Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Another Tear Drop

Tear Drop Half Marathon
Chatsworth, GA
April 25, 2021
Half Marathon # 65


If you're reading this...I suppose I still pop up in your feed.  Hi there!  Long time, no post!  

I simply had to stop blogging a while back.  Seriously, I didn't want to read my own monotonous, uninspired posts.  So why would I expect anyone else to?  Although I don't comment, I do still read blogs.  My favorite posts are race recaps and I still search for ones relating to future races.

Along that line, I have toyed with returning to the original idea of my blog.  Race Recaps.   It is in that spirit I am posting.  If nothing else, for my own memory.  With several never-posted recaps in draft form, this one deserves the PUBLISH button.  Spoiler: I set a new half marathon PR.  And at my age I may never do that again.  Just keeping it real.

A little back story here.  Last winter I was training for a marathon.  It was going better than any other cycle before.  I felt I had finally figured out the right formula.  And then spring...and COVID shut down.  The race was postponed a couple of months and then eventually cancelled.  Ugh.  All of that extended marathon training for nothing.  I attempted to get back in the swing with two half marathons last fall, but both were meh.  

After a couple of winter adventures, I was ready to train again.  The 2020 cancelled marathon folks gave us dejected registrants the opportunity to sign up for this year's 2021 race before everyone else could. Very nice!  This small marathon has a limited field and normally sells out quickly.  I took the bait and began training this February with fervor, using the same formula as last year.

Free race pictures are always a great perk!

Back to Tear Drop (named after the iconic Trail of Tears).  My first attempt [< RECAP] at running down beautiful Fort Mountain was in 2016.  In 2018, I ran it as part of my downhill training for an upcoming marathon.  With no taper and having run 17 miles the weekend before, I set a PR in 2018. [< RECAP]  Could history repeat itself?  It was certainly worth trying.  After seeing the weather would be in my wheelhouse, and with the same 17.2 miles long run and no taper, I lined up atop Fort Mountain at 2800', in mountain hugging thick clouds with a cold strong wind, to try again.

With Garmin reporting over 600 feet of elevation gain this year [which begs the question, did the mountain grow?] the first 5 miles were as tough as ever.  The route sends runners down the forested mountain and then turns them around to come back up.  Pretty cruel, IMHO.  Actually, this race is like two events in one;  a mountainous 5 miler and then THE DROP.  They key is not to blow up in the first event.  Accordingly, I walked several times on the steepest ups.  Experience was key here!

Mile 1:      9:46
Mile 2:      9:19
Mile 3:    10:25 (ugh those nasty up hills!)
Mile 4:    10:01
Mile 5:      9:25

AVG:        9:49

I promised myself I would wait until mile 6 to get busy. I took a GU in mile 5 to be ready.  Here we go!  Trying desperately hard not to brake, I played Kelsea Ballerini's Hole in the Bottle repeatedly as its speedier cadence felt perfect for the steep section.  

[ 🎵 It ain't my fault, so don't blame me...🎵   Many thanks to you, Kelsea!]  

Mile 6:      8:33
Mile 7:      8:01
Mile 8:      7:55
Mile 9:      8:01
Mile 10:    8:21
Mile 11:    7:59
Mile 12:    8:15

AVG:        8:09

From experience, I knew mile 13 had substantial ups coming back into town.  So I negotiated a deal with myself, as I often do during races.  I'd push as hard as I could and bank time through 12 but then give myself the grace to walk in the final mile.  And walk I did.  Multiple times.  I had absolutely nothing left.  After 7 miles of running as fast as I could down a mountain, it felt as if I was crawling.

Mile 13:    9:59
Tail .18:    8:58

But there it was.  The race clock.  I was stunned.  I did it.  I set a new PR.  At my frickin' age!  My official race time was 1:57:40 and good enough for a 55-59 age group win.   Yep, I sit here days later still unable to navigate stairs or easily sit on the toilet.   The expected DOMS is brutal.  But I've been here before and know it's temporary.

So thanks for hanging around.  Maybe I'll see you soon with a post-worthy marathon recap.  {Wink}  

Until then...happy racing!

Friday, September 27, 2019



Well here I am dusting the cobwebs off the corners of my blog [achhoooo!].  As the month winds down it's time to join with my buddy Marcia and come clean with a healthy dose of Runfessions.

The Backpack Buddy 5k

We called it:   The Wine Buddy 5k

I runfess...

For a recent girls weekend, I selected The Backpack Buddy 5k race solely based on it's proximity to several wineries.  It sounded like a great way to celebrate Wendy's birthday.  But now it begs the question...what superhuman species can do these wine tours?   We wimped out after two wineries.  By then, we had already sampled 18 wines. 
Corbin Farms Winery -- Our First Stop
I runfess...

As evidenced by my slowest time at a 5k since 2010, I apparently have not benefitted from running the steep roads around our new home.  I can only go a half mile before encountering hills so sharply graded I must walk to avoid injury.  I turn around and continually loop the rolling hills in that half mile section -- which are tough enough by their own merit.  Even without the big hills, a short 3 mile run produces an elevation gain of over 200 feet.   Ouch.  It looks like I need to drive to a better route...the thing I've always avoided doing in the past.

Toothless, as usual...with a newly added chicken wing.
I runfess...
Speaking of home, I could tell quite a few rural critter stories.  And bad dog stories.  But oddly enough, while out running I've only seen armadillos, tortoises, snakes, and spiders.  Those spiders will drape from anything that doesn't move.  I named the gigantic banana spider living on our deck Chiquita.  We allow her to hang out as she catches other flying insects.  I've made my peace with it as she never moves from her high perch during daylight.  Her overnight web building is intricate and beautiful.  I'm not sure my recent house guests were impressed, however.   But I runfess, I haven't pointed her out to the grandkids.
Meet Chiquita
I runfess...
I'm starting a not-so-fashionable trend by wearing triathlon shorts for waterskiing.  I started this back in the Spring when the water was still a bit cool.  I later realized I just don't feel like putting on a swimsuit at sunset -- when most of my skiing is done.  Seriously, what's the point?  Plus their light compression helps to reduce body jiggling. 
No jiggling for the win!
I runfess...
I've been very whiny in regard to our record setting heat.  For weeks (months?) it has been relentless.  We've hit 100 actual degrees on the thermometer so many days this summer that I gave up counting them.  My motivation to train seriously is lagging.  But I'm eyeing a December half marathon and possibly even a full marathon in the Spring so I need it to cool off.  SOON.  Sadly, we are forecasted for more record heat.  But, that also means I'll water ski later into the year than I ever have before.  Sweet.

What do you have to Runfess?

Friday, May 31, 2019

Let's Chat!

Welcome to Coffee Talk!

Hi, there!  I'm still around and I'm so glad we could get together for coffee today.    It's been a while so there is a lot to talk about and Runfess to.  Let's chat for a few minutes.

I moved

I now live on a lake, deep in the woods.  Rural, nay Deliverance-esque, to say the least.  The banjos play daily.  Kidding aside, it's like living in a big bird house among the trees.  It was a big adjustment, but we're  feeling settled...somewhat. There are still unfinished projects.  After a bath remodel and a little more landscaping, I'm going to take a break.  There's always winter.   I was pretty proud of my outdoor window box project:


I snow skied

It was a blast snow skiing with our college kids during spring break.  They've both switched from snowboarding and it was so fun sharing the trails and lifts.  It snowed most days, the high temps staying in the teens, and the mid-base depth of snow was over 100 inches.  After worrying my cranky hips wouldn't be able to hang, I happily report that my body did not hurt at all after skiing all day, every day, all week.  Even after tackling the harder runs.  Hmmmm...


I kayaked

As always, I fretted, researched, and over-thought my kayak purchase for months.  But after returning from Colorado, I made my final decision and brought home two Precision brand kayaks. They do not disappoint.   You can fish from them if you choose.  Paddling out to see the sunset never disappoints. 

I hiked

We have a popular trail system nearby.  While my sister was visiting, we checked it out by hiking 4 miles that first day.   I RUNFESS it's too rooty {a new word} for me to run, but it's deeply shaded and thus a cool way to enjoy the outdoors on a hot summer day.    And yes, it is already summer here as we've consistently hit 90 to100 degree for weeks now.   I can't not fathom what August will be like. 

I ran a race!

Wendy came to visit recently and we ran the Beaver Trail 5k.  Seriously, doesn't everyone need a beaver T-shirt?  I have run very little, still having trouble finding my groove.  My new running routes are very technical (cough, cough -- indescribably hilly).   It's humbling.  And honestly, my body often aches and thus running is not as much fun as it once was.  Aging is not for the faint of heart.  Some days I wave my white flag.  I RUNFESS, it felt good to participate in a race even though I walked much of the last mile.   The bigger RUNFESSION, however, is that I have not run since.


I water skied

Although I had a late start, I'm now enjoying my favorite activity several times a week.  Naturally, Wendy and I got our tandem groove on when she was here and enjoyed some amazing solo skiing as well.  The conditions were perfect during her visit (last year, not so much) and we skied until we couldn't ski any longer.  Rocky {aka Cooter} is the best spotter ever!

So...that's what I've been up to.    How about you?

I'm linking with my friend Marcia today from Marcia's Healthy Slice.
Please stop by and join in with your own Runfessions!


I'm also linking with my buddies Coco and Deborah for coffee!  Join us!


Sunday, February 24, 2019

And That's A Wrap (WW # 186)

One hundred and eighty six times I've posted a Weekly Wrap.  Actually, InLinkz tells me it is 187.  I'm off somewhere.  No big surprise there.  Anyway...

Tricia of MissSippiPiddlin and I met at the Tuscaloosa Half Marathon and became good friends.  I approached her about joining me in hosting a link-up where active women could connect.  I wanted to fill the void left by the closed Weekend Update but for more accountability, decided to include the entire week.  The Weekly Wrap was born in 2015.   The sunset photo was from a vacation picture taken while waiting on the Jamestown Ferry.


Right away, we had 14 linkers and peaked in 2016 with over 60 most weeks that year. Our highest was 69, recorded several times.  Several hundred ladies have come through our virtual doors!  Tricia accepted a new job and found the volume of reading to be a challenge.  With her blessing, I approached my dear friend Wendy from Taking The Long Way Home, who stepped in seamlessly to fill Tricia's shoes. Wendy and I met through blogging years ago and have by this point been on many fun adventures.  The new badge photo was taken on the lake where I now live.

Wendy and I have a lot on our plates.  She is studying for a new medical certification and I am busy getting our new home ready for family weekends...in addition to our usual careers, obligations, running, training etc.  After much deliberation, we've decided to end the Weekly Wrap.  Since I'm not running or racing much right now, it's hard to post on that subject, anyway.  [HoHo Runs...not.]  I also don't want to spend excessive time inside this Spring and Summer (or Fall) on my computer.  Am I closing down my blog?  No.  It's my running scrapbook.  And, I may occasionally see you on Marcia's monthly Runfessions or Coco and Deborah's monthly Coffee Date

There are other weekly link-ups around.   Jenn from Runs With Pugs is co-hosting the new #RIOTS.  Meranda and Lacey host Fridays with Fairytales & Fitness and Kim from Kookyrunner and Zenaida co-host Tuesday Topics.  Plus, there are many others around as well.

Blue Herons apparently poop a lot...just sayin'.

I have no races scheduled other than my hometown half marathon -- which I plan to switch to the 5k.  I've been running sporadically for a while hoping my lingering hip and piriformis issues will calm down.  Since I'll be snow skiing in Colorado soon, my return to consistent running can wait until after that.   My new neighborhood (if you can call it that!) roads are filled with huge forested hills.  I look forward to watching the seasons change on foot and on my bike.
It's been my pleasure meeting you -- quite a few of you in real life too.  We've celebrated victories, laughed, shared, encouraged one another, healed our bodies, commiserated and cried.  It was my honor.  I consider you all friends.  A special thanks to my sista Wendy for hosting with me [who can somehow impressively read the most blog posts before I can convince myself to get out of bed.  Cheers, my friend! ]

THANK YOU for joining us here on the Weekly Wrap. 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

New Roads (WW # 185 )

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

We are in our house but hardly settled.  I guess that is what happens when you move in stages and you decide to do it all yourselves.  The days I don't work, I am on my feet from sunup to bedtime; don't get me started about the stairs.  I have only run once on my new roads, leaving me with mild shin splints.  Those I attribute to the two big hills I encountered within the first mile.

Amy from She Runs By Faith is currently packing up her home for a move...impressively with three young boys under foot.  I think she is much better at multi-tasking than I am!  Did I mention she is training for another marathon too?  She very graciously accepted my panic-filled request to fill in again as guest host at the last minute.   Please show Amy lots of love.