Monday, October 13, 2008

Race for the Cure - 10/4/08

Today I ran the race for the Cure with my friend who is a survivor. She started training for this race a few months ago and before she knew it, she was standing at the starting line.

This race, for me, is a special race. I love the cause. I have had so many friends and family members touched by breast cancer. My great aunt died when I was a young child...she was the age I am now as I write this this race is for her. My Aunt Birdie just finished this battle...she is a survivor...this race is for her. My Mother-in-law, Peggy survived, this race is for her. My Sister-in-law, Tami, survived, this race is for her. My BFF, Jill, who I set with during all her chemo treatments this race is for her. And all the many women who have battled this cancer...this race is for you.
My mother, Teresa, who did not have breast cancer, but a different kind...I run every race for her. When it gets tough on the race course of life, I remember her courage and will to live. I remember her faith in God never wavering. I hope to be half as strong as her in life.

This is also the race that launched my running story in 2001. I ran this race as my very 1st race. I remember passing the finish line at 33 minutes and thinking how far I had gone. I was very proud. Looking back I see how this race changed my life.

As I stand in the darkness, I am excited for my friend who will finish this race....but 1st I have to wake up.
Jessi (in her pink survivor's shirt) and her sisters pin pink pieces of paper on their backs to celebrate the people in their lives who have beaten breast cancer.
Here is the crew who ran today...Ashley, Candace, Stephenie, Kerin, Jessi, Me. We stand at the starting line waiting for the race to begin. As you can see, I am the only one with a water belt. Normally I do not wear a belt during a 5k...however, today, after the race, I will be running back to my car. It is almost 2 miles I am carrying my phone and keys with me.
The girls showing off their backs!
Ashley and Candace chill'n out ready to run.
Around mile 1ish....Jessi and Stephenie are still looking good.
Mile 2...Strike a pose!
Jessi heading for the finish...The end is in view so we really pick up the pace.
But have to stop to get a pic of mile 3...Hey, it's all about the pictures! LOL!
Kerin finishing strong!
Stephenie finishing strong!
After the finish, Kerin takes a break...
Jessi gets 1 last picture of all "DA Girls". Wonderful race and wonderful friends. What more could you ask for.

ACS 1/2 Mary - 5/08

Oh boy this was a fun 1/2. I ran with my sister Hope and we had a blast. I have been on a quest to make running fun, not just competitive. Now don't get me wrong, I love to compete against myself. To push myself further than I thought I could go. But this race was about sticking with a sister and going through the hard spots together. LOL! I said SPOT!
Hope (my sis) and I trained for the Racefest 1/2 that took place in April. For many crazy reasons, we did not get to do it. So I found this 1/2 on the ASC greenway for $10. WOW what a bargain. We have been running on the trails at Reedy Creek park...dodging snakes, frogs, and serial killers. So we went into this sorta prepared.
Hope and I found the finish line with no problem. Too bad we had not started the race. We were wondering where everyone was...oh, at the starting line. We warmed up by running to the starting line then running for cover when the starting gun went off...DUDE! I live in the city. When I hear a gun, I duck!
B/4 the 1st mile was over, Hope felt like she was really getting her feet wet. HaHa!
I know it looks like I can walk on water, but.....Maybe I am just going so fast...HaHa. As you can see, this is already a true adventure. Running through the creek was just the beginning.
Here is Hope still going strong around mile 2ish.
Oh here is mile 2. We are jumping roots and still splashing through the woods. At this point, there is no one around us so we choose to believe we are winning.
Even though at this point we think we are DLF. We find out later we are not. There were plenty of people behind us. We just never see them.
Here ia the 1st of many swinging bridges.
And as luck would have it, it starts to swing with Hope on it.
Here is Hope around mile 6 reenacting her "almost" fall into a big pile of seen above.
UP...UP...UP! Mile 7ish
...... and rolling around mile 8.
Oh, NO! I am stuck in the mud...and with at lest 4 miles to go....well if we had stayed on course.
Around mile 9 is where a runner can start to lose it....Hope is handling the mind games well. With insanity! At this point...we have somehow gotten off the trail and are trying to find our way back. We ran around 15/20 min longer than we should have!
But we did find our way back and finished with style! Hope later said she had found muscles she did not know she had b/c they were all hurting. This 1/2 was a blast and I hope to do it again next year....
A strong finish for a great race. And I placed 3rd in my AG!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

MAP Tri - 3/2008

Today was a great time! Even with the hail...yes you read right, hail, it was cool!
Background - In January, I got the bright idea to sign up for the MAP tri. I have completed this tri b/4 and thought I would give it another go around. My friends Bree and Jeff also signed up.

Morning Routine - The morning went as normal. Got up around 0500. Had a time with the Lord asking for His blessings on this wonderful day...and no rain if possible. Drank coffee, fixed a p-nut butter sandwich to eat later and packed up. I felt really good. No tummy issues. I have really tried to eat good, hydrate and sleep so I think that helped.

Setting up and waiting - B/c this is a pool swim, we were seeded with a time. My time was 9:31.20. We had to be there b/4 0745 to set up our transition area. Bree and I rode together and got our transition area ready.
Bree had a good time pumping up her tires.
Just trying to chill and stay in my ZONE!

Then we got all marked up!
Then we waited! Looking good in the swimcap! I was 1st to swim out of our group.
Bree, Me, Jeff

Like I said, I swam 1st. Jeff is faster than me but had put in the wrong time. He actually passed me in T1 even though I had a 4 minute head start on him.

Me swimming like a rock! My main memory of the swim was looking to my left and seeing the pool slope down to a deepness that almost sent me into a panic. My "swimming" was faster, but going under the ropes messed me up bad. Swim Time was 12:34 for 500 yards.

T1...Oh no it had started raining. Little did I know this was a small glimpse of what was to come. Note to self...untie shoes b/4 the race starts. T1 time 2:44. Told you those shoes slowed me down!
Everything is wet and nasty...I am freezing..but my wonderful scream team presses on. I am still in T1...See me putting my helmet on? It won't come off until mile 2 of the run...but I will get to that.
And finally I am off to the bike part of the tri.

The bike portion was originally 11.6 miles. However, we found out, TODAY, it had been altered a bit to 13 miles. Out of transition, you go to Statesville Rd and start your 1st up hill climb. Bree and I rode the 11.6 mile course last week and thought it was a pretty good course. But this week, there was a very strong headwind and rain the whole ride. Around mile 7, for me, the bottom dropped out and it started pouring. Around mile 8.5 I noticed that something hard was hitting me...HAIL! Now hail would normally hurt if it hit you and you were standing still. But I was on a bike going somewhere btwn 14 and 25 MPH...depending on the wind, rain, and if it is up or down hill. I felt good during the ride...except for the fact my legs, hands and feet...and whole body was numb. Took a gu around mile 9 and was able to drink a lot while biking. That is an accomplishment for me! Bike time was 46:58 for 13 miles.

T2 - When I dismounted my left calf started to cramp a bit so I slowed the run into T2 to a trot. All in all, my legs felt like they had during my brick. I took off my gloves and tried to put on my race hands were so numb I could not get it that may be why the helmet stayed on. T2 time was 1:03. Not taking the helmet off was what saved the time. Ha Ha!

The run was 2 out and back laps then around the back of aquatic center, across the road through some grass to a trail and around to the finish. It was still lightly raining. I started the run and remember thinking that I had forgotten to do something in what could it be. I passed Jeff and he seemed to be laughing. He was coming from the 1st lap and I was starting the 1st lap. Around mile 1 I started to feel my feet again. Was feeling good b/c I was passing people and feeling really positive that I could PR. Went to the 1st turn around and started back out for my last lap. Around mile 2 I wiped my face and noticed my helmet was still on...I am so crazy. Honestly, I really did not care. I know people were getting a laugh (including Jeff and Brian - Thanks guys). So I took it off and continued to run. Ran behind the aquatic center and it was so muddy I had to walk...people were slipping and falling all over the place. Got to the sidewalk where you cross the road and they sent us through more mud. Rounded the corner and heard Matt and the girls yelling for me from the warm car. Then headed to the finish. I tossed my helmet and went across the line. Run time was 25:58 for 5k! WOW! My goal was 26 minutes.

Total time was 1:29.16. This is around 4 minutes off of my MAP time in 2006...and the bike course was about a mile longer!

Afterthoughts: This was a really fun tri. I do hate it rained, was so cold, and the run course was awful. I hate I had to walk some of the run course b/c of the mud. But like my mom says, "You do not get to choose the conditions you race under". I feel like I did my best. And got to hang out with some great friends.

Things I would change: Well, take my helmet off during the run, duh! Untie my shoes b/4 the race. Change up the swim a bit and not let the girl get in front of me at the end. She got in front of me on the last few laps and slowed way down then I could not get around her running to transition. I would have pushed harder on the run. I just trotted the last 500 yards. I even stopped to yell a Hi to Matt and the girls.

A special thanks to Matt, my girls, Zoe (my JRT dog), Brian, Greg, Lucus, Sommer, and Tim for coming out to scream team. You guys are great!

Thunder Road 2007

First off, let me say a few good things about the overall marathon experience. I feel like it was a well run race. A great race to see and experience Charlotte. The volunteers and officers were wonderful! Wendy IS by far the best scream teamer in the world. Jeff and Colleen were sent from Heaven to get me through this race.

My plan was to run this race in sub 4 hours. I trained on the streets of Charlotte, and on the race course itself, so all the hills were not a surprise to me. But, Ron says, "Some days are Diamonds" was not one of them. Here is an elevation chart for the course....but I do not remember any down hills really. Ha Ha!
Background - I knew signing up for this race, I was going to have a busy weekend. My church, Hickory Grove Baptist Church, had a huge Christmas Festival planned for this weekend and I was performing in 6 shows. 2 Friday night, 2 Saturday, and 2 Sunday. All the week before, I had rehearsed and helped to get ready for the shows. So going into the race, I was tired. I hate to always discuss my tummy issues, but they are never I had not been feeling well up to the race. I guess too much planned.

Pre race routine - I got up and tried to eat my normal pnut butter sandwich. It was not happening for me. I was tired and even thought about going back to my warm bed. I drank some coffee, packed up and met Bree. We rode to the race together and had no problem finding a parking place.

The Start - We walked down to the start line, and found Ross, Colleen, Ron, Wendy, Chuck, and around 1000 other close friends who were running the race. I was showing off my VERY COOL Charlotte Hornets sweats....that I would toss at the start of the race.

Then, I lined up by myself and tried to reflect on the race ahead. Everything was very surreal for me. Like I was in a dream. The "starting gun" went off and 30 seconds later I was over the starting line.
First 5 miles - I ran the 1st mile in 8:40 min clock time. I thought, I feel good but I am going to slow my pace a bit. I did not want to run out of steam too early. Well I did slow down and passed the 2 mile mark at 18:30 clock time. This does include getting bunched up at the drink station. I was fine with that but knew I did not need to slow any more. However, by mile 5 I was slowing. I was pushing to do 9 MPM. This isn't like me, so I took a Gu and it was all down hill from there...not the course, my race.

Mile 6 to 13.1 - After I took the Gu, my acid reflux kicked in. I had some Tums with me so I took those, but it did not help much. By mile 7 I was running with the 4 hour pace team and thought I would throw up. At that point, I thought I would just run to the half and be finished with this race. I have never wanted to drop out of a race, but I really did not know if I could even make it to the 1/2. I got to the half around 1:58 and saw Jeff, Wendy, and Colleen. They asked how I was doing and I told them not good. Wendy snapped this picture and Jeff started running with me. (He is in the red) He made me take another Gu and drink some more. Notice it is uphill! This is Charlotte!
Next 7 miles - The next 7 miles were a blur of me stopping so I would not throw up on the side of the road, then starting to run again. Poor Jeff! He really is a great person to run with. Very encouraging and he kept me going. I would have quit without him at this point. He carried my pack from here on out. I think we passed mile 20 at 3:09.

The last 6.1 miles - Around mile 21, we saw Colleen. She started running with me. Let me say that Jeff and Colleen really got me through! I remember saying to her that I don't know if I ever want to run another marathon. She laughed. She really encouraged me and said I was doing great...I knew she was just being nice, because at this point, I was walking more and more...but I chose to believe her. When we got to the last mile, I really tried to kick it up a notch. I knew that I would not even PR today, but I was ready to get this over with. We turned to the last hill...yes the finish was uphill...and Wendy took a picture.

At mile 26, Colleen turned off and I was on my own for the last .2....
I went past the finish at 4:22 something. I was glad to be done! I got a drink and an apple....I felt awful but I tried to eat and drink them. That was not going to happen though. So I just threw them away. Wendy got 1 last shot of me and Colleen. Notice I am really trying to smile.

Sweet Colleen drove me as close to my car as she could. I got into my car and drove home. I forced myself to eat, took a shower, took some Advil and went to do 2 shows.

Thoughts - I am disappointed that the race did not go as I had planned. But as I sit here and write this report, I think, I may do another marathon. Even though this was my 7th marathon, I have learned a very valuable lesson. RESPECT THE DISTANCE! 26.2 mile is a LONG way and you never know what race day holds. You can get up that morning feeling great, and everything falls apart. You can be well trained, know the course, and have the race planned out in your mind....then you have to readjust your plan mid race. Serendipity!