Running on gluten-free carbs…

Archive for December, 2012

New Year, New Goal

GOAL: 1300 miles in 2013!

GOAL: 1300 miles in 2013!

Well…about this time last year I set what I thought was a lofty goal for 2012…to run 500 miles.  And I had that in the books by the middle of the year.  I had a silent goal to, perhaps, make 1200 miles in 2012, but with the injury that took me out of running for 2 weeks, it doesn’t look like I’ll make it.  I’ll be off by…just under 100  miles.  It kind of makes me sad, but it sure did make setting a goal for 2013 easier than anticipated.

And here it is:

In 2013, I intend to run 1300 miles.

There…I said it…and all of you are witnesses.

I think this is a little lofty…but I am hopefully going to be training for my first marathon…so mileage will be increasing at the start of the year when I put my training program into my phone and begin really looking ahead to the goal of going 26.2 miles this year.  I am nervous…and excited all at once.  And I love it.

I am also setting another goal…and that is to run 2013 injury free.  This one may or may not come into fruition.  I mean, accidents happen.  Injuries happen.  But I’m going to really focus on being a healthier, better runner.  I’m going to make better choices when it comes to my runs and really listen to my body.  I want to make this racing season a great one, with no DNS’ (Did Not Start) statuses and I hope to maintain my record of never having a DNF (Did Not Finish).

When all is said and done…goals are good to set…but the key to my running successes…the reason I can do this in brutal heat and bone-chilling cold…is that I truly love it.  So, above all else, I hope that 2013 teaches me how to love this sport even more than I do.  I have a good feeling that this is going to be a good year.


Santa Hustle Half Marathon – Indianapolis, IN (December 16, 2012)

Me crossing the finish line of the Santa Hustle Half Marathon - Indianapolis, Indiana

Me crossing the finish line of the Santa Hustle Half Marathon – Indianapolis, Indiana

Race: Santa Hustle Half Marathon

Place: Indianapolis, IN

Date: December 16, 2012

Time: 1:47:48

Oh…yes.  You totally read that time right.  And let me tell you…my finish at that time was as much a shock to me as it may be to you reading this.  Because…let’s face it.  When it comes to long distances I am not fast…but I can (under good conditions) normally endure and still have some kick at the end.  So finishing a sub-1:50:00 half marathon was a huge freakin’ deal for me.

But I am once again getting ahead of myself.  It is always best to start at the beginning.

And that, my dearest friends, starts on Saturday…the day before the race.

It was going to be one busy day, I figured.  I woke up that morning and did an easy 1 mile run down and back from my apartment.  Why did I run the day before a race?  Normally I wouldn’t have…but I’m doing this Runner’s World Run Streak thing where I run at last a mile every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  And I haven’t broken the streak yet.  I wasn’t going to let my taper be the death of it.  So I promised only 1 mile (normally I say that’s not worth lacing up shoes for and push out 2 miles…but not on race weekend) and took it easy on my legs.

With that done, I came home, changed, and packed up my run bag and my duffle for an overnight stay and then worked on putting everything into my running bag.  Now…here was the thing.  I wasn’t exactly sure how to even pack for this freakin’ half marathon.  And here’s why…

The weather was awesome that weekend.  A little chill in the air due to a strong wind, but not too bad for mid-December.  And the Weather Channel was predicting clear skies the morning of the race…with a high of 54 degrees that day.  That’s relatively warm for a December morning, yes?  The only hitch…was going to be the strong 14+ mph winds on race morning.  Hmmm…

I decided winter compression tights weren’t needed and left them behind.  I was going to be receiving a shirt to wear during the run itself.  So…the big question mark was what I was going to wear on my lower half.  I packed a few options…my capris and two running skirts.  As I had been having a little bit of an issue as of late with a very sore and tight left calf muscle, Friday night I ventured over to one of the local running stores and was sized for, and purchased, my first pair of compression socks.

Normally it’s not a good idea to try out new items of clothing on a race, particularly a long one like a half marathon…but I didn’t really have a choice this time.  It was going to happen.  So, the compression socks were packed, along with my other normal running socks in case I put the compression ones on and hated them.  You never know!  I packed my GU pack and some Sports Beans, my water bottle, and a headband for the race.  Made sure my shoes were ready.  And my roommate and I packed up the car and headed to Indianapolis.

From experience, we have learned the value of staying in the city the night before a big race.  While Indianapolis is only a 2 hour drive, this saved a 4 a.m. wake-up to drive from our home to the race, find parking, and get totally stressed out (and perhaps show up late) as is what happened the year prior to this one when I was running in the Santa Hustle 5K in Indianapolis (the half marathon was added this year!).  So, we decided to splurge and stay at the host hotel…the J.W. Marriott.  The deal runners were offered on rooms couldn’t be beat.  Besides, I’m a Marriott Rewards Member…might as well use it.

So, we made the easy drive this year the day before and checked into the hotel.  Our room was awesome.  We were on the 15th floor and were overlooking White River State Park, which just happened to be the start and finish point for the half marathon the following morning.  Awesome.  A room with a view.  And what a beautiful view it was too.  We hauled our bags up to the room and settled in briefly before heading back out to hit up the expo, which was actually at the J.W. Marriott in one of their expo spaces.

I have to say…as of late I have been quite disappointed with the race expos that I’ve been hitting up prior to half marathons.  There has been next to nothing at quite a few of the last race expos that I’ve hit.  Suck.  Well, this one had to be one of the smallest (the Louisville Sports Commission being the absolute worst this year) with only a few vendors and races in attendance trying to vie for our dollars and our participation.  So, it took me under 5 minutes to walk in, get my race packet and head out.  With this being a race run in various cities, I sort of expected a little more…so I was disappointed.

I left with my packet, my tech shirt, and all of my money, and headed back up to the room.  We were supposed to meet up for my traditional gluten-free pizza pre-race meal at Harry & Izzy’s with our friend Greg…but we still had plenty of time before that happened.  So, we decided to hit the streets and do some shopping.  Cathy and I hit up Hard Rock Café for a new pin for my collection.  We then went over to Monument Circle and checked out the Civil War exhibit that was free to the public.  That was pretty cool.  And then we still had hours to kill, so we went to the mall and walked around some before deciding it would be okay just to go hang out in the room.  It was getting a little chilly out and relaxing sounded like a good idea.  I was supposed to be resting my legs…and here I was using them for all I was worth.

That’s typical me.

We did receive a call from Greg saying he was going to head to Harry & Izzy’s…so we headed out ourselves.  Got to the restaurant, got seated (after about 4 attempts prior to that with tables not being ready as we were there between the lunch and dinner turnover).  With a table now provided, we were handed menus and left to wait for Greg.  He showed up soon after and before we knew it…we were feasting on delicious food, having great conversation, talking about plans…and even enjoying dessert.  My gluten-free pizza, in case you were wondering, was topped with caramelized onion and mushroom…and it was delicious.  I followed it up with lemon sorbet.  Mmmmm.

We said our goodbyes and Greg, who was heading out of town the following morning, wished me luck on the race.  We departed back to the hotel where we watched a couple of cooking shows and I got my clothes out for the next morning…opting for capris…although I would continue to go back and forth on that even the following morning.  We turned in at a decent time…and I had a rather good sleep, only waking up a couple times to check the clock.  Finally, with only an hour before my alarm was set to go off, I got up and went ahead and got changed into my racing clothes.  With the wind still a factor, I chose the capris still, then climbed back into bed to just rest until the alarm went off.

When it did, Cathy was up to get ready and I was getting us the first part of our morning breakfast that day.  I had Corn Chex with me and Cathy had a granola bar.  We ate those and lazed about in the hotel, watching the Weather Channel.  I also made sure Cathy taped up my feet as my podiatrist had shown her.  I wasn’t about to run 13.1 miles without my feet properly supported.  I think he would have had a conniption.  With that done…I looked at the temperatures again…looked at the capris…really thought about putting on a running skirt…then decided, once again, that the wind would be chilly so capris would be the way to go.  That decision made, I began to slip into my compression socks for the very first time.

Now fully suited up…and with an hour to go to race time, I ate my banana, strapped on my fuel belt with my water and my GU pack and Sports Beans, and down to White River State Park we went.  It was a brisk morning due to the wind, but not bad temperature-wise.  And the walk made for a great warmup.  That being said, the first thing Cathy and I noticed when we set foot on the bricks at White River State Park was how slippery they were.  Super slippery.  We made our way over the bridge and to the pace corral that I was choosing to run in, which this time was an 8 minute mile.  Ambitious, perhaps…but that’s where I put myself.  It was still rather sparse as far as runners go, but it was still at least 30 minutes before go time.

I did some stretches in the corral area, getting a kick out of some of the 5K runner/walker outfits.  There was a guy dressed up as Santa pushing a cart that was done up to look like a chimney.  Which…is awesome.  And one couple made their jog stroller up to look like a sleigh.  Some people get really creative.  I did notice, however, that many of the serious half marathoners opted out of the Santa tech shirt and were just in regular running gear.  It’s too bad…because these are the people who did come in first and it would have been nice to have the winners in the official race shirt.  I mean, they don’t require you to wear the shirt, hat and beard, but at least wear the shirt.  It’s all in the name of fun.  I mean…this is the Santa Hustle after all.

With race time getting close, the announcer, a local Indianapolis DJ began going over some course information.  At one point he said that there was only one water station between Mile 7 & Mile 8…but he meant GU station.  And…he pronounced it G-U instead of like “goo.”  We runners all laughed and said, “He’s not a runner.”  It was funny.  With all the safety precautions out of the way, they moved the corrals up…and we were getting prepped to head on out.  And just as quickly as we had moved up…we were sent on our way…at exactly 9:00 a.m.  How’s that for timing?

I took the first part of the race easy as far as getting out of the park.  The bricks were very slick and the last thing I wanted to do was take a header into the pavement.  Either way you slice it…that doesn’t sound like fun.  And to be injured so early in a race would not due for me.  Nope, nope, nope.  So…I ran with my head here…meaning I took an easier pace…made sure my footing was sure…and  once I hit the asphalt of West New York Street, I was free to pace myself as I pleased.  Mile 1 was just ahead at that point and I was right in line with a runner who was definitely trying too hard too soon.  His arms were swinging hard and he was just pushing with all his might.  I wanted to say, “Dude…it’s only the first mile…chill!”  But, I just ran my race.

By Mile 2 however, I was cursing my decision to wear capris.  I warm up…fast.  And now I was burning up in my long sleeve tech shirt, my compression socks and my capri pants.  In fact, every bit of skin, save my face and my hands was completely covered.  And it was in the mid-50s out as far as temperature went.  I ran in races in much cooler temps in running skirts and short sleeve shirts (or even a singlet at one) and here I am covered head-to-toe.  I should have known better.  Yeah…I wasn’t happy.  As I came into Mile 3, the sun was coming up and I knew we were going to warm up.  I pulled my sunglasses down over my eyes and just did what I came to do…run.

The first half of the course was fairly simple and relatively flat.  There were a few small inclines, but nothing more than running over a bridge or the like.  I didn’t stop at the water stations as I had my own water and often had to remind myself to drink it.  The first candy stop on this race (the Santa Hustle Race Series offers candy and cookie stops in addition to water stops) showed up between Mile 4 and 5 and I ignored it.  Running is no time for candy…and I wasn’t sure I could eat it anyway.  Nor would I want to eat candy with so many miles still ahead of me.  I think a lot of runners were bypassing the candy, actually.  I mean…when you’re going 13.1 miles…chocolate might not sit right and why take the risk of not finishing due to a candy stop?  Not this girl.  Nope.

I made my usual internal marking of the halfway point as I ran through 6.55 miles.  I normally do this just so I know that I’m halfway there.  I’m doing good.  I’m getting there.  As I came into Mile 7, there was a Cookie Stop, which I again ignored and kept on going.  The GU station was also here.  I thought about grabbing some GU, but I had yet to even touch the one pack that I had on me.  I need to get better about fueling on the run.  I tend to ignore it because I feel good…and I wonder how much better I might do if I actually fueled properly.  And with my goal to run a marathon next year coming, I need to seriously work on that.  I might be able to run a half marathon on cereal and a banana…but a marathon…I’m thinking…NO!  Anyway, I passed it up and here was where the race sort of merged with a bike race that was going on.  I’m not kidding.

There was a race official that directed runners to stay to the right and as we are running toward this massive hill (and probably the only massive hill in Indianapolis), bikes come zipping up past us on the other side of the dividing tape.  Bikers hop off their bikes to run up this muddy incline as we runners take the road, around the bend, and up…up…up.  Oh. My. God.  Having a hill like this so late in the race is just plain evil.  But…I crested it.  Got a comment about my determination from the officer blocking the road at the top, which made me smile…and away I went.  Not downhill.  Not really.  Minor.  Nothing compared to the incline I just climbed.  But, it wasn’t up…so that was nice.  Just past Mile 8 a child was sitting on the ground and his dad was there.  The boy was clutching at his leg, so I think he may have stumbled.  The dad was on his cell phone, probably trying to get one of the ambulances on the course to head that way.  They seemed to have the situation managed…so I kept on going.

The next couple of miles felt relatively easy.  At Mile 10 I told myself all I had left was a 5K, and only then did I glance at my watch.  I was making good time.  Really, REALLY good time.  Like…better than the Hershey Half Marathon time.  If I could at least maintain my pace…I could possibly set a new PR for a half marathon.  So…I pushed on, passing up another of the candy stops and making my way back toward White River State Park.  The run was starting to feel harder now…I think the hill took a lot out of my legs.  But…onward ever onward.  Just after Mile 11, I was back in White River State Park, making my way down the sidewalks and into the last couple of miles.  And here was where some issues cropped up.  I noticed I was passing quite a few people who were walking.  I glanced quickly as I passed and noted they were wearing the red bib numbers of the 5K runners/walkers.  So, here we have half marathoners coming in at the same time as the 5K walkers.  YIKES!

I dodged who I could on the narrow paths and started into my final mile.  The last cookie stop was easily passed up.  I was tasting the finish line now.  As long as I could get through the obstacles of walkers, who would spread out across the entire path, making it hard for the half marathoners running for time to get through and pass, I was doing good.  I did the best I could in the space I was offered.  I even high-fived a little girl who held up her hand, and I rarely do that.  But…this was all about having some fun and I was in my last mile!

I started over the bridge at White River State Park, seeing the race photographers and flashing a peace sign and a smile.  Then, onward because I now knew just how close the finish line was.  I wasn’t sure Cathy would be able to spot me in the runners/walkers coming in, but she did.  She was waving my sign and shouting at me as I dodged some more 5K walkers and crossed that finish line.  I had noted the time when I crossed and when I paused my Garmin, I had to look again.  I was a good 3 minutes under my previous half marathon PR.  REALLY?  Because this race felt a lot more difficult than Hershey.  But…that’s what it said.  I received my Finisher’s Medal and began looking for my roomie in the throng of people at the finish.

Me celebrating my new PR at the Santa Hustle Half Marathon - Indianapolis, Indiana

Me celebrating my new PR at the Santa Hustle Half Marathon – Indianapolis, Indiana

Cathy came running over…”WAS THAT 13.1?  WAS THAT 13.1?”  I showed her my Garmin to indicate that it truly was.  And we both just screamed.  I made my way through the recovery area, picked up some water and a banana, and went to get my finisher’s photo taken.  Then…I found Cathy…got a hug…and was handed my protein shake.  I downed it and began the walk back to the J.W. Marriott so that I could hit up the shower, pack up, and head out to lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise, where I would get a delicious gluten-free veggie burger of some sort.  I couldn’t wait.

The official results of the Santa Hustle Half Marathon are that I finished in 1:47:48, a brand new PR for a half marathon.  That is how you end a racing season, my friends!  YAY!  I was 138/941 finishers overall.  I was shocked to find out that I also placed THIRD (3/76) in my division.  I placed in a division at a half marathon!!  I was so excited and pleased.  Of course, by the time I figured this out I was already done eating lunch and the race had packed up.  I drove back to the park though, just in case.  The volunteers with the race were still there packing up, but said that the post-race stuff was already loaded up, but that they would mail me my award.  I was okay with that.

And so…there is a crazy year or running races in the books.  And I went out on a very high note.  Nothing like rounding up a year of racing with a new PR on a half marathon.  That being said, I did e-mail the race organizers about the problems with the finish and the half marathon runners and 5K walkers coming in around the same time.  So, maybe that is something they can improve on next year.  For now, I’m still smiling about this finish.  Awesome!

My next half marathon is in February…and I’m already training hard for it.

Last race of the year…and I’m going 13.1 again!

Santa Hustle Half Marathon - Indianapolis, IN

Santa Hustle Half Marathon – Indianapolis, IN

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be lining up with countless other runners at White River State Park in Indianapolis, Indiana to participate in this year’s Santa Hustle Half Marathon!

Last year, I barely made it to Indianapolis in time to participate in the 5K I had signed up to race in.  There were many things that went into that, mostly a late start getting on the road.  Unfortunately, this made for a lot of race day stress.  I had to get my packet from a friend who graciously went to pick it up for me.  I had no pins to put my number on…so I had to borrow two from a stranger (another runner) who graciously parted with two of his.  And my shoe came untied halfway through the race.  The shoe with the timing chip on it.  Oy!

It was a comedy of errors last year.

So, normally I wouldn’t have even thought of running in the Santa Hustle 5K again.  And, honestly, I didn’t give it a thought…until I saw that this year, Indianapolis was one of the few cities that was also offering a half marathon distance.  Running my last race of the season as a half marathon just seemed…right.  It would make it my 6th half marathon of the year…and I think an appropriate way to wrap up a race season of lots of highs and a few lows.

The last time I raced in Indianapolis was in the scorching heat and humidity of the Indianapolis Women’s Half Marathon.  Tomorrow’s weather is to be a nice 50 degrees at start time (PERFECT!) with no rain…and some sun.  I am looking forward to this.

So…I need to go finish packing up my race bag and my overnight bag.  I’m staying at the race hotel (the JW Marriott) downtown, as it is right there at the start and finish.  And though I’ve been dealing with a very tight left calf muscle the past couple of weeks, I think it’s starting to work itself out.  And that is only a good thing.  I think this definitely will be a smoother start and finish.  I can only hope!

Ever since the last half marathon in Indianapolis almost killed me, I’ve been looking forward to a comeback.  And I guess I’ll do it dressed up like Santa.  Hey…it doesn’t have to be a dignified comeback.

But we’ll see what tomorrow holds.  Until then…wish me luck…

Reindeer Romp 4K – Louisville, KY (December 8, 2012)

Me heading to the finish line of the Reindeer Romp 4K - Louisville, Kentucky

Me heading to the finish line of the Reindeer Romp 4K – Louisville, Kentucky

Race: Reindeer Romp 4K

Place: Louisville, Kentucky

Date: December 8, 2012

Time: 19:02

Welcome to the kick-off race for Louisville’s infamous Polar Bear Grand Prix.  I was able to participate in the Grand Prix last year and had a blast running the different races through the winter months (one race in December, one in January, one in February)…and through varying degrees of weather and temperatures.

It looked like that was going to hold true this year for the first race of the series.

The Reindeer Romp 4K is the lowest mileage of all of the races.  A 4K race (that’s 2.48 miles…but my GPS had me at 2.55 when I crossed the finish line) that runs the scenic loop of Louisville’s Cherokee Park.  We ducked out onto Eastern Parkway though near the end to loop the statue and re-enter the park before heading up toward the finish line.

Yes…up.  Remember, Cherokee Park is hilly!

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

On Friday, I was constantly checking the weather forcast.  All I knew was that we were supposed to get rained on this weekend.  A lot.  Yep.  Ugh.  Now, I do love running in the rain.  I run some of my best runs out in the rain.  But…I also have a 10 mile run for training to fit in this morning (and it’s supposed to rain!) and I was hoping to return with dry shoes.

Mother nature had other ideas.  But…at least it was only 53 degrees out.  That at least meant I could wear shorts or a running skirt.

That morning I woke up and heard the rain.  I think I might have cussed a little under my breath, but went through my usual routine of getting ready for a race.  For the most part.  I pulled out my running skirt and one of my short sleeve tech shirts.  Decided that I could run this race in cotton socks and got out my green and red striped knee-socks for the holiday spirit.  My hair extensions were green and red as well.  And, as this is one of my winter races, I opted to wear my new snowflake BondiBand.  I was a mish-mash of spring and holiday colors.  But…that’s how I roll.

It was still raining after I polished off my breakfast and started to get a change of clothes together in my running bag.  I sighed, pulled on my hoodie (so I would have a hood to keep my head dry) and my roommate and I headed out the door to get to Cherokee Park.  I never made it to packet pick-up at Fleet Feet Louisville on Friday, so I had to get my packet, my Polar Bear Grand Prix knit cap, and my Reindeer Romp ornament at the race.  Which, normally isn’t a problem.  We park at the park, I get my gear, we walk it back to the car.  No problem.

This morning…there was a problem.  The race started at 9:00 a.m.  We pulled into Cherokee Park at 8:00 a.m.  One hour prior to the race and already the lot near the shelter where packet pick-up was being held was parked up.  And all along the side leading down the hill was already parked up as well.  No room in the park for the little Corolla.  So, my roomie and I circled back through the park and I said we should just go out of the park on Eastern Boulevard and park there.  So, we did, finding a spot a good ways up…but at least parked.

This, of course, meant that we now had about a .7 mile walk up hill to get to packet pick-up.  It was sprinkling rain, lightly, so it was still a damp hike.  I was at least getting warmed up…though not the way I would like.  I didn’t want tired legs for sure.  As we were hiking up, cars were lining the entire pathway.  A traffic cop, who entered the park, got on her loud speaker and alerted drivers they could NOT park there…as it was blocking the flow of traffic and the race came through here.  Those who were still at their vehicles moved them.

We reached the top of the hill and headed to the shelter.  Off came my hood and I went to go get my race bib, hat, and ornament.  I got them without any issue and then had to find my roomie, who had wandered off somewhere in the shelter.  She saw me looking for her and waved her arms.  Keep in mind, most runners and their families/friends were all under this shelter to keep as dry as they could before the race.  I got my number pinned on and stood around for a couple of minutes before getting my stretching done.  Between the parking craziness and the hike up, it was 30 minutes until race time.  So, it was best to get warmed up now.

With 10 minutes to go to race time, the rain had stopped and I made my way out toward the starting line.  It was humid out with a light breeze.  Not cold at all.  As I found a spot near the front of the corral, I spotted my roommate in Hogan’s Fountain.  Of course.  I waved and she attempted to snap a picture around a freakishly tall man who wandered into the shot.  That always happens!

And then…the skies opened up into a nice downpour.


Well, I guess rain is the new cold.  Because it was relentless.  Before the race even started I was soaked to the skin.  Joy…oh, joy!

And then, moments after the rain started, we were off.

I crossed the start line, started my Garmin, and took off down the hill to run a route I know by heart – the Scenic Loop.

There were a lot of runners this year at the race.  Much more than last year when I ran it.  That was evident.  And I felt like I was doing a good job, running.  Keep in mind, ever since last week, my left foot has been twinging at me.  I think I strained a tendon or something.  The fact of the matter is…it doesn’t always like it when I move.  So, I was trying to keep that in mind as I was running.  But when it didn’t even hurt with each pounding my foot took to the pavement, I figured…why not push some.

Mile 1 ticked off in 7:10.  I was moving faster than I thought.  And that’s good and bad.  That’s good, because I’m teaching myself to be somewhat competitive and actually try to move up to my capabilities during a race.   That’s bad because the second part of Cherokee Park is the one with the steep hill ascensions that are definitely no walk in the park (or run, haha) to get over.  So, when I hit those…my pace did slow, but not too much.  For that, I am proud.  I was even passing people on the hills.  WOOHOO!!  I made it up Dog Walk Hill, feeling the energy I had to put into that in my legs, which were screaming at me.  But, it was downhill, out to loop the statue and hit Mile 2 on the way back in.  I ran that one in 7:45.  And I still had the last hill to conquer.

Normally when I run the Scenic Loop with my fun run group at the local BlueMile store, this hill is the first one we take on.  It’s not as steep as Dog Walk Hill…but it does go up.  And if a race is run in Cherokee Park, it’s the last hill that takes you up to the finish line.  Yes…you do finish going uphill.  I’ve run plenty of races in Cherokee Park…but this hill always kills me.

I decided to just give it all I had.  I was just under half a mile to the finish line.  Push.  Get through it.  See how you do.  So, I began just pumping my legs to get up this incline.  I passed a couple of people, including one guy who pulled off and started walking.  The woman in reindeer antlers (who passed me at the end) encouraged him by saying “Keep going…you’re almost there!”  She was right.  I could see the shelter.  Hear the crowd at the finish.  And there was Hogan’s Fountain.  The hill leveled off and I started for that finish line.  The woman in antlers passed me up right there at the end, but I finished…and finished as strong as I could manage on my foot and in the driving rain.  I paused my Garmin and attempted to catch my breath.

I should note the woman in antlers wasn’t even breathing hard.  I shake my fist at her.  Runners who can just run a race easy and finish that early frustrate me, because I have to work so hard for it.  But…alas…

It was a good, wet, romp in the rain that morning.  Cathy came bounding over and I asked if we could get under the shelter so I could at least attempt to start drying off.  Note to self: pack a towel in the race bag.  Seriously.  Do it this time.

We headed under the shelter where most of the other finishers were loading up on water, bananas and apples.  I grabbed some water and took a seat on the bench near the snacks.  I grabbed a banana and refueled a bit after that run.  Cathy thought I might have placed in my division because I was at least in the top 15 women to come in.  So, we decided to hang around for awards and see what might come of it.

Now…this literally took forever to get to.  We had to wait for all the walkers to come in.  And by then, it was still raining, but now a wind had kicked in and I was getting cold.  There I was, sitting around in super drenched clothes…

Me with my 3rd place age division medal at the Reindeer Romp - Louisville, Kentucky

Me with my 3rd place age division medal at the Reindeer Romp – Louisville, Kentucky

I finally asked for my hoodie to at least put around me in an attempt to stay warm.  That helped a little.  And since she wasn’t using it, my roommate put her hoodie over my legs.  It helped…a little.  No sooner had that been done, but the race directors came over to hand out awards.  They did the overall males first, then all the division winners for the men.  So, the females were up last.  I shivered through much of the award ceremony.  My division was up.  And, lo and behold, I took third place!  I was actually shocked.  While my time was a big improvement on last year’s time…I didn’t really expect to actually place.  So proud of that.

So, the official results of the Reindeer Romp 4K are that I finished in 19:02, my new PR for a 4K race.  On hills, in rain, with a sore foot, no less!  YAY!  I was 104/796 finishers overall.  My roommate definitely called it by saying I was in the top 15 women to cross.  In fact, I was 15/429 women finishers.  And, of course, I landed 3/67 in my division!  All of this in the driving rain this morning!  NICE!  I am so proud of my accomplishment on this race, besting last year’s time and even placing in my division.  I’m improving as a runner…and I love seeing the results.

So, this morning I have a 10 mile long run to do…before getting some stuff done in town.  Then I need to clean up the apartment and prep for a holiday dinner here tomorrow.  Lots to do…and only a Sunday morning and afternoon to accomplish it in.  Oh, and it’s supposed to rain this morning too…so my long run might be…interesting.  But it has to be done as I have a half marathon next Sunday.

Looking forward to the Frostbite 5K in January now!  Polar Bear Grand Prix…we are off to a famous start!

(Ticker currently not updating…but I am at 1035.1 miles so far for the year!)

1000 miles and still days left in the year…

1000 MILES!!!!

1000 MILES!!!!

It was about the time I entered Cherokee Park on Saturday during the Mile 2 Mile run from one BlueMile running store to the other that I hit 1000 miles for the year.  And I didn’t even acknowledge the moment or anything.  Why?  Because at the time I wasn’t thinking about it.  I was having a conversation with a runner, a gentleman, that I had been running with for over half of the 12 mile run.  I was in the lead group for pace setters for the Mile 2 Mile run and we were making fantastic time, despite stopping a few times to allow time to refuel or hydrate.

I realized it as I was sitting in the BlueMile store in the Highlands of Louisville, after changing out of my running clothes into my regular clothes for the day.  I was putting on my shoes and socks and I looked up at my roommate and held up my hand for a high five.

“I’ve done 1000 miles!” I said simply, with a smile.

She high fived me and that was that.  No big celebration or acknowledgement.  There were other things to focus on that day.

That being said, this is a huge deal to me.  I mean…1000 miles in a year may not seem like much, but I set a goal this year for 500 miles, and I have since doubled that goal.  I’m at a loss of words as I sit here and reflect on this past year.  And this, my dear readers and friends, is also with me being out of running for almost 3 weeks due to a very bad injury.  I fought back through that, proved I was a better runner than before because of it, and have kept on trekking through the miles.

And the year isn’t over yet.  I’m participating in two running programs this December.  One is the annual Runners World Run Streak where runners pledge to run at least 1 mile every day from Thanksgiving into the New Year.  I’ve kept that end of the bargain up without problem.  And, in conjunction with that, my friends Armand and Ramond started a couple years back called REDD (Run Every Day in December).  They work hand-in-hand.  And…with all of this going on, I’m still training for my final half marathon of the year, which runs December 16, 2012 up in Indianapolis, Indiana.  It all keeps me motivated and keeps me energized.

So…there it is…1000 miles down for the year and still an entire month ahead of me.  I wonder what mileage I’ll tap out at this year.  And this, in turn, makes me really rethink goals for next year.  I’m excited…proud…and thrilled to have reached this goal.

Going Mile 2 Mile – a different sort of long training run

Mile2Mile Fun Run

Mile 2 Mile Fun Run

I love my local BlueMile running stores.  I shop there as often as possible and they are the ones who host my Monday fun runs.  LOVE them.

Well, you see, a loyal customer, Jeremy completed a run from the BlueMile store at the Summit to the BlueMile store in the Highlands.  So, from that grew the inspiration for the Mile 2 Mile fun run/walk.  And even better…it’s for a good cause.

The event is called Mile 2 Mile.  And it is a 12 mile run or 6 mile walk/run…depending on what you think you are capable of doing.

So, this morning, at 8 a.m. at the BlueMile store at the Summit, runners will arrive with a donation of a toiletry item or a blanket.  BlueMile is working with Wrap Up Louisville and the Salvation Army who are collecting the donations.  So, running from store-to-store for a good cause?  Yeah…I can do that.

The weekend is the time for my long runs anyway…so this just sort of worked.  Granted, today’s training says 9 miles and I’m running 12…but the rest of the week is light, easy running leading into my half marathon in 2 weeks.  I’m excited about this and can’t wait to join a small pack of runners on a 12 mile journey this morning.

So, here I sit at 5:45 a.m. anticipating hitting the road to the BlueMile store at the Summit to get my run on for a good cause today.  My roomie is going to drop me off and meet me at the Highland store when I’m done.  Afterwards, I’m meeting up with my running friend, Keith (who is injured and unable to participate) at Uncle Maddios in the Highlands for some delicious gluten-free pizza to celebrate a good run.

I am so looking forward to this!

Running Mile 2 Mile…I think it should become a yearly tradition!