Sunday, January 21, 2018

First Light Half Marathon (WW # 129)

The purpose of this linkup is to
support active women.
Rules can be found HERE.


Thank you for supporting the NEW Weekly Wrap 
and making Wendy feel welcomed.  
If you haven't read the updated rules, please do so.
There have been a few changes.


First Light Half Marathon
January 14, 2018
Mobile, AL
Half Marathon # 50

I've run this half marathon before in 2014 and 2015.  It stays on my list of favorites.  This time, I road-tripped with two friends who were pacing the 2:15 group and who needed to arrive at 6 a.m.  Our 3:30 departure went smoothly and with our yacking, the trip went quickly.  The forecast of feels like 17 at race start was spot on.   Thankfully, we could stay inside the packet pickup location at the Mobile Government Plaza atrium for warmth.   The start line was about a block away. 

My goal for this race was to shave a little more off my recent half marathon finish time; paced at a 9:51.  Rome wasn't built in a day [or you can just insert any old saying about patience here].  With it being my 50th half marathon -- I vowed to enjoy it.  If I couldn't, I shouldn't be there.

Kaye, myself and Laurie. 
Bundled up and ready to go!

I ran into Katie at the start line but didn't take a picture as my phone was tucked deep into layers to keep it from dying in the cold temperature.  It was then I realized my stomach was growling.  I had not factored in the extra awake time (since 2:30 a.m.) and although I waited closer to race time to eat -- I had not eaten enough.  I knew it would slow me down, but I decided to drink Gatorade for calories at each stop.  I typically skip at least half of the stops in cold weather.
The course is mostly flat.  I won't go into detail, but it's a very pretty antebellum homes, mossy oaks, French Quarter route (you can read an older recap HERE).    I stuck with my decision to stop for calories.  I'm very appreciative of the people encouraging us from their porches and front yards in the frigid air.  A special thanks to the dude blaring Sweet Home Alabama.  I cruised along and enjoyed the course.

Even with Gatorade at every stop and the 2 GU I had on me, the last few miles were still a struggle.  I felt nauseated from hunger and we were running directly into that cold wind.  My buddies tell me there were oranges and bananas at one stop but I completely missed that!   I put my head down (figuratively) and concentrating on my footfalls I kept pushing.  I'd count to 100 and start over.  All things considered, I ran a pretty evenly paced race.

A decent picture...
except for the usual missing teeth.

My gun time finish was 2:08:19.  Sadly, due to technical difficulties I will not get an official chip time.  My Garmin reports a 9:45 pace so I would guess it's right around 2:08 or even a hair under (shallowly, a 2:07:xx would have been very sweet!).   So yes, a little faster than my previous race. With my extra stopping, I'll take it

My feeble attempt to commemorate #50
with the lovely Azalea Trail Maids.

My buddies arrived ahead of their 2:15 target and we retrieved our jackets, blankets, scarves, and hats from the car and returned to the after party in Bienville Square.  The meal of red beans and rice with cornbread was fantastic!  Topping that with two chocolate chip cookies, I felt much better. As we were sitting in a patch of sunshine enjoying the band and our post race beverages, they began giving out awards.  I was shocked to hear my name called for 3rd Grand Master (they award 5 deep in all master categories) as this was my worst finish time at this race.

Post race in beautiful Bienville Square

This race benefits L'Arche Mobile.  Their residents are very much involved in this event, making the finisher medals (and awards) and handing them out at the finish line.  One of L'Arche's missions is to "...make known the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities..."  They put a bio of one of their residents on the back of each award plaque.  It's such a nice, unique and personal touch. 

Hand crafted wooden medals and award plaques.

So, my first half marathon of 2018 is in the books.  I'm still chipping away, which may just become my phrase for the year.  Hopefully, you'll get to hear it often.   It was a great lesson about pushing through to the end -- because you never know -- it might just be enough for an award.  

And that's a wrap!

What is your trick for getting through those last few miles?

Have you gotten up at 2:30 for a race?

Do you like red beans and rice?  Cornbread?

Friday, January 19, 2018

Winter Fitness

Get Outside

Living in the south, I can be a four seasons outdoor kind of gal.  And it's a good thing since I discovered long ago I was solar powered.  Even if the air is frigid, the sunshine works wonders to elevate my mood and give me an energy boost.  You've probably heard me tell the story of giving away my treadmill...I got tired of dusting it.  It's pretty rare that I'm stuck inside due to the weather. 

Build A Base

Winter is our prime running season.  Breathing no longer requires gills.  For the past two years, I've run a January marathon which had me at peak training during the holidays.   Even though I enjoyed that setup, I opted not to run one this Winter.   No worries, I plan to run consistently and participate in quite a few half marathons that I can easily travel to.  I trust this will set a good base for a marathon later this year.

Injury Prevention

I don't talk about it much, but I do a routine mostly focused on my hips and glutes with some core work thrown in.  Most of these exercises were learned at physical therapy a few years ago.   Winter is the perfect time to up your game and add an extra weekly session.

Cardio Workouts
I have committed to at least once weekly cardio sessions this Winter.  Although in sharp contrast to point one, I've found it's simply easier to keep my heart rate elevated and steady by cycling indoors as opposed to outdoors.  I presume it's due to the lack of downhill coasting (aka: there is no resting).   Heart Zones does a good job of explaining the benefits of training in different zones if you are interested.  Since I'd rather be outside, I combat the boredom with 70's funk blaring in my ears or watch The Good Doctor or The Amazing Race.  Yes, I can be content for an hour. 

Winter Vacation

For me, there's an extra incentive for staying fit in Winter.  Snow skiing.  Hoping we can return to the slopes soon, I'll need those additional cardio workouts under my belt.  Skiing at 12,000 feet of altitude is no joke (actually sitting still at that altitude is no joke for this low lander). Oh, and feeling those burning quads while coming down those long steep trails?  I recently added wall sits to assist with that.  Every bit of training helps.

Have you committed to anything different this Winter?

Was is your favorite type of  non-running cardio workout?
I'm joining in on the Friday Five 2.0 linkup
Stop by and see what everyone is talking about.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Will I See The Light? (WW # 128)

The purpose of this linkup is to
support active women.
Rules can be found HERE.


Thank you for supporting the NEW Weekly Wrap and making Wendy feel welcomed.  If you haven't read the updated rules, please do so.  There have been a few changes.


This week was a bit of a struggle.  Sleep was not my friend.  Not only was there a full stressful week back at work coupled with lingering jaw pain from major dental work, I managed to pull a muscle under my shoulder blade Friday morning [You know, while doing that dangerous physical feat of putting oatmeal in the microwave.]  It's that muscle where when you take a deep breath, it hurts! Lucky for me -- and to put the cherry on top, I had just signed up for a half marathon on Sunday.  Isn't that how it always works?

I ran a couple of times this week. After staying up way past my bedtime Monday to watch Alabama defeat Georgia in the National Championship [ROLL TIDE], Tuesday's run was my usual progressive four miler (10:02, 9:51, 9:47, 9:26).  I think I can do this run in my sleep.  And often do... 

My second run was another four miles on Thursday morning in the typical early morning summertime warmth and 100% humidity (what?).  It was not pretty but I got it done.  In.A.Tank.Top.

I did not run again hoping a couple of days rest would give me some much needed energy for Sunday's half marathon.  I did my weekly strength sessions and threw in a 40 minute trainer ride on Saturday morning just to get a some cardio and work up a sweat. 

Oh -- forgot to mention, the fore-casted temperature for the race is a feels-like of 17 degrees.  OK, then.   One more is my 50th half marathon {cue fireworks}.   Stay tuned to see if I Saw The Light. 

And that's a wrap!

Have you pulled a muscle doing something so innocent?

Did you wear a tank top this week?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The New Weekly Wrap (WW # 127)

It's a new year, and the Weekly Wrap has a new look and a new co-host.  

I'm sad to report that Tricia decided to step down as co-host.  We have hosted this linkup together for two and a half years.  I truly appreciate her friendship and assistance.  Please join me in wishing Tricia well.  Of course, we should all stay in touch too.  We'll want to keep tabs on those fun adventures she is always heading off to in her RV.

Wendy of Taking the Long Way Home has graciously agreed to co-host the linkup with me.

Welcome, Wendy!

The purpose of this linkup is to support active women.

Please take an opportunity to review the Weekly Wrap rules as there have been changes: 

  • Your linked blog post must be fitness related.
  • You must comment on both hostesses' posts (it's just plain common courtesy).
  • Keep it clean.  No inappropriate content or language.
  • Mention you are participating in this link and use the Weekly Wrap badge in your post.
  • It's nice if you can provide a link back to each host as well.
  • Visit as many participating bloggers as you can.  The more you interact with others the more they will interact with you.  Don't forget to come back for later linkers!
  • If you are not able to follow the rules, your post will be deleted from the link.

NOTE:  The link goes live at  3 pm (CT) on Sundays and stays open until 9 pm on Wednesdays.


Well, the first week of 2018 brought changes for this stuck-in-her-ways older runner.  A running acquaintance moved into my neighborhood last year and we'd been talking a while about running together.  We finally made that happen on New Year's Day.  Monday's 10 miler was the coldest run I've done in a long, long time.  The wind was a huge factor.  But running with someone definitely help supply the motivation I needed to get out of bed and into the frigid weather. 

Say hello to Kaye
I didn't run again until Thursday when I completed a 4 mile progression run before work (10:04, 9:53, 9:39, 9:20).  My phone died, as it often does in really cold weather, so I took a picture of my watch when I got home.  Since Alabama won their New Year's Day playoff game, I decided to run in my lucky hat until the National Championship Game coming up on Monday.   I just can't jinx them now.  [Roll Tide]

Kaye graciously invited me to run with her normal group of ladies on Saturday.  We slept in and didn't begin until 9:00.  Thankfully, it had warmed to 32 degrees and there was less wind.  I was a little worried about keeping pace as I knew this was a speedier group.  I decided to challenge myself and it turned out to be a great 9 mile run.  Getting to know these girls and listening to the chatter as everyone was catching up from the holidays definitely took my mind off the miles...and the pace.  

Me, Lee, Kaye, Laurie and Marla

I rounded out the week Sunday by cycling 45 minutes (15.5 miles) on my mag trainer for crossing training.  I also did my typical strengthening exercises twice this week.  Nothing fancy.  I'm just getting the job done.  I may run a half marathon next weekend, but as this goes live -- I haven't decided.  I know....that's nothing new, right?

Wow!  Two runs with other humans this week! 

Running = 3 @ 23.2 miles
Cycling  = 1 @ 15.5 miles

And that's a wrap!

Do you regularly run (or cycle or workout) with others?

Are you training for anything specific?

Friday, January 5, 2018

Coffee Talk (January)

Thank you Karen for this wonderful coffee mug!

Welcome to Coffee Talk!

It's time for the monthly Ultimate Coffee Date and, as luck would have it, time for the Friday Five.

I enjoy these monthly coffee chats.  I've brewed an extra dark coffee in my new Busch Gardens mug and I'm ready to catch up.  

Let's chat about whatever randomness comes to mind... 

Over Coffee...

I'd tell you that I'm sitting here and sipping on the couch in front of my Christmas tree.  You heard me.  In full disclosure, the holiday tunes are playing in the background.  I enjoy Christmas more after it is over.  There's no rising panic to buy gifts, wrap presents, cook special treats or clean the house.  I can enjoy the magic without the stress.  Too bad the decorations can't stay up all year.  To save PoPo from embarrassment, I have unplugged the outdoor lights.  {Heavy Sigh}

Original air date:  December 13, 1969

Over Coffee...

Speaking of coffee and Christmas, I received a new fancier Keurig machine with cool different colored lights no less.  Not that there was anything really wrong with my other one; except it made the fog horn noise from the old Scooby Doo cartoon from my childhood.  {Anybody?}  It's perplexing why there was always a boat in the fog on that show.   Anyway, I'm a little sad to let my noisy nostalga-invoking machine go.

Over Coffee...

I'd ask you if you've got your whole year planned out.  I certainly don't.  Except for two local upcoming half marathons, I have no clue what I'll be doing.  I like it that way.  I'm not one for goals and resolutions.  Plus, I've learned my mind and body don't always agree.  For example, I wanted to run in this weekend's Disney Marathon but when it was time to begin training, the body said "Whoa, HoHo!"  I have no doubt there will be plenty of last minute registrations this year.

Over Coffee...

I'd want to know if you've tried the new mint chocolate blended yogurt by Chobani.  I'm not a big fan of chocolate and mint, but this is very good.  Chobani is a favorite brand as it has lower sugar than some brands and is high in protein.  

Over Coffee...

I'd admit I recently washed my iShuffle not once, but twice!  It safely made it through the first episode.  The second time?  .... May it rest in peace.  I'm so upset as I've learned they don't make them anymore!  The prices on the remaining stock have been jacked through the roof.  I loathe running with my heavy iPhone.  I want the ability to click through songs quickly too.  Besides, with my bloodless fingers from Raynaud's Syndrome -- I can't even operate my iPhone in cold weather.  I don't know what I'm going to do.  Any suggestions?

I'll miss you, little fella!

Well, that's about all the randomness I can think of.

What would you tell me over coffee?

I'm linking with the lovely Coco and Deborah!
Be sure to stop in for coffee on Saturday and chat.

I'm also joining on the Friday Five 2.0 linkup
Stop by and see what everyone is talking about.