Monday, June 27, 2011

Park Bathrooms are Sketch

So technically this is week 3 of my 16 week training plan for the Chicago marathon.

I can't say that I started it out according to the actual plan since I ran 19 miles across 3 legs of a relay in week 1 and then a 10-mile race in week 2... not to mention that was the only running I did those weeks.

But hey.  Solid way to start training for a full, right?

Nonetheless, it's time to get serious.  Well, at least get as serious as I can because who are we kidding?  It's summer and there will be things that are more fun than running... and it will be hot... so runs will get moved around and some will get missed... but I'm certain this is going to be a solid training season anyways.

I started out this week with a little speed session with friends this evening.  We got started around 7, but the heat index was still around 92.  It was not really surprise when after my first 800s at the 7:12ish pace I felt like I was going to see my lunch.  I slowed it down for the third one to more of a 7:35 pace, and then felt like I needed a bathroom pronto.  That's when I discovered that both bathrooms on that side of the park were locked.  Thank you Metro Parks and Rec.

I slowed down a bit more for the last 800... in part due to the heat and in part due to my impending need for a bathroom.  I managed to do it a little under 8:00 pace, so I'll take it.  Quality first speed workout, I say.

Then, I found the bathroom. If you've ever wondered, the bathrooms in Centennial Park are sketch.  I used some undesirable public bathrooms before, but this was the first time I went into a women's bathroom and found that there were no doors on the stalls.  I opted for the very last toilet and said a little prayer no one would come in there.

At least there was toilet paper. Ah, the joys of marathon training.

I'm exhausted.  I forget how hard it is to run in the heat and humidity!  Crossing my fingers for cool weather in Chicago come October 9!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Race Report: RC Cola and Moon Pie 10-Miler

On Saturday, I ran in Bell Buckle's RC Cola and Moon Pie 10-Miler for the 6th year in a row.

Why yes, I did just stay awake for 35 hours straight to run 19 miles over 3 legs in a relay from one city/state to another 7 days before... but hey, I couldn't miss one of my favorite races.

I knew that I was still worn out from the relay, so I showed up to the start line with the game plan of staying steady and enjoying one of my favorite races.

It wasn't as hot as it has been some years.  The temps were around 75-80 during the race, and it was kind of cloudy and breezy since a storm was moving in.  It was still humid so I was drenched in sweat after the first mile, but it wasn't as miserable as it could have been.

I listened to my music and kept running along at a comfortable pace.

As I neared the finish, I knew I was worn out and just tried to keep a consistent pace.  I had nothing in the reserves for a finishing kick.

I finished in 1:37:59 and was totally pleased with a slightly under 10:00 m/mile pace.  I grabbed soe snacks and a drink to enjoy as I cooled off and then got into some dry clothes.

We always wander around the festival for a bit and check out the booths, etc.  I didn't get to see the world's largest moon pie before I left, but I think it's neat they have it.

We headed to lunch at Miller's Grocery, our post-Bell Buckle race tradition.  I had a tasty chicken salad sandwich, fried okra, fried corn nuggets and some Mississippi Mud Cake.  YUM!  (This is why I run people.)

I came home and took it pretty easy for the rest of the weekend.  It's time to start training for the Chicago marathon, but I haven't managed to make out my training plan just yet.  I think that's ok though... I think I'm starting it off from a good place.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sunday in Chicago

On Sunday, Erin and I woke up around 7:30.  We agreed we could have slept all day (being awake for 35 straight hours was definitely a new experience for me), but Erin has never been to Chicago and wanted to see the city... and I'm not one to sleep the day away either.

We woke Steph and her hubby up, and they took us to a cute little diner near their house for breakfast.  We ordered a LOT of food... as in, I asked for the Big Man breakfast and then asked if I could get the blueberry pancakes instead of buttermilk and then if they could add cheese to my eggs.  We both at every. last. bite.  I think we may have finished it before Steph had even finished cutting her pancakes.  I think her husband was amazed that we could eat so much.

We took the train over to see the Bean and take the fun tourist photos.

We walked over the Grant Park to see Buckingham Fountain.

We did some shopping at H&M (it pains me we don't have one of these in Nashville!)

We went up in the Hancock Building to the bar to get a nice view of the city... it was a GORGEOUS day, and we had a great time walking around and exploring a bit. (Yes, our legs were a little sore and we were tired, but we were determined to soak up Chicago.)

We met back up with Steph's hubby and another friend for mimosas and lunch.

And by lunch, I mean yet another meal where we ordered as many carbs as possible... and then ate every bite.

Seriously, I rarely eat meals this big... and I rarely have two of them five hours apart.

We were soon off to the airport to fly back to Nashville.  My folks picked me up, and when they suggested Steak-N-Shake it was music to my ears.  I rarely eat hamburgers, but my body must have needed protein because having one sounded amazing.

And thus I ate my third giant meal of the day.

Recovery has been interesting.  It took a couple of days for the hungry-all-the-freakin-time to go away, but I've been exhausted ever since I got back.  Apparently recovering from being awake for 35 hours straight isn't easy.  Nonetheless, I had a blast and would do it all again in a heartbeat.

In fact, we're already talking about doing the relay in Key West in January. :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Race Report: Ragnar Relay Chicago Saturday Leg 3

Sleep didn't really happen.  I suppose I was spoiled at my last Ragnar Relay... I got about 2 hours of light sleep at that one, and I didn't see any reason why we wouldn't have a nap time at this one.

What I didn't know was that there'd be no room at the designated sleeping place, so we would all 7 attempt to sleep in the van.  I ended up laying down on the floor kind of halfway under the seat, but I don't think I even dosed.  Before long, we got the call that van 2 was close to being done.

My friends asked me several times over the next couple of hours if I was ok.  I had gotten quiet... mostly because I was tired, but in part because I was a little less than thrilled that I was about to run 7.8 miles.  My quads were feeling sore, and my stomach had not handled the weird schedule very well.  I managed to eat a chocolate chip cookie I'd been saving and drank some Gatorade while trying to pysch myself up for the run.

Everyone cycled through, and before long I was out of the van and receiving the bracelet one final time from Don.  (My teammates were fond of this last outfit, too.)

I turned on my iPod and set out for my run.

It ended up that my entire run was along a bike path in the middle of the woods.  It was pretty quiet and lonely out there except for every now and then when some guy would come flying past me.  I enjoyed the solitude, and I just encouraged myself to keep it steady and to keep moving.  I had no idea what kind of pace I was keeping, and I felt tired.  I saw a bench once and wondered if anyone would get mad if I took a quick nap, ha.

I also saw an abandoned bike on the side of the path.  You have no idea how much I wanted to hop on it and ride the rest of the way in... but I kept on keeping on, and somewhere in there I was the one who crossed us from WI into IL.

I managed to get two kills on this leg, and I held off a guy trying to pass me at the very end. (No way anyone was passing me at the end of this thing, especially in front of all 11 of my teammates!)

And yes, that is me clicking my heels as I finish!

After finding out I managed to run sub-10:00 miles for 7.8 miles after being awake for 24 hours, I changed clothes and hopped in the van.  We made our way into the city and found ourselves some deep dish Chicago pizza.  It was SO good!

We had some time to wait on van 2 to get to the finish, so we explored a bit before deciding it was a bit too chilly and hanging out in the van.

You would think we would try to sleep, but at this point there was no chance.  We were all deliriously tired, and everything was funny.  I think that's my favorite part about all of this - the time you spend laughing and talking together.

Before long, our last runner was close and we crossed the finish line as a team.  In the end, we managed to have an average pace of 8:49 m/miles.  We're pretty pleased with that!

After some team pictures and celebrating, Erin and I were off to visit Steph and her husband for the night.  We opted to splurge and take a cab from Lincoln Park to her home mostly because we were way too tired to try to navigate public transit.

We showered and brushed our teeth and had snacks and told Steph and her hubby all about our adventures.  We were definitely losing it by that point, and I think they had a lot of fun laughing at us... we kept trying to tell our stories, but we were giggling so much it was hard to get the words out.

We decided we'd take a nap and then go out to dinner.  I laid down and crashed hard, and when I woke up it was about 2.5 hours later than the time we intended to wake up.  Oops.

Erin and I giggled for a bit over the weekend and decided we didn't mind that we didn't make it out to dinner and promptly fell back asleep.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Race Report: Ragnar Relay Chicago Friday Leg 2

We took back over as the active van shortly after the sun went down and it got dark.  I was starting to feel a little worn down, but I knew that we all had relatively short legs and would get to rest and attempt to sleep soon.

I wasn't really able to get any pictures what with it being dark and all, but leg 2 provided to be ample fun for us all.

Erin started us out again, and we took off to go meet her.  We had some trouble finding the next exchange due to poor signage and lighting, but we finally got there just in time to hop out and see her run it in.  Liz took back off into the dark and we were on our way again.

We cycled through everyone and made our way along from exchange to exchange quickly.  I started getting ready and realized that I was definitely tired and ready to get my 3.2 miles behind me.  I also get a little nervous about running in the dark in an unfamiliar place.

I took back over from Don and soon found myself on a trail.  It was a little unnerving because I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere, but after a few minutes I came out on some main roads and stayed on them for the rest of the run.  I tried to push myself a bit because I wanted to keep a good pace since I knew my last run could be rough.

I encountered a pretty big hill at one point, but I pushed on up it and enjoyed coasting down the other side.  At one point, a car passed by the string of runners around me and a guy yelled out "What the f*$k are you doing?"  I'm sure lots of people thought we were nuts... it was well after midnight now, and we're all out running in the dark with blinky butt lights, reflective vests and headlamps (I had never looked hotter, I'm sure.)

I finished my leg in 28:45.  After I changed clothes (believe me, changing every piece of clothing after every run was required), we headed to the next major exchange to try to get some sleep before we started it all again.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Race Report: Ragnar Relay Chicago Friday Leg 1

Friday morning, I was up around 7:30 to start getting ready.  It's been in the mid and uppers 90s in Nashville, so I was pleased to find it cloudy and cool in Madison, WI.

We snapped our team "before" picture at the hotel.

I was runner 6 in van 1, and we started things off at 10am.  Erin ran our first leg.

She had a little foot trouble during the run, but she's a trooper.  We got her in the van and headed to the next exchange.  We doctored her up a bit, and then Liz came running in.

Liz killed it, and we knew that Rick would be fast (he recently ran Boston... and ran a BQ!).

Jeff took off, and we made our way to the next exchange.  There was a gas station near by, so I enjoyed using a real bathroom.  Another runner saw my Country Music Marathon shirt I had on and asked if I was from TN or not... and then seemed really surprised that a bunch of us from TN had come up to run the relay.  (Does he not know runners are crazy?)

Jeff ran it in and handed off to Don.

I hadn't been feeling that nervous, but as I got out and unlayered to my running outfit I could feel the nerves kick in a bit.  I had an 8-mile leg to run.  It was about 2pm, and I was starting to get a little hungry.  My breakfast and snacks didn't quite make up for not having lunch, and it's an odd time to run.  That's the thing about relays... everything is done at odd times, and your body gets a little confused.  Nonetheless, I was also really excited.

We soon saw Don, and I grabbed the baton bracelet and took off.

I turned back to tell my team I'd see them soon...

The area I ran through was beautiful, but I had a hard time enjoying it because it smelled SO bad.  I was running through farmland, and the manure smell was so strong it turned my stomach.  A few miles in, I saw a van off in the distance.  I decided I'd ask them if they had any water.. as I got closer, I realized it was my team! I was so glad to see them.

I felt better, and the smell wasn't as strong for the rest of my run.  I ran it in to hand off to van 2 and realized I had run my leg with an 8:52 average pace.  I was pleased!

We had SO much fun on our first legs.  We were laughing and talking non-stop in the van... it's great how everything is funny when you're in a van with 6 other people.  We headed out to the next major exchange and managed to find an Applebee's so that we could finally sit down and have a real meal.

After eating, we stopped at Wal-Greens for a few supplies and then headed to the exchange to wait for it to be our turn again just as it was starting to get dark Friday evening.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Race Report: Ragnar Relay Chicago Thursday

On Thursday, I headed to the Nashville airport to fly up to Chicago with a few teammates for the Ragnar Relay from Madison, WI to Chicago. I was SO excited that I didn't even mind getting up at 5:30am.

Our team captain Jeff played a little joke on me by texting that he was stuck in traffic and wouldn't make the flight.  Liz and I had a few words, but then we looked up to see him.  I knew at that moment that this weekend was going to be a blast.

Unfortunately, the weather was bad in Chicago so we were delayed.  This wouldn't have been so bad except that we had to wait on the plane for 2.5 hours before we finally took off.  It also meant we weren't going to have time to really check out Madison.  Oh well.

We finally got to Chicago and took a cab to pick up our rental van.  It was close to 2pm, and we were all starving.  I looked over and saw the Boston Market we had passed on the way to Enterprise and pointed it out... Jeff fired up the van, and we were able to start loading up on the carbs.

We made the drive to Madison and shared MANY laughs.  Like when Jeff mentioned we were low on gas and I pointed out the obvious that we should get some.  Or when we decided to not stop at any of the tolls (and by we, I mean Jeff).  Or when we almost missed a turn and went off road in the passenger van.  If we were already laughing this much at this point, I knew that we'd be a riot by the time we were sleep deprived.  Or cranky.  It really could have gone either way.

We reached the hotel and united with our other teammates while enjoying complimentary drinks in the lobby.  We ended up blaming anything that went wrong over the weekend on the boxed pink wine that we used for our toast.

We were soon off to Porta Bella for dinner.  We were having a little trouble locating the restaurant and asked a couple of guys on the sidewalk.  They told us to follow them, and we all chatted.  Jeff totally gave me a hard time later for trying to pick up a boyfriend, ha!  I was just being friendly to the kind Wisconsin people.

Jeff promised $5 to either Erin or myself if one of us finished ALL of our pizza.  I had to tap out, but she totally reached the goal!  I also tried some Wisconsin beer - New Glarus Spotted Cow.  It was quite good.

We spent the evening making a trip to Wal-Mart to grab some Gatorade and snacks, and then we decorated our van.

I took a shower knowing that it'd be a while before I felt so clean again and then curled up in bed.  It was a day of travel, but it was also a day of getting to know some of the teammates I didn't know as well.  I knew that we were about to start a race that was going to lead to many fun memories and good times.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Still Here... Exhausted

This weekend I ran with 11 others in the Ragnar Relay from Madison, WI to Chicago.

It's the most fun I've had in ages, but I'm exhausted.  As in - I was awake for 35 hours straight.

I'll be posting reports from each part of the trip/race soon, but for now I'm attempting to recover.  My body feels good, but I think I could sleep for two days and I'm hungry all the time.

I'm so thankful to have had this experience.  The people on my team are like family now!  I'm still giggling over all the funny things that took place.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

101 in 101 Update

I was a little busy celebrating my birthday this month and kicking off summer, but I still crossed a few things off the list.

6. Run in at least eight races I’ve never run in before - I finished this already, but I did run a new race this month when I ran in the Key Alliance 5K.

12. Try a new kind of workout/class -Thanks to a Groupon, I've been trying out BarreAmped.  It's kind of a mixture of ballet, pilates and yoga.  I have really been enjoying it!

53. See Stephanie and Amanda at least once a year if schedules allow - I got to see Steph when she was in town for a wedding.

57. Find a church and get involved - I think I've finally decided I really like CrossPoint Community Church.  I haven't got all that involved yet, but I'm pretty sure I'm sticking around there.

95. Watch one new movie per month, minimum - Going the Distance, The Resident, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, No Strings Attached, Little Fockers

96. Read one book per month, minimum - I read Sam Davidson's 50 Things Your Life Doesn't Need (and still need to write a review about it... it's on my to do list)