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

 

5k PR *POWERED BY BACON*

Wahoo! PR by almost 2 minutes! Gun time was 44:41, but I didn’t cross the start until about 52 sec after the gun… so HOLLER for a PR, POWERED BY BACON.

I felt pretty good out there. Just kept my head down and kept on trucking. Slow and steady. Only walked through the water stop, though I wanted to walk a little more, I waited until I had sprinted to the finish. Today, I actually passed people. That never happens.

Good to see so many friends out there – Annie Mandi Mike C. Agustin J S. and volunteers Marty andRochelle! (And I think I saw Rebecca H. too!)

And congrats to Tim C. Matt J. Renee H. Tracey G. Sun T. and btw Sara K. you placed 3rd in your division! ROCK ON WITH YOUR BAD SELVES.

No clue on splits, due to my forgetting my garmin. I bet if I wouldn’t have walked those 30ish seconds of the water stop, I could have had an overall pace in the 13s, which would have been bad.ass.

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)

Strides for Crohn’s

Do you walk? Do you run? Do you like to drink beer and eat food for a great cause? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Strides for Crohn’s is the event for you.

For just $25, you get to go for a fun run with some cool people, PLUS a t-shirt and a beer.

WHAT: 2(ish) fun run/walk, raffles, food, beer, etc
WHEN: Sunday, November 13. Packet pickup begins at 11 a.m., fun run to start around noon.
WHERE: Horny Goat Hideaway (2011 South 1st Street, Milwaukee, WI 53207)
HOW MUCH: $25 before 11:59 p.m. November 6th, $30 thereafter.

If you don’t feel like running or walking, you can still help the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Just head on down to the Horny Goat Hideaway from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. November 13th for some food, drinks and fun! A percentage of all drink and food sales will be donated to the CCFA.

Space is very limited for the run, so don’t delay! Register today!

Visit www.stridesforcrohns.com to register.

Warrior Dash

Today I did the Warrior Dash with my friend Ashley S. This race totally crept up on me over the past couple of weeks (I just started a new job Tuesday). The race was AWESOME. I got there in time to see my brother and his friends finish the race, which I was super excited about. Of course, I did not give him a congratulatory hug because I wasn’t ready to be cold and muddy.

My brother (third from the right) and his friends

Ash and I agreed that we would stick together no matter what (ok, it was more her agreeing not to leave me in her dust as I am SLOW)… We didn’t care about time – just wanted to have fun and of course, #dontdie.

Me & Ash, pre-race

The race started with a pretty long stretch without obstacles. That’s right, break us in easy.

First obstacle was a wooden structure shaped sort of like a rounded triangle ladder. We had to climb up and over it. Wasn’t too difficult, but got slippery since it was day 2 of the dash and it was raining… so lots of mud.

Second obstacle was called rubber ricochet and basically you just ran through tires. I totally was pushing them out of the way, so sorry, dude behind me. I’m pretty sure you got wailed in the face.

Next up was the giant cliffhanger. It was an angled wall we climbed up with the assistance of a rope. Easy peasy. I think this one had a ladder climb down.

Then we were on to the chaotic crossover – basically a horizontal rope cargo net. BAM.

Then came the great warrior wall. This was hard. It was a straight wall you had to climb, with a rope. There were some small ledges and I just couldn’t get up and over. After about 4 or 5 failed attempts I said “fuck it” and ran around and on to the next obstacle. My upper body strength just isn’t there.

Next up was roaring waters. We had to jump into a muddy water pit, then climb up a ladder-type thing while water was being dumped on us. At the top you had a good 8 foot drop. I prayed for the best and went for it.

Of course, we had to crawl under barbed wire and netting…

And then came one of my favorite obstacles of the day – it was sort of like a rock climbing wall. At the top, you saw the only way down was on a fireman’s pole (#notaeuphemism). The thing was, it was a good 2-3 feet from the ledge. So, you either had to balance on a small support beam or just jump for it. It was teh awesome. I totally fell on my ass at the bottom.

The next obstacle was the cargo net. Up and over, not too difficult. Just had to be careful not to get caught up in it.

Then we came to the deadman’s drop. Again, it was sort of a ladder thing you had to climb, and then another 8 foot drop.

Then we were almost there – we leapt through fire (bad.ass) and then jumped into the mud pit and crawled/swam under barbed wire through the mud – then ran to the finish.

This is right after a fireman shot me in the face with his hose. #notaeuphemism

*note: I probably have the order of these obstacles all mixed up. SHUT UP.

Overall, I’m very happy with how things went. Of course, I’m sad that I didn’t get to complete the one obstacle, but it would have taken me forever and probably would have ended in tears, so oh well. I’m very happy with my time. Considering my 5k PR is 47:05 and there were 10 obstacles (many of which we had to wait to do), I think I kicked some ass. Thanks, Ashley S. for being brave enough to join me for this crazy race!!! I couldn’t have done it without you!

Oh, and PS – Farewell Asics 3020s. You done me proud. Now you’re in the recycled shoe pile. God bless.

 

Race Report: Dances With Dirt – Devil’s Lake

” I realize that my participation in this event entails the risk of injury or even death.”

Perhaps, just perhaps, I should have paid closer attention to the Dances with Dirt waiver.

“I realize that the course for the (DWD) presents a number of potential dangers to me and I hereby assume the risk arising from all of them. I realize that I will be running on a variety of surfaces, some of them far less than perfect, including but not limited to roads, unimproved trails, mud, swamps, cliffs, lumpy fields covered with waist high grass and river crossings. The roads are open to motor vehicle traffic that has the right of way. I know that broken bones, reactions to poison ivy, insect bites and bruising are common occurrences in this extreme event and that I will be far into the wilderness away from medical support. I realize that the danger of injury and even death exists as well and I hereby assume all the risks that may be present on the (DWD) course.”

Let’s move on to the race info that was emailed out to participants the week before the race:

  • DWD is an adventurous trail run with difficult and stupid sections. Crying is acceptable.
  • IF YOU’VE RUN FOR 3 MINUTES WITHOUT SEEING A RIBBON OR FLAG, YOUR DECISION TO CONTINUE FORWARD IS MORONIC.
  • 10K Virgin voyage 2011 (first year)

What in the HELL did I get myself into? Read on.

It all started Friday night when Rochelle, Annie, Tracey, Matt, Marty and I drove up to meet Krista and Evan at Devil’s Head Resort in Merrimac. Rochelle, Annie and Tracey headed to the resort to check in and the rest of us set up camp.

Me and Krista, representing Dailymile while beering and camping

We headed into Baraboo for some good ol’ fashioned spaghetti and meatballs. The Mama Mia’s staff were so sweet and stayed open late just for us!

Then it was back to camp for more beer and this awesome campfire:

Why yes, that IS two citronella candles chillin’ on a smokey joe. Don’t judge. You’re just jealous you didn’t think of it first.

I woke up early enough to see my friends off to their races. Annie, Rochelle, Tracey, Krista and Marty all did the marathon. Evan and Matt did the half marathon… then there was me. The lone 10k-er.

I wasn’t really worried or all that nervous before the race. This was just a fun run on the trails while my friends ran a marathon. I’d finish and head back to camp for beer.

I headed to the start line just before 8 a.m. Then I heard the announcer say, “Oh hey 10k-ers. By the way, you’re going to wish you signed up for the half marathon. This is the most difficult 10k I’ve ever seen.”

Um. No.

What?

Then the race started. So I ran. Then we got to the ski hill. You know, the one we had to RUN UP.

I know. Who in the hell runs up a ski hill?

The race bottle-necked at the base of the hill, which was fine with me. “I’m good with this pace. Carry on,” I proclaimed to much laughter.

After the initial incline, the pack began to thin out. I couldn’t help but wonder what I had gotten myself into. It was HOT.

It doesn’t look steep, but trust me, it’s not fun.

When I reached the top of the hill, I was pretty excited. I was only a little slower than I had planned and it was uphill. Winning! Just do a 5k up here then I get to head back down! Wheeee!

I picked up speed and ran through the woods. I passed two or three people. Hells yeah. I’m doing this. I’m rocking this.

Oh fuck.

Yep. I fell. Hard. Forward.

I cut up my legs, arms and even got a hole in my summer running tights. Oh, and I landed right on my left thumb. But more on that later.

I shook it off and kept going.

Then, I came to what can only be described as a steep steep hill (yes, double steep) with shoulder-high grass where race organizers  probably sent someone the day before to stomp a path down the hill. So there was this tiny itty bitty path on this double steep hill and the only path was slippery grass mixed with fresh mud. You see where this is going, right?

I basically fell down this hill. For more than half a mile. Every few steps I would slip and slide down further on my ass. It got pretty comical. Step step step step BOOM slide. Repeat. I counted seven falls down the hill. I grabbed anything and everything to maintain my balance, including thorny bushes. I even got my hair stuck in a small tree while the rest of my body tried to fall down the hill. I took baby steps, sideways down the hill to maintain balance. I went so slow. Then I reached the bottom. Yay! Water stop! Yay! Catching up with the other slow people.

Confession: I don’t know these ladies or their names. But we commiserated at 3.5 miles into the 10k. Notice the smiles? Those were gone in about 60 seconds.

Why? The colored flags denoting the race path started sneaking…. up. Yes, UP. UP ANOTHER DAMN SKI HILL. This one was so much worse than the first.

The heat and humidity were starting to hit me and my asthma… hard. Every 5-10 steps I had to stop to catch my breath and pray I didn’t die. I sent the ladies pictured above along with a nice man named Mark on ahead. I was overly dramatic and told them to “Save yourselves. Leave me be. I’m gonna puke. It’s not going to be pretty. I’ll catch up later.”

And now we come to the part of the day where I completely lost about 30 minutes of my life. Seriously. Somehow it took me 30  minutes to go half a mile up a hill. And I don’t really remember any of it. I was dizzy. I was hallucinating. I’m pretty sure it was heat exhaustion. I drank some of my water. Took a couple sport beans. I dreamed of laying down and passing out. I know that I never let myself sit down or lay down, but I really don’t know what happened. But then I got to (what I thought was) the top of the ski hill! WINNING! Here’s what the look down was like.

I entered a wooded area. Yay! Shade! Less than a quarter mile later, this is what I saw:

I was only half way up the damn ski hill. I started sobbing. I couldn’t believe what a tease the course was. I thought I was at the top of the hill. I wasn’t even close. Luckily, it wasn’t nearly as steep, but it was still UP.

I struggled to the top and then started to feel a bit better. I did some jogging as I headed back in and out of the wooded areas and down the “easy” ski hill. I didn’t push my speed because I really didn’t want to pass out. I knew I was going to be the last person to finish the 10k so there really wasn’t any type of time goal. Just finish. And, #dontdie.

Eventually, I heard some music. I heard cheering. I knew I was getting close to the finish line. I stumbled through the finish line and was given my medal. No one cheered. I don’t think anyone even knew I was running the race because I looked like a stumbling drunk.

How badass is this? EXTREME 10k indeed!

One of the volunteers gave me an ice cold bottle of water. That water was heaven. She asked how I was doing. I think she could tell something was off. I told her I didn’t know if I was ok. She offered to walk me to the med tent but I said I could do it. I didn’t know if I needed it though. So I kind of wandered like a crazy person at the finish, drinking gatorade, water, whatever I could get my hands on.

I saw Matt. He said he and Evan were worried about me because they thought I was going to finish an hour earlier. Yeah, me too. He offered to get me things. I just sort of mumbled and started throwing down my ipod, garmin, spibelt and kicked off my shoes. I walked straight to the make-shift shower near the finish line and stood under the cool stream of water for 5-10 minutes. That was the most amazing ghetto shower I’ve ever taken. It cooled me off enough I didn’t need to go to the med tent. I washed off all my cuts and scrapes and scrubbed off the mud. Then I stumbled to the food table and sloppily ate half a chocolate muffin. omg. chocolate. muffin.

I changed, grabbed my chair and the beer and chilled at the finish line with Evan and Matt to await our friends’ arrival. Mmmm beer.

No amount of training could have adequately prepared me for this race. Based on previous trail runs, I expected to finish in about 2:05 with an ultimate goal of 1:50. My official time: 2:41:26.

Injuries: countless bruises, cuts, scrapes, thorns, sunburn, a bunch of busted blood vessels and a sprained thumb.

SPLITS: 21:55, 22:03, 19:33, 48:31, 32:10, 17:15*

*NOTE: these are incorrect, as when I practically crawled up the ski hill (2nd) my garmin kept jacking up with the satellites, so it said I did 5.85 mi when it was really 6.2. I’m sure the trees didn’t help, either.

Ragnar Chicago Relay: Recapping Leg #13

This was one of those ZOMG THIS IS AMAZING I LOVE RUNNING kind of runs. Seriously. This leg of the race MADE the weekend for me. Reaffirmed my LOVE of running. Not only did I KILL my projected pace, I enjoyed every minute of it, even if it was scary as all hell.

We were at exchange 12, where Marty would pass things off to me. It was misting, very foggy and very dark. Had all my reflective gear on – vest, headlamp, tail light and of course some red glowstick bracelets and necklace.

I headed out from Wales Community Park toward the Glacial Drumlin Trail. The first quarter to half mile or so was through the neighborhood near the park, so there were some streetlights. This did not at all prepare me for 4 miles of complete darkness on the trail.

Leg 13 was billed as a “non-support” leg, meaning the course made it too difficult for team vans to “leap frog” runners. So it was just me, my iPod, water and a pitch dark misty night.

I have to admit, I felt so badass on this leg of the run. I mean, really, who does that? Who SIGNS UP to run in the middle of nowhere on an unlit creepy trail in the middle of the night? WHO DOES THAT? This girl.

The only time I could see farther than 5 feet in front of me was when a fellow Ragnar runner came up behind me and passed me. The other runners were very cool on this leg. Many said, “Good job” or “This is freaking nuts” or “ohmigod this is scary” or the like. I noticed runners would sort of wave their hand in front of their headlights as they approached me, which was a nice heads up that someone was approaching (a tip I told my fellow runners when I got to the van).

I ran with a woman for a li’l bit and we were laughing at how ridiculous and scary this leg was. When I say I ran in complete darkness, I’m not kidding. The foggy mist didn’t help things. It was like a scene out of a horror flick.  “What if someone attacks me? I’m in the middle of nowhere. There are no lights out here and it isn’t like there are groups of people running. No one would ever know. GAH!”

On this leg, I stopped to walk only TWICE and each was for approximately 30-60 seconds. I felt so good on this run.

When I got to the next exchange point, I once again failed to properly hand off the reflective slap bracelet to Matt J. (seriously, I was horrible at the exchange).

As soon as I finished, Rochelle Tracey G. Jordan H. Anthony M Van H. and our driver (my dad) asked how the run was. The first thing I said was, “That was the most freaking ridiculous thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.”

And it was.

Start Time: 9:16 p.m.
Goal pace: 16min/mile
Splits: 14:27, 14:43, 15:06, 14:22, 3:09 (.22mi 14:08 pace)
Average pace: 14:38
Total time: 1:01:49
Finish time: 10:17 p.m.

Note: Read the rest of my Ragnar Journey here.

Ragnar Chicago Relay: Recapping Leg #1

I got to kick things off for Team 12 Sweaty Nuts for the Ragnar Relay Friday morning. We started at 10 a.m. and cut it VERY close for me to get to the start line in time. I got there with just minutes to spare before the countdown.

I threw my sweatshirt and all non-essential running gear at Rochelle and got ready to ROCK it.

I ran with the 10 a.m. start group for a few minutes, but they were all much faster than me and so I dropped back and ran the rest of the leg on my own.

After a half mile or so, I completely regretted not trying to get to a bathroom before the start of the race. Luckily, around 1.5 miles in I found a port-a-potty near some construction work. WINNING.

Got into a groove and had a blast running around Lake Monona (aka Krista‘s home turf). There was a detour during this leg, due to road construction, which added about a quarter mile to the leg, no big deal.

I only stopped to walk a couple times for a minute or two, and then near the end of the leg I stopped maybe 3 times to walk a block, to catch my breath.

I was amazed at how great I felt, despite a few moments of side stitches.

The course was pretty, mostly near the lake or through residential neighborhoods. Rolling hills, but nothing too bad.

I started getting passed by the 10:30 a.m. starters as I neared the last half mile of my leg. I got lots of “Hang in there” or “Nice job, you can do it!” comments, which were great, if not half condescending. Warning to “fast” runners: Just because I’m running extremely slow doesn’t mean I’m struggling. I’m just slow. No need to patronize me. Trust me, you’ll know when I’m dying (see write up for my third leg, coming soon to a blog near you).

I ran into the 1st exchange point and majorly failed slapping Matt J. with the slap bracelet. 😉

Felt great, good to get the nerves out right away!

Start Time: 10am
Goal pace: 16min/mile
Splits: 14:26, 16:03 (bathroom break), 15:30, 15:40, 10:00 (.72mi – 13:49 pace)
Average pace: 15:10
Total time: 1:11:37
Finish time: 11:11 am

Note: Read the rest of my Ragnar Journey here.

Race Report: Laura’s Smile 5k – Girls on the Run

Girls On the Run plus their buddies - Bay View team

What a beautiful, hot and muggy day. LOL. Today was the big 5k run for the GOTR kids.

Pre-race cheer!
Me and Juliana pre-race

They looked a bit nervous before the race but we took off running at the start. Then the heat REALLY hit us. Juliana (Tracey G.‘s daughter) was hilarious, per always.

“Are we almost done?”

“No, Juli, we’ve only gone half a mile.”

“Ughhhhh. This isn’t fair. It’s so hot. I wish it was pouring or there was a big gust of wind.”

We did a lot of run/walking (emphasis on the walking) because of the heat and the fact there was only one water stop on the course. In this heat, with that many youngins, geeze, one more stop would have been nice.

We kept leap-frogging with Angela and her buddy, Nadia.

Nadia, Juli and Angela, Mile 1
Nadia, Me and Juliana - Mile 1

I’d give Juli little goals, like, “When we get to that big tree, we’re gonna run til the turn…” Basically, fartleks, which is my favorite word, evar.

When she saw the water stop, Juli took off running. Like, we’re talking a 10:15 pace. Which is hilarious, because we had been going at anywhere from a 15-17 pace. I could barely catch up with her. She dumped a cup of water on her head and we kept on trucking. Saw her parents Tracey G.Jason G. shortly after the water stop and kept on going.

Nadia and Juliana - Mile 2 "We're dying"
"Are we done?"

We made little goals and I started forcing her to run, reminding her that there was cake at the finish line (she’s a girl after my own heart).

By about mile 2 I realized my fingers had swelled up to the size of sausages. It was gross. I could hardly bend my fingers.

fat fingers

Mile 3!

As we walked during the last mile, I told Juli about a trick I like to use at races. When you see the finish line close, start running as fast as you can past everyone cheering, so they think you’ve been running that fast the whole time.

Sprinting to the finish!

We blasted through the last tenth of a mile at a 9:30 pace. Then Juliana got her medal (so cute!) and we found water, cake and fruit.

Yay! We did it!

GOTR is such a great program. Had a blast with Jane S. Chelsey F. Rochelle and all the girls.

3.1 miles in 52:08 – 16:55 pace

BTW, this time includes the water stop and stops to take photos at each mile marker. If we wouldn’t have done that, I think we could have shaved about 3 minutes off the time, giving us a 16 pace, which is exactly what we’ve been having at practices.