Walk with Him Wednesdays

Thursday, September 3, 2020

September 3, 2020

 September, finally! Fall is just around the corner! I am looking forward to cooler temperatures and maybe less humidity.  Tupelo Marathon is 3 days away. I am not ready, but no matter, going to run it.  Training for Tupelo involves hills, heat, and humidity. In those three areas, I am ready.  I printed out a 5:45 pace bracelet. I do have an out, at the midway point , I can opt to finish. I doubt I will cut my run short. Running is such a mental sport, and I am just crazy enough to finish.  This race last year nearly did me in. However, it was number 9 and this year it is number 1.  Tahoe Marathon is just 4 weeks away now.  Ahhh, running in the mountains, in Nevada and California. It just doesn't get much better!

Are y'all tired of the pandemic yet?  I certainly am! I made about 160 masks for family and friends. If I never see another one, it will be way too soon!  My husband and daughter never stopped working, so I never stopped babysitting the grands.  I am relieved that school is back in session. A sense of normalcy in the chaos.  

I had a decent herb garden this year.  I really like dill and cilantro!  I dried a lot, used more.  I also made sage and rosemary bundles to burn.  And, tomatoes...oh the tomatoes!  I planted two traditional tomato plants and two cherry plants.  The cherry sized tomatoes did amazing, the others, not so much.  The plants were over 6 feet tall!  Caterpillars are feasting on them now.  I am okay with this, I ran out of recipes.  Best thing I made was a roasted cherry tomato pizza.  YUMMY!  Need to figure out how to grow the herbs inside.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

2020 Running

At the end of 2019, I was burned out on running. Really, seriously burned out.  Not sure what I needed to do, so of course, I signed up for a race.  A 5k on New Year's Day in Knoxville, Tennessee, yep, that's the ticket.  The race was sponsored by Calhoun's, which has the BEST steak anywhere.  The start and finish were at Calhoun's on the River, an out an back that took us past Neyland Stadium, home of the Tennessee Volunteers, twice.  I enjoyed this race for a few reasons. One, Calhoun's, period. Two, we got a blanket instead of a shirt, awesome! Third, short and sweet! Forth, there was wine glasses for the first 200 finishers, of which I was not, oh well. Fifth, breakfast provided by Calhoun's afterward. Lastly, Calhoun's, like seriously! I tried their ribs for a nice change. They were amazing!

Race number two this year was on Leap Day in Elkmont....with Ludavine!  I love the Hound Dog Half!  I think I should run all races named for animals!  Especially, when said animals get to make an appearance.  I wasn't really ready to run a half, still burned out, I hadn't trained properly. I finished with a respectable time, but I hurt. If you want to run out in the beautiful boonies of North Alabama, this is your race! The last 5 miles are "trail", an old railroad path.  Of course, Ludavine is at the finish for all racers to get some love.  They serve the best food after this race! One year we had brunswick stew, another, pancakes. This year was local BBQ. Oh, My, it was good! 

My last race of 2020 was the UAH 8k, which was the day after Hound Dog.  I was hurting, so did not plan to race this one at all.  Ran with a friend, did her intervals, and had a wonderful long chat. 

There was supposed to be more, lots more. However, China had other ideas.  I did find my motivation again.  Focusing on training for Tupelo and then Tahoe marathons.  I did a couple of virtual races, but I miss my running friends!

The first of May I found a challenge. I was four weeks into marathon training and there it was, run 100 miles in 12 days.  12 Days of Hurt they called it. Could I do it? 8.4 miles a day? Seemed reasonable.  First two days I felt great! On day 3 I felt a shin twinge, stopping at mile 3.  Deemed it a muscular pain and not the dreaded shin splints, so slowed down and soldiered on.  12 days of hurt was an appropriate name!  On day 8, after 70 miles, all road, my feet said, nope, no more.  I came home after two miles, put my recovery shoes on and walked the rest.  I finished those 30 miles in recovery shoes and just walking.  BUT. I. FINISHED!  This achievement felt bigger than the 12 in 12 somehow.  I proudly wore my shirt, because, now I am a badass!  hahaha

So now, back to marathon training.  I did get some new shoes, Hokas. They are very comfy!

Keep running free my friends!

Marathon #12 Goal Achieved

My first marathon was Rocket City in Huntsville, AL. I chose this one for my first because this is my hometown, and anywhere on the course, I know where I am.  To finish at home was perfect. I had traveled all year, seen beautiful places, met awesome people, made so many memories. So to circle back to achieve goal, was wonderful. So many familiar faces!  I started out, again, with the 5:30 pacer.  I lost them as we were leaving the gardens, I finished about 5 minutes after them, not so bad.  Rocket City starts in the heart of Huntsville, at the Von Braun Center, and finishes inside.  This year we finished in the south hall, rather than the arena.  The course was modified a bit also because of construction.  First half still runs through downtown, over to five points, through Lee High School, and surrounding neighborhoods then back to downtown.  Second half takes you past Lowe mill area, Old Westlawn Middle, over the one serious hill into the Space and Rocket Center.This is one of my favorite parts of race, we always get "rocket pictures", no other race I have run offers those.  Then on to the Botanical Gardens, which is decorated for Christmas.  The lights are usually on, but they don't play the music.  I wish they would.  This is where I usually lose my pace group and this year was no different.  We come out around mile 21, and that is where I usually have to give myself a major pep talk.  Through the neighborhoods and past my brothers elementary school gives me time to prepare for a strong-ish finish.  Since the course was modified this year, the Grim Reaper was not at mile 23, I was very disappointed!  I hoped there would be beer at mile 24, and yay, there was.  My hubs was also there at mile 24, in the Lowe Mill district. He handed me a coke, so good at that point!  My only gripe with the changes this year was that we had to run all the way around Big Spring Park, which is in front of VBC. So close to the finish, so very close, and yet still running.  I finished at 5:35, which I thought was really good considering this was #12 and I was dang tired!

How did I feel to complete goal?  RELIEVED!  There was a moment of, "I did it!", but mostly I was just tired and ready to be done.  On to 2020.....

Marathon #11

I had chosen to do a 50k for my November marathon.  Dizzy 50s was my 2018 goal race, thought I could do it again. I fell early, like around mile 2. I just wasn't feeling it after that, like at all. I didn't even really try. Somewhere along the south loop of this course the finishers were starting their final loop.  I wasn't going to be able to make up the time and finish under 9.  Sadly, I really didn't care.  Since I had told David I didn't feel ready and seeing how I was struggling, David met me at the finish with another race suggestion.  He had gotten me this far, he wasn't ready to let me give up.  So, off we went to southern Mississippi to Stennis Space Center.  This course is pancake flat!  Another loop race through the space center.  The course is kind of boring, but I think it was just what I needed at the time.  I finished around 6:11, long after most people, but I finished.  Mississippi is hot in November, by the way. We went to the beach after race. All races should have a water feature at the end!  Because we were so close, I also got a New Orleans weekend out of the deal.  Only one more to go!

Marathon #10

Ahhh, October in Chattanooga, Tennessee! Running 7 Bridges, the reason I trained for a marathon. This race will always be a sentimental favorite.  There is much speculation among runners how the race directors rarely get the distance correct.  I have run this marathon 4 times, only once was it off measurably.  That year I got 27.3 miles without getting lost along the way.  This race covers 7, now 8, bridges in the Chattanooga area.  The course is beautiful, through downtown, across all those bridges, and along the Tennessee River.  There is a LONG section along the main highway that I don't like, but the rest absolutely makes up for it.  This year, because of construction along river walk, we had to run that highway section a second time.  I lost my pace group around the 16 mile mark. I was just tired of hills at that point.  Around mile 20, I just wanted to give up.  I think I was worn out, physically and mentally.  I got passed by a couple of guys who initially started in our pace group, but fell back early.  That kind of spurred me on. I sucked it up, and finished under six hours.  I was in the 5:30 pace group to start.  I was ready to give up the marathon a month goal at this point. David, however, was not going to let that happen.

Marathon #9

I didn't realize where I had left off.  Let me finish this.  Marathon number 9 was in Tupelo, Mississippi, in September.  This was the one I was most worried about, because of the heat and humidity.  The race, thankfully, started at 5am. That being understood, I should have been finished before 11am. Not the case. This race was hard, really hard.  Not sure why, but it nearly killed me.  I ended up with blisters, huge blisters, on both, yes, both, feet!  I walked the last 7 miles with another runner. We finished around the 6:30 mark.  We weren't last, but we were close.  We did get our medals, yay!  The 5am start was really nice, still dark, but cool temperatures.  The course is mostly through farmland back roads. There were a lot of hills, not so bad going out, torture on the return. This is an out and back course.  Those who ran the "half" got an extra 1.1 miles as the turn around point was not the finish line.  My husband met me around mile 13 to take my lights and give me my cooling towel. That was much appreciated!  Although, or maybe because, this race nearly took me out, I am running it again this year.  I absolutely love the shirt and medal! Besides what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, right?!?!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Marathon #8

Beaver Chase Urban Trail Marathon
Indianapolis, IN

Okay, so I chose northern races for June and July.  Not so much for August.  Yes, Indy is north of Bama, but definitely not any cooler.  This race was billed as a trail race inside city limits. Trails equal coolness of shade, right?...nope.  This course is a cross country course. Which I learned means lots of running on grassy areas.  Not my favorite surface to run on.  There was also a great deal of open area, without the shade I looked forward to.  This is loop race, 4 loops for the marathon distance. Now, I have done looped races before, no big deal.  This course KICKED MY BUTT! In the first loop, no less!  I did like the first couple of miles, after getting of the grass and into the trail portion.  That part was awesome! Nice soft trail, shaded, views of the river...really, really nice!  But, then you go back out onto the grass and stay there for the next four miles.  On my last loop, and I was the last runner, I asked my favorite person if he would do the last 5 miles with me. I was going to walk it, and he walks faster than I do. I figured he could help me stay on pace to finish under cut off time.  He did, and I did.  I probably won't do this one again, but they put on other races that look like fun.