Friday, October 23, 2015

And that makes 10...Columbus Half Review

Last Sunday, I ran the Columbus half marathon, in Columbus, OH. This would be my second half in less than 2 weeks, and my 10th overall.
10 half marathons completed. Wow. I remember training for the first one, all the while wondering if I could actually do it. Oddly enough, even after all my training and 9 previous halfs and a full under my belt, I was seriously doubting I had another race in me a week after the Iron Horse half.
After my less than stellar performance last weekend, I had no idea what to expect this time around. When I signed up for this race I was super excited. Lots of running friends said Columbus was wonderful, lots of fun etc. They were right, but I just wasn't ready for this. 
During my previous race, I strained my right calf muscle. It was tight and painful for a couple of days after the race, but it seemed to be fine by the end of the week, so I didn't really think anything about it going into the weekend. Boy was I wrong. I'll get into that later.

Anyway, about the weekend...Columbus is about 3 hours from my house and packet pick up is the day before, so I stayed in a hotel just outside of the city, Grove City, OH to be exact. Since I like to procrastinate these things, I didn't have the best options, but I'd rather drive 10 minutes into town and park and save $100. Speaking of parking, I left the room at 5:30am and was parked (for free on the street by the North Market) by 5:45am. So...if I ever do this race again, this was totally easy and a lot cheaper.
On another note, someone please remind me that pasta and bread the night before a race is a bad idea...really bad. 

So anyway, I got to packet pick up late Saturday afternoon. Parking was easy and close by the convention center. It was pretty crowded when I got there. I made my way up to get my bib and tshirt and then tried to look around the expo, but it was hard to get a look at anything because there were so many people. 

PSA...get a food sample and get out of the way...there are other people here besides you. Also, you don't need to eat all 10 of yours over the top of all the samples. RUDE

I love the shirt's like me 'Determined'. To do what? I'm not sure, but once I figure it out, look out! Lol

I bought 2 things at the Expo, an ArmPocket and some Captain America Race Dots. I love them both. 

After the expo, I checked into my room and searched for some dinner. I ended up going to Fazolis, but I immediately regretted it in the morning. Sorry Fazolis, I love your breadsticks, but they do not love me. 
After dinner, I watched some tv and tried to sleep...I don't think I really got much sleep. The room was like an oven. It was 30 degrees outside and I had to turn the a/c on so I could sleep. it was 28 degrees when I got up Sunday morning. Yuck 

I'm glad I packed my warm stuff. Geez

Once I got dressed, I headed into Columbus and got parked. I was about 3/4 mile away from the Start/Finish area, so I got a nice walk in before the race. I say "nice" in a very sarcastic manner cause it was freezing on the way; and that also meant that I would hobble 3/4 of a mile back to my car after the race.

The race started at 7:30, but I didn't cross the start line until nearly 8:00. It seemed to take forever. My toes were completely numb, but thank goodness I had hand warmers. Had I known it would take so long to get going, I'd have used the porta potty one more time, but oh well, I'll know for next time.

I felt pretty good crossing the starting line and for about the first 2 miles; then I felt my right calf muscle twinge and I knew it was going to be a rough morning. By mile 3 I was desperately looking for a porta potty, but with so many people, I waited in line over 5 minutes by the time I found some. Two miles later, at mile 5 I had to use the bathroom again, this time, the wait was short, but I was in there for well over 5 minutes (thank you Fazolis). So here I am only 5 miles into the race, had to stop twice, my calf hurts and I've got 8 miles to go. Talk about devastating...all summer long, this was my goal race. I wanted to do well here. It would have been perfect, but I blew it. 5 miles in and I just felt like giving up. Thousands of runners, passing me, left and right. It was tough to keep going, I don't know why I did. What kept me going, was the other runners, the volunteers and the amazing spectators.

Every once and a while, a volunteer would cheer my name (it was on my bib) and I'd get a temporary boost. At mile 8 I started crying...5 miles left, calf was hurting more and more. Mile 10, had to pee again, but refrained from stopping (I think at this point I'd have given up completely if I stopped again). Mile 11, I focused on the crowds cheering. Mile 12, all I wanted to do was walk, but I always make a point to run the entire last mile, and I did. The finish line was finally in sight, tears of joy...thank the Lord! I'm not even going to bother with sharing my time. It doesn't matter. What matters today, is that I crossed the Start and Finish Line.

After the race, I got some food, and water. (Thank you for providing bags to put all of it in! So hard to carry all that stuff after running 13+ miles)
Remember how I said I parked 3/4 of a mile from the finish area? Yeah, so that was a fun walk...
I was so happy to get to my car and sit down and warm up. 

So here's the deal...even though, my running sucked, this was a fantastic race!! I'd recommend it to anyone. First class all the way! The course was great, the support was great, the volunteers were great. I can't say enough about how well I was treated as a runner. I would definitely do it again, just run faster next time and use the bathroom less...

Hopefully some day, I'll get a do-over. 

So, what's next, I don't know. I hope I get a chance to redeem myself.

Until next time!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Iron Horse Half Marathon Review's been awhile. I know. I've left everyone hanging, including myself. I like blogging and running and drinking coffee, but I kind of lost myself this past year. Stress and anxiety have gotten the best of me. I'm hoping that I can finally drag myself out of the rut that I've been living in. I need to do something different, because what I have been doing, isn't working. I've always struggled with food. I've always been a food addict. It's a mental thing with me. I can only be strong for so long and then bam, it's over. Getting help and being supported by friends and family is my best course of action. This past year, my weight has fluctuated A LOT. At one point I was at 151 pounds, and now I'm at 161 pounds. To me that is devastating. It has been totally messing with my self esteem, self worth etc. To top it off, the weight gain has made me give up on my regular workouts, which only makes matters worse, I know. So, surprise, surprise, I was not ready for the half marathon I ran yesterday. I finished, but it was the slowest half that I have ever run. Other than the races that I have intentionally run slower to hit a certain pace. Yesterday, I finished in 2:44:44...and I struggled almost the entire way. I did, however wait in a porta-potty line well over 5 minutes, but that's a pretty bad excuse for my time. Seeing that time, made me realize, enough is enough. I have so many reasons to take better care of myself. My number one reason is for my son, my best little buddy in the whole world. Also, I want to be happy, and I'm most happy when I feel good about myself. So here I go...working on happiness.

Alright, on to the race review. 

This was my 9th half marathon, and my 2nd Iron Horse. This course now holds my fastest (2:25:25) and slowest (2:44:44) half times. It is a very well organized race and in beautiful Midway, KY.

I got up really early Sunday morning, and you see from the look on my face, I wasn't really feeling it. Oh well, I went anyway.

Midway is quite hilly, and the race consists of two out-and-back runs, starting and finishing in same place. It passes by lots of horse farms and is quite scenic.

I've always enjoyed running in Midway, but it has been a long time. I definitely need to come out here more often.

The race started right at 8:00 am and we were off. It was cold at the start, but warmed up quickly once the sun came out. 

I found myself really enjoying the scenery and the miles flew by quickly even though I had to pee (not enough porta-potties at all and the ones they had were way too far apart). 
I walked up several of the hills and ran when I could. By the time I got to mile 11, I couldn't wait to be done. I couldn't get to the finish line fast enough. Why? Cause I couldn't wait to see my bestie waiting for me.

(On a side note, this little guy just turned 5!! I can't believe it!)

The Iron Horse always has really neat medals and this year was no exception!

So, the moral of the story is I started and I finished. That's enough for now. Progress will come. I will improve.

Enjoy your week friends!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Derby Festival miniMarathon 2015 Review

Wow! How is it Sunday night already!? I hope everyone's had a good weekend. I sure did. 
Yesterday, I ran my 8th half marathon. I can't believe I've done so many. It doesn't seem possible.
One thing I've learned over the last couple years and 8 half marathons is how important it is to train outside in all different weather conditions; rain, snow, freezing cold, extreme heat and humidity. You never know what type of weather you'll get on race day. It's good to be prepared for every situation.

Yesterday, I got rain, and lots of it. I ran in a poncho...the whole way. 

Running in the rain isn't too bad, but you've got to take some precautions. I like to wear a hat to keep the rain out of my eyes, and I also like to use Body Glide or Skin Glide to protect my feet from blisters. I did spray my shoes with a water proofer as well and that helped a lot! Oh, and anything made of cotton is a big "no, no". Cotton gets really heavy when it's wet and can also cause major chaffing. It's best to stick to technical, sweat wicking fabrics for running anyway.
These little guys were my best friends yesterday!

Anyway, enough with the This is the third year I have run the Derby Fedtival miniMarathon, in Louisville, KY. It's a large race, with both a half and full marathon that caps at 18,000 runners. I love this race as it was my first half in 2012. It is very well organized and they take care of their runners. 
Since I live about an hour away, I had a very early wake up call Saturday morning, 3:40 am. The race always starts at 7:30 am and I don't like to be late. I got all my gear organized and ready Friday night, so I could leave the house by 4:15, and be parked near the Start/Finish by 5:30. This  has worked very well for me each year I've done this race. I get there early enough to eat my breakfast and calm my nerves before getting into my corral with the other runners.

I was in corral D again this year. Runners are placed in their corral based upon their expected finish time; faster runners in corral A and slower runners in corral H. I didn't really have any expectations this year. I haven't done any speed training, so I knew I was not going to PR (faster than 2:25:25), but I was hoping I could beat my time last year (2:29:04).

The race started promptly at 7:30, but since there are so many runners, it took a few minutes for me to get to the start line. I was nervous, but mentally ready to work hard during this race. Once I crossed the Start line, it was game on. To beat my time from last year, I had to maintain a pace faster than 11:20 minutes per mile. 
It started raining almost as soon as the race began, and never stopped the entire way. Miles 1 through 4 flew by. Once I got to mile 5, I kind of wanted to stop at a porta potty, but since I had a time goal, I didn't want to wait in line and lose some precious time. Mile 8 is my absolute favorite, running through historic Churchill Downs, the site of the world famous Kentucky Derby!

The rain started to get really heavy at about mile 10 and I was suddenly very thankful for my poncho and the water proof spray I put on my shoes. I am not a fan of wet feet/socks. I did see some runners jumping in puddles...that is totally not for me. At this point I was struggling to keep my pace, but I really wanted to keep going, so I began "chasing" runners who were ahead of me. I found a girl in a neon yellow jacket and tried to keep up with her for the last 1.5 miles. It was tough, but I was able to keep up with her till the end! 
It felt so good to cross the Finish line! And...I finished in 2:27:36!

This is actually my 2nd fastest half marathon! Woo hoo!

This race is second part of the Kentucky Half Classic; the first part being Run the Bluegrass. So after collecting my medal and grabbing some food and drinks, I walked over to the KY Half Classic tent and collected my 3rd medal for completing the challenge.

Here's all 3 medals together.

Once I got back to my car and changed clothes, I headed home. I've been resting ever since. I had some really bad leg cramps yesterday and woke up quite sore this morning. 

This was such a great race! The crowd support was amazing, even in the rain. And I'd like to say thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who braved the elements to keep us hydrated and safe on the course! You are all amazing!

Well, it's past my bed time! Gotta go! Hope you have a wonderful week! Until next time!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Run the Bluegrass 2015 Review

Hey everybody! I hope you all had a great weekend! Today is the Boston Marathon! That got me thinking, I need to finish writing up my review! I'm a slacker! Actually, I have been sick for the last few weeks. I think my antibiotics are finally kicking in. So, now that I'm feeling better, I can get this done. Yay!

Anyway, it's hard to belive that Run the Bluegrass has come and gone. This is easily one of my favorite races. I'm so thankful that I've had the opportunity to participate as a Pace Team Leader for the past 2 years. It's been an honor to work with everyone involved. It had been such a busy week leading into race day. Tuesday night, I attended the volunteer meeting, Friday afternoon, I sat at the Pacer table answering questions, and work had been exhausting all week.

Speaking of the Pacer table, this years special guest was an amazing man and athlete, Harvey Lewis! In 2014, he won the Badwater Ultramarathon! This is a 135 mile foot race that takes place in Death Valley, CA. Not only was he speaking at the pre-race dinner, he was also part of the pacing team! He would be pacing the 2:00:00 hour group. So, he was at the Pacer table with myself and a few other pacers Friday afternoon! Such a wonderful man! 

Every year, Run the Bluegrass has a different Thoroughbred Horse Racing related theme. Being that the race begins and ends at the world famous Keeneland Racecourse, this only makes sense. This year, the theme revolved around 2 champion racers from Stonestreet Farm, Curlin and Rachel Alexandra. The ribbon on the medal matches the Silks/colors of Stonetreet and the medal itself shows the 2 champions on the reverse side.

This marked my 3rd year running this race, and 2nd year pacing. The race begins at 9:00 am, however, I was to meet the other pacers at 8:20 to get our signs, meet with our partner, and get into our assigned wave. After last years fiasco, getting in to park, I got to Keeneland extra early, 7:20 am (you can read my review from 2014 here and here). I wasn't taking any chances for a repeat of that. For the first time, Run the Bluegrass had over 4000 runners! To keep runners a little more spread out, there is a Wave start. As a 2:45:00 Pacer meaning I finish the half-marathon in 2 hours and 45 minutes, with an average pace of 12:35/mile) I was to begin in Wave 6. I got into my Wave at 8:30 am and waited for the race to begin.

(Half of my race photos are me looking at my watch. Lol. I guess I was focused)

 Even though it was cold (22 degrees) it was a beautiful, sunny morning. 9:00 am came pretty quick and once Waves 1 through 5 began, it was our turn!
We began with a goal in mind to get to the 5 mile mark in 60 minutes, averaging a 12:00 min/mile pace so that we'd have extra time to walk up the steep hills in the second half of the course. This strategy worked really well last year, and again this year. Walking up some of those hills in the later miles, is basically a necessity for me! We were able to follow the plan almost exactly. It was so hard not to run faster though toward the end. I was feeling so strong, my legs wanted to go, but I had to reign it in, so we'd finish at the right time.

According to my watch, we finished in 2:45:02! Official time was 2:45:08. Couldn't get much closer, if you ask me. I would have liked to be a little under, rather than over though.

Once again this year, the Pacers received a genuine bourbon barrel head as a gift from the race director! It's really beautiful! Now I just have to find a place to hang it up!

All I can say, is that I have been really fortunate to be part of this awesome race! The people I have met along the way are incredible, and I can't wait to run it again next year!

I hope you all have a great week! I'll be resting up for the Derby Festival miniMarathon this coming Saturday! Woo hoo!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Railrunner 10 Miler Review

Hey guys! I hope you all had a good weekend.
Racing season has begun! I'm so excited!

On March 21st, I ran the Railrunner 10 Miler. I know that was a couple weeks ago and I'm just now reviewing it, but I've been busy. What else is new right!?

I won a free registration to this race, and it was originally scheduled to be on March 7th, but Mother Nature had some other ideas, and hence it ended up being rescheduled for one week before Run the Bluegrass. Since I now had back to back weekend races, I pretty quickly decided to use this race as an 'easy' training run.

Fortunately, we ended up with some beautiful weather on race day. It was a little chilly, but the sun was shining and I couldn't have asked for a nicer day.

The race took place on the RJ Corman property in Nicholasville, KY. It is a beautiful course that allows you to run on an airplane runway. I didn't have any real goals for this race other than to just enjoy the day and finish under 2 hours. 

The race started at 9 am and from the beginning, I took it slow and enjoyed the scenery. I ran this race 2 years ago, and one of the only things I remembered was how long the runway felt. And...just like 2 years ago, the runway took forever! It's well over a mile, and completely flat. Kind of boring, really.
 I kept a consistent pace throughout, and managed to squeak by just under 2 hours, 1:59:03. At the finish line, I received my medal and got some home made banana ice cream! So delicious!

After getting some food and water, I packed up and headed home, so I could rest and recover for Run the Bluegrass. 

Not a whole lot to report on this one, but I did enjoy it and it ended up being a useful training run. So, kudos for that!

I hope you all had a Happy Easter, and enjoy the coming week! Hopefully, I'll have my review of Run the Bluegrass done soon. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

My Whole30 Experience

Hey! Happy Saturday!

This morning, I was supposed to be running the Railrunner 10 Miler, but the race was postponed because of some extreme weather a couple days ago. Here in Kentucky, we got some crazy amounts of snow. I ended up with 20 inches at my house! 

Liam really enjoyed playing in the snow!
Although it's been cold and snowy, it sure makes for a beautiful sunrise!

Anyway, the race was postponed till March 21st, only one week before Run the we'll see how that goes. I don't think I'll be "racing" it now. Most likely, I'll treat it as a training run. Oh well.
With the race date being changed, I planned on hitting the treadmill for 11-12 miles, but I overslept and that totally threw me off. So now I'm drinking coffee, making breakfast and chatting with you fine people. I hope that the roads are clear tomorrow and I can run long outside! I'm so ready for spring!

Ok, back to my original point. On March 2nd, I finished the Whole30. It was a really great experience and I learned to really enjoy eating in a different way. Actually, I learned a lot of things. First of all, I discovered how important it is to read and understand food labels. They put sugar in everything! Second, I don't need to eat breads or pasta every day to be a distance runner. Third, I can make it through Valentine's Day without eating any candy hearts. (Not gonna lie, that was really tough. I love those stupid things) Lastly, I am absolutely in love with Lara Bars! They are made with real food and only a few ingredients. Several of the flavors are Whole30 approved and are totally delicious!
The Cashew Cookie is my favorite!

As for my results, I didn't really take any before and after pics, but I did lose nearly 8 pounds in 30 days.

I have found that I don't really need to be as strict with my calories to keep my weight going in a downward direction. The type of food you eat, is more important. 

I think the biggest struggle was figuring out what to eat prior to/during a long run of 10+ miles. I used to eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich on wheat bread before, and during I'd have some sort of energy gel. Since, peanuts, bread and all sweeteners are out, that left me with just a banana. So what do I eat with my banana??? I have turned to baked sweet potatoes and either almond or cashew butter before my run. During my run, I've been bringing a couple of the Lara bars. This has been working well, as my last 10 mile run, was one of my best in a very long time. Even with walk breaks, I was able to run 10 miles under 2 hours. I haven't done that in months!

This pic was taken during a training run over the Horse Capital Marathon course.

I've decided to keep eating according the Whole30 plan for a little while longer. I've lost another pound since I finished the 30 days and that has really got me motivated. Last year, I struggled on a daily basis to lose weight, and I eventually lost about 9 pounds with restrictive eating and lots of exercise over a period of 5 months, but I slowly gained most of it back around the holidays. Blah
The Whole30, on the other hand, has been so easy! I can't believe I've lost 8.5 pounds in less than 5 weeks! What a difference! 
Some people would say that I don't really need to lose more weight, but for me, it's not really about losing more weight, it's about not gaining. I don't ever want to go back to my nearly 240 pound self. That would be devastating. So, yes, I want to stay as far away from that number as I can. And, yes, I monitor my weight often, because I know how easy it is to gain it weight. It's a daily struggle. Maybe one day it won't be, but right now this is how things are. The most important thing is that I'm happy...and I am.

If you've been thinking about trying the Whole30, you can find info at
(P.s. Go ahead and try it, you'll be happy you did!)
Have a great weekend!

Monday, February 16, 2015

President's Day with Snow (lots of snow)!

Happy President's Day! I hope you all are somewhere safe and warm! 
Here in Georgetown, we are under a winter weather alert! We've got 6 inches of snow on the ground, and lots more coming!

Thankfully, I was not scheduled to work today. I did have a dentist appointment, but I got a call that it was cancelled early this morning. I can't say that I was too disappointed about that. Today is a great day to just stay home and binge watch some shows on Netflix.

No running today, but I did get in a good strength workout! Thanks Jillian!

So, last time, I mentioned that I signed up for 2 half marathons. Well, as luck would have it, that same day, I won a free race registration from 3 Way Racing for running 5+ miles and picking the correct winner of the Super Bowl. I'm now signed up for the Railrunner 10 Miler! Woo Hoo!

And...I've officially made it halfway through The Whole30. I thought it was going to be incredibly challenging, and I figured I'd be struggling, but it hasn't been too bad. It does take some meal planning though, and I'm still working on what to eat and how to fuel for my long training runs.

Here are some of my favorites that keep to the plan.

And I know, you're not supposed to weigh yourself during this time, because the plan is about more than weightloss, but I couldn't resist.

Here's day 1 vs day 15! 
Just about 8 pounds gone! In two weeks! Wow! 

Seeing this keeps me motivated to keep going. Plus, I feel great! I don't have the same sweet cravings that I had before. So yeah, I'm loving this!

Anyway, I hope you all have a great week! Stay safe!