Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Bling in 2018 (WW # 176)

Since I won't be running another race until January, it felt like the right time to wrap up my year in bling. Even though I ran a few other races of varying lengths, I'm devoting this post to the medals earned at the half and full marathon distances.  .

This is nothing but a quick [shameless] show me the medal post.  One can never have enough bling -- or so they say.   I'll be reviewing my year a little later.  I've linked each medal with its corresponding race recap if you are interested in reading more detail.  Please feel free to post your Yearly Wraps here on the Weekly Wrap as we wind down the year.

First Light Half Marathon (#50)

The medals and awards were hand crafted by adults with disabilities.

Callaway Gardens Half Marathon (#51)

A beautiful but hilly run deep in the Georgia woods.  It's a favorite race I keep on repeat.

Mercedes Half Marathon (#52)

This was the pinnacle of humbling humidity.
 But, it's always a fun time when Wendy and I are together.

Montgomery Half Marathon (#53)

Calf cramps get me every year at this race.  This year was no exception.

Raccoon Mountain Half Marathon (#54)

This was an add-on to a hiking trip with middle son.
Not even measuring 12 miles, it became the half that wasn't.

Centerpoint Half Marathon (#55)

Running this race several times in a neighboring town,
I'd never placed...until this year - with my worst finish.

Tear Drop Half Marathon (#56)

Run smack in the middle of marathon training, I was blessed with a shiny new PR!

REVEL Rockies Marathon (#4)

I hoped to set a marathon PR, but the high altitude had other ideas for me.
Teresa and I had fun but spent our weekend trapped in transportation hell.

RnR Chicago Half Marathon (#57)

The one where it rained and rained and rained...
Meeting so many blogging friends made this race all worthwhile!

Candyland Half Marathon (#58)

Although a last minute substitution, this race was big on Christmas cheer.

And that's a wrap!

Do you have a favorite medal or race experience from 2018?

Wendy and I host this linkup for
the sole purpose of supporting active women.
We thank you for linking your 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Christmas in Candyland (WW #175)


Candyland Half Marathon
Andalusia, AL
December 8, 2018
Half Marathon # 58


Alternate Post Titles:
  • I Thought It Would Be Flat
  • The One Where I Dropped My Gloves in The Toilet
  • I Didn't Get To Use My Polar Slide Ticket
  • Bubble Snow...It's A Thing
  • A Pain in The Ass
  • Christmas Cookies, My Favorite

After tweaking my ankle last week and paying the neighbor dog's vet bill [bad dog, Rocky!], we decided not to follow through with our pricey Mississippi Gulf Coast Half Marathon racecation.  Thankfully, I had not registered and had found an option closer to home.  I ran 5.5 miles Tuesday morning to test my ankle.  

Mailbox Greetings!  (Whew--Ankle Feels Good!)

My ankle felt fine during the run but I decided not to run again as it was still hurting randomly during the week.  The forecast for the Candyland Half Marathon was 100% chance of heavy rain.  Sigh.  But by Friday,  they reported it shouldn't start until mid morning so I paid $45 for last minute registration. Sweet.   [See what I did there?  Candy...Sweet...]

A nice vintage 3/4 sleeve T-shirt

Christmas in Candyland is a popular event in Andalusia with attractions, rides, activities, lights, etc.  Their festive City Hall was open where Santa and Mrs.Claus greeted runners upon arrival.  And warm, clean bathrooms...   In our race bag, we received a cute I Ran With Santa! shirt and a ticket for the Polar Slide among other things.  Sadly, the attractions were closed due to weather -- I was SO going down that slide!  

Ready or not!

At the start Santa and Mrs. Claus lined up with the runners and after their kiss, we were off.  It began to snow.  Shooting from the tops of the old fashioned lamp posts were bubbles.  What a cute touch!  It was a damp, raw, windy mid 40's; the feels-like in the 30's.  With the first step, my right piriformis muscle hurt.  I searched my brain trying to figure out why and couldn't come up with anything.  It was perfectly fine on my last run.  I hoped after warming up, it would feel OK.  I also developed a side stitch in the first mile.  Ugh -- I know better than to drink coffee before a race!  Things were not looking good.

Being this far south, I thought Andalusia would be flat.  Ha Ha Ha.  I mean, Ho Ho Ho.  That's what I get for thinking.  I made it up legendary Hospital Hill and managed to shake my side stitch, but the wheels soon fell off my Candyland bus.  The combo of hills and the pain in my ass were too much.  When we looped through the town square at mile 4; very close to the start line, I thought about quitting.  I continued on.  After all, I had driven all this way.  Surely I could finish?

I slowed considerably.  By mile 9, I incorporated walk breaks to get relief.  The route was quite lovely through the quaint holiday bedazzled town and outlying neighborhoods.  It had gotten colder and the wind stronger.  At points we were so spread out that I couldn't see anyone up ahead and worried about getting lost.  But, there were volunteers or police officers posted at the many, many turns.  I can't say enough about the direction and enthusiastic volunteers.  

Festive Friends
Let it be noted I was not being a complete Scrooge.
I was wearing candy cane arm warmers.

I finished with a humbling 2:17 and medicated my sore ego with hot cocoa and Christmas cookies. Surprisingly, I saw familiar faces and enjoyed chatting with friends.  This race is fairly new but I think it will grow as it has a great theme and affordable price.  Christmas in Candyland would be a great day trip for a family with children, even if you didn't plan to run.

Now I'm possibly left with a piriformis issue.   Only a few days time will tell.  Should I have stopped?  Probably so.  As they say, hindsight is 20/20.

And that's a wrap!

Wendy and I host this linkup for
the sole purpose of supporting active women.
We thank you for linking your 

Small town or big city?  Which type of race do you prefer?

Do you have a holiday themed festival nearby?

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Time for Coffee (WW # 174)

Welcome to Coffee Talk!

I've always enjoyed linking up on the monthly Ultimate Coffee Date hosted by Coco and Deborah. Sadly, my blogging time has been limited lately and I haven't been able to.  So, I decided to shake things up a bit and post my Coffee Talk today instead of my usual Weekly Wrap. I've got some peppermint mocha swirled into my steaming new HoHo coffee mug.  The Christmas tree is glowing and the smooth holiday tunes are being supplied by James Taylor.  Let's chat for a while.

This may be my new mantra!
Over Coffee...

Other than Wednesday's 5.2 mile progressive run, there was little other activity.  Wait!  Unless you count dusting, scrubbing, mopping, raking, raking, and raking some more.  If so, I am an overachiever; a downright Olympic Champion. Our house is still on the market.  It reality, it hasn't been that long but it sure does feel like it.

Over Coffee..

Although I'd admit I didn't do as much as usual, we did decorate our house for Christmas.  Traditions are traditions, after all.  One tradition I began way back in the dark ages, aka our honeymoon, was to collect ornaments from the places we visit.  While recently decluttering the house, I found this one tucked in the back of a drawer.  I can't for the life of me remember where it came from.  

Over Coffee...

On the subject of raking, I'd tell you our fall color peaked this week.  One of the prettiest trees was in our own yard.  Our Japanese Maple makes a beautiful fiery red display [the backdrop of last week's race medal] and then just drops its leaves in the blink of an eye.   Personally, I think it shakes like a dog when nobody is looking.  These leaves we haven't raked.  They are too pretty. 

Shake -- BOOM -- Done

Over Coffee...

Speaking of dogs, I'd report that I sprained my ankle in a scuffle at the park.  Rocky -- our 85 pound adopted boxer mix -- and another dog were having an ummmm disagreement, so to speak.  Anyway, it's the front tendon and I don't think it's too bad.  But this, and the non-stop heavy rain, had me choosing not to run in Saturday's local Jingle Bell 5k.  I hope my ankle doesn't force me out of the half marathon I'd like to run next weekend.  

I'm so ashamed of myself, Mom.

Over Coffee...

I'd ask if you've gotten as last minute and wishy washy with decision making as I have.  [Let me go ahead and apologize to the running buddies waiting on me to make winter racing plans!]  We thought we'd spend the weekend away for my next half marathon.  But now I'm not feeling it, especially with an iffy ankle and a neighbor dog's vet bill looming {bad dog, Rocky!}.  Much closer to home, and drive-able the morning of,  I've found a Christmas themed race instead.  It's looks very small town but also quite festive.  The price is right and I need the practice for the half marathons I'd like to run in early 2019.  Now, if I can just decide what to wear...

Thanks for letting me join in on coffee, ladies!

And that's a wrap!

Wendy and I host this linkup for
the sole purpose of supporting active women.
We thank you for linking your 

If you like coffee, what's your favorite flavored creamer?

Tell me something random from your week!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Thankful (WW # 173 )

Wendy and I host this linkup for
the sole purpose of supporting active women.
We thank you for linking your 


After last weekend's 10 mile race plus 6+ miles the following day, I planned to rest until Wednesday.   But, things got crazy and I didn't run until Thursday.  I was thankful the kids were home from college and helped around the house.  When I walked in after the most horrible stressful day and saw my Christmas tree fully decorated by our kids and grandson, I choked back tears of gratitude.  After finding the dishwasher unloaded, I really lost it [wink].

I couldn't miss my usual Thanksgiving morning eat-two-helpings-of-sweet-potato-casserole run and clocked 6.5 easy miles.  If it wasn't raining Saturday, I planned to run in a 5k and wanted to save speed until then.  Thursday was a long day of travel, helping a family member, and visiting the in-laws.  I'm thankful my MIL still prepares the main meal.  It was heavenly, as always.

Ryan's Run is a favorite 5k based on the Iron Bowl football rivalry played later in the day.  I didn't register in advance, waiting to see if the overnight rain stopped.    I was thankful to see it had so I quickly ate a yogurt --  my favorite just enough breakfast for a 5k -- dressed in team colors, and drove 5 minutes to the event.  It was in the upper 40s with 100% humidity.  I went with a skirt, tank and arm sleeves since I felt overdressed and too warm at last weekend's race wearing capris and long sleeves.  Good call.

It's a hilly course (yeah I know -- I say that about all of our races) so I began conservatively.  A young woman wearing a Michigan shirt got really chatty during the first mile.  [PS...Lady, Michigan will never be in the Iron Bowl -- just sayin'.]  I kept pausing my music to hear and respond to her questions.  I was nice, though.  I was.   But I was thankful to leave her behind on the first big hill.  

There is no disputing this in an out and back course!

It was a solid progression run.  Given the course and where I am right now with my training I was pretty thankful to see my splits.  9:29, 9:10, 8:58, with 8:03 tail.  It was enough to win my age group... which in full disclose only had 10 people in it.  It was great to catch up with the local running girls and I rewarded myself with a Starbucks on the way home. I have another 5k in mind next weekend for more speed work.  I hope I can improve my splits.  If memory serves, that course should be flatter. Fingers crossed.  

I was thankful to see our college team handily take the Iron Bowl victory later in the day.  Roll Tide.  The week was closed with a long mid morning run of 13 miles on Sunday.  It felt really tough especially after the sun popped out and warmed things up midway through.  But, it was my final long run before a half marathon I can hopefully travel to in two weeks.  My mileage for the week totaled 22.6. 

And that's a wrap!

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

What do you eat before a 5k race?

Other than the obvious (family, friends, health, freedom, etc.)
what is something you were thankful for this week?

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Capitol 10 (WW # 172)

Wendy and I host this linkup for
the sole purpose of supporting active women.
We thank you for linking your 


Rain, rain, rain.  And more heavy rain.  That was my week.  Finally, I was able to get out Thursday morning for a run in the still overcast gloom.  Planning to run a 10 mile race on Saturday, I kept this 5 miler on the easier side.  Although there wasn't much running during the work week, I managed to fit in two pre-hab routines. 

Saturday dawned a crisp, beautiful fall day.  I'll take all that pesky weekday rain to have a glorious fall weekend any time.  The Capitol 10 Miler started at 7:30 and my car reported 37 degrees when I got out just 15 minutes prior to the start.  With no wind, it was perfect running weather.

This race is becoming more popular each year.  I was happy to see a sizeable crowd gathered at the start.  What I had forgotten is they use gun time (where everyone receives the same start time) and ignorantly lined up toward the back.  When the race started, I just followed the walking runners meandering up to the start line and unknowingly wasted precious "official race time".

My obligatory proof the course was hilly...

Anyway, I knew the course was hilly.  Anything run in our downtown area is.  Managing the hills became my focus.  I felt strong tackling the rollers through mile 8 but began to lose steam after that; most likely because the last few miles are mostly up.  I walked through the water stop in mile 9 and once more on a steep incline in mile 10.  Overall, I was pleased with my 9:46 pace (not official, per Garmin).  As I mentioned last week, this is where I am right now.  I have no grandiose, unrealistic expectations as I simply haven't put in the work for faster paces.  I hope our house-on-the-market craziness will soon settle down and I can put more focus on training. 

It was good to catch up with  Happy Running Sole!

I have no complaints.  It was a beautiful day to be outside.  I feel like I at least put a good training run in the bank for my first half marathon of our racing season occurring in a few weeks.  Although they served grilled polish sausage dogs, pumpkin  muffins, and tropical smoothies -- and yes I sampled all -- I still treated myself with a Starbuck's Peppermint Mocha on the way home. Some traditions will never change.

I polished off the weekend with Sunday's 6.3 mile easy, low heart rate run which totals up to 21.4 for the week.  I know it isn't ideal to stack all the miles within a few days for this aging runner, but sometimes you don't have any other choice.

And that's a wrap!

Do you have a post race tradition?

Is your racing gearing up or down?