Race Recap: Rock ‘n Sole Quarter Marathon *PR

All week long I was nervous about this race. I have only ran once (maybe twice) since RAGNAR two weeks ago. I had a charlie horse during that race and couldn’t finish my last leg. I’m recovering from a quad strain. I moved last weekend. Blah Blah Blah.

Pacers and besties
Before the race, the Milwaukee Art Museum looked like a space ship.

I knew I wasn’t going to skip this race, I just had to decide if I was going to run the race I registered for (half marathon) or drop back to the quarter marathon at the split. As the week progressed, I started leaning more and more towards the quarter. I need to be smart. Marathon training only calls for 6 miles this weekend, so a quarter marathon is RIGHT ON TARGET. But most of my friends doing the race were running (or pacing) the half. I realized that I had to focus on me and what was right for me at this point of my training.

As I lined up in the middle of Corral K (we were not corralled by last name, as I originally thought)… the LAST corral… I was still pretty sure I would be running the quarter marathon… but there was a little part of me that thought if I felt AWESOME at the split (around mile 5) I would think about keeping on in the half. I talked with Michelle for awhile (who was also unprepared for the half, but who kicked some ass anyways)… and my sis-daughter (college sorority) Bethany, along with her in-laws. I wasn’t nervous, despite the daunting task of running over the HOAN BRIDGE… TWICE… in my immediate future. I am not one for training on hills. EVER. So, running up a bridge in the first quarter mile of a race? Not something I would prefer to do. But I did.

Approaching 794

The race started (I can only assume, as we couldn’t hear the gun or see the front of the race in the last corral), and I began running. I told myself to stay smart. Don’t push the pace, especially UP the bridge. I ran the first half mile or so and had to take a walking break, which I fully expected. I have asthma and elevation changes (along with running, duh), affect my lungs pretty severely. The foggy mist didn’t help. I walked for a minute and kept going. The fog began to dissipate as I reached the apex of the bridge, under the big yellow arches. I felt good. My hamstrings and glutes were not very happy, but I kept on keeping on.

Zombie apocalypse in 3…2…1…
There it is!!!

I walked through the first water stop, felt great. Had a little gatorade and a cup of water. And took off running again. We began to see the front of the pack approaching in the southbound lanes (headed north). I saw many friends and waved. I felt surprisingly good. My quad didn’t hurt at all. I began to get in a groove. I was ACTUALLY PASSING PEOPLE. You faster people might not understand what a BIG FUCKING DEAL THAT IS FOR A SLOW RUNNER. I smiled with glee. I couldn’t believe it.

I am such a dork!

I headed down to the turnaround in Bay View and saw Annie and Marty cheering! YAYZ. Then I rounded the corner, walked through the water stop and headed back up onto 794.

 

As I neared the top of the exit ramp, I was in awe by what I saw. There was MY city. Laid out so pretty. The fog/mist was nearly gone. The sun was shining. The city never looked so damn beautiful. AND I WAS ABOUT TO RUN TOWARDS IT! I was seriously in awe of the view at this point of the race. Normally, when you take 794 to downtown, you’re in a car, driving 50+ mph. I got to run (4-5mph) and really soak it in. I fricking love Milwaukee. I really do. I could have HUGGED it. I love it so.

I approached the yellow arches of the Hoan Bridge with determination. I felt REALLY great. I knew I was going to rock the rest of the race. As I headed down to Lincoln Memorial Drive, I couldn’t help but smile and be proud of what I had just done. I RAN OVER THE HOAN. TWICE. EEEK.

I saw the half/quarter split point, and as much as I was tempted, I knew I needed to be smart and follow the quarter course. BUT OH WAS I TEMPTED.

At this point, I started to pick up speed. I saw paces in the 12s and 13s on my garmin. DURING THE LAST 2 MILES OF THE RACE.

YES SHOUTY CAPS.

EEEEK.

I turned up Michigan and ran past Discovery World into Lakeshore State Park (one of my FAVORITEST places to run). As I ran past the lagoon, I could feel how close I was to the finish. I still had strength, so I willed myself to pick up the pace. I kept hearing Marty‘s voice saying “LAST MILE FASTEST.”

I began to run faster. I passed nearly 10 people during the last mile of the race. AGAIN THIS NEVER HAPPENS. I GET PASSED. I DONT PASS PEOPLE. I had a BIG OL’ STUPID SMILE on my face as I entered the finish chute.

I got my medal and water and started walking to the bananas. (My nemesis, but required post-run food). I looked at my medal and saw that it said HALF marathon on it. I realized that the volunteers probably saw my half marathon bib and figured I did that race. Let me tell you, there is no way I will every finish a half marathon in the time it took me to finish the quarter marathon today. I went back to the medals area and told the volunteer I couldn’t accept a half marathon medal for running the quarter distance. It just wouldn’t have been right. I was able to switch medals and continued through the finish line area. As I grabbed some chocolate milk, I had two separate women approach me and tell me that they used me as their pacer for the last few miles of the race. They each told me that they saw me looking so strong and willed themselves to keep up with me to the finish. They said in the last mile, it just got too hard to keep up with me when I took off.

I can honestly tell you guys that I was *this close* to collapsing in tears. These women I don’t know told me that I was their inspiration to keep going in the race. They saw me not giving up and they knew they couldn’t either. Even recalling our conversations now, I am tearing up. Ladies, I don’t know who you are, but if you happen to see this, please know that you made my day. You can’t know just how much those kind words meant to me. I could have hugged you both but I thought it might be weird of me to do that.

I finished my first quarter marathon with a time of 1:38:24, a 14:50 pace for 6.63 miles. I have NEVER EVER seen an overall pace in the 14s for any distance more than 4 miles.

Only time you will ever see my name, “half marathon” and a time in the 1s. LOL.

I WON YESTERDAY. I WON.

It was so great to see KristaRochelle, & Matt J. (2:10 half pacers), Tracey G. (who kicked ass and had her 2nd fastest half marathon time!), Renee H.Sara K.Aaron K.Karla With A K., Mo, Katie B., Paal, Michelle, Bethany, Jennifer, Brianne, Alicia H.Tony V.Jeff M., Eric, Jessica G.Annie and Marty at some point before, during or after the race!

Dailymile: http://www.dailymile.com/people/amykant/entries/16034477

 

2011 in Review

Hey, remember me? It’s Amy. I haven’t been blogging. Or Tweeting. Or Facebooking. Or doing much of anything. Besides working and working out.

Let’s take a look back at 2011 (and we’ll throw in the ol’ 28 before 29 wrap up as well. Because clearly, I need to consolidate). Here are some highlights of 2011. Read ’em and weep.

Extreme Races

2011 marked the second year in my quest to reclaim my life. And as such, I decided to be stupid and put my life in danger. I lost an hour of my life on a ski hill in 90 degree July heat Dancing With Dirt. I RAN THROUGH FIRE at the Warrior Dash. And I would do it all again. And I probably will.

RAGNARRRRRR

File this under “Other crazy running shit I did this year.” Ragnar was one of the craziest, most amazing experiences of my life. And I got to do it with my friends – and with my dad as a driver. It was BALLER. Epic. Etcetera and so forth.

Family Time

2011 was hard for me. My baby sister (and roommate) moved to Minnesota. I missed her something fierce. I still do. But I made the most of our time together this year, and have spent more time with my parents and brother as well. Of course, part of that is due to my living with my parents (just a few more months), but we are trying to have a family dinner/game night once a month. My family loves board games. It’s hard not to have Emily here, but I’m happy knowing she’s happy with her boyfriend. We spent the holidays with them and I look forward to many more special times with them and the rest of the family.

Running

While I didn’t accomplish my goal of running a marathon this year, I did run 3 half marathons, a handful of 5ks, a 10k and two relays. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. I PR’d at the St. Louis Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon and the Run Into the New Year 5k. I ran a half marathon in a friggin’ tutu (see above). I finished up the year with 633 miles (some walking and biking, but mostly running). I have some big goals for 2012. But more on that later.

Cheerleading

Once again, I was able to be an obnoxious amazing cheerleader for my friends. I’m pretty sure that if I could get paid to cheer for people at races, I would make a career switch. I had the most amazing time cheering for friends at races all year long. Half Marathons, Marathons, 50ks, 50 milers… I have some crazy friends and I look forward to much more cheering in the future. AND MORE MEGAPHONES.

Besties

I’ve been blessed with a great group of close friends. While we are all on different schedules, we try to get together as often as we can. We’ve had cookouts, game nights, fancy nights out, coffee dates, book clubs, slumber parties, races, road trips and quite honestly, more fun than people should be legally allowed to have. I could write a novel about these people (you know who you are)… I can honestly say I would be lost without these girls! #bestiesforever

Career Change

Three months ago, I started a new job. That’s right. I left the TV/News biz. I was ready for a change. I’ve worked in television news since 2003. I’ll be honest – it was wearing me down and I lost some of my passion for it. I also felt like I wasn’t going anywhere career-wise, so when a friend told me about an opportunity with Milwaukee Public Schools, I applied. Six months later, I was hired. (The process was exhausting!) I am now the Web Communications Specialist for MPS. It’s a new position for the district and I’m in charge of building, training and implementing new websites for the district’s 175 schools, along with managing the district’s social media presence along with numerous other “new” media tidbits. The new gig is hard work, but I’m loving the challenge. I feel like I’m right where I’m meant to be. Oh, and I HAVE MY VERY OWN OFFICE. WITH A DOOR. AND WINDOWS.

So, there’s that. A quick overview of 2011.

And let’s take a look at my 28 before 29… My latest recap was in October. You can read it here. Rather than rehash it all, I am going to condense it to the things I want to roll over into my 29 things to do before 30, rather than just the things I didn’t accomplish. My life has changed in the past year, and as such, my goals have changed. (29 before 30 list coming soon. Even though I turned 29 in November. Deal.)

  • Continue to work out, eat better, get healthy.
  • #2-3 are morphing into “Find and settle in to an amazing apartment.”
  • Run a marathon.
  • Get a tattoo (I made a pact with peeps to get one if I raised money for charity. I just have to get around to making the appointment!)
  • Write a book (or at least start).
  • Run 100 miles in a month. (While I accomplished 100 miles of activity in a month last year, this is still something I want to accomplish!)
  • De-Clutter (this is going to be a big theme for me in 2012).
  • Pay off debts (working on this, but I have a long ways to go).

I hope you had a great 2011. I’m looking forward to a fresh start in 2012.

Race Report: St. Louis Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

So, two weeks ago I roadtripped it to the STL with some friends to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis Half Marathon. It was pretty epic.

First, the road trip. Annie, Nadia, Bob and I met up at the State Fair park ‘n’ ride and before we left, Annie had to pee. So we drove down to the Pettit. We got refused. HOW RUDE. The guy wouldn’t let Annie use the ATM, either.

Our trip was off to a great start.

We finally got to a gas station which had A CALIFORNIA RAISIN!

We got back on the road and played “Who can check in to more funny places on foursquare while we drive?” We all won. Here are some of the beauties from the weekend:

Once we got to St. Louis, we headed to the race expo. I’ll tell you one thing, the Rock ‘n’ Roll series knows how to do an expo. I bought things I needed and some things I didn’t (per usual). After I said adieu to Annie, her sister Beth, Nadia and Bob, I headed west to visit one of my bestest friends, Holly. And her mom. And her THREE adorable dogs. We went out for dinner and had a great time that night, and the next morning watching a horror film and playing stupid games on our iPads, whilst cuddling with the dogs. It was a great visit.

Then I met up with Patrick and Lindsey (my friends living in DC) who are from STL and were home for the race. We sat and talked for HOURS. It was so great to catch up with them, talk about geeky stuff, journalism (and me getting out of the biz). I’m so glad I got to see them the day before the race, because I never found them on race day! (Which reminds me, I missed Sam from Sacramento too!!!) BOO.

Fast forward to an evening with three Munkwitzes. Thats Munkwitz overload. But awesome. I spent the night with Annie, Beth, Kim and Beth’s hubby Adam. Adam made us a great pasta dinner… of course we had to carb load the night before the race!

The next morning, we woke up and got ready for the race. I had gotten everything ready the night before, so there wasn’t much to worry about. I nibbled on my Clif Mojo bar, drank some water and anxiously waited to leave for the race. I wasn’t very talkative, but I wasn’t nervous, which was a new one for me. I had a feeling things would go well for me during the race. I was excited to do the race with all my friends from across the country, even if I didn’t see them, I knew they were there. 😉

We dropped off our bags at the gear check and headed to our corrals. I said goodbye to the Munkwitz girls and went to Corral 22 (second from the last, of course). It took about 30 minutes from when the race started to when I finally crossed the start line! That’s what happens when you have 21,000 runners!

It was such a beautiful morning, and pretty cool to run through downtown St. Louis. We passed Busch Stadium (where I stopped to get a picture of me flipping the Cards the Bird)…

Busch Stadium. And the bird, for good measure. Gotta support the brewers.

the arch…

And we're off!

… and a bunch of other cool buildings.

But now, on to the ACTUAL race recap.

The race started off really well for me. Except for stupid people who think that just because I’m fat, this was my first race. I can’t tell you how many times someone said, “Good for you! This your first?” I know they were being encouraging, but I took it as a dig. Yes, I’m fat. Yes, I’m slow. But I know what I’m doing.

In fact, about 10 minutes into the first mile, I realized I was going to have a split in the 12s. THE FUCKING 12s! I knew this would mean T-R-O-U-B-L-E for later in the race so I forced myself to slow down and walk a bit. After the first mile, I pretty much stuck to a run 5-6 minutes, walk 1 min interval ratio. Of course, I was flexible with the intervals due to the rolling hills and water stops… and maneuvering through groups of people. I was pretty proud of myself when, at about mile 5, I was encouraging a fellow racer (who WAS a race virgin)… telling him he had it and not to worry. He was asking about time limits and I told him that if he kept his pace going, he would be fine. Then he realized I was 5 corrals behind him and had caught up to him. I told him not to worry and that he was doing great… and I kept on trucking.

For the first time, I left the iPod and my Nathan handheld water bottle at home. I’ve recently become very annoyed by carrying water on long runs, and I knew there would be water every 1.5 miles, so I’d be fine. And as for the music, it was a Rock ‘n’ Roll race so there were bands along the course. I’ve also been avoiding the iPod during runs lately. I’ve been getting rid of everything except for my phone and shot blocks. And inhaler, of course.

Running without the iPod and water bottle was FREEING. It was also scary. I was alone with my thoughts. MY HEAD YOU GUYS. I had 3 hours of just me and my brain. I got a lot of thinking and soul searching done. It was a very, VERY personal experience for me. I don’t even know how to describe it. I dug deep into my soul, examined some priorities in life and even questioned if running was something I wanted to continue. At one point, I thought, “seriously, what the fuck am I doing?” Yes, I’d say I hit the wall alright. I worked through some things during this race. It was all very unexpected. Maybe that is why I haven’t written the race report for two weeks – I wanted to keep it all for me. And I’m not going into specifics for that very reason.

Woah. Back to the race.

I was rocking until the 8th mile (9th was even worse). It took 2 hours for the first 8 miles (incl. water stops and photo breaks), so I was PUMPED! I knew if I could keep things going, I was going to obliterate my PR.

And then, there were hills.

Well, they weren’t so much hills as they were inclines. Long, slow, drawn out inclines. My quads were on FIRE.

Things started hurting. I started getting snarky. Well, you know, more than usual. I took longer walk breaks (2-3 min). I wasn’t going to let a little pain keep me from beating my PR.

As I approached the finish line, (you could hear it before you saw it), I got excited. I was almost there. I turned the corner and sprinted the last quarter mile to the finish. I wanted to finish strong. And I did.

BAM.

PR by 9:08. Average pace: 15:27. The end.

Splits: 14:29, 14:49, 14:40, 15:46, 14:46, 14:38, 16:00, 16:56, 15:45, 15:57, 15:43, 16:04, 15:27, 13:40 (.25mi)

100 mi! Wheee! #chasing100

Do you see what that is just above “Jul ’11”? Oh yeah. That’s 100. 100-freaking-miles. One month. WOW. WOW. WOW.

I am still trying to grasp what I’ve accomplished (with your support and encouragement)! 100 miles!!! To think, just 11 days ago, I was at 48 miles for the month, and today I am celebrating my first ever 100 mile month.

2010 Amy thought that was a long ways off. 2011 Amy thinks her legs need a vaca.

As planned, I finished up my mileage during the Liver Life Walk yesterday morning with some friends. I was so excited and celebrated the milestone at Yo Mama‘s.

I’m working on a full writeup of the challenge – hope to post it this week. Thanks Tiffany for kicking my butt (errr legs).

5 miles!

Ohemgee. Tonight I had the most amazing run EVAR. Well, as amazing as it can be to run around in circles. I was dreading this run ALL DAY. When I got home from work, I even considered bailing on the run all together. Then I started thinking about how close I am to my 100mi goal. That was enough to guilt me into heading to the Pettit to run laps. It was very cold in there tonight, perfect running weather (indoors ha).

I went with the intention of doing 3 miles and calling it quits. But I got into a groove in the first half mile. I was in the zone. Left. Right. Left. Right. So after the first mile I decided I would go for 4 miles tonight.

As I approached 3mi, I realized I hadn’t yet seen my favorite Pettit walker – the #shakeweightlady*. Seriously, I love her. I was getting worried that I hadn’t yet seen her and told myself that I’d quit at 4 unless I saw her. If I saw her I would go for 5mi. Even thought the farthest I’ve ever ran without walking was 3.5 mi and that was on Saturday.

As I approached the 14th lap, guess who I saw?

The #shakeweightlady, wearing 80s floral hammer pants. I kid you not. It was a sign if I’ve ever seen one. So I powered on and rocked out 5 miles, doing negative splits for the last 2 laps. Fuck yeah.

Achievement, unlocked.

See also: long run for the week, complete.

* Background on #shakeweightlady: I see her just about EVERY time I run at the Pettit on a weeknight. She wears shape ups and carries not one, but two shakeweights as she walks around the track. Sometimes she holds them up above her head and shakes them. She kind of dresses like a trashy homeless person from the 80s. Lately, her attire of choice has included “juicy” sweats plus a tea-length stonewashed denim jacket. She has also upgraded from the women’s shakeweight to the men’s version. Here are a couple of pictures from when I saw her in April:

Ragnar Chicago Relay: Recapping Leg #25

This shall forever be known as the leg where Amy almost died.

I ran this leg on about 20 minutes of sleep. Yeah you read that right. 20.minutes.of.sleep. I was able to rest but only got about 20 minutes of actual sleep.

For the record, I do not recommend running 4 miles on 20 minutes of sleep when you have already ran 9 miles in the past 18 hours.

I did absolutely everything wrong prior to this run. I didn’t hydrate properly. I didn’t eat much. By 2am, we were exhausted and the thought of eating anything made me want to throw up. I knew I’d be relying on muscle memory and mental strength to pull this run off.

I got the slap bracelet from Marty and headed off in the misty fog for my final 4 miles through the City of Racine. The roads were quiet (it was 5 a.m. on a Saturday, after all) and I only encountered a handful of other Ragnar runners during this leg of the race. Most of the runners who did pass me looked about as good as I felt, which isn’t saying much. I saw (and did) much more walking on this leg of the race than any other. We were all running on empty. My legs felt like cement blocks. I had to will my legs to move. I walked more during this leg than the previous two legs combined, but I was still able to beat my pace goal for the race (and my recent half mary PR pace).

The course took us past the zoo and along the lakefront. I can’t tell you want a relief it was to see Lake Michigan! Yay! I’m almost done! I’m going to die! Wooot!

I couldn’t even tell you half the things I thought about during this run. I don’t remember. It was an out of body experience.

When I finished and passed off the bracelet to Matt J. I stopped dead in my tracks and bent over to catch my breath and stretch my hamstrings. Jordan H. put out his hand to give me a high five and I think I said something like, “I’m sorry, I can’t touch you right now.”

I couldn’t move. I needed to build up the mental strength to walk to the van. Tracey G. and Rochelle told me I looked so pale that they were afraid I was going to pass out or throw up.

I walked down the hill towards the van and made my dad take a picture of me. I have yet to see this photo, but I can assure you that it won’t be pretty. But it will probably be a favorite of all my race photos.

I got to the van and fell face first into the first row of seats (we had a 15-passenger van for the 6 of us plus driver). I passed out in that seat for at least an hour. I don’t really remember much. I know I told Tracey G. that I wasn’t able to move to send her off on her next leg and I also missed her passing things off to Anthony M Van H. for his last leg. At some point, the team stopped at McDonalds for some breakfast and I was able to talk long enough to ask my dad for a Sausage McMuffin with egg. He gave it to me and I ate it from my face in the seat position. I’m completely serious. I only turned my face far enough to eat the sandwich and only used my right had to open the package and feed myself. I was that exhausted.

The food helped revive me from my runner’s coma and I came to enough to wrap a blanket around me and cheer on Anthony M Van H. when he finished his final leg and passed things off to Jordan H. I was back to (almost) normal to see Rochelle off and meet up with the rest of our team at the final major exchange in Zion, Illinois.

Start Time: 5:10 am
Goal pace: 16min/mile
Splits: 15:17, 16:35, 15:47, 12:46 (.85mi 15:05 pace)
Average pace: 15:42
Total time: 1:00:23
Finish time: 6:10 am

Total distance: 12.82mi
Total time: 3:13:06
Average pace: 15:03
Goal pace: 16:00

Note: Read the rest of my Ragnar Journey here.

Note #2: This post will be updated with photos as soon as I can steal them from my dad!

Race Recap: Wisconsin Half Marathon

NOTE: I started writing this two days after the race but finally was able to finish writing it this week. Sue me.

Saturday morning, I completed my second half marathon with an official chip time of 3:33:45, an improvement of 15:54 overall or 1:18 per mile. Basically, I improved my time/pace by 14.4%! That’s pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. Now, granted, with a previous half marathon time of 3:49:39, there is much room for improvement, but I look forward to many more PR’s in my future!

Now that we have some of the technical stuff out of the way, let’s get to the report.

Friday night, I met up with some of my running besties, Annie, Rochelle, Krista and Tracey. We went down to Kenosha, stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn Express, ate lots of cookies and candy and had a good ol’ fashioned sleepover. Never mind we’re between the ages of 28-33. We can still be kids whenever we want.

We got all our gear ready for the race, pinning ribbons with names of friends/loved ones to our gear.

LEFT: Orange ribbons for my Aunt Janice, Uncle Will and Grandma Kant. RIGHT: Pink ribbon for my friend and coworker, Anne, who is battling breast cancer.

Because I was unable to do the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon with the rest of my Team Challenge friends, this race was my “replacement” in honor of my loved ones who’ve battled (and are battling) Crohn’s and Colitis. So of course, I ran in honor of them on Saturday, hence the orange ribbons on my water bottle. I also ran in honor of my coworker, Anne, who is one kickass woman. She is fighting breast cancer, raising 3 precious kids and still coming in to work as she is able between treatments. Her humor and determination to kick this disease in the balls are nothing short of inspiring. The station I work for sponsored the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5k Walk along the lakefront Saturday morning, and since I was not able to join my colleagues, I ran three of my 13.1 miles in honor of Anne and all the women fighting breast cancer.

Some of my Real Milwaukee coworkers, including Anne (right). If she isn't a BAMF, I don't know what is.

Ok, now that we’ve gotten all sappy, let’s get back to talking about me.

Even though I’ve been through this before, I was physically ill about this race. I put so much pressure on myself and was nauseous all morning (and actually, for the week leading up to the race).

Here’s my view before the race started. There were only signs up to a 12 minute pace group, so I lined up behind them. And laughed because there was no way in hell I was going to run a 12 minute pace.

Jodi, Rachel & Me

The night before the race I was dead-set on running the race alone, but it was nice to see some familiar faces (Jodi and Rachel) while waiting for the race to start. Just in case they wanted me to run with them, I warned before the gun went off that I was going to walk the first mile or so and then start my run/walking and that there was nothing against them, I just had a plan and I was sticking with it. We saw Karla shortly after starting the race and all walked together for the first 10-15 min. Then I told the girls I was gonna start my intervals and Jodi joined me.

Lake Michigan - about mile 2 or so

Jodi is faster than me so I remember repeatedly telling her she didn’t have to slow down – that she could take off whenever she wanted to and I wouldn’t be upset. But she said she didn’t mind because she didn’t really train the way she wanted to and said it would be better for her to stay with someone who had a plan (run 5min, walk 3). She said it would also keep her from going too fast at the start.

It only took a couple of miles for the field to really start to thin out. This is most evident to slow runners like myself. You don’t really have to fight for a spot on the road when you’re at the back of the pack.

Me, smiling at mile 3-ish.

Jodi and I began giving other runners nicknames. Don’t judge. I know you ALL do it too. There’s the weird breather, tutu girl, crazy hat lady, guy in jeans, etc. Well we had Shuffleupagus (the guy who was constantly shuffling his feet – for 7+ miles. The sound became worse than nails on a chalkboard. I wanted to punch him). There was cane lady, who we were dead set on passing early on (C’mon. Who wants to get beaten by a lady with a cane?). There was also das boot – the lady running with a stress fracture boot. INSANITY.

It was great to see familiar faces out on the course – Marty, Kelly, Laura, John, Marge, Becky, Courtney, Lisa and of course my parents! It was also pretty cool to see friends running back to the finish (much of the course was an out-and-back so you saw runners headed the other direction). I high-fived Matt, Tracey, Krista, Annie and Rochelle.  I’m sure I’m forgetting to mention someone, so please forgive me if I forgot to post your name).

Looking back, the middle of the race is a bit of a blur. I remember it getting overcast and a bit cooler. I remember drinking some gatorade that had obviously not been mixed properly (hello syrupy electrolytes) and playing leap frog with the same groups of people the entire race, thinking “My God, when are we going to hit a turnaround point?”

At some point, I told Jodi I was turning up my music to drown out shuffleupagus and to focus on my intervals. Seriously, this man made my blood boil. We took advantage of downhills to burst ahead.

We got to the turnaround point at Carthage College a few minutes before they started taking down the course and moving the runners/walkers to the sidewalks. I knew this was going to happen, but it was a little startling nonetheless. (Race directors said participants would be moved to sidewalks if they were slower than a 15 min pace).

Shortly after the turnaround point, I saw my parents in the distance. I’ll be honest. I kind of started crying when I saw them. I stopped and gave them each a huge hug.

 

Oh hi mom and dad – I seeeee you! If you look carefully, you can see shuffleupagus in the back. He’s wearing a blue shirt and black sweatpants.

Hiiiii mom! Hiiii dad! oh, and hiiiiii gullet!

The pictures above were taken around mile 8 or 9 I think. It was the right time in the race to get a little pick me up from my parents (also, the course didn’t have any spectators at this point).

I remember my dad trying to run ahead to get more pictures. I know I yelled at him, “Hey dad! I’m running a half marathon and you’re making me look bad! Stop it.” He replied, “I need to get a picture!”

Giggles. I love my dad.

Jodi and I trudged on. I started to fade (read: slow down) and we parted ways around mile 10.5. I never lost sight of Jodi but just couldn’t move my legs any faster than they were going.

As I ran into downtown Kenosha I saw my parents again!

Note the other participants and I maneuvering around pedestrians.

Me: Dad, stop. I look like shit. It's mile 11.

Just as I passed the mile 11 marker, I saw someone taking down the mile markers, cones, etc. By this point we were running/walking on the sidewalks of downtown Kenosha – me trying to get around people “Hello! I’m running a race here people!” Again, I expected us to get moved to the sidewalk. I didn’t expect the mile markers/guides to be taken away. Luckily, this didn’t affect me and to be honest with you, I was so focused on finishing I didn’t think about it.

The last 1.5-2 miles of this race are such a tease. You see the finish line but have to head south almost a mile before you can turn around and head to the finish… So you have to run past all the people who are almost done – who have those looks like “yes! almost there!” when you’re hitting the wall. It’s pretty NOT awesome.

I got to the final little turnaround and it started to hit me – I was almost done with my second half marathon. I could crawl the last mile and I’d still beat my previous time. I had this in the bag. Of course, that didn’t keep me from ignoring the pain, it just helped me to keep my mind off it.

With less than a quarter mile to go, I remember a marathoner whizzing past me as a spectator yelled at me, “Looking good! You got this!” I was clearly struggling and the marathon douchebag replied, “Oh please, this is easy.” I’m pretty sure that if someone was videotaping me at this point they would have seen my jaw hit the pavement. For one, she wasn’t talking to you. She was looking at me, the fat girl, clearly struggling through the last quarter mile of the race. Secondly, you’re an a-hole. Shut up. Even the woman was shocked by his douchebaggery.

As I approached the finish line and the final tenth of a mile, emotions overcame me. I saw my mom at the corner, cheering and waving. I started blowing kisses and I heard a group of people erupt ahead. It was my besties! One of the benefits of being a slow runner is that every single one of your friends has crossed the finish line waaaay before you. So they’re obligated to stand there and wait for you to finish. It’s a rule.

kisses!

high-fiving my besties! Note: Shuffleupagus beat me to the finish. Bastard with shuffling feet.
Throw your hands up!
Oh.Mah.Gawd. I’m done.
Oh wait! Garmin! Stop! Garmin!
Cue the tears
Yay! Cheese medal! And a banana! Note: I loathe bananas.

So there you have it. My race recap. Like a million years late. 😉

Splits: 16:16, 15:19, 16:10, 16:10, 15:16, 15:46, 15:51, 16:37, 16:26, 16:28, 16:46, 17:51, 16:51, 13:17 (pace for .15)

PR! ZOMG!

Wow.

First of all, I need to say this: I beat my previous half marathon time by 15:58! That’s 1:18 PER MILE! Fuck. Hells to the yeah.

Secondly, here are my splits:

Splits: 16:16, 15:19, 16:10, 16:10, 15:16, 15:46, 15:51, 16:37, 16:26, 16:28, 16:46, 17:51, 16:51, 13:17 (.15)

Thirdly, the full race report will come soon. I’m kind of tired. And I want pizza. And beer. And no, John (trainer), you can’t tell me I didn’t earn a slice of pizza and some beer today.

Remembering what’s important

I need to stop comparing myself to others. What I accomplished in 2010 is fscking remarkable. Look at that. 561 miles covered by foot and bike. 334 workouts. WHAT?!

It’s no 1500-mile year. It’s no marathon. But it’s me. And I’m proud that I was able to do all this, amidst injury after injury and illness.

Suck it, Trebek. Suckit.

This is kind of a big deal

Today I decided to unsubscribe from an e-mail list… and not just any ol’ list. A list for a plus-size clothing store. I haven’t bought clothes there in awhile and hopefully I won’t have a need to shop there any time soon.

Farewell, Torrid!