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Tuscaloosa Half Marathon

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.

Thoughts before Half Marathon #13.

 

After I picked myself up after Mercedes, I decided I was going to make Tuscaloosa a good race. It should be flat, it looks like weather is going to be pretty dang good, and most of all– a ton of friends are running it and it should be a blast.

I’m really hoping to finally break that 2 barrier, and think I can do it on this course, but I am not going to stress. I’m still not that far from Mercedes, and it may prove difficult to race so soon. I guess, I still regret not taking that sub 2 in Tuscaloosa last year.. but I held back to talk a newly made on the course friend to the finish.. Sometimes, it’s good to be a friendly face on the course to someone.

I did my last long run solo this weekend… I think that was a wise choice since the mental battle has been such a struggle for me. I needed to be able to talk myself into keeping pace and I pretty much nailed it.

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It was just me and the Colonel Johann G. Cullmann on Sunday morning!
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I feel confident I can do this, but will not stress about it. I can’t let myself overthink and stress about paces and what not.. I will just run my race to the best of my ability.

I’ve found a new love in compression socks over the past few weeks. I’ve been wearing them during long runs and and afterwards and it’s helped the soreness in my ankle so much. I actually ran my long run without my brace!

 

They get their love of brightly colored clothes honest, y’all.

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I’m pretty much in love with this video that aired on Fallon last night.. I’m adding Let It Go to my race playlist immediately!

Anyway.. who is racing this weekend??

2013 Year in Review

  • Run/swim/bike a combined total of 1500 miles. Didn’t happen. I was right at 1,000 miles.. pretty far off. 
  • Run 3 half marathons this Spring. DONE. 
  • Complete 3 tri’s this summer. Only did 2.. stupid injury. 
  • Don’t die during the Ragnar Relay. DONE. 
  • Run a sub 2:15 half marathon. DONE. 
  • Cook dinner every night for an entire week. Totally forgot I set this as a goal..
  • Grow an herb garden and use it! Nope. I have a feeling I will never do this.
  • Balance between my goals, John’s goals, and what’s good for the girls. Reaching goals take sacrifice for all parties, and it’s very easy to become selfish with what you want, and not what’s best for the family. I’d like to think I did this! 
  • Take the girls on a weekend trip.. somewhere fun but within driving distance. DONE. The cruise counts, right??
  • Be able to do the splits. This is laughable that I set it as a goal..
  • Continue with cross training and weight training. DONE… Err… still a work in progress! 
  • Clean up my eating… being more mindful of what I am putting into my body. Still a work in progress…
  • Go to a Pro Football Game. Another one that’s probably not going to happen. 

I haven’t set my goals for 2014 yet.. I’m a little disappointed that I missed so many. Oh well! Let’s take a look back at how EPIC 2013 was.

We started off the year with C turning 4…

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And then I ran Ragnar Relay FLK… I still can’t believe I did that.

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We went to the National Title game… and I was photobombed by my brother in law.

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We had a snow day…
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I ran Mercedes.. and officially crushed my sub 2:15 goal.

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And then 2 weeks later, I ran Tuscaloosa and PR’d again..

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I went to Texas for the final BlissDom…

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C discovered her love of a knee pop..

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I went up to DC and ran Nike Women’s with Molly… No PR for me, but still was one of my favorite races.

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I did another Tri.. this one with J and I placed in my Age Group again.

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We went on a cruise… and had a fabulous time.

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On the cruise, I got this super sweet bruise from an EPIC Dodge Ball game.
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Tried some Energy Bits… loved them so much I became an ambassador. (Use RUNINHIGHHEELS for 15% off!)
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We went to the lake and Addy drove a Sea-Doo…
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I raced twice in one day.. Triathlon in the morning and a 5K at night.

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C found out just how dangerous treadmills can be…
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We had our yearly girls trip to the lake…
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And I got injured… not at the lake. Just injured in general.
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We went to the Georgia Dome and hung out with some Hokies… Hubs photobombed pictures with “number 1″.
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We took the girls on the Carnival Conquest…. and had a fantastic time.
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We went to a few more football games….
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and The Lumineers in concert.. photobombed once again by my brother in law.
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Mom and I took Addy to the American Girl Store in Atlanta.

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I got out of my comfort zone and ran with groups of unknown people… sometimes seeing these gorgeous sunrises over Birmingham.
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I ran a comeback 10K.. and PR’d it.
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Photobombed once again by the number 1…
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And I ran Magic City again.. cursed it until the end and crossed the finish line with C.
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All in all.. 2013 was EPIC.
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2014 has some big shoes to fill… Hope it can live up the expectations.

Are you sad to see 2013 go??

 

Tuscaloosa half marathon

Friday night, I ventured down to Tuscaloosa with the kiddos to spend the night with my brother in law, Jay, before my race Saturday morning. I ended up ordering that Lululemon I was coveting, and had it priority shipped out, and after much drama surrounding it’s arrival, it came. I was hoping it would be here around lunchtime. I had it shipped to my in laws, because I figured FedEx would show up there, than before my house. I wanted to leave by 2:50ish, as soon as I picked Addy up from school. At 2:40, I got the confirmation that it had been delivered, so I swung by to pick it up on my way to scoop up Addy. Whew!

The drive down was nothing short of awful with the cries of “I’m hungry!”, “I’m thirsty!”, “I have to pee!”, “I hate Michael Jackson! Play a girl song!”. I was contemplating jumping out of my moving vehicle. We stopped by to do the packet pick up, and it was outside and WINDY, y’all. I knew the wind would be a deciding factor in this race.

Since my runs have been less than stellar since Mercedes, I was just hoping to finish with a decent time. I would love to PR, but with my mental state, I wasn’t sure I had it in me. I decided I would run what felt good and see what happened. I was hoping for a best case scenario of 2:05.

I settled into bed at a reasonable 11:15. (not reasonable at ALL!)

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I decided the next morning that I would run by Panera for a bagel and coffee. I was worried about eating so late, but I decided that since it was a tailgating tradition, I needed to step up my domination. John gave me some last minute encouragement in the form of, “If you don’t change your attitude, you aren’t going to PR. You are in Tuscaloosa. Step it up.”

I mean, besides, Nick Saban was watching anyway.

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Mary came to run it and it was chilly and windy at the start. I opted to not mess with gloves, and my hands were freezing. Note to self: over sized sweat shirts are NOT your friend.

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The start line…

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The course started in downtown Tuscaloosa and wound back into the tornado destruction areas. I ended up spotting two fellow girls in lululemon who were running about the same pace and drafted them for a couple of miles. They had signs along the course that had facts about the tornado damage. And especially in Forest Lakes, there hasn’t been a ton of rebuilding. Running through that area, and knowing what it looked like before, was something that I don’t think I can describe. Tuscaloosa is my second home, and seeing these homeowners outside in their pajamas holding up signs and cheering us on only brought that emotion to the surface. I almost lost it when I was coming up a climb, and looked over at nothing but empty lots, with one freshly built house, and the homeowners were standing outside. As we made the turn, I got a whiff of fresh lumber and saw dust and could hear the pep band up in the distance playing the fight song… it was quite an experience. One that will definitely stay with me.

While this course wasn’t as tough as Mercedes, it wasn’t joke either. It had some climbs and the wind was a factor, for sure. There is nothing like pounding your way up a hill is 35 degree weather, only to be hit in the face with a head wind as you near the top. The wind was so cutting at times (This is a possible TMI), my boobs would get a tingly feeling like when I was breastfeeding and my milk would let down. (Gross. I know. And I just shared it with the Internet. I should be ashamed.)

The course looped back on itself through Alberta City and I could see the leaders coming through. I figured Mary would be towards the front, and she didn’t disappoint. She was with the first smaller group of speedsters and went all, “Whoo! girl” on me.

Around mile 8, I caught sight of a flash of red in my peripheral, and low and behold, it belonged to me. Jay had brought the girls out to see me along the course! I ran over and gave Addy a quick kiss, and I figured Claire would cry that she didn’t get one, but as they passed me in the car, Claire was blowing everyone kisses and doing her beauty queen wave.

Once we hit Jack Warner, we only had about a 5K left and I came up on a girl and started chatting with her. She was trying to sub 2 and she figured we were close, so I just hung with her and chatted. The last mile and half to 2 miles were on paved trails and let me tell you… that SUCKED. Combined with the mile markers being off… and I wasn’t a happy camper towards the end.

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But seeing my watch lifted my spirits…

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And I had this waiting for me in the parking lot… can’t complain with that!

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All in all, this was an excellent run and I am so glad I did it. It was another PR for me and Mary, as well!

2:02:58 was my official time, 21st in my Age Group, and 346 overall. I am proud to say I was in the in the upper 1/4 of finishers. It feels good, y’all.

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Sub 2, here I come!!

Triple Tangent Tuesday

I don’t have much to say today that is of any consequence, so I thought I do a word vomit post. You can thank me later.

1. Parenting is STUPID hard. Trying to turn little demons into respectable, well mannered beings is crazy hard. I’m much rather run half marathons. Those are way easier.

2. I am running the Tuscaloosa Half Marathon on Saturday.. yes. I am crazy pants. And I really want some new Lululemon to wear…

Like this: 

with this:

and this too: 

Clearly, I have been deprived of spending money on clothes for too long, because I am in BUY ALL THE THINGS mode. Side note: I realized last night that my running wardrobe is FAR more expensive than my everyday clothing. I will straight up spend some money on running clothes.

3. I’ve been running in these Saucony Virrata’s this week. I love their color. They are crazy light weight. But I have been having some ankle problems (since Mercedes. Old injury.) So, I switched back to my Brooks last night since I will be racing in those on Saturday anyway. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but I really dig these shoes.

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Aren’t they pretty?!

What randomness do you have going on today?

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