Friday, February 27, 2015

Runfessions - February 2015 Edition

I'm linking up with Marcia today from Marcia's Healthy Slice and coming clean with my Runfessions.  Make sure to stop by her blog!

My treadmill is gone.  I don't like TMs because: 1) to me, running on one feels nothing like running outdoors and 2) they aggravate the issues I have with my Achilles tendon.  Mine was in excellent condition because I'd honestly used it less than 10 times.  "Let's sell it!"  I guess I whined said this enough, and complained about it taking up space and collecting dust, because -- the hubs sold it.  Now, I'm worried I'll need it.  Isn't that silly?  I got exactly what I asked for.

When running a bunch of half marathons, I get caught in constant taper and recovery modes.  I second guess what I should do.  My overwhelming fear is that I will be tired when I start the next race and then have an epic fail.  So, I over think it (like I do everything) and err on the side of too little running.  It's not helping my race times or my confidence.

Please don't ostracize me, but I've stopped reading Runner's World magazine (aka the runner's bible).  I once read it cover to cover, soaking up absolutely every word.  Now, I only read an occasional human interest story.  Oh, I have nothing against RW.  They are a wonderful resource and truly taught me everything I know!   But, it seems to be the same stuff over and over, just wrapped in a different bow.  And hey, you know, they will e-mail me the articles anyway!

My tennis elbow is not better.  In fact, I've recently made it worse by firing objects at the carnival games inside the Disney ride experience Toy Story Mania.  (Jeez - I sound so old!)  I was just trying to beat one of my kids.  He ended up winning during the last few seconds anyway.  Argh.  I must get it rehabilitated by summer.  I can't miss water skiing season!

Photo Credit:  Disney    (These happy kids are not mine!)

One more thing:  I don't like using any longer.  Once the perfect site to locate races, it's now clogged with virtual events.  No, I'm not against virtual races - whatever works for you - but I'm looking for actual, physical, travel-to-the-event, pin-on-a-bib races.  Why don't they have an option  to take out the virtual events?

Ok, it's your turn.  What would you like to runfess?

I'm also linking with the DC Trifecta for Friday Five. 
It's Free Friday - so I'm sure there will be a lot of interesting topics.  Checks out these wonderful ladies.
Eat Pray Run DCYou Signed Up For What?!, & Mar on the Run!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Mercedes Half Marathon Recap (Weekend Update)

Hi, everyone!  I hope your week will be fantastic.

I spent Saturday morning doing the usual chores and grocery shopping.  I left for Birmingham in the  afternoon and arrived at the Mercedes expo fairly late.  Packet pickup was quick and easy.  There seemed to be more vendors than last year and I bought another skirt, hoping it would match my Half Fanatic sleeves (yes, it's truly a sickness).  I did not sleep well Saturday night and Sunday dawned rainy and gloomy.  I am energized and motivated by sunlight and felt rather lethargic.

A red tech shirt is rare!

It was fun to match the person with their blog and meet Pam from Herbie on the Run.   After having issues with her hip, and a very stressful Saturday traveling to Birmingham, she had a great race.  She inspires me to eventually run in all 50 states.  My local Half Fanatic buddy Valerie was there.  We will be at the same half next weekend too!

Me, Pam, Valerie and Venus --- all still dry

This is quite the hilly race.   They just keep rolling along with a few longer ones thrown in for good measure.  Due to the rain, the crowd support was less.  I'm still in awe of the number of spectators last year!  There were plenty of water stops - one might say too many, if that's possible.  Also on course were GU, fruit, Gummy Bears, and other random items.

My left knee has been, hmm...not necessarily painful, but...cranky.  I cut back on mileage and abused my foam roller all week.  This race is the first of four H/Ms I'm running on consecutive weekends.  My plan for the first was to be cautious and do it as a training run, hoping for a better race next weekend.

  • My new Under Armour popover rain shell was not water repellent.  Hello, UA?  Did you bother to test this item?  The soaked-through sleeves were stuck to my arms before the race started.
  • My shuffle was under my clothes and hard to operate.  My salt caps were deep in my pocket to stay dry.  My cold water-logged hands just wouldn't work.  Is there a magic trick for opening GU with useless hands?
  • I spent too much time and effort dodging puddles.
  • Both feet cramped because they were wet and cold.  I walked a couple of times to get them to ease off.   I also walked off a side stitch.
  • The humidity was 100% - it's not wise to get me started on this topic. 

Pam and me --- after the rain.   The beach towel came in handy.

  • I got to do my favorite thing:  run a half marathon -- at any speed -- in any condition.
  • The Girls on the Run chapter gave us bling for our bibs.  I thought that was a cute touch.
  • My cranky knee (IT band), that I worried and worried over all week, was perfectly fine.  I kept my stride purposely short and it worked like a charm.
  • My shoes did not eat my socks.  That's what happened the last time I raced in the rain. 
  • The rain was not torrential.  I've done worse.
  • My time WAS more like that of a training run, as planned.  (But, admittedly I'm a little worried as it should have felt easier.)
  • I finished strong and uninjured at 2:10:49.  Age Group Placement = 34/190.
  • I got a super shiny Mercedes emblem finishers medal.  They gave out colorful beach towels at the finish line as well. 
  • The band played Jimmy Buffet and Lynard Skynard while I ate BBQ. Awesome.
  • I drank a huge Starbucks on my drive home. 

One last thought...

The weather may not reflect it yet, but my allergies have started acting up which means Spring will soon be here!

Tell me about your weekend!   Do you have any tricks for running in the rain?

Thank you Tara for hosting Weekend Update!  Check out her blog as well as the others who linked up.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Five Races for 2015

TGIF everyone!  I'm linking up with the DC Trifecta to talk about Five Races to Run in 2015.  I race quite a bit during the year.  Although I hope to do a few new races this year, I also plan to repeat some favorites.  I can't wait to read other blogs to get some new ideas too.  Many times, the best races are done on the spur of the moment!


The Biggest Loser series gives out some serious hardware. They host races all over the US and have now added Off Road Races.  You get to meet some of the contestants from the show too.  Back to the bling...   If you do more than one of their events within the year, you get an extra medal.  Plus, if you repeat a race from one year to the next, you get yet another medal.  If you like the bling, this is your race.  I recently had a horrible humidity poop-fest at the Panama City Beach half.  But let me just admit it now -- the 3 medals I earned surely did help my feelings.  I clanked around loud and proud!


I ran the Talladega 21000 for the first time last year.  It is held in September and would typically be incredibly warm and humid.  We lucked out to get 65 degrees at the start, even though it didn't stay that way.  You run on, around, above, below, beside, under, over and outside the Talladega Super Speedway.  (It's like the old preposition rule: "A runner goes _____ the track.")  There were cute homages to the movie Talladega Nights and a great after party with BBQ and a live band.  If you are a NASCAR fan (and I'm not), you should do this race.

Note to self:  Open eyes at finish.
The stands always look full.


A favorite local 5k is the Pancake Run.  It's in a beautiful neighborhood and fairly flat.  Held in May, it's usually the first warm and muggy race of the season.  {Blech}.  However, the friends and the delicious pancake breakfast afterwards makes it all worthwhile.  They give out very nice trophies for awards too.

Beth pinned her number on upside down!

Nice trophy


On my April calendar is a Girls on the Go race in Arizona.  It is in the Lake Mead area just outside of Las Vegas.  You get to experience beautiful views of Lake Mead and the surrounding mountains.  The course is on a historic railroad trail which passes through 5 train tunnels.  Being an out and back, that would be 10 tunnels!  That just sounds super cool to me.  This would give me a new state and I love to travel and run!

From Girls on the Go website


I ran the inaugural REVEL Rockies half marathon last year (read my recap here) and it ended up being my favorite half out of 17 in 2014.  I'd really like to run the full marathon this year.  REVEL hosts races in other cities so this one didn't feel inaugural.  It was very well executed.  They had the best rock band at the after party.  The medal is humongous.  The course descends about 1800 feet through the Colorado canyons.  No spectators, but absolutely breathtaking.

We ran down through those mountains!

As big as my face!

Please, recommend a race for me!   I'm always looking!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Critter Crawl (Weekend Update)

Happy Monday, everyone!  If you are off for President's Day - LUCKY YOU - ENJOY!

I decided, last minute, to run a trail run Saturday morning.  I was worried about turning my ankle and being unable to run my upcoming half marathons.  But, I'd run it twice before and knew I could see where I was stepping (unlike others I've run that were overgrown with tall grass).  Major props to the race directors who painstakingly marked the worst roots and holes with bright orange paint.

The worst obstacles ended up being the gazillion balls that had fallen from the Sweet Gum trees.  If you are not familiar with these spiky balls, they do not give when stepped upon.  Some places were carpeted with them.

Lovely Boardwalk

The Critter Crawl is a true trail run on a wildlife preserve with countless ups, downs, sharp twists and turns.  You've got to watch for low hanging branches!  {Thwack!}  Some of the course is gravel, some of it is on boardwalks (my favorite) but most of it is on deep, deep mulch.  It is incredibly spongy.  

Marsh mellow mulch and just a few Sweet Gum balls

My trail pace is much, much s-l-o-w-e-r than normal.  I walked up a couple of the steepest hills in the deepest mulch because I simply wasn't going anywhere anyway!  It felt like running on marsh mellows.  Luckily, the other runners got no further ahead.

I got a nice solid workout, managed a dead-on 10:00 average pace and won Female Grand Masters.  I was actually the 4th female across the line (yes - the race was that small).  It was bright and sunny with the temperature around 38...a beautiful day.  The overall and masters awards were hand carved by the director's father.  The after party was outdoors with music, plenty of food, drinks and hot coffee.  This race attracts a lot of kids.  They also included a critter costume contest. 

Isn't my hummingbird pretty?
My friend Kim was 1st in her AG.
They gave her award to someone else. Oops.

Later in the day, I indulged in too many Valentine treats...Starbucks, peanut M&Ms, cheese straws, pizza, for me!  I have got to get back on track.  (Or, could I have possibly call it carbo-loading for the next day?)

Sunday I ran 10 slow miles in preparation for my impending four back-to-back weekend half marathons. My knee acted a little cranky like it did in my last half.  I'm hoping it's just from too much Disney World, or the Critter Crawl, or both.

Sadly, my times are still off from last Winter...and I'll do what I can to keep working on it.  The next halves are hilly, but one of them not too terribly bad.  Between each race, I plan to run one 4 to 5 mile easy run and one short speed work session.  Sleep and foam rolling will be my absolute best friends.

That was my weekend.

Oh, I forgot to mention the usual endless laundry and grocery shopping hell.

Did anyone else race?  Have you ever stepped on a Sweet Gum ball?

I'm linking up with Tara @ Running 'N' Reading for the Weekend Update.

Please visit Tara and the other participating bloggers!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Disney Valentine (Friday Five)

It's fabulous Friday and time for the Friday Five link-up hosted by the DC Trifecta.  

We recently spent a few days at Disney World.  I confess, my husband and I love it as much as our kids. The last few times we went included running a half marathon.  Part of me was a little sad there was no race.  However, the other part enjoyed not stressing over race day while not overdoing it in the parks -- a very tricky balance to say the least.

This was our family Valentine treat.  Here are five things I loved during this trip:

# 1 -- So many yummy treats, so little time.

# 2 -- Spaceship Earth is always dazzling in the night sky.
If you need a rest, this is the ride!

# 3 -- I saw several deer while running this peaceful trail.

# 4 -- Hands down, this is the best ride EVER.
Yep, we rode five times in one day.

# 5 -- Apparently, there is a huge magnet on the back of this sign. 
How else would it keep sucking me in?

I would not skip my runs because I knew there would be too much #1 and #5.  I was determined not to gain weight on this trip -- success!   I ran a total of 13 miles on the beautiful wooded trails and walked countless miles in the parks.  The best part was just spending time with My Valentines and playing Heads Up! while in line for rides and transportation.  My husband and I know our time is growing short with our teens.   This trip was special for that reason alone.

What are your Valentine plans?  
Do you always run on vacation?
Have you played Heads Up!?

Thank you DC Trifecta for hosting the Friday Five!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Weekend Update (Mickey Edition)

Happy Monday everyone. I'm linking up with Tara @ Running 'N' Reading for the Weekend Update.

I had the wonderful opportunity to be at the Mouse's House over the weekend.

I thought I'd share a few pictures from my early morning runs on the expansive property of the Fort Wilderness resort. 

Bay Lake at Sunrise

Much of the Property Looks Like This

Early Morning Peace and Quiet

Tell me about your weekend!  Did anyone have a race?
 Was the weather nice enough to enjoy your outdoors?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Not-So-Flattering Race Photos (Friday Five)

Happy Friday.  I'm linking up today with the DC Trifecta for Friday Five.  Today's topic is Fitness Snapshots.

It's difficult for me to get a really good race photo.  My finish photos usually look like I'm being tortured.  OH, that's right...I am!   Instead, I thought it would be fun to share a few unflattering candid photos taken at races, obviously most without my knowledge. 

Dear 8 pound 6 ounce newborn infant Jesus...

They Call Me Heat Miser
Whatever I Touch 
Starts To Melt In My Clutch
I'm Too Much 

What the frig is in my shoe?

Where's the bucket?

I must...hold up...this...light pole...until help...arrives...

Please come up with better photo captions!

I'll declare a winner and send you a surprise!  Give it your best shot!

Thanks to Eat Pray Run DCYou Signed Up For What?!, 
& Mar on the Run! for hosting the Friday Five.

Thinking Out Loud


Today I'm linking up with Amanda @ Running With Spoons for Thinking Out Loud.
Please take time to visit Amanda and the other bloggers linked up on her site.

1.  Being a southerner, I was taught to say "y'all".  I've tried over the years not to, but I can't find a suitable replacement.  "You" seems much too direct especially when I AM talking to multiple people.  Can someone invent a new word?

2.  My route to work goes past a very busy Walmart.  I can't tell you how many SLOW drivers go to Walmart early in the morning.   It must be an unwritten Walmart rule.  Please, can't you wait until after rush hour?  Or, just get the heck over already!  THAT turning lane over there is for YOU.  Get in it.  Now.

3.  When you wear your bangs long (to better frame your face says the hairdresser) they stick in your eyes.  Let me tell you, by the end of the day you want to rip someone's head off.  It is simply the last straw on top of all of the other stresses of the day.  And, out comes the unfashionable barrette.
4.  I loathe elastic.  Elastic feels hideous and instantly adds an extra pouf to my lower abdomen.  I have enough pouf there already, thank you very much.  It's one reason I do not wear the typical running shorts.  The other reason is that they usually hitch up and show everyone my who-ha.  Anybody with me on this or is it just me?

5.  Why would a much older female runner (I also put myself in this category by the way) wear only a bra and no top at a race?  "Ahem, excuse me but your sagging skin is puddling over your shorts and your gravity-challenged ta-tas are banging against your hydration belt ...don't you have chafing issues?"  I've seen the same woman at several regional events.  Just wondering...

6.  I've been attempting (unsuccessfully) to start a new trend - flip flops with socks.   It started out just around the house but now I'm known to wear them to the grocery store or on other errands.  I have graduated from dark, less noticeable socks to the in-your-face white ones.  Eventually, it WILL catch least that's what I tell myself.  "Ahem, excuse me but your ugly white socks and flip flops..."

Enough rambling for today.  Thanks for indulging me.  What'cha thinkin' about?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Weekend Update

Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down...stuck in the seventies today.

I'm linking up with Tara @ Running 'N' Reading for the Weekend Update.

It was a fairly quiet, uneventful, race-free weekend for me, which is actually a little out of character.  I opted not to do Saturday's 5k/8k because they changed the route to a trail run.  Having not seen said trail, I decided I'd better not chance it.  Once before, I turned my ankle multiple times at a trail race that was overgrown with tall grass.   There was no way to see the rocks or holes.  I can't do that again.  I've got plans!  I also skipped the chocolate fun run on Sunday.  I couldn't bring myself to pay $40 {what?} just to eat chocolate that I don't need.  And, I would have felt the need to get my money's worth and yours too!

I Love Mizuno Inspires
I put a new pair of shoes in rotation.  Don't you just love it when you put on a new pair and can't tell they are new?  I didn't have to stop one time for a re-tie.  They came out of the box laced just right.  These probably look white, but they are a very pale purple.  It's a very different color for me and will take some getting used to.

This was a recovery week after running a half last Sunday.  I ran 4 slow and easy miles on Thursday, 4 tempo miles on Saturday and then another 8 moderately paced miles on Sunday.  Sunday's run was in a chilly misting rain, but it felt great!  I chose my hilliest route and stopped at The Mailbox twice for Gatorade.  My next half is 3 weeks away, unless I get a wild hair.  That's certainly been known to happen both ON and IN my head.

Speaking of wild hairs, my tentative plan is to run all 4 nearby half marathons (within about 90 miles) that fall on consecutive weekends from February 22nd to March 15th.  You heard me, 4 HMs within a 21-day window.  This would allow me to advance a moon level in Half Fanatics.  Yes, silly maybe but whoop-whoop anyway!  My personal best is 4 in 35 days.  {I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...}

On my Spring radar is a Girls On The Go half marathon in Las Vegas.  I guess it's really outside Vegas in the Lake Mead - Hoover Dam area.  It looks very interesting as a large part of it is on an old hard-packed railroad bed and includes multiple tunnels.  I've always been weirdly intrigued by trains for some reason.  This would give me a race in a new state and I've always wanted to see Hoover Dam.  I'm beyond excited about this.  I hope I can get it worked out. 

My award arrived in the mail from the First Light half marathon (race recap HERE).  This half will always be special to me and I will return every year that I possibly can.  The benefactors work all year to make the medals and awards for this race.  Please take the time to read the bio of the lovely lady who crafted my award.  It makes me misty-eyed.

The front of my award
And on the back

Of course Sunday evening was spent watching the Super Bowl.  Sorry die-hard fans, but my favorite part will always be the commercials.  The Skittles arm wrestling ad was a favorite.  Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel's throwback was funny too.  I have to say the game itself was an enjoyable nail-biter.  The chicken, black bean and corn nachos we ate were delicious.  Seriously, anything you can top with sour cream can't be bad.  Has anybody else tried Dos-a-ritas (by Dos Equis)?  I still prefer my tried and true Lime-A-Ritas. 

I hope you had a great weekend.

What did you do?  What was your favorite Super Bowl Commercial?