Category Archives: race

At times, I wish I could stomp on Jiminy Cricket

This post should be a race report. Key words there: should be.

As I’ve mentioned before, my husband currently works nights and has for several months now. To avoid royally screwing up his body, he keeps his sleeping schedule the same throughout the weekend (ie: on his days off). When I have a race, he is forced to go on little or no sleep at all. Because our boys are too young to watch themselves, he has to either accompany me to watch the boys while I run or stay home to watch the boys while I run. He has always chosen to accompany me because he enjoys being there to cheer me on and to take pictures of/for me.

*side note: I realize I could race with the boys in the BOB but,while most do, not every race allows joggers. Also, I’m very competitive and, selfishly, I’d rather race solo because I’m too slow w/ both boys in the BOB. One day I may be fast enough with the jogger but that’s definitely not now.*

I’m not going to lie, I had been battling with myself over this race for several days leading up to it. Not because I did not think I could do it but because it would have meant sacrifices would have to be made. This would have been my first 10K race but, I’ve covered that distance many times in the last few months during my half marathon training so, I wasn’t worried I wouldn’t be able to finish the race. I was stewing over things because going would have meant getting up at an ungodly hour. It would have meant screwing up my sons’ sleeping and they have more than enough trouble in that department on their own. It would have meant making my husband go with very little or no sleep. And, it would have meant the third weekend in a row of doing all of the above. Well, most of the above.

During supper on Friday night, I told my husband I was having second thoughts about going to the race. He understood my conflicted position and made a comment that he would not be terribly upset if I ultimately decided to skip it, even though I had already paid for my registration. He also made a comment about the subsequent racing really screwing with him (his sleep) and that made me feel extremely guilty. Still, I couldn’t seem to come to a decision.

After the kids were tucked in bed, I was still trying to make a decision as the minutes ticked by. I remembered something someone told me on DM in the past about never regretting a race/run but always regretting not doing it. That was it! I finally knew I couldn’t skip it because I knew I would regret it if I did. I told my husband I planned on going and got to work at getting everything ready and organized. It’s much easier to get everyone out of the door on time when everything is packed up the night before. You’re also guaranteed not to forget key items if they’re packed up the night before, as long as you don’t forget about packing them. 😉

After I watched a couple of shows that were recorded earlier in the week on our DVR, I hit the hay hoping to get as much sleep as I could. I’m not sure what time it was, but I awoke to my youngest screaming. My husband got him, brought him into the tv room, and the screaming continued. And continued. And it continued. After a couple of minutes, I got up to see what was going on. He’d been having bouts of being inconsolable lately in the middle of the night and I figured I might be able to help stop the screaming. Not only was my sleep being disturbed but I could imagine my poor three-year-old putting his head under his pillow as his younger brother continued with his screaming fit. They share a room so, when it starts, there’s no escape. I got to the tv room and found my poor husband trying to hold onto a flailing toddler with one arm while attempting to block his bad ear with the other. I debated for a second whether it would piss my husband off if I took the baby and brought him to bed with me. I figured such an action may make him feel like I didn’t think he could handle it on his own. I quickly shot that idea out of mind because I knew getting him to stop screaming was the priority and it didn’t really matter how we got it to happen. He screamed the entire walk to the bedroom but, as soon as I put him down on my bed, he shut up. *raises eyebrow* Really? In my half asleep state, I quickly got him positioned, covered him up, and settled myself in for a little more shut-eye.

An hour or two later, my husband came into the bedroom ready to hit the hay as well. He attempted to move the baby back to his own bed but he wanted nothing of it. I swear, we’re creating and enabling a monster. Anyhow, so the three of us snuggled in and went to sleep. I had two alarms set. One for 4:00am and the other for 5 minutes later just in case. I woke up on my own and was surprised it was so close to wake-up time. The clock read 3:47. I looked over at the bed hog baby who was nestled between me and my husband in a star fish position and I decided I would attempt to move him into his own bed so that I wouldn’t wake him while I got ready. After I tucked him into his own bed, I just stood in the darkness of the hallway for a minute with a million thoughts going through my head. I came up with excuse after excuse, all of which were lies, that would be acceptable to others for potentially skipping the race. Kids were sick. I was sick. Rough night with the kids. You get the picture. I stood there, fighting back and forth with myself for what seemed like forever before I finally made my way back to bed. I just sat there, still debating, wondering what I was going to do. I looked over at my sleeping husband and I really didn’t want to disturb his sleep. My guilt meter was on overload. A part of me wanted to get things moving and get to the race. However, a bigger part of me wanted to relish in the peacefulness and get a little extra shut-eye with my husband by my side; something that doesn’t happen often with his current work schedule. That bigger part of me wanted to give my husband and my kids a break from the racing scene and let them get the sleep they  no doubt needed. That bigger part of me also couldn’t see past the guilt of wanting to selfishly say “screw ’em, they can nap later”. I was going to be the cause, yet again, of a sleepless night day for my husband and disturbed sleep for my kids. I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t put them through it for the third weekend in a row. Those of you that are mothers may understand the mommy guilt part of the equation here. Once that gets a hold of you, you’re screwed.

No amount of potential regret mattered anymore. I disabled the alarms, got online to send Steve (he was going to carpool to the race start) a quick note telling him I wasn’t going, and crawled back into bed. I woke my husband to tell him we were staying home. I’m sure he was relieved to hear it through the fogginess of sleep. I also figured if he wanted to get up for a couple of hours and sleep longer throughout the day, he could take advantage of the opportunity, but he went back to sleep. It took a little longer than I would have liked for me to find sleep again as thoughts and feelings of guilt & regret swirled throughout my entire being. I’m not sure how long it took but sleep finally engulfed me and I was off to Dreamland until my alarm clock one of the kids got up for the day.

To be honest, once a few hours had passed, I still felt a bit of regret for having missed the race. However, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. The negative feelings were gone in no time and that right there tells me that I made the right decision. It wasn’t like when I missed the St Paddy’s Day 5K. I was truly heartbroken and angry that I missed that one. Of course, the circumstances surrounding the reasons why I missed both races are very different. I guess I figured missing a race is missing a race and one would feel the same thing in the aftermath no matter what. Clearly, that’s not the case.

So that’s what happened. After being super busy for the last few weeks, it was nice to have a low-key/closer to normal weekend as a family. 🙂


Going the Distance for Autism 5K – Race Report

This race was about a half an hour from home and had a later-than-what-I’m-used-to 9am start so I planned on leaving home around 745. I figured the kids would wake me up in plenty of time but I set my alarm just in case they decided to sleep in. As if on cue, I heard my youngest talking about 10 minutes before my alarm was set to go off.

I got both kids up & gave them breakfast and sent them up with some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on TV. I was going to get myself a little something to eat but I started feeling the urge to go #2. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am very happy when my body is nice to me and eliminates before a race. As I’ve mentioned before, GI issues at a race are a huge fear of mine. Plus, I’ve always had this irrational phobia of going #2 in public places; weird, I know. Anyhow so this great thing soon turned into a not-so-great thing. (sorry, this is going to be TMI; skip to the next paragraph if you can’t stomach a little poop talk) My stool was loose and my stomach was pretty upset. I usually ride things out but, since I was going to be on the road and racing, I jumped the gun and took some anti-diarrhea meds.

I woke up my husband so that he could have breakfast before we left and got myself a granola bar & some water. I usually race on an empty stomach but I better have a little something in my stomach today due to the late start. As usual, we didn’t leave the house on time. We were about 15 minutes behind schedule but we still had plenty of time to get there on time so I wasn’t worried.

The ride was uneventful, other than my upset stomach. We managed to grab one of the last parking spots in one of the smaller parking lots and unloaded the car. We headed toward the crowd and I got into the packet pick-up line with my 3-year-old while my husband waited on the opposite side of the road w/ our 22 month old in the stroller. There were several people in line but the wait wasn’t too long. I’d say it was no more than 5 minutes between getting in line and getting my packet. A volunteer gave my 3-year-old a cool Autism awareness bracelet while another got my packet out of a box. He thought it was so cool! 🙂 We headed back to where my husband was waiting. I think I had about 20 minutes before race start as I got myself ready. I pinned my bib to my shirt, strapped on my iPod, put my ankle brace on & switched my everyday watch for my Garmin. With 15 minutes left, I decided to find the booth for the boys’ speech therapy clinic. It didn’t take long to find them and the girls from the clinic seemed happy to see the boys. Each boy got a pinwheel, we talked for a couple of minutes and then I had us head back to the start area so that I could do a very quick warm up.

I didn’t have long at all, I think there were 10 minutes left before the race start, maybe less. I ran for just under 5 minutes to get the juices flowing and stretched where my husband was. People started congregating near the start line as I was finishing up with my stretching and, after a quick picture with my 22 month old (3-year-old refused to take a picture with me), I joined them.

Look for the orange & sunglasses in the middle, that's me 😉

 There were a couple of guys who attempted to shout directions to us runners prior to race start but I didn’t understand 75% of what they said. A megaphone would have probably been a good idea. National anthem was sung and we were off. Let me just say that I got a taste of what it’s like to be a faster runner and race with kids present. Not cool. I had one boy cut me off about a quarter-mile into the race which really annoyed me. I bee-lined to a free area next to me and blew past him so that I wouldn’t have to deal with his inconsideration for other runners. Ugh, really irritating and something I’ve never had to deal with in the past. I was going at a pretty good clip and, when I looked down, my pace was in the low 8’s. I tried to keep my eyes off of my Garmin and just go with how I felt. This made the first 2 miles fly by rather quickly. After that, I noticed I was getting really hot, even though there had already been a couple of water stations, and I was quickly losing steam. I walked for a very short bit a couple of times and pressed on. I’m not sure when it started but three of us girls started playing tag during the last mile or so. We’d run side-by-side, one would stop to walk and we’d pass her, then someone else would stop to walk while the previous walker was back to running and we’d meet up again, and repeat. It was a serious fight for me to the finish. I was spent and it took everything I had to continue running. I was so relieved when I came around the final turn but was soon filled with disappointment because the finish line seemed to be getting farther away instead of closer. During my last walk, the two girls caught up to me running and one of them said something about being able to do this and we could do this together because we’d been fighting for it for a while. And I took off running with them. Unfortunately, I really didn’t have the energy to keep up the pace and I had to pull back after what seemed like forever. One of the girls pulled back with me as she couldn’t keep up the pace of the third girl either. I was filled with disappointment as I watched her pull away from us. Still, the finish line seemed to be getting farther away from us. I swear, this last quarter-mile was the LONGEST of my life. It seemed like it would never end. I continued to run with the same girl and I think I muttered some profanities along the way. lol (If you ever find & read this, girl in the pink shirt, please excuse my French) We were finally nearing the finish line and I felt like I was knocking on death’s door. I was so hot and so done. I did peak at the clock as I ran up to it and I saw 28:01 & 28:02, then I crossed. I’m not sure what my final time was but I’m guessing somewhere in the 28:05 area. (I’ll update when the results are posted online). I got a card to fill out from a volunteer, I got a bottle of cold water and walked it off. My husband missed me crossing because he was dealing with a toddler & balloon dilemma and apparently he forgot to take the lens cap off as she shot off a the first couple of post race pictures of me. Fail! lol He got a few pictures of me looking like death, trying to walk it off and filling out my time card. I also noticed a professional photographer at the finish line, but I noticed him too late. I’m sure my finishing pictures will be real winners *sarcasm*.

Finally crossed the dang finish line

I look like I'm hurling here, I swear I'm not. lol

Walking it off, trying to catch my breath & lower my heart rate

Filling out my time card

I headed over to where my husband & the boys were waiting for me. I opened my water and didn’t get a sip in before both boys were yelling at me for a drink of my water. Good grief! Such is the life of a Mom! I continued to drink & stretch. At some point, my husband asked me if the heat bothered me because he heard from the faster runners that they were done before they finished, too.  Made me feel better that the more seasoned runners had difficulty during today’s race, too. The boys were getting rowdy so I figured we should head back over to the girls from their therapy clinic and perhaps that would calm them. We hung out there for a while. The boys each got a cookie, played with balloons, loved on the girls and I’m sure they got in the way a few times, too. Once they started to get unruly again, we headed toward the water for a change of scenery. We let them run a bit and got some pictures and I wanted to go back to the race start to see what my time was. I figured they’d have preliminary results posted somewhere but I was wrong. I didn’t find anything. The 3-year-old announced he had to pee so Daddy took him to the bathroom while I waited outside with the other one. Not a minute after they went into the bathroom, I heard someone asking everyone to gather near the stage area (next to the water) for the awards ceremony. I walked a bit but was still in view for when they came out. They finally emerged and we made our way to the stage area. I parked the stroller under some shade and we waited for things to get rolling. MC said some stuff & announced some names, a man (or older teenager, not quite sure) with autism sang a couple of songs (and he sang very well!), and they finally started to announce the winners. I’ll admit, even though I didn’t know my final time, I thought I had a chance at placing. Once again, I was wrong. The girl in the pink shirt I finished with ended up getting 2nd or 3rd in her age group (age group below mine) and I thought that was pretty awesome!

When they were announcing winners, my 22 month old started to cry hysterically for no reason. It was clear he had had enough and was ready for a nap after such a big morning. So, we decided to leave before all of the winners were announced. We made our way back to the car, changed a diaper, loaded everyone & everything and we were on our way.

Considering how hot it was, I’m very happy with my performance. It’s impossible to PR at every race, even though it’d be nice to do so. 😉

Gulf Coast Half Marathon at Pensacola Beach – Race Report

This is the first day since the half that I’m enjoying sitting on my rumpus instead of constantly being on the go. I figured it was the perfect time to finally put my race report together for Sunday’s half.

We decided Friday night that we would get a couple of hotel rooms that way the kids could sleep in a room with my parents so that I could get as much rest as possible, we could get up around 5am instead of 3am (eww) and the kids could come to the race site later with my parents. A quick search on Expedia and we had a couple of rooms reserved for us for the following night.

With two cars loaded up, we headed to Pensacola. First stop was at Running Wild (a running store) to pick up my packet & t-shirt. The parking lot was ridiculously small and full when we got there. I was lucky enough that someone was leaving right after we got there, so I took that spot while my Dad went to the neighbouring business to find somewhere to park/wait for me. Things inside went smoothly and didn’t take long at all. I didn’t know what my bib number was so I had got it from one of the volunteers then headed over to where my number was. I was second in line so it went pretty quickly. I signed a waiver and headed to the table at the back of the room for my t-shirt and I was good to go. The whole process probably took less than 5 minutes.

After packet pickup, we headed to the hotel. We checked in, checked out our rooms (a little smelly, probably from being closed in, but they were clean) and the kids started going a little crazy so we decided to go for supper even though it was still a little early (just past 4 pm). I chose Olive Garden so that I could carb up on some pasta. 😉  I had written directions from google maps for our various destinations during our stay but we decided to use my parents’ GPS to guide us to the restaurant. We plugged in the address and were on our way. It was soon apparent to me that we were not going the right way but I figured the GPS knew better than me since I’ve only been to Pensacola once before so I’m really not familiar with the roads or the area. I continued to follow my parents and, after zigzagging and looping our way through Pensacola, my Dad turned into a mall parking lot. There was no Olive Garden to be seen. I parked next to him and he informed me the GPS told him he had reached his destination. LOL Uh, yeah. Kohl’s was not our destination. I got the address out of my car and we plugged it in again. The GPS made a new route and I saw what I thought we were doing with the initial directions. Olive Garden was South of our hotel’s location. The mall the GPS brought us to was North of our hotel. GPS fail! I got back into my car and we put our faith into the GPS once again. This time, it served its purpose and got us there successfully. We got there just in time, too. A rush of people came in not long after we got there. We were told we would have to wait 5 minutes for our table while people who came in after us were given estimates of 20-30 minutes. Yikes! Our actual wait was about 10 minutes but still not bad at all.

After our meal, we headed back to the hotel. While my Mom gave the kids a bath, I moved their car seats into my parents’ car. The kids had a quick snack after their bath while I hooked up to the hotel’s wireless internet connection so that I could show my Dad where he would need to go the following morning to get to the race. We said goodnight to the boys and my husband and I headed to our room. I quickly took a picture of my shirt & bib and posted it onto Facebook then I set up the connect thing that would update my Facebook when I passed the half way mark & finished the half.

My husband is still on midnights and he passed out in one of the beds while I was checking in online. I decided to take a quick shower and get into my PJs so that I could hopefully hit the hay soon. I crawled into bed around 8 or 830pm and set two different alarms to make sure I didn’t miss this race. My husband woke up at some point in there but I was exhausted and kept slipping in and out of consciousness. I slept pretty shitty at first. The pollen is insane here right now and we’re all suffering pretty bad w/ allergies because of it. The lack of being able to breathe through my nose kept waking me up plus I wasn’t in my bed. I remember waking up at one point with a stream of snot across my face. Sexy! Eventually, I conked out and didn’t get up again until just before 5am. I think it was my husband who woke me up five minutes before the alarm was supposed to go off.

I got up, got dressed and logged in online one last time. One of my biggest fears for the half was having GI issues so I was hoping and praying that my body would be nice to me and I could #2 before we had to leave. Without getting into TMI territory, I’ll just say that it was a success. lol We got our stuff and headed out the door. The thermostat in the car read 72 degrees at 540am. The air was also very heavy with humidity. Clear indication of how gross the weather was going to be for running later. The mapped out route on google maps said it would take 30 minutes to get to the race and I believe it took us about 20 minutes. No, we didn’t do any crazy speeding either. 😉

It was just after 6 when we pulled up near the parking area. It was filling up quickly but we easily found a spot. I got my gear on and got out of the car. It was very windy (we were right next to the Gulf of Mexico) and, with the humidity, it made me cold. I was a shivering nervous mess. We headed toward the pavilion next to the parking area to meet up with Steve and a few other DMers. I spotted him in front of the pavilion with a few other people. We greeted each other, eventually took some pictures then split up for a bit. My husband and I headed toward the beach next to the pavilion to get a few pictures. We quickly discovered that I forgot to take the memory card out of my computer and put it back in the camera the night before. Ugh! Oops!! Fail on my part. No pictures. Dang it! He took some video instead as that was the best we could do. I decided I should probably hit up a toilet before the race start. There was a public washroom available but the line was insane so I decided to just hit up a port-a-potty (eww) and get on with life. I had to wait in line for a good 5 minutes or so before it was my turn. I don’t need to explain the nastiness that is a port-a-potty with you. I’m sure you know from experience. lol I did my thing and got out as quickly as I could. Thank God they have hand sanitizer dispensers on the outside of the doors. I loaded up on it when I was done. No sooner did I get out of the john, I saw Steve waving me over again. We got a few more pictures taken with other people (that I’ve never met lol) and then it was time to line up.

I had been stewing over whether I would use my Camelbak or not. Being nervous about the race in general, I was afraid of using new gear so I finally decided against using it and relied solely on the water provided at the water stations along the route. This was a decision I would later regret. I gave my husband a kiss the headed closer to the start line while he went off. As we waited, the sun started to rise above the tall building in front of us. I was so far back in the pack that I didn’t hear any announcements (if they made any) nor did I hear the national anthem I’m sure they played before the race started. It didn’t take long before they fired a gun (or something) and we were on our way. We walked toward the start and, once we were close to it, the crowd started to disperse a little and we started running. I started my Garmin when I reached the start line.

The first two or three miles were weird. They’re usually a warm up for me and it wasn’t any different in that regard but the whole experience was just so surreal to me. I don’t know if I was caught up in the ‘I can’t believe I’m here’ mentality or what was going on but it was almost an out-of-body experience. I chugged along and my pace was naturally in the 9’s.  The wind was blowing really good and it made my mouth dry which made me really thirsty. I can’t remember where the water stations were located but I do remember that I ate my first Clif Shot Blok at the second one. I’m guessing it was between 3 & 4 miles in. I pretty well continued to eat them at every second water station along the course.

Everything was going well until I neared mile 6. Uh uh, you guessed it, my left hip started to bother me. I had taken small walking breaks before I reached 6 miles but, once my hip started to hurt, it was a battle to keep running. Once the fast runners started to go by us after they reached the turn around point, I kept my eyes peeled for Steve. I also ran as much as I could because I wanted to be running when I spotted him. lol I don’t remember how far I was when I saw him, but I did and we exchanged glances and a wave. The turn around point was still so far away, it was a little discouraging and I was envious of the faster runners. At this point, the sun was beating down on us, we were on a highway next to the Gulf and there was NOTHING around us but hills of sand. A handful amount of people came out to cheer on their runner that was doing the half and the only other people we had cheering us on were those at the water stations. I will say those at the water stations did a wonderful job and were very encouraging but it wasn’t enough to keep me going. It was easy to get caught up in mind games. I was so very thirsty, my hip was being a pain in the ass and I was walking far more than I wanted to. I was becoming more and more disappointed as my average pace got higher and higher. I got lost mentally during the last few miles and chugged along as best I could. It was so hot and I wasn’t getting enough water. I was taking two cups at every water station but it felt like I was teasing myself as I continued on. Thank God I had the Clif Shot Bloks. I can’t imagine the state I would have been in had I not been taking them.

There was a bunch of us that kind of stuck together during those last few miles as well. We were all struggling and would run past one another, then walk and be passed, then run again, rinse & repeat. The view during the last bit of the race was a little better. We were heading West through neighbourhoods and could see some water on our right. Throughout the race, there were some times that we could see the Gulf but I remember seeing endless hills of white sand more than anything. Or houses as we zigzagged through neighbourhoods. So seeing water was a nice change and also a bad thing because I just wanted to jump into it. I was so hot and over it at this point.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, we were coming up to the area with businesses and civilization. They didn’t map out the route properly and my Garmin started beeping away the miles before I reached the mile markers along the course so I had no idea how much longer I actually had. But, I knew the end was near and that made me happy. I chugged long and started to see runners who had finished with their medals around their necks. Then the people sitting on the curbs started to get heavy. Then there was a bunch of people and I spotted my husband and Dad w/ cameras aimed at me. I was almost there. They were at the turn before the finish. After I passed them, I sprinted toward the finish. If I had known it was so close to where they were standing, I would have started sprinting before I did. I crossed the finish line with a time of 2:38:40 (the distance on my Garmin was 13.28 miles, so my pace was 11:56), got my medal and a cold bottle of water (HEAVEN!) and walked around aimlessly trying to find my family.

Coming up to the finish (in case you didn't know, I'm the one in the pink Team Sparkle skirt) 😉

Sprinting to the finish

I did hear the announcer come on and announce that I had crossed along with a handful of other people when I was walking around. He must have been busy when I actually crossed. I finally found my husband and we made our way over to where my Dad & the boys were. There were so many people. It was like flies on a piece of shit. I don’t do crowds and I really wasn’t feeling good and all I wanted to do was get the eff out of there. My Mom had gone to the bathroom so we had to wait for her to make her way back to us. We probably waited a good 15 or 20 minutes. Apparently the wait in the bathroom was super long and there were a ton of sick runners in there. Eww. I’m thankful I was fortunate enough to avoid tossing my cookies or dealing with heat sickness or severe dehydration. When my Mom found us, she hugged me and congratulated me. I can’t remember what else was said, my mind was focused on getting out of there. We parted ways, my parents were going to head back to our house with the boys while my husband and I went back to the hotel room so that I could shower before heading home. On our way to the car, I heard someone yell my name. I turned around and saw Steve coming our way. We talked for a couple of minutes. I remember he asked me how I felt and I couldn’t answer him right away. I was so numb from the whole experience that I didn’t really know how I was feeling. I was sore because my hip hurt so much and I think that’s what I went with. Or tired. I can’t remember. I know, sad that I can’t remember our conversation. We parted ways and headed to the car. I couldn’t wait to have the cool air of the A/C blow on me. My husband brought my Clif Builder’s bar to the finish and gave it to me but I couldn’t stomach eating it until we were almost back at the hotel. I forced myself to eat it because I hadn’t eaten yet (other than Clif Shot Bloks) and I knew I needed to get something in me and that it would probably eventually help me feel better. We got to the room, I checked Facebook real quick to see if the updates had shown up and they did. Woot, something went right. lol I finally made my way to the shower, peeled my clothes off and got in. I felt like butt the entire time but it felt good to wash the stink off. I got dressed, we packed up the rest of our things, packed up the car and went to the Wendy’s across the road to grab a bite before we headed home. It was kind of nice to eat without the kids for a change. 😉 My legs were bothering me the whole time. They were very sore and I’m assuming it was lactic acid buildup or something. I also failed to do any kind of stretching when I was done because I felt so sick so I’m sure that didn’t do me any favours. Oops. When we were done our meal, we were on our way back home. That was it. My first half marathon was over.

Unfortunately, the pride of having finished my first half marathon was clouded by so much disappointment. I was disappointed in my time. I was disappointed in the weather. I was disappointed in the lack of spectators/cheering along the course. I was disappointed in the “spectacular view” we were supposed to have along the course. I was disappointed in most everything about how this race went. It’s not how I envisioned things going. The initial disappointment in how things went subsided after a couple of days and it helped to read that other runners had also struggled with this race; most of which were seasoned runners that had more than one half under their belt. I felt much better knowing I didn’t struggle because I was a newbie but because we had all kind of odds stacked against us. It was hot. It was humid. It was windy. There weren’t enough water stations for the conditions. Etc..

I have filed this as I have my other firsts– as a learning experience. I will be sure my next half is scheduled when it’s cooler outside. My luck, it’ll be unseasonably hot and I’ll suffer again. lol

My "most useful finishers medal in America" (It's a bottle cap opener)

Jelly Bean Virutal Race Recap

I had originally planned on running the 5K & the 10K. I put them both in my schedule and life still managed to get in the way so I ended up only doing the 5K.

I had planned on doing the 5K after my husband got home from work in the morning but a thunderstorm hindered my plans so I had to improvise. Instead, I headed out with my youngest in the BOB when there was a break in the clouds. I started far too quickly and I lost steam within the first mile. I ended up with a finish of 30:41 (9:53 pace). That was not the kind of performance I had in mind and I knew I could do better.

The following afternoon, I had my husband take the boys for a walk while I set out around the neighbourhood for a solo run. I was determined to beat the previous day’s finish time. No part of that run was easy; I pushed myself and I pushed myself hard. I saw my average pace was teetering just under 9:00 min/Mi and I was determined to keep it there. I gave it my all and I finished my 5K in 27:50 (8:58 pace). Now that’s what I knew was inside of me! I was so proud of myself (and still am). The cherry on top is that this was also a new 5K PR for me. 😀

I was going to run the 10K some time during the weekend but life got in the way. I didn’t make it a high enough priority, I guess. I ended up focusing on my photo contest entry and did something that I think was pretty awesome. I don’t want to reveal my picture yet because people are still submitting their stuff to Jess. Once tomorrow’s deadline hits, I’ll post my entry for the photo contest. 😉

Also, in other news, my new Camelbak Annadel pack was delivered today. I’ve been wanting to get a Fuel Belt for my long runs and upcoming half marathon but something (don’t remember what) swayed me away from a belt and toward a pack instead. I hope it works for me. Because this is a taper week leading up to the half (on Sunday), I only have two short runs left to test it out. Hopefully that’s enough for me to get a feel for it. I’ll also provide a review for it once we’ve been introduced to one another.

Technology Failed Me

I’ve been looking forward to my St Patrick’s Day themed race since I signed up for a local one a month and a half ago.  I’ve spent that time putting together a costume and looking forward to what was going to be a fun time.

Usually I get my race packets the morning of (unless that’s not an option) but, since my husband had an errand to run near where packet pick up was last night, I decided to stop in then and get my race stuff. I figured that way we could also leave a little later and get there with just enough time for me to warm up before the race. I got all of our stuff ready before I went to bed so that I wouldn’t forget anything and would have only a small amount of things left to do (like get drinks for me and the kids). I think this was the first time I had ever been that organized the night before a race. ha! I set my dinosaur phone’s alarm (I say dinosaur because hubby and I don’t have smartphones because we refuse to pay the ridiculous monthly plan rates for them) and went to bed.

I was awakened by the sound over the baby monitor next to my bed of the blinds in my sons’ room hitting the window (my 20 month old likes to pull on the blinds and let ’em bang up against the window). Then I hear birds chirping and something in my mind clicked and I shot up into a sitting position on my bed. I tried to focus on the clock across the room and it took several seconds before I could squint my way into seeing any barely legible numbers. I’m near-sighted so I can’t see things that are far away, and “far away” isn’t that far away at all. The clock read “7:55 or 7:56; it’s hard to tell the difference between 5 & 6 when they’re really fuzzy. A wave of anger, frustration and disappointment engulfed me. My race was starting in 5 minutes. I didn’t know what to think or do. My mind went blank and I was numb. I was missing my race.

I didn’t want to do anything but lie there but duty called and I had two kids who were waiting for me to greet them in their bedroom. So, I got up. I silently sobbed as I got them breakfast and made my coffee. My husband came in a few minutes later to console me (he later told me crying women have a strange effect on men lol) and all I could do in my mind was blame him for going to bed. He’s been working midnights for several weeks and has several weeks of the same shift ahead of him. On his nights off, he’s been keeping his sleeping schedule the same to avoid royally effing up his body. So, I figured he’d do the same thing he did a couple of weeks ago for the Band on the Run 5K and just stay up all night and go to bed when we got home from the race. Instead, he decided to go to bed around 430am so that he wouldn’t have to be in bed all day after we got back from the race. I needed to blame someone or something for what happened and blaming my dinosaur phone wasn’t sufficient. I blamed my husband for going to bed because, had he been awake, he would have come in to wake me up when it was nearing go-time and I wasn’t emerging from my cave. I know it wasn’t his fault and, now that I’ve calmed down, I don’t really blame him. But, I am still so angry and disappointed in myself, even though I also know wasn’t my fault.

This is the first race I’ve missed and it would have been a hell of a lot easier to swallow had I been injured (God forbid) or sick. But, this was for something so stupid. Technology failed me. I missed out on a fun race, a huge raffle, costume contest and lucky bib # contest. Not that I would have won anything, but I paid extra for the raffle tickets. Not to mention the race entry fee, costume pieces, etc.. The money that went toward the race & raffle weren’t a complete loss because this race was a fundraiser to help a local family whose 21 month old daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia. And, like my husband reminded me, my costume will come in handy at future St Patrick’s Day themed races, so it’s not a complete loss.

And my 3 year old just asked me “Are we going to a race today?”. Ugh, way to make it sting again, kid.

It’s nothing extravagant, but here’s what my race costume would have looked like. I had my husband take pictures so that I could determine where to put stuff and what to exclude. I think I would have gone without the shamrock nylons (those things were ITCHY!), but everything else was a go.

My new green Team Sparkle skirt will be saved for my first half marathon that’s in less than a month. I guess I better not rely on my dinosaur phone’s alarm the morning of that race. :/

Band on the Run 5K

I hadn’t raced in a good two and a half months and my running had been on the slow side during my training runs so I wasn’t sure how things would pan out for me. Even with that in mind, for the first time since I started racing,  there was not a hint of pre-race jitters to be found. I was very calm and cool (literally, more about that later) and excited to race.

This race was a fundraiser for a local high school’s band. It was close to home so I didn’t have to get up at an ungodly hour, which I appreciated as a mom of two little boys who hardly ever sleep through the night. I quickly put together some cereal in ziploc bags and a couple of drinks for the boys to eat while I raced, filled a big bottle with water and we were on our way. We put the kids in the BOB Revolution SE Duallie stroller (my new running partner; review coming soon) and walked to where the race was being held. I had checked the weather but wasn’t expecting how chilly it actually felt while we were out there. The day before, it was 70 degrees at 8am. That morning, it was in the very low 40s at the same time. Mother Nature really needs to get on some hormone replacement therapy or something. Oy, anyhow, it was colder than I had anticipated and the poor kids nearly froze in the stroller.

Usually when I arrive at a race, there are plenty of participants running around doing their pre-race warm ups. When we approached the high school, we didn’t see anyone and this made me a little nervous. My husband actually asked me if I had the right date. I assured him I did and we pressed on. We finally started seeing cars that were parked and a small crowd of people making their way into the high school. Whew, good! I didn’t get the family up and out in the cold for nothing! I made my way into the school’s cafeteria to sign in while my husband waited outside with the boys. I was surprised when I was handed a t-shirt and sent on my way. No bibs? Hmm, OK, this was new to me. I found my husband, threw the t-shirt in the BOB, got my gadgets ready (Garmin & iPod) and set out to find somewhere to warm up. We found the start/finish line where my husband found a great spot to park the stroller and I went on my merry way. I believe at this point, it was 15 or so minutes before the race was supposed to start. I set out and did a quick warm-up and when I got back to where my husband was, participants had already started to migrate at the start line so I got a quick drink, headed closer to the start and used a tree to do some quick stretches while one of the race organizers started to talk on the megaphone.

More talk, national anthem done by the band, and then we were off. Most of the race was on a road I’ve run many times which was comforting to know what to expect as far as elevation goes and such. It was an open course but there were cops at a few points to help with traffic and safety. My mentality for this race was to just run and have fun but, as soon as we were told to “go”, my competitive side took over and I was going faster than I had intended. It’s hard not to get wrapped up in the excitement of a race. I wasn’t flying at first but I was going faster than I would normally start a run. I ran a lot of this race in the 9’s and 8’s. I actually caught up to the same woman I paced at the Run for New Life and I was able to keep up with her for a while. About half way through the race, I couldn’t keep up with her anymore and I was having trouble keeping my breathing under control so I took the first of a few walking breaks. I think because I took off faster than I normally would and ran the actual race like a rocket, I needed breaks to catch up with myself. However, because my running parts were fast, it averaged my pace pretty good. Near the end of the race, we had to cross a busy street to get to the finish line. There were cops on either side keeping traffic stopped so that we runners could safely make it across the street. There was a group of a few runners, a gap, and then me. As I crossed the median of the road, I caught a glimpse of something approaching me in my peripheral vision. Yup, the awesome cop let a couple of cars go through and I was forced to a dead stop in order to avoid being hit. Ugh! I was not pleased. And, because I was so freaked out by it, my heart was pounding which made it hard to regulate my breathing and I had to walk for a bit after I crossed the street. I was so close to the finish, it was like a tease but I knew I needed to calm down as quickly as I could before I could run to the finish. After what seemed like forever, I started running again and my running quickly turned into an insane sprint (pace during the fastest part of my sprint was 4:28; holy shit!) that I kept up until the finish. I passed a handful of people on my way to the finish line and I’m sure they were wondering wtf I was doing at such a low-key 5K but I didn’t care. As I got close to the finish, I saw a glimpse of the clock and “29:XX” was lit up in bright red. One of my goals right now is to run a sub-30 5K race, unfortunately, this wasn’t that race, though I was very close to doing so. I ended up crossing in 30:08 making my average pace of 9:43. Not bad for as many walking breaks as I took and having to come to a dead stop for the cars to pass. I got a ticket with a number on it after I crossed and had to fill it out with my name, age and sex. I took a few minutes to regulate my breathing before I even thought about my card and, even with that mini cool down, it was still hard for me to write. I was shaky and it was quite a chore to write. Good thing my name isn’t super long or I would have been in trouble. 😉

Because I had pushed myself so hard, I felt like shit when I was done. My stomach was doing flip flops and it took several minutes for my innards to calm down. I tried to get my mind off of how crappy I felt by talking to my husband and the boys but it didn’t always work. When I finally felt like I wasn’t going to lose my cookies, we made our way toward the cafeteria area. They had some trays set out on picnic tables outside with quartered bagels of various flavours and some orange wedges and a couple of those Gatorade keg things (lol) though I’m sure not what they had in them because I had my own water. The stroller was too big to fit through the doors to the cafeteria and we didn’t feel like taking it apart so my husband sat outside with our youngest while I went inside with our oldest to warm up a bit. Big mistake. When I headed back outside, I was even colder and found it impossible to warm up. I was more than ready to go home but we stuck around for the awards ceremony just in case. We had to wait for them to do the 1 mile fun run and for the race results to be ready before they started the awards ceremony and that was probably a good hour or more after I had crossed the finish line. I know it was my own fault for not thinking about how cold we would be post-race but I had had more than enough and debated leaving more than once. Being cold and tired isn’t a good combination. However, I’m glad we stuck around because I ended up taking 3rd in my age group. 🙂 My first bling was a small towel with the race info on it, which I thought was a little strange but whatever, I got some bling! haha!! Although, technically this isn’t my first age group win. I also won 1st in my age group at the Run for New Life and my prize was a 1 month free membership at Gold’s gym, which I haven’t taken advantage of yet. Will probably do that after my half marathon. 😉

After walking up to get my award, I didn’t bother sitting back down and headed straight for the doors. I was more than ready to go home and take a hot shower and I knew my husband was ready to go home as he hadn’t slept yet (he’s working midnights so he’s nocturnal right now). The walk home seemed to take forever but we finally made it and, after the initial burn of the water hitting my frigid skin, the shower was exactly what I needed. Ahhhh!

The official race results were available online a couple of days later and I immediately started kicking myself for taking so many walking breaks and not pushing myself harder to keep running. Usually, I’m miles away from placing in races but I missed placing 1st in my AG by 48 seconds. I realize 48 seconds is a lifetime in sports but to be that close when usually there are several minutes that separate me from those who place in my AG, I couldn’t help but get into the “what if’s” in my mind. I got even more upset with myself when I saw that 2nd place went to someone who crossed 9 seconds before me. NINE! Gah!!!! That one was definitely attainable! I blamed myself for walking and I blamed the cop for making a stupid decision to let those cars go through forcing me to stop dead in my tracks. It’s not like the award was any different, we all got towels, it was just my competitive perfectionist side beating me up for being less than perfect and not getting something I had a chance of getting. Of course, I felt like an idiot and I finally stopped tormenting myself when when I realized there were only three runners in my age group. My placement suddenly meant less to me because I would have placed no matter what and I didn’t really “beat” anyone. That’s probably hard for people to understand but I’m hoping fellow runners know what I’m talking about.

While I am proud of my accomplishments and the progress I’ve made in my running over the last few months, I’m having a hard time still being one of the “slow” runners. Mostly because I’ve tasted what it feels like to place in my age group and I have high expectations of myself (that can be such a flaw at times!). My mind is ready for me to be a fast runner but my body hasn’t quite caught up. Building a base takes times and I know I’m being impatient with that process. I’m sure fellow runners understand that! Basically it sucks at time to be a competitive perfectionist but I’ll use what happened as motivation for my next 5K in a couple of weeks. I’m sure there will be a far bigger crowd at my next 5K but I hope that sub-30 finish will be mine!

Run For New Life 5K

The Run For New Life 5K is a race dedicated to honouring and celebrating the lives of children lost through miscarriage, stillbirth, & newborn death. I ran today’s race in memory of our twin boys we lost in 2007 and all the precious miracles who were taken too soon from various friends & family members.

This was the 2nd year for this race and it was very small compared to what I’ve participated in so far. There were 29 runners and 19 walkers who took part in this event. I actually really enjoyed how low-key it was. It was nice to have room to breathe at the starting line unlike the Jingle Bell Run last weekend.

A particularly bad night w/ our youngest and the fact that it was pretty cold & windy outside meant that I went to this one without my cheerleaders (and photographer, so no pictures 😦 ). The race was literally a mile from the house so I got there at the last possible minute. I think I reset my alarm three times before I finally convinced myself it was worth it to get out of my warm & cozy bed and run in the cold. I was this close to saying eff it and staying under the covers but I’m so glad I talked myself out of that crappy idea. By the time I rolled out of my bed, I had enough time to get dressed and head out the door.

I got there 15 minutes before race start time and there weren’t many people there. I didn’t know how many people were going to be participating so it surprised me that there were so many parking spots left. haha I pinned my # on, got my iPod going and headed around the parking lot for a quick warm up and followed that with some dynamic stretching. As I finished stretching, we were told to head over to an area in the parking lot where the starting line would be. Talk about good timing! We headed over there and waited probably a good 5 minutes. It was cold! I started to wish at that moment that I had some gloves with me. A wish that continued throughout the run. One of the race organizers came over and said a few words, said a prayer and we were off. The route went through a neighbourhood with several hills and I was surprise none of the hills really bothered me. There was a rather large hill near the end of the race and I flew through that one as well. Guess it pays to live in an area with hills. 😉 I followed a woman the entire time and owe my pace keeping to her. I was running out of juice near the end and she did get away from me but I still pushed and didn’t give up my position. I crossed the finish line in 28:21. Yes, 28:21!!! I have a hard time believing I ran a 9:08 pace when the fastest I’ve run in a race thus far was 10:03 and that makes me doubt the course was long enough. I really hope Santa brings me a Garmin Forerunner for Christmas so that I don’t have to wonder how long a race (or run) was again.  But, I digress… I came in 9th overall and placed 1st in my age group. It was hard for me to accept at first given that the distance may not have been a true 5K but I was reminded that, length of the course aside, I was still the fastest in my age group and I deserved my award. I received a certificate for a free one month membership at a local Gold’s Gym. I’ve never been a member of a gym before so I’m both apprehensive and excited about taking advantage of it. I think I’ll wait a few months for the membership inflation due to New Years Resolutions to die down before I go.

This was my last race for 2011 and I’m ready to start the next chapter in my training. I have a post in the works regarding what’s next for me so keep an eye out for that. 🙂

Jingle Bell Run 5K

Before I get to the race report, I’m going to share my festive running attire for today’s race with you all.
From head to toe:

Santa hat; courtesy of the $ store 😉

white & red long sleeved running shirts; courtesy of Old Navy (got them on sale a couple of weeks ago… $6 ea, reg. $14.50 ea)

Pet hat & necklace; courtesy of the $ store. I saw these and knew I could use the “necklaces” as “bracelets”.


Red sparkly skirt courtesy of Team Sparkle

Candy Cane stockings/knee highs that I found on

Finished product: I received tons of compliments and inquiries about my skirt 🙂

We left the house almost a half an hour later than I had planned on leaving. Guess that’s what happens when you have kids but luckily the race was about a half an hour away so I was still going to make it on time. We got there at what seemed like a good time as we were able to find a parking spot right away. The small parking lot we parked in was full by the time we left the car not even 5 minutes later. We made our way to the pavilion where participants were picking up their racing packets. I got in the long line and waited, and waited, and waited. Once I got closer to the table where the packets were, I realized what the hold up was: disorganization!  This was their 20th year doing this run so one would think they’d have their system down by now. There were three women at the table and, instead of having a designated area (one or two of the women) for pre-registered participants and one (or two) for those registering on race day, we all had to wait while people signed up for the race. Not only that, but the women at the table were scrambling and clearly flustered with their crappy set-up. When it was my turn, the woman in the middle crossed my name off the master list, the one on the right gave me my number and looked through boxes to get my shirt. When I thought I was good to go, one of them asked (can’t remember which) if I got my bag yet and I responded with “no” and they both bent down to get one for me. Good grief! Put the bib, shirt (you register your shirt size so this is completely doable) and everything in the bag with the name on the bag or something. Or have an assembly line type of deal going on that isn’t all over the place and makes sense chronologically. As if a SLOW & disorganized pick up wasn’t enough, I was really irked when I discovered I only had three safety pins in my bag for my bib. It wasn’t a huge deal as three pins worked fine but I was already irritated so you know how that goes. After it was all said and done, it was almost race time and there was no time for a real warm up.  Ugh. I did some quick dynamic stretching and, within 5 minutes, it was time to start. Before I continue, I realize we left a lot later than I had planned to, but we still arrived there with a half an hour before race start time and I figured that would have been plenty of time to get things and do a warm up/stretch before the start.

I left my husband and kids and made my way through the crowd of runners getting ready near the start line. They played the Star Spangled Banner, said a few words and we were off. I took off a lot faster than I have in previous races. I guess a part of me was sick of being conservative in fear of burning out too quickly and, after having such an awesome week pull of PRs, I wanted to see what I was made of. I’ll be honest, there were a few times I was ready to stop running but I found people to pace with and pressed on. Eventually, I was passing the people I was using as pace buddies and kept on going. The more I ran, the stronger I got. It was strange but awesome.

Today’s race was a 5K, a 10K and a fun dog run as well. It was fun to see the dogs and various costumes as I made my way back toward the finish after the mid-point u-turn. Thinking about it now, perhaps the anticipation of what I was going to see next also kept me going today. As I neared the finish, I could barely see the timer (I’m blind! lol) but I thought I saw something in the 20’s. Adrenaline went through my body at that point and I found a pocket of energy I didn’t know I had. I started to speed up little by little and then I saw the timer and it was 30:xx. Oh yeah, I had it! I really picked up speed and sprinted as I neared the finish line. My watch read 31:13 when I stopped it right after passing the finish line. Holy cow! I was ecstatic!! I found my husband and made my way toward them and started to gulp my water. My husband informed me that he missed his photo op of my finish because I came in earlier than he (and I) expected. haha! He was helping our son with something, happened to look up and there I was past the finish line so he snapped a few pictures.

Missed finish: You can see my Santa hat above the photographer

Making my way toward my groupies

We hung out for a bit while I hydrated myself and waited for the results to be posted. When I left, the results said I crossed at 31:12 (PR) (10:03 min/mile; also a PR) and was in 147th place overall. The official results show the same time, 145th/346 runners in the 5K and 15th/25 in my age group. The first, second and third place winners in my age group finished in 23:51, 23:55, and 24:34. Dang! I have a lot of work to do if I ever want to medal around these parts!

All in all, it was a great race. The weather was perfect and I didn’t overheat with my festive attire, which was a concern of mine. The only issue I had was my Team Sparkle skirt rode up my waist as I ran. Their sizing is weird and they say to go by hip size because of the way they’re made. I have very large hips/butt compared to my small waist and I followed their guideline and got a large. I now wonder if I could have done away with a medium instead. I’ll have to test out a medium in the future and see how it works in action.

Looking back at all that I’ve accomplished since my first 5K seven weeks ago, I am very proud of myself. Hell, looking back at all I’ve accomplished since I started running (C25K) four months ago (TODAY! holy cow, just realized that!) makes me feel awesome. I’ve managed to take of 4:01 off my first 5K time, shed inches from my body, and, though I can’t quite see it yet, replace fat with muscle. Along with continuing to improve my physical fitness, my next goal is to run a sub-30 5K. I can do eeeeet!!!

Hog Trot 5K

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’ve been struggling with an ankle injury for the last 1.5 weeks and have not been able to run in that time frame. I had my second (ever) 5K schedule for yesterday and, as the weekend neared, I feared I would not be able to participate. Thursday and Friday, my ankle started to be nice to me and I was finally pain free. I decided some kind of ankle brace would probably be a good idea to keep things stable to avoid injuring it again or further and I decided to get an ASO ankle brace. I was not expecting much of anything for this race. I breaking one of the “rules” of racing which is never race in gear you’ve never run in before, which was the ankle brace, so I wasn’t sure how that would pan out. Plus, like I mentioned before, I hadn’t run (well, not pain free) in almost 2 weeks. I had one goal for this race and that was to simply run; that is, if I could do so without any discomfort.

This race had a 3pm start and I didn’t want to eat too much or the wrong thing and end up with cramps or worse so I stuck to my normal breakfast (cereal & coffee) and a small lunch (more cereal and a couple of bites of a banana that my 3 year old stole from me). This seemed to work fine but I was an idiot and didn’t hydrate myself properly like I should have (more about that in a bit).

We arrived at Hog’s Breath Saloon around 1:45pm and managed to find a parking spot fairly easily. As I started my trek toward registration, I ran into Steve and it turned out he was parked a couple of cars down from my car so it was easy to stalk him. lol I asked him where to register and we parted ways for a few minutes while I got my packet. I made my way back to my car to get ready. Pinning my bib was much easier this time and I got it the first try. Hey, it’s the little things. 😉 I put my ankle brace on, strapped my iPod to my arm, got the kids out of the car and everything organized for my husband and we were on our way.

I had no idea where the race would take place so we ventured to see what we could fine. I saw a runner doing a warm-up pass under a small parking garage so we headed that way. I forget it we met back up with Steve as we were walking toward what looked like the right direction or if he met up with us but we soon figured out we were going the right way. We found where the finish line would be and I left the kids with my husband as I did a warm-up. Steve left a couple of minutes before I did and I ran the same route he did. I wanted to do a good 10 minute jog but there was a stop sign just a little further so I got to the stop sign and then turned around to run back to the finish line area. My warm up was about 1.2 miles and I did some dynamic stretching when I got back to my husband and kidlets. When I was done, there was still a good 20 minutes before race time so we just stood around waiting. It’s easy to tell who the “pro” runners are as opposed to the “here for fun” runners because they were doing all kind of warm up stretches, runs and techniques and kept moving until we were gathered at the starting line.  This is probably where I failed. As I continue to race, I need to develop a good warm up strategy that takes place as close to race time as possible, or at least keep moving, so that my muscles are still warmed up when the race starts.

We gathered at the race start, we sang the national anthem and then we were off. I felt fine as we started but I will admit I started to feel a little uneasy as runner after runner passed me. I stick to the back of the pack so I was sure I was now one of, if not the last, runner. I don’t know why this bothered me seeing as all I wanted to do was run and nothing else mattered. Or, nothing else should have mattered. Guess it was my competitive side getting the best of me. I refrained from giving into the part of me that wanted to bolt and pass those that had passed me but I kept up with my pace and forgot about the rest. I reminded myself of the crappy two weeks I’d had and embraced the moment I was in because I was finally running pain free.

The route was a loop through a neighbourhood and apparently it was a steady incline until the 2.8 or 2.9 mile mark. I didn’t even notice it or know that until Steve told me. Guess it pays to live in a hilly neighbourhood that also has steady inclines. It was just like another run for me. There was one small (to me) hill just before the finish line which I don’t think slowed me down much, if at all. The only issue I had this run was cramping that started practically right off the bat. I assume it was because I wasn’t hydrated very well but I managed to push through it and continue to run. The cramping ceased as I went on but there was a dull ache there the entire race.

As I near the finish line, I saw Steve running toward me in the opposite direction. I was expecting him to go by me to do a cool down but, to my surprise, he turned around and ran with me. He asked how my ankle was and I gave him a thumbs up and said it was good and I wasn’t in any pain. I don’t remember exactly what he said but he basically told me to give it all I had and sprint to the finish because I was close. I did and I didn’t feel very close as I kept sprinting. haha It felt like the finish line was getting farther and farther away as I lost more juice and slowed down. I watched the counter rise as I neared it but the numbers weren’t registering in my brain. It looked as though they were changing in slow motion and I would never get there. I could hear Steve yelling my way to keep going and I was almost there (etc) and that’s what pushed me to continue to push myself. I finally crossed the finish line and I was gasping for air (clearly I haven’t mastered breathing while sprinting). I must have sounded and/or looked bad because the guy at the finish line asked if I was OK. I was fine, just needed to catch my breath. I high fived Steve on the way to the guy at the end of the finish line to give him part of my bib for my time, got a bottle of water and found the family. Turns out my husband took a random shot with the camera over his shoulder hoping to get something and he got an awesome shot of our high five. The angle isn’t the greatest but I love it anyhow.

We stuck around for a bit as we watched some runners & walkers cross the finish line. I drank water and eventually made my way over to the wall that had the preliminary results posted on it. My official time was 34:13 which is about an 11:00 minute/mile pace. For reference, my finishing time was 35:28 at my first 5K only 4 weeks ago. I went into this race not expecting much of anything and left with a new PR. I was pleasantly surprised!!! Especially seeing as my training came to an unexpected halt due to the ankle injury. I took 12/20 in my age group and 173/269 overall. I’m very proud of myself and looking forward to keeping up the trend of continuing to better myself as a runner.

I am writing this a day later and my ankle is still fine. My other ankle on the other hand is a different story. I don’t know if it’s normal soreness from the race or if I did something to it. Looks like my prediction in my weekly training post may be true and a brace may be in its future as well. I’m doing my best to keep it up today and we’ll see what happens. Just when I thought I was in the clear, something else is thrown my way.

Run for the Reef 5K

I did it! My first 5K is in the bag. The race had a 730 am start time and it was an hour away so that meant a very early morning for us. My alarm went off at 430 but I fell asleep for about 20 more minutes and forced myself to roll out of bed. I got ready and everything together then woke my husband followed by the kids. I felt so bad for waking them at 530, especially because last night was a little rough for both of them for some reason, but they seemed fine and in good spirits.

The drive there was uneventful. I brought along a banana to eat on the way there but it wasn’t quite ripe enough yet and had that gross waxy/filmy (for lack of a better word) texture and taste so I could only stomach 3/4 of it. The sun was just starting to rise when we got there and the weather was perfect: low 50’s with a light breeze. I got my shirt, number and pins and made my way back to the car to get myself organized. It took me far too long to get my number pinned right on my shirt. First time, it was too low so I had to try again. I felt like such a newb! You’d think pinning a number on yourself would be easy. It probably is and I just made it difficult. Oy! I finally got the number on and the kids out of the car and organized and I had about a 1/2 an hour before the race start. We hit the bathrooms and took turns while the other stayed with the kids. While my husband was in the bathroom, I met a fellow runner friend I met online and was planning on catching up with. We chatted for a bit and my husband joined us and we chatted a bit more. It was nice to know someone else who was running the race even though Steve would be running much faster than I would be.

Time was ticking by and I still needed to warm up. We scoped out where the start line would be and I did my usual 5 minute long power walk around the parking lot then stretched a bit (with the help of my husband for stability, usually I use my fridge before heading out). Next time, I’m going to try a warm up run 3/4-1 mi in length before the start. Steve advised I should do so to prep my body for the race and he said it makes a world of difference.

A swarm of participants started making their way to the start line and I followed suit. We stood there for what felt like forever. I would say there were probably 150-200 runners & walkers (official results said there were 311 participants. Clearly I fail at guesstimating lol) so it wasn’t a huge race, which was nice and less intimidating for a first race. I placed myself near the back of the pack because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t influenced by faster runners and keep a slow & steady pace at the beginning. One of the organizers started to make announcements on a megaphone but I wasn’t able to hear a word of what was said. Then, all of a sudden, there was a loud noise and people started running. There were no chips to calculate time so being at the back of the pack in this race meant my time started before I actually started moving. I started my watch, started running and hoped for the best. I was very good about keeping my pace manageable and not getting ahead of myself. I was actually behind some of the “walkers” but I didn’t care, I just wanted to finish.

I felt pretty good until just past the 1 mile mark. I started to get a side stitch and thought it was all going to be over. I continued to push through it and eventually was running side by side with an older woman. I thought to myself “she’s not stopping, there’s no way I’m going to stop running!” and I continued to push myself forward. Before I knew it, I had reached mile 2. Then I could start to see where I thought the finish line was. I had planned on sprinting the last bit when I neared the finish line but I misjudged where it actually was and started sprinting earlier than I should have. This meant I exhausted myself earlier than I wanted to and had to slow down a bit before I actually finished. I came in huffing & puffing with a time between 35:25 & 35:35 (I don’t know my official time yet). Using 35:35 as my time, it makes my pace 11:28 min/mi which is a PR pace(best pace time to date was 11:49) and, of course, total time is also a PR seeing as this is my first time running this distance. **Official time was 35:28, making my pace 11:26** I ranked 176 out of 311 participants.

The race route was a flat out & back with a loop through a neighbourhood and the road went along the Gulf of Mexico. Gorgeous area for a run! There were quite a few runners & cyclists getting their runs in while we were racing, too. It was clear this place is a popular route for runners.

We stayed for the awards ceremony, during which Steve got 1st in his age group, and then we headed to the car to start our trek home. It was about 1030 am by this point and the kids were getting restless. We loaded everyone in the car and we were off. Both kids were asleep by the time we hit the road.

I had a great time and am looking forward to participating in more races in the near future. I’m also aspiring to better myself as a runner and to beat my PRs along the way.