Recalculating

Sometimes the route you were planning to take changes.  Sometimes you encounter roadblocks and have to go off course and do some unplanned twisting and turning.  You’ll still get to your destination, but it may take you a little longer to get there.

I won’t be ready to race RnR St. Louis in October.  Due to the circumstances with D’s mom, I just haven’t had the time to invest into quality training.  I’m running here and there and will no doubt be able to cross the finish line that day, but it will not be in a PR attempt as originally planned.  I’m spending the weekend with two FABULOUS LADIES, so there will be no shortage of good times, and October 19, 2014, is going to be about having fun running through Cardinal Nation and showing my team pride!!!  One of those ladies will be racing her first 70.3 only two weeks before this, so depending on how recovered she is, we may just have to shoot for a new personal worst!  haha  If I remember right, there are plenty of bars on the course.  And how cute will I be in these?!

WTF is it about an article of clothing in the floor that attracts animals???

The PR attempt will be delayed by at least six weeks when I’ll be running St. Jude in Memphis again.  And I’m even toying with the idea of running Mississippi Blues in January since it JUST SO HAPPENS to be on my birthday!  (And probably Little Rock again too since I’m so in love with that race.)  So yeah, my route has had to be recalculated, but I’m not one little bit upset about it.  The time I would have been running (and everything else, for that matter) has been spent with family, and that’s where I both need and want to be right now.  There’ll be plenty of time for everything else very soon.

The Outtakes:

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Tuesday Tidbits

  • Recovery from the half last weekend has been slow go.  Probably because of being cramped in the car for so long on the long drive home.  I usually like to go for an easy run shortly after a race to loosen up, but I wasn’t able to run until Thursday.  In my line of work, an ice storm makes for LONG, STRESSFUL days, so after working 12 hour days Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I did nothing but come home and drink wine.  A run was nowhere on my radar.  I only ran two Thursday and then 5.5 on Sunday. I had planned on 7 or 8, but my hammies and calves were STILL super fatigued, so I cut it short at 5.5 and walked 2 more.  I think that may have done some good.
  • In all my wine drinking last week I found one I didn’t like:  Cupcake Vineyards’ Angel Food.  It is NOT as good as it sounds.  I loooooove Cupcake’s moscato, so I was really disappointed in this one!
  • I did another volunteer transport for Kindred Hearts Friday night.  Eight more babies out of high-kill shelters in the south and in a New York-based rescue!
  • One week after the ice storm hit and hung around most of last week, after a weekend in the 50s and 60s, this is what is left of it.
A few piles of nasty, dirty muck in the corners of parking lots.
  • Since my truck took such good care of me, I showed her a little TLC this weekend in return.
Squeaky clean!

The Long Road Home

The drive home after the Little Rock Half proved to be more exhausting than the race itself.  As I mentioned, by the time we left it was pouring, the temperature was plummeting, and we were under an ice storm warning.  The original plan was that we would leave ahead of the storm and stay in front of it on the eastward drive home.  It did NOT pan out that way.  After we’d been on the road for maybe an hour, ice was already accumulating on my truck.  I snapped these at a gas station when I stopped to pee (one of the MANY times… if nothing else, I was well hydrated for the race).

Antennacicle

And then things just kept getting worse…

…and worse…

…and worse.

And THEN my windshield wipers froze up and things got epically bad.

The last two and a half hours of my drive home looked like that.  All I could do was keep the defroster on high to keep it from freezing to my windshield.  Oh well, it’s not like the wipers were doing me much good anyway.  I kept was having to stop every half an hour or so to knock the ice off of them.  The drive that should have taken me five hours to make ended up taking just a tad over eight.  I was so tired and a nervous wreck by the time I got home.  I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many wrecks and cars in ditches I saw on the way home.  I just put it in 4WD, said my prayers, and took it slow.  Mom wanted to stop and spend the night somewhere, but I knew if we did we would be there for a lot longer than we’d bargained for, so we just toughed it out and kept going.  I’ve never been so happy to see my house in all my life.

I’ve always loved my truck, but I have a whole new level of respect for her now.  She took good care of me last weekend.  She looked pretty rough after the trek.

I walked inside and directly to the wine.  Two glasses later I was out cold.  It stopped sometime through the night, and we woke up to 6-7 inches (depending on where you measured) of sleet on the ground with just a dusting of snow on top.  As much as it sucked to drive home in it, I’m super grateful the storm didn’t come through any earlier than it did.

I’ve been saying all winter long that I wanted snow… I guess I should have been more specific.  I would have preferred it to be more snow and without 6 inches of ice underneath!  It sure did look pretty the next morning though.  And the dogs LOVED it!

The view of the town I work in from my workplace front sidewalk.  We were the ONLY establishment open Monday morning.  Ah, the joys of working for the federal government…

Bank?  CLOSED.  Library?  CLOSED.  City Hall?  CLOSED.  Not us!

My Comeback Race! The Little Rock Half Marathon

My year-and-a-half half-marathon hiatus came to an end on Sunday in Little Rock.  For those of you just checking in to see how badly I embarrassed myself … HA!  Joke’s on you!  I surprised even myself and pulled off a decent time!

Garmin stats:
13.29 miles
2:14:20
10:06 pace
My 2nd fastest half-marathon of my 11

Official stats
13.1 miles
2:14:18
10:15 pace
My 3rd fastest half-marathon of my 11

Earning me what is probably my coolest medal to date…

And now for the rest of the story, which is most likely only interesting to me…

First off, MAJOR PROPS to the volunteers and race director!  The volunteers were awesome for being out there in crappy weather conditions, but they were all in such good spirits and seemed genuinely happy to be there.  And the race director… bless her heart for having to make that horrible decision to call the race and pull runners from the course.  Awful decision to have to make, but the right decision nonetheless.  Safety first.

ANYWAY…

My mom and I were staying with her friend in Cabot, which is only about a 20-minute drive from the start line, so that made for a super easy race morning.  For the 8:00 start, we left her house at 7:15.  They dropped me off about a block from the start, and I was standing in my starting corral by 7:45.  PERFECT.  Well, perfect except for the weather.  I was kind of underdressed to just be standing still.  I only packed a tank top and shorts since the forecast showed 50 at the race start.  I didn’t think the rain and wind were supposed to start until later!  WOOPS!  haha  When I was getting dressed that morning, I decided to forego the tank top I had brought and instead wore the super dorky race shirt.  At least it had short sleeves.  I was FUH-REEZING in the rain and wind until my wave crossed the start line at about 8:15, but I was comfortable once we got going except for my hands.  As the temperature dropped, my hands went numb from the cold.  I didn’t bring any gloves, so I was trying to warm them up one at a time by wrapping one then the other with the garbage bag I’d gotten from a volunteer at the start line.  (Again, KUDOS to the race peeps for thinking of us unprepared folks and supplying garbage bags for makeshift ponchos!)

I didn’t really havee a plan going into the race.  I knew I was grossly undertrained only having run 10 miles… once… SLOWLY… so I didn’t really have any expectations or a race plan other than just run until I couldn’t run anymore.  So I started off at what felt like a pretty conservative pace (which ended up being faster than what I expected conservative to feel like) and held onto that pace until around mile 11 when I had to start walking parts of the longer hills.  I completely surprised myself by crossing the finish line in 2:14.  Never expected that at all.  Not that it’s a spectacular time or anything… it’s several minutes off my personal best, but for where I’m at right now, I’ll happily take it!

Borrowed from sportphoto.com

I was pretty spent after the race and beyond ready for a long warm shower.  My weather app showed 50 with a feels like of 50 at the start and 38 feels like 26 at the finish.  Thank GOD the rain held off though!  It rained pretty steadily on me for just a few minutes somewhere around the middle, but then it slacked back off to a drizzle again.  I was so happy to get my hands on a space blanket at the finish line!  I made my way through the finisher’s area and called my mom to let them know I was ready for them to come pick me up.  They’re they worst spectators ever.  Haha  They chose to have breakfast in a warm, dry restaurant rather than stand out in the cold rain!  (Hence the lack of photos.)  Weenies.  We headed back to Cabot, and by the time I got out of the shower it was pouring.  I felt soooo bad for the people still out on the course.  I knew they had to be miserable.  It wasn’t until later in the day that I learned that they had called the race at that point due to the lightning, cold, and impending ice.  Mom and I loaded up and headed home, and that’s when the TRUE test of endurance began…

TO BE CONTINUED

Tuesday Tidbits

  • I’m two weeks out from my next half-marathon, and I haven’t been this unprepared and undertrained for one since my first one four and a half years ago.  I guess it’s a good thing I gave up any notion of racing this one weeks ago!  I ran 9 miles yesterday, the farthest I’ve run this training cycle, and I can sum it up in two words:  shit show.  It’s so aggravating for my long runs to be so awful when my short runs are so great.  I ran 3 miles last week at a pace 7 seconds/mile faster than my previously fastest 3 miles, which was at the end of a marathon training cycle when I was in pretty damn good shape.  (And this was the first time I’ve ever run a training run with a sub-9 average!)  Go figure.
  • Less than 24 hours after posting about my new-found patience and level-headedness (relatively speaking haha), I had probably my most intense test.  I went into a “quick lube” place for an oil change and it took them TWO FREAKING HOURS to get me in and out of there.  There were only three cars ahead of me, and it’s not like there was anything going wrong… I could see them just moving at a snail’s pace!  The ol’ patience was wearing a bit thin!!!
  • I just ordered some new running shoes.  Maybe that’ll help my long run?  HA!  They’re the new Brooks Cascadia 9s.  The only Brooks I’ve ever worn is the Ghost line.  They have been my last 5 pair of running shoes.  I hope I like these as well.  If not, there’s no loss, thanks to Road Runner Sports’ 90-day “wear ’em and love ’em” guarantee!
  • One picture to sum up our Valentine’s Day evening.
  • My mother-in-law is in Atlanta at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America this week getting a second opinion.  I’ve heard such amazing things about them, and I pray that they can work their magic for her too!

Race Report: Little Rock Half Marathon

This past weekend I ran the Little Rock Half Marathon, which made half marathon #7 (and state #4 if anyone is counting) for me!

I left Saturday morning at 7:00, drove an hour and a half to pick up Mom, and we were back on road by 8:45.  We arrived in Cabot where her BFF lives at about 12:30, picked her up at her house, grabbed a quick lunch out, and headed into Little Rock for packet pickup.  The process was very efficient.  I grabbed my shirt and bib very quickly, and then we just wandered around the expo for a little bit.  It was Mom’s first expo, and she was just amazed at all the running-related stuff!  I didn’t buy anything (except some Shot Bloks and a GU), but I found this and I wanted it soooooo bad!  Except this was just a sticker.  I wanted the magnet for my truck (because I’m classy like that), but they were sold out!  All the other hoes beat me to them.  Mom was not upset by the fact that her daughter would not be sporting this sticker.

We headed back to Cabot, hung out around the house for a while then out to eat at a FANTASTIC mom ‘n’ pop Italian joint.  Too bad I can’t remember the name of it because I would totally recommend it!  I ate my weight in spaghetti marinara and bread.  After spending so many hours in a vehicle and then gorging myself on food, by 8:30 I could barely keep my eyes open, so I was in bed super early on race eve.  I wish I could say I slept well, but I didn’t sleep for crap.  My Tempurpedic mattress has ruined me for all other mattresses.  I woke up several times through the night, but eventually 5:30 came and it was go time.
The race started at 8:00, and we were actually running ahead of schedule.  We were in Little Rock by 7:15.  Since we weren’t sure how long it would take to find a parking place or how far away it would be, Mom and J dropped me off a couple of blocks from the start line and then went to park.  I hadn’t planned on standing in the corral for 45 minutes, so I hadn’t brought any throw-away clothes, so it was pretty nipply!  Temp when I got out of the car was 36.  As long as I stood in the sun I was okay though.
(Side note:  I met the most interesting woman in the starting area!  She has already run a marathon in all 50 states and this year is running one in Africa and Asia to finish up all seven continents!)
Finally 8:00 came and Corral A was turned loose.  I was in the open corral, so I was in the back.  As I was walking up to the mat, I caught sight of Mom and J.
The first mile was pretty congested.  There were times that I actually walked in that first mile because I just didn’t have anywhere to go.  But that was fine by me.  This was a training run, remember?
I sincerely wish that I could remember details of races when I run them, but I just don’t.  I couldn’t tell what you what I ran past, where we went, what I saw… When we got back to J’s house afterwards, her husband was asking me if I ran past this or if I ran past that… I had no idea.  Observation is not my strong suit.
So yeah, like I said, my goal for this race was to run it as a training run for the upcoming Shamrock half in two weeks.  I had absolutely no intentions of racing this race.  And now?  Now I kind of wish I had.  Had I known then what I know now, I WOULD have.  I don’t know if it was the fact that it was a race, the weather, my kickass playlist, the pre-race nutrition, or what, but I was just FEELING it, man.  I was just clipping right along, never feeling like I was pushing out of my comfort zone (okay, that’s a lie, there were a couple of hills that kind of got me), walked through SEVERAL water stops (it warmed up quickly to the mid-50s by the time I finished, and I was working up a pretty good sweat.), and I still ended up with this.

An accidental PR!

Garmin stats 13.27 miles in 2:14:22 for a 10:08 pace/Official stats 13.1 miles in 2:14:22 for a 10:16 pace.
Considering that I didn’t race and ran a 10:08 on a course that looked like this
and finished strong like this
I’m feeling oh-so-confident that I can run <10:00 at Shamrock, which looks like this.
But this report is about Little Rock!  We’ll talk about Shamrock in two weeks.
So about Little Rock… even though I suck at remembering the course, everything that I do remember about the entire experience was fantastic.  It was SO well organized.  The spectators and community support were like no other.  The course support was perfect.  More than enough hydration stations offering both water and Gatorade(?).  I loved the smaller field size (around 4,000 half plus about the same number of full marathoners, I think.).  Even though it was pretty hilly for the last half, it seemed to be just the right combination of up and down.  There was quite seriously not one single thing I could suggest to improve the race, and I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND it to anyone and everyone.  I will most certainly be doing it again in the future.  And they had the coolest medal ever!
The “0” in the year is a spinning disco ball!  How freaking cool is that?!
And now you can feel free to close this screen because the rest of this is gonna be stuff that won’t be interesting to anyone else, but I want to make notes of it for my own future reference!
Prerace nutrition:  High carb, lowish fiber
Friday
Breakfast:  Caramel almond butter on whole wheat toast
Lunch:  PB/honey/banana on whole wheat bread with strawberries
Dinner:  Three slices of Papa Johns tomato/black olives/bell pepper pizza
No alcohol
Saturday
Breakfast:  Cascadia Farms cinnamon raisin granola with soy milk
Snack:  Blueberry crisp Clif bar
Lunch:  Burger King veggie burger and fries
Dinner:  Spaghetti marinara and bread
One glass of moscato
More peanut M&Ms than I care to admit to throughout the day
Sunday
Breakfast:  Cascadia Farms cinnamon raisin granola with dairy milk
30 min prerace:  5-hr energy drink
15 min prerace:  Espresso GU
Clif black cherry Shot Blok at miles 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, and 12
The most awesome, most random playlist ever:

Good Things Come to Those Who Procrastinate

About a month ago, I finally made up my mind that I wanted to sign up for the Little Rock Half Marathon only to learn that it was already sold out.  When I informed my Mom’s BFF, who had already offered to put me up that weekend, that I wouldn’t be coming, she was all, “My husband’s company is a sponsor.  Do you want me to see if he can get you in?”  Ummm… YEAH!  Well, he put in an email or two, but the best he could do was get me on a waiting list.  I never expected to hear anything else about it.

And then Sunday night, I got an email telling me there was a spot open!  After a quick text to Mom, who in turn sent a quick text to her BFF to make sure we were still invited, it was on.  I sent my registration in and secured my spot on Monday.

As of right now, I’m not planning on racing it.  I’ll probably throw some race-pace miles in there, but it’s only two weeks before Shamrock, and that’s the one that I’m really focusing on.  Little Rock will just be the most expensive training run ever.

Part of me wishes I was trained to run a full.  For one reason only.  THE MEDAL.  I can’t believe the marathon finisher’s medal.

No idea who this chick is.  I swiped the photo from the Little Rock Marathon Facebook page just to show you the medal.

Does that make anyone else wanna yell “YEAH BOOOOOOOYYYYY!!!!!!” a la Flavor Flav?

You Snooze, You Lose

Several weeks ago, I noticed that the Little Rock Half Marathon was very conveniently scheduled just two weeks before my A race, The Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon.

Little Rock is very conveniently located only three-ish hours from me.

My mother’s best friend very conveniently lives just outside of Little Rock and offered free room and board.

But still I went back and forth on whether or not I actually wanted to register.  Yesterday I decided that I did indeed want to.  So I sat down at my computer and clickity click click …

Well, damn.

Maybe I should amend my 2012 goals list to include “stop procrastinating” …