Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Running/existing in a random stream of consciousness

I guess I first started this blog as a way to keep track of what my little family was doing ... but after starting it, I didn't have time to update it because I was too busy living/loving life with my little family.

Then when I started running, I figured I'd use it to keep track of my training, races, etc. and I've pretty much stuck with that, even though I don't update it as often as I should.

Also, I haven't really made my blog public knowledge yet. I mean, I'm okay if people find out about it but it's not something I publicize or promote. More like a "these are my thoughts - read them at your own risk" kind of thing.



side note: I do love to write. I just rarely have time to.



And I thought the title of this particular post is very apt with how I'm coping these days ... pretty much in a random stream of consciousness. Day by day, hour by hour, whatever it takes to get to the next thing.

And that's pretty much how I run too. Without music (unless I'm on the dreadmill) and just thinking my thoughts in a random state of mind. I think about life, I think about love, I think about my family, I think about the future, I think about how much pain I'm in (physical, emotional, etc.), and I think about pretty much everything in between. I pray. I solve whatever problems I think I have. I ask for help for whatever situations I may need help with. I thank God for every blessing I undeservedly have. Basically, I think about anything and everything. I mean, the actual act of running is pretty boring and my mind moves faster than my legs do anyway.

I'm taking some time off from running. It's not that I'm burned out - but I am. I'm burned out on a lot of things right now -- running, reading, walking during my lunch hour or even with the pugs around the neighborhood ... pretty much anything that I enjoyed is not high on my priority list right now. And that sucks. I've been doing some Pure Barre classes. Signed up for a free week and then got suckered into signing up for 30 days at a 'low' rate. They might think it's low but after the 30 days are up, I'm definitely done. I even went ahead and put my name on the schedule for as many days as possible -- but I've already missed one. Will likely miss more as the weeks go on. But training for marathon #2 will start on June 19. I'm not really looking forward to it as without my running partner, I've lost all motivation. I have to prove it to myself that I can do this without his support.



I was talking with someone recently about communication and how there are so many different aspects to successful communication. It's not just talking and listening. It's about being heard and making sure you're communicating in a way that the other person will hear and understand. I spent a summer in Germany during college. My German sucked (still does) and even though many of the students I became friends with had been studying English for many years, there were always communication difficulties. For example - this was the summer that Wayne's World came out and I went to see it in the theater over there. Some of the jokes were translated literally and made no sense in German so no one laughed throughout the movie and I found out that the movie basically bombed outside the U.S. Had the translators rewrote some of the jokes so that they'd appeal to German (or foreign) audiences, the movie would have been more successful. Likewise, if I'm trying to communicate with someone or they with me, we need to be able to read each other to know if the other person is actively listening and comprehending what is being said and not said. If it appears the other person just doesn't get it, then we need to change how we are expressing ourselves to that person. Sure makes a hell of a lot of sense to me ... just wish I had realized this a few years ago. But ... well ... it's too little, too late. Amiright?


Life sucks sometimes.

Thanks for reading though. If you're a praying person, please say a prayer for me. I'm in the most difficult season of my life right now ... but I know that if I can get through this, and if I can show my kids that I can survive this, then I'll come out stronger in the end. God help me.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Indy Mini - my 7th half-marathon and a PR!

I wasn't sure about this race. Matt had agreed last year to run this one with me ... and I knew it would be a week after the Kentucky Derby Festival half that we had already registered for as well. I guess we figured that we'd still be tired/sore after the KDF race that we'd be able to run/walk this one together and just enjoy the scenery and the chance to be on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track. Well, life got in the way and Matt decided not to go. I didn't want to give up on $120 for the two registrations so I decided to press on and go anyway. No goal for the race other than to finish still standing. That's about my daily goal anyway these days ... 

Packet pickup was at the Indiana Convention Center and it was very nice ... considering this is the largest race in Indiana, there are tons of sponsors and there were more than 70 vendors with booths to tempt me. I was good though -- the only booth I knew I wanted to stop at and get something was the Indiana University Alumni Runners booth ... and no one was there! They have an annual membership that provides race discounts to a variety of races, but membership also gives a discount for IU running apparel. Alas ... no one was at the booth so I admired the candy-stripe tech shirts (homage to the striped warm-up pants of the basketball team) and the IU logo'd shirts/tech hats/etc. and kept on moving. 

Had also made plans to meet up with my oldest and dearest friend, Amy. I know I've said it before (at least on Facebook -- but I think on here too) that everyone needs an Amy in their life. She's seen me at my best and at my worst. She's talked me off ledges (figuratively) and knows just when to contact me when she hasn't heard from me in awhile. So since my traditional pre-race meal is pizza (something about needing that extra sodium before long races that helps keep my hands/fingers from swelling), we went to Jockamo's Upper Crust Pizza in Irvington. Split some breadsticks and a Pomodoro pizza with her (Grilled eggplant, tomato, fresh basil, garlic, extra sauce) ... Delicious! (no photo - so take my word for it) 

Since my mom has moved to a nursing home near me, my sister is still at the family house, cleaning up her accumulations over the years and also seeing if there's anything that belongs to me or my brother that we can take with us after a visit. The weather has been all over the place lately and not only have they had flooding, but also it's been chilly/cold ... and she didn't want to turn the furnace back on until absolutely necessary. I slept in my parents' old bedroom ... which has the entrance to the crawlspace in the closet ... which is where the sump pump is ... which was coming on every few minutes. I legit slept in my clothes - jacket, socks, a few extra blankets - and couldn't sleep anyway due to normal pre-race jitters, life being sucky lately, being cold, being in a strange bed, and then the sump pump singing its praises regularly. Possibly had 3 hours sleep total ... not sure.

Ended up leaving the house at 6 a.m. even though my wave didn't start until 7:40. I didn't know how bad parking would be so I decided to just go. Rather than park on the street and try to figure out the meters, I went to my go-to parking garage at Circle Centre mall. And from past experiences, I knew I needed to take a photo of what level I parked on and also the nearest sign post to locate my car. Post-race brain fog is a real thing.

After taking a photo of the level and location of where I parked, I thought about also taking a picture of the entrance to the parking garage and marking it on Google Maps. It may be my hometown but I'm no longer a local.

This was a big race. I was assigned to Wave 2 and Corral I. I've been in races with corrals before -- and those are a joke. When you're assigned to Corral B and people next to you are wearing bibs that clearly say they are in Corral E or F and they don't care that they are going to be slowing down everyone around them ... it's a pet peeve of mine. Start in the correct corrals, folks! They're there for a reason!

This happens to be the biggest race in the state though. And they do corrals right. The entire race start line is behind barricades and you can only enter the barricades through specific points ... and there are race volunteers there checking your bib to make sure you're allowed to be in that particular corral. I loved it!! What I didn't love is that apparently I thought Matt and I were going to be Speedy McSpeedsters when I sent in our registrations. Since they put me in 'I' and I knew that I'd be going slower than originally planned anyway, I was going to start at the end of the corral/beginning of the J corral. Well, that happened to be right where the 2:00 pace group was. There was no way they assigned us to the faster-than-2:00 corral ... but they had. Idiots. 

This was a giant mural on the side of the JW Marriott. Notice the bright orange O and N signs -- those are the corral identifiers. I think they had corrals down to the letter Z ... I know I saw an X corral. The corrals started in waves -- so about 4 or 5 corrals would start at a time. My start time was 7:40.

I didn't take any photos during the race. For one, it was raining a bit at the start. And cold (42 degrees). One of the freebies in the race packet was a tech hat (as seen in the above photo -- the white/blue one) so I made sure to wear that to keep the rain out of my eyes. It definitely helped. I also enjoyed running through parts of the city I had never been in before or the areas had been updated since I was last through there. Because of the large number of runners in the race, I was constantly being passed and also passing others the entire 13.1 miles. Being able to run by myself without knowing anyone else in the race was probably what I needed. I could focus on my thoughts, my breathing, meditate on what life is dishing out, and stop to walk whenever. The thing is ... even after the KDF half the week before, I felt fine. I really think running with intervals is my lifesaver. So I kept my interval timer set at run 5 min/walk 1 min and turned it on after about the 2nd mile. 

Because this is a large race, there were "pit stops" at every mile marker with water or Gatorade and a long line of portapotties. I waited until probably mile marker 4 or 5 till I found a line of portapotties without a line of people waiting -- dashed in there right quick, got back on the road, and didn't stop my RunKeeper timer since it was less than a minute.

There are also tons of support groups -- I think they said there were more than 50 bands, cheer groups, etc. along the way. That has to include the people who were helping hand out water but it was still pretty amazing to always see another group of cheering people or a band up ahead. There were cloggers and square-dancers ... there were school groups (from elementary to college) ... there were church groups. It was just an awesome experience all around. 

What I was really looking forward to was being on the track at around mile 6-9 -- and we ran the entire oval (2.5 miles). I kind of wish I did stop for a photo but Meb Keflezighi was at the track and I got a high-five from him. He's a little fellow -- a little taller than me (I'm 5'1") and just a toothpick. But I probably would be too if I were a professional marathon runner. It was pretty cool to see him though. And running over the finish line (made of bricks, hence the track's nickname of The Brickyard) was also neato. 

At one point while on the track, I realized that the sun had come out and I was getting warm in the rain jacket so I pulled over to the side to try to take it off. Of course I would safety-pin my bib all the way through the jacket to my shirt ... so I was wasting valuable minutes trying to undo the pins to get the jacket off, then re-pin the bib to my shirt and then figure out how to tie the rain jacket around me and be able to run without it falling down. My phone and gels were in the pocket though and I ended up having to stop a few more times until I could get everything situated.

I don't remember much about the last few miles other than the supporters were more supportive and seemed to be more running-group mentors than regular school groups. Not sure if it just seemed that way or if they were placed there because the organizers knew that people would be struggling at the end. I needed them though. And they put my name on my bib so it was incredibly helpful to have them run alongside me saying "you've got this, Elizabeth". Yep ... started getting teary-eyed each time too.

I had a good idea on what time I crossed the start line (about 8 minutes after the first people started) so I tried to do the calculations at each mile marker to see how I was doing. I'm pretty sure I messed up at some point though because when I saw the timer at the finish line, it showed I was going to have a PR ... say what?

Yep -- with all the crap going on right now and with having completed a half 7 days prior and with having only 3 hours of sleep the night before and with stopping for several minutes to fix my bib/rain jacket ... I finished in 2:26:00 for a PR
And got a nice medal too.  



Post race - unfortunately, I never saw the chocolate milk table. After a race is pretty much the only time I indulge in chocolate milk ... so I was bummed about that. I did get a chocolate chip cookie, banana, granola bar, fruit cups of pineapple and mandarin oranges, pretzels, and a bottle of water. Since no one was waiting for me at the finish line, I just meandered my way out of there and back to the car to get back to the house to clean up and head home. Since I had only had a PowerBar for breakfast, my sister and I went to Panera for lunch and I got my usual ... a Mediterranean Veggie 1/2 sandwich and bowl of the tomato soup -- can't wait until the squash soup is available again!

Not pictured, my chocolate chip cookie and a French Toast bagel.
Hey, when Panera tells me I can get a free bagel each day during the month of May, I don't want to disappoint them.


So I was thinking that this would be a one-and-done race and could just mark it off my bucket list and move on to something else. That may still be the case but I really enjoyed this race. They'll be opening up registration this week for $60 (I think) and then will close registration until later this summer and at a higher price.

Just curious -- do you have any running events that are on your bucket list? Or, if not running, then something you want to do/see/experience? (mine include hiking the Grand Canyon and also Machu Picchu)


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Kentucky Derby Festival Half-Marathon - 2017

This is a What's New With Me recap for April as well as a race recap. Linking up with Kristen and GretchRuns for this post. Honestly, if it weren't for the link-up reminders, I doubt I'd be posting anything ... so here goes ...

The race? I finished. That's really all that matters. My training was next to nothing since the Papa John's 10-miler on April 1st. My sleep was minimal, nutrition likewise, motivation was in the pits.

But I'm frugal - we've been trying to pay off our credit cards and get out of the debt cycle for so many years that when I spend money on something, I will follow through to the death. Of course, I discovered that my frugality has limited me on getting out of the house and doing things with friends and that appears to be a blackmark against me ... but I digress.

Literally. Four credit cards between us - all maxed out at one point to the tune of about $60k total. Bought a house way too big than we were ready for. And since I pay the bills, I'm the one who had to juggle what went where. Stressful? Heck, yeah. Dave Ramsey would have slapped us silly ... and we would have deserved it. Not to worry though - total debt is now down considerably and there's some wiggle room now on being able to tackle house projects for once.


Actually - no. I'll continue. When I was informed of this ... ever so kindly ... by someone, I took action to spend a little money on myself for a change. During the month of April, I might not have been training physically, but it's also good to build myself up emotionally as well. New hair-do, new shoes for Easter (no new dress, because ... frugal), signed up for a (free) week of Pure Barre classes - which was pretty much my only training for the half-marathon, meeting up with friends for dinner for the first time in a LONG time, meeting up with another friend for an artsy-crafty evening at The Glass Gypsy ... and it has felt good to reconnect with friends and with myself. Too little, too late probably/most definitely.

My tree. 
And the letters were a little messed up during the resin process so I get to return to make another one. 
Anyone want to join me?

My only running during this month included an almost-5k fundraiser for the Open Door Youth Shelter. I remember crossing the finish line and seeing the time clock almost stunned that I finished the 5k in less than 30 minutes -- even with a couple walk breaks! ... only to look at my RunKeeper and see that it wasn't even a full 3 miles. :(  But it was a fundraiser and I enjoyed myself, even if Matt did not.

One is trying to take a photo while looking at the camera rather than the phone screen. 
The other has the definite look of wanting to be anywhere but there. 

I think I ran on the treadmill once during the month too. But does that really count? I guess it does. I do know I was looking forward to finishing the second season of Twin Peaks. I had watched the first season when I was a senior in high school - so I missed the second season thanks to a crazy hectic first year away at IU. Unfortunately, I couldn't even watch the whole first episode of the second season. It was too weird/bizarre/dumb.

I still love the music though. But, wowee ... was that first episode of the second season bizarre ... 


So on to the race ... which always starts with packet pickup the day before.

My original plan was to take a shuttle from downtown to the fairgrounds so I wouldn't have to worry with traffic or parking ... but then discovered that I wouldn't be allowed to pick up Matt's bib for him, so he had to come with. While I wasn't a fan of the new location (fairgrounds as opposed to downtown), I definitely liked that the expo seemed larger - but maybe because it was spread out more and it didn't feel like we were cattle lined up to go through processing this time. We even saw a good friend that we see at either every expo or every race. On the way back to the car, we stopped at the Thornton's food truck and tried the bourbon vanilla latte ... definitely tasty but I had never had bourbon before and it really just tasted like a vanilla latte.

We had some torrential storms during the night and since I haven't been sleeping well, I didn't get much sleep that night either. And I need to back-up ... Friday morning, a cute little Jack Russell kept trying to get into the house. I didn't know what to do with her so was going to take her to the local shelter after taking the kids to school and on my way to a doctor's appointment. Lo and behold, Allie discovered that the little dog had a fairly deep gash on her back and I didn't want to just leave her at the shelter without it being looked at ... so off to our vet I went. NO MICROCHIP! People, if you have a pet ... please ... make sure it has a microchip in it for this exact reason. Anyway, they put staples in, pulled off several ticks, I took some photos to post on the lost pet Facebook pages, and 5 days later ... we still have her. The pugs aren't happy and it's a lot of work trying to keep them separated ... but I truly believe her arrival was a God-thing to take my mind off of the horrific doctor appointment I'd been dreading that was on Friday morning as well.

She was just the sweetest little girl. 
Unfortunately, our old pug wanted nothing to do with her other than try to rip her throat out ...

So now we're at race morning and I see an email that the race has been delayed till 8:00. I forced myself to drink water and eat 1/2 a peanut butter sandwich (couldn't finish it) and we left. Found a really good parking garage that was practically empty due to a concert the night before -- the sign outside said it was full but it was definitely not even close to being full. We started out to the start line and discovered that the race had been delayed again till 8:30 -- back to the car to wait. Left again around 8:20 because I really needed to use a portapottie. Sorry, not sorry. And then to find out it was delayed again?!?! The skies were scary looking so I understood but it just wasn't doing anything and I was worried about the coming heat of the day and my less-than-half of a peanut butter sandwich. Of course it did start raining around that time and pouring when the race finally started around 9:20 so now I just wanted to finish.

A bit of an exaggeration. But the clouds were moving quickly and the sky was dark.


I had my interval timer set for 5 minute run/1 minute walk but didn't need to turn it on until after running through the first 4 miles only walking the water stops. But by the time I started the intervals, I think it was too late. I'm pretty sure the lack of sleep/nutrition/motivation/etc. had had enough of me pushing my body for so long. I decided I needed to drink double at all the stops and take whatever food that spectators were offering, safety be damned. That helped. It also helped that I started dumping the last half of my water cups on my head and back of my neck. Just had to remember not to dump the PowerAde on my head by mistake ...

I stopped at another portapotty around mile 5. Emotions were wearing on me at that point and I legit started sobbing when one guy asked me how I was doing with my race. That'll teach him.

Look, pal ... don't ask if you don't want to know.


One nice thing that happened was I finally met and chatted with a lady I see at almost every race. We've seen each other so often that we say hi but have never introduced ourselves. She's from New Albany too and has been running about as long as I have. And then I also saw a lady who walks the bridge as much as I do - we high-fived as I passed her.

Not quite like this -- it was around mile 12 so not much effort went into it.


I really just wasn't feeling it this race. I'm glad I did it and I had paused my RunKeeper while in the portapotty line ... so when I did finally get to the finish, it was almost a PR, even with all my extra walking. I guess losing 20 pounds in a month has some benefit ... I don't recommend it though. RunKeeper time - 2:31 ... official KDF Mini time - 2:34. I'm OK with both times and I'll probably try to run this one each year ... or at least as long as I continue running.

The medal. The prize. The loot. And all I wanted at the end was to curl up in a ball and cry. 

Hoping I get my mojo back soon. I have another half coming up ... THIS WEEKEND. So I guess I'll do another recap for that and then ease up (more than usual) on the blog entries until I get back to my marathon training in June. Unless I need to vent about life ... then you'll be hearing from me again.

Please tell me your pet has a microchip. What do you do when you see a stray animal - try to keep it and find the owner on your own? take it to the local shelter?

What do you do when life smacks you upside the head and you lose all motivation for pretty much everything?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Papa John's 10 miler - 2017

Well, first off ... I don't like this race. I think I do and I look forward to it, but then once I've started and I see that park looming up ahead with the hills upon hills upon more hills ... nope. No likey.

I made sure to at least do most of my training runs in the two weeks between the 10k and the 10 miler. Still no cross-training, because I don't wanna. But I did make sure I also eased up on the sweets, got plenty of sleep, hydrated (though now that I think about it, I don't think I've been drinking as much water as usual), and just wanted to finish this race with a PR (anything better than 1:48).

Packet pick-up (Friday) -- Matt had to work that evening and I decided to take the day off since I was already taking Thursday off for Allie's birthday. A nice leisurely drive over to Louisville would be nice ... it's never a nice leisurely drive to Louisville for me. I fully rely on Google Maps to get me anywhere across the river and I still get lost. And my plan on getting to pick-up early so I don't have to deal with rush hour? Nope - classes were in session at UofL so I was dodging students as well as cars in an unknown area for me.

Sorry for the blur - photo from the car. This was this year's finish line ... in the parking lot. And the Jumbotron that we could see ourselves crossing the line on ... if the crowds hadn't been in between the finish line and the "Jumbotron". Hoping they've finished work on the stadium by next year, if they will be a next year for me at this race.

Race morning -- Matt was out late with rockwall buddies and I thought I'd even give him an out if he didn't want to run 10 miles after only sleeping for about 4 hours. He was up and getting ready though and we got to the start line fairly early this year (about 30 minutes early - say what?) It was a cool morning (temps in the 40s) and we didn't see anyone we knew. The smart ones didn't sign up for this race, I suppose. We positioned ourselves further to the front this time in an effort to avoid the walkers.

Side note - I complain about the walkers, but only because they don't start in the back of the runners. I'm a run-walker and I know I'm going to walk eventually, but why would someone who is planning on walking 10 miles want to start a few rows from the start line, only to get bumped and plowed over by the ones who start off sprinting (definitely not me)? This is why we like the longer races (halfs/fulls) because of the corrals that put people with others who will finish about the same time as they. Even so, some corral police are occasionally needed to make sure people aren't starting before they're supposed to.

I decided to increase my running time to 5 minutes and still walk 1 minute. And since last year's PR had me starting the intervals once I got to Iroquois park, that's what I decided to do this year too. No problems on the first leg of Southern Parkway. The route went a little further down New Cut Rd to make up for not being able to run around the football field at the finish (bummer!) but I was still feeling pretty OK, just getting anxious about the hills inside the park. And I mostly stuck with the run 5/walk 1 intervals. Those hills though ... my goodness, those hills.

At the first water stop inside the park, we traditionally get a bottle of water instead of a cup of water. I made sure to hold on to it for the rest of the race so I didn't have to stop at any of the later water stops. And a little after mile 5, I pulled out my Boom Energy gel (pomegranate grape, FTW!). I'm not sure if it helped any though. Finally got out of the park and trudged along back up Southern Parkway towards the finish. I actually had a pleasant surprise when I saw a mile marker coming up and thought it was '6' ... found out it was '7' and I only had less than a 5k to go! Right around the 9 mile marker, I got the text alert that Matt had finished. We forgot to look up his PR but I knew he finished at least 11 minutes faster than I was going to!

Then coming up on Central Ave ... and that overpass ... and I just hate it. But since they were working on the football stadium and had to move the finish line to the parking lot, there wasn't much left to run once I made it to the top of the hill -- just down the other side and turn into the parking lot ... but it really feels a lot further than that. There were a couple girls who ran out from the spectators to run with their parents in front of me ... I didn't want the photos to make it look like two little kids beat me (seriously -- they were like 6 and 8 years old) so I pulled up the last bit of reserve to finish in front of them. And you know what? All that pre-race training and preparation (extra sleep, etc.) ... finished 3 minutes slower than my PR. And Matt? zero pre-race training and preparation ... ran a PR by at least 3 minutes. I know everyone is running their own race - I get that. But I'm going to have to change up my training strategy if doing all that extra work accomplishes nothing in the end. I guess cross-training is next ... :(

I finished. Also made the mistake of sitting down in the parking lot ... so that was fun getting up after.

One of the best parts about this race is the free cheese pizza at the end. I only had the energy to eat one slice though. Cracks me up (not really) when I see people walking off with a box of a whole pizza.

Upcoming races -- a 5k benefiting the local youth shelter and then three weeks after that is the Kentucky Derby Festival half and then the week after that is the Indianapolis Mini (around the Speedway!!). Every now and then, I think I'd like to try the full with the Kentucky Derby Festival instead ... but because of this race here (10 miler) that goes through Iroquois Park/Mountain, I know there's no way I could do the KDF Full that runs through the same park midway through the 26 miles. Ain't no way, no how. At least the KDF Half is fairly flat ... I think. I've blocked it out since last year.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Rodes City Run - 10k (2017)

Friday's packet pickup - First off, I was so excited to bump into and finally quick-meet Rebecca at Knit By God's Hand. I've been a blog-stalker of hers for a few years ... not sure if it all started because she is a Christian knitter or that she runs, but I'm glad I found her blog AND that we just happened to show up at packet pickup around the same time. :)

Weather - Friday's weather was overcast and misty. I was actually hoping that that would be the weather for Saturday morning - it was just perfect running weather - not too chilly and the mist would keep it cool as I sprint through a 10k ... whatever. And Saturday morning's weather app told me that we were under a dense fog advisory until race start time, so we didn't bring our sunglasses. Big mistake.

Morning of - I don't eat a big breakfast before running, but didn't want to crash and burn with no fuel so I stuck with my pre-race tradition of a slice of whole-grain toast and heavy on the peanut butter with plenty of water. 
Pretty much the only time I eat peanut butter toast ... race days.

We parked in our usual lot and still had about 1/2 hour before start time. I knew I'd need to visit the portapotty though ... a few times ... so we made it to the start line with time to spare. And, per tradition, we always see someone we know while we're waiting in the portapotty line.

Race - We jumped into the crowd since there weren't signs for how to line up (as usual). I knew we were in trouble though when we were next to a couple who had bright yellow "WALKER" stickers on their bibs and a lady on the other side of us was totally done up with her make-up and hair and was drinking a can of Rock Star. I guess we need to do a better job about getting closer to the start line -- we crossed the line at 8:04 and were weaving through walkers for the first mile or so. Matt went on ahead (darn those freakishly-long legs of his) and I decided to run the first mile through and then start my interval timer (set for 4 min run/1 min walk). Have I mentioned the wind yet? At least it was at our back at the start but it was there and and it was cold. Oh - and the sun was up, no fog at all - so sunglasses really would have been helpful. No matter ... just keep running, right?

This is my first official 10k with my handy-dandy interval timer. I've only had one race where I ran the entire time so all the other races have been random intervals (walk when I got tired, start again when I get to a street sign or tree or whatever I'm aiming for). Since doing the Marathon for Mortals training for the marathon last November, I've been hooked on how well I feel while running and after the race. And I knew that if I felt like running before the walking minute was up, I could run ... and did just that. Even with the regular walk breaks, I was really hoping for a PR. The thing is though - even though I was hoping for that PR, I knew I didn't deserve it because I haven't stuck to the training program even 50% of the time. And that last mile was more than brutal - the temps seemed to have dropped and we were now running INTO the wind and it was so cold. I ended up finishing about a minute slower than last year's PR. Should I have set the running intervals longer? walking intervals shorter? worked on speedwork so that the running intervals were stronger? Stayed consistent with my training, period? I. don't. know.

This thing has been my constant running companion since last summer. Love it!

And after - Didn't spend much time in the after-race area -- no Power Bars this year? But we got our Gatorade, apple, and banana. Anyway, two more weeks before the next race (Papa John's 10-miler). I am determined to complete the next two weeks of training, eat better, and get more sleep (I laugh out loud at that one) and hopefully PR that one.

And now it's time for a bit of ranting ...

from the race website: The race was ranked the 4th largest overall race in the state and 26th largest 10K in the US by the 2014 Running USA rankings. The event attracts nearly 7,000 runners and walkers and draws athletes from all over the country to compete in the 'heart' of downtown Louisville.

This is a big race. I mean, checking the results from Saturday's run came up with 4247 finishers this year, but still a fairly large number with a normal/substantial entry fee for a fundraising event. And doing a highly non-scientific survey of fellow runners/walkers who participate, the majority (if not all of them) have said this is their favorite race. The course is great, the volunteers are amazing, it's run through neighborhoods and business districts so there are spectators pretty much all over ... etc. Yet this is the race with the worst race shirt (short sleeve cotton with minimal decoration) and when I checked the website to get race photos ... nope. Got this message instead: RACE PHOTOS: DUE TO THE LACK OF PARTICIPATION AND FUNDING, THIS SERVICE HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORT!

Nope, I don't understand nor do I support this. 

**** Edited to add that apparently there were photos taken during the race ... but not necessarily photos of everyone crossing the finish line. I did find one of Matt and me at the very beginning and it's from behind.

AND ... no Power Bars.

Would you expect to have photos at a race that size?

What about decent race shirts? or an option at registration to say no-thanks to the shirt and give that money back to the fundraiser?

And what's your post-race treat of choice, if they're going to have post-race treats available?

Monday, March 6, 2017

Is this thing on? And my 2017 calendar (plus a couple recaps) ...

This is so late in coming -- it's just a schedule of the races we've already registered for and/or want to add to our growing list. Sad thing is, this is the first place it's being written down so I didn't realize just how many races we've got going on in 2017 ... AND, because I'm so late in writing up anything, there are also a couple recaps to mention.

12/31/16 - EXTOL Sports Benchmark Mile - Found out about this one on Facebook so we signed up. There was a discount code and it ended up being only $5, plus another $10 (maybe?) for a brunch ticket after the race. And it was in downtown New Albany so why not? It was the inaugural race, but had a pretty good turnout (I thought). Everyone got a sling bag, a t-shirt, and gloves. Dogs were welcome too and it was actually a fundraiser for the Arrow Fund (animal rescue). It was also very cold/windy and we were on the riverfront. But it was also only a mile so it was over quickly. I had to stop and walk a few seconds because the wind was just too much at that point. Even so, I now have a 'benchmark' to beat next year -- and it's about how fast I figured I'd be (slow). So at the brunch, they're handing out awards ... and I guess it's good that it didn't have more people there because I won fastest in my age group! This will be my only running award so I'm hanging on to this trophy forever.

January -
Hangover Classic - a 10 mile run -- recap: this was a new-to-us race but apparently is well-known in the local running community. There were quite a few people running (it has a 10 mile and 5k). Start line was at the American Turners Club - not even sure what this place was but I guess it was a private club for gymnastics along River Rd. We saw some friends who decided that morning to run the 5k (she's run the Boston Marathon, so a celebrity in my book!), but didn't see anyone else we knew. Take that back - I did see the lady who won the 3rd place in our age group at the mile run the day before. I think she was doing the 5k too. So the 10 mile was a new route for us -- pretty much straight down River Road to Portland and then turn around and run back. I was not prepared. It wasn't cold, but I just wasn't in the groove. I stuck with intervals since it seems to work well for me, but my phone was dying so I couldn't check pace or distance or anything without being worried it'd die. Wish list item #1 - a Garmin, so I don't have to have RunKeeper going on my phone OR a small camera, so I can take photos along my runs without having to worry about phone battery dying. Probably prefer a Garmin because I'm already gadget-overloaded. Matt and I ran together for most of it -- I'd forgotten how much I enjoy actually running with someone during races. There really weren't too many other runners for the 10 mile - several were dressed up for New Year's (wearing party hats, one guy was wearing a tux, tiaras and boas, etc.) so it was still fun and I got to run on a route I'd never been on before. Time was horrendous and when we got to the finish line, many people were already gone. We got a bottle of water and then headed back home ... only to find out later that we were supposed to have gone back inside for the after-race activities (everyone who stayed got a champagne glass to take home, plus the after-race snacks). Not sure if I'll sign up for this one again, but if the price is right and we have nothing else going on, might as well!

February -
Winter Warm-up on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail - an 8 mile run -- recap: this was an almost-fail. The week before, Allie brought the flu home from school and shared with me. Matt had gotten a flu shot, but he still picked up a bad cough. Will, the only one who remained healthy, claimed it was because he hides out in the basement playing video games all the time and wasn't breathing our sick germs. So much for trying to get him out of the house and into the sunlight ... :). Also, we moved my mom from Indianapolis into a nursing home near me this week -- so while I was still trying to get healthy, I was also spending all my free time over at the nursing home helping her get acclimated to her new surroundings and spend time with my brother and sister. As a stress-reliever, Matt and I decided to go ahead and drive up to Indianapolis for this race -- we left early Saturday morning and it was so very cold. Wind was blowing ... FLURRIES on the way ... I wasn't looking forward to this at all. We made it to bib pickup and I started to panic. We decided to cut down to the 4 mile instead ... I'm glad we did but even after starting and up until the 2 mile point, I was looking for a way to turn back around and quit. Stuck with intervals but I ran more than the interval timer told me too -- mainly because it was so freaking cold and I was underdressed!! Finished it, badly ... and then we went back home to get back to my mom. Wish list item #2: good running gloves - I wore those weird cotton/acrylic gloves that are one-size fits all and offer no warmth or protection from the cold/wind. Horrible.

March -
Rodes City 10k - I'm looking forward to this one! Love the course and the volunteers are amazing.

April -
Papa John's 10 miler - I despise this one. I will beat my best-time though. Oh, how I loathe this course though. Actually, just the mountain in the middle of it. Hate it.

Vince Klein Memorial 5k - benefiting the local youth shelter. Need to dress like a superhero ... need to find a superpower ...

Kentucky Derby Festival Mini-Marathon - hoping for a dry one this year! It'll be my third year and it's rained the other two years. Kind of thinking I might try the full in 2018 ... but it means I'd have to run the mountain in Iroquois Park again. Ugh ...

May -
Indianapolis 500 Mini-Marathon - YES! Just one week after the KDF Half, heading to Indianapolis to run another half! Not planning on any personal records with this one - but I'm super-excited because the course will be on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Meb Kan'tspellhislastname will be there.

June -
Barnyard Dash - a 10k -- haven't registered for this one yet and actually haven't decided if I'll do this one again. It's a possibility.

July - No race scheduled ... but marathon training officially begins! ... or maybe it's in June. I'm not sure now.

August - No race scheduled, because it's too ding-dong hot in August.

September -
Indianapolis Women's Half - ran this one last year (pouring down rain) and they had a registration special price of $30. I wasn't really planning on running it again but for that price?? YES!

October - No race scheduled. Marathon panic will hit full-speed this month.

November
CNO Monumental Marathon -- on my birthday! And now I have a time to beat from last year :)
Fast Freddie's Festive Five Mile Foot Feast -- tradition

December
EXTOL Sports Benchmark Mile - will they come back for a 2nd year? If so, will I try to hold on to my trophy?

Monday, December 12, 2016

Jingle Run recap (10k) - no photos, because ... life.

Since my mom can't travel to visit us any longer, I am trying to be more intentional about going to visit her as often as I can. Even though we were all just up there for Thanksgiving and we'll all be up there again for Christmas Eve, I needed a visit where it is just me and I don't have to worry about the rest of the family being bored. A week or so ago, I got an email about a Jingle Run going on the same morning I was going to drive up to Indianapolis ... what's that? A race? Sign me up! And since it's more than a 5k but was a fundraiser anyway, I went ahead and registered for the 10k and just planned to drive straight to the packet pick up that morning, run, then head back to Mom's house ... easy peasy.

And then ... winter.

It was so cold on Saturday. I didn't really know what to wear so I brought extras of everything, just in case. I started out wearing one pair of socks, running tights (capris on a normal-height person, hit above the ankle for me), a long sleeve tech shirt, a long sleeve pullover with thumbholes, and my running jacket that's lined with polar fleece. I also brought an ear-warmer thing to wear and gloves (cheap-o ones).

I get to the parking garage next to Bankers' Life Fieldhouse and check the weather app -- 20 degrees with a windchill of single digits. So I add a pair of socks (toe socks, but they're red/white striped for Christmas and I wore my Balega socks over them), another pair of running tights, and a Santa hat. It has a beard so if I needed the extra windbreak on my face, I could pull out the beard. I left it tucked up inside the hat though for additional head-warmth. Also smeared Aquaphor on my face to protect against windburn.

Packet pickup was that morning so I picked up bib and the t-shirt -- I thought it was going to be a tech shirt but it was a long-sleeve cotton T. Since I thought it would be a tech shirt though, I ordered a Large -- which as a cotton unisex size was way too big for me. I could either take it back out to the car or wear it for more festive colors ... so I was able to wear it OVER my jacket ... for those keeping count, that makes 4 layers up top. And the pros were wearing shorts and singlets. Freaks.

No one was heading outside until it was time for the race to start so there were a lot of people warming up inside -- pretty much everyone had on holiday attire or Santa hats or reindeer headbands. Everyone was given jingle bells to put on their shoes too. Quite fun, actually. There were only about 300 people doing the 10k so we got out there for the start. I brought my interval timer again and had left it on the 5 min/30 sec ... but didn't plan to start it until after running the first mile through.

Gosh, it was cold. Did I mention that? But the race started and it was fun looking at all the costumes people were wearing while we were running. Not many people were out and about in downtown Indianapolis and since this wasn't a big race, no spectators. Or maybe there would have been if it hadn't been so cold. Anyway, I settled into my pace and just wanted to get it over with so I could get to my mom's house.

And then ... toe socks. I've come to the conclusion that toe socks are NOT meant for running. I have worn these things a few times and don't really like them anyway ... I'm a mitten fan for hands and feet. I guess my toes don't like being separated from each other. I don't know ... but doggone it if this wasn't the third holiday race I've worn these things and also the third race where I've worn them AND got killer leg cramps. Before, I blamed going out too fast or not having trained sufficiently. Common denominator has been these socks. Killer leg cramps hit me at about mile 1.5 and I was thinking that I'd end up walking the rest of the 10k. When I finally got through those cramps, I started running the intervals and lived for those 30 second walk breaks.

Remember how cold it was? There was one water station but the route looped back to it so there were basically two water stops at the same table. I don't know when they set up the water but I'm sure it was that morning since the table was in the middle of the road. When I went through for my first water stop, the water was REALLY cold. When I circled back and made it to the 2nd water stop, there was a layer of ice I had to break before I could drink my water!

Also, right around mid-way through the race, I realized that two pairs of pants, 4 layers up top, and a non-breathable hat meant I had too many clothes on. And it was cold ... colder now that I was sweating through everything and the cold air was hitting it. Shazam was it cold. But I was able to finish in a decent time ... 1:10:04 -- not a PR but considering I had to walk about 1/2 mile at the beginning, I was surprised!

And as a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation, the race itself was sponsored by Eli Lilly and Meijers so there were loads of goodies at the finish line. I got one of everything and got back to the garage where I promptly forgot which floor I had parked on. Hello, hypothermia.

I really do like having a race to keep me motivated to keep running. Next up is a 10 mile race on New Year's Day. Kind of hoping for a PR there since the other 10 mile races I've done have been the Papa John's which includes Iroquois Mountain. We shall see ...

So I need suggestions on what are good articles of clothing for cold-weather running. Tips?