Posts Tagged With: running races

Merry Christmas!

 

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!!  It’s a great time of year for my family, lots going on, lots of sleeping in training included, which has made it difficult to fit blogging in. I have lots of ideas, plans, goals, and everything to share.  Thank you for reading and I hope you have enjoyed. There’s only more and better to continue the rest of 2013 and in 2014.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Be sure that you get your workouts in this holiday season, normally filled with fun, food, family, friends, and parties.

Be sure you don't stop working out!

Be sure you don’t stop working out!

 

Categories: marathon, running, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

102 Half Marathons…. And Counting

“Every once in a while, every runner needs to slow down to absorb the sport they love so much,

to remember why they started running in the first place.”  ~ Running Boston and Beyond

102 half marathons.  What, ME???!!!  Hell, no.  I haven’t run 102 half marathons.  Not yet anyway.  I ran my tenth half yesterday at the Battleship 1/2 Marathon in Wilmington that begins and ends at the USS North Carolina Battleship. I wasn’t planning to run this race, but a friend of mine, Anthony, Mr. 102-Half-Marathons himself, asked me to run with him.   Yes, he’s run 102 half marathons, and if that wasn’t enough, he’s also run 31 full marathons.   That’s 2,148.4 in race miles alone.  And a mere drop in the bucket compared to what he’s planning to do.

Great race, awesome medal!

Great race, awesome medal!

I met Anthony at one of the first early morning track practices I attended with our training group, Without Limits.  I overheard him talking about the Dave Matthews Band, so immediately I had to chime in.  Anthony knows no strangers.  I mean really, this dude knows friggin everybody.  Well, except for the one person who said “Hi Anthony!” at the race yesterday and he looked at me and said, “I have NO idea who that was.”  He was the first person who asked me to warm up with him at the track, and I felt like I had one friend amongst all the strangers. Thankfully I know more people now, but he has a way of bringing you in and making you feel comfortable.

I haven’t seen Anthony in a while, so when I did see him on race morning, I expected him to look like his Facebook profile picture, including the white suit.

Rick Ross

Anthony Rick Ross.

Of course I hadn’t forgotten what he looked like, and we met up before the race.  I had the chance to ask Anthony some questions about all this running he’d done, and I thought it would be a fun thing to share with y’all.

Now THIS is Anthony.

Now THIS is Anthony in his new Without Limits shirt. I still think he should’ve worn the white suit…..

How it all started….  Looking for a way to lose weight and get his blood pressure and cholesterol under control, Anthony started running in 2006.  To say that he took to it would be an understatement.  He travels a lot for work and loves to travel beyond that, so running races was perfect to combine the love for running and travel.  One unique thing I found when running with Anthony is that he’s not concerned with his finish times.  It’s pretty hard to find that within a high-achieving training group where you always hear about the PR’s and the Ironman PR’s and the age category winners, and all the competitive this and that’s.  Sometimes you feel like you HAVE to do better each time, always looking to be better and faster.  Anthony simply doesn’t buy into it.  What’s really refreshing is that he runs because he loves to run.  I specifically asked him if he’ll ever go for times and is concerned with any of that, to which he replied, “I just run for the love of it and exercising to keep my blood pressure and stuff in check.”  He also quoted Bill Bowerman after being asked why he runs so much, “The real purpose of running isn’t to win a race, it’s to test the limits of the human heart.”  Boom.

After the race

After the race

The funny thing, or shall I say “new thing”, was that when we were done, I didn’t even look at the time on my Garmin.  We started off at a 10:28 mm pace and ended somewhere in the “I really don’t know or care” pace.  We walked, we talked, we were quiet.  About a million people waved “hello” to Anthony.  It was nice for me to enjoy the same race course that I ran my PR on last week, not noticing how beautiful it was while I was whizzing by.  I wonder how many times I’ve done that, how many times I’ve run past the beautiful things in order to see a certain number on my watch.  When we were done running, I didn’t even look past the “stop” button on my watch to see the finish time.  I didn’t care.

I found that Anthony has run races in many countries, Rome being his all-time favorite.  He’s run in Paris, Dublin, Costa Rica, Iceland, and all over the states, including Hawaii, with Chicago marathon being his favorite stateside race.  He said he’s had a few that he wanted to quit, such as the 20 degree Myrtle Beach Half in 2007, and the hot and humid Quintiles full marathon here in Wilmington in 2012, but he’s never given up.  He’s never been injured either.

We can all learn a little something from my friend, Anthony.  It never hurts to enjoy racing as much as you do just running.  While I’ve been off training because of that pesky injury that seems to never ever, ever want to go away, I’ve been able to concentrate on just running (although that PR last week was off the hook), cross-training, and being.  There’s no pressure, it’s all good, just the way it is.  Heck, I might even skip the marathon that I was going to do a month later than the Houston Marathon I was planning on running in January.  Sure, I want to PR when I run Boston in 2014.  I want to do the best I can, but I also realize that every once in a while, it’s good to run a race because you love running races.  Slow it down once.  Turn your Garmin off, run a race with your phone and take a picture here and there.  Run with someone and talk.  Enjoy it, absorb it. Don’t immediately go to the RESULTS area of the race finish and check your “official” time. Just run, because that’s what you love to do.  I’m guessing that, no matter how competitive you may be, you’ll love it.

Greenfield Lake - I actually STOPPED to take this picture.

Greenfield Lake – I actually STOPPED to take this picture.

So what’s on the horizon for Anthony?  First, there’s the Las Vegas half, then the Kiawah Island half, Ocean Isle Beach, a full over in Asia, Myrtle Beach…. well, you get the idea.  Let’s say the schedule is full.  I’ve heard more than one person ask him, “So what is your next goal?”.  You know, we running types always seem to have to have a goal.  And he’s definitely got one.  He now wants to run 100 full marathons and 200 half marathons.  Knowing Anthony the little bit that I do, there’s one thing for sure:  He will meet his goal, this crazy 200/100 goal; he’ll set his mind to it and get it done.  And he’ll have fun the entire way.

A nice "incline" at the beginning of the run.

A nice “incline” at the beginning of the run.

Categories: marathon, running, swimming, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hells Belles Do B2B

Yesterday, I ran 1/2 marathon as a part of the Hells Belles relay team in the Beach 2 Battleship 1/2 iron distance race.  It was amazing beyond belief.  Because there were so many facets to yesterday, it’s hard to even know where to start, so I’ll just start at the beginning.

First thing Friday morning, I had a nice 30 minute shake-out run while my swimmer, Randee, tried out her wetsuit and unexpected cold temps.  While I was THRILLED at  the colder air, she was facing swimming in an environment she wasn’t used to, which isn’t something you usually want to do on race day.  Let’s say she wasn’t thrilled about the temps.  The B2B expo was next.  We picked up our packets, went to the mandatory meeting and walked around the expo.  I ended up buying an outfit I can wear swimming and in triathlons.  If I wasn’t already planning to do the B2B 1/2 next year, there’s no way I could come out of that expo NOT wanting to do one, that’s for sure.  I was humbled by the people there and what they were preparing to put themselves through.  Me, I was “just” running a 1/2 marathon!!

We were ready to go.

We were ready to go.

I ate the same sort of foods I would in preparation for a full marathon, just not as much.  The issue was that my stomach was being a little grumpy.  It’s not normal for me to feel like that before races, and I’ve done plenty of them, so I knew something else was going on and that I needed to be extra careful.  I had dinner with my teammate, Wendy, and we were both tired but really excited for the events Saturday.  After I got home from eating, I got all my race stuff together, set my alarm, said goodnight to my family, and went to sleep.  Well, I did after the stupid song I had in my head all day left my brain.  I was teasing my son by singing and acting along to the song “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips like the friends do in the movie Bridesmaids, so it circled for a while.  Annoying.

I got up pretty early to the text, “Wakey wakey” from Randee.  I silenced my phone and went back to sleep for another hour.  When I did get up at 6:30, I knew I was in for it.  My stomach was pissed.  I’ve never had a GI problem during a race, and I certainly didn’t want to make this the first time, so I stayed home and just followed my eating plan. It’s a good thing I didn’t have an early morning race, that’s for sure.  Why am I including this little “TMI” segment?  Well, because this is a blog about running and runners talk about stuff like this.

I was pacing when the race started for Randee.  I waited and waited and then tried to track her progress.  Nothing.  What happened?  Where is she? WHAT IS GOING ON?????  I found the live cam from the swim finish and watched and watched for her.  Then it quit streaming.  I waited a little longer and texted her husband to see if she was done.  She was.  Wendy, our biker, was on her way to me.  I had three hours to get ready to run.  Butterflies!!

We didn’t know exactly where we were going for the exchange point and we didn’t know what the traffic/parking situation would be like, so we headed to downtown Wilmington early.  I’d much rather be there early than to be scrambling around and late.  Thankfully, my stomach settled down, and I had a feeling I needed to eat more.  I kept my coach’s words in my head, “Be sure to eat enough so you won’t want to eat other runners, but not enough that you’ll shit yourself”.  Good advice, Kristen, good advice.  My go-to pre-race meal emerged a few years ago before a marathon, so we stopped at Burger King and I picked up a double hamburger, of all things.  But when you find something that works, you do it if it feels right.    We got there in plenty of time, had no trouble parking right by transition 2, and found our way to the relay transition point.  Randee showed up after showering up after her swim, and we saw some fellow teammates from our mutual training group, Without Limits.  We cheered, we waited, and at the time that would have been Wendy’s best finish time, I got ready to go.

Me watching the bikers as they came into transition.

Me watching the bikers as they came into transition.

I waited in the transition area for about 30 minutes.  Five minutes before that, I got butterflies.  I got nerves.  I thought, “Wow, I don’t feel like I’m going to run 13.1 miles in just a few minutes.”  Maybe it was because my mind was ready.  Maybe because I didn’t have a huge amount of pressure on me – my only goal was to finish in under 2 hours.  I don’t know what it was, but when Wendy came into view, I was ready to go.

IMG_1278

I yelled, “STELLLAAAAAA!!!”

 I gave Wendy a hug, got the timing chip around my ankle, started my watch, and took off.  Boy, did I feel good.  I didn’t look at my watch for a little bit, and when I did, I was shocked to find out that I was going at about a 7:30 minute mile.  I knew I’d crash pretty quickly if I kept that pace up, so I slowed down.  But I felt soooo goooood!!!  My pace was even, my steps were quick, and my breathing was slow and steady.  I slowed up to an 8:15 minute mile, which was 45 seconds a mile faster than my plan.  I honestly tried to slow down.  I really did.  I knew that I could end up crashing.  But I wanted to go for my best time, because I knew “that” feeling, that wonderful “this is awesome” feeling, and I was having it right then.  I also didn’t want to derail at mile 6, so I had to be smart about it.  I knew I would end up feeling uncomfortable, and I knew I was comfortable with being uncomfortable.  It was time to act like a runner.

After being out of speed work, hill work, and tempo running for a full month because of my severe shin splints and calf tightness, I was expecting my leg to start hurting.  Yes, I felt some discomfort, slight pain, and I shoved it aside.  I was elated to be running to my potential without pain, the first time in a very long time.  Finally!!  In a race too!! The crowds along the first two or so miles were amazing.  There was music, there were Without Limits people yelling at their teammates, there were strangers yelling, “You’re looking strong, keep it up!” and “Go Hells Belles!!!”.  I was running my first big race without my iPod, so I didn’t know what to expect after the crowds thinned out and I was alone.

About a mile into the race.

About a mile into the race.

The course was out and back, so I was able to see runners as they were on their way back towards the finish.  So inspiring!!!  I kept passing runners and honestly, I felt bad since I knew they were the ones who had swam 1.2 miles and biked 56 miles already.  I had an “R” on my calf, so at least I knew they could see that, know I was part of a relay team, and know why I had so much energy.  My pace stayed steady between 8:10 and 8:20.  At about mile 6, I noticed that my watch stopped beeping when I passed the mile marker.  Hmmmm.  I’ve run in races where my watch shows I’ve run less distance, but not a course with such tight corners and basically no margin of error.  Did they measure the course wrong?  The first time, my watch showed I was .10 miles off.  Then it was .2 miles off at the next mile marker, then .3 miles.  I thought that it would be pretty crappy to be a marathon runner and find out the course is measured incorrectly.  But other than that, I was floored at how much I DIDN’T miss my iPod.  Sure, it would’ve been nice, because the course was quiet.  Besides the water stations and beginning/end, it was extremely quiet.  But I didn’t care.  I listened to my breathing, I listened to my steps, I heard the rustling leaves, I heard other runners.  I was in my own world, my zone, my happy place, my happy pace.

The miles ticked down, and I got closer to the finish.  My lips were dry.  I was getting tired, breathing harder.  My coach saw me along in there somewhere and yelled, “KELLI YOU’RE AWESOME!!!”  I kept at it.  I repeated to myself, “You are uncomfortable.  Get over it.”  I wanted my chapstick.  Three miles to go, two miles to go…. crowds were starting to form again.  I was close.  I heard the music, the crowds thickened, the atmosphere….awesome.

I was exhilarated while also trying not to trip on the uneven bricks.  Tricky when you're tired.

I was exhilarated while also trying not to trip on the uneven bricks. Tricky when you’re tired. And no, I didn’t hold my arms up the entire race.

I tried as hard as I could to finish strong.  I saw the finish line.  Wow.  I know I hadn’t done the entire 1/2 iron distance, but really, any finish line is emotional.  I found my two teammates, who joined me so we could finish together.

The Hells Belles

The Hells Belles

Once we crossed the finish line, I stopped my watch.  Holy shit.  1:44:08.  An unofficial PR by 7 seconds.  Granted, my watch showed less than 13 miles, but I had to give that up to the Garmin gods.  I did it.  I had an absolutely amazing race.  Randee swam it.  Wendy biked it. I ran it.  PR or not, official or unofficial, I ran my best race, it felt AWESOME, and I had fun.  I couldn’t ask for more than that.

Me, Wendy, and Randee

Me, Wendy, and Randee

After the race, we collected our awesome medals, pajama pants, and food.  My husband (Sherpa) and I sat down and had a beer while listening to the post-race music, then headed to our favorite hangout to watch runners go by and hang with the other Belles.

I appreciate the lady taking this picture of us since if I'd taken it myself, it'd be of my hand.

I appreciate the lady taking this picture of us since if I’d taken it myself, it’d be of my hand.

I’m intimidated by completing a 1/2 iron distance next year, which is exactly the reason that I plan to sign up and do it.  Two huge boxes checked off a life goal list in 2014?? Boston Marathon in April, check.  B2B in October, check.  Heck yeah, why not??!!

How can I describe yesterday?  Awesome? Amazing? Inspiring? Yes, yes, and yes.  And as I watched the full iron distance runners continuing to run after being at it for over 10 hours at that point, I thought, “Well, maybe that’ll be me some day.”  And today, as I think about it, I know it will be.

A runner finishing their first half of the marathon in the full iron distance.  Can you say INSPIRE?

A runner finishing their first half of the marathon in the full iron distance. Can you say INSPIRE?

Categories: Boston Marathon, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ode to My Medals

Medals, medals, oh how you shine,

I ran those races and you became mine.

I cherish the memories attached to your race,

Even when I sucked and couldn’t show my face.

Don’t get too comfortable, as I know I’ll add more,

 Crossing that line I always quest for!

IMG_1255

Each medal has it’s own unique story.

I finally found a place to put my medals “only” two months after moving into my new house.  I remember taking them off the wall in my Texas house, and I thought about packing them in the car so I knew they wouldn’t be lost.  Those medals represent such a huge part of my running life and they each have a specific memory attached. Some are amazing, some are not, and some were a reward for a hard run race.  Some just remind me of having fun with friends (like N’Orleans).  I carefully hung them up and had a little run down memory lane.

I know I’ve finished several races without getting a medal, and many of the finishers shared the same opinion about that, “What?! No medal? That sucks!”.  I understand they are expensive and require additional volunteers to give them to finishers, but sometimes, you just want that piece of the race to remember it by.  One race where I finished second overall women, I was lucky enough to get a rock painted green Blarney Stone. It’s cool but a little hard to display.

My St. Patty's Day Race Award.  I know you're jealous.

My St. Patty’s Day Race Award. I know you’re jealous.

Not all memories attached to medals are good.  Take this one:

What should have been the 2010 Lincoln Marathon

The Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda, D’OH! Medal

First of all, this dumb medal is an insult to itself.  The neck strap is huge and the dinky medal is teeny tiny.  If you’re running a half marathon, at least the medal could look a little nicer or the strap could be half the size.  Maybe I’m a little bitter?  This race was the 2010 Lincoln Marathon Half-Marathon.  I was trained for and planned to qualify for Boston at this race.  Buuuutttt, as dumb, and I mean DUMB luck would have it, I bonked at mile six and had to stop at the half instead of finishing the full.  Yes, mile six.  I shutter to remember what I ate the day before.  I’m too embarrassed to even repeat it.  From that day on, I make sure my eating is where it needs to be for me, and I also listen to myself more than I rely on what a book says regarding pre-race eating.  Oh, and I am fully aware of what eating simple carbs (That’s the D’OH!!! part) instead of complex carbs will do to your race.  That medal is proof.  I have to thank my husband for keeping this medal from ending up in the garbage can, which is where I put it after that race.  Well, I threw it more than put it, but I was angry and the medal was just, well, stupid.  He kept it for me and now it just shows that you can’t always have a good race.

2013 Houston Marathon

2013 Houston Marathon

The Houston Marathon medal is one of my favorites, of course, because this is the race where I qualified for Boston and PR’d by 13 minutes.  I will never let rain or wind factor into my mindset before the race, because I know that all you can do is run your best race, as I did in Houston.  You just never know how it will end up, so always keep positive!!

Some races are just meant for fun.  My husband and I ran these 4 mile obstacle/mud races in Winnie, Texas, and were even four beers deep before running one of them.  It was fun.  A lot of fun.  The people who manage the WWIII.5 races are wonderful people too, so I would recommend this race to anyone.  And check out their web page because I can actually say that I’m on the website!!  I’m the one climbing out of a car on the right side of the page.   I decided to keep the medals as-is instead of cleaning them off before I hung them up to make it more true-to-life.  I may even have some dirt left in my ear too…..

Winnie Wars

Winnie Wars

The second marathon I ever ran was the Disney Marathon in 2001.  I decided, on a whim of course, to join Team in Training and raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  My grandma was a survivor and she had passed away from other causes the year before, so it seemed appropriate, and I was able to raise over $3,000 for the cause.  I ran this one using the “run 9 minutes, walk 1 minute” method with a friend, which seemed to work well for us as we could walk the next day.  This is one of my favorite medals as well, because who doesn’t like Disney?

The Disney Marathon

The Disney Marathon

2012 Turkey Dash

2012 Turkey Dash

This is the medal I got for finishing first in my 35-39 age group at the last Thanksgiving Day race.  I’ve always wanted to run a race on turkey day but we either were traveling that day or there wasn’t a race to run.  Last year was the first opportunity to do one, so I signed up for the 10k, plus it was a good training run.  It was a beautiful day, humid but sunny, and I wanted to go as fast as possible.  I was amazed to finish the 10k in a 3 minute PR of 47:22.  That was the first taste of “don’t underestimate yourself” I had last year, and it was a good lesson that I carry with me today and pass along to my kids.

As much as I cherish my race medals, I have to admit that the memories attached to them mean more to me than the actual medal.  But I’ll be happy to keep collecting both the memories and the medals as long as they’ll give them out!

Do you have a favorite race medal?

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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