I did some math, and had it not been a BILLION degrees out, I should have been able to get under 4 hours, but considering that it was a struggle to run 10 min/miles at this point, I was pleased with my 4:05:18.  I LIVED.  I did not die, get pulled off, and most importantly, I saw my goal to the end!  Here are some pics I took leading up to the finish line!

I had a guy from medical take this picture (we had gone to the finish are the day before, and I refused to be photographed by it): 

I felt like I had to walk about a mile to get my medal.  I am not sure how far it was, but it felt like FOREVER!  I got all teary when the woman hung it on my neck.  I took a mylar blanket, but did not want to be wrapped.  It was too freaking hot!  I had a volunteer take this picture.  She wasn't sure if she was allowed, since the race photo people were all over the place, but her friend didn't think there was anything wrong.  They were amazed I had my camera with me at that point.  Yup, it was with me the whole race!
I finally got all my stuff and met up with my family.  I just sat for a while on the ground, and then laid down for a while, but was worried about being stepped on.  I was just so happy to have finished!  Living out the dream felt so good!
I have a huge list of people to thank:
Ryan, My parents, Jessica, Craig, Dave, Cristina, Valerie, Cristie, Anna, Meredith, Dale, Mary, Peter, and everyone who has believed in me, ran with me, watched my kids so I can run, and congratulated me on my accomplishment. 

Thank you so much to all the spectators!  Without you, I would not have made it.  You had ice when I needed it, water in between water stations, hoses, squirt guns, music, and funny signs.  Thanks so much for your support!  I can't imagine how hard it would have been without those ice cubes in the sports bra and those extra hose downs.  I was sopping wet almost the entire race, and I needed to be to stay cool!  It is such an amazing feeling to have your dream come true.  I wasn't a PR, but it was an experience.  It is a race that will always be remembered!  THANK YOU!

2012 Boston Marathon Race Recap- the History (or Part 1)

Wow, I can't believe I just typed the title that I did!  This has been such a long time coming!  It started back in 2003, when I though, hmm, maybe I should try to run a marathon.  I went and bought Hal Higdon's Marathon, the Ultimate Training Guide, in the fall.  It was too late to start training for a fall marathon at this point, but I was advised that if I followed the plan, I could do pretty well with it if I prepared properly.  During the summer of 2004, I started training for the Columbus Marathon with my dad and with Ryan's blessing.  My first long run was 7 miles, and I ran it with my dad while we were on vacation in Ocean Isle Beach.  My dad's friend John was with us too, and he had just run Boston.  The dream was born.

I didn't qualify in 2004 when I ran my first marathon in Columbus.  I wanted to, but I knew it wasn't realistic.  I wanted to first finish, second, break 4 hours, and third, get my BQ.  I finished in 4:00:37.  Not quite under 4, but considering I had to take a bathroom break in White Castle (didn't want to wait for a porto potty and we were in very familiar turf nearing OSU's campus) at mile 14 or so, I was pleased. My dad finished not too far behind. It was his first marathon in many MANY years, and so it was special that we did it sort of together.  I also knew that getting a BQ was a possibility.

 As it turned out, my coworker and now friend Jessica, was also training for her first marathon, Detroit, which was the next week.  She finished very close to me (just a tad faster, I think), and was itching to BQ next time around too.  We had missed out on the opportunity to train together this time around, but since this was in the pre kids days, I tried to do as many workouts with her as I could.  She met a guy named Craig, who liked her more than she liked him, so she started bringing me along to her track workouts with him and his group.   I learned to love speedwork!  I went to the track workouts as much as I could!  In 2005, I wanted to keep my mileage up, but I also wanted to have a baby, so I didn't want to commit to a full training plan.  I just tried to run as much as I could, as well as keep up the track workouts.  After a summer of not being pregnant and some frustration, I opted to sign up for the Detroit half marathon, with Jessica.  It was about 2 months out, but I knew I was ready.  Then I was overjoyed to learn that I was pregnant with Keira!  I went ahead and still ran, and since it was my first half marathon, it was a PR! 

2006 was a recovery year.  I was pregnant for half of it, and then spent the rest of the fall just getting back into shape.  I went to the track workouts when I could, but it was hard with a new baby. 

2007, I decided to sign up for Detroit in the fall, and try again to qualify.  I did all the training runs as best as I could with an infant, doing most of my midweek runs with the stroller, but I had to skip a few because of Ryan's work schedule and it being too hot to have a little baby out in the sun for that long to run.  We were in Cleveland at the time, and due to Keira's nursing schedule, I ran a lot in the evenings.  I remembered calling Jessica on a 12 miler that I started at 8pm, and talked with her on the phone to pass the time.  Jessica was also planning on running Detroit and getting her BQ.  Race day came, and it was a warm day, and I wasn't fully prepared.  I held on as long as I could, but by mile 15 or so, I was off my pace, and a mess.  Dave, who ran the track workouts and was at a GU station, got my head on straight for me.  He said to just have fun, and that is what I did.  It was hard and I walked a lot those last 3 miles, but I finished.  Jessica had a similar rough time, and neither of us got our BQ.

2008- I was pregnant with Soren for pretty much the whole year!  Well, not really, but Soren was born at the end of September, so do the math!  There was no running for me, but Jessica did try again and got her BQ at a spring race called Bayshore.  I was so happy for her!

2009- Valerie and Cristina got me into tris, and I was bit HARD by the tri bug, and just trying to get back into shape.  I had considered a fall full marathon, but felt with Soren just turning 1 in September, that I needed a bit more time, and just did the Detroit Half.  I finished the half with a PR and it was faster than BQ pace!

2010-  Coming off a strong fall/winter, I trained a bit haphazardly for the Martian Half Marathon in April.  The biggest change was that I finally weaned Soren.  I was no longer pregnant or nursing like I had been for almost the past 5 years!  I saw HUGE improvements in my times across the board in every distance.  It seemed like EVERY race was a PR.   I was ON FIRE!  My friend Dale really convinced me that I was ready to try to BQ again.  I started training for the Detroit Marathon.  In July, I sprained my ankle mountain biking.  I was able to salvage my tri season, but training for Detroit was out of the question.  I had considered finding another race later to try to BQ, but had trouble finding something that would work.  Eventually, I settled on doing a half marathon that was earlier than Detroit, but then booking a trip to go away the weekend of that race so that Ryan could race.  It was a good call.  I eeked out another PR at that half marathon, and then had a great vacation with Ryan where I could forget about not racing at Detroit.  As it turned out, Boston filled in 8 hours the very next day after Detroit, so had I selected a later race, it would not have mattered, it would have been full and I would have STILL needed to wait.  I kept tabs on the changes to the registration process that the BAA was making so that I would make sure that not only would I qualify, but that I would be able to actually register, based on beating the time by a 5 minute or more margin.  I put together a plan with Cristina to train for the Martian Full next April, and started training with her and Valerie that November.

2011- I had probably the roughest training weather I could imaging.  Training for a marathon on April 2 in MI is not easy!  I had so many character building runs where I just wanted to stop.  Cristina got me through them.  We got to the morning of Martian, and she had so much confidence in me that she was sending texts before the race that I was going to "get my BQ".  And I did.  I killed it, setting a 20 minute PR of 3:33:18!  With the changes, I just had to wait until September to roll around and hope and pray that it was fast enough.  And it was.  I got all registered.  In the meantime, I also did my first 70.3 races, Racing for Recovery Half and Ironman Muncie 70.3.  We moved, and it was an exciting year.  I had some good races and some bad races.  I attempted to qualify to NYC 3 times, and failed all three times.  Those standards have changed now, so that was why I had tried so many times!  I had Boston, though, and was thrilled to have the opportunity.  I put together my training plan and started it in the beginning of Dec.

2012- It was a bit rough starting out.  The weather was all good, but I had trouble finding routes to run.  I missed my parks.  I finally started doing some group runs and met a friend Erin, who is training for IMTX and IMLOU.  We did many runs together, and I also did some with another friend, Kim.  It worked out well that the Derby Festival of Races isn't too much after Boston, so there were lots of people training with that.  My only concern going into Boston was that I didn't have too many character building runs.  They all went so well!  I really felt confident that I was going to have a stellar PR and just kill it.  And then I got the weather report, 80s for race day.......

To be Continued

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Papa John's 10 Miler Race Recap and less than 2 weeks to go!

Last weekend I ran in the Papa John's 10 miler on a whim.  I had been thinking about it for a few weeks.  I met my neighbor's adult daughter, who is a triathlete, and she told me she had a bib available.  Then I didn't hear from her until the day before the race.  As a result, there was a scramble of phone calls made and chaos to make the last minute plans to get this in order.  Erin and I had already made tentative plans to at least run the course, since it was good Boston practice for me, and both of us had the same mileage planned.  It took a little convincing to get her to run, but in the end, it worked out that I was able to ride down with my neighbor Jen, and Erin rode with her boyfriend Dan, who would pace Jen.  Jen's husband, Chris, also went down and drove separate.  It was kind of crazy getting to the start, and I am glad I went with Jen.  She is a University of Louisville grad, and the course started near and finished in the University of Louisville's Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, and happened to be on the same day that Uof L played UK, so there was lots of excitement in the morning.

Jen's plan was to have Dan pace her to a PR.  I am not sure of what her pace ended up being, but I knew she would be faster than me.  Erin and I decided that today should be a fast training run.  Initially, she thought it should be slower, but with some last minute advice from Dan, she was in agreement to "push it a little".  I wanted to average 8min/miles.  I had actually run this course twice already, the first time as the last 9ish miles of my second 20 miler, and then the next time as the first 9 miles of my last 20 miler.  The only difference was that the race took us around the park in a clockwise manner instead of counter clockwise, so the hills felt a little different, but I still had the mental advantage of knowing where I was.  We started the race a bit fast, as I usually do, but we settled down a bit.  I took this picture of my friend Peter (Erin actually used his bib, there was all sorts of bib exchanging going on!) while running.  Yes, if I am taking pictures while running, I am taking it easy, right?  That is what I told Erin when she got stressed about how fast we were going. 

The hills weren't too bad, and it felt great on the downhills.  This picture was my favorite, and was taken around mile 8 or so.

I finished with a time of 1:20:08, which was only 8 seconds over my goal time of 8min/mile!  I think my Garmin had me at under 8, since I did a bit of zig-zagging to get water and didn't always take the shortest turns.  Erin was so happy to PR!  I didn't realize it at the time, but I really pushed her!  It was so rewarding to know that I helped her do this! 

Here we are post race.  Chris, Jen's husband, did pretty well.  It was his first race of the year, and had to dash off to coach his son's soccer game.  I also realized after getting home that my other neighbor, John, had raced and he was pleased with his time, despite a slight injury.  He is speedy, and finished in 1:05! 

In other news, I am having a tough time with Ryan's work schedule, and being 100% responsible for the kids on the weekdays.  Ryan's work has kept him there until 7pm on most days, and when it doesn't, he is trying to get in a ride.  The hardest thing is that I don't want him to not ride, I just wish he didn't have to work these hours!  I miss him terribly.  We are both so tired by the time he is home that it is hard to enjoy the time together.  My church responsibilities just increased, and it is killing me.  Twice now, I have been reduced to tears over teaching my lesson that I have a meeting tonight to try to reduce it.  I don't think they really know how much I am struggling with the kids.  I don't feel like I am naturally maternal, and with both kids not napping, I just don't get any time to do anything without the threat or actual interuptions.  It drives me nuts, and I have just been really tense.  Hopefully there will be an end in sight to Ryan's hours, and I can get some help.  Ryan has worked like this before, but Keira hasn't been in school, so I could just go where ever I needed to go to have more help.  I can't pull her out of school to go to my parent's because I am too stressed here without Ryan.  Pretty much last summer, I felt it was easier to play the single parent in MI because I had family and more friends to help out. I had Ryan's mom who loved to have them, especially because she knew we were leaving and had to get in as much time as possible, and Valerie who's husband would watch all our kids so that we could ride together.  How awesome was that? I have a few people that can watch the kids, but since they are newer friends, I feel like I need to reciprocate, and am not fully comfortable with completely falling apart in front of them like I need to.  Watching too many kids over here just makes it worse, and Ryan hates coming home to a really messy house.  Unfortunately, I am a total failure at being able to have fun with the kids and put dinner on the table while maintaining even a tidy house.  Not even clean.  There is construction paper ALL OVER the living room floor right now, but the kids aren't bothering me so I can have a little bit of peace and quiet, so I don't care.  Ryan will, though, so once he calls, we'll try to clean it up.  I am thankful for my new running friends, because at least now I feel like I can go to a race without being alone.