Running on gluten-free carbs…

Archive for April, 2012

Hitting 350 miles

350 MILES!!!

350 MILES!!!

I’ve put a lot of time, energy, strength, sweat, tears, and bruises into my half marathon training.  I’ve continued to run races around the area and…in Colorado (because I am crazy!)…while maintaining my training program and keeping up with the mileage that is required on certain days.  And I have had a blast doing it.

Well, today was my last long run before I kick off my first (of four, so far) half marathon of the year.  I’m totally excited to be doing another half marathon.  This will only be the second one that I have run, but I have trained smart for it…really listened to my body…and have found my runs improving.  It makes me feel really good.

But today, something else happened on my last long run.  Well, I discovered my water bottle was leaking…but that’s beside the point.  As I rounded up my 10 mile run today, after an easy 5 miles followed by the last 5 miles with hills (I’m apparently a masochist when it comes to my training runs), I hit the 350 mile mark on my journey to run 500 miles this year.  I couldn’t be more proud of this achievement either.  This hasn’t been an easy road.  I’ve even had to run on a sore Achilles tendon (I slowed down and didn’t push it on hills or for speed).  I’ve worried about injuries, endured minor ones, one major one, and kept on going despite it.  Why?  Because I have a half marathon next weekend and I want to be ready for it.

When I ran my first half marathon last year in Chicago, I wasn’t prepared for it.  I was straight off of a stress fracture to my foot and horrible runner’s knee in my right knee.  Training wasn’t an option…I could barely run a mile on a treadmill at a slow speed.  So, it was a miracle I finished.  I didn’t eat right for it.  I didn’t train.  And yet…I got to that finish line in a respectable time.

My goal…to only improve on that.

So, having 350 miles behind me already feels great.  I feel great.  I couldn’t be more excited about hitting the road in Indianapolis next Saturday for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon.  I think it will be a good race. I think I will run a good race.  And, I have 350 miles of training to thank for that.

Only 150 more to go.  Looks like I might have to increase my goal for the year.

And that, my dearest friends, is how you can tell that I run for the love of it.  I don’t make myself go out and run.  I willingly go and put in the miles.  It makes me feel better about life when I do it because I run because I love to run.  And there is no better reason to run than because you love it.  If you don’t love doing it…you’ll stop doing it.  And I hope to be doing this for a very long time.


Step 4 Life 5K – Brighton, CO (April 21, 2012)

Me crossing the finish line at the Step 4 Life 5K - Brighton, Colorado

Me crossing the finish line at the Step 4 Life 5K - Brighton, Colorado

Race: Step 4 Life 5K/10K Race

Place: Brighton, CO

Date: April 21, 2012

Time: 27:16

To quote U2: “EL-E-VATION!”

So…here it is.  I live in a river valley.  The Ohio River Valley here in Southern Indiana.  I’m so close to Louisville, Kentucky, I can see it from my apartment.  Yeah.  New Albany, Indiana sits at an elevation of 449 feet.

Now picture for a moment doing your first run ever in Colorado at 5,063 feet.  Yeah.  Elevation indeed!

Every April, I fly out to Denver, Colorado for a science fiction convention.  No, really…I do.  I love visiting Colorado.  It’s such a beautiful state and every time I go out there, I hate leaving.  I long for the next time I’ll be back.  That’s how much I love it.  This year, since I have taken up running and am pursuing a goal of running a race in all 50 states at some point, I thought why not run a race and cross Colorado off the list.  My roommate found one…the Step 4 Life 5K/10K race that benefited lung cancer research.  Awesome.

I really, really wanted to do the 10K, but after much thought and evaluation, decided it would probably be best when going from river valley to mountains to do a test run on the 5K.  So, that’s what I signed up for.  And, believe me, I had a lot of people concerned about how I would do at it.  For me…I was just going to take it easy and do what I felt my body could do.

So, race morning came around.  A beautiful 52 degree, sunny morning.  I got up, ate a light breakfast of some gluten-free cereal and got dressed for the race.  The drive from Denver to Brighton took about 25 minutes overall, and we got there right about the time we hoped to.  I went to pick up my packet…and unfortunately…they couldn’t find my name on the list.  YIKES!

But, they were very professional about it and simply handed me a number, had me write down my information, and let me enter.  I had the receipt showing I paid for it, but they didn’t even ask to see it.  Awesome.  So, now that I was officially part of the race with my t-shirt and all, I went to pick up my timing chip.

This was apparently the first year that they used chip timing.  So, this was going to be a new experience for anyone who had run this before.  As I am getting pinned up and put, what I like to call the “house arrest timing chip” around my ankle, I’m noticing the other runners in the race.  They are all super fit.  No surprise.  Colorado is the home of the two healthiest cities in the entire United States (Boulder and Fort Collins).  So, there were people who had run the Boston Marathon that year, and people who were just all muscle.  Lean, mean running machines.  I consider myself to be in decent shape (although I admit that I do love my ice cream and chocolate too much for my own running good, but it never stops me!), but I was really intimidated by these other runners.

First race at elevation...done!

First race at elevation...done!

I guess that’s just natural.  I usually try not to compare myself to others that are running with me, because no matter how fit someone is (or not fit) you don’t know how well they perform when running.  I have been bested by people I thought I would leave behind in the dust, and likewise I have blasted past people I thought I’d never even have a chance of passing.  It’s just one of those weird running quirks.

Well, race time was upon us and I was stretched out and as prepared as I was going to be.  I booted up my iPod Nano and went to line up.  In my head I was just reminding myself to breathe (which is what my headband for this race said, btw!).  The announcer said that the 10K people were to line up first as they would kick off the race.  Then the 5K people.  Most of us didn’t hear him say they would have a separate start, but thankfully he said this before too many of the 5K people set out with the 10K people.  After a two minute gap, they turned us loose on the course.

I did start off slower than I usually do.  I really just wanted to see how I would do with the change in elevation and the thinner air.  But, I felt good as I headed out and found myself running at a decent, though not normal, pace.  That was a good thing.  If I felt good, that meant I could push it a little more.  After my first mile, I decided to do just that.  And here is where we hit some minor inclines.  No big deal now.  I run on hills in my practice runs, easy and hard, so I pushed past them without any problem.  And hey…I was passing people.  Me!  The lowlander from Indiana.  The one not used to running at this sort of elevation.  Yeah…I was passing and pressing onward.

The race course had a turn around point and as I passed a water station, the first of the 10K racers were heading back in our direction.  Except they missed the turn, and when someone shouted after them, the guy in the lead just darted across my path, almost knocking right into me and pushing me over.  I don’t think he would have stopped if that had actually occurred.  But thankfully I was paying attention, pulled up to a quick stop and then continued onward.  The turn-around point was a bit of a choke point.  I was catching up to people as we were reaching the cone to run around and there was no room to maneuver past them, so I had to simply run their pace for a moment until the breakaway.

And breakaway I did.  Down the hill I had run up, and then toward the water stop.  Carefully I crossed against the people still coming the other way and made my way into the final leg of the race.  One mile to go.  The course was a mix of gravel, concrete, and then…grass.  Yes…grass.  I love running on grass, but I wasn’t expecting it.  By now, I could see the finish line.  It still felt miles away and I was starting to feel the effects of the elevation.  I was more tired than usual, but I wasn’t about to stop.  This race was so much fun and I was having a great time and not really worrying about what time I came in.  Just finishing it would be amazing and awesome.  And that was my goal.

Over a wooden footbridge and down the straightaway to the finish  line.  I was heading into the last stretch.  Here is where I normally put on the speed and dash all out for the finish, but I didn’t hear.  I couldn’t.  Not this time.  But I did put a little more speed into it…but only a little.  I was tired.  I admit that I was tired.

And I finished.  My GPS watch stated at 27:10, but the official race results says 27:16.  So, either way…a respectable time.

Here is where the Step 4 Life 5K stands.  I finished, as I said, in 27:16.  I was the I was 24/87 5K finishers overall and 6/41 women.  And, of course, I finished 3/19 in my division.  Being that this was my first race ever at altitude, I think that’s pretty rockstar.  Yeah…I’m proud of that.  And in the end, I felt great.  I had an amazing race.  And if it runs again next year, you better believe I’ll be a part of it.

Maybe I’ll even attempt the 10K.  Maybe.

(On a side note, the second song to come up on my shuffled running mix on my iPod that day was U2’s “Elevation.”  Perfection!)

300 miles of road behind me

300 MILES!

300 MILES!

It feels like just the other day I was touting my accomplishment of hitting the halfway mark to my goal of 500 miles this year.  It seems that the mileage ramp-up to my first half marathon has been inching me further and further up the mileage chart.

It only seems fitting then that I struck my 300 mile mark during my long run on Sunday morning.  In fact, I hit 300 miles in mile 6 of my long run.  I just wasn’t aware of it at the time.  I was focusing on my breathing, my footfall, and taking it easy on a tight, sore Achilles tendon that has been giving me some grief over the past week.

It’s the middle of April and in a couple of weeks the taper starts as the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon will be kicking off.  It’s the largest mini-marathon in the United States and it runs up in Indianapolis.  I am thrilled to be a part of it.  I’ve trained hard for this race.  I’m still working on proper fueling on long runs, but I’m getting the endurance part down.  I think I’ll do better here than in Chicago, where I ran my first half marathon last September, completely untrained and completely lacking the knowledge of how to properly fuel and prepare for 13.1 miles of constant running.

This is my hope anyway.

A lot of my ability to work toward my mileage goal for the year just happens to be a direct result of my half marathon training.  I honestly hope it pays off in the end.

That being said, I’m still looking ahead.  Any one thing can derail a streak like this.  And while you try not to dwell on it, accidents happen.  Injuries happen.  I hope that I can continue to run safe and smart.

300 miles down…200 more to go.  Every mile closer feels so good!

Tomorrow’s Children 5K Fun Run/Walk – Frankfort, KY (April 14, 2012)

Me crossing the finish line at the Tomorrow's Children 5K Fun Run/Walk - Frankfort, Kentucky

Me crossing the finish line at the Tomorrow's Children 5K Fun Run/Walk - Frankfort, Kentucky

Race: Tomorrow’s Children 5K Fun Run/Walk

Place: Frankfort, KY

Date: April 14, 2012

Time: 25:32

Races are supposed to be fun.  No pressure.  No expectations.  Just get out there and run.

That being said…this was the first race I ever revisited to date…although it won’t be the last.  Of course, this was also a race that I showed really well at the first time I ran it, so expectations were actually there.  In my head.  No one was putting them on me.  But, I wanted to prove that I rightfully placed last year and the bad weather wasn’t the reason I won first in my division (30-39).

No pressure.  That’s a joke.

I woke up that morning and got dressed for the race.  It was going to be a perfect 54 degrees out at race time, so I was in my shorts and a short sleeve t-shirt…and opted for fun rainbow socks.  I don’t know why.  I was just feeling all Skittle-ish that morning, I suppose.

The drive to Frankfort always seems longer than it is.  It’s not really all that far, but I didn’t eat breakfast at home.  I saved my cereal for the ride and broke into it around 7:30 a.m. as we were heading into the Frankfort area.  I didn’t want to eat too soon and risk being hungry during the race, but I didn’t want to eat too late either.  As it was, I think I got the timing down perfectly.

The drive in got a bit stressful as my roommate never can quite remember where to go.  I race in Frankfort often enough, but it seems she always turns too soon and we end up getting lost.  This did happen.  And then once we got turned around, the bridge we were supposed to take was closed.  So we followed some detour signs, spotted some runners, parked the car on the street and found our way to packet pickup via “Eye of the Tiger” blaring up the streets of Frankfort via a stereo system.

I got my packet.  Then got my number pinned on me…and went to use the bathroom once more before the race.  As there was a pancake breakfast (not gluten-free…so sad!) afterwards, we had access to the church’s bathrooms (huzzah for plumbing).  Then, it was time to stretch it out.  And I really wanted to stretch well as my Achilles tendon on my left foot has been giving me troubles since my roommate accidentally stepped on it and did some minor damage.  So stretching was very, very important that morning.  My tendon was a little tender as it was so I wanted to warm it up without putting any strain on it.  I’d be doing enough of that with the run.

And before I knew it, the runners were getting into the road to line up for the start.  There was nothing really to indicate the start line, so one of the organizers got out there and waved her arms to indicate where we should line up.  And so…we moved forward and took our spots.  And somehow…I ended up where I never do…the front.

I went ahead and started my iPod because it would be one less thing to worry about as the race started.  It was down low so I could talk to people if I wanted and could clearly hear the announcements.  They had a prayer just before the race and then once the Frankfort police that were assisting gave the thumbs up…they got us on our marks, getting set…and we were off.

To say that I was up front for the entire thing is a stretch of the truth.  Considering the winner finished 9 minutes before I did means that while I was up at the front, I was nowhere near the lead pack.  Between the start of the race and mile one, which included a steep little hill, I was the second female within range.  The only other one was just ahead of me and just after mile 1, I passed her…only to be passed by two other women running together.  One I recognized as the overall winner of this exact race last year.  As I came up toward the capital, the other woman I passed went by me on the uphill part as well as two other females, who I ended up passing and never saw again as soon as it leveled out.  Damn, time to work on hill repeats.  I have got to get stronger on those hills.

I passed up the other woman again on the downhill and managed to stay ahead of her heading into mile 2.  At mile 2 I was even closing the gap on the two other women who were just ahead of me.  I was struggling a little because I knew that I went out really fast on this race.  I always tell myself not to, and to save it for the end, but I really got caught up in this one.  Probably because I felt like I really had something to prove.  Not to anyone else…but to myself.  I felt good as I ran down the hill and headed back through the city toward the finish line.  As I turned a corner, I could see the finish line clock and I did my best to pick up the speed…but I really just couldn’t.

My roommate was standing at the front of the finish, I could see her screaming, then hear her screaming, telling me to push, to dig, to go faster.  The two women ahead of me crossed together.  My roommate was pointing, flailing her hands, screaming at me to run faster.  And I found out why a second before I crossed the finish line.  That other woman, the one I battled back and forth with throughout the course, blew right past me and beat me to the finish line.

By one second.

I slowed and went through the finish gate, feeling…a mix of emotions really.  The tag of my bib was torn off and I saw my roommate moving toward me.  “Shit!” I said, despite being at a church.  I wasn’t happy.  Not at all.  I had nothing left at the end and that was my undoing.  The other woman, Heather Drake (a name I will never forget!), proceeded to move to the side and throw up.  Well, at least I made her push hard enough to puke up her breakfast, right?


Racing has never been about winning medals and placing for me.  I do it because I love it.  It means getting out to run with other people who love to run.  The vibe, the atmosphere…it’s all just amazing.  And it keeps me going back to races, no matter how short or how long.  And it challenges me…pushes me to do better.  But for some reason, being beat out at the last second by someone I passed and didn’t see again…stung.  It really, really bothered me.

I languished for a moment on the sidewalk as I drank down a bottle of water.  Then I remembered I never stopped my GPS watch, so now my time was all off.  So I cussed again, threw a little fit, and then took a few deep breaths and reminded myself that this was supposed to be fun.  My roommate helped with this too, telling me that I had a good race, that I ran well, and that while I still haven’t reached that elusive sub-25 minute goal, I ran well and finished.  And she was right.  Why was I being so petty?  Was it because I had placed first in my division last year and just felt I needed to do it again for this race to mean something to me?  Probably.  But it was the wrong attitude to have.

After taking a moment to reflect on this, I stood up and went into the church bathroom to get changed out of my running clothes.  I put one of my Icy-Hot patches on my tendon and headed up to the pancake breakfast, despite not being able to eat anything there.  That was okay though, I had brunch plans back in Louisville, so I just sort of took a seat, put my foot up and waited for the awards ceremony to start.

Once people were given time to eat, the awards were handed out.  For overall women, there was a tie for first (so it went first and second) and then Heather Drake (dammit!) took third overall.

One second.

Me with my medal for winning first in my age division (30-39) at the Tomorrow's Children 5K Fun Run/Walk - Frankfort, Kentucky

Me with my medal for winning first in my age division (30-39) at the Tomorrow's Children 5K Fun Run/Walk - Frankfort, Kentucky

But I knew that this also meant that I had, in fact, defended my title, which was the original goal in the first place.  My name was announced…first in my division, and I went to get my medal.  I was happy.  I really was.  I would have been even if I had taken second or third.  It was a good race for a good cause, and that was the important thing.  Defending my title just put a little extra pressure on me that I probably didn’t need to carry with me…and in the future, I’ll remember that.

I was quite proud of myself for accomplishing my original goal.  So, I was one second away from being one of the top female finishers overall.  ONE SECOND!  *cough*  So, I didn’t set a new PR.  What I did do, however, was run strong, run fast, and run well.  In the future, I’ll pace myself better.  I will save some push for the end.  And one day…I’ll see the results of this.  For now, I will call this a job well done and a race well run.

And I’m okay with that.  Even that one second.  Okay…maybe I’m not over that yet…but I will get there.

With all that being said, my official results of the Tomorrow’s Children 5K Fun Run/Walk are that I finished the race in 25:32.  I was the I was 17/108 finishers overall and 4/42 women.  And, of course, I finished 1/22 in my division.  All that being said, it was a damn good race with damn good results.

I can’t wait to run it again next year.

Returning to a race with high expectations

Tomorrow's Children 5K Fun Run and Walk

Tomorrow's Children 5K Fun Run and Walk, Frankfort, KY

It’s difficult, as a runner, not to try to compare races. And normally races do stand on their own. No race is exactly like another. Weather, people, and even how you feel that day can affect performance and overall mood.

But this is a first for me…because I am returning to a race for the first time. Ever.

Last year, I ran in the Tomorrow’s Children 5K race in Frankfort, Kentucky. The race basically benefits people in the Frankfort community who are struggling with infertility. It’s held as a fundraiser and a way to bring awareness of the organization to the community. I have quite a few friends who struggle with infertility…so, this was a good cause to run for.

Back in 2011, this was my second 5K I ever ran. Ever. As in the history of my running career…which at that point consisted of a couple months of running around the track at the YMCA…little runs on the treadmill at the gym…and one 5K race a couple weeks prior. So, I was still quite the newbie to the racing scene. And, the drive out there was interesting as we had s a bit of thunder, some lightning, and a lot of rain. The lightning was gone by the time we got to packet pickup, but the rain was still constant. Up until the race was about to begin. Then…there was a lull.

But that only lasted a moment. No sooner had the race kicked off, but the sky opened up again and down came the rain. But, runners run in rain all the time. This was a new experience for me. And guess what…it was kinda fun too.

Dripping wet, I crossed the finish line in 27:04.

And won first in my division.

In my second 5K race…ever.

So, let’s put it this way…I’m nervous about not living up to that this year. The weather is supposed to be good…during the race. Keeping with tradition of me running in Frankfort, Kentucky…rain is scheduled for that day…just after the race is run. So, the turnout might be better. The runners…might be stronger. And, I feel like I have to prove to myself that winning that division title wasn’t just a fluke of bad weather and a small turn-out. I feel like I need to prove that I rightfully earned it…even with it being my second race ever.

Yeah, that’s a little bit of pressure weighing on my shoulders. And, of course, I might feel like a little bit of a failure should I not clinch the title this year too. But, you know, I don’t run to win divisions or place. I run because it’s something I enjoy and love to do. But, a part of me feels like I have a crown to defend here. And, despite having been nursing a sore Achilles tendon all week, a part of me wants to run like I’ve never run before tomorrow and just see what comes of it.

In the end, I’ll run a smart race. And whether I place at all won’t matter in the end. What matters is that I finish…be it first or last. And that’s the hardest lesson for some runners to bring to each race…and take home from each race too.

Do I feel like I have something to prove tomorrow? Yes. It’s only natural.

But if I walk away just another finisher…I’m okay with that too. I’m a winner just for taking part and finishing. And if I can do so without limping due to a sore tendon…all the better.

Second verse…same as the first? We’ll find out tomorrow.

Bunny Hop 5K – Westerville, OH (April 7, 2012)

Crossing the finish line at the Bunny Hop 5K - Hoff Woods Park, Westerville, Ohio

Crossing the finish line at the Bunny Hop 5K - Hoff Woods Park, Westerville, Ohio

Race: Bunny Hop 5K

Place: Hoff Woods Park, Westerville, OH

Date: April 7, 2012

Time: 25:24

Cheer up sleepy Jean…Oh what can it mean?

Welcome to my tribute race to the late, great Davy Jones from The Monkees.  I know what you’re thinking…you’re probably wondering why I dedicated an Easter race to a member of the band The Monkees.  Well, there is no method to my madness this time.  The answer is simple…I wanted to.

Nothing bummed me out more than coming out of my lunch meeting at my office on February 29 and finding out about the passing of Davy Jones.  You see, I was one of those people who never stopped listening to The Monkees.  I owned the entire series on VHS…later DVD.  I have all the CDs.  I’ve seen The Monkees in concert twice.  I earned the nickname “Monkeegirl” in high school.  So, yeah, I was in a deep funk when I heard about Davy Jones.  I wasn’t prepared.  And it still saddens me.

So…an idea came to mind to dedicate a race to him.  My next race where this was a viable option (aka: not part of a racing series), was the Bunny Hop 5K in Westerville, OH.  Why was this a good choice?  Well, for one thing I’d be with two friends (my roommate and my awesome friend Jenn) who were also fans of The Monkees.  And…because it was a good, little race so nothing would really detract from the meaning of the tribute (despite the presence of the Easter Bunny).

With the idea now in my head, I signed up for the race and got my accessories ready.  What accessories, you might ask.  Well, my Bondi Band read “Daydream Believer” across it and I (and my cheering section) wore sashes that said “Homecoming Queen” on them.  And if you have never heard the lyrics for The Monkees song Daydream Believer, you have either been hiding under a rock or need to get more cultured in music.  The chorus is:

“Cheer up sleepy Jean…oh, what can it mean…to a daydream believer and a homecoming queen…”

Get it?  Daydream Believer.  Homecoming Queen.  Brilliant.

So, after work on Friday, my roommate and I hopped into the car and drove from Indiana to Columbus, Ohio, to hang out for the weekend with the amazing Jenn.  It was a long drive and we got there in enough time to eat Pink Salad (it’s delicious!), make signs for the following morning, talk, and hit the sack.

Morning came way, way, way too soon.  I was still a zombie when the alarm went off.  But, I got out of bed, and started to get dressed for the race.  Thankfully before leaving Indiana the day before I went back to my apartment on my lunch break to grab warmer clothes to run in.  It was freezing that morning and I had originally packed my running skirt and a short sleeve tech shirt.  No good on a morning in the very low 30s when frost is on the ground.  My pants and running jacket made the journey with me.  It had been awhile since I had to break out the jacket.  Then again, Columbus seems to know when I’m coming to visit and gets very cold just to tick me off (true facts!).

So, dressed and with a Blueberry Muffin LäraBar in hand, my friends and I headed out to scrape some frost off the car windows and head to the park for packet pickup.

The tribute sign to Davy Jones I wore on my back during the race

The tribute sign to Davy Jones I wore on my back during the race

It was an easy drive in, despite the need to turn around and grab a forgotten cup for the coffee that would follow the race.  Once at the park, we found a good place to park and I went and grabbed my packet.  Inside was a gourmet cookie (I gave it to Jenn as I can’t eat it with my gluten intolerance), a water bottle, bunny ears, my shirt, and my race bib (no chip timing!).  I got my sash pinned on and my number too.  And then I got a sign pinned to me that indicated who I was dedicating the race to.  Then the three of us retreated to the car for a little while to warm up.  I hate the cold.  With about 20 minutes to go before the race, we finally crawled out of the warm sanctuary and I set to stretching a bit before we were directed toward the starting line.

The starting line was over in another parking lot.  It was just a short little walk across a path.  There was a chalk line drawn across the pavement and a yellow flag was set up to mark the start.  Awesome.  I stretched a little more, spotted the cameo appearance by the Easter Bunny (it was, after all, the Bunny Hop 5K the day before Easter Sunday), and listened to the announcements.  Our lead vehicle was a guy on a “pink Easter bike.”  I don’t know what it is about me and park runs and guys on bikes.  This is the second one.  He was going to guide us on the path.  So, after the announcements and a warm up of bunny hopping (for real), I readied my iPod, my GPS watch, and soon, we were off.

Apparently the head of the pack was taking the Bunny Hop 5K pretty seriously because my roommate later told me that the announcer said, “Guys!  It’s only a fundraiser!”  But some runner types are so serious about every race.  And that’s okay.

So, the run was a good one.  We wound our way out of the park and down through some residential neighborhoods.  It was a relatively flat terrain, with only small inclines.  I was really doing my best to keep my usual 5K pace, but I was having some trouble with my Achilles tendon.  It was pulled earlier in the week and I’d been doing my best to baby it in preparation for this race, and the upcoming half marathon in a month.  So, I started off a bit slower and worked my way up to pace.

The run was fun.  At the point where we turned around, the guys directing us saw me coming and said, “Daydream believer and a homecoming queen.  AWESOME!”  I pumped my fist in the air and smiled.  YES!!  They got it without seeing the tribute sign attached to my back.

I knew I was making pretty decent time, mostly in part to my GPS watch.  LOVE that thing.  It really does help me keep on pace and push when I need to.  I didn’t push too hard though, not with the Achilles tendon screaming at me.  So, I just sort of stayed at my pace, and wound my way back through the neighborhood to the park.  We were directed into the last turn and there was the finish line.  The big inflatable arch was really hard to  miss.

As there was no chip timing for this race, when runners crossed the finish line, we were handed a card.  All we needed to do was put our name on it, and they would fill out the rest with our time.  Oh, and for the first 50 men and the first 50 females to cross the finish…we also got medals.  Awesome.

It was a fun race.  But I was cold, in need of my Caribou Coffee, and ready to get some actual food in my belly.  As Caribou Coffee has nothing for food that is gluten-free, I brought some gluten-free bread and peanut butter with me, and built a sandwich using pieces of overly-ripe banana on one slice and slices of apple on the other.  YUM!

So, the official results are that I finished in 25:24 (that sub-25 minute 5K still eludes me!).  On the official results page, my entry is out of order, so I’m adjusting the results to show my proper placement (for the record, they have me higher than I really am).  So, with that being said, overall I finished 24/154 finishers and was 9/83 female runners.  Not too bad.  Not bad at all.

This race was special.  I didn’t set a new record.  I didn’t run to my full potential.  But I had a good time.  And I found it to be a fitting and perfect tribute to a musical icon who I admired throughout my life.  And that’s what mattered to me that day.  Having friends at the finish line is awesome.  Having friends at the finish line holding signs with lyrics to Daydream Believer on them…is priceless.  My friends rule.

Davy Jones…I hope you appreciated the tribute.  Rest in peace.  You’re free.

Cathy, me, and Jenn with our tribute sashes and signs to Davy Jones for the Bunny Hop 5K

Cathy, me, and Jenn with our tribute sashes and signs to Davy Jones for the Bunny Hop 5K

Halfway to 500 miles!

250 MILES!!!

250 MILES!!!

A milestone was set during the race I ran yesterday.  Yes.  At Mile Marker 8, as I turned into a very strong wind and was nearing the final two miles of the Papa John’s 10 Miler in Louisville, Kentucky…

250 MILES!!

It’s just now heading into April, and here I am at the halfway mark to my goal of running 500 miles this year.  Let me tell you, I’m happy with where I stand on that…and extremely proud of the hard work, and runs, that have gotten me here.  Whether these miles were clocked on the dreadmill, the road, or a race, they have led me to a fantastic halfway mark.

Here’s what I have gotten out of this so far…several races, new PRs, and that fantastic feeling I get when I lace up my shoes and just head on out to hit the road.  Nothing in life makes me happier than the feeling I get when I’m running.  I am not the fastest person out there.  I don’t aim to be fast.  I just aim to meet my goals.  And every time I head out, I set one.  It doesn’t matter how short or how long the run, how hard or how easy, whether I do hill repeats or just take to the flat lands, I find joy in every run.

After such a fantastic race yesterday, hitting that 250 mile mark is just the icing on my gluten-free cake!  I am really doing this.  I am really making some great progress and headway.  And I’m loving every footfall, every breath, and, yes, even every hill.  Because what this all is doing is just…making me better.  I can see it when I finish strong.  I can see it when I set a new PR.  And even when I don’t, I can feel it in my stride, my breathing, everything about how I run.

So, here I sit…halfway there…and I couldn’t be prouder.

For all of you who set your own goals this year…I hope you find your hard work paying off as well.