Author Archives: krissie

Runner Profile – Ashleigh

Ashleigh is one of those people that just makes me smile. I ran with her way before I really knew her and every year I looked forward to seeing her at our hometown’s Turkey Trot. Now I get to look forward to seeing her a few times a week. Say hello to my girl Ashleigh.

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Why did you start running?

 

I started running when I moved to Texas in 2006 as a way to lose weight. I saw the contestants on the Biggest Loser go from not being able to run even a few steps, to run a 5k or half marathon and knew that I could do it too. I’ve always really loved to exercise. It is a great stress relief and allows me to have some guilt-free “me” time or time with friends. I have always been an instigator, so I convinced some of my teacher friends to train for a 5k with me. I didn’t have a real training plan, just ran on the treadmill a few nights a week. We ran the Don Zetnick Winter Run in Arlington, Texas and I was hooked. We ran several 5 and 10k’s together, always just for fun. I even placed in my age group in a few of them! Woot! When I moved back to Kentucky in 2008, I continued running with the help of my friend Julie Dodson. Again, being the instigator, I convinced her to sign up for the Derby Mini in 2010. That was a really hard run for me. It still went through Iroquois Park and I had not trained on any “real” hills. I took a break after that from any sort of real running training plan, just running a few 5k’s every now and then, until this January when I convinced myself to run another Half Marathon before turning the big 3-0! I’m proud to say I completed the Run the Bluegrass Half and the Derby Mini this year, with lots of help from my friends and husband!

 

What keeps you motivated?

 

My friends, husband, Coach Krissie and the LexRunLadies! I find that it is very important for me to have a training plan and a running buddy scheduled to meet me in advance. It is much easier to get motivated when you know someone is there to hold you accountable. I also am a super anal nerd and love checking off my runs from my training plan with my favorite colored pens. Whatever works, right?

 

Are you training for a race or an event? 

 

I’ve taken a little break in May and have been focusing on yoga and weights. I have had some injuries and am trying to give myself time to heal. I do have the Bluegrass 10,000 and A Midsummer Night’s Run 5k in my sights though. In June, I am going to start training for my first triathlon, the Etown Dolphins Sprint Tri. Any advice is welcomed!

What is your favorite race?

 

My favorite race is probably the Russell, KY Turkey Trot. It has been a tradition to run this on Thanksgiving morning with my old roommate for the past 5 years. It is a very laid back, fun race and the entry fee is canned food. It is also the first place I ever met Krissie!

 

Where is your favorite place to run?

 

My favorite place to run is the Chevy Chase area. I like getting lost in the neighborhoods and looking at the pretty houses. I also like running out Deer Haven to see the zebra!

What are your running fears?

 

Too many to name. Being the slowest person in the group that I’m running with and holding people back is probably the biggest fear, followed closely by having to go #2 and not being anywhere near a bathroom!

Do you measure your runs or do you just run for fun?

 

I have always measured them in some way; time or distance. I do just go out and run for fun, but I figure if I’m doing it, I might as well get some data from it (maybe that is the teacher in me talking?!)

 

Have you ever dealt with injury?

 

A few years ago I was supposed to run the Marshall Half and pulled some muscles in my foot. I wasn’t able to run the race and had to wear a compression brace and ice my foot for several weeks. I was very disappointed, but I knew that if I didn’t do it, I could suffer further injury and not be able to run for even longer, so I sucked it up.

 

I also have had various foot/ankle swelling issues in the past year. I think most of them are related to tying my shoes the wrong way or too tight and cutting off circulation. I’m still working on that one, but it can make running very painful.

Do you do any cross-training?

 

Yoga is my all-time favorite cross training, especially West Sixth yoga with Anne Dean! I also love Zumba. Right now, I’ve been working through Jillian Michaels 30 –Day shred. It is no joke.

 

Do you have a long-term running goal?

 

My goal for 2013 is to run 500 miles. I’m at 267 right now, so I think I’m going to make it! I think a half-marathon is as far as I ever want to go distance-wise, but I’d like to get faster on my 5k.

 

What gear is absolutely necessary for you?

 

I love my Garmin Forerunner. I also have a polka-dot visor that says “Run Happy” that I think is pretty sweet.

What gear is on your wish list?

 

I’d like to have some fleece-line running tights for winter and a plus-size water belt that doesn’t creep up and try and be a water bra.

Do you eat on the run? If so, what?

 

Only for runs that will last more than an hour. I like the strawberry Gu chews.

What is your favorite running song?

 

I don’t typically listen to music while I run. If I do listen to something, it is NPR podcasts (don’t hate).

 

What are your favorite running/health-related websites or apps?

 

I like DailyMile because it logs your miles and lets you share with friends.

 

What is the strangest thing that happened on a run?

 

Pretty much every week at West Sixth run club, some amazing interaction happens with the lively inhabitants of the surrounding neighborhoods.

 

The most terrible weather/one of my favorite runs happened recently with Audrey Long. We were at an ESL conference in Dallas a few weeks before the RTB half and she was helping keep my accountable on my long run for the day. We set out on an urban trail with some threatening clouds, but it wasn’t supposed to rain until the afternoon. About 2 miles in, the heavens opened up and thunder and lightning crashed all around us. We high-tailed it back, drenched but safe and happy!

 

What are you reading right now?

 

I am reading “The Language of Letting Go” by Meoldy Beattie as my daily meditation, Beautiful Darkness – a guilty pleasure teen lit novel, and Half-Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls for my book club.

What is your one guilty pleasure?

 

Other than reading dystopian teen lit novels? Bath Bombs by Lush. They are life changing.

 

What is your favorite restaurant?

 

El Rancho Tapatio – best authentic Mexican in town

 

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Polo Club/Deer Haven Run Info

 

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Yes, that is a zebra. Sometimes we get to see him out on Deer Haven.

We meet on what we call the “Deer Haven Circle” on Thursday evenings at 6:15pm.

To get to the circle: Take Polo Club to Deer Haven. Turn Left on Deer Haven. It ends in a little circle and that’s where we park and gather.

It is pretty hilly but it is also shady. So we head there in the summer rather than running on Polo Club.

This route can accommodate short runs and longer runs.  Plan your gear according to the distance of your run.  Be prepared to see some beautiful homes and animals, maybe even a zebra :)

(During the winter months, we meet at the corner of Polo Club and Brick House Lane, but it’ll be a while before we have to go back there!)

For questions, please reach out on Facebook. Don’t have Facebook? Email Lexrunladies@gmail.com with POLO CLUB/DEER HAVEN in the subject line.

West Sixth Yoga Info

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(photo by Jaime France)

Have you always wanted to try yoga, but were intimidated by the svelte, flexible yogis that you thought would fill class and question your right to hover a foot over your toes instead of reaching them?  Then this, friends, is the yoga class for you!!

Taught by the amazing AnneDean Watkins, this class is beginner-friendly and pressure-free.  And cost-free, too!!

Class starts promptly at 6 at West Sixth Brewery’s Beer Garden, though some summer classes will be held outdoors at Coolivan Park (check out West Sixth Yoga’s Facebook page for the latest info).  You’ll want to come early (5:30 latest) to be sure to get a spot: this fills up FAST!!  Bring your own mat (don’t have a mat?  Let me know early, I have a few spares), a bottle of water, and an open heart.

Parking can be found in West Sixth’s parking lot, on the street, and there’s some overflow parking available at Coolavin Park.  Again: this fills up fast, if you can carpool, I’d recommend it.

Remember to get there early!!  There is a liability release form to fill out your first time there, and a sign-in sheet every week.  Be prepared for a good workout and thought-provoking quotes, and a few giggles, too.

Feel free to post any questions about West Sixth Yoga on Facebook. Don’t have facebook? Email LexRunLadies@gmail.com with WEST SIXTH YOGA in the subject.

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(photo by Jaime France)

Tagged

West Sixth Running Club Info

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Every Tuesday, we run from West Sixth Brewery located at 501 West Sixth Street.

The run starts at 6:30 but registration starts at 6:00. Getting there early is optimum to park in the parking lot, but there is tons of street parking along Jefferson, 6th Street and other side streets.

Group run sizes vary depending on the weather.  Generally there are probably 100 + for good weather and 75 or so on the rainy, snowy nights.  You will always have runners there for any weather though so don’t be intimidated by the weather! Bring water for the hot summer runs.

The brewery has mapped out 1.5 and 3 mile routes. If you are interested in starting early for additional mileage, reach out on facebook or twitter. Someone is usually starting out early.

You’ll be greeted with a free soft pretzel when you return. There is usually a food truck on site. And we usually hang around and socialize for a while.

For questions about the West Sixth Running Club, email lexrunladies@gmail.com with WEST SIXTH RUNNING in the subject line.

Runner Profile – Beth

Friends, you’ve got to get to know Beth. This girl has the biggest smile, the biggest heart, and just loves life. She is a recent first-time MARATHONER and I couldn’t be prouder of her. It was so amazing to stand outside of the park in Louisville and get a big hug from this girl. She rocked the Derby Marathon and had fun, just like she does with everything. Say hi to Beth!

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How long have you been running?

I’ve been running consistently for about 3.5-4 years.

Why did you start running?

My dad is a great runner and has been dedicated to running since I was an infant. Several years ago, after he finished his 20+ half marathon, it struck me how amazing it is that my dad can run an under 2 hour half marathon. He is such an inspiration that the day after he ran a half marathon 4 years ago, I told him that I would aslo run a half. He laughed and said it takes a lot of training. I am stubborn and he’s a great motivator. Three half marathons and 1 marathon later, he is still my biggest inspiration.

What keeps you motivated?

Other runners keep me motivated! Knowing what others have been able to accomplish really keeps me moving. I love hearing about someone’s first 5K or the running Ah-ha moment they experienced. Humans are amazing and hearing about individual accomplishments is such a rush for me.

Are you training for a race or an event?

Currently I’m not officially training, but I have my sights on a few races so I’m still staying in shape. I’m planning on running the Bluegrass 10K, Bourbon Chase, and Iron Horse. Some of my favorite local races! It’s important to stay in shape between training schedules and its very helpful and motivating to have a race goal in mind. But its also nice to have a little pressure off my back after finishing a full marathon. Since I’m not officially training, I’m not using a plan. Currently I run 2.5-3 miles 3 times a week and 4-6 miles on the weekend. I’m looking to run a sub 2 hour half, so I’ll be looking to Krissie for a training plan in the near future :)

What is your favorite race?

This is a tough question! I love many races and distances for many different reasons. Some of my top favorites are the Shamrock Shuffle, Derby Mini, Iron Horse, BG 10K, and Bourbon Chase. But if I had to pick a very favorite it’s the Thoroughbred Classic 5K at Keeneland on Thanksgiving. My dad and I have a fun tradition of running it together.

Where is your favorite place to run?

Kentucky! There are so many options! Do you want to run downtown with a group? West Sixth is the place on Tuesday. Do you want a good hill would out? Todd’s Road is where I go on some Saturdays. I love running in my neighborhood and running on the Legacy Trail. If there’s a path and I’ve got my shoes, I’ll run it!

What are your running fears?

I know most runners will say injury, and that is true, but my biggest fear is not being able to get over that mental hump. Some days out running are better than others. Some days I will struggle through 3 miles and others I’ll fly through eight. I have a tendency to get into my own head and cause a mental road block. If anyone has helpful solutions to this, please share!!

Do you measure your runs or do you just run for fun?

I will still track my runs, but I’m not paying close attention to speed or distance. Sometimes I’ll race my past paces for fun, but I do admit that it’s nice to be on a month long “break”. I sometimes track running accomplishments with ong albums. It’s a good way to reflect where you were 3 years ago to where you are today. My best example is that I listened to the Gorillaz Plastic Beach when I first started running at a 15 minute mile. Now at 15 minutes I’m sometimes close to 2 miles! It’s fun to see where I was at what song 3 years apart.

Have you ever dealt with injury?

Thank goodness no serious injuries! I had shin splints about 2 years ago. One run it was so bad, I knelt in the snow while crying. Better socks and shoes have been a tremendous help! I took about a week off and rode a bike. I felt terrible, I hear heroine is a tough addiction to kick, but its nothing compared to a runners addiction! Runners have to run or they get very crabby!

Do you do any cross-training?

Mostly burn 30, also known as boot camp. I also try to do planks every night. But no cross training is a replacement to running.

Do you have a long-term running goal?

Keep running and keep having fun! I’ve reached my bucket list goal to run a marathon. I’m thinking another long term goal would be to run the Grandmas Marathonin Duluth Minnesota.

What gear is absolutely necessary for you?

Good shoes! And my inhaler.

What gear is on your wish list?

A WOMAN’S camelback. I used my brothers when training for the marathon and the buckle was not made for a woman with a bust.

Do you eat on the run?

Yes, for six or more miles. If so, what? Whatever energy bar/shot is on sale at Kroger. The energy shots I used when training for and running the marathon were these yummy smoothie mixes I found on sale. I forget the name, but there is this banana blueberry mix and apple strawberry mix. They are yummy for breakfast on the go too.

What is your favorite running song?

Ok, going cliche on this one: Eye of the Tiger. But I also get pumped up running to DeadMau5 Moar Ghost. Yes I like to run to electronic music.

Are you listening to any podcasts or audiobooks while you run?

I like listening to Wait, Wait and Car Talk. Except bystanders will hear me yell out random answers from time to time.

What are your favorite running/health-related websites or apps?

I use RunKeeper and Calorie Count. But I also like to read Runners World too.

What is the strangest thing that happened on a run?

When I was first starting to run, I was out of shape and slightly larger. I was struggling up a huge hill (not so huge, but I was totally out of shape). An extremely fit, geared up bicyclist rode past me and said: “keep up the good work!” That was so motivating and stereotype busting. My dad still questions my memory as he believes that runners and bikers are different breeds.

Do you have a running pet-peeve?

A bad song or rock in my shoe.

What are you reading right now?

Two books: Tom Sizemore’s “By Some Mirracle I Made It Out of There” and this fluff Stargazer novel I found at Goodwill for 50 cents.

What is your one guilty pleasure?

I have soooooo many, but right now it takes every ounce of will power not to drink the Starbucks Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappachino every day. I want one now…..

What is your favorite meal? 

Breakfast food and pizza. I seriously am obsessed with both meals!

I wanted to add one more comment section. I am very thankful for Krissie and the other LexRunLadies and supporters. I am like everyone else and sometimes struggle with motivation, but when I am down, all I need to do is read some runner tweets and I’m reading to take that first step out the door. So thank you! Thank you to the entire running community!

Runner Profile – Amanda

You know those people that you stalk on the internet but haven’t really met? Yeah, that’s Amanda. I mean, seriously. Just scroll through the first page of her blog. Arrested Development? Alton Brown? She’s a serious-runner-in-the-making (she has some serious goals!), an avid reader, and she’s trying out CrossFit (oh, the humanity). Say hi to Amanda! And let’s all try to get her to come out and run/walk/wog with us!

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Why did you start running?

I started running because my cousin had completed the Couch to 5k program and was on her way to training for the Derby Half Marathon and I was jealous. I had always wanted to be a runner but thought I was too out of shape and overweight to be able to do it. I didn’t realize that there was a way to get into it so that I wouldn’t be either one of those things. It didn’t help that she and I worked together at the time and I had to hear about it all day.

How long have you been running?

Well, funny story about that. I started running with the Couch to 5k program on a treadmill in summer 2010. I made it a few weeks and then my knee started locking up. I was diagnosed with patellar femoral pain syndrome. I quit. Then in the fall I started again, only I started running outside. Way better. I made it to the first 20 minute run before I quit again. This time I was filling up my water bottle in the house in a sort of squat/crouch position and thought that my right calf muscle ripped off of my body. It took a few weeks before I could even walk normally again. I finally completed the Couch to 5k program in the summer of 2012, after repeating several weeks and generally being afraid that I would die in the process. After that I’ve embarked on several different running goal/ideas/plans but none of them have come to fruition. Right now I’m lucky if I run once a week.

What keeps you motivated?

When I was training for the RtB Rookie 7 mile run, I was motivated. Once I realized that I was an idiot and couldn’t run the race because of a prior engagement, I fell off the training/motivation wagon. I think my problem is that I’m entirely too goal oriented. I need a plan, and an end game, or else I don’t keep up with the training and just look for something new and shiny to distract me – like Arrested Development coming out on Netflix!

Running/Racing

Are you training for a race or an event?

I keep going back and forth about signing up for Iron Horse. Everyone I know keeps telling me to do it, but I’m afraid that I won’t complete the training and that I’ll fail. Right now I’m just trying to stay active, so that I don’t lose all of my cardiovascular endurance.

What is your favorite race?

I’ve never run a race. I’m intimidated. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to go to the bathroom a lot. Mostly before. Probably during.

Where is your favorite place to run?

I live off of Leestown, so I typically run in my backyard, which is the Towne Branch Trail I think. I’ve done the Arboretum a few times, but I typically just stay home. I’ve tried to run the Masterson Station Park a few times as well but I wasn’t clear on the “trail” and just felt like I was running around randomly. It made me nervous and I felt like the moms at the park thought I had escaped from Eastern State.

What are your running fears?

Honestly, its not injury from running, its injury from being attacked while I’m out running. I’m not crazy, but I might be a little paranoid. I’ve seen some shady individuals while I’ve been out before and it makes me take out a headphone and look behind me every once in a while. I know increasing numbers would help, but I’m not a good planner. And I’m slow. Also, I would hate to run a race and then, you know, lose my bowels. I know that’s an extreme circumstance usually reserved for people running ultra marathons and crazy trails, but I’m not into that.

Do you measure your runs or do you just run for fun? 

I have to measure everything. I’m the kind of kid who tracks everything they do. I’ve even started using a fitbit that tracks not only my distance while running, but every step I take, every stair I climb, every calorie I burn, and every time I wake up when I sleep. However for run specific tracking I use the Nike+ Running app on my phone.

Have you ever dealt with injury? 

I’ve had a couple, which is surprising to me due to the relatively short amount of time I’ve spent running. My first was the knee locking – that came from not having strong enough quads to guide my knee correctly while running. After going to the doc and getting some NSAIDs and strengthening exercises, I was fine in a few days. Next was the calf. That bothered me for a while, like months. I never figured out if it was a strain or just soreness, but once I started foam rolling and increasing my time off between runs it improved. I was also having back issues when I picked up running the last time. It was from not engaging my core while running. Basically bad form. Once I figured it out, took a few days off, and remembered to suck in my gut, I was fine.

Do you do any cross-training? What is your favorite?

Yes! I love yoga, Zumba, and I’m currently doing CrossFit bootcamp. It’s brutal, but in a good way.

Do you have a long-term running goal?

I want to run a Disney half or full marathon. And I want to run a full marathon before I complete my 30th year of life. So, by my 31st birthday.

What gear is absolutely necessary for you?

A GOOD SPORTS BRA. I’m too well endowed to just throw on a $10 compression one or even two. Unfortunately if they aren’t strapped up it basically ruins the entire run. It didn’t take me long to figure that out, but it has taken me a long time to find the best one. Right now I’ve got it narrowed down to a few in my rotation, but they aren’t perfect. I’ve put my boyfriend to the test of developing the perfect one at some point, but he has a job and stuff so it could take a while.

What gear is on your wish list?

I want a Garmin, but I don’t feel like I run enough to justify the purchase at this point.

Do you eat on the run?

I haven’t done a long enough outing to need to, but I have taken some of those Gatorade chews with me a couple times just in case.

What is your favorite running song?

“The Pretender” by the Foo Fighters. I have a whole list of ever changing favorites, but this is always Top 5 every time. Some other good ones I’m into right now are “Workin’ Day and Night” by Michael Jackson, “Potential Breakup Song” by Aly & AJ, “Comeback Kid” by Sleigh Bells, and “Girl” by Beck.

What are your favorite running/health-related websites or apps?

Apps: I use MyFitnessPal, which correlates with my fitbit and automatically subtracts calories burned from my daily allowance. Nike+ Running is how I track all of my runs and I also used the Couch to 5k (now called Ease Into 5k) and Bridge to 10k running apps. I also love the Nike Training Club and Yoga Studio apps for cross training.

Websites: I use dailymile for when I actually do run. Some blogs that I like that deal with running and healthy living are: Twenty-Six and Then Some, Bangs and a Bun/Spikes and Heels, and Skinny Runner. I used to be obsessed with Skinny Runner and found her really motivating, but she runs like 7 min miles and does a marathon or half marathon like, every weekend. I got kind of discouraged reading race recap after race recap, and instead of using that as fuel I just stopped entirely. Bangs and a Bun and Spikes and Heels are written by the same lady. When she got really into fitness and wrote about it heavily in her main blog (Bangs) I think there was some backlash from people not wanting to read about her new found love of running (haters). So now she manages the other site, with the tagline “be pretty on rest days” – which I like for various reasons: you can be athletic and pretty, you don’t have to be pretty while working out (in fact if you look too good you’re probably doing it wrong), and you can take rest days!

What is the strangest thing that happened on a run? 

Once I got tackled by a dog at Masterson Station Park. Another time I was running the track at EKU and my bra like, rubbed a hole in my chest. But probably the strangest and best thing that ever happened on a run was one day when I decided to go without music. I thought it was going to be horrible and long and I was dreading it, but I was so in sync with my body it was unreal. My breathing was natural, my speed was fine, my muscles were alive. It was kind of fantastic.

Do you have a running pet-peeve?

Well. In my limited experience, I get rather irritated when people on the trail run on “the wrong side”. I mean, it’s supposed to be like driving right? You stay on the right and use the left to pass? It’s polite! There are two people that I can think of specifically that do not follow this guideline that I see on the regular. And also, would it kill you to acknowledge my friendly “Hello”?!

What are you reading right now?

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. It’s all about the different uses of cadavers in science and industry. I’m actually participating in a thing called the Cannonball Read, which is a race to read 52 books in a year. You can head over to the website to check it out.

What is your one guilty pleasure?

TV on DVD! I will sit on the couch for ridiculous amounts of time watching TV. It’s disgusting. I’m addicted. But at least I’ll draw the line at shows I don’t like. I mean, I can’t watch everything.

What is your favorite meal?

I love pasta. I could eat it every meal of every day and I would be cool with it. But I live with my boyfriend and he doesn’t like it as much as I do, so I usually limit our pasta to once a week. For both my waistline and his sanity.

LRL Volunteer Opportunities

LexRunLadies is such a huge part of my life. However, my life is becoming increasingly busy. And, for LexRunLadies to continue the way it has been, I need some help.

And that’s where I hope you will come in. Do you love LexRunLadies? Do you have a little time and effort to take some of my load? Unfortunately, there will be no compensation other than awesome karma and regular hugs from me. I’d love to be able to pay for some help, but considering there are no fees for LRL (and that will not change!), we’re just gonna have to be paid in good feelings – myself included.

Here’s what I’m looking for help with:

Point of Contact for Weekly Activities

  • I’m looking for 3 ladies – one to represent each of our weekly activities. I’m looking for someone who can commit to be at West Sixth Running Club on Tuesdays (thanks a ton, Libby!), West Sixth Yoga on Wednesdays (thanks for stepping up, Jaime!), and Polo Club/Deer Haven on Thursdays.
  • If you can’t be there on a particular week, just find someone to be the point of contact for you. You would leave this info in the FB post with the weekly schedule.
  • You will be responsible for responding to any questions on facebook about the activity. Ladies (or dudes) who are coming for the first time will find you at the event.
  • I will forward any email questions about the specific activity to you for response.
  • You will be the person who makes decisions about cancelling due to weather and to announce on facebook and twitter. I will give you the twitter information so you can tweet from the LRL account.
  • I’ll also ask that you write up a little post for the website. I’ll give you details, but I’ll just ask you to introduce yourself and tell a little about the specifics of the activity and including any necessary details (address, where to park, what to bring, what time to show up, etc).

Social Activity Coordinator

  • I absolutely love getting together in “real clothes” or just outside of running. I’m looking for someone to schedule and plan a monthly social event.
  • This is wide open. Picnics, potlucks, art hops, shopping in Woodland Triangle, SurfSet class, Bikram yoga. Anything. Wide open.
  • Coordinator would plan activity, make necessary reservations, post info to website/facebook/twitter (I would provide log-in info), coordinate any necessary details.

Tshirt Coordinator (Kelly has graciously stepped up for this! Thank you!)

  • I am hoping to continue the trend of ordering tshirts two or three times a year.
  • I will handle the design of the shirt, receipt of money through paypal, and paying the vendors for the shirts. (So no money will have to pass through the hands of the Coordinator!)
  • I am looking for someone to coordinate the order. This would include posting details of the order on the website, facebook, and twitter, putting reminders on facebook and twitter, maintaining spreadsheet of orders/payments, and getting final order to vendor.
  • The Tshirt Coordinator will also receive all email questions about the shirts.
  • The Coordinator would also be responsible for distributing shirts by organizing a time and place for pickup. This will also need to be announced on the website, facebook, and twitter.

Blog Coordinator

    (Brooke has awesomely stepped up for this!)

  • I love reading Race Recaps and Runner Profiles. And I think we need more of them on the website. I’m also interested in adding another feature – “the best place I ever ran,” “runner shout-outs,” “hidden local gems,” etc. I think the more personal content we have, the more intimate our little group is and the more comfortable we feel running with each other.
  • I’m looking for someone to reach out to group members to write for the blog. I have questions for runner profiles that I will provide.
  • The Blog Coordinator will edit and post member content through WordPress. The Blog Coordinator will announce on twitter and facebook that the links are active.
  • I will forward all email and questions about writing for the blog to the Blog Coordinator.

Blog Contributors

  • Help us out! Be on the lookout for running and group related topics to write about. Race recaps, awesome routes, funny stories. If you think, “Man, I’d love to tell the LexRunLadies about that!” then DO IT!
  • Willing to write up a Runner Profile or a Race Recap? Please do!

If you are interested and able to help in any way, please shoot me an email to LexRunLadies@gmail.com and we’ll get the ball rolling!

Thank you in advance, friends. This is truly a labor of love. I hope you will join with me.

 

 

 

Jenny runs the Flying Pig Marathon!

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Yep, it starts out as you would imagine.  If you’d have told me a few years ago that I’d run a marathon someday..

Crazy.

After running for a few years and doing many smaller races, and seeing so many of my runner friends do a marathon, I started thinking perhaps I should attempt it before I get any older.  Sometime at the end of last year I suppose, I decided I would start training for it.  If I trained for the Derby full or Flying Pig full the training schedule would put me at 13 miles right at the time of the Run the Bluegrass half marathon.  Since I knew I would run that anyway, may as well start marathon training and at least get half way through before really deciding.

After RTB I decided to keep training.  Almost in secret.  I was afraid to say it out loud.  If I kept it to myself I could back out and hardly anyone would know.  I did some long runs with others training for the derby or pig, some I did solo.  I won’t lie; the 20 mile run was terrible.  It made me really question whether I should try to do a marathon.  Two weeks later I did a 22 mile run.  It was worse.  I ran in my neighborhood and made 2 or 3 stops at my house to replenish water, stops that lasted too long.  During the last half my pattern was start running, make it a couple blocks, stop, walk for a few blocks, repeat. Walk breaks are fine but not as many as I was taking. I was so frustrated.  At one point in that run I told myself “You better make it 2 miles without walking or you just call it off, you are NOT going to register for the marathon.”  I made it 2 miles.

That was so frustrating I really needed to try to figure out what I was doing wrong and fix it.  The training plan did not call for it but I decided I would do another 20+ mile run the following weekend.  I had to prove to myself I could reasonably do it before actually registering.  I reviewed my Garmin times, read up on marathon training tips, etc.  I concluded I was going too fast in the first half of the runs, and I should try salt tablets.  The next weekend I went out for 21 miles with those two adjustments.  I wasn’t really much faster but I ran more consistently and I sure felt better at the end.

I was training, but I’d not yet registered.  I’d not yet reserved a hotel room, and most hotels were long-ago full for Pig weekend.  Long run training was disastrous. Yet everywhere I turned,  I was receiving ‘go’ signs.

I kept seeing phrases everywhere – at the gym, Facebook and Twitter of course, even my church’s newsletter!

“If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you.”

“The pain of running the marathon is worth the finishing of the marathon.”

“If you’re going to face a real challenge, it has to be a REAL challenge. You can’t accomplish anything without the possibility of failure.”

“At mile 20, I thought I was dead. At mile 22, I wished I was dead. At mile 24, I knew I was dead. At mile 26.2, I realized I had become too tough to kill.” ~ Anonymous

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” ~T.S. Eliot

“Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic.”― Tim Noakes, Lore of Running

“There will be days you don’t think you can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime of knowing you have.” #Running #Quotes

“Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” ~ JEDI MASTER YODA

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” -Teddy Roosevelt

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to move forward in spite of our fear.”

Seriously??  Where was this stuff coming from??

One evening I happened to be on Facebook when a runner friend posted on the Striders group that she was not going to be able to run the Pig and would anyone want her room reservation.  Right place at the right time?  Another sign?  Another excuse nullified.

Finally time to bite the bullet and register. Monday April 15.  I registered at my desk during lunch.  Tweeted that I had registered and now was a knot of nerves.  Encouragement ensued from coach Krissie and other friends on at that time.  As you know, not much later, the news of Boston came.  What had been anxiousness turned into determination.  That afternoon I was ready to go run the marathon Right NOW.

I would love to say that determination held strong for the next three weeks, but I alternated between ‘ready to go!’ and ‘OMG am I crazy?!’

On the Tuesday before the race an email came that said ‘It’s Race Week!’   The first item was information from Tri State Running Company.  The last line said “Hydrate, rest up, and get hyped. You are about to be a marathoner! We’ll be rooting for you!”  I choked up, teared up.  Good grief.  If that makes me cry how am I gonna get through these next few days?

On to the virtual goodie bag.  That’s safe, right?  An advertisement for a breakfast buffet beginning at 6 am on race day, for family and friends of the runners.  “Breakfast of the people who cheer on the Champions.”  Another gulp.  What’s wrong with me, getting emotional from words from people who want to sell me stuff!

The day before the race my husband Chris and I drove up to Cincinnati.  We didn’t get there until around 3 pm so I was not able to catch up with my running group friends at the Expo.  As Chris and I walked around, he noticed the 26.2 stickers.  “Hey here’s your 26.2 sticker.”  I said “yep” and kept moving. “Aren’t you going to get one?” “Nope, not before the race. Bad luck.”  “You know you’re going to finish it so I don’t see why not.  I can buy it for you then.”  “You can, but I can’t know about it.”  He did talk me into buying a ball cap with 26.2 on it.

I realized after the Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon a few weeks earlier that I had missed some of the atmosphere.  My goal had been to beat my finish time of the previous year.  I think I focused on that more than enjoying the beautiful surroundings.  I know there were signs telling runners of the nicknames given to each of the hills on the course.  I did not notice any of them during the race.  Therefore my strategy for the marathon was simply to stay positive no matter what, pay attention to the things and people along the way, enjoy it and finish.

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I set the alarm for 3:30 a.m. on race morning.  The hotel restaurant did not open until 6 am so I ate a protein bar and drank a protein drink that I had brought with me.  My stomach was so full of butterflies it was not easy to get them down.  When I went to the lobby to catch up with the Striders I saw that the hotel had had some breakfast in the lobby for the runners!  No one had told me that would be there.  Then again, I had not asked anyone at the hotel about that.  Now, of course, it makes sense since their hotel was full of runners.  I took a banana and put it in my jacket pocket.  I figured if I got really hungry I could just eat that along the course.  I ended up not eating it, but that banana was in sad, sad shape after traveling in the pocket of the jacket that was mainly tied around my waist and flapping around for 26 miles.

The morning was threatening rain and the sky was overcast as the sun came up.  While we waited in the corrals and they made the start of race announcements, a small partial rainbow appeared and grew into a full beautiful rainbow.  At the same time the song being played was Sweet Caroline.  It was so wonderful.  I waited in the porta potty line in my corral, G.  When I emerged the runners in Gate G were gone and Gate H folks were headed to the start.  I headed that way and turned on the Garmin. I had turned it on a couple times already and it had gone to sleep.  This time of course, when it really mattered, it would NOT find the satellite before I crossed the start!  I hopped into the median before the start line to get out of the way of the other runners, waving my arm in the air like a crazy woman.  Finally I went on across as I did not want to be the LAST person to cross the start line.  Not because I worried about being last but because I worried about being LOST.  I do not have a good sense of direction and I knew I needed to follow folks in front of me.  At mile 1 my watch showed .85 so that was not bad.

I was a little anxious the first couple miles, feeling like I needed to catch up from my delayed start.  I finally settled down and settled in for the long run.

I felt good that throughout most of the way I was in the vicinity of a couple of the Streakers.  For those who do not know, the Streakers are a group of runners who have run the Flying Pig Marathon in each of its 15 years.  If anyone was going to know the way to the finish line, it was a Streaker.  I could always follow them if I felt I was getting lost.

Between miles 5 and 6 I think, I saw DJ and the Big Hand. Yay!  So much fun to see them and high 5 the hand!  I did not see Ernie and other cheerers though, not sure how I missed them.

Around mile 7 a cheerer said “You got this!” and I automatically breathed ‘Yeah, sure.’  Then I said, No, that’s not the right attitude, I DO got this!

We came to the point of the separation of half- and full- marathon routes.  Fewer people to follow now.  Better keep up.

Around mile 12 I was not feeling well at all.  I was done. Over, finished, can’t do it.  I thought well, what if I just go to the nearest medical station, tell them I don’t feel good and get a ride back. At mile TWELVE??!  No, figure something out.  You’re just hungry.  Not enough to eat, need more carbs.  I forced myself to eat the rest of the Stinger chews in my pocket.  I literally had to choke them down.  Took a salt pill, some water, and went on the move.  That must have been it, I felt much better.

I was so looking forward to mile 20.  I know those are supposed to be some tough miles between 20 and 26 but I just needed that mental push of being past 20.  Also I knew Jaime was there somewhere past 20 and while the strangers cheering me on were unbelievably great I was looking forward to seeing a familiar face.  As 22 turned into 23 then into 24 I thought maybe I had missed Jaime too!  Then at mile 25 I found Jaime, Kelly and Steve!   There they were in their big yellow rain coats, yelling for me.  Awesome.  I got big ol’ hugs from Jaime and Kelly.  They offered to run the last mile in with me, but I was doing okay so I went on.  Turns out I really felt my best during those last 6 miles.

Coming up to the finish line I heard my husband yell “Yay Jenny!” and turned to see him there, videoing me as I ran by.  He told me later he was not expecting me right at that time because I was about 10 minutes ahead of the projected finish time he’d received via text.

Finished!!  A volunteer hung the medal around my neck.  I got one of those silver blankets that always look so cool to me.  Since my goal time was ‘finish’, I was right on time!

It was dark in the recovery area.  Maybe on a day with better weather the sun shines in but it was a bit gloomy in there.  There were tables full of small paper cups with Gatorade.  I drank one then took another and walked out to the food area.  I love having a banana after a race, so that was what I looked for first.  They were first up, but were sliced in half.  By this time the ends of all of them were brown and nasty looking.  Yuk, no thanks.  I realize I could eat 2 half bananas, but I really feel that if you run 26.2 miles you are entitled to a whole unadulterated banana.

I moved on to other snacks.  I saw the fruit cups but for some reason those did not appeal to me, just seemed like too much trouble.  Picked up a few things and headed out to find my husband.

I had put a jacket and ball cap in my clear bag from the expo for Chris to bring to the finish area for me.  I  took off my wet jacket and headband and put on the dry jacket and cap.  I thought I would have been absolutely starving but I really wasn’t.  I ate a couple of swiss cake rolls and drank some water.  I was suddenly soooo cold.  My body was shaking, I could not stop shaking.  Yet, dang it, I had just finished a marathon, I was ready for the post-race party!  Um, where is it?  I had Chris walk over to the information booth and ask.  He came back and said “They laughed and told me this is it.”  Well, either we really were not in the right place or, due to my later finish and the rain, it had indeed fizzled out.  Ah well.  Hot shower was sounding great.

I must have been in a time warp out there on the course.  I would take a salt tab and try to remember the time on my Garmin so I could take another in 45 minutes from then, give or take.  Then I would look down at the Garmin and think ‘now what elapsed time was it when I stopped last time?  Surely it hasn’t been almost an hour but I think the time is about an hour later than last time I looked.”  It does not seem like I spent 5 1/2 hours out there.  Another strange thing is that my Garmin says I covered 26.59 miles.  Adding back the .15 I missed at the start, I went 26.74.  Half mile too far!  Where the heck did I go?  lol

The weather, to me, was great.  A couple times after pit stops I got chilly because I had cooled down a bit from not moving.  I was glad I had brought my jacket to be able to put on for a while until I warmed up again.  It only rained for the last few miles and it was only a light rain.  Much better than a hot sunny day.

Those who had run it before had reported the crowd support was great.  I had no idea!  It was unbelievable.  I headed out with the final corral of runners and was really in the last of the pack.  I had support the ENTIRE way..  And not just people standing there.  People applauding, yelling, cheering, encouraging.  Amazing.

On the back of my t-shirt I was wearing the bonus race bib stating ‘First Time Marathoner.’  People who saw that were so encouraging!   One of the Streakers ran up beside me, asked how I was doing, asked if it was what I thought it would be, told me to just run however I felt like running and  not worry about anything else.  When I passed people they would yell up ‘Yay, first timer, go!’.  The course monitors on bicycles would say ‘Good job first timer!’ as they rode past.

There was a little old man with a one-man band that if recall correctly was assembled with duct tape.  People outside of nursing homes, some in wheel chairs.  One group offered a small cup of beer in the home stretch, which I graciously declined.  The coordinated groups – in costumes, dancing groups.  Elvis singing. So many signs to read.  The police and security people standing at intersections all saying “good job!”  I tried to thank people for being out there to cheer and somehow they ended up thanking ME.  Bizarre.  I remember one older lady who was applauding and whom I thanked as I went by, and she looked me straight in the eyes and said “thank YOU, I’m so very proud of you.”  I tried to high-five as many of the little kids along the way as I could.  There were plenty of official water and Gatorade stops but there were also plenty of offerings from the crowd.  People holding out trays of sliced oranges, fruit pieces in baggies.  How long they must have been doing that to still be offering them to me?  A couple of little girls were trying to hand out small bottles of Gatorade but seemed to not have many takers. I had just passed them but went back and asked for one.  Her face lit up.  I carried that darn thing for a few miles, never opened it, dropped it off at a water stop.

I waved at Batman, played runner’s tag with Iron Man, gave thumbs up to Frisch’s Big Boy, slapped some skin to Elvis and high-fived a dog – not a person in a dog suit, a real dog.

I could go on and on and on and ON about how fantastic the people were.  For my non-runner friends, if you ever want to just do something nice for people, just for the heck of it, something that costs you nothing, go stand along a race route and yell, applaud, or just smile.

I’m so glad I did it.  While training I honestly planned that I was going to do it just so I never had to do this again!  Training was hard, the race was wonderful.  As of now I will be fine if I do not run another full marathon.  But I cannot say I’m 100% sure I won’t.  I learned so much during this first experience that I know I would do better and possibly even enjoy it more.

Thank you all, my friends, running and non-running, for all your inspiration and encouragement along the way.

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Jaime’s Derby Recap – Part 2

Now the ever important info: what Jaime learned from her marathon.

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Looking back on my training and recovery now that my marathon was over a week ago, I’m really trying to reflect and figure out how to make the experience better, what worked for me, and what advice I could give to someone looking at running their first.  So far, here’s what I’ve got.   (disclaimer: I am not a coach.  I am not a doctor.  I am not a professional anything, so what I’m doing may not work for you, but you can take from it what you will):

  • I had a near-perfect training plan (wonder where that came from?).  In fact, I very well may just copy/paste and change dates for my future races.  I ran 4 days a week until my 22 miler (yes, you read that right), then I started doing 5 days.  Once I start true marathon training around August-September, I’ll be doing this again.  It started out really slow and gradually built miles, with plenty of weeks of lower-mileage days to keep me from burning out.
  • I went high on mileage for long-long runs.  Higher than most plans recommend, but this was with Coach approval and good physical conditions.  I had a 20, 22, and 24 scheduled.  The 24 ended up being split into two runs (10 on a treadmill, then a half).  While many people can’t, and many shouldn’t, I plan on doing this again (except I’ll run 24 all at once).  I got time on my legs and knew what it felt like to be out there for a long time.  Also: it was a major confidence booster on race day.  I knew, before starting, that I could get that far.
  • Practice your fuel plan.  AGAIN: practice your fuel plan.  Start early.  I started working on how to fuel myself in October for a marathon at the end of April.  Try different gels, chews, liquids, electrolytes.  Try different breakfasts before the run; keep track of your food from the day before.  I had a long-run notebook where I took copious notes: distance, what I ate before, how I slept, who I ran with, pace, how I felt.  If something worked, I tried it again.  If it didn’t, I switched it.  Once I got a plan together: I stuck with it.  I changed nothing on race day.  Race day fuel was identical to every other training run, as was all of my food the day before.  No surprises.  My body knew what to do with what I’d given it, because it had already experienced it many, many times.
  • Practice your runs as close to actual race start time as possible.  This will make a difference in your race, and in your pre-race fueling plan.  Ask Brooke, who had to feed me a banana post-Iron Horse.
  • And a touch more on fueling during runs: what works for a 14 mile may not work for 18.  I found I needed more nutrition the longer I went, and that I needed it from different sources.
  • Cross-train.  I know, who has time for that?  Seriously, folks.  I noticed a huge difference in my recovery post-run once I added cross-training in.  My goal is 2-4 sessions a week of something non-running: swimming, yoga, some other fitness class.  I feel like swimming has helped my lung capacity and aerobic fitness.  Yoga has given me a sense of calm and is teaching me to listen to my body and its needs.  That made a huge difference during the race.  I’m keeping both up, and hoping to add riding my bike more this summer.  You may end up doing two-a-days on some days to get the cross-training in and still have a rest day.  I did some 3-a-days due to my schedule.  Yes, fitting everything in was crazy.  But cross-training really is that important, folks.
  • Take care of yourself after a long run.  Walk around a bit before getting in the car, and really, don’t sit down straight away.  Drink some water or electrolyte mix and eat a bit as soon as you can (this is very hard for me, as my tummy doesn’t like food after a long run).  Find a post-run routine that works for you.  Me?  I go home, get a big bottle of water, and hit the shower.  Immediately after my shower, I soak in a hot bath.  It’s what works for me.  Some people prefer an ice bath.  Some people foam roll and then shower.  Your body is different from everyone else’s.  Play around early in your plan to find what works for you.  Stick with that routine.
  • Sloth days.  Sloth days are days were you do no intentional exercise (these should be even lazier days than rest days).  I personally feel that you should have at least one a week during high-intensity training.  Some people take more.  Some take none.  Play around with your training plan to find which day of the week works best for you.  For me, in the end, my Sloth days ended up being the day before my long run.  I’ve learned, through hard, painful, 18 miles of experience that my body cannot handle exercise the day before a long run.  That’s the way I’m built.  Again, play around.  Some people sloth after a long run.  I find that I recover faster if I do a short, easy, 2-mile shakeout the day after a long run.  Yes, even the day after a marathon.  Most people are horrified by that thought.  I admit it’s crazy, but it works, and I’ve recovered like a champ from my first marathon.
  • Flexibility.  I’m not talking about stretching, though you should do that, too.  I’m talking about being flexible with your training plan.  And here’s something that you may not want to hear about marathon training: it’s going to suck a bit.  Sometimes more than a bit.  You’re going to wake up to that alarm going off and curse the fact that you signed up for this crazy race that’s months away.  You’re going to roll over and say “duck it, not gonna!”  So, when this happens, you’ve got some choices: skip the run (or the cross-training) completely, do it anyway, or rearrange.  It doesn’t really matter what day you do what run on, as long as you’ve got the time for it and you are feeling okay.  Now, don’t go doing speedwork the day before or after your long run.  9 times out of 10, I got up and did the workout anyway because I didn’t want to fool with rearranging.  And 9 times out of 10, you’ll at least be proud of the fact that you stuck to your plan and finished.  And that 10th time, you may ask?  That 10th time is the time when sleep won out over working out.  And that’s okay too.
  • Sleep.  Speaking of, you’re going to need it.  A plan can look amazing on paper, and you can do everything right training-wise, and still have problems if you don’t sleep properly.  You’ll probably need a little more than normal during high-intensity training.  Get as much sleep as you can, and try to get high-quality sleep.
  • Food.  Some people will tweak their diets during marathon training.  Some people don’t pay any attention to what goes in their mouths, while others will follow the strictest of dietary standards.  I’m of the “everything in moderation, including moderation” school of thought.  I watched my calories (something I’ll always have to do, for weight-control reasons), but I generally ate what I wanted when I wanted.  That may work for you, it may not.  Again: this is *your* body.  What works for mine, or for someone else’s, may not be right for you.  If you’re going to make changes, make them early so you have time to get the kinks out before you’re really logging the miles.

And, in the end, almost all of this advice can be summed up by four simple words: listen to your body.  Feed it when it’s hungry.  Baby it when it’s sore.  Let it sleep when it’s tired.  If something hurts, don’t push it.  Some days it’s going to be a struggle to work out, but is it your mind or is it your body that’s saying no?  If it’s your body: listen.  Obey it.  Be gentle with yourself.  You may get injured.  Life may throw a wrench in all your plans.  Again: flexibility.  It’s okay to not run a marathon when it’s going to be detrimental for you to try.  Being strong enough to say “not this time around” is so much harder than you can imagine, but is often the best decision.

If you’re looking at training for your first marathon, depending on where you are at right now, you’ve got about a year of this training thing to go through.  It may seem overwhelming at first.  Baby steps.  One mile at a time.  The world may not recognize that you’re a marathoner until after you cross that finish line.  You’ll have a shiny (well, maybe it’s shiny) medal to hold up and prove it.  But that moment, my friend, is not the moment you become a marathoner.  You become a marathoner on cold Saturday mornings when you’re at mile 12 long before the normal person has had their first cup of coffee.  You become a marathoner on Friday nights when you’re in bed early and everyone else is out partying.  You become a marathoner after those horrible, awful, no good, very bad runs when you wanted to give up halfway through and didn’t.  Here’s something that nobody besides me may tell you:  you become a marathoner while you’re training to become one.

Jaime’s Derby Recap – Part 1

Jaime ran her first marathon at the Kentucky Derby Marathon Festival on April 27th. I am so proud of this girl I can’t hardly see straight. Today you’ll get her marathon experience and tomorrow her reflections. Feel free to leave her congratulatory notes! 

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The National Anthem was sung.  The elites were at mile 8 (okay, so maybe only at 2 or 3).  It was about 14 minutes into the official start of the Derby Marathon/MiniMarathon.  And I was about to cross the starting line.  A journey that began on August 1, 2012 was at the beginning of the end.

As I looked to my left, to tell my best friend and hetero-life partner that now, officially, no one could say that I had DNS’ed a marathon, she looked back at me and said “Yay!!  You’ve popped your marathon cherry!!!”  I laughed, and we trotted on down the street.  We kept an eye on our pace so that I wouldn’t go out of the gate way too fast and burn out.  I had a plan and was going to stick to it.  Got to see the Strider cheer squad and get some early hugs in, as well as high-fiving Big Hand.  Felt amazing to be running with so many people.  You see such diversity at races!

Katie and I stayed together until Churchill Downs, just before the split.  I ran into the fancy flushing toilets that still had toilet paper, with Katie running on, yelling her love and encouragement back at me.  Got a hug from a friend I didn’t even know would be there (yay!), and then I was on my own as the split approached.

Literally.  On my own.  A race volunteer pointed at me: “Marathoner!!!”  She pointed to her left.  “That side of the road!!!!”  The side of the road that nobody else was on.  Nobody.  Not in front of me, nor behind me.  For over a half a mile, the only marathoners I saw were the ones that were coming back into town.  But it was okay.  I only had 3 miles to get to my gear exchange with Krissie.  I can run 3 by myself.  Just before the park, a nice water station volunteer offered me a gel with an encouraging “you’re halfway done!!”

“Really, son?  Can you not do math?  11 is not half of 26.2.”  He laughed, and I ran on.  Exchanged gear.  Hugged Krissie.  Found out Beth was ahead of me in the park and hightailed it looking for her.  In the end, she found me (I honestly don’t think someone yelling my name has sounded so awesome before that moment), and we ran/walked through most of the park together.

Exiting the park, I came upon the man running the marathon while dribbling a basketball.  And I pushed my pace to get away from him because I was not about to be DQ’d for taking out another participant.  I don’t know where the crazy singing girl was at, but I hightailed it away from her, too.  While it may have pushed my pace and body farther than I wanted, I regret nothing about keep my sanity in those spots.

My legs started feeling wonky about 17.  It was like they couldn’t clear the gunk built up in them.  So I took a walk break, casually sipping water from my Camelbak (or water teat, whichever makes you happier), and checked Twitter to see how on-pace I was (thanks, LaTanya, for tracking & tweeting my updates).  Again, I was alone: by that time even the crowds had had enough and were gone.

At 18, I made the big decision.  I decided that, yes, I could push and hit my tentative goal of a sub-5 hour race.  But I might not finish happy.  And would, most likely, end up in actual pain if I did try to push.  So, right there at the 18 mile marker, when I started running again with the determination to get that mile ran completely, I decided to run for a good time, to finish, and to be happy during it.  Now, 18-20 were kind of a blur.  Somewhere in there I was nearly taken out by a moving van that the police had let through the blocked intersection.  The poor father cheering from the corner freaked out more than I did.  I walked a lot more than I had intended or wanted.  But I was running at 20 when I came upon the Striders again.  Michel ran a bit with me.  Ernie was there beaming.  Jenny had my name on her jacket and a hug just for me.  And Lori.  My Lori.  Who ran so many of the training miles with me, encouraging me every step.  She was there, and she ran about two blocks with me to make sure I was okay, and to encourage me more, even as I was yelling at her about running on her sore foot.  A final hug, and I kept running.  I hope she didn’t realize that I was about to cry with happiness at running that little smidge with her.

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21-24 were, again, a blur.  Time messed with my head.  I was lonely.  My legs hurt like they’d never before.  I wanted some blue powerade like there was no tomorrow.  I nearly texted Katie to tell her to make sure she had some for me, but I was afraid of worrying her by texting her while I’m supposed to be running.  I high-fived every small child and little old lady I could find.  I smiled and thanked every police officer.  Thanked the water station people even though I had my own water.  Smiled and thanked anyone who yelled encouragement, even though that was sparse.  I heckled the spectators that weren’t participating like they should.  Or the ones who were lying (“You can’t tell me I’m almost there!!  I’m not, and you’re lying!!”  “If this *isn’t* the last hill, I’m coming back here for you afterwards!!!”  “Don’t look so damn gloomy, honey!!”)

The 5:15 pace group caught up to me, and then passed me.  That, my friends, was a really low point.  Really low.  I very nearly cried.  But as I passed a med tent, I overheard a lady say something like “wow, she looks really good.  She’s got this.”  I don’t even give a damn if she was talking about me or not.  I owned it anyway, and kept it in my head.  Somewhere in that stretch, I ran with one of the Marathon Maniacs named Rick.  He ended up running ahead of me when I needed another walking break, but as I passed spectators, he had spread the word that it was my first marathon, and they cheered me on by name.

I was walking again when I saw this beacon of black and pink sunshine ahead.  Stacy had come to check on me.  At the lonely, most desolate point that I’d been at.  I nearly cried again.  She ran me to the 25 mile marker, asking how I was feeling, and how it was going.  She said I wouldn’t remember what we talked about.  I don’t, not really.  I just remember how it felt to be reminded that I wasn’t alone out there, even when it felt like I was.

I finally saw the 26 mile marker ahead in the distance.  My throat tightened.  I was going to finish.  Katie came running up to me, and I very, very nearly ugly-cried.  She ran next to me as we approached my girls.  My tribe.  Cheering for me at the end, despite the fact that they’d already ran for hours and cheered for more and were freezing themselves.  Even now, I’m about to start crying again.  To know that they really had been there, waiting just to see me pass.  I am amazed by my tribe.  And so thankful to have friends like them.

I turned the corner.  The announcer called out my name.  I heckled one of the spectators that had told me I was almost there that she could actually say that now (yes, spectators, we remember the ones that lie to us early on).  I threw my arms up in the air and I crossed the line.  I was officially a marathoner.

I asked which one of the blanket-givers wanted to cuddle me.  Rick, the Marathon Maniac, was waiting on me to cross, to congratulate me, and he walked me to get my medal.  We hugged, and I went to get my powerade.

And they were out of powerade when I got there.  Bananger is nothing compared to powerade-anger.  Seriously, I’d wanted that thing for at least 6 miles.  And they ran out.  As in, the guy who came ahead of me had the last bottle.  If he hadn’t been swigging the last gulp, I would have ripped it out of his hand.  I’ll make sure I’ve got my blue G2 on me, or waiting on me, from now on.

Overall, the best impression I can give of this race was “lonely”.  Yes, there was pretty good crowd support.  But for a social runner, which is what I consider myself now, it was just lonely.  I was a lone wolf in desperate need of my wolfpack.  The course was fine, mostly flat with the exception of Iroquois Park (which wasn’t as bad as I had feared) and a final hill around 22-23 (that I hadn’t been prepared for at all, but got up).  Water stops were awesome, tons of volunteers in very high spirits (one of whom apologized for not having bourbon when I asked for it).  Shirt is bright yellow, but not offensively so.  My biggest complaint: at no point, nowhere, did I get to hear “Eye of the Tiger.”  Seriously, people, it’s a marathon.  I thought it was understood that marathons and this song went hand in hand.

Will I run another marathon?  Yes, I will.  I have, in fact, already signed up for another (insert Richmond site here).  Yes, less than 48 hours after I finished my first, I signed up for my second marathon.  I may be insane.  I do know I’ll never run another one alone or without music again.  I think music to distract me would have helped a lot, and I’m buying some good earbuds this week to practice with.

And I have only one regret.  Just one.  I regret that I didn’t steal that man’s can of beer somewhere around 22-23.  Cause really, how awesome would it have been to have ran to Krissie and said “Here, hold my beer while I finish this thing”?

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