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Race Reviews

Tuscaloosa Half Marathon Recap

Friday night brought me the obligatory pre race outfit pic… please notice the GU, because I’m totally going to forget that come actual race time.  photo 376660F7-3867-4CFB-B556-81D1CEC7ACF2_zpshmdkxb2x.jpg

I got up at early-thirty to meet some peeps in Birmingham to drive to Tuscaloosa, where we met my brother in law, Jay who had our bibs and then continue on to the start.. parking was a breeze and we found even more people at the start.

Becca, Me, LB, and Coach Ann– who was 31 weeks pregnant!!
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We found some of the C’town representing in T’town…
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We were all just standing around chit chatting and then all of the sudden all of the people started moving and the race had started.. Way to be prepared! We started out and were chatting and feeling good and just taking in the sights of everything and enjoying the gorgeous weather (Holy run on sentence!). Becca pulled ahead pretty early, but I could still see her and easily catch her so I wasn’t worried. The course weaved through some historic homes and I honestly hate courses that weave. Ann had a baby bouncing on her bladder and she had to make a pit stop around 4.5, and at the mile 6 water stop, I realized that I was probably in the long haul solo since I looked ahead and couldn’t see Becca any longer.

I just tried to enjoy the scenery for the next couple of miles and listen to my tunes…not a terrible view!
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I started fading around mile 8, and probably should have taken a GU, but it was tucked safely in the car at that point and wasn’t doing me any good there. It was warming up and I wanted so bad to be able to rally, and I tried, but hills popped up out of nowhere and I could not make it. At the mile 9 hill, which was boring, long, and never ending, I had a Resolute Running teammate pop up and be all “Hey! What’s up?” and then he took off and completely made the hill his bitch.

Going into the race, I wasn’t looking forward to the Jack Warner Parkway and the River Walk portion, but once I turned the corner onto Jack Warner, it was a downhill and a nice breeze picked up and I start picking up the pace a little bit, making good use out of the downhill. I hit mile 11, right where we get on the River Walk and saw Hannah and was so happy to see a friendly face, but I already knew the sub 2 was far gone and so was a PR.

Becca came back and found me for the last quarter mile or so, and my brother in law was waiting at the finish line… I finished in 2:04:47.. not too shabby, but far off from my goal.
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This race was a learning experience for me… sort of. I basically learned that I am a follower (not a HUGE newsflash, but always a nice reminder!). If someone sets a pace, I can run with them and chase them, but I cannot hold an uncomfortable pace on my own. I have lost the mental battle on the past 4 half marathons in the end… the 4 half marathons that I have tried to break 2. Physically, I felt fine, but mentally, I couldn’t force my legs to pick up the pace. I just reached a point where I was okay with what I was giving in the race, instead of pushing outside of my comfort zone. Somehow, I’ve to figure out how to push past that, because it’s getting really frustrating.  I’m feeling extremely discouraged and ready to toss in the towel on this distance for a while, but not without breaking 2… the goal I have been chasing for almost a year.

I’ve got to give a blog reader a shout out– Kim came up to me after the race and introduced herself and told me what an inspiration I was and that she started running because of me and she actually ran her first half marathon in Tuscaloosa– a 2:43!! It was so awesome to meet you, Kim! I really appreciate your kind words and you are a ROCK STAR!! Please let me know how you are doing!!
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Such a beautiful old bridge….

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My Juan Pablo “eeeet’s okay!” I didn’t PR picture… also? Not really sure what’s going on with my leg. It seems to be channeling Elvis or something.

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I have one more race before I turn 30 in April, and I am bound and determined to break 2 hours… so if you have some tips on breaking the mental barrier, I am ALL ears.

Magic City Half Recap

As you all know, I had high hopes for this race. I wanted to PR my comeback race… Well. Things didn’t go as planned. It was set to be SUPER cold.. in the 30′s and not warm up much. Good thing they let us hang inside and I got to meet a fellow blogging Bammer… BamaGirlRuns. I recognized her in her signature pigtails and houndstooth visor.

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This was Robbie’s first half.. and he was a tad nervous.

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Originally, I was set to wear a skirt and long sleeve top, but something told me because of the cold, that maybe I should pack a pair of pants. I was glad I did, because 10 minutes before the start, I was changing in my car… and then I got child locked in. Lovely.

Meredith found us before the start!

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The race started late.. I have honestly never been in a race that the runners started chanting “start!” but now I have. It was so cold that my legs were involuntarily convulsing standing there. My plan was to start with the 2 hour pacers and then pull away after the half way point… did. not. happen.

I started with them and was running with a friend and we were just chatting.. and somewhere after the 10K split, I lost her through a water station. (I PR’d the 10K split.. 56 and change. A full minute and a half!) This was also where my hips started tightening up.. some slight discomfort and I tried to rally. Eventually, I realized breaking 2 was out of the question, and was fine with it. You reach a point where you become okay with all that you are giving in a race.

Here’s a lovely photo… if it had a thought bubble, it would say.. “Hey! I’m in immense pain!! But there’s a photographer, so smile, damn it!”

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Around mile 10, I tried to rally again, but I always forget how tough this course is. It feels like a lot of uphill with no downhill. And once I hit 11, I was ready to be done. My hips were so tight, that with every step I took, I thought my hip flexors were going to snap like rubber bands. This is about the time that Sunny came up behind me. I have never been so happy to see a friend! Sometimes, it just helps to be able to vocalize your suffering to someone else. I also told her I wanted to quit. I have never had that cross my mind in a race. I have no doubt that I would have, if I hadn’t been within half a mile of the finish line. But I would have had to walk back to the finish anyway… Might as well get a medal for it.

I was very happy to see familiar faces at the finish and have an ecstatic Claire run across the finish line with me.  photo 62CDAAA5-21C7-4936-9761-3B58AF6A2393_zpsjaqojstc.jpg

 

Look at her face! I die. She’s so happy and I wouldn’t have traded all the PR’s in the world for having this with her. She kept saying “Look Mommy! We are running to the finish line! Do you see those pretty medals?”

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After the race I could barely walk… I was almost in tears. I came across one of my coaches and he forced me to stretch my hips and ohmygod it hurt so bad.

We ended up eating lunch at Rojo, where we didn’t have the best experience, but we aren’t going to discuss that.

I am so proud of Robbie!! He killed his first half marathon!

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After some long e-mails with my coach, I’ve decided that I am proud of what I accomplished out there. The headwinds and weather were certainly a factor. It was also a comeback race… one where I wasn’t far off from my PR. I finished is 2:05. That’s a 20 minute course PR for me. So, that’s definitely nothing to shake a stick at!

 

The Great Escape Triathlon 2013

Saturday was my first Tri of the season. Philly did a team relay and he was the swimmer of the group.

I’ve decided I don’t like competing in things with my husband… he is very much on edge when I am not 15 minutes early and asks for weird “pump up” songs like “Deep River Woman”… Say WHAT?!

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Upon arriving, I grabbed my packet and saw I was number 21.. umm what? No, thank you. That puts me up there with the “real” competitors and freaks me out, but gives me a nice spot in transition.

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The girls came to spectate and were blinded by my awesomeness… or the sun. Whatever.  photo GreatEscape_3_zpsa2aee5c9.jpg

I don’t have any swim pictures.. sorry. Or bike pictures. But this is me in T2… Philly is giving me a run down on how I’m doing.

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This picture says “Hey! This is fun!” But my mouth is really saying, “hey! This sucks! My legs are super pissed about this!”  photo GreatEscape_12_zpsf311c773.jpg

 

The run was mostly shaded and pretty flat minus one hill.

Here’s me coming into the final stretch…

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Practicing my dance moves? I am not sure.But I look like I’m having fun!

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John and his team.. came in 1st. Way to go, guys!!

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Me? I came in 2nd or 3rd, however you want to look at it.

I was 2nd, in all of the preliminary print outs, and then when they did awards, some girl came out of nowhere and beat me and the chick in front of me. No. I think it was rigged… kidding! Sort of.

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Triathlons… you REALLY have to not care what you look like at the end.  photo GreatEscape_37_zps11315132.jpg

I think this is an excellent first time Tri for anyone. Pool swim, short run, easy course. They didn’t have water or Gatorade, therefore, some of us didn’t hydrate properly… Ahem… ME.

They also said they would be giving us swim caps, and they did not. Luckily,I had two in my bag and lent one out to a fellow swimmer.

My goal was to finish under an hour and I did… 58:41. Super proud with the first one of the season! Of course, my thought process was, “Wait. I want to do a half Ironman?!” Because, well, it’s just insane to think about.

 

Nike Women’s DC

Before telling you about my trip to DC, I think I will post my race recap!

FIrst off, the Expo, was sort of lame. You really couldn’t buy anything and it was just nuts. But, the packet pick up was separate and was a breeze, so kudos for that one. With all of the walking up and down hills, my calves were tight and I knew I wouldn’t be running on fresh legs.

I laid out all of my gear the night before….

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The gorgeous sunrise heading into the city…

Molly’s husband drove us into the city, instead of taking the metro. He dropped us off about 3 blocks from the start line. It was awesome. I hope it was awesome for him too.
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We entered into the 9:00-9:59 coral.. which, honestly, was completely pointless seeing as how they didn’t do a coral start.

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We all just started out at once.. and we were behind the 2:10 pacer. I was NOT HAPPY about weaving around so many women in tight spaces. There were 15,000 runners, and a lot of them first timers, (I hate to stereotype..BUT) they probably didn’t know there are rules to racing. We spent the first two miles LITERALLY weaving in and out of people. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t get pasted the 2:10 pacer. It cleared a little after mile 2 when we were crossing the bridge to Arlington Cemetery.

We finally caught sight of the 2:00 pacer on the loop by the Kennedy Center.. I knew then it was going to be tough to catch up. Around mile 6, my IT band started making its presence known and I got a side stitch.. I knew I was pushing it too hard. I decided right then and there that I wouldn’t injure myself over a sub 2:00 half. I would run what I could and give it everything I had and I would be happy. At this point, Molly was pushing me and I felt bad that I had nothing to give her except facial grimaces. It didn’t help that around this point, it was completely boring as we were running around the golf course. I tried to find funny signs to help me out. I never realized how hard it was to try to catch a pacer… the mental stress that just adds to the run. That part was misery.

As hard as I was running, this was a very cleansing run for me. I let go of everything else going on in my life, and completely concentrated on the race and the steps in front of me. It was just very… freeing. I had nothing to do but run like it was my job. We saw Molly’s fam around mile 10 and it was a nice change of pace. B got some pictures of us and I realized how bad I hunch my shoulders when I run.. no wonder my shoulder blades go numb!

Anyway, it wasn’t long after that, Molly lost me as I couldn’t continue to beast up the hill. I knew then that I wouldn’t break 2 hours, but I might could possibly PR. Heading back into the tunnel was awful and not near as exciting as it was at the beginning of the race. As we rounded the loop and I could see runners running towards the finish line, I got really pissed off because I HATE when courses do that. We made the worlds longest loop and heading back, I could see the finish line. So, I attempted to push it and completely ran out of gas because I misjudged how far the actual finish line was. At mile 12.5 I was really pissed off. But I got my phone out because I knew I would want pictures at the finish line, and saw all of the Tweets, FB messages and texts that lined my screen. I couldn’t believe it.

I crossed the finish line with my hands held high and a smile on my face and guess what? There won’t be any pictures because Nike didn’t have photographers!! WTF NIKE?!?!

Anyway, as I stood in line to get my Tiffany, I told the girl behind me (yes, I told her.) “Hey, I’ll take your picture with him if you’ll take mine.” She looked at me like a crazy person, but also a genius.

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I found Molly and we had our “WE DID IT!!!” picture.
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Posing with our blue boxes..
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Washington Monument? Yes, please!!!
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What?! It’s the White House, y’all!!
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So, it wasn’t a sub 2. It wasn’t even a PR. But you know what it was? It was my 10th half marathon. And that is nothing to shake a stick at. I ran my 10th half in a time that I never thought possible. That’s 131 miles in half marathons alone. Not to mention training cycles and 5K’s and 10K’s. I celebrated on Sunday. Everything that I have been able to do because of running. It has changed me in so many ways. I cannot thank you enough for the support and encouragement that you have given me on the Internet. From those who wished me good luck, to those who actually tracked my race online, I cannot thank you enough. It’s amazing to have that kind of support.

Now for the bling…

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Awesome, right?

Now, would I run this race again? This race was amazing. The course was beautiful. I did not care for the lack of coral starts. Or the fact that the 2 hour pacer can’t hold up her sign very well. The runner tracking was a complete joke. I want something that posts to Twitter, not Facebook!! The fact that there weren’t any finish line photos royally ticks me off. I also don’t like the lack of information out there from Nike. But, I feel like I got my money’s worth and everything was well organized. I heard there weren’t a lot of port-o-potty’s, but that didn’t affect me, so I am not sure.

I can tell you one thing… I’ve been wearing Tiffany since Sunday!

Mercedes Half Marathon

I have officially completed 1/3 of my Spring half marathons and let me tell you, I am still floating on cloud 9 about this race.

I was sort of (okay a LOT) freaking out about it. The pressure I was putting on myself to sub 2:15 this race was INSANE. I got a surprise in the mail from Mary (which. when she told me she was sending me something, I was totally expecting a funny saying on a pair of thong underwear that we kept seeing in Key West.) on Thursday, and tears were in my eyes when I opened it. The bracelet says WWCD? What would Clowney Do? Getting that bracelet from Mary, helped me calm the eff down and realize that I could do this. It may not be this weekend, but it was coming.

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I knew the weather was going to be cold and everyone kept telling me it was going to be 25 at the start. I knew I would need some throw away clothing for along the course. I decided on the piece of clothing I have owned the longest. I know Philly was glad to see it go, since it came from an ex-boyfriend 13 years ago, but at one time, it was the only sweatshirt I owned.

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I packed my bag the night before, because, well, that 4 am wake up call was NOT my friend.

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These numbers blow my mind. Too early and TOO cold.

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We made it downtown to wait inside Boutwell to stay warm. Shannon was running her first full and my goal was to stay with her and Kelly and knock out as many 9:40 miles as we could.

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The corrals were crazy busy and we ended up hanging on the sidewalk until the gun went off and people starting moving. I decided to shed the sweatshirt before crossing the start line since temperature wise, I was comfortable in it what I had on. Yes, I said goodbye to it. Sue me. I was sad to see the sweatshirt go!

Maleah snapped this pic of us-I love how caught off guard I am.

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We started out conservative.. especially for us. 10:00 first mile. I’ll be honest.. I was a little mad. I know how I do in races, and I tend to fall apart around mile 10-11. I needed to have those good times in the beginning to make up for a crappy ending.

Now, since I can’t read an elevation chart, a friend so nicely told me, “Once you reach the Chevron in 5 points, it’s all downhill from there.” This course is generally flat, minus miles 4-6 with some steep climbs. I saw the Chevron, and just beyond said Chevron, was a hill. LIAR, I said in head. But then, I came through 5 points and there was another Chevron and it was literally starting a downhill.. so. Yeah. My bad. Right after the 10K split was a hill and I just kept pushing up it (yep. Me. I pushed myself UP A HILL.) and lost Kelly and Shannon around that point. I kept holding back with them because I was afraid I would need to push later from them.

I did walk through my first water station that was uphill and Kelly and Shannon caught back up with me. We ran through the Highlands for a little bit.. just long enough to spot Dad and Karen! I ran over and gave my dad a kiss, all while Karen was screaming “That’s our daughter, Rachel!! Right there! Run Rachel!” and people were turning around and cheering. Definitely a racing highlight for me. Dad and Karen always come out to support races, no matter how big or small and it means so much to have them there.

Karen snapped this pic..

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I think mile 9 was a good bit of downhills and I took a GU at that point. I was still feeling good, still had some left in the tank and I was holding out for that final stretch. At one point, I looked around and realized, I was in the presence of mostly men and I just started weaving in and out of people, picking me feet up. It felt good. No matter how many races I run, mile 10-11 is ALWAYS the longest and the hardest. You wouldn’t think it’d be that way. You’ve hit double digits, and you have less than a 5K left. I believe this was the point that I did some bad math in my head and thought I was going to come in around 2 hours, but I realized, even if I feel off and had to run walk the last 2 miles, I was going to make that sub 2:15 goal. That got the adrenaline pumping again, and it helped me pick up my step– I started seeing 9:15′s and 9:14′s for those final miles. I kicked it up through the shoot, and crossed the finish line with a clock time of 2:09. By the time I made it through the finishers shoot, the texts and tweets were coming through. I had broken both goals I set for myself this year. A sub 2:15 and a sub 2:10.

I called Dad but they were still stuck over on Highland. I called John and he informed me that I was smart to come in around when the wheelchair racers finished, because I had a tv finish. :)

I found Donnie when he got done and we went over to Boutwell for the after party..

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Jim N Nick’s provided the post race food.. and if you know me, you know I do NOT eat BBQ. But I happily ate this pulled pork sandwich.

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I was on cloud 9 all day. I couldn’t believe what I had accomplished. I also couldn’t believe the outpour of support from twitter and Instagram. Seriously.. blog friends ROCK.

Me and my medal! And all of my Lululemon glory, I might add.

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Donnie and I drank and chatted for a while until it was time for Shannon and Kelly to finish. I don’t ever get to spectate races, and it’s nothing short of amazing watching those relay teams and individuals cross a marathon finish line. Some are elated, some are struggling, but they are all badasses in my opinion.

Me, Shannon, and Kelly

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Me and more beer… lesson learned. Beer is proper post race hydration. No matter how yummy.

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I’m so glad I didn’t give up on this goal. My next goal is obviously a sub 2, or as close to it as I can get for Nike in April. I’ve got one more half in two weeks, and the goal there is to finish. As of today, I still have no desire to do a full marathon, but the desire to complete a 70.3 is growing, so I think that will be the next big goal.. probably for 2014. The year of my 30th birthday.

Mercedes was a great course and honestly, the best I have ever felt physically and mentally through an entire race. I guess all that hill training paid off. :)

My official time was 2:06:37.

Thank you for all of the support that y’all have given me.. it feels amazing to get that sub 2:15 monkey off my back.

 

Village 2 Village 10K

I doubt y’all will be shocked to learn that I signed up for a 10K at the last minute.

I ran a good bit with Donnie and Shannon this week, and running with them really showed me how much I have improved over this training cycle.

So, after running a total of 24 miles during the course of the week, 10 of the miles logged on Friday morning, I loaded up in the car and headed to Birmingham for the Village 2 Village 10K. It starts in Mountain Brook and runs to Crestline Village and back. It has some pretty intense hills, but since I have only ran one previous 10K, I was hoping for a PR and my ultimate, somewhat-not-really-attainable goal was for under an hour. I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to hold up after everything I had asked of them that week.

I stayed with Shannon through most of it, but she stayed a few steps ahead of me through the last two miles. I always had her in my sights, so I knew I was keeping a good pace (I’m trying not to obsess on my watch so much).

The course was beautiful.. gorgeous homes and views of the golf course. When I rounded the corner for the finish line, I saw the clock hit 1 hour and I got a little sad. But Shannon reminded me to look at my watch… 59:47. I had done it! My official time was 59:43.. a 9:38 pace. Not too shabby, y’all. That made is a 9 minute PR from my last 10K. So, I will take it and wear it proudly.

Gigi is the ultimate Spectator, y’all. She has to be on her death bed to miss a race. Even when I tell her it’s cold and to stay in her jammies. Love you, Karen!

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So, with less than 3 weeks until Mercedes, this weeks training is intense and I am staying pretty exhausted. But, if it gets me a sub 2:15, I will take that as well.

Of course, all I can think about now is what I am wearing for Mercedes.. I bought a jacket, toboggan, and capris for it, but now I am wondering if it’ll be too hot for it. Typically, by Mercedes it’s pretty chilly around these parts, so it may have to be a game time decision.

Does anyone have an suggestions for me?

Magic City Half Marathon

Last week I ran the Magic City Half Marathon in Birmingham. (I know, I know. Last week turned a tad crazy on me.)

I set my sights on a sub 2:30 half, with my goal being as close to 2:15 as possible. 
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It was a pretty chilly morning, but was promising for excellent racing weather.

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John and Addy came down with me… Claire was with GiGi and they spectated at Railroad Park.

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We always have a pretty strong Cullman crew representing at races.

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It ended up being delayed about 30 minutes for the Powerade truck not being there yet. But once the start gun went off, I was in good spirits. Donnie was supposed to help pace me, but had been sick like me so we weren’t sure how long we would stay together. He ended up waving me on around mile 5. I was glad that I turned on the virtual pacer on my watch– I really think that helped me stay on track. The miles really flew by and I was just enjoying the race, the people, and the city. They had the 5K people merge with us around mile 6, but by the time I hit them, it was mostly walkers and I wasn’t a fan of that at all. My hip started protesting me around mile 9, but I was still in good spirits mentally. As I made the turn into one of the loops, I saw Shannon not far behind the 2:00 pacer and I didn’t think she was going to be able to pull out her sub 2 hour goal. Honestly? This is the worst loop in a race. I really hate when races loop. You never know how far ahead those people are who are turning out. As I turned out, I could the 2:20 pacer close behind me, and just thought, “Stay in front of her. Stay in front of her.” But it took a lot out of me to cross the overpass over the railroad tracks. The 2:20 pacer ended up passing me around 12.5 and I just didn’t have it in me anymore. My foot had started to go numb and my hip was screaming at me.

I saw my family at the finish line, and I high fived the girls, but they ended up running out with me. I finished in 2:20:30. A 12 minute PR. Not too shabby. I certainly shouldn’t complain about it. But let’s be honest, while I am proud that I was able to shave that much time off my half marathon time, and only trained for about a month, I am a little peeved I couldn’t pull a sub 2:20 out of it. But I know I left it all out there on the course and had nothing else to give.

My dad took some pictures… I am not looking like I am having a good time.

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After the race… I look like I am about to die.

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Quite possibly the best race picture ever… and totally worth every penny  I paid for it.

I’ve already signed up for the Mercedes Half Marathon in February… and a sub 2:15 is totally going to happen.
I’d like to thank the fabulous Dorothy at Mile Posts for my rad race shirt. I freaking love it!!! It helped me channel her awesomeness for sure!!

Warrior Dash

Friday night found me scrambling to finish my Warrior Dash outfit… a last minute trip to Hibbett’s is where I found these shorts and gloves– hands down best $20 we spent!!! HIGHLY recommended for all of the rope activities!

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I sent Becca a pic of my finished shirt.. she thinks she is so funny.

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Weatherman said there was a 5% chance of rain on Saturday.. and this is what we woke up to. The weatherman is a liar.

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We made it to Warrior (Yep! This Warrior Dash was actually IN Warrior.)

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Before…

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After…

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John survived… with minimal complaining, I might add. No yelling happened. I cut him some slack… I thought about either leaving him or yelling at him to hurry up, but just decided to keep my mouth shut and walk with him. :)

The giant muddy celebration… If I hadn’t been on the edge of hypothermia, then I might have stayed and partied a little bit! I did do a little wobble and the cupid shuffle.. y’all know that’s what I care about! :)

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The obstacles were crazy y’all… but it was SO FUN!!! I am not the type of person who likes to play in the mud (understatement of the year), but I would totally do another one of these!!! It’s weird how in a million years you probably wouldn’t willingly jump into a green pond and swim out and climb on top of a capsized catamaran, but don’t think twice about it when in a run like this.

Anyway.. we were WARRIORS if only for a day! :)

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Country Music Half Marathon

This weekend was what I had been waiting for.. Nashville’s Country Music Half Marathon.

Kelsie and I decided to try to make it to the Expo before lunch– those RNR expos get cray-cray in the afternoons and I wanted to be able to look around without having a panic attack and/or hitting someone with a stick.

On our way, we were discussing what we had forgotten, you know that feeling– when you can’t figure out what you are forgetting but you know it’s SOMETHING. I told K, as long as we had shoes, sports bras, shorts and our tops, everything else could be purchased if needed. As we crossed the state line into Tennessee, Kelsie gasped loudly and slammed on her brakes, coming to a complete stop on the interstate. I looked at her… “What did you forget?” She said, “MY SHOES!!!” Whoops. Kind of a biggie.

After some choice words, and a few phones, we had secured someone to pick up the shoes that hadn’t left yet. Whew!

We got to the expo pretty easily and it wasn’t too crowded.

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We had to get our pics taken!

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Love this one!

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We ate a delicious dinner at Demos with Natalie, Jolie, and her Aunt Donna, who graciously opened her home to us!

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Runners have a lot of crap.

We set an alarm for 4 am.. or what I like to call, the butt crack of dawn. Made it downtown to park and onto a shuttle relatively easy.

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We waited in line for a port o potty for 45 minutes, and actually missed the first coral going off. Whoops. There were not enough toilets, people!! It was awful!!

Everything was pretty well organized, but the streets cannot handle that many runners, and it was a complete mess getting to our coral.

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Jana was in our coral too!! She stayed with us for a little bit, but broke off pretty early, which she managed to get a sweet time of 2:20 and at 12 weeks, preggo, I might add!!

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Turns out, we were in the wrong coral. We were actually in the back of 23, instead of 22. Whoops.

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Sea of people. This is what it looked like the entire race. People everywhere.

Kelsie was having a tough race and I don’t think the crazy hills or the ridiculous heat helped. I cannot tell you how hilly and hot it was… 86 at the finish, people! I felt great the entire race, never hitting a wall, being there mentally. Just extremely hot, most of the time. I cannot thank those kind residents that turned their water hoses into misting stations for us, or that had bananas, water, gatorade, etc out on the street. It was incredible.

I was afraid to leave Kelsie– it was obvious she was hurting. I stayed with her until about mile 11– I REALLY wanted that sub 2:30, and I thought I was in front of the 2:30 pacer, but I guess they passed me through the GU station.

I finished with a time of 2:36.. not bad considering my garmin died (apparently, it doesn’t like water) and it was hot and hilly. ( Did I mention how hot and HILLY it was?!)

Sunny found me somehow in the sea of people afterwards. These girls got sick the night before, didn’t sleep, and still came in with a sub 2:30– first 1/2 marathoners!! Can you believe it?!

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Nat had us Mimosas waiting at the house.. A good friend always knows when to have the booze ready.

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I wish I could explain to you the cluster that it was after crossing the finish line. It’s awful. People everywhere. It’s not easy to find the Family Reunion area, and forget trying to get to your car.

I figure this is probably my last RNR event. They are too big for me. While I enjoy the spectators, it’s too many runners and makes for major problems with parking, and just getting around. When crowds send you into a panic attack, it’s hard to deal with that many peeps.

This was a fun race, though. Don’t get me wrong. Excellent bands, scenic course, although extremely hard, and I do not recommend it for a first half marathoner.

I’m just waiting on my race pictures to come out.. I’m hoping for some goodies…

Ruben Studdard Half Marathon Review

 

Before I begin on our fun filled weekend, I thought I would give you the 411 on the Ruben Studdard Half.

This was an inaugural event so, I didn’t have high expectations for it. The Expo was at the Birmingham Museum of Art– pretty cool place. But, it wasn’t really an Expo, it was more like a packet pick up. No vendors. Parking wasn’t a problem. I think they said around 800 runners ran the half and they did a 5K and a fun run around Linn Park.

The course? It was kind of awful. I think that this has the potential to be an awesome race.. it’s a fundraiser for the Musical Arts programs and they could do bands or groups or school choirs at different parts around the course.. otherwise, it’s boring and you are running in a not so fabulous area of town.

I am just going to tell you.. I got super nervous for this race. Savannah seemed like so long ago (WHAT?!) and I was unsure of my abilities. I really hate failure, people.

Anyway, the course started towards Legion Field and I started out WAY too fast. Mile 1 was ran in 8:43. I have never in my life, ran a mile that fast. I reeled it back in, Mile 2 was 10:46. I passed the first water station and me being me, had my phone in my hand and looked down at it, and tripped over a patch in the road. I caught myself before completely tumbling, letting the Otterbox take the brunt of the force. It held up nicely. I, of course, flashed everyone behind me when my skirt came up. Whoops. Anyway,  I was mentally a mess. All over the place. Trying to keep myself in good spirits. I was getting sick and trying not to let that bother me. As we were rounding out through a serious sketch part of town, I am just going to tell you, that the ghetto, has NO road budget. I was going down a slight hill, and tripped over a crack in the road and completely lost it. I barrel rolled at least once, if not twice down that stupid hill. I was in shock. I tried to survey the damage. My hand and knee were bleeding. I checked to make sure I didn’t rip my skirt.. nope. It came up as I fell and I had some nice road rash on my hip. My pride.. was pretty battered. A girl heard me fall.. (yep. That’s what she told me) and came to my rescue. I was so embarrassed. But also? A little disappointed there would be no video evidence, since I love when people fall. I even YouTubed clips to try to show you what I looked it, but I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Sads for you.

I knew we had an aid station coming up around mile 4.5 (Yep. I wasn’t even half way finished). I stopped and asked for a band aid. This guy, whips a band aid out of his pocket, and pours Powerade in my wound to clean it. In the process, he pours Powerade all in my Garmin and it quits working. Thanks, yo! Then puts a band aid on my dripping wet hand. Yep. It didn’t stay. 

The course continued through more boring parts of downtown, with zero spectators, except for my Dad, Karen, and two adorable little red heads. Oh wait. Black Girls Run had an extra water station for us (THANK YOU!) and Lululemon had some of their awesome peeps out with their signs. I hit the 10 mile mark at 2:02 and basically fell apart. My quads were over it. I needed band aids and mentally, I was DONE. The fall may have helped me get my perspective where it needed to be (JUST FINISH!) Ashley came back and found me and ran/walked with me the last 2 1/2 miles and I’ll be honest, I probably would have just walked the rest of it if it weren’t for her. She helped push me and tell me what was up ahead.

I will say this.. My name got called over the loud speaker.. of course, I was the only person coming through the finishers shoot, but who cares?!

Addison asked me if maybe when she was 7 if she could run with me. I told her she could run with me anytime. 

My boo boos. I won’t show you the road rash on my hip. But I will say, I am still pretty banged up. My legs aren’t that sore. I am able to walk around like a normal person, so maybe my body remembers what it’s like to recover. I’m going to have some gnarly bruises though. Battle wounds, some would say. Becca told me I was making memories on the course. Either way, I’ll take it. Half marathon #4 done. 2nd in 2 weeks. 1st fall. Definitely a runner now.

I think this race has some great potential, but I am not sure I would run it again. It was not flat, like the website said. It needs more aid stations and course entertainment. The bling was nice. You know, I am all about the bling. Finish time 2:46. Not the sub 2:40, I wanted, but with two falls, I will take it and not complain.

P.S. Apologies on the different picture sizes.. still trying to figure all that out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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