Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Looking forward

Well, finished the Daysprings 5K faster than I did it last year, so that's a plus, but was slower than my other 5K times this year. Ah well, it's still a + in my column.

Coming up, don't think we're going to do the Jingle Jog 5K since I've registered Reann and I for a trail half marathon in February and we need to focus on training for that. Plus I'll be doing the Red Top Rumble 11.5 mile race 6 days before the half marathon, so we've got our work cut out for us. May add a 10K in there somewhere, need to shoot for a good qualifying time for the Peachtree Road Race yanno!

Here goes:

2/7/10 Red Top Rumble 11.5 mile, Cartersville, GA

2/13/10 SweetH2O SweetHeart Half Marathon, Lithia Springs, GA

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I know, I know...

I've fallen behind once again.

Let's recap, shall we?

9/7/09 U.S. 10K Classic: Reann and I rose at o'dark:30 and headed over to Cumberland Mall to park and get to the starting line. A nice big crowd greeted us, not quite as big as Peachtree, but a respectable 15,000+ as it was. The prerace festivities were great, including the skydivers who parachuted down to Cobb Parkway (no way would you catch me doing that, not with the hills or the power lines all around!). Then to watch the cyclists start, then the inline skaters, then the wheelchair division, then it was our turn. Oy. You start off going a slight downhill, down and under the 285 overpass, then you start climbing the first hill of the morning. Ugh. lol.

I wasn't feeling it that morning, so sent Reann along ahead once we got to the top of the hill with a stern warning to wait for me at the finish line and NOT TO MOVE ONE INCH PAST IT! lol So I plodded on, running when I could, walking the hills, and actually started to feel better as I went. Hit mile 4 in a respectable time and spotted Reann not long after that. By the time we hit the "Big Chicken", I knew we'd be alright. All we had left was a downhill to the finish line, or so I thought. Who's madcap idea was it to have you run hell-bent for leather downhill after the big chicken only to then have to run UPhill to the finish line? WTH? I about died lol. But I finished it and crossed another race I will not do again off my running "bucket list".

We decided not to do the Ekiden Trail relay.

10/31/09 Silver Comet Half Marathon: Here it is, my first half marathon. It snuck up on me, or better perhaps it clanged me over the head after life threw me off my training stride. I wasn't completely out of it once it came around, but I sure could have trained better for it. Anywhoooooo... Another o'dark:30 wakeup call, this time making sure Chelsea and Reann were up (momma needs a cheering section, yanno!), then we were off. A pit stop at Dunkin' (America runs on Dunkin', and so do I, just not this morning). Hot chocolate for the girls and a plain bagel for me. Got there early enough to get a primo parking spot behind the Mable House Arts Center, picked up my race # and timing chip, found a spot to secure the timing chip to my laces (zip ties? really?), then cooled my heels for a bit, had an espresso love gu gel (got my caffeine anyway), stretched, did a slow jog around the parking lot, then nature called. Whoa...nice lines at the port-a-potties. Got in line and started chatting with another girl who was running her first half also. Traded advice we'd received from others, even gave her one of my gu gels to try out. Finally was able to take care of my own business, and got out in time to see them herding everyone into groups based on what their anticipated race pace would be. I plopped myself towards the back of the 12:00 minute group. Then we followed the crowd back around front of the building on Floyd Road and waited, and waited, and moved up, and waited, and waited some more. Finally, we were off!

Started off with a slow jog while we all started to spread out over the mile and a half we had on the road before turning onto the Silver Comet trail. Of course, it couldn't stay mild and overcast, about 3/4's of a mile into it, the skies opened up and the wind picked up. We'll call that a torrential downpour that stayed with us just about all the way to the trailhead. Ah well, what's a little water going to do? It wasn't stopping me, no way. Although I heard afterwards that plenty others turned around and went back. Their loss. I felt good out there, in the rain. It was a bit daunting for me though, I will admit. Hard knowing how far out I had to run before I could turn around and come back the same way. The first hour and 15 minutes or so were the hardest mentally for me, until I saw more of the faster runners passing me heading towards the finish line. That energized me all the way through mile 12, where I alternated saying I'd have enough for a finish line sprint, and I wasn't going to make it. I was getting dog-tired by then and really had to push myself. Of course mile 12 is also where a sneaky incline starts, so I had that working against me too. I kept the argument going with myself in my head about whether or not I would be able to sprint at the end, all the way until I saw the 2 EMS guys on the side. THAT got me going and sprint I did, once again taking Chelsea and Reann by surprise so that they only got a picture of me from behind heading for the finish line... haha.

It was a bit on the awkward side to have to stop right after crossing the finish line so that they could cut the timing chip off your laces ($35 fee if you didn't turn it back in, ouch), and that probably didn't help me. But I finished! YES! Even made sure I got my finisher's medal! Ahhhh, it felt good to know I was done, that I made it 13 miles. It wasn't pretty, and I'm happy with the fact that it doesn't have to be, as long as I'm satisfied with the end result. And I AM!

Aside from some shoe issues I had and soreness from said shoe issues, I'm good and looking forward to signing up for another half. I'm leaning heavily towards the SweetH20 Sweetheart half that our Rogues are doing in February. A trail half! YES! I think a trail half will really help me decide if I'm going to pursue a race distance beyond 13.1 or not. As of right now I'm still undecided.

At any rate, the next upcoming race is one Reann and I did last year, so this may become a tradition.

11/14/09 Daysprings 5K, Douglasville GA (this one usually benefits one of the local schools, this year it benefits the flood victims from this past September)

12/12/09 Jingle Jog 5K, Atlanta GA (haven't registered yet, trying to make it a family thing for the three of us)

2/13/10 SweetH20 Sweetheart Half Marathon Trail Race, Lithia Springs GA...???


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Let's not get cocky...

"You don't have to go fast, you just have to go" "Running is a mental sport and we are all insane" "Running is cheaper than therapy" - these are just a few of the cool running slogans I have come across. An old school friend has told me that running is an addiction for him, and I now understand why. But with the running, and increasing distances, I've discovered that you really can't push your body to an extreme and expect it to bounce back like you were 20.

I was getting out and running and/or walking quite a bit a couple of weeks ago. After the 12.5 miles out at Kennesaw mountain on the 18th, I put in another 25 miles the following week, and was cocky enough to think I could do 10 miles out at Kennesaw that following Saturday the 25th. Not so, grasshopper, as my left shin started giving me problems after about the 3rd mile. "Ok, this can't be good", I mentally berated myself for pushing too much, too soon. I slogged on though, I wasn't going to let it stop me from getting the miles in, it only stopped me from running them. Got back to the parking lot about an hour and a half later and popped some advil. Once I was finally back home I "iced" it with a bag of frozen veggies. Alternated the advil and veggie bag throughout the rest of the weekend.

I only got out and walked and ran twice after that, before the 5K on the 1st. As such, onward to that race report...

8/1/09 St. Julians Fishes and Loaves 5K: The morning dawned overcast and humid. Oy. A good crowd was there for this inaugural run. Started off at the Douglas County Courthouse and ran a loop around there to the street, then down to the Douglas County Transportation Center parking lot for another loop around, then back down the road to a right turn towards the senior center for a loop around and back to the courthouse parking lot to do the entire loop again. Mile 1 was great, I was feeling good and keeping a good pace and hit a personal best 1 mile split - 10:21. Mile 2 was a little tougher as the heat and humidity started to make their presence known (as well as the hill we had to run up again) but still hit a personal best 2 mile split also - 23:24. Mile 3 kicked me in the proverbial pants, it was a struggle to run around the parking lot at the transportation center, so I had to kick it down and walk a lot more than I had wanted to, but since this was only my 2nd run since the Saturday before, I took it in stride. I did keep enough in reserve to make my finish line sprint once I made the turn into the courthouse parking lot though! Time could've been better, but it gets chalked up to experience nonetheless. I did it in 38:00 flat, Reann came in behind me at 38:11.

Onward and upward. Now it's time to hit the hills for some repeats to prepare for the US 10K Classic in 5 weeks! Oh, and I'm planning on doing a 40K trail relay with some fellow Rogues in October. If we can find a 4th person, we'd each be doing a 10K, so far we have 3.


9/7/09 US 10K Classic Smyrna, GA
10/18/09 Dirty Spokes Ekiden Trail Running Race 2009 Conyers, GA
10/31/09 Silver Comet Half Marathon Mableton, GA

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How is it almost August already?

Time sure does fly when you keep yourself occupied with a number of things. Work has been crazy, but yes, I've managed to fit running in also.

Have to recap that I volunteered at the SweetH20 50K Trail Run on 5/30/09, and if you've never seen ultra runners compete, this was well worth being there for. What an absolutely fabulous and inspiring group of people, what they do to push themselves along the at times grueling course was simply amazing to watch. I was posted out along mile 13 which became an impromptu water station when they passed me again when it became mile 22. Really a great group of people, and I've been lucky enough to get to know some of them since.

OK, I DID do a couple races myself after that, so here goes...

6/20/09 Blake Gammill 10.5K: I'm glad I did this one. It's in honor of Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy Blake Gammill who was shot and killed while serving a warrant in 2005. Proceeds from the race benefit the Douglas County Sheriff's Emergency Response Team (SERT), and the members of that team ran the 5K on 6/20 in their gear. Whew, I have a hard enough time running in the heat in shorts and a tank top! That being said, let's get on with the 10K. Reann did this one with me, and she really ran a good one, kept a decent pace throughout the entire race, but it was hot and it was humid and there were hills; all of which tried their best to conspire against me. This wasn't my best race, but as a runner I take that into consideration and chalk it up to experience. Running in full blown summer heat is still something I'm dealing with. :) I did get my first tiny taste of what heat exhaustion can feel like too, and I don't like that at all! Reann and I managed to complete this one in 1:31:10. Again, experience, it doesn't come easy.

7/4/09 Peachtree Road Race 10K: Ah, the piece de resistance of the 10K's in Atlanta. This one is a party, no doubt about it. When you have 50,000+ gathering to run 6.2 miles, it can't be anything but. Reann did this one with me also, being lucky enough to get a number from fellow Rogue Jennifer who bowed out a few days before. So we'd be running it together, starting waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in time group 8. To give you an idea, The runners in the first couple groups started around 7:30am, and they staggered the other groups after that; which meant we finally started over an hour later, at 8:44am. Did I mention this was a party event and not really a running event? Well, if you're in an earlier time group you can still manage to run it, but the farther back you are, the more walkers there are, and the slower you go. Once Reann and I realized that it was taking us longer to try and weave around the walkers, we slowed down and decided to take in the entire experience. And what an experience! People were lined up on both sides of Peachtree Road; cheering you on, throwing things to runners/walkers, and having a grand old time just being there. Bands were there playing along the race route also. Water stations every mile gave us the chance to stay hydrated (a problem at the last race), as well as cool off by running through the misters that were set up. Reann and I crossed the finish line together, shaving 6 minutes off our time 2 weeks previously. 1:25

What's next for me? Would you believe I've signed up for my first 1/2 marathon? Yep, I have. However it's still a few months away, so here's what I call race progression:

8/1/09 F&L 5K, Douglasville GA
9/7/09 US 10K Classic, Smyrna GA
10/31/09 Silver Comet Half Marathon, Mableton GA

How much am I running lately? More trails, definitely. Anywhere from 3-6 miles running two evenings a week with the running club, and am starting to increase my long run on Saturday mornings with the club. Even did 12.5 miles up and over Kennesaw Mountain last Saturday, just to get an idea of what it would feel like to go that distance. For those that mentioned a marathon in my future, I say to that...possibly my friends, possibly. I just want to do a 1/2 first, to see how I feel afterwards. Plus I'm doing the 1/2 in the fall, so the heat won't be as much of a factor as it's been this summer, but it is on a flat trail, so I'll need to run on it at least once beforehand to get a feel for it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Playing catch-up...

Yikes, not just two, but three races have come and gone! I know, I know, I'm slipping again. Ah well, in a nutshell, here we go:

4/18/09 - Sweetwater 420 Fest 5K: A respectable race, started later in the morning and it was a humid day, so that equals...CHALLENGE! The other challenges were the amount of people (somewhere around 1200) and the narrowness of the streets. The start was a little convoluted, but off we went, with the faster runners jockeying for position and weaving in and out. There were a lot of slower runners/walkers/people with dogs/people with strollers than any race I'd done prior to this, so that slowed me down through the first 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile. That being said, one more fun part to this race...yep, you guessed it..the HILLS! lol And there was even a hill right before the finish (great thinking, that). Every time you got to the top of one hill, you could see there was another ahead. Enough with the challenges already! lol Finish I did, my watch time had me at 34:49, clock time was a full minute faster. Guess which one I'll use here? LOL I felt good though, didn't stray from my previous time too much!

5/9/09 - Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K: What an inspirational event to take part in. There would be no running at this one, I walked with a good friend of mine, her sister, and her mom. The sheer number of people taking part was awe-inspiring. Seeing the survivors was even better! There was easily well over 15,000 people out there running/walking the 5K. I'm looking forward to doing this one again and again and again!

5/16/09 - South Fulton 5K: This was the inaugural race, but pretty well organized over all. Not a lot of people, but a respectable number nonetheless for the cause promoted (proceeds went to a women and children's shelter). It was cute to see the little kids do the 1 mile fun run before the 5K. Then it was our turn, nothing like being told the course while waiting at the start line lol. I felt a bit off, was hoping to get under 35:00, but knew it would depend on my endurance and the course itself. First mile went pretty well, but the hills in miles 2 and 3 were a little more than I could take since I hadn't started out feeling 100%. But press on we must! We were lucky enough to have a flat finish after a downhill run, and I used that to my advantage, built up the momentum running downhill, then shot myself around the corner to the finish line. 35:45 YES! At least my pace didn't suffer. What was the kicker? I took 2nd place in my age group!!!! No more Smart A** remarks like "what age group is that? 70+??" lol I got that from a few people Monday morning.

Now I really want to work on my time. I never knew I'd start racing myself!

Next races:

6/20/09 - Blake Gammill 10.5K Douglasville, GA
7/4/09 - Peachtree Road Race 10K Atlanta, GA

Hmmm, those are both 10K's, is this a new trend?????

Monday, March 30, 2009


Just checked my chip time from the 5K on Saturday, and it shows I did that race in 35:47! HOLY CRAP!!!! THREE minutes off my time from 3/1/09???? WOOOO! I'll take it!!!

Upcoming races:
4/18/09 Sweetwater 420 Fest 5K Road Race - Atlanta, GA
7/4/09 Peachtree Road Race 10K - Atlanta, GA

Sunday, March 29, 2009

March races are DONE!

OK, guess I'm slipping here. Time to fill in about the 10K and the last 5K.

The 10K - Where to start, the beginning, duh! The morning dawned chilly and rainy, but I said I was going to run it, so off I went. Since this was the ShamRock 'N Roll 5K and 10K, there were plenty o' Irish Eyes A-Smilin'. And quite a few kilts too (thought those were more Scottish than Irish...); anywho, I'd already picked up my race packet the day before, so no need to stand in line once I got there. All I had to do was pin the number on and wait til they herded us over to the starting line. The 5K started first, so we had to stay out of their way when the first few were heading for the finish line. I've no illusions about running, I don't see myself completing 3 miles in under 20 minutes anytime in the foreseeable future lol. So 8:30 rolled around and we were off! A few hundred of us idiots out running in the rain around Atlantic Station in Atlanta on a Sunday morning. And, oh what fun! Hills! Right around the first corner, oh happy day! 3, count 'em, THREE! hills in the first 2 miles, I could've stopped right there. But I didn't, I kept on going, slowing when I needed to, and running when I could. The best part? I got to run those hills, TWICE! I know, I know, I could barely contain my excitement either. This was a 5K loop that those of us hardier (read: stupid) souls running the 10K had to run twice. All well and good, but that last hill on the second round almost got me; but there was no way I was giving in then. I was too close to finishing. And finish I did, a fairly respectable 1 hr 18 minutes and 19 seconds. Now I know there are people that ran the ING Georgia Marathon in less time than that (26.2 miles in less time that it took me to do 6?!?!?!? Holy crap!), but damnit, this was my first 10K, and I am PROUD that I finished! Besides, I was one of the lucky 45,000 able to register online for the Peachtree Roadrace (10K on July 4th) that same day. Yes, I said 45,000! There'll be close to 60,000 by the time all the paper registrations are in, stay tuned for that carnival!

The 5K - Oh joy, another race IN THE RAIN! Serves me right for registering for races in March in Atlanta. I tell you, leading up to this race, my head was saying there was no freakin' way I was going to run in the rain AGAIN. But I knew, deep down, I would; apparently I'm a glutton that way, as quite a few people have pointed out to me (they shall remain nameless, unless they give voice to their snickers in the comments section). So once again, after making sure that the severe weather forecasted wasn't anywhere near the vicinity of the race, I was off. Got to Grant Park about 10 til 9, and the rain was coming down steadily. Great. Ah well, I was sort of prepared for it, as much as one can be knowing they're going to be running 3.1 miles in the rain. Picked up my race number, pinned it on, attached the cute little timing chip to my shoe and headed over to the starting line. And another group of a couple hundred idiots out running in the rain. This wasn't too bad, a few hills, but we were running inside the park for most of it. My time splits let me know I was doing better than I had before, well, at least by mile 2. I did the first two miles in 23:47, which was a first for me. So I pretty much knew I'd come in under the 38:49 I did in Seaside back on the 1st. By how much I wasn't certain, until I made it up that last hill and hit the downward slope and curve around to the finish line and saw the clock at 36 minutes. So what was it when I crossed? 36:11! I would've fallen over if I wasn't still sprinting! Holy crap! I shaved 2 1/2 minutes off my time in 3 weeks! I was NOT expecting that, but I'll take it! WOOO HOOOOO! Yeah! Now I KNOW I can get under 35 minutes by the end of May...I just have to register for another race...or two...or three...or...

As for now, only one scheduled:

7/4/09 - Peachtree Road Race 10K - Atlanta, GA


4/18/09 - Sweetwater 420 Fest 5K Road Race - Atlanta, GA

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Seaside has come and gone

What a great time! The drive down was...interesting. Torrential downpours from Georgia into Alabama, finally cleared up about an hour north of the Florida border. It was beautiful once we got there though. A little windy but the temperature was just about perfect. We were lucky enough to have Saturday to play on the beach and drive around (no swimming in the Gulf, conditions were too windy).

Sunday morning dawned windy and cold! Temp was 38 with a windchill of 29, ON THE BEACH! IN FLORIDA! So we dressed warmly and piled into the suv to drive over to Seaside from our hotel in Destin. Actually had to park in Watercolor and take a shuttle over to the race starting point (2700 runners for both races plus spectators meant not enough parking in tiny Seaside). Finally got over to Seaside and waited on the side while the half-marathon runners got ready to start their race. That wind was coming right down the street, which meant we'd all be running into it for the first half of both races.

The half-marathon finally started about 7:10am, then those of us running the 5K got ready to start, finally getting going about 7:25am. That wind was COLD! Kept a pretty decent pace the first half, and when I made the turnaround I knew I could pick that pace up. And I did! Having the wind at your back really helps, so does running on an actual FLAT course. By the time I was back in Watercolor, I knew I was faster than my November time, just not by how much. Saw the finish line and glanced over at the time clock just as I crossed it. 38 minutes! Someone was blocking the seconds, but I didn't care! I did it in under 40 minutes, wooohoooooo! Final actual time (posted on the website yesterday) was 38:49:05! Yeah! Shaved 2 minutes and 45 seconds off my 11/22/08 time!

So what was my challenge to myself if I did post a time under 40 minutes? To sign up for a 10K on 3/15/09. So I did, that's less than 2 weeks away, yikes! I'm not worried about posting a fast time since this will be my first 10K, whatever happens, happens. I just want to get the first one out of the way so I can settle in and start preparing for the Peachtree Road Race in July.

Here we go, the next 2 races are:

3/15/09 Shamrock and Roll 10K - Atlanta
3/28/09 ING Publix 5K - Atlanta

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why running?

Good question, why indeed. I certainly had no idea a year ago when I first started going back to the gym, nor in May when I quit smoking, that I would be where I am now. Having already run in three 5k's (October 25th, November 8th and 22nd) and posted respectable times in all three considering I only started running in August, boggles MY mind, so it probably boggles the minds of those that know me. Now, at no time in my past have I EVER considered myself a runner. Hell, the only time I ran before now was in basic training for the Air Force 20 years ago, and I didn't like it then. So what changed?

I don't know that it's about "what" changed, it would appear to be that I've MADE some changes in my life (see quitting smoking) and running seemed to be a natural fit to validate those changes. And you know what? I actually LIKE running now (except for running hills, I really don't care for those), especially with members of the running club I joined. There's a comraderie running with other people that you don't get running on a treadmill or running by yourself. I don't know how else to explain it, it just works for me.

I run a loop near home, that's about 2.5 miles. I have also run a couple of different loops in Douglasville with the running club that are between 2-3 miles and definitely challenging. Have I mentioned that I don't care for hills? Yes? Well, just so there's no question about it, I'll say it again. I DON'T CARE FOR HILLS! lol The rational side of me says that even though I don't like them, they are excellent in helping to build endurance.

And, BONUS, I'm no longer a trail-running "virgin". Finally went out and ran part of a couple trails at Sweetwater Creek State Park yesterday, in the rain. It was an experience and a challenge, I'll tell you that. I wasn't expecting the hills, but there they were and it's not so much that they were hard (trust me, they were), it was just that you really had to watch where you were putting your feet, especially in the rain (lots of roots sticking up, rocks, twigs, wet leaves, etc). Now, these aren't paved trails, are you catching on to the challenge? I sure did. But I'll tell you, I enjoyed it, and am looking forward to running those trails more.

Lastly, the running club, a greater group of people I haven't come across in ages. They are all definitely individuals, with their own goals and personalities. And they are all great motivators, running with them really pushes me beyond what I thought I could do originally and I thank them for that.

My next 5K's are:
3/1/09 Seaside 1/2 Marathon and 5K - Seaside, Florida
3/28/09 ING Publix 5K - Grant Park, Atlanta, Georgia

My goal is to run a 5K in under 40 minutes by the end of March, so you'll have to keep checking in to see if I do it on the 1st (which is a possibility since it's a fast and flat course) or on the 28th.

Keep an eye out for more posts as I train for those 5K's, as well as the Peachtree Road Race 10K on the 4th of July.

Holy crap, a 10K? This should be interesting...