Thursday, December 20, 2012

Liebster Award

What IS a Liebster Award?
Here's what I have learned about the word liebster. Liebster is the German word meaning, "beloved" or "dearest." How nice that Lilwelly over at Operation Determination nominated me for this award; I feel honored! Thank you.


There are some rules to this award. Rules are the hard part for me and I'm not sure I'll be able to follow them all BUT I am going to share them nonetheless.

1. Write 11 random facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions by the person who nominated you.
3. Create 11 new questions.
4. Nominate 11 bloggers and mention them in your post.
5. Thank the person that nominated you and tell the people you've nominated.

11 facts about me?

What are your hobbies other than running/fitness?
Sweet or salty?
What is your dream vacation?
What is your favorite movie?
Who is your biggest supporter/motivator?
What is your favorite ice cream topping?
What is the best motivational quote that you have seen?
What is your favorite brand of running shoes or workout clothes?
What is your "go-to" meal on a busy night?
What is your favorite drink before/during/after a workout?
What is your dream race or event to participate in?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WW- ho ho ho

We received Santa hats and beards in our race packets for the Santa Hustle Half Marathon. It was too warm to wear them running but I made sure to snap at least one pic for your viewing pleasure, lol.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Santa Hustle Half Marathon - recap

This weekend I ran my 7th half marathon. It was theSanta Hustle Half Marathon. This was my first time running this event. I had heard great things about it and since I found a discount code online thought I'd add it to my winter running schedule.
We had to pick up our race packets on Saturday since there was no day of race packet pick up. I generally prefer to pick up ahead of time because I like to lay everything out the night before.


Having never ran this race before I wasn't entirely sure what to expect about the start or the course. I knew we needed to be at the start early due to road closure and parking but also because I would need to get in a short warmup. We were up by 4:30 and out of the house by 5:45. I had a couple of dry waffles for breakfast and lots of water. I felt really well and ready to run. We met our friends in the parking lot and got ourselves ready to head to the start line where we hit up the porta potties before getting in our 1 mile warmup. And of course we snapped some pre-race pics!

It was a really warm day so we "pimped" our Santa shirts for this race! And of course no Santa Hustle Half Marathon can be ran without fun socks!

My race plan was:
Miles 1-6- 9:20 pace
Miles 7-10- 9:10 pace
Miles 11-13- all out. I was aiming for 8:50 pace.

I studied this and a pace calculator that would let me know exactly what my splits and finish time would be if I stuck to the plan. I knew I was capable even if it meant faster at some points, slower at others. We lined up not too far from the front but not necessarily in the middle. It didn't take long for us to cross the mat and really before I knew it my Garmin chimed and I was done with the first mile. I knew it was a bit fast so I needed to scale back and settle in to a slower pace so that I would be able to go all out at the end. Things the first 6 miles went great. I felt fine, took my first gel at around 3.5 miles and took water at the water stop. The course wasn't totally flat but it wasn't rolling hills like we run on most of the time. Instead it was more like flat into gradual climbs. I didn't really notice them as being overly hard but they were kind of long. After the last gradual climb going out I knew the turn around was coming soon. I began seeing some of my friends and was happy with the pace I was holding.

The first six mile splits look like this-
Mile 1- 8:52
Mile 2- 9:24
Mile 3- 9:30
Mile 4- 9:35
Mile 5- 9:14
Mile 6- 9:38

I hit mile 6 and knew I should be around 56 minutes. Actual time at that point was 56:15. Still on pace. I wanted to wait just a bit to take my second gel so I took some water at the next stop and waited until 6.5 miles to gel up again. Once I did that I was pretty good to go. I chose to not put my earbuds in for this race or to listen to my own music. It was nice talking to those around me, cheering as I saw friends and the volunteers were extra cheerful so that helped keep me focused and moving right along. Around mile 8 my calf acted as though it might tighten up on me but I managed to push through as best I could with pace through mile 10. The road was a bit uneven so that bothered me a little and since it was an out and back some parts felt a little tight to me. That may have been because of the pace I was hitting and the fact that lots of other runners were at the same pace. I seemed to leap frog most of the same people those 5 miles. Here are what the splits for 7-10 look like-

Mile 7- 9:22
Mile 8- 9:27
Mile 9- 9:22
Mile 10- 9:50 (I decided midway thru mile 10 that I would take my final gel and actually slowed a little to do so).

I hit the 10 mile mark knowing that I needed to be there around 1:33 but since my watched showed 1:34:17 I needed to pick it up a little for the finish I wanted. I was very ready to go with ramping up my pace to 8:50 and going all out to the finish. I knew going into mile 11 that I needed to be there by 1:41. It was at that point that my calf began to really tighten up. Just around mile 11+ I looked at my watch to see 1:43:41. I was just over a minute or so where I needed to be and if I could just get my calf to loosen up a little I would have to push it to 8:20 pace to make up for any lost time.

I tried and I tried hard. I begged and pleaded with my calf to just loosen up and let me do this thing. Every single step was a jolt of pain. I stopped on the curb a few times to stretch and massage it and would try to run again. I ended up finishing mile 11 in 9:23 but by the time my watch chimed to tell me I was going into mile 12 I was positive the goal was out of reach. At that point I was walking and sobbing. One girl I had been leap frogging and gotten pretty far ahead of came up beside me and said, "You're almost there." I told her I knew that but was afraid it was going to just have to take longer than planned. She said, "You've been kicking my a$$ this whole race, don't let me kick yours now." It was a good laugh. I told her as much as I wanted to push myself to finish that I knew I was hurt and just didn't have it in me and I told her to go on.

My head wasn't ready to stop. My heart wasn't ready to stop. My calf was a different story.

I tried a few more times to stretch and massage my calf. I tried to tell myself if I had to do an A Skip or B Skip (drills we do in practice) just to get to the next mile I would. I was thinking of anything that would get e at a faster pace than the walking I was doing. I tried one more time to go fast and it just didn't happen. I stopped again to stretch and cry. I cried harder this time and the nicest man came along beside me. He asked if I was ok. At that point I am pretty sure that I told him no and that I had blown my calf and how this was going to be a huge PR race for me and how close I had worked my way to almost making it a sub 2 race. He asked my name and then told me how he was the brother in law of another runner that I know. It was nice to have a friendly face there that last mile. He encouraged me and told me I was doing great.

I felt like during that last mile with all the other people that had passed and said, "You're almost there, don't stop," that it was nice to have someone who understood that I was capable of doing this. It wasn't that I had pushed too hard or that I was out of breath or under trained and couldn't get to the finish line. It was that crap happens sometimes not just in training but in the middle of a race. That nice man stayed right there, walking with me during HIS race. I apologized and thanked him, and even told him that it wasn't right for me to hold him back. I wanted him to leave not because he was bothering me but because I felt guilty that I might be screwing up his race too! But he stayed right there. I told him how I had NEVER EVER even at my first race (5k in 49 minutes!) walked across a finish line and how I wasn't planning it this time, if I could help it. And when we rounded the turn back towards the finish line I had started running again.

I knew most of my friends had already finished and started crying again because I was almost embarrassed knowing they'd been sitting there a while probably wondering where I was already. When I saw them they cheered for me so loudly and as I passed all I could do was mutter, "I'm hurt and think I blew my calf." I'm sure they could tell by the shuffle I was doing headed towards the finish line. I grabbed a water, my medal and a candy cane before posting for a picture. The only other thing I wanted was a med tent. I needed a massage and ice pack more than anything else.

I checked my watch to see that my last splits were-
Mile 11-9:23
Mile 12-11:13
Mile 13-13:50
.31- 3:02 (yes this race was .21 too long!)

Finish time - 2:11:50

I found a volunteer and asked about a med tent. There wasn't one but we found an ambulance where I got a busted ice pack and a loose ace bandage. I was thankful because it was better than nothing. I located my friends and sat with them as we watched my husband and our other friends finish.

We posed for a few more pictures and then went to have a big pile o'pancakes!
hot hustle
hustle girl

Overall it was a wonderful day and I really did enjoy this race. While I may not have finished in my goal time or even PR'ed, I feel totally accomplished and honestly I am even more proud of myself for kicking butt and pushing through to finish when it would have been easy to just sit and wait for someone to pick me up. I'll have plenty of chances to reach my running goals. I'm thankful for a great coach who has shown me that patience will get me where I want to be. a husband who will get up at 4:30 am to go run 13.1 miles with me on a Sunday morning in December, and for the most amazing running friends I could ever have in my life.

It wasn't my day to PR but a race isn't always about the PR.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday motivation

This is mostly a reminder for me and I'm not sure it even classifies as motivation but I'm using it as such as I get over a minor bump in my little running road.


I'll be back tomorrow to give you a full recap of my 7th half marathon from yesterday.

Friday, December 7, 2012

December - goals and such

So, can you believe December is already here!? Time flies. I feel like this entire year has just flown by so fast. Here we are already a week into December and I have yet to discuss goals or plans or anything. Heck, my blogging is like it seems to have been much of the year...lacking! I'm hoping to really change that in 2013.

But for the remainder of 2012 I have goals and I'd like to share those.

First of all, I have a race coming up this weekend. Half marathon #7. It's sure to be a fun event! Santa Hustle.. a race I have not ran before. Apparently we get Santa shirts and beards! How fun! Some friends and I have plans to kind of dress up for the event. I'm looking forward to a good day. I haven't received race notes from my coach yet but look forward to those. Not sure if I will all out race or run for fun. I never want to get myself all worked up and nervous over a race. I do have a goal, always but so long as I cross that finish line standing up I will be thrilled! A finish is a finish.

December Goals-
Basically I want to keep plugging away at reaching my goals with running. I've made huge progress (in my opinion) since I started my new running adventure in October. I want to keep running forward with that and seeing what else I can accomplish.

I also want to make it through the remainder of the holiday season without outgrowing my pants. So far that's been accomplished but I won't lie. The scale isn't where I want it to be. I have more to post on this later. I wont' say that I plan to lose any through the holidays but if I can continue to maintain I will be happy. This means focusing on healthy choices and not letting all the holiday treats get the best of me.

I am also going to make it a point to get back to BodyFlow class on my rest day (or Weds when I am not resting) because I went this week and it was so so good for my body. I've neglected some of the regular stuff I did at the gym before because "my schedule was so tough" and I felt like I couldn't make it work. However, I am going to make it a point to make it work. I've never been one for scheduling excuses and I'm not going to start now.

Did you make any goals for December or do you hope to just survive the holidays?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Autumnfest 8k - race recap

Every Thanksgiving our local track club hosts an 8k race - the BlueCross Autumnfest 8k. I ran this race 2 years ago with my friend, Terri. It was an out and back then along Neyland Drive in Knoxville. 2 years ago was my first time running this particular race AND my first 8k. You can read all about that here. Last year we met up again on Thanksgiving morning and ran the 5/10k race across town with the Fleet Feet group. You can read about that here. I added those links to say it's interesting to see the progress over the years.

As you know, I started working with a coach in the beginning of October. Things are going really well with that and I am noticing a lot of progress in just the short time I have had with him. A day or two before the Thanksgiving day race my coach emailed me some race notes which included goal pace/finish time. I gotta admit that I am sometimes intimidated by his goals for me. I think this is due in part to how little confidence I have in myself to actually accomplish those goals/paces. But I'm having patience and trusting the training.

The day before race day a good friend/running buddy commented on my DM run asking if I wanted to run together on race day. Not wanting to jinx myself or give away my race plan/goal I messaged him to let him know what my coach wanted me to achieve on race day. I let him know that my coach wanted me to treat the race as my workout for the week since there was no other workout (speed work/Tempo, etc) planned for the week. And I let him know what my projected finish time was (44:20). No problem! D assured me that he was just treating the race as a training run for him and he'd be happy to pace me and push me to the goal.

So that was settled! I got my stuff laid out the night before the race. We planned to get up early to do my "breakfast" and get the kids going. We had to be there pretty early since I was volunteering at race day registration.

We got to the race in time for me to be dropped off at the registration tent. This was the craziest race day registration I have ever seen. It was just super busy! Most people picked up their packets the 2 opportunities they had prior to race day but for those that hadn't even registered the line was long to do so ON race day. I'm not sure I enjoyed that part of volunteering. I was stressing over getting out to do my warm up on time and whether I would be able to make a quick trip into the porta-potties or not (turned out not). I did manage to meet up with Michelle and Angela to get a quick little warm up in before finding Dave and discussing the plan.

This race also had a 2 mile walk and little gobbler run. Since the kids were with us and my Peanut boy saw other kids getting bibs and tees he decided HE wanted to run the Little Gobbler race too. We never carry cash but I had a $5 volunteer coupon from the morning so I handed it over and let the little guy run. He was happy to tell me he got 4th place! He was also super excited that we had matching turkey shirts.
[caption id="attachment_1665" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Peanut's first "road race"[/caption]

After his race, my warm up and the shedding of extra layers, Dave and I lined up (closer to the start than normal for me!) and got ready to run. The gun went off way sooner than I expected but once my feet and legs began moving I realized I was ready to run. D was very encouraging the entire race and was telling me my overall pace every so often. Now, I knew from hearing what others said that this course was hilly. It is Knoxville after all! However, I tried hard not to let that get all in my head. I've done some decent training.

Mile one went by quickly. 8:32
Mile two was a bit slower as I had to shed my arm warmers and gloves and did as my coach instructed (grabbed Powerade). 9:07
We were still on pace for our projected finish time going into mile 3. D was still letting me know I was doing great and that our pace was on track. I think I may or may not have to cursed him and Mr. Turkey regarding the awesome hills in this race. haha But mile 3 went just as well. 8:34
Mile 4 would be the last large hill. 9:11
And Mile 5 Dave really pushed me to give it my all to finish strong. 8:13

Here we are going up that killer hill. You'll notice one of us seems rather happy about this hill. The other one of us ran at least half the way up past the photo op before deciding to save some energy at the top to push through the end of the race.
[caption id="attachment_1666" align="aligncenter" width="300"] We love hills... or um, one of us does![/caption]

Some of our teammates chose not to run the race but were there for cheers and photos...
[caption id="attachment_1667" align="aligncenter" width="224"] Coming into the finish line![/caption]

As we were coming into the finish area D kept telling me to push and sprint as hard as I could past him. At one point I said, "NO, I can't this is it. And who the heck moved the finish line!?" But I managed to push hard and give it my all. I was never happier to be done with a race and to see my finish time. 43:46 by my Garmin! I came in UNDER my goal time.

Going into the race I had a feeling that the goal of 44:20 was just too lofty and not something I could do. I let the fact that the race was hilly put that thought in my head. I do speed work on a mostly flat surface but add hills to that and well, I lost a bit of confidence in myself. I was still in shock throughout the race that I was on pace for finishing close to goal. I was in even more shock post race when I exceeded my goal.

My family (hubby and kids) were also there at the finish line to watch me come through. I knew they were proud of me regardless of my finish time. It means so much that they come out to support me. Not just on Thanksgiving, but every day, I am thankful for them and what they've shown me through this whole journey.

I am also thankful for friends who give of themselves even when not asked. I had it in my head that I'd be running this race solo and that alone I may not reach my goal but I was going to try. I was happy (still am) that a friend offered to pace me and help me reach my goal that day. The running community is a great place to be and I am thankful for the friends I've made along the way by being a part of it.

After hugs with my friend, thanking him for a great race, finding my family and loving them for coming, I wanted to find my coach to show him how my race went. I was happy that he was as stoked as I was about it. I did a little cool down then got some food and found my family again. We hung out a while afterwards because there was a raffle. Bring canned goods for the needy and get a ticket for a chance to win a great door prize! Much to my surprise I won something (yay beer!?). haha

We also stayed for awards since we really weren't in a huge hurry. I was surprised again to hear MY NAME CALLED!!!
[caption id="attachment_1668" align="aligncenter" width="300"] 1st Place Athena!!! [/caption]
My first division WIN! 1st place with a gun time of 43:56. I could not have been happier. I won that lovely race day medal and a pumpkin cheesecake. Very fitting for a Thanksgiving Day race!
Lots of cheers and celebrating with friends and family.

And one more post race pic with some of the ladies on my Socialites team.
[caption id="attachment_1669" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Socialites Ladies[/caption]

Overall it was a great race and fabulous day.
I'm happy to look back on the progress I have made even since last year. 2 years ago this race was ran on a mostly flat out and back course and I finished in 54:51 for under 5 miles. This year I logged 5.01 miles with a time (Garmin) of 43:46. We are talking a good 10 minute plus PR for this race (by name, not course)! I'm most definitely not trying toot my own horn but rather say... that hard work pays off, big time. If you have a goal, go after it HARD! Work work work and KNOW that you can reach it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

G.O. H.A.R.D.

Apparently today is Globally Organized Hug a Runner Day. The cute image above has been floating around my Twitter and Facebook! I just had to share it with you guys and send some virtual hugs your way! If you haven't hugged a runner today you still have time!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ragnar Relay TN (recap)

A few months or so ago I saw a post by one of my fellow Toughies on FB that mentioned her Ragnar Relay team needing to fill an open spot for Ragnar TN. I immediately said to my husband, "I'm going to say yes to that!" And I did not having met my fellow Toughie or a single soul on the Relay Team. If you know me in real life you know that is way out of character for me. I'm a shy girl and very insecure so this whole stepping outside my comfort zone and doing this was huge. BUT I was overly excited. I was excited about the experience of the relay but also excited to go and spend those 30 something hours with strangers that would soon become my friends.

The team name was Team Cowbell.
I cannot say enough about how well organized our team captain, John, was with the entire event. I'm a totally disorganized person and to have put something like that together would have overwhelmed me majorly. But John is a pro and even if he says he isn't he surely must fake it because there was no lack in communication fro the beginning to the end (and beyond). And another of our fabulous teammates is just as organized and provided the team with a fabulous spreadsheet of pacing info before hand AND the entire time we were all running. Seriously impressed by these guys!

So, first things first. You know me. I like to get everything out and ready before the race and since this was an overnight thing I had to have a bag packed. I was seriously a big bundle of stress the night before trying to make sure I had everything.

I will also say that I had a bit of giddy nervousness the night before. Excited about the race, nervous about the race. Excited about meeting my team mates but nervous wondering if they would like me, think I was weird or what!?
I was up early the day of the race because I had to see at least one kid off to school before we hit the road to Chattanooga (actually Jasper, TN). Since I was in van 2 I didn't have to meet the team until this first major exchange where van 1 would hand off to van 2.

Hubby and I got there pretty early but I'd always rather be early than late. We walked around, used the potty (they were fresh and clean!!) and let Peanut kick his football a while. We also browsed the Ragnar tent to see what goodies I might want to pick up after the race. After walking around a bit more and more vans started rolling in. We were standing at my car when I heard, "Hey Kimberly!" Ahhh yay! It was John and the rest of my van 2 team mates! The meeting with everyone went well. We had a few minutes to load everyone up, potty and then take our night reflective gear and lights to check in, go to a safety briefing and snap a few pre-race pics. We were also able to chat it up with van 1 as we waited on runner 6 to hand off to John.
John did a fine job killing his first leg which was a doozy with a killer hill to start.

While we were waiting and cheering John on his leg we got ourselves inked up Ragnar style.
[caption id="attachment_1650" align="aligncenter" width="300"] I'm not entirely ashamed that I didn't wash it off until Tuesday after the race. haha [/caption]

Next up was Carolyn, then Randall, John (E), Kelley and then myself bringing up the rear. I tried to get as many pics of everyone as I could. Between the hours of 4pm and 8am we had to sport of lovely reflective gear and headlaps/butt lights. This was quite fun with running (or not)! Below is a pic of the rest of us running one of our legs. I'm the one in the dark. That was the handoff from my leg (12) back to van 1.

I was runner 12 which meant I had legs 12, 24 and 36.
My first leg (12) was 7.9 miles with an elevation loss of 1250 ft and a gain of 374 ft, net elevation change -876. I was not at all worried about this leg as I have done a half marathon totally downhill before. I knew my legs would be trashed before starting the flat portion. My coach wanted me to stick to my comfortable pace for this leg (9:30mm) however that was quite a feat since it was downhill. My overall pace ended up being 8:41mm. I ran this leg in just under 1 hour 9 minutes. I saw the most amazing sunset coming down the "hill" and only had one kill! I decided to count my one kill and not even care that one guy passed me because the one hill I had was a girl in a tutu. ;) As far as the rest of this run... well, it was fine until the sunset and it got dark. By that point my van had to make it to the exchange so I was alone. The roadway I was running on was rather narrow until I got into the little town, which was scary because I wasn't familiar at all with where I was going and only hoped the course was as well marked as I had seen other legs being marked (it was). Soon I saw the exchange ahead and could hear my team cheering for me. I handed off to Richie in van 1 and made my way to my team mates. We were ready for food and rest before we had to be at the next exchange and ready to run again.

And food I did have!
[caption id="attachment_1652" align="aligncenter" width="300"] mmm chicken burrito get in my belly![/caption]
I admit that I was kinda nervous about the choice of Mexican during a run/race because I hadn't informed my team mates that I held a prestigious award with my running club (Most Likely to Wander out of the Woods Missing an arm warmer/sock) for my "issues." But I played it safe with my choice and skipped the beans and immediately took my Imodium before my next leg.

We drove to the next exchange and from what I can remember we weren't allowed to be too early or we'd be penalized. We hung out in a parking lot nearby and tried to catch a little rest. I'm not sure I actually slept but I did close my eyes, wrap my blanket over my head and attempted to catch a few zzz's. The middle of the night legs were next. They were the ones that made me most nervous. Everyone did well! It had gotten cold but I was prepped and ready to go by the tie my 2:30am run rolled around. As soon as Kelley handed off to me I was off. Again I was told by my coach to stick to my comfortable pace (9:30mm) but 1. I was cold and 2. It was dark and lonely especially after I passed the only few people out there that started with me and my van wasn't really allowed to make much noise or really leap frog me given that we were in a little bit of a residential area. There were a few homes from what I could see but by the sounds I heard (BIG barking dogs, anyone!?) I knew there were more than what was visible.
I basically just kept my eyes on the road and ran. I didn't have my music for this leg so I could hear the barking of dogs. i was glad this leg was only 3.6 miles because I didn't want to be out there alone in the dark for long. I remember the one last time my van yelled, "Go Kim!" out the window that the girl just a few feet in front of me seemed a bit unhappy to be out there. She muttered a "yeah yeah" and I passed her. I was excited for one final kill on that leg. I told myself to just keep running as I got closer to the turn off. Once I made the right turn headed towards the next big exchange things got really dark and all I could see was my breath in front of me. I wanted to really push myself hard to finish but in the end the girl I killed got me back! lol Turns out she was on a team with some friends from home.
I ended up finishing 3.48 miles in 30:14 for leg 24 again around that same 8:41 pace. I was proud to have ran fast but hoped I hadn't worn myself out too much for my final leg of the day.
We finished at a high school gym where we were able to shower and catch some sleep on the gym floor. The shower was nice but I never was able to get totally warm so sleep on the gym floor wasn't much. Between my chattering teeth and the constant slamming doors I think I might have napped for a solid hour before we had to be up around 6am.

Once the group was back up Saturday morning we headed for grub and coffee before heading to the last major exchange to finish up our Ragnar Relay experience.We were able to get a group shot with everyone except the one runner still on the course.
[caption id="attachment_1653" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Team Cowbell[/caption]
I honestly didn't remember posing for this picture when I saw it posted on FB. I must not have had all my coffee by that point.
Exchange of the lovely orange Ragnar slap bracelet (aka baton) was made and once again van 2 and John were on the way to finish up Ragnar!

The rest of the day was spent cheering on all the runners in van 2. Everyone ran so well and FAST! I was so proud of our van. We had a blast all day ringing the cowbells! So many of the legs were ran in such beautiful areas I had never been to or seen before. I'd love to go back that way and take in all the scenery again!

The closer my final leg (36) got the more nervous I was. It had gotten a bit warm outside and I was extremely worried about all the turns on my leg. It wasn't a very long run, 5.9 miles that I had told myself all along was actually 5.6. There were a total of l7-19 turns. I was running well and had a couple of early kills. The course was mostly flat with a slight incline midway through. The most annoying thing was the stoplights I had to wait for in order to cross the road. I think when I looked back at my Garmin I lost a total of 4-6 minutes just waiting to cross streets! That is crazy for running but insane during a "race." One guy caught up with me towards the end and we both ended up missing one of the turns. This added about a quarter mile to the race for us. All along I was thinking it was 5.6 miles I was running so imagine my surprise when my Garmin read 6.1. eek. I was giving myself high fives for being a Ragnar Over Achiever and adding a half mile to the run. Turns out it wasn't the case but I still kind of felt bad for making my team wait longer while I had made the mistake of missing a turn. Thankfully all was well and I was on track to the finish in no time. It was a lot of fun running through down town Nashville though it was crowded!

As I rounded the last turn and saw my team mates I was so excited! I had ran a Ragnar relay! Carolyn and Kelley were the first ones I saw because Carolyn had my "Got Cowbell?" shirt ready for me to just slip on. Thank you for that! We all ran in together with our families. I had already warned them that I might be a blubbering mess at the end but turns out I was far too excited (and tired probably) to do any crying at the finish!

By the looks of the picture it appears the finish is up a slight hill. I don't recall that if it was. I was so excited to finish this race with such an amazing group of people! We hung out, got medals and took more pics before grabbing brews and pizza (best post race treat ever!).

The overall experience was great. I'll have some final thoughts on it and more pics to share soon. I know it's long and I thank you for sticking with me to the end. It's taken me a week to recap this far and while I would love to break it up leg by leg I'm sure you'll be thankful I didn't! One thing I will say before my next post is that this whole thing was the most fun I have experienced in running so far and I cannot wait to do it again!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

[caption id="attachment_1643" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Every single day[/caption]
props to Lift Your Sole for posting this to FB today!

And another note, still working on Ragnar Relay recap. Hang tight, friends!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ragnar Relay TN - finisher

I have mia in blog land the last week or so due to sick kiddos, trying to keep myself well and training for upcoming races. This weekend I had the opportunity to participate in Ragnar Relay Tennessee with an amazing group of runners. I can't wait to share my experience with you!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

CrossKnox 10 Miler - recap

First of all let me remind you again that I am awful about blogging. I sit down to start writing and stare at a blank screen for the longest time.

Sunday I ran a local 10 mile race.
As you know, I have a running coach now. I got my workouts for the week and Sunday was marked off in red letters with a note saying he would talk to me later in the week about my race plan. I got the email Friday afternoon about what my pacing on Sunday for the race should be like. I studied it all weekend and even went as far as to write it on my arm for the race.

[caption id="attachment_1630" align="aligncenter" width="217"] what was left post race of my "pacing tattoo" (haha)[/caption]

With the threat of rain as a result of Hurricane Sandy moving up the east coast I tried hard to just focus on the fact that it was going to be cool. I did my best to ignore the 30% chance of rain the forecast. I even convinced myself that there was no way we'd be pelted with rain for the race. However, when I woke up and looked out the front door Sunday morning it was damp. In fact, it was so damp that you could basically say that 30% chance of rain turned into something more. But I was hopeful that the rain cloud about my little city wasn't following us to Knoxville.

I was to do a 1/2 - 1 mile warm up before the race but my main concern (since I had been a while and had 2 bottles of water) was finding a bathroom. I wasn't familiar with the race start location so I asked around about a bathroom only to be told that the city hadn't made the porta potty delivery for the race just yet. Yikes! We were only about 20 minutes before starting time. Luckily there were 2 lone porta potties in the park so I walked to them and did my thing. I counted the walk down and back as my warmup because by the time I had gotten back to the tent where my buddies were hanging out waiting on the start it had started pouring rain. Lovely.

Hubby and the kids had come with me so they could be at the finish. Hubby snapped one picture of me pre-race.

I lined up with friends in the middle of the pack. I knew what my pacing plan was like but knew the first little bit of the race was downhill and I was instructed to start slow. It was raining pretty steady at the start, down hill course on a greenway that was covered in leaves... yes, let's go slow.

The goal for miles 1-5 was nothing faster than 9:40 pace. I don't recall a whole lot about the course other than the fact that within the first mile on a narrow greenway (slick and covered in fallen leaves) a lady with a stroller comes up behind us saying, "Watch out, I have a stroller and don't want to catch your heels." I was a wee bit irritated by her. I couldn't go faster to get around her because of the people around me and the course. I also knew that speeding up just to get around her was not part of the plan. I got warm around 1.5 miles and decided to take off my jacket and at mile 3.25 I was instructed to take a Gu (my fuel of choice this race was PowerGels). Things were going well until the rain started getting heavier around mile 5 when it felt like the bottom had dropped from the sky. I was already wet and since I had chucked my jacket to my hubby at mile 4.5 there wasn't a single thing I could do about getting even slightly dry. So I just stuck to my plan and kept running. Miles 1-5 splits:
Mile 1- 9:55
Mile 2- 9:39
Mile 3- 9:45
Mile 4- 9:46
Mile 5- 9:39

The pace was suppose to speed up from mile 6-8. I knew at around mile 6.5 (no later but maybe sooner) I would need to take my 2nd gel. It was at that point I decided to get it out and start taking it. I wasn't sure how taking so many gels would work for me since I don't typically use that method for fuel or even take that much. This is something I am learning to get use to though. I had not used Powerbar Powergels before the race on Sunday which I know is a huge ruler breaker. Most runners will tell you not to try something new (or wear new gear ON race day but I'm not much of a rule follower sometimes, lol. Mile 6-8 were uneventful unless you count me wetting my pants, which seems to happen more on longer runs than it use to. Oops. These miles were suppose to be ran around a 9:30 pace. I guess if you look at my splits and do the math you could say I averaged such a pace. haha So close!
Mile 6- 9:19
Mile 7- 9:43
Mile 8- 9:23

That last 2 miles were suppose to be my fastest but I knew that there was a slight upgrade/hill for most of mile 8-9+ and it was on a part of the greenway that is my least favorite. I think the reason I dislike this stretch so much is because it is always at the end of my run and you never realize going out that it's a slight grade. My goal pace for these 2 miles was 9:10. I was trying really hard but given the fact that I was soaked, cold and had already wet myself not once but 3 times (yes, 3.. each time I slowed to take a Gel!) I was done at mile 8.5. I seriously had to fight myself (my brain) really hard to just keep running. I hadn't walked any of this race unless you count between mile 6-7 where one of my water bottles flew off my belt and I had to back shuffle to pick it up off the ground. So, the goal was just to keep running until I got across the finish line. I really really did make an attempt to push the pace in the last 2 miles to meet the pace goal. Truth is I stink at pacing myself but I have a feeling I will grow to like it or at least make it work. Splits for the end:
Mile 9-9:46 (I admit to having a moment where I wanted to walk so I slowed at mile 9 to take a gel and came to a little shuffle. Had it not been for that I think I'd have been at 9:10 or at least under 9:20 for this mile)
Mile 10- 9:10 ( I HIT IT SPOT ON!!!)

Overall my pacing wasn't totally off. I came really really close to my overall finish goal which was around 1:35.
10.01 miles finished in 1:36:09

This race was a point to point which was nice. There was only one tiny strip on the greenway that we had to go out and turn around to come back on. It was all flat and included a water stop. Not bad at all. I was familiar with most of the course as I had ran on a great deal of it. There wasn't a huge amount of scenery but things were familiar to me. There was no crowd support at all other than the lovely KTC Volunteers. I didnt' necessarily mind that part of it since I had my own thoughts and music going. This was my first 10 mile race (YAY automatic PR) and I really enjoyed it. The distance was enough so that I could push myself when I needed too but not so long that I was completely over it at the end. I'd like to say that the reason I wasn't overly sore is due to how fit I am but I don't want to sound like I'm stuck on myself (proud, maybe!?).

Overall I felt great for having done my first 10 mile race and rainy run all on the same day while finishing within one minute of my goal pace!

[caption id="attachment_1632" align="aligncenter" width="225"] CrossKnox 10 miler (1:36:09)[/caption]

Monday, October 22, 2012

Motivational Monday

I'm gearing up now for another short/easy run this evening. I am super happy to report that my training last week went well. I'm also excited about the next 2 weeks of training. I got my schedule Saturday evening and have been excited ever since I looked at it. I'm pretty sure that means I have gone completely insane. Hope y'all had a great weekend and are off to great things this week!

Monday, October 15, 2012

AllState 13.1 Atlanta - Race Recap Part 2

So where did I leave off??

Ahh yes, the 3:30am alarm clock. My running coach advised me a few days before my race to get up 3 hours before the race, walk for 1/4 mile and then have a big breakfast. I knew I was going to have to be up earlier than normal for a race because we had a bit of a drive to the location. I had not ever gotten up, dressed and then gone out for a walk nor was I a fan of a big pre-race breakfast. However, I wanted to take his advice.

So, I was up at 3:30. My husband and I went out and walked about a half mile before loading in the car and heading to the race. Big breakfast? I had a whole bagel! And about 15 minutes before we arrived at the race site I ate a couple of fig newtons. That counts for big, right? My fear with a "big" breakfast was my stomach issues. I did take my regular dose(s) of Imodium. I found this to be most important especially since I had broken out some new arm warmers for that race.

We got to the race with enough time to spare, however we missed the chance to use the porta potties because the line was entirely too long. I was afraid to not have one last pee but what do ya do?? Anyway, we were able to meet up with the whole group for some great pictures. We weren't all running together so it was nice to snap a few pics pre-run.

[caption id="attachment_1613" align="aligncenter" width="300"] 8x AWESOME! [/caption]

I went into this race with one major goal... finish and of course PR. Last year I ran this same race in 2:23 and change. My half marathon PR was 2:10 and change. Prior to my injury in the spring/summer I had a goal of sub 2, however I knew the closer I got to race morning that goal was not going to be met at this race. NO problem! I was still going to PR. I wanted a 2:05 but told myself so long as I came in under 2:09 I would be happy. So, knowing all that I lined up behind the 2:15 pacer. I didn't want to go out with the 2:00 pacer and be too fast to start. Any runner knows this is the smart way to play at the starting line, right!?

My coach also suggested that I take a GU every 35 minutes of my run. I did some thinking the few days leading up to the race and since I don't GU (I use chews) I would take 2-3 chews every 35 minutes and alternate water and sports drink when they were available so I didn't carry my own water for the race. Everything worked perfectly for me there. I took 2 chews every 35 mins, which was roughly every 3.75 miles. I had no stomach issues at all and I found that the first 35 mins I NEEDED those chews because I had gotten hungry.

Splits for the first few miles--
Mile 1 - 9:54
Mile 2 - 9:33
Mile 3 - 9:32
Mile 4 - 9:16

My goal pace was "easy" which for me is around 9:45 min/mile. I knew after the first two miles I was on target with my pacing to run comfortably as well as for meeting my goal for the finish. It was really dark to start the race so I don't really recall much about the course for the first little bit because I was so concerned with watching my footing and making sure I didn't trip. There was some huge speed bumps on one of the streets but thankfully the race organizers had spotlights on them so that helped! However the road was still a little rough and TIGHT! I brushed one girl on the arm as I ran past her and got a real snotty, "Excuse you, b*&%$!" And seriously, I barely barely brushed her and even said, "excuse me." Runners or walkers even, if you are going to walk or run slower than the pacers you have lined up with the very least you can do is stay to the right of the road. This is not just for the safety of faster runners but YOUR safety. Imagine if someone faster than me had truly hit her!? It could have been a mess.

I don't recall much about the next few miles except that when I hit between miles 6-9 I knew my friends would be cursing me and my, "Oh no, it's not hilly at all," description of the race course. Ha! Hi, friends! Yes, I know.. it was hillier than I led on. I always say, "But I run in Knoxville so hills don't scare me." and really hills don't scare me. Now, I don't like them any better than most people but to me Atlanta is more of a gradual grade than a huge climb like so many of the hills around my neck of the woods. Either way my goal was to just run those hills since last year I really didn't. I succeeded.

Splits again--
Mile 5 - 9:26
Mile 6 - 9:34
Mile 7 - 9:24
Mile 8 - 10:07 (took a little longer hydration break)
Mile 9 - 9:40

I knew the ONE hill I wanted to conquer was the one at mile 9 that so many people I heard complaining about last year. I did just that. And that makes me happy. The next few miles were run between a park (which was sidewalks rather than the paved greenway I am use to) and kind of hilly climbs. I only had one small issue around mile 11 when my bladder decided to let things go right there in my pants. I guess that beats my Imodium failing me and having to use my arm sleeves. Positives people, always the positives! Mile 11 was slow as a result and I knew I was going to have to make up for the lost time. I was still well within PR range though so I was ok mentally at that point.

I took my last 2 chews at mile 11 as my coach advised and just told myself it was 2 miles to the finish so give it all I had. Just before mile 12 I got a horrible side stitch. I don't know how I ran through it but I did. I also had started feeling a hot spot/blister on my right foot around mile 9 but fought hard to ignore it even though it felt as though it was ripping apart in my shoe. I was sure between the side stitch and the spot on the bottom of my foot that I would slow way down the last two miles and miss my PR but somehow I pushed hard and just told myself, "DO it!"

Final splits--
Mile 10 - 10:02
Mile 11 - 10:34
Mile 12 - 9:30
Mile 13 - 9:44
final .19- 1:33 (7:59)

I wasn't sure if anyone else in the group would be done before me so I didn't cross the finish line looking for anyone. In fact the only thing I even looked at crossing the line was my Garmin. 2:07:47. I had PR'd that race by 16 minutes!!! That's huge. It was only a 3+ minute distance PR but a 16 minute course PR. I think the only reason I even shed a tear at the finish this time was because I was in pain, not my hip! but my foot. I couldn't wait to pull off my shoe and sock to inspect the bottom of my foot. Luckily the blister was not as huge as I imagined it would be. I sat for a a few minutes waiting for others in my group to cross. I ate a banana and drank some Powerade as well as chocolate milk. Once I got some food in me I decided to put my shoe back on, have a post race prof pic and wait for the rest of my group. Everyone raced well, sorry I don't remember specific times but everyone finished and collected a medal! Yay!

Here are a few more pics from the day...

[caption id="attachment_1615" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Half marathon #6 [/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1616" align="aligncenter" width="300"] new bling for us both![/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1617" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Friends![/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1618" align="aligncenter" width="300"] AllState 13.1 Atlanta Marathon - finishers!![/caption]

Thanks so much for reading my recap so far! I will post some final thoughts on a few things at some point. Right now I have to get myself to bed for a very early morning workout!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Three Things Thursday

I woke up this morning thankful for another day even if I did oversleep and walk out the door without breakfast, coffee or my gym bag. I'm blessed to have a husband that didn't mind being woken up by my car (I swear) randomly calling his number! He came to my rescue with breakfast, coffee and my gym bag. Now onto my 3 things...

1. Some have asked about my "major award" post from last night. haha Well, y'all who have read me long enough know my need for Imodium pre-race or long run. I've accepted that I am THAT runner who may or may not have to randomly wander into the woods for a place to excuse myself midrun. I am also THAT runner who still to this day, no matter how many times I've been unfortunate enough to have to use the woods, refuses to carry TP with me. You would think I'd learn by now. Anyway, one day last fall my poor husband had to come to my rescue (again!) and surrender an arm sleeve because my Imodium failed me. oops. It's been a big joke with my best group of running friends for quite some time now. Especially since a little road trip and half marathon IN THE WOODS this summer where my Imodium again failed me. Our social run last night was "Homecoming" and included superlatives. And now you know what I won and why. No shame here. I'm considering framing my certificate. SO proud!

2. I love a good giveaway. I've hosted a giveaway or two myself. I try to enter as many as I can and occasionally I win! More than entering a good giveaway I LOVE when I win. I was excited last week when Katie from Mom's Little Running Buddy Tweeted me to check her blog for an update. Super excited! I won my choice of a leather warrior bracelet from Endorphin Warrior. I have had my eyes on these for a while but never got around to ordering one. And then, yay, Katie had a giveaway and I won! Score. Here is my bracelet..
[caption id="attachment_1606" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Relentless. [/caption]

3. I fought really hard all week last week to NOT get sick. I went through 2 boxes of Emergen-C (which is great btw) and a tube of Zicam to avoid catching anything the morning of my half marathon. I wanted to believe all that stuff would work. My kids had been sick with upper respiratory infections early in the week. I threatened their lives if they breathed on me. Fine, I really didn't but I begged them not to share their germs. You'll find out soon how I felt race morning. For now, I must go get some rest. Turns out I have a running coach now and a new training plan!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Race Weekend Recap - Part 1

First of all let me say that this is just going to have to be broken into two post because it is, in fact, two parts. The first part is the social part of my race weekend in Atlanta.

I have been lucky enough to make some great friends on My Fitness Pal. Earlier this year a group of 6 of us decided to have a meet up in Atlanta while running a half marathon. I had already made plans to run this race last year after I finished. Meeting these women and having a weekend in Atl to have fun AND race was just a bonus.

Things started on Friday with dinner...

After dinner we went to find some place for dessert. I decided on no cake but had a drink. I wish I had taken a picture of that thing. It was SO good! I called it a frou frou coffee cocktail and I could definitely go for one now! The night was fun getting to know new friends!

The next morning (Saturday) we met up at a place called The Flying Biscuit. Because my hubby, the kids and I had gotten up early and already had breakfast with my mom I decided to eat on the lighter side at the Flying Biscuit. But look what I had...
[caption id="attachment_1597" align="aligncenter" width="300"] mmm orange french toast![/caption]

After we ate we headed over to pick up our race bibs, bags and shirts. The nice part of this was that it went very quickly (smaller race)! Also we had received a virtual goody bag earlier in the week that contained what would normally be loads of paper advertisements to other races. I'm hoping my local track club utilizes this in the very near future. It was so nice to not have to bring all that garbage home and trash it!

The girls and I all hung out at their hotel room on Saturday until we broke for dinner. I had planned to hang with them and have dinner but had already used some baby sitting services via the grandparents and felt pretty guilty about it so I decided to skip dinner. I have kind of a pre-race dinner ritual anyway. I don't usually do pasta with rich sauces but rather a piece of grilled chicken and a baked potato (IF I can help it). Since I wanted to PR this race I opted to go my way.

After dinner I was exhausted from the day's activities. I just wanted to go home to get my stuff ready and get in bed.

And with that we were off to bed. We had a 3:30 am alarm set!!

Stay tuned for the excitement of race day and to see if I got that PR!

Monday, October 8, 2012

SpiBelt Giveaway winner!

I had a fabulous weekend and a great race experience! I would love to tell you all about that right now but I'm still trying to get it all down so it's taking me just a bit longer than expected.
What I do want to announce is my SpiBelt giveaway winner.
I used with the numbers 1-9 and it selected #3.


I follow you on Twitter. @RealInto

So, Carli, please email me at with your address and I will get the SpiBelt out to you asap!

And for everyone else if you want to check out another great blog please visit Carli @RealInto and say hi! Thanks to everyone for entering! Be sure and stay tuned for my race recap(s) and pictures!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

One more week

Today marks one week to go until I run my 6th half marathon.

My week in training (if you call it that) was an easy one.

Monday- BodyPump class
Tuesday- 5.15 mile run (46 mins/8:57mm)
Wednesday- 4 mile walk w/hubby
Thursday- rest
Friday- BootCamp and Core Challenge
Saturday- 8 mile run (1:17:30/9:41mm)
Sunday- rest

I didn't make a running/workout schedule in advance for this week but had planned to run easy. I guess easy this week meant less mileage! This is the only week in a while that I didn't log 4 runs or take my spinning class. I didn't miss it since I was able to change some things up and added a brisk walk and talk with my hubby. We rarely get to take the time to do that and it was nice.

This coming week I am not real sure what to expect. So far this is my plan for the week..
Monday- run with TRR 3-4 miles easy
Tuesday- Spinning or easy 3 miler
Weds- BodyPump
Thursday- walk
Friday- rest
Saturday- rest
Sunday- Half marathon #6

I've shared before that I have a specific goal for this race. I feel like sharing my goals with others is helpful. I like the support I gain from setting goals and sharing them. So what if I don't reach my goal? Should I be ashamed? Will others ridicule me if I don't meet the goal I said a million times I wanted to make? Heck no and no way. By sharing my goals I am keeping myself honest, especially when I say that in the end with a race the goal is always to give it my best and finish. And if I didn't announce my goal then perhaps that leaves the door wide open after the fact for me to say, "eh, well this was my goal but ...." and that's just not me.

So, my goal for Saturday is to run the hardest, best race I can and give it my all. My time goal before my injury was sub 2 hours on the half but now I'd love to shoot for 2:05 BUT also be realistic and realize that anything under 2:10 is STILL a PR for 13.1 miles. And on this particular course a year ago I finished in 2:23 with it being only my 2nd half marathon. I've worked hard and ran a lot, making some huge strides in my running over the course of the year even with my injury. So, that being said I feel like I have a good shot at making my goal or at least setting a course and/or distance PR for this weekend.

I'll try my best to blog this week and not be so boring. Also stay tuned next week for a race recap AND don't forget to check out my SpiBelt giveaway that ends on October 8th!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - shoe love

[caption id="attachment_1578" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Makes me happy! [/caption]

Sunday, September 23, 2012

2 weeks and a giveaway

In two weeks I will be running my 6th half marathon. I ran this same race last year as my 2nd half marathon. I'm really excited as it's going to be a fun girl's weekend but also because I've put in a lot of hard work and hope to set a new PR.

After coming off an injury following my marathon I wasn't sure what this year would hold as far as running and PRs but I'm happy to report that running has been great and my hip has felt pretty well on most of my runs. I'm loving the cooler temps and gorgeous weather days we've been blessed with here in East Tennessee the last week or so and definitely hope that Georgia is blessed with the same 2 weeks from today when I head down to run 13.1 ATL.

As you know I am a procrastinator but I am happy to report that today I am going to tell you about a product that I've been using this year on all my long runs. Running long distance it is necessary for me to carry some form of "fuel" and also have a place to store my car key, extra Imodium and even the emergency TP these days as well as my iPod on the rare occasion I decide to listen to music on my run. So what does someone like me do with all that stuff while I am running? I carry it in my SpiBelt.

I purchased my SpiBelt at the expo for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. I was a little leery of using a new item for a race when I had not previously done a long run with it but the girl at the expo gave me her word that it would stay in place. So having that information I decided to give it a go. I purchased the polka dot belt and a couple of the loops for my bib so that I wouldn't have to pin it on my shirt. I loved that my belt wasn't plain and was colorful enough to match almost any running outfit I wore! And of course having the loops for my bib was nice and kept my shirt from being snagged by safety pins.

I was able to stash my phone, sports beans, toilet paper, a good luck charm, my iPod and extra Imodium in my SpiBelt for race day. I was also able to use my Amphipod clip and bottle to my belt should I need the extra water. I was surprised at how much room was in my SpiBelt as well as the fact that it really DID NOT move up and down on my waist. I love using it on my long runs and plan to wear it for my half marathon coming up in a couple of weeks.

After my marathon the folks at SpiBelt sent me a red SpiBelt to host a give away on my blog. I've promised you all for way to long to get this up and now I am finally doing it! YAY!

So here's the deal... I will leave this giveaway open until October 8th at noon (Eastern). Now, what do you have to do to get in on it?

~ Go to SpiBelt look around and tell me what you like? Come back here and comment!

For extra entries:
~Follow my blog!
~Follow me on Twitter!
~ Like SpiBelt on FB Here
~ Follow SpiBelt on Twitter Here
~ Tweet or post on your blog about this giveaway.

Come back here and leave a separate comment for everyone you did! Good luck!