American Odyssey Relay (The Grande Finale of a VERY busy week!)

Last week insanely busy!  Between everything I had going on at work, running, and Ilana had two days out of school (that I somehow overlooked on her school calendar! ) it was down right exhausting!  Not that I’m complaining, I tend to get bored when I’m NOT going 100 miles a minute, and I managed to pack in a lot of great quality time and fun with Ilana! The week ended with me taking Friday off (from work and the rest of my life) to run the American Odyssey Relay (200 mile relay race) in Gettysburg PA with one of my running BFFs, Theresa!

This year our team name was “Van on the Run”; we were in Van 1 and all met at Charm City Run.  We all had our sleeping bags, van party music, and were WELL stocked up on snacks when we began our drive to the starting line at 6:45 in the morning.  This is one of the funny things about me; I am NOT a morning person and rarely make it to work any earlier than 8 am, but can somehow manage to get out of bed before 4:30 am on race days! Haha

The race was just as much fun this year as it was last year; with lots of scenic/historic views and some of the most AMAZING race volunteers.  The runners get to vote for their favorite transition; this year one of the transitions had delicious oatmeal raisin cookies and another one had a fire pit (FYI…I LOVE fire pits!!!)  A few of the runs in the middle of the night center around “The Oasis” where runners can camp out, get food (burgers, pizza, baked treats…), and take a hot(ish) shower.   I’d sum this race up as a “mom and pop” version of Ragnar. 🙂

Van 1 Runners and Course Views :-)

Van 1 Runners and Course Views 🙂

After finishing up our first set of legs, it started to pour down rain! I feel bad for Van 2 for having to run in that “Tropical Storm” like weather while Van 1 sat in a warm, cozy restaraunt eating our “Linner” (Lunch/Dinner)……OK, I really didn’t feel bad, I laughed a lot, because I’m a jerk! Hahaha 😉  Let’s be real though, as much as they may have complained about it; it’s a well known fact that runners LOVE suffering…the worse the terrain, weather, distance the better the resulting runner “war stories”! So I know Van 2 loved being so bad ass during this race! Van 1 had to deal with some cold weather and light rain during our night runs, but overall we lucked out with nearly perfect weather for all of our legs! I earned my “bragging rights” in this race by tackling the hardest leg of the race, Andrea’s Ascent with a 1200 foot climb.  My legs were screaming and Andrea slowed me down to a “snails pace”, but I earned my “I Survived Leg 6” beer glass.  Which OBVIOUSLY is now my favorite beer glass!! In all seriousness, the whole VOTR team, including some newbie “ultra relay” runners did a fantastic job; kicking ass and taking names! We finished the race in 31 hours 11 minutes and 55 seconds, 31st out of 51 teams in our division.  Not bad at all!

Partying like Rock Stars! Great job VOTR!!!

Partying like Rock Stars! Great job VOTR!!!

I also started the Coach to 5K program with Ilana and my friend Christina this week.  We are all running the Color Run in D.C. this September; Ilana is super serious about training “like mommy does” for her race. Her goal is to be able to run the whole 5K without walking.  She is a natural so I think she’ll be able to do it!  We did our first run together at Davidsonville Park and enjoyed another beautiful day on Thursday.  🙂

Ilana posing, she did great and was so proud after our run together! :-)

Ilana posing, she did great and was so proud after our run together! 🙂

All the girls!

All the girls!

With AOR, and Coach to 5K in addition to my normal running; I had a solid/satisfying week of training last week.

The Run Down:

  • Monday- Rest
  • Tuesday- Run 5 miles outside
  • Wednesday-Rest
  • Thursday- Run 1.67 Miles with Ilana at Davidsonville Park (Training for Color Run 5K) + My Run 6 miles
  • Friday- Leg 1: 6.5 miles, Leg 2: 4.2 miles
  • Saturday- Leg 3: 8.2 miles
  • Sunday-2.35 mile trail run/hike (Or attempt at it! Lol)

This ended up being a good training week with my fastest run for the year Thursday afternoon, and my biggest hill of the year Friday morning:

I was in the zone for this run, 6 miles at 7:18 pace! :-)

I was in the zone for this run, 6 miles at 7:18 pace! 🙂

Leg 6 of AOR, a "leg crushing" 1200 foot climb!

Leg 6 of AOR, a “leg crushing” 1200 foot climb!

  • Total Weekly Miles: 33.92
  • 2014 Miles: 527.32

How is your Spring training/Spring racing season going? 

 

Another TRT! Last years AOR Team! :-)

I’m so excited for another American Odyssey Relay; the race starts TOMORROW!!!  We will be running 200+ miles, starting in Gettysburg PA and finishing in the National Harbor! Last year’s team name was “Creepy Van Running Club”, not politically correct at all, but I promise we only offered candy to runners 18 and older!  We had such a blast, a few of the runners from last year are back for more, as part of team “Van on the Run”, a tribute to The Beatles (One of the GREATEST bands EVER!!)!

EPIC photos from last years race 🙂 :

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The Creepy Van! The shocked looks we got driving through some small towns were pretty funny!

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Van 1 Runners at the pre-race meetup, ready for trouble!!

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Theresa and I, finishing Sandy’s leg with her; we decided neither PJ bottoms nor flip flops were ideal running attire! 😉

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CVRC crossing the Mason/Dixon line!

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After my last leg of the race…because running a toe path in a petty coat and rainbow socks totally makes sense!

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Near the Billy Goat Trail. These are the kind of views that make these “ultra” relays so incredible! 

Who else loves relay races?!?!  What is the coolest relay you’ve ever ran?

(I sooo want to check out the Key West Ragnar one year……!!)

 

NFC Training (Week 5) and AOR Legs

Tomorrow is my first training day of week 5, following Hal Higdon’s Marathon Taper/Build Up plan for multiple marathons.  I’m very excited and nervous for the (new) challenge of the North Face Trail Challenge!  I don’t plan on running it fast at all, I’ll be proud if I manage to complete it under the 7 hour course limit!  Training is going to be a little bit tricky, with a couple of races in between, including the American Odyssey Relay Race this weekend.  I’m definitely going to have to make some modifications! Luckily I don’t have another “peak” race until this fall.  Here is the weekly mileage based on the plan (that I won’t be following very closely! Haha):

WEEK MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
6 Rest 2 m run 3 m run 4 m run Rest 6 m run 1-2 hours
5 Rest 3 m run 6 m run 3 m run Rest 6 m run 12 m run
4 Rest 4 m run 6 m run 4 m run Rest 6 m run 14 m run
3 Rest 4 m run 6 m run 4 m run Rest 6 m run 16 m run
2 Rest 4 m run 6 m run 4 m run Rest 6 m run 10 m run
1 Rest 2 m run 3 m run Rest Rest 2 m run Marathon

My leg assignments for the relay include;

Leg 6 (Andrea’s Ascent); 6.9 miles rated Very Hard:

http://www.americanodysseyrelay.com/pdf/legs/AOR_Map_Directions_Leg_6.pdf

(Apparently there is an extra prize for the runner who completes this leg, so being the sucker that I am, I was game! I can only hope it’s as cool as the Ragnar Belt Buckle I got for running “What the hill”!! Lol)

Leg 18; 4.1 miles rated Easy:

http://www.americanodysseyrelay.com/pdf/legs/AOR_Map_Directions_Leg_18.pdf

Leg 30; 8.1 miles rated Hard:

http://www.americanodysseyrelay.com/pdf/legs/AOR_Map_Directions_Leg_30.pdf

Total Mileage: 19.1 (Based on very unlikely assumption that I won’t get lost again on my night leg! Haha!)

Also, we are still short one runner for our 12 person team, so there is a chance that a couple of us will have to pick up an extra leg.  If there is anyone who lives in the MD/PA area that can take Friday off work, and is cool with getting in a van with a group of total strangers for 24-30+ hours, let me know! 😉  

So I’m thinking 5 miles tomorrow, 6 Wednesday, Rest Thursday, 2 days of running insanity, and a 2-3 mile shake out run Sunday (Unless I end up running an extra leg, in which case I’ll be passed out all day Sunday!!)

How do you manage training for multiple races? How flexible are you with your training plan?  

Ain't that the truth!

Ain’t that the truth!

 

 

A day full of sunshine!

First off, the Boston Marathon today was such an inspiration! Watching the runners today show the world “Boston Strong” by “taking back the finish” was such an emotional experience.  (I can’t even imagine what it was like to be there!) How cool is it that Meb won today, with an unbelievable finishing time of 2:08:37! The first American to win the Boston Marathon in over 30 years! (I was jumping up and down and literally in tears) Then Rita, the winning woman, set a new course record of 2:18:57! The runners in this years race were stronger than ever!  Congratulations to all of the athletes who competed in today’s race, including one of Danny’s friend’s, Maggie Smith, who ran a rock solid race at 3:13:04!  For me, who has been dreaming for years of one day qualifying to run this race, I’m star struck by all of today’s runners!

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I LOVE this picture!!

On top of getting to watch the Boston Marathon today, I got to enjoy a beautiful day off school/work with Ilana.  We took a nice nature walk at Davidsonville Park, near my house.  We had a great time soaking up the sun, chasing butterflies, exploring, searching for turtles, and making wishes on dandelions!  What a great way to spend the last day of Passover/Spring break! 🙂

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To top of the sunshine for the day; I was nominated by both Charlotte and Rob for a Sunshine Award! Awww! You two made my day….

A big thank you to Charlotte at http://runcharlotte.wordpress.com/, and Rob at http://weight2lose2013.wordpress.com/, for the “Sunshine” award nominations! Both of you bring a bit of sunshine into my day with your uplifting humor and fitness inspiration! I think these awards are fun because they allow bloggers to share a little bit about themselves and also are a great way to make blogger introductions!  They both did this a little bit different (which makes it that much more fun!), so I’ll share 10 random facts about me for Charlotte and answer Rob’s 10 random questions!

Random Facts for Charlotte:

  1. I lived Virginia, Texas, England, Italy, Maryland, and Utah all before graduating high school.
  2. I have 3 brothers, 1 sister, 2 step-brothers, and 3 step-sisters (+8 sibling in-laws!!)
  3. I was a competitive swimmer in high school; my strongest events were back and free.
  4. The cello is my favorite instrument; I played it for 8 years and wish I still knew how to play!
  5. I was active duty Air Force (Communications) for 4 years.
  6. I got my undergraduate degree in Psychology.
  7. Yet oddly enough, I work in the IT field.  I love being a networking and firewall geek!
  8. I went back to school and finished my Masters in IT just last summer!
  9. I am possibly the most stubborn person on earth.  (My best and worst trait!!)
  10. I love the mountains; rock climbing and hiking are my two favorite activities (after running).

Rob’s Questions:

1. Why did you start your blog? I started my blog as an outlet for my random thoughts and musings about my addiction to running and anything else that happens to cross my mind.  It also is a way for me to track my training and progress to keep myself motivated.  And I want to share with others how much fun running can be, and show people that it is something every day Joes (or Bettys like me!) can incorporate into their lives!  If I can inspire even one person on their journey to a more active lifestyle in the process, I’d see that as a major added bonus! 

2. What is your favorite movie – ever? I’m not a serious movie buff but I LOVE ridiculous comedies like Will Farrell and Ben Stiller moves.  I think it’s a tie between Austin Powers and There’s Something About Mary.  They both made me laugh so hard I cried the first time I saw them. 

3. Do you get tired of bloggin? No, because blogging is something I do for myself and when I don’t feel like blogging, I don’t.  Sometimes I wish I had more time to invest into my posts so I could get more write about all of the craziness that goes through my head and create more “A quality” blogs.

4. Where do you want your blog to take you to? I just started blogging last fall; I’m happy with the connections I’ve made and the things I’ve learned from other bloggers.  If my blog never goes any further than that, I’d be more than satisfied! My ultimate dream is to bridge my blog into a part-time gig as a professional running coach. 

5. What type of blogs do you find interesting? A majority of the blogs I follow are other running blogs; I love seeing how much fun other runners are having and I try to absorb their knowledge and experience.  I also enjoy blogs about spirituality and minimalism, as well as comedy blogs (Because who doesn’t need a good laugh!)

6. What is your favorite song TODAY? Two Cellos cover of Thunderstruck, because as a former cello player and lover of rock and roll it is one of the COOLEST things I’ve ever seen!!

7. If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Anywhere steamy, hot, and exotic preferably within walking distance of a beach! Maybe Brazil or Costa Rica? Haha

8. What is your favorite creative outlet? Cooking, I like to experiment with different recipes and rarely try the same recipe twice (Which is unfortunate for those who eat my cooking because I have very few “signature dishes” and my food is a disaster 50% of the time! Lol)!  I went through a phase with Bento Boxes, those are really fun to make! 

9. Least favorite part of your day? Mornings….No matter how early I go to bed or how many times I get up before sunrise for a run, it NEVER gets easy for me!  My brain refuses to function fully until after 9 am and 4 cups of strong coffee! 

10. What is your favorite article of clothing? My black Prana yoga pants! They are sooo comfortable and yoga pants make EVERY woman’s butt look amazing! 😉  And my baby blue Sanuk flip flops, I live in them when I’m not running! 


 

I’d like to send some Sunshine to the following bloggers (In no particular order) that brighten my mood daily with their posts!

 

If you choose to participate, create a post with 10 random and interesting facts about yourself, then pass some sunshine along to some of your favorite bloggers! If not, just know….

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And thank you for brightening my days with your wonderful blogs! 🙂  

Peanut butter Easter eggs for speedy marathon recovery

Happy Easter and Passover everyone!  My first week of marathon recovery has been a little bit different this time around with my next marathon, the North Face Trail Challenge, being just five weeks away.  This is my first time doing back to back marathons, with a recovery/build up plan.  I’m following tips and loosely building my training schedule based on Hal Higdon’s “Multiple Marathon Plan”:

http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51153/Marathon-Multiple-Marathons-Training-Program

Luckily my legs seemed to have rebounded quickly and this week went well.  I have no scientific evidence supporting this, but I’m fairly certain the crazy amounts of Easter chocolate I’ve been eating has contributed to my speedy recovery!  😉  Reece’s peanut butter eggs are my favorite!

Nom Nom!!

Nom Nom!!

I had the “post marathon” limp going the day after my race, and my busy day of work Monday with lots of walking and stairs was less than fun; but by Tuesday my legs felt like they were back to normal.  I put on my running clothes after work Tuesday, and nervously prepared for an easy “two mile” shake out run on my treadmill.  Typically my legs feel like the legs of a shaky and unstable new born baby horse on that first run after a tough race. I was surprised that after a half mile warm-up I was able to easily pick-up an 8:30 pace on the treadmill.  🙂

Apprehensive before my first post-marathon run

Apprehensive before my first post-marathon run

I felt a lot more confident after that first 2 mile run, and continued to build up mileage throughout the week.  I did notice my body demanded extra sleep and food, but I had no problem finding time to nap and eat yummy Easter Candy!!  I also had to back off my pace quite a bit, to cover higher miles to build up for my next race while still giving my legs rest from the last race.  It’s definitely been a tricky balance!  I was so excited to have perfect running weather and company for my weekend runs! Danny ran with me on the C&O Canal on Saturday and I met an old running buddy, Don for a longer run this morning.

This Weeks Run Down:

  • Monday- Rest
  • Tuesday- 2 miles treadmill
  • Wednesday- 4 miles (Outside near work)
  • Thursday- 6 miles treadmill
  • Friday- Rest
  • Saturday- 6 miles C&O canal trail run with Danny
  • Sunday- 10.5 miles B&A trail run with Don

Total Weekly Miles: 28.5

Total 2014 Miles: 493.4

It was a great week with perfect weather, fun runs,  Danny’s birthday (he loved his present and we had a great dinner at Bonefish Grill), Easter candy, and on a totally random note….Ilana pranked her dad this week and showed she has inherited my slightly warped sense of humor.  She spent the week with her family in South Carolina and late Monday night he received a text message from her that said, “Hi Daddy” and had this picture:

Creepy Monster Lana

Creepy Monster Lana

Her dad said it “scared the crap out of him!” Bwahahahaha! Well played my rad daughter, well played!! 😉

Lastly, I want to thank Charolette, from I Run in the Rain, and Rob, from Weight Loss 2013, for nominating me for the sunshine award! It’s been a busy week, but I plan on answering their creative questions and doing my “sunshine” post tomorrow.  🙂  They both are awesome and uplifting bloggers, totally worth checking out while I procrastinate! 😉

http://runcharlotte.wordpress.com/

http://weight2lose2013.wordpress.com/

What did everyone do for their Passover and Easter holidays? Did anyone else eat waaaayyyy too much Easter Candy? Haha

 

 

No use in crying over spilled milk!

(Or a flooded basement…..)

Since I bought my first home two and a half year ago, I’ve gotten many hard knock life lessons on the joys responsibilities of home ownership.  I was so excited after my closing; I felt so accomplished and grown up and had many grandiose visions of how I was going to restore my 1970 split level country home (This is what happens when you watch too many episodes of “Rehab Addict” on HGTV).  I painted every room in my house a different “BAM! In your face” vibrant color (The inside of my house looks like a bag of skittles! Haha), had the amazing oak hardwood floors professionally restored, and had plush carpet installed in my basement.  It wasn’t too long after moving in that I discovered the home was riddled with problems from many years of being shown no love, and the maintenance/repairs started to add up.  I’d like to say I handled it all with the dignity and grace you’d expect out of a mature, home owning, ADULT but….I had some major, toddler-like, full on melt-down temper tantrums.  I mean seriously…like crying, flailing around, screaming obscenities and melodramatic statements like, “Whhhyyyy meee!! I don’t want to pay $XXXX.00 for a new well and water treatment system!!! I want new shoes!!! I want to go on a vacation!!!!!!! Wahhhhhh…..Wahhhhhhh….wahhh..ah?”  Then when I decided to calm down and regain some of my dignity, guess what? I still had to deal with the situation.  Only now I was tired from throwing a pointless fit and had ugly mascara cry face! And I’d think, “Well that was stupid….”

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I’ve gotten a LITTLE bit better with dealing with the normal stresses of life.  When I came home from work last night to find that heavy rain + a malfunctioned sump pump=3 inches of water through out my ENTIRE basement, I was surprisingly calm.  My room mate got the pump working again and it started to drain some of the water in the laundry room.  Upon careful inspection I realized all of the carpet/padding/baseboards/dry wall is going to have to be dried out to prevent mold and then be repaired/replaced.  So I took the day off work and am sitting here waiting on the “water mitigation team” to come tear up carpet, blow giant industrial fans on stuff, and do other water mitigationy things. Luckily it sounds like between my home owners insurance and home warranty everything will be covered.  I am choosing, because how I react to things is ALWAYS my choice, to not have a melt down over this one because it would be the equivalent of “crying over spilled milk”.

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Nope! Not me!!! 😉

I have been doing some reading and having some deep conversations with one of my best friends, about life, happiness, and inner peace.  How people’s happiness or misery is based on their perspective, and what they choose to focus on in their lives.  Changing your perspective, blocking out negative thoughts, and redirecting your attention from the negative to the positive is an active process.  It takes a lot of practice and hard work, and (until you reach enlightenment) it is unlikely you will be successful 100% of the time.  However, today I am choosing to exercise my inner “Zen spirit” 😉 by listing my blessings and all of the positive aspects of home ownership:

  1. I am blessed to have a roof over my head.  There are millions of homeless people in the world that are not as lucky.
  2. Owning a home is financially benefiting me by A) Giving me a valuable long term investment and B) Saving me money on taxes.
  3. The feeling of satisfaction I get when looking around and seeing how all of my hard work is (slowly) paying off.
  4. The house is my own and I have the freedom to do what ever I want; like the crazy colored paint, a bright red coach, and my retro pin-up girl paintings.
  5. I have a big, tree filled yard, with a kick ass fire pit for bon-fires and roasting marshmallows.
  6. I love lounging on my screened in patio in the summer with a good book and a refreshing drink.  It is so relaxing listening to the birds chirp and watching the squirrels chase each other around the yard.
  7. I live in an awesome area.  My neighborhood is quiet and peaceful, and I’m surrounded by horses, alpaca farms, and nurseries; yet only 20 minutes from downtown Annapolis and 30 minutes from downtown D.C.
  8. Miles of cool/scenic running routes and quick access to the B&A trail!
  9. Cooking in my obnoxiously retro (on purpose) kitchen, with lime green walls and oak veneered cabinets, in my matching apron STILL makes me smile.  🙂
  10. All of the great memories inside this home; including baking cookies and snuggling up to watch movies with Ilana and spending late nights talking (with Danny or a girlfriend) over a bottle of wine.

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Not to mention……It’s Friday, the start to another weekend! Today is also my Danny’s birthday, and we have a nice dinner with his mother planned for tonight.  I really am one lucky girl! 🙂 I hope everyone has a great weekend!

What do you love about your home?

 

 

Garden Spot Village Marathon Race Recap + Review

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I meant to post this sooner (for the sake of doing this race justice), but I’ve been floating on cloud nine since the weekend.  I’m finally coming back to reality enough to at least attempt to put together some coherent sentences that adequately describe what a wonderful weekend I had in Lancaster (Pennsylvania Dutch) county with Danny.  It was serendipity that I came across, and decided to register for the Garden Spot Village Marathon (Organized by Garden Spot Village and Race Director, Scott Miller).  I choose this race by searching for marathons in April, within reasonable travel distance, cross referenced race dates with my calendar, came across this small (relative to more local Baltimore and DC races) marathon that promised chocolate shakes at the finish line, and I was sold.  (Yep, I that is about how much thought I put into most things in life! Haha)  As the race got closer, I read race reviews (All great reviews) and looked at pictures of the local area, I got more and more excited.  I also began to get nervous; that a small marathon field would mean many miles alone, without other runners to chat with and cheering crowds to distract me if things began to get rough.  Well this race ended up surprising me; it far exceeded my expectations and ended up being my favorite race to date! (No exaggeration!)

Pre-race/Packet Pickup: 

After registering for Garden Spot, I began to receive occasional e-mails from the race director (For Clarification: Not to me specifically, but to all registered runners!) with training tips, updates on local road conditions, and cheerful chronicles of his training runs.  To be honest, at first this struck me as rather odd (Remember, I typically run B-More and DC races…) but it kept me excited/motivated through a harsh winter of training and it made me feel like I personally knew Scott!  I couldn’t wait to meet him and all the other runners on race day!

Danny and I drove up to Lancaster Friday evening.  We went straight to Garden Spot Village Community Center for packet pickup.  We arrived just as the “Kid’s Marathon” (1.2 mile race, too cute! I’ll have to keep it in mind for Ilana next year!) The volunteers were extremely friendly and helpful, and we had no problems finding the registration tent.  For those runners motivated by swag, all runners got a cool tech t-shirt and running hat.  I opted to do the pasta dinner, a great deal for $15.00 a person, and I am always worried about eating at restaurants before a race (too much butter and sodium!)….Aaaannnnd it was all you can eat!!!! (You know this greedy gal was happy! Lol)  There was pasta, bread, salad, sweet potatoes (yes please!), coffee, and desserts.  I’ll admit, I was eyeballing some cheesecake that looked to die for….and almost worth risking mid-race trots….almost….I opted for the chocolate cake (It was am-az-ing!!).  I enjoyed chatting with some of the other runners, many local, and all incredibly friendly.  Several of them mentioned how difficult the course was, and how this definitely was “not a PR course”….I thought, “Uh Oh, maybe I need to look at that map again…”  (Ummmm…yeah, I’ll get back to that!).

Morning of Race Day: I didn’t sleep well because I kept having that “I slept through my alarm and missed my race” nightmare and woke up every hour throughout the night. (I swear, does EVERY runner have that nightmare?!) I finally got “permission” to get out of bed at 0430 (I was driving Danny crazy hopping in and out of bed all night, and he vetoed me trying to put on my running clothes at 0300!) and went through my pre-race rituals.  I won’t get into all of the boring specifics, but I will mention one odd racing quirk/superstition/lucky totem I have adopted.  I have to wear my nose ring, not my normal stud, when I race.  I swear it makes me run faster because it makes me feel “more bad a$$”! And since running is 99% mental, it has to work, right?  Like the circular logic on that one? As silly as this quirk sounds, it is 100% true, and I’m not one to ever make apologies for being a weirdo! Lol (What is one of your odd racing quirks?)  After a good breakfast Danny and I (and another runner we picked up at the Bed and Breakfast) drove to the race.  Parking was easy, there was zero stress, and the weather was perfect…it was all adding up to a great race day!  I decided I wanted another coffee and was surprised when the woman at the concession stand told me no charge for runners (for anything).  All though I had read that online before hand, it was one of those things that seemed too good to be true, and I totally forgot.  I finished my coffee, took care of business (Yessss!), and made my way to the starting line.  Everyone was in great spirits, and I even saw “Marathon Man” entertaining the crowd.  It was Go Time!!!

At the starting line!

At the starting line!

The Race:

This race experience was surreal…it was like traveling back in time.  I was being passed by horse and buggies along the course, and there were many Amish families along the sides of the roads.  Some doing their own thing, and others actively cheering on all of the runners. (There were also some competing in the race in traditional clothing + running shoes) Not to mention, the scenery was absolutely gorgeous!  Miles and miles (literally) of rolling hills and farms.  Of course, having perfect weather and bright blue skies didn’t hurt either!  To think I was worried about not having enough “distractions” along the course!  I had so many things to look at that time just flew by!  There were enough runners that I occasionally passed or was passed by somebody, but it was actually nice having the space and freedom to just run, not having to zig-zag in and out of crowds.  I had a fanny pack full of my pre-made concoction of honey stinger chews, mini marshmallows, pretzels, craisins, and gummy bears.  I ate a hand full every two miles starting at mile 8, and in addition to drinking water (no Gatorade) at every water station.  I found my sweet spot for fueling/maintaining energy/and not getting tummy cramps during this race! (Big success for me, since fueling during a run has always been one of my biggest challenges).  The water stations were well organized and all the volunteers along the course did a great job at not letting me get lost!  😉

Views on the course.

Views on the course.

Since every race is a learning experience, here are a few things I learned during this race:

  • Planning is so not my thing….the whole “race strategy thing” I did was a great meditation exercise during my taper, to mellow out some of my pre-race jitters, but I did not remember a dang thing!  I’m definitely more of a winging it kind of girl!!
  • Even if I were able to remember ANY of my race strategy, it wouldn’t do me any good, because attention to detail (and reading elevation maps) is also so not my thing.  Remember how I was talking about this nice flat course, with a couple of hills at mile something and something else….well, please see exhibit A……
Yeah, this is NOT flat!!

Yeah, this is NOT flat!!

Mmmm hmmm! Oh well, I made the best of it, and earned some bragging rights by surviving that last BIG (Not only) hill at mile 21-23!

  • This one is a two part lesson; stay humble and never judge a book by it’s cover!  It doesn’t matter how fast/strong you are (even with your “bad ass runner chick nose ring” in!) there will always be someone faster and stronger.  And that person may be a man in a pink tutu, passing you at mile 10 of a marathon!
There he is! And there he goes.....

There he is! And there he goes…..

  • But it’s all good, because I don’t take myself that seriously and I got a big laugh! (The British accent was a nice touch sir!)  NEVER forget to have fun!
  • The people who love you will support you and love you, no matter how insane your goals and endeavors may be!  Thank you to my mom and my boyfriend Danny, for being there for me and always being proud of me for even my smallest accomplishments.
  • Taking Danny to races with me rocks because I actually end up with cool race pictures afterwards to put on my blog! 😉

I ended up finishing this race in 3:48:15 (8:39 overall pace), while 10 minutes slower than my goal (based on a “flat” course) I was (am) still elated because I beat my previous PR (In Richmond last November) by just over 2 minutes and LOVED the course so much!  PLUS I still had the rest of the weekend with Danny to look forward to! 🙂

Runners love bling! *Fact*

Runners love bling! *Fact*

Post-Race/Finish Line Festivities: A homemade chocolate milk shake after a marathon is EVERY bit as good as it sounds! I enjoyed two (before you judge, they were small! 😉 ) along with a banana and some trail mix.  I was actually overwhelmed by the amount of food in the runner’s recovery tent, which included omelets being made on the spot!  There was also a pool and hot tubs available for swimmers to take a dip/relax in (If ONLY I would have remembered to bring my bikini from the B&B!).  It was over 70 at this point and still sunny/clear skies, so I lounged around on the grass and chatted with some other runners.  I even introduced myself to Megan, a girl that I had been “leap frogging” throughout the entire race, and congratulated her for pulling away on that final stretch.  I also thanked her for keeping me going in a couple of tough spots.  She said I had done the same, we both were enjoying the game! 🙂 It turns out we both won our age division! Her F25-29, and me F30-34.  One of the advantages of running a race with fewer runners and a generous race director! I’m looking forward to receiving my personally engraved coin with my finishing time in the mail!

That's Megan next to me in middle left!

That’s Megan next to me in middle left!

The Rest of the Weekend: Involved a visiting a couple of local markets/shops and settling in on the patio at the B&B with a pizza and nice bottle of red wine.  The bed and breakfast we stayed at was amazing too, The Artist’s Inn & Gallery, so I’d just like to give it a quick plug too!  The inn and location were perfect; The owners, Jan and Bruce were very friendly and especially accommodating of the runners staying at the Inn.  The Gallery portion included Bruce’s colored pencil drawings with quirky/funny captions, I ended up coming home with his “Phona Lisa” (A congratulatory gift from Danny! 🙂 ) I will definitely be booking a room when I’m in town again for another race; maybe “Bird in hand half”?  I reeaaallly want that “Road Apple” award!

Relaxing at the B&B

Relaxing at the B&B

I always do “the run-down” for myself…..At the end of the week, between two 4 mile taper runs and the marathon:

Total Weekly Miles: 34.2 
Total 2014 Miles: 464.9

Next up….The American Odyssey Race with (hopefully) 11 other runners!

Links:

http://gardenspotvillagemarathon.org/

http://www.artistinn.com/

What is your favorite race to run?  What makes or breaks a race for you?