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Hot to Trot 5k/10k

For so many Americans nowadays, Thanksgiving seems to mainly be about how much food can be ingested. I decided when I started my weight loss and health journey in 2009 that I was going to change the idea that the holidays were about eating.

Heidi and pie

Me at age 19 leaving my Grandparents’ house with plenty of food and pie in tow. “Tis the season to be chubby” right?

So three years ago I decided to run an 8k on Thanksgiving morning. Hubs and Mini me came along, and mini me even ran the little kids’ dash (which was a feat given that he is a survivor of Guillain Barre Syndrome and at one point we weren’t sure if he’d even walk again….but that is a story for another day). Then last year I ran a Thanksgiving 10k with Leslie while Hubs and mini me ran the 5k. This year I decided to run the Hot to Trot Thanksgiving Day 5k with my guys and one of Mini me’s friends (whom we shall call Mini C).

2011's Hot to Trot, post race. The boys ran their 5k and I ran the 10k with Leslie

2011’s Hot to Trot, post race. The boys ran their 5k and I ran the 10k with Leslie

This one was purely for fun! Hubs and I had just done the Secret City Half Marathon Relay the Sunday before and we didn’t plan to bust a move or anything along the way. Especially with two nine-year-olds in tow. :)

Mini me and I before the race. You are jealous of my awesome shirt, admit it.

Mini me and I before the race. You are jealous of my awesome shirt, admit it.

Another huge thing happening at the same race, but the 10k distance, was our friend Clare running her first 10k (she’s the Mom of mini me’s friend that was running the 5k with us). I was (and am) so excited for her! Her first race was this year in March (Catch the Leprechaun 5k) and she has grown SO much in just a few months! She’s a superstar! I love watching my runner friends excel. It breathes life into my own running. I liken it some to watching the reaction my son has to things. I am able to see “old” events through “new” eyes. Gives it a special magic of it’s own. It is the same way when I run with one of my friends and experience firsts with them. It reminds me that we need to celebrate even the smallest victories and not forget how far we have come!

As a bonus, I ran into my friend Michele right before the race started! She was doing the 5k too and wanted to take it easy, so didn’t mind running with us and the kiddos (which I warned her might be stop and go). :)

Michele, Clare, and I before the race started.

Michele, Clare, and I before the race started.

The 5k and 10k start at the same time. We didn’t have to stand in line too long. But it was cold for a Thanksgiving morning in East TN. We had gladly donned layers though and huddled. The gun went off and we were off, then stopped, then off….you know how it goes at stop lines (well unless you are an elite or semi-elite runner and actually line up at the start line….that’s not me). :) I hit the button on my new Garmin 10 (I’ll be doing a review of this new love of my life soon, the Hot to Trot was my first run with it and I was instantly in love).

Those boys are hilarious. We’d start running and then Hubs, Michele, and I would look back and they’d be sauntering (not even really walking) along at a snail’s pace. We couldn’t be mad at them though. They had willingly gotten up early on Thanksgiving day in order to run/walk 3.1 miles with us crazy adults. I looked back one time and they had stopped and were picking grass on the side of the road (LOL). Another time I heard my son exclaim, “I see my life flashing before my eyes!” I prodded them on saying, “Let’s just try and finish the 5k before the 10k winner crosses the finish line!” Well, no such luck, that dude flew by us when we were around mile 2.5. LOL! We were entertaining to the other runner/walkers I’m sure.

The course is an out and back that starts at the local Fleet Feet store. And then if you are doing the 10k, you do that same out and back again. So this gave us many chances to see Clare as she was running her 10k! She looked strong and was moving right along! She probably wondered what in the world we were doing though. ;)

When we got near the end Michele busted a move and took off to finish the 5k (way to go girl!) and we shuffled along. We saw Mini C’s dad and little sis as we neared the finish and that put a little spring in the boys’ step. This is about the time I saw a lady who was clearly struggling. She was breathing fairly heavily and looked like she was going to cry. I told Hubs to run on with the boys and I slowed down and laid my hand on the ladies arm and asked her if she was okay. She told me that she has asthma and was struggling (this was either her first or one of her first races, it was hard to hear exactly what she said). She wanted to finish though (and we were within about 25 yards of the finish line). So I told her that she was amazing (which I meant) for running with asthma and that I was in awe of her. I pointed at the finish line and said, “You’ve got this!” and we ran across the finish line! I congratulated her and then she was lost in the crowd. I’ll never forget that lady and those moments in time with her. She inspires me. If she could do what she did, then I never should have an excuse.

Mini C’s dad and sis found us and we roamed over to the food and drink area. The boys were enamored with what they kept calling “cake” though I think it was just chocolate chip bread (but hey, if they want to call it cake, go for it). There was also crackers, bananas, and oranges available along with bottled water. There were no huge lines and it was easy to get our food and drink and head back to the finish line to cheer Clare in.

Hubs and I goofing around at the finish line. I'm not sure what he was looking at. LOL

Hubs and I goofing around at the finish line. I’m not sure what he was looking at. LOL

While we were there we’d cheer in other runners. I even saw several other people I know. Clare’s hubby was tracking her and we knew she was heading to the finish. This is when chaos erupted. Okay, maybe erupted isn’t the right word. See, they were also putting on a one-mile fun run. Well, they didn’t think about some of the 10k’ers still finishing up (there were still quite a lot of them actually) and they lined the fun runners up at the start/finish line, thus blocking that finish from the 10k’ers. I kept shouting, “Move, there are people still finishing the 10k!!!” No one seemed to hear a thing. And the runners were having to push their way through to finish. It was really horrible and that absolutely will have to change in the future. Clare was livid (and rightly so) and we couldn’t get her triumphant finish line pictures (she had PR’d her 1k, 5k, and 10k distance). So we waited for the fun runners to move and then we had her run across again! LOL!! Wasn’t exactly the same, but it was definitely what she would have looked like if she hadn’t had to hack her way through a crowd to finish.

Clare's "finish" *wink wink*

Clare’s “finish” *wink wink*

Besides that snafu, the race went off really well. It seemed well organized with plenty of pre-race communication. The shirts are AWESOME! There was plenty of post-race food and drink. The course was about as flat as you can get around this area. It was crowded, but we expected that going into this race. This wouldn’t be a 5k I would try to PR at…though the 10k thinned out some and might give chance (well obviously did since Clare PR’d) at that distance. This is a race we’ll definitely do again.

What a great way to start our Thanksgiving holiday. We were exceedingly thankful for the good health to be able to do a race. We were thankful to be together. And we were very thankful for our friends who ran with/near us and then spent the holiday with us. Being so far from family, we have to make our own where we are. I hope your holiday was just as blessed. We look forward to the Christmas holiday, and before then we have one more race! I’ll be running the Santa Hustle of the Smokies Half Marathon (with Clare, Leslie, and Michele) and Hubs, Mini Me, and Mini C are running the Santa Hustle of the Smokes 5k. Look for a race report next week!

Have a great rest of your week. Good luck if you are racing this weekend. Until next time, I’ll be running away in Tennessee…

We live in a small city. And there is only one half marathon that happens here every year. The Secret City Half Marathon. It is probably the flattest race you are going to find in East Tennessee. I ran the half last year and it still stands as my PR.

Mini Me and I after the Secret City Half Marathon in 2011. He ran the Kids Mile.

So this year was different. Hubs and I decided to do the relay. The last two years it has been a two loop course, so I did the first loop and Hubs did the second loop. I don’t think it really hit him until race morning, but he was still pretty calm given that it was his first real race. We’ve done some fun-run 5ks with Mini Me before, but nothing where he was actually “racing” against the clock.

Before leaving our house. Hubs was all thumbs up and smiley. That is always a good sign….or a sign of delusion. ;)

My in-laws came in to town last weekend and were going to watch the race too. We were excited that they’d be there for Hubs’ big race! :) They got to see Mini me run the Kids race too. And although they’ve seen me race before, I was glad they got to be there for me too. We got up and got there in plenty of time to get ready for the race. Parking was just across the street and very easy to get too. No traffic nightmares there (I’ve run races before where it is horrific to park before a race). I met up with some other friends that were doing the half or the relay.

With my runner girl friends before the race. I love how we lined up according to height and didn’t even mean to do it!

My entourage wished me luck and then we were off to line up at the start line. There was a relay exchange area after the first loop (just past the start line) where I’d see Hubs next in hopefully just over an hour. I estimated that I’d be running around 6.5 miles and although it would mean significantly cutting down my 10k time (I was dreaming as far as I knew) I wanted to just go over an hour (I’m no speedster) to finish that 6.5 miles.

The weather was gorgeous, upper 30s and sunny. The course is as flat as you can get around here. They’d blocked a lane of traffic off for us to run in. And we were off. I felt really strong and took off. The fact that I wasn’t going the full half marathon was really giving me some pep because I knew I could push harder. And push harder I did. I was able to set a PR for my mile, 5k, and 10k!!! AND I finished my loop of the relay in 1:05!!!! Our exchange was fast (we had an ankle bracelet that we had to un-velcro from me and strap on him before he could take off) and Hubs was off!!!

My friend Leslie was just coming back from a pretty serious foot injury and we were waiting on her. It wasn’t too long and here she came to hand off her relay bracelet to our other friend Melissa. I ran down and finished running Leslie in because I just miss running with her! LOL! She rocked it though. I’m really proud of her!

Leslie and Mini Me chilling out and having fun while waiting on my Hubs to finish.

Runners got free pizza, cookies, fruit, water, and beer (yes beer) after the race (with your bib and proper ID of course). So after making sure that my in-laws were newly settled at the finish line to wait for Hubs, Mini Me and I went to get some food (no, he didn’t get beer….don’t call CPS). The start/finish line was right next to the gym that Hubs and I go to, and they had graciously opened their doors to allow runners to use their restrooms/locker rooms/showers even if they were members. They’d also set up the food in there.

We got back to the finish line and were able to chill out with some friends. I kept tracking Hubs on our phone GPS program that we use so I could tell when he was coming. And I’m proud to say that he did an AMAZING job and before we knew it he was running to the finish!

He’s all thumbs up again as he is just feet from the finish line!

I was able to run along side of him to the finish and then sprint ahead to get some more pictures. I’m sure the people at the finish line thought I was insane…but oh well. LOL!

I love this picture of him. Isn’t he handsome? :)

Overall our experience was good. We love that this is a local race that is literally a couple of minutes from our house. The course is always great (though we hear that they are changing the course next year, so I don’t think it will be a double loop anymore). Packet pick up is usually easy to go through with no insane back ups. Having the gym facilities there is nice. The food has always been good and abundant for runners. They announce your name as you cross the finish. It isn’t a super crowded course either in general.

Probably the biggest con for me were the water stops. There just were not enough of them. And at one of them there was no one manning it and when Hubs went through on the second loop he said it was just a big bucket of water with cups to dip in. Gross. At one station I was handed gatorade instead of water, even though I was asking for water….so I had to toss it (that stuff makes me sick). So, if they can figure out the water stops, I think it would be a great race (or just wear your own water, solves the problem). Since I was only doing the one loop I was okay since I don’t normally drink much on runs that long anyway, I was mostly worried about Hubs, but he was okay. :) They’ve also had some problems with shirts in the past. The sizing on some of them were off last year and then different sizes (with a different company) were off this year. So if you are running for the shirt, you just want to make sure you know that. I loved my shirt last year, this year it is tight and a bit transparent. LOL! Oh, and relay runners don’t get any sort of medal, so if you are in it for the bling….then you need to run the half marathon (or Kids mile). :)

Anyway, I’d highly recommend doing a relay. It was so much fun and it really gave me something different to train for and work toward. As much as I love running half marathons (I have another one in 2 1/2 weeks) I think I’ll be paying attention to the shorter races more next year too. And I think my speed work is paying off! I cut 5 minutes off of my 10k time! Come on now!! :)

We have a Hot to Trot 5k fun race coming up on Thanksgiving Day. I’m looking forward to that one. Hope you all have a great holiday!

Until next time….I’ll be running away in Tennessee…

 

Since my last post a few lovely things have happened. First, mini me spent a night with friends of ours so Hubs and I got to go on a date! Exciting right? We aren’t uber exciting, but having some time together without anyone tugging on us (okay mini me doesn’t exactly tug) was nice.

And then the next morning Hubs and I actually got to run together (this is where we get all hot and sweaty….geez people, what did you think I meant by hot date?)!

Hamming it up before we started running.

6.5 miles? Puh-leaze, no problem! :)

I had to stop and take some pictures of the “scenery”…

Along the route we ran. Soooo beautiful!

Now, Hubs hasn’t been a runner very long. I started running on New Year’s Day 2010. It hasn’t really been until this year that Hubs has jumped on the bandwagon. I never told him he had to run, but I think he saw how much I loved it and thought it might be cool to run together sometimes. And I must say, it is! And I know as mini me gets older, we’ll be able to do it more often. I think at 9 years old, mini me surely wouldn’t appreciate me putting him in a jogging stroller. ;)

Anyway, we seemed to turn out looking happy when it was all said and done.

6.5 miles? No sweat! Okay, a little sweat….a lot of…oh, you get it.

And so what does a couple in love who has just run 6.5 miles together do? Why they go to Starbucks of course! ;)

I think the people at the tables around us thought we were nuts.

Hubs and I are doing a half marathon relay this Sunday here in the town we live in. This will be his first race (we’ve done some 5ks as a family but we just went along with whatever mini me wanted to do), and he has trained hard for it! I’m so excited for him and I know he’s going to ROCK it! I’ll give a race recap next week. I haven’t ever done a relay before (though I ran this half marathon last year….my half marathon PR actually) and so it’s new for me too. Mini me is running the kids half marathon (they run 12 miles in pieces over several months and then the last 1.1 mile on race day) so it is just a family affair!

Another awesome thing that happened this week is that Leslie is off the injured list (mostly) and was finally able to run after almost two months!!! So we went out and put in a couple of easy miles to get her back into the swing of things. We are so excited! I have missed my many miles with my friend. Watch out world, Leslie is running again! :)

The dynamic duo back together!

I’ve not really tapered this week since my part of the race is only 6.5 miles or so….but I’ve not being going all out crazy, I’m hoping to do some good running on Sunday though to give Hubs plenty of breathing room for his leg of the relay (I’m going first). After this race is over Hubs, mini me, and I are doing a Hot to Trot 5k on Thanksgiving. Then I’m ramping up a touch to get ready for my next half on December 9. It is a fun one though, so no pressure.

You all have a great pre-Thanksgiving weekend! As for me, I’ll keep on running away in TN.

Are you part of a running couple with kids? Do you ever get to run together?

Are you running a Thanksgiving Day race this year?

So, I know this may come as a surprise to you, but I am not a famous television personality. What? I know….shocking. I was a Theatre & Drama minor in college though. At one point I had been a major….but then…well, that’s a story for a different time I guess. Suffice it to say I am a “tad” dramatic. (Again, I know you are shocked….calm down…it’s okay now).

Anyway, a call (okay a Facebook post) went out from our local track club about one of the area hospitals making a commercial and needing runners to volunteer to be in the commercial. Ummm….running and being on tv??? I’m there! LOL! So I responded to the lady that was trying to round us up, got the info, and was ready for my network debut (okay, I realized I’d either end up on the cutting room floor or just some dot in the distance….but hey, I’ll take what I can get).

Filming was to be on a Saturday (last Saturday actually) and we had to arrive really early in neutral running clothes.

Now let’s stop for a moment. “Neutral running clothes???” Wow, that one was going to be a stretch for me. I, the queen of running in skirts and dresses of varying colors and prints. I love to be colorful and I love to be different. So here I was, trying to conform. Okay….it wasn’t so bad, but it was kind of hard. I ended up with black running tights with a long-sleeve black running top under a gray running top. I figured a hat might stand out too much, but with short, bright red hair I figured I should do something so I put on a big black Bondi band (love them by the way www.bondiband.com). Somehow I didn’t get a picture of myself in that outfit.

This is NOT what I wore to the commercial shoot. Though I was really tempted. ;)

I got up, dressed, ate breakfast (which felt weird since I normally get up to run that early and don’t eat anything unless I’m doing mileage of 10 miles or more). I left hubs and mini me asleep and off I went down the street. The commercial was being filmed in several places around the town I live in (with is kind of a burb of a larger city). When I got there a few people were milling around but not a crowd of runners (they needed a lot of us as they were mocking a marathon). They had food and coffee sat out for people that hadn’t eaten (I thought that was a nice touch, I never considered that they would offer to feed us). I got the approval of one of the people in charge about what I was wearing, though one of the first comments was something along the line of, “Your hair is red!” LOL! And my having short hair and not long with a pony tail threw her off a bit, but the headband was approved. I told her I was trying to help my hair blend in and that I often wore those headbands when I ran. She decided since it was a “real” thing that it would work. Otherwise I guess I was going to need to go buy a wig and put it in a pony tail? :)

Being the horrible introvert that I am. Oh wait, that’s not me. Nevermind. What I mean is that I of course immediately started talking to people. I loved swapping running stories and hearing about their races. There were not many of us there, but we seemed to represent the spectrum of what a runner is. We had older, younger, male, female, seasoned runners, newbies, etc. We got to film a few random scenes. In one I believe that my thigh may even be prominent. Oh wait, my thigh is always prominent….oh well, it’ll be prominent on tv. They were actually doing a close up of our star runner tying his shoe. I am honestly not sure how that fits in with anything, but myself and another gentlemen walked back and forth behind him for all it was worth. We are superstar background walkers now. I wonder if there is a market for that? Hhmmm….

This was actually taken later in the day by my sweet hubs (I’ll get to how he was there). I’m a dork and didn’t take any photos in the morning at our first location. But this shows a wide range of the runners that showed up!

Our next shoot was the start of a marathon. There was one gentleman (he’s in the blue shirt in the above photo) that was the “star” runner. We didn’t let him live it down that he was the star by the way. He took the ribbing well and we all had fun doing it. LOL! First we got to shoot the actual start where we “toe the line.” Honestly, I’ve never even been close to the line. I tend to line up pretty far back. I think the closest I ever got was at Disney Princess when I started in Corral B. I felt like a superstar! Anyway, they even had a guy with a starter gun. I think I might have peed myself a little the first time he shot the gun off, even though we knew it was coming. Okay, not really….that I peed myself I mean. I was too cold at that point to pee anyway. ;)

Then we got to run the same 100 yards or so over and over and over to show that we were just running along (we had moved down about 50 feet from the fake start line to shoot this portion). I figured I was getting in some speed work since one of the runners told us that we were going at an 8:40 pace during that short run. Uh, last time I checked I don’t run that fast normally. No wonder I felt like I was going to spontaneously implode. Ah well, those whipper snappers up front were trying to kill me, I’m pretty sure of it. Thankfully it was so cold out (37 degrees at the start….in East TN….I was frigid) that I wasn’t really working up my normal drenching sweat.

OHHHHH….wait…..did I tell you that we were told that this was supposed to be happening in July? Ummmm….I didn’t get that memo. So here we are pretending we are hot and trying to hide the goosebumps on our arms. And I heard that we should try and not breathe so you couldn’t see our breath. LOL! Riiiiiight…..I can’t run an 8:40 pace without breathing. Ummmm….actually maybe that is why I thought I was going to pass out?

Me after running a half marathon at the end of June (hey, it’s close to July). You can’t tell but I am drenched. I had to actually wring my socks out they were so wet. This is why I avoid actually running after about 7am in June-August here in East TN. It was HOT. So not how I felt during our commercial shoot.

The morning was fun though and they said they got good shots. We were informed that we would be moving on to the lake area (where I normally do most of my training runs) to do another shot! Yay!

Yes, I am blessed to have this view on most of my training runs. A gorgeous area indeed!

Fortunately my house is five minutes from the lake and since they were in dire need of more runners, I called hubs and told him to haul himself and mini me over to help shoot the finish line scene. So that my dear readers is how I roped hubs into being in the commercial. Since he’s a relatively new runner I think he was a little nervous, and I wasn’t going to tell him about the 8:40 pace from the morning. I figured he needed a little surprise in his life. ;)

Here is hubs (showing us his good side….hubba hubba) and another guy setting up at the mock finish line. Photo credit: Linda Davis

I actually got to change into some bright clothes and become a spectator for this part of the shoot along with mini me. He was SO excited to be in a commercial. :) Again, no pictures. Let’s all say it together now peeps…..”you’re a dork Heidi.”

The star runner and his pretend wife being made up and sprayed down (fake sweat). Photo credit: Linda Davis

We got to watch the finish line shot where our star won the marathon over and over. And us spectators got to cheer a ton. :) Watching them spray the runners down with water was funny because they all still looked WAY better than I would EVER look at the end of a race. They lacked the look of utter exhaustion that I have.

Okay, I guess Leslie and I look pretty good for having finished a full marathon. Too bad no one was there to spray me down with water though. I may need to employ a water boy to spritz me after my races. Hhhhmmm…

Unfortunately, I did not get to stay for the rest of the shooting. I had set up some stuff for mini me and I to do before I knew about the commercial, so we were off for fun and frivolity the rest of the day. Hubs however stayed and also made some great friends there and had a lot of fun.

I loved my experience shooting this commercial. I honestly don’t care if they keep any of me in there or not, I have met great people that I look forward to knowing for a long time. Once again it proved to me that the running community is absolutely amazing. We weren’t even at a real race, but we were there supporting each other and bonding over race stories. The huge reason I was drawn to running was absolutely because of how open and inviting I find that runners are. I’ve even had more “elite” runners give me encouraging words as they see me racing (usually when they are done and I’m still only halfway there….lol). I appreciate that there really doesn’t seem to be an elitist attitude. It doesn’t mean I’ll try to run with the speedsters, but I know that if they see me, they aren’t going to discourage me either. We all have a different story and we are all accepted. This experience was SO much fun! I only wish I could have stayed all day. Hubs filled me in and took more pictures.

Filming the runners in the middle of the “marathon.”

Colorful leaves in July??? Not sure how that will work out…

 

Open yourself up to new experiences. Take a chance and get out there and meet some new runners today. And if you get a chance to be in a commercial, go for it! It was really interesting to watch the process happen. If you are local to me (and you know who you are) then this commercial will hopefully start showing around Thanksgiving and will be on the network channels around news time (that’s what my hubs heard anyway).

Until next time….I’ll be running away in TN.

 

Will Run for Stew

I have a secret to share. I’m in love with my crock pots (yes, I have more than one). I could easily spend the rest of my life only cooking in a slow cooker and not regret it at all. For a busy wife, Mom, employee, runner a crock pot is a life saver.

Look kids, Mom can run a marathon and still cook dinner at the same time! Score!!!

Anyway, Fall is also notoriously my favorite time of the year to cook. And as my hubs and mini-me would tell you, I love to make up recipes. I think I got the recipe thing from my Dad. He did all the cooking in our home when I was growing up. I think my Mom could have cooked but she probably decided that having given birth to five kids was plenty of a contribution. ;)

I wanted to find a good carb heavy recipe that might be good for me and good for times I might need/want to “carbo load.” I don’t really go out all crazy when I carbo load before a race. But in the week leading up to a half marathon I’ll try to incorporate more healthy carb while still watching my protein intake. The day before a race I generally just stick with my normal diet. We don’t need my gut to get any bright ideas on race day.

This is not how I usually carbo load. :) But hey, it was my 40th birthday on that day. So ice cream cake it is! Definitely not as good as my stew. Riiiiiiight…

So this weekend I decided a stew was in order. Here in East TN our temps had fallen to highs in the 50s (I know, I’m a wimp, you’d never know I lived my first 36 years in the North) and I was ready for warmth. So after some thought I came up with the following recipe. It turned out really well and hubs and mini-me gave it a total of four thumbs up. The furry babies were not allowed to partake, but I’m sure they would have given it paws up if they could have. I will definitely be making this again!

Heidi’s Harvest Stew (for Slow Cooker)

Ingredients: 3 cups yukon gold potatoes (cubed)
3 cups sweet potatoes (cubed)
1 lb lean pork loin (cubed)
2 cups diced up carrot (or whole baby carrots)
1 golden delicious apple (cubed)
2 cans tomato soup
1 soup can of water
1 package dry onion soup mix
Black pepper (to taste)
Cumin (approx 1/2 tsp)

Directions: Cut up all ingredients and put in crock pot. Pour tomato soup, can of water, and dry onion soup mix over top and mix in. Add spices to taste. Cook on low for approximately 7 or 8 hours.

Nutritional Info: Servings Per Recipe: 6 (one-cup servings)
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 356.4
Total Fat: 1.5 g
Cholesterol: 22.0 mg
Sodium: 866.7 mg
Total Carbs: 56.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.8 g
Protein: 15.8 g

Not the best food picture in the world, but this gives you a good idea! It even looks like Fall! Serve it with some wheat bread for some extra carb!

Do you carbo load before a race? If so, what types of foods work for you?
Are you in love with the crock pot too? Share a recipe!

Okay, I thought that title sounded dramatic. I’m feeling kind of over-the-top and whacky today (I’m going to attribute it to lack of sleep last night…dang Mr. Sandman didn’t want to have anything to do with me…loser). Yes, I’m actually posting. What? You thought I was gone? This blog was a bust? I don’t know what happened. I just got lazy. I got nervous. I figured no one would really want to pay any heed to anything this nut had to say. But here I am again. I’m at least going to try and recap my races and keep my brain in focus. Or at least try to….we’ll see how this goes. Wish me luck. ;)
4 Bridges Half Marathon, Chattanooga, TN, Sunday, October 21, 2012

This was a race I was going to try and PR at. Chattanooga is only an hour and a half from home for me. So my hubby and son were coming along for the ride and to be my pit crew. My brf (that’s best running friend to you running newbs) was going to come down with her hubby too. Fun was to be had by all!

Here is Leslie and I at the 2012 Nashville Women’s Half Marathon in September. We are such fastinistas!

Unfortunately, Leslie has had a foot injury (that’s a whole different post for a whole different time. You up to being a guest blogger Leslie? Just sayin’.). Sad that my running partner was out of commission I vowed to press ahead and rock 4 Bridges. Thankfully my friend Clare was able to run with me and keep me sane and training progressed well. Thanks Clare!
Race weekend arrived and hubs, mini-me, and I drove to Chattanooga. Love that town! We went for packet pick up in Coolidge Park (love that park). We’d never been there, but were super impressed.

This park is seriously cool. They even have an indoor carousel which hubs and mini-me rode. Mini-me loved these concrete animals too. I look uber excited. I know you are wishing you were there.

Anyhoo….we figured out how to get to the park from our hotel…we stayed about 20 minutes away nearer to shopping and Starbucks…there, I said it. I have an addiction…don’t judge. ;)  I felt pretty good about the logistics for the morning. So back to the hotel we went for some Starbucks (on the way) and dinner (brought it back to the hotel suite). Had to watch some cartoons (what else do you do with a mini-me in a hotel room) and pinned my bib on my Nuu Muu (you know, the brand of running dresses that I wear a lot). I laid everything out, set my alarm on my phone. Instructed hubs to do the same. Off to bed! I slept well and was awakened by the sound of hubs’ alarm…which was set for 15 minutes later than mine. What happened to my alarm? This genius set it for the wrong day. Yep, I’m smart like that. So don’t use me as your wake up call….ever….I might get you up by the next day or week.

Thankfully my guys are easy to dress (okay, they do that themselves…usually) and I had my stuff laid out, so it only took us minutes to get ready and out the door. It was in the mid 40s and I was freezing my big old hiney off. Good thing I had my extra fleece jacket in the car. We wanted to get there early because it said parking would be limited. Thankfully we got right in and parked….but had to pay $4. But it was right next to some real bathrooms (SWEET) that I got to use multiple times (cause that’s how I roll) before the race began. You would have thought I had been chugging a gallon of water. Ah well. Big plus with the real bathrooms and the easy parking. We sat in the car for a bit to stay warm and then eventually wandered to the start area.

Mini-me and I before the race. Brrrrrr!

A lot of people were milling around and a DJ was playing music loud. That was getting us all kind of warmed up and ready. And we waited. The start line wasn’t really well defined and we all seemed a little confused. The race was supposed to start at 7am (which came and went). Finally they announced that the start line was set up and most of us had to wander over to find it and get in line. And we waited. The race started at 7:18. That may not sound like a horrible thing. But when it is 40-ish degrees and you are dressed to run (I usually dress like it is 20 degrees warmer) then you really don’t want to just stand around. Thankfully there were some awesome people around me and we chatted it up and passed the time. And finally we were off!

It was still dark when we started…but it was just barely getting light. The views from the first bridge we crossed were amazing. If I hadn’t been determined to PR this race I would have surely taken a lot of photos. This was an incredibly scenic course. Chattanooga is beautiful to be sure!

The course was advertised as “fairly flat for East Tennessee.” Now any of you that live around here know that it just isn’t flat here, hardly anywhere. There are just hills all over the place. So I anticipated some hills, but nothing to sharp. Boy was I wrong. There were some fairly steep hills in this race (mile 12 anyone?) and one that I recall that went on forever. Couple that with the two times we had to run on concrete stairs (yes, I said stairs) and through some grass behind a business (around mile 10…what was that about? I felt like I was running away from the cops or something out the back…lol) I was pretty worn out. Although my mile splits had been really good, I could tell that I was losing it and wasn’t going to PR. So I just held on and hoped to finish. If they could have had water at all the stops for me, that might have helped. But no such luck. I just think they were vastly understaffed.

I was getting ready to high five mini-me, not slap the photographer (my hubs) I swear! This was right before the finish line.

I finally made it to the finish! And amazingly, although I didn’t PR, it was the second fastest half marathon I had run (the fastest being a much faster course that is practically within walking distance from my house…and no stairs). I was handed a medal (which hubs had to put on me because I was having trouble moving at that point) and a water bottle (with no water in it…go figure). Mini-me and hubs told me how proud they were (and mini-me kept trying to put my coat back on me….cute kid). After I finally got up off the ground (I was stretching…and maybe napping…I might have blacked out and drooled a bit….I’m not admitting to anything) we took some photos and went in search of food.

Woo hoo! I did it!

Well, I soon realized that I was going to have to search pretty hard for food. Seems they ran out of pizza. Ummm…I wasn’t a super late finisher….or really a late finisher at all and they were out already? They had some orange slices, bananas cut in half (gag), and some goldfish crackers. I asked the volunteer and she said they ran out and more was going to be delivered and that I should wait. Now hold on….so let me get this straight…I just ran 13.1 miles (well, my GPS said 13.24…but anyhoo) and now I have to wait for something to eat? Riiiiight. Well, we waited….and waited….no food. So finally we just headed out before I passed out (mini-me probably didn’t want to carry me to the car). Thankfully Starbucks (do you sense a theme here) was on the way back to the hotel and that held me over until I could cram my face full of Cracker Barrel (as is my habit) after cleaning up.

So, this race was a mixed bag for me. The views were beautiful. The weather was great. The people were nice. The course was definitely tougher than advertised. They were understaffed and didn’t have water at all the stations. They weren’t prepared with enough food at the finish. And although they promised that our chip times would be posted real time, it was 48 hours before results were posted. That is really odd for any race I’ve ever run, big or small. And they aren’t really responsive to anyone on their Facebook page. Soooo…..I’m going to say that I likely won’t run this race again for a few years until they can work out some of the kinks. Or if I do, it’ll just be to go and take a lot of photos along the way and enjoy the scenery. There is also a full marathon option here, but I think I’m going to opt for a different race for my next full as well. It wasn’t all bad, but I’m glad this race experience is over. I’ve learned a lot and I kicked some butt along the way.

Until next time…I’ll just keep running away in Tennessee. :)

As runners we focus on our health and fitness. Things like what we eat and whether we are hydrated. What is our BMI, body fat, weight, measurements, etc. Is anything injured? Doesn’t anything hurt?

Well, sometimes we have to think about what we can do to prevent illness. And that is what I am doing today. My Mom died from colon cancer at age 46 and my maternal Grandma died from colon cancer at age 61. So, I get colonoscopies every 5 years, and have since was 31 years old. Tomorrow is my third colonoscopy. So today I’m on an all liquid diet (I’ve run a marathon, I’ve given birth, I can do this…lol).

I am telling you this because it is SO important to be proactive in your health. Make sure you get regular check ups. Women, get your annual exams. If you have a hereditary disposition for something…then don’t ignore it. Be good to yourselves. And by all means….if you are are age 50 (or also have a family history of colon cancer or other bowel disorders) please get your colonoscopy! They really aren’t that bad. I mean….I wouldn’t necessarily put it on a bucket list or post photos on Facebook. ;) But it is better than the alternative.

Here is a link to the Colon Cancer Alliance if you are interested in learning more, http://www.ccalliance.org/.

Stay healthy peeps and take care of yourselves! You are worth it!

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