Sunday, November 19, 2017

Soldier Half Marathon (WW # 120)

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Soldier Half Marathon
Fort Benning, GA
November 18, 2017
Half Marathon  # 47

Last year I thoroughly enjoyed the 2016 Soldier Half Marathon and vowed to run the marathon this year. Well...that didn't happen.  Other plans were made and revised.  Life happened.  Injuries happened.   I am a little disappointed as this was the last year they'll offer the full distance. Originally scheduled to run Vegas, I doubted I'd be able to fit in this half.  But when Vegas didn't happen, I thought...maybe.  Throw in the fact I found out my southern sole sister Teresa and her Major Hubs were going to run it and that maybe became...well heck yeah!

Due to the time zone difference, this race required a crazy early wake-up call.  Even so, I prefer sleeping in my own bed.  I arrived one hour beforehand.  I would need to find parking, go through security, register and get my swag, stand in the restroom line, walk back to the car, go back through security, and get to the start line. These logistics are what make me nervous -- never the race itself.  Let's just say there was a bit of a fiasco at registration which left me with little time to spare.  I was glad to get a hat because I forgot mine!

The swag included a poster, awesome moisture-wicking hat,
and a women's cut technical T-shirt.

I connected with Teresa and Hubs and we lined up in the middle.  It was about 40 degrees but would warm up quickly.  I had a throwaway long sleeve T-shirt on; split up the middle for easy removal.  Teresa and I ran together for a bit.  Knowing the famous Drill Hill began in mile three, I wanted to run easy until I crested it. Surprisingly, it was not the same big hill as last year.  In fact, the course was different in the early miles. No worries -- they threw in a suitable replacement hill.  Although it was much longer (a full mile up) it didn't seem as steep.   The Drill Sergeants were there to help us to the top.  One fell right in step with a guy to my right.  I'm happy it was not me.  I giggled at his choice of words and kept running...a bit faster!

While running the few miles on base, I heard what sounded like gunfire a couple of times which was a bit unsettling.  You have to remember this is a true military base.  Their training would not stop for us.  I am very appreciative of the many, many soldiers who worked this event.   My favorite segment was the big down hill.  Yep, those Drill Sergeants were there too!

Being my first half since June, I had no expectations of being anywhere near a PR.  After a year with various injuries and time off, I ran the Battleship 12k last weekend at a 9:31 pace and hoped that would translate to a solid effort below a 10:00.  It did.  My average pace was 9:51.  Sadly, the altered course measured a quarter mile too long so my official time will not reflect it.  {Pet Peeve -- don't get me started!}  I actually don't know my official time as I didn't check at the race and they haven't been posted. 

The start and finish runs through the Avenue of Flags.
Overall, I was happy to run strong with no cramping or other issues.  It was a gorgeous fall day.  You know I'm solar powered -- I was happy to be outside doing something active.  The miles passed quickly and pleasantly, if you can call those last few miles of any half  pleasant.    Even though some of it was due to the added distance, it was still a little hard to swallow being over 8 minutes slower than last year.

Moving on...

National Infantry Museum's entrance.

The post race party was nice with plenty of food and drink options.  I saw people lined up for massages as well.  I only ate a banana and pretzels as I planned to visit with a family member for lunch.  We hung out a little while and took a few pictures but Teresa and Hubs also had to leave in order to check out of their hotel.  I'll let Teresa tell you about their experience, but let me say I'm very proud of both of them.  They nailed this race as part of their marathon training!

There is something about this race that I love.  Perhaps it's the zero traffic.  Perhaps it's the fall foliage.  Perhaps it's the beautiful wooded roads that take you up to the base and back down.  Perhaps it's getting a glimpse of base life.  Perhaps it's the motivating Drill Sergeants.  Perhaps it's the winding trail beside the river during the final miles.  Perhaps it's the Avenue of Flags.  Perhaps it's the impressive National Infantry Museum.  Perhaps  you could say it's all of the above.  Whatever the case, I'll be back!

And that's a wrap!

Have you run a race on a military base?

What do you think makes a great race experience?

What are you training for?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Battleship 12k (WW # 119)

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My original plan was to be in Las Vegas this weekend, but that sadly didn't work out.  Since PoPo had taken time off work as well, we decided to visit Mobile.  We started with massages at the Battlehouse Renaissance Spa and later the best grilled oysters ever at the Oyster House.  We topped off our delicious meal with a specialty concoction that was a slice of Key Lime pie blended with ice cream, tequila and triple sec.  We split it... I swear.

The PoPo to my HoHo

On Veterans Day, we spent the morning at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park.  Touring the battleship was a very fitting way to honor the occasion.  What the servicemen did on board was simply amazing.  Very impressively, she suffered no enemy damage in her nine battles during World War II.  We spent the afternoon in the French Quarter relaxing outdoors and watching cyclists coming into the finish of the Gears and Beers Century Ride.  Oh yeah -- it’s now on my must do list!  We dined that evening at Bluegill.  {Just so you alternate post title was "We Ate Our Way Through Mobile".}

Sunday, I ran the 3rd annual Battleship 12k.  I've run several half marathons in Mobile and enjoy their flat, scenic courses.  This course was point to point from Spanish Fort to Mobile, ending at the USS Alabama. I assumed it would be mostly flat with maybe a few bridge inclines. Having never run a 12k, this would be an automatic PR.  Just getting my mileage back on track, I wanted to use this race as a steady training run.  I chose a patriotic outfit and was ready to go!

Race day began at 61 degrees with low hanging clouds and misting rain.  I stayed in a nearby hotel and walked to the start line.   The course was truly a straight shot directly over Mobile Bay.  I lost count of the bridges but at least most inclines were not too steep.  I began very conservatively and picked it up during the last mile and a half,  happy to run it as my fastest. -- even with the steepest bridge.  As we turned into the park for the finish, we were handed an American flag.  I thought that was a special touch.

Immediately following my finish, harder rain started falling and the temperature began dropping.  I scarfed down water, banana, chocolate donut and coffee.  By this time, my lips were blue from the cold and I could barely speak.  I spotted some familiar faces (it's nice to have people to chat with when you are away from home!) and stood in line for the shuttle that would take me back for probably an hour.  Freezing.  A hot shower never felt so good.  Oh, we dined at Ralph & Kacoo's on the way home.  More grilled oysters.  And shrimp and grits.  What can I say?

I'm sorry this seems rushed, but I was on a deadline for the Weekly Wrap!

Good luck to all the ladies running in Las Vegas right now as this post goes live!

And that's a wrap!

Do you like point to point races?

Have you visited Mobile?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Cow Patty Trot (WW # 118)

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The sole purpose of this linkup is to
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My body is definitely feeling the affects from four weeks of increased training mileage. After pulling the plug on the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon, my goal was to complete another double digit run this weekend (I succeeded!).  I will taper this upcoming week while possibly running the Battleship 12k in Mobile and hopefully feel good enough to run the Soldier Half Marathon the following weekend. 

This ghost was HUGE!

My weekday runs were completed after work.  I've been struggling with getting out of bed for my dark early miles and hope the time change will help. My evening Halloween run was one of hard effort but quite enjoyable as all the decorations were out, inflated, lighted and ready for the kids to Trick or Treat.  

I didn't know Chick-Fil-A had a girl cow!
Saturday, I continued my quest to run 5k races to help improve my overall speed.  This weekend's selection was the Cow Patty Trot.  This race was once well attended but not having the event for a few years took a toll on their participants.  A mere handful of people showed up and thus I won overall female.  My time was not speedy (3 minutes slower than my best at this race), but I did manage one mile that started with an 8...barely.  It's been a while so I'll take that as a victory in itself.  I could feel the high humidity in the air and the last mile was all uphill.  It took everything I had to not let the 2nd place female overtake me.  After the race, she thanked me for pacing her to her fastest time ever.  That made my day. Even when you think you are not at your best, others are still watching. 

That would be a cow bell award!

Sunday morning's double digit run was summer like.  Per usual, I put my watch on its heart rate screen and ignored my pace.  I felt pretty strong until mile 10 and that's when it got tough.  It was just so darned hot!  But, I was pleased to get 12 miles under my belt.  I'm so happy I remembered to DVR the New York City Marathon before my run.  Shalane's win was incredible.

And that's a wrap!

Have you ever won an "unusual" award?   What?

Did you watch the NYC Marathon?

What's next on your schedule?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Coffee Talk (November)

Welcome to Coffee Talk
It's time to settle in and chat a bit as we sip from our cups.  It's a brand new sparkling month with so many possibilities.  I can't believe Thanksgiving will be here in a few shorts weeks but then again, don't want to think of the craziness that follows.   

Over Coffee...

As we sip, I'd want to know if you've tried the new Reese's coffee creamer by International Delight.   OMG.  Hankering for a late night dessert?  Just stick a straw in and sip.

Over Coffee...

I'd tell you how stressed I've been over Rock n Roll Vegas.  When it came time to book flights, I had a swollen ankle tendon -- severe enough to see my podiatrist who performed an ultrasound and declared it was not torn.  Whew!  But, he instructed me to stay off of it four more weeks {shh...that didn't happen}.  Sadly, Vegas would be out!   Fast forward to now; my ankle has healed and my weekly mileage somewhat back to normal.  Ever optimistic, I was still looking at flights this week.  I couldn't justify the outrageous last minute fares and pulled the plug.  The crazy thing is...if my ankle still hurt, I would feel better about it.  That DNG (did not go) would be much easier to swallow.

Evening greetings from the mailbox!

Over Coffee...

I'd ask if there is something wrong with your bed.  You see, mine has recently exhibited an extraordinary amount of extra suction.  I.can't.get.up.  My mornings runs this week?  All completed after work.  After work!  They were quite enjoyable, though.  Who am I becoming? 

Over Coffee...

I'm sure the subject of Christmas would invariably come.  I've been proud of my successful plan of staying out of stores with their way-too-early decorations and music.  Blissfully unaware, I wheeled in to the post office this week for stamps and these popped out of the machine.   Was there a Thanksgiving stamp I missed back in the summer?

Over Coffee...

You'd see that I'm giddy with excitement because our southern race season is just beginning.   This will be the Winter that I will {knock on wood} run my 50th half marathon.  Well yeah, I sorta thought I would have done that already.   Or more specifically...aging body.   I've got a list of race possibilities just sitting on my phone.  I'm ready.

What would you tell me over coffee?

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

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

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Double Digits (WW #117)

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The sole purpose of this linkup is to
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Fall finally came to visit this week and Winter may be sneaking up right behind.   I ran two weekday five milers before work.  They both ended up being progression runs.  It's almost as it I can't run anything but progressively on weekdays.  I'm simply still asleep in the beginning and then running late for work toward the end.  

Thursday greetings from the mailbox!

Recently, I decided to go back to my old plan of running 5ks to work on speed.  This has worked well for me in the past.  There are so many races this time of year but I chose the Saints and Sinners 5k.  I've run it before and they have a cute graphics on their long sleeve T-shirts, runners can dress in costume for Halloween, and they have great door prizes.  I did not register in advance since it looked like it might rain...buckets. When I woke Saturday and saw the yellow and red on the radar, I got back in bed and snuggled with the dogs.  

After sleeping unusually late, I eventually got out for a midday four mile run.  I was determined to make up for my lost speed work opportunity.  After warming up, I felt I ran close to what I would have in the race.  I was lucky to catch a break between showers and stayed dry until the last mile.  It continued to rain most all day so PoPo and I celebrated Halloween a little early by watching horror movies.  

This will always be my favorite Halloween decoration!

Since we had plans Sunday, I had to get out pretty early for my long run.  It was 39 degrees and very windy, but at least it was sunny.   I kept my Garmin on its heart rate screen and ignored my pace.   I was happy to complete my longest run since June.

I recently Runfessed about fast tracking for a few weeks to get back on schedule for my next race. After this week, I feel I'm caught up on mileage.  My speed is not there yet but I'll just keep chipping away at it as best I can.  Next week's 5k selection?  The Cow Patty Trot.  My fingers are already crossed for better weather. 

And that's a wrap!

Do you have a favorite Halloween ritual?  Favorite decoration?

Have you ever used a 5k race as speed work?