Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas (WW # 73)

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My Week At A Glance:

M    Rest
T     Ran 5 Easy
W   Ran 8 (1w/u + 7 @ 9:24) 
T     Rest
F     Ran 5 Easy
S     Ran 12 (1 w/u 11 @ 9:52)
S     Rest

Total = 30 Miles

This week was a mad flurry of last minute shopping, wrapping, baking, cleaning, sitting in ridiculous traffic, and family events (oh--and working all week in crisis mode too!).  My runs felt really great and were much needed stress relievers. 

The holidays have definitely been a welcomed distraction from over-thinking my upcoming marathon. There's been no time to second guess my training plan, stress over the random aches and pains, or worry about the humid weather that's sure to ensue.

My last double digit run of this training cycle and year!

Just recently, I posted a quick summary of my quite different and surprising year here: Looking Back at 2016  and displayed a few of the medals here:  Decorations from 2016.  I won't rehash it all on the Weekly Wrap but hope you'll pop over and check those out.

I hope you are enjoying your long holiday weekend with family and friends.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Looking Back at 2016


The year began after being sidelined for two months from a devastating (at the time) metatarsal stress fracture.  After spending countless hours pool running and hundreds of miles on my bike, I ran the Disney Marathon in January anyway.  It was such sweet reward to cross that finish line, but my body took a beating -- it wasn't trained for all that pounding.

I DID IT !!!

After seven weeks of recovery and rehab and taking time to become a RRCA Certified Running Coach, I joined with Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin again (she also ran Disney) for the Rock 'n Roll Half in New Orleans.  My time was nothing to write home about, but I was happy to be running pain free and back to the distance I loved best.  She and I went on to run the Montgomery Half a few weeks later, which was a strugglefest of cramps for me -- making my age group award that much sweeter. Several 5ks were sprinkled in for good measure.


The spring months were a mad rush to get in a few more half marathons before the weather became too warm.  There was the Centerpoint Half in a neighboring town and the irritatingly windy Kill Clif Destin Half where I received the biggest medal I've ever seen.

The medal is the size of a dinner plate!

There was the awesome Tear Drop downhill half with 2500 feet of elevation lost within 8 miles of the race.  Next up, the challenging most-elevation-gain-I've-ever-run Gateway to the Smokies where I was thrilled to meet Karen from Running Over the Hill.  Those hills were certainly challenging, but we both placed in our age groups.  There were a couple of spring 5ks as well.

See the Smoky Mountains in the background?


As training for the Chicago marathon would kick off in July, I chose to run lower mileage months in May and June and substituted the miles with rides on my bike.  Oddly, an idea sprung from that.  Perhaps I could do a duathlon?  That idea quickly morphed into -- Just Go Ahead And Do A Triathlon!  I took a big leap, faced my fears, and participated in the Callaway Gardens Sprint Tri in June.! 

Capitol of Dreams

I went on to complete 3 more triathlons.  I was required to jump off the deck of a old fashioned riverboat at the Capitol of Dreams, and was rewarded with age group placements in the both the Chewacla and Transporter Tri's.  I found I simply adored the bike segment.  {We won't talk about the swim leg. Ahem...

At my third Tri, I'm thrilled to have won 1st in my age group!

I found the triathlons to be a nice diversion from marathon training in our ridiculous summer heat.  Of course my favorite other activity was in full swing.  There is nothing better than slalom water skiing! 

Sunrise skiing on the lake.


October kicked off with the Chicago Marathon.  Although a wonderful experience and a chance to meet bloggers I now consider dear friends, a nasty fall in mile 12 left me wanting more.  Coupled with the fact I couldn't tell I'd run a marathon (other than busted  knees), I hit the registration button to repeat the Disney Marathon.  After a few weeks break, I returned to marathon training.

With my friend Valerie at the Capitol 10 Miler

Jazz Hands at Soldier

I saw glimpses of my previous faster paces during a couple of fall 5k races.  I also ran my first Capitol 10 Miler and added two more half marathons (the Veterans Day weekend Soldier Half and coastal Panama City Beach Half) as part of my marathon training.  It was incredible to meet and spend time with fellow blogger friends to cap off my final race of the year!  We deemed it a HoLottaFun!

TriciaDarlene, Me, Wendy, Karen, Mary Beth, Judy, and Marcia jumping for joy in Panama City


2 Full Marathons
8 Half Marathons (2 AG Awards)
4 Sprint Triathlons (2 AG Awards)
1 Ten Miler (1 AG Award)
7  5ks (6 AG/Master Awards)

After a rocky start to 2016, things did improve.  I healed!  I found a new love of cycling and enjoyment of sprint triathlons.  I would never have found these without that sidelining injury that forced me back onto a bike in the first place.

So I'll begin 2017 with the Disney Marathon, followed up with a few weeks of rest.  After that?  Well, I really don't know.  I'm sure there will be some half marathons.  But, we'll just see what the year brings. The possibilities are endless.  New opportunities are everywhere...

Do you have 2017 all mapped out?

Thanks to our wonderful hosts:
 Ericka @ MCM Mama Runs

Sunday, December 18, 2016

There It Is (WW # 72)

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My Week At A Glance:

M   Rest
T     Ran 6 Easy
W   Ran 5 Easy
T     Ran 9 (1w/u + 8 @ 9:25 MRP) 
F     Rest
S     Ran 21
S     Ran 6 Recovery (HR=137)

Total = 47 Miles

And WHOOT...There It Is (are you singing the song too?).  This was my last high mileage week before the Disney Marathon.  Since I added an extra day of running into my weekly schedule this go 'round, I'm really looking forward to taper.  I say that now, but also know I'll be all cranky-pants after a few days.  The holidays will be a nice and stressful welcomed distraction though.  Then it's off to the Mouse's House.

Thursday's run started with an incredible full moon....

and ended with an spectacular sunrise.

My last long run (21 miles) of this training cycle deserved a celebratory jump.  I even impressed myself with the air I got on this one. 

I spent most of the weekend trying to get organized for Christmas.  There was candy making, grocery shopping, cleaning, gift wrapping, and finally a little shopping simply had to be done in an actual store. Yes, I was tortured for over 90 minutes -- complete with crying children and outrageous tantrums {mine, naturally 😉}.  Oh how I love my on-line shopping!   

A sampling of the candy we made (a food photographer I am not)...

It was a very productive week both from a marathon training and holiday preparedness standpoint.  But I admit powering through with copious amounts of coffee!  And non-stop holiday music.  And food.  And...

That's a wrap!

How is your holiday preparedness?

Do you have a cookie, candy making, or other food tradition?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Decorations from 2016

I'm going to get organized enough one of these years to decorate a Christmas tree with my medals like Tiny Terror.  {However, my 44 half marathon medals are currently hanging in order and how on earth will I get them back that way?  Ahhh you know the real reason I haven't decorated a tree with them!}  Anyway, I thought I'd share a few decorations from this year.   No worries, I won't bore you with all of them {wink}. 
Trust me, every race was challenging in its own way, especially you Chicago fall, and you mountains of NC!  Each decoration has special memories attached.  All were hard fought and earned proudly.

My first marathon

...and my second.

This one is the size of my head!

A special memento from my first triathlon!

I admit, body decorations make you feel...bad ass.

Sometimes you get an extra decoration for your hard work.

Some decorations just feel right...

I jumped off a riverboat for this one...yikes!

Yes...some are just odd.  Tombstone anyone?

Some are attached to an awesome experience with friends.

So, do I race simply for the decorations?  Absolutely not.  It's about rising to each and every  challenge.  It's about the experience of doing what you love, as many times as you please.  It's about the connections, the support, the friendships made along the way.   Perhaps that's the most special adornment of all.
What is your favorite decoration from 2016?

I'm linking with the lovely Deb from Deb Runs for Wednesday Word.

Please visit Deb and the other participating bloggers.  It's fun!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

PCB Race Recap (WW #71)

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This link was created to support active women!
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My Week At A Glance:

M   Rest
T    Ran
W   Ran 8
T    Rest
F    Ran 6
S    Ran 5
S    Ran 18

Total = 43 Miles !!

Ho Lotta Fun Weekend
Panama City Beach Half Marathon Recap

Back this Winter, I threw the idea of running the Panama City Beach Half Marathon out to a handful of fellow bloggers.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think they would all want to come and run with little ol' me!  I truly felt honored and privileged.  I also tossed the idea out to everyone who linked on the Weekly Wrap.  Sadly,  there were no other takers.

Judy, Darlene, Me, Tricia and Karen -- SO EXCITED to be in FL!
The first of our ladies (pictured above) arrived on Thursday evening just after an incredible sunset.  We dined at Shades and Mary Beth joined our crew just before bedtime.  Did we go to bed?  Eventually...there was so much to be said!  Friday morning, we walked a 1/2 mile down the beach to famous Thomas' Donuts (just...OMG).  We went for a nice mid-morning beach stroll, and lunched right on the water at Schooners

Our view at lunch!

Then it was time for the Chicago ladies (Marcia and Wendy) to arrive!

Front L:  Marcia, Karen, Wendy, Me with Tricia in front          Back L: Judy, Mary Beth and Darlene  
The gang's all here!       (I think someone said "pose"!)

After an easy packet pickup (no expo) we ate at Brick Oven Pizza Friday night.  Saturday morning, Marcia led us in a pre-race warm up before leaving the house.  The race was all of 5 minutes away.  Parking?  You couldn't get closer.  Some ladies visited Margaritaville for real restrooms before the start.

The entire race crowd is just around that curve waiting at the start line.

The weather was nearly ideal.  I've run this race several times before it was re-branded as the Panama City Beach Marathon/Half.  It was a little breezy, but I'll take that over the prior years of extreme humidity, heat, and dense fog.  The course started and ended in beautiful Pier Park running right along the coast where you had nice ocean views (well, when not blocked by condos). 

Wendy brought us Momentum bracelets that said NEVER GIVE UP.

I started out with Karen and Darlene but quickly realized I wasn't running my own race.  I dropped back for a while.  Going out too fast is suicide for me.  Being in the middle of marathon training, and especially after two16 milers the previous week, I had zero expectations.  I was tired right from the first step and fully expected to be.  The wind was a bit of a struggle, but I've run in much worse.  

The turnaround was a fun distraction as I watched for Wendy who I knew was out in front and then the other ladies after I made the turn.  Everyone seemed right behind me.  {Pick it up Ho!}   I got them all high-fived except Judy -- there was a median between us -- and I didn't see Marcia who I knew was favoring an injured hamstring.

I eventually spotted Wendy way up ahead and assumed she was struggling.   I patiently worked to close the gap.  It took me a couple of miles but I caught up to her while she was taking a picture with a huge monkey at the retro 60's Goofy Golf. [The monkey's long tail swings back and forth to foil your putting attempt!]   This struck me as funny (sorry Wendy!)   Indeed, she said she was struggling and we ran together for a bit.  She dropped back and I ran ahead.  Then feeling light headed, I dropped back.  She surged ahead with an awesome second wind.  It was fun using her as my rabbit and she definitely helped me negative split the race.  My last mile was the fastest.  I'm thrilled when that happens.  Our official times were 22 seconds apart.  I gave it everything I had and was completely satisfied. 

Official Time =  2:04:00    (Toothless at the finish as usual...)

A huge thanks to my favorite rabbit!

Wendy, Marcia and I cheered loudly as the other ladies arrived.  Darlene won first in her age group. Karen had a fantastic race (after a very recent marathon no less).  You may remember I coached Tricia this fall.  Her initial goal was to PR in the half distance.  She came mighty close in her last very hilly half.  This time?  She nailed it!  I was so proud.  Mary Beth and Judy also had incredible PRs.  Overall,  I think you can say it was a great day!

You can't go to Margaritaville without visiting the gift shop!

After enjoying Margaritaville's after party we ate lunch at The Back Porch, sitting outside so we could cheer for the marathon finishers.  We returned to the house and played on the beach, took countless photos, and just sunned, gabbed and chilled on the deck for a while.  Later, we went to Shuck 'Ems for dinner.  It's a dive of an very casual oyster bar with dollar bills completely covering the ceilings and walls.  We thoroughly enjoyed great seafood (only Mary Beth and I ate oysters), awesome baseball sized hush puppies, and a fun night of karaoke. {Low Rent = Good Times}  In true we-just-ran-a-half-marathon fashion, we were home by 9:30!

Of course, we hit up the doughnut shop again for refueling the next morning.  There was more beach strolling, frolicking, yoga, and more pictures.  Darlene, Karen and I went for a short recovery run (walk).

This was a very warm and humid run!

We lunched beachside at Pineapple Willy's.  That evening, the remaining crew did a little shopping at Pier Park and dined at Pompano Joe's.  I think we were their only patrons! 

It was an incredible weekend connecting with other runners.  We may all be on different journeys, have different goals, different interests and even different personalities -- but this crazy running thing bonds us together in a way nothing else could.  There were so many wonderful memories of the trip, it's impossible to mention them all.  I'll just post a few extra pictures.

Comparing notes
Me, Wendy

Coach Ho is so proud of Tricia!

Darlene, Me

Thanks to Tricia for helping me host this event!

Hush puppies to die for!

Karen, Me  (What is going on?)
Those beautiful sugar sands!

And that's a wrap!

Do you like oysters?  How about Karaoke?

Have you participated in a girls running weekend?