Thursday, January 13, 2011

2010 - A Maniacal Year

13 Marathons
1 50K
1 Half Marathon
9 states
Iridium (4 stars) Maniac status
I also ran a handful of 5K's and I think one 10K

Mississippi Blues Marathon - Jackson Mississippi. This was my first marathon as a Maniac and the experience fueled our Marathon fever!
It was 9 degrees at the start and a very hilly course but all the maniac love made it bearable and almost enjoyable!! Especially the time spent running with Carol and Larry.
Jeff, Livia and Kylie came back from Brazil after a 5 week Christmas Vacation.

Surf City Marathon - Huntington Beach Calif
This was my second year to do Surf City and I was excited to have Arland as my travel/race partner. I was also very excited to meetup with friends Cathy S. and Lynda. We also had the pleasure of meeting Ken and Wendy an awesome couple who are coming to Arkansas in March to run the Little Rock Marathon we are very excited!
Met lot's of Maniacs during the race and were really pumped to meet the President of the Marathon Maniacs Steven Yee at the finish line.
We stayed a couple of extra days and spent one of those days with my dad in Oceanside.

Little Rock Marathon - Little Rock Arkansas
I had run the half marathon 3 times but this was to be the first time for the Full. We had spent the fall/winter training with running friends in Cabot. Two of them were doing their first Marathon and it was very exciting to be a part of maiden marathon voyage.
I had a great first half and was feeling strong but just past the halfway point I ran into one of our first timers and she was having a bad day, felt sick and was just ready to quit. I decided to stay with her and help her get to the finish. It wasn't pretty and by the time we finished the finish line area was pretty bare but all our Cruiser friends were still there waiting for us!!

Hogeye Marathon- Fayetteville Arkansas
Awful! It was hot I started feeling sick about mile 6 which is way too early to start feeling bad in a Marathon. My friend Judy from Conway was my partner and would not leave me although I begged her to. There were of course positives, we got to celebrate Marla's first marathon and had lot's of friends cheering us on.

Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
This was a very emotional race, the course was lined with banners with the names of the victims from the Oklahoma City bombing.
This was also Missie's first half marathon. She was supposed to do St. Jude's but a tendon issue caused her to miss too much training. Micah and I ran with Missie and Kristi until the half split off. I managed to hang onto Micah until about mile 16 and he left me in his dust. Of course port a potty visits don't help!!! and maybe Mexican food the day before didn't help either???? LOL

Fargo Marathon - Fargo North Dakota
We signed up for the "Go Far Challenge" and ran a 5K the evening before the Marathon.Fun..Fun...Fun!!!
An old friend from my Maryland days lives in Bismarck ND and she and her husband made the two hour drive to Fargo to see me. I hadn't seen Twila since 1994 but I swear from the first moment we laid eyes on each other it was as if no time at all had passed!
We had several Arkansas friends who also went to Fargo. Most of us were on the same flight which gave us time to hang out.
Cathy S. was also in Fargo for the half marathon. I didn't get to spend as much time with her as I would have liked but we did have a few minutes at the Expo and then again in the Fargo Dome before the race.
Loved this race!! definitely a great course, ton's of crowd support and I got to run a bit with one of my Maniac heroes Larry Macon. We first met Larry in Mississippi and such a nice guy! He had the Guinness World Record for the most marathons in one year 105... he went on to break his own record this year by running 106 marathons in 2010.
To top off a GREAT race experience our friend Leah Thorvilson not only won the women's marathon she also qualified for the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials.

June - July
No Marathons ... We had several we wanted to do but this Marathon stuff gets expensive!!
It was Hot Hot Hot summer but we adapted to the heat by running at 5:00am and using a 4-1 run/walk ratio during our long runs.

Ding Dong Daddy 5K- Dumas Ark.
Who wouldn't want to run a race with the words Ding Dong Daddy in it. We first found out about the Ding Daddy Days run last year. My friend Missie is from Dumas and she talked a group of girls to go down for the weekend to run the race and just have a girls weekend.
We have decided that we want to make this an annual trip as long as we possibly can. Missie's mom treats us like rock stars and we feel like we are at a 5 start resort!!

Leading Ladies Marathon - Spearfish, SD
This was a women's only Marathon. Vic and Joan had this on their schedule for several months and I was able to share a room with them and found a decent priced ticket so Arland couldn't say no! Plus he had just done a 50K in July and was still on that Ultra high when I approached him about going to SD.
This year the race was held during the last weekend of the Sturgis Bike Rally so we got to experience one of the biggest most famous bike rallys in the United States. I have never seen so much leather, boobs and bare bottoms in my whole life!! LOL
Traveling with Vic and Joan was So much fun!! never a dull moment and then when Toni joined us.. well what can I say, we never stopped laughing!!
I met Dana Casanave at this race and got to run the first 9 -10 miles with Carol. The miles I spent with her flew by, and I really think I could have had an awesome race if I could have stayed with her the whole race, but my stomach rebelled and I had to stop 5 times for bathroom breaks, including one trip to the woods!!

Brett came home from Iraq for 15 days. Livia and Kylie came home from Brazil.

Tupelo Marathon - Tupelo Mississippi
This race is a cult favorite for many of our Arkansas running friends. We already had it on our calendar because it is close enough to drive, and we needed a September Marathon. The thought of running a marathon in Mississippi the first weekend of September was terrifying but knowing we would be suffering alongside 30-40 running friends made it a little more bearable. It was a great weekend. We participated in the "3-3-3" three races, in three states in three days. We even have t-shirts! LOL
I dreaded this race all summer but it turned out to be one of my best Marathons of the year and then the chick-fil-a 5k the next day in Memphis was one big party! GREAT weekend! And Arland had a big PR!!

Bartlett Parks Trail Ultra - 50K - Memphis TN
This race was the weekend after Tupelo and had been on our radar but we wanted to wait to see how we felt after Tupelo. Well.. we felt great!!
So let me just begin with this warning. It really is not a good idea to make a 50K race your very first trail run!! I had No trail experience and did not realize what I had in store for me!
We started off great, it was HOT but we were in the woods and I was happy, until the first time I fell. It was a shock, I never had that sensation of falling. One second I was running the next I was on the ground. I fell 7 times... yes 7! The first 6 falls were in the first 15 miles. Actually 3 of them were in the first 7 miles! After the 6th fall I decided I was done, I just could not figure out my problem, yes the trail was covered in tree roots and stumps but I swear my eyes were glued to the ground and I could have sworn I was picking my feet up! I told Arland to go on and that the next time we passed the start I was going to turn in my bib. I was upset and when I got to the car I was trying to compose myself enough to take my bib to the race director without being a blubbering mess. I was a Mess, covered in dirt and blood from head to toe, my face had hit the ground during 3 of my falls. I really didn't want to quit but I had told Arland to go on and I didn't feel comfortable in the woods by myself, and then I met Lisa, we had been passing each other back and forth the whole race, she was having problems with her asthma so she was also struggling. She suggested we run the rest of the race together and so I put my gear back on and away we went. Things were going along great, we walked the entire 3rd loop but at a very fast pace which caused some painful blisters, but I was just so happy not to fall. The third loop I was feeling good and getting impatient with the walking so we ran when we could and walked over the worst sections of roots. It was going well and I was feeling confident and then ... yes of course I fell again! It was ugly, dirty, sweaty, bloody but boy did it feel great when I crossed the finish line and could call myself an ultra marathoner!

Mother Road Marathon - Joplin, MO
This race starts in Commerce OK, runs through Kansas and ends up in Joplin MO. You never really know what the weather will be like on race day but we thought Missouri in October might be cooler. Well. We were wrong! It was HOT it was miserable... I fell at mile 14, twisted my ankle, banged up my knee and hand.. yeah this was not a great day!!! BUT I did finish and although it took me forever because running was too painful so I mostly had to walk which added blisters to my list of injuries, I did end up helping someone else make it to the finish line so it wasn't a total loss!!
The best part was seeing some friends I had not expected to see at the finish line!!!!

Noah's Ark 10K - Dumas Ark
Last year Missie and I took Kylie and Eliza to Dumas for the weekend, but this year she invited Arland to go along too.
I love this race, it is very flat and well organized! Last year Missie and I ran together and I felt like I was running with a celebrity, everyone was cheering for her! Missie and I won money last year and joined the ranks of "elite" runners ;) the fact that there were only 3 people who ran the race had nothing to do with it!!!
This year I didn't know if we would go since Missie had not been running all summer due to back pain.
It was a much bigger crowd this year, not sure exactly but probably about 15 runners. Most were doing the 5k so Missie and I decided we would sign up under the relay category. I ran the first half by myself and then ran the second half with Missie and we won!!! woo hoo!! Oh, did I mention we were the only relay team?? oh well that's not really important!
Poor Arland.... we just knew he was going to win the men's 10k especially since last year there were no men, but this year a guy who happened to be in Dumas to visit family decided to run the race and he was fast!!!
But we had a great weekend!!!!

MidSouth Marathon - Wynne, Arkansas
I swore last year, my second year to run this marathon that I would NEVER do it again!!! but it is just too close to pass up. I was really glad I changed my mind, this year was MUCH better than last!! Last year we had 40mph winds the whole second half, and it was also HOT, just an overall miserable experience!
This year was much better!!! It was COLD at the start and no extreme winds!!!

Route 66 Marathon - Tulsa Oklahoma
When we found out that the Marathon Maniacs and 50 States Club was going to have a perks tent we knew we had to go! Route 66 had been Arlands first Marathon in 2007, I did the half that year and swore I would NEVER go back... yeah I have got to stop saying Never!!!!
This year was awesome. Maniac friend Greg Goebel had organized a pasta dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse and we got to meet a bunch of new Cruisers! This race was Greg's 30th race in his 30th state in 365 days, which translates to Titanium status/10 spinny stars in the Maniacs.
Arland decided he wanted to run with Greg and I agreed to run with Mary from Sarasota. The race started off fine, very hilly but we were having lot's of fun and ran into tons of Maniac friends. During the race you could decided to take a little detour to The Center of The Universe and receive a special medallion, well I'm all about the bling so we decided to take the .3 detour.
Definitely a great race and a great experience!

Brett's deployment from Iraq ended and he returned to Fort Bliss in El Paso Texas. He got a weekend pass and was able to come home for Thanksgiving.

Dallas White Rock - Dallas Texas
This was the first year since I started running that I didn't not participate in the St. Jude's Marathon/Half Marathon. I ran the half 3 times and the Full one. A big group of Cabot Cruisers had chosen Dallas White Rock as their first marathon, it was also Joan and Vic's first marathon in a couple of years so we had to go!
It was a blast to coach, run with and support the group of new marathoners!! I spent several Sunday mornings driving all over Cabot acting as a travelling aid station! I loved every minute I got to spend with them and was so excited to run with a couple of
them for their first marathon. Crossing the Marathon finish line with Toni was very special and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything!!!

Run For The Ranch - Springfield Missouri
Start time 1:00pm. The course was 8 loops around and through Southern Missouri University. I was excited for this race, Carol was going to be there and I hadn't seen her in a while, we were also going to get to meet Patrick a fellow Maniac. There were actually a bunch of Maniacs we knew and a bunch of our Little Rock and Cabot running friends.
It was a tough race, 8 loops are hard, there was a lot of concrete, uneven surfaces etc. and the final insult no medals left when I finished!! They ran out somewhere around the 4:40 finish time. The race director said he would mail us one but we haven't received them yet.

Christmas was great. Brett came home for 30 days and Kylie, Livia and Jeff stayed home.

I feel like I have been typing forever and that this will be too long but so much is left was a great year!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


It has been an extremely hot summer here in Arkansas this year. Many days in a row of highs over 100 degrees with heat indices of 110+. It has definitely impacted the quality of my running but not the quantity. I had my highest mileage week since I started running in July with 53 miles. To make running more bearable we run at 5:00am for all of our runs except for one evening run. Thursday nights at 7:00 we have a Cabot Cruiser group run and even with miserable conditions we have been having 15-25 people show up to run.
Lot's has been going on since the last time I blogged and there is no way I have the patience or anyone would have the desire to read it all in detail so I will just do a quick rundown.

Marathons this year so far -
Mississippi Blues - Jackson Mississippi
Surf City - Huntington Beach California
Little Rock - Arkansas
Hogeye - Fayettville Arkansas
Oklahoma City Memorial - Oklahoma
Fargo - North Dakota

Cabot Cruisers I became President of the Cabot Cruisers running club in May

Women Can Run Clinic-Another successful year, new friends, new running partners.

Life is good her in Casa de Blanton. Kylie and Livia have been in Brazil for the past 4 weeks but will be home next Sunday. I have missed them like crazy but I am so happy they were able to go and have this time with Livia's family.
Brett has been doing fine in Iraq, a couple of scary things have gone on but he has remained safe. He was home for 15 days and although I had to share him with old and new friends it was great to have him home.
I am blessed to have a lot of awesome friends and we have had lots of fun adventures.

Arland and I have a goal of 12 marathons in 12 months and if we are able to complete all of the races we have planned we will have it in the bag.
1-Long Beach
2-Mid South-Wynne
3-Rocket City
4-Mississippi Blues
5-Surf City
6-Little Rock
8-Oklahoma City
10-Leading Ladies SD*
12-Mother Road- Joplin

Friday, April 9, 2010

Marathon Streak

Back in the summer while training for the Long Beach Marathon I got the bright idea to run six marathons in six months. My reasoning was that it would be easier to stay trained and run several marathons in a row versus taking a break in between marathons and then having to start all over for the next one. Arland of course thought I was nuts when I first presented my idea but once he realized I was serious he jumped on the bandwagon. Somewhere along the way, most likely after we became Marathon Maniacs I started obsessing about adding spinny stars, being a Maniac wasn't enough now I wanted more bling so now we have expanded our streak to complete 12 marathons in 12 months.
This Sunday we are running the Hogeye Marathon in Fayetville AR. it will be # 7 for me and # 6 for Arland.
Two years ago we ran the 1/2 marathon and it is a hilly torturous route, and I had a miserable race!! I'm a lot smarter now, well I hope I am a lot smarter!! Of course how smart is it to run a marathon on a course you know is painful???? Oklahoma City Memorial was our original pick for our April Marathon, but this marathon streak thing is starting to get expensive so we chose Hogeye instead. We wouldn't have to take any vacation days and the cost of the race and hotel is much cheaper. WELL, about a week after we signed up for Hogeye, my friends Kristi and Missie decided to run the Oklahoma City 1/2 Marathon. It is going to be Missie's first half and I wanted to be there. As soon as I told Arland I was going to Oklahoma City he decided to come along too. So now we will run two Marathons in April.
On May 21st we will be traveling to North Dakota for the Fargo Marathon. I knew I wanted to do Fargo months ago when it first showed up on my radar, thanks to my friend Cathy. I have an old friend who lives in Bismarck and I had been looking for North Dakota marathons so this just seemed perfect. Arland on the other hand was not so sure, but once Arland met Cathy, David, Wendy and Ken when we were in California they helped me convince him he had to do it too!

We also have a couple of ideas for June and July but nothing is firm yet......

I need to do my race reports for Surf City (Feb) and Little Rock (March). I do plan to write them up eventually...................

So back to Hogeye... it will be Marathon # 13 lifetime.... I hope the#13 won't be unlucky for me.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mississippi Blues Marathon - January 9th

I don't know why I have such a hard time getting my race reports written up. I have run two more Marathons since Rocket City. Mississippi Blues in January and Surf City on February 7th.

Marathon # 10 and my first marathon as a Marathon Manic.
The Expo was nice, smallish but the location was great so there was room to move around. Throughout the whole Expo there were television screens showing some of the soliders in Iraq who had participated in the "First Wave" of the Mississippi Blues race. I cannot see a young man in an Army uniform without tearing up so I was very teary eyed walking around!! My son Brett is in the Army and is currently in Iraq. He was not a part of the race but I couldn't help but look for him amongst the sea of faces.
The best part of the Expo was running into our friend and fellow Maniac Carol E. she is such a friendly, fun, bubbly person and gives great hugs!!! We also got to see and say hi to Dane Rauschenberg of "See Dane Run" fame.
Our hotel The Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Jackson was close to the Expo but not quite as close to the start and finish line as I had hoped.
It was freezing cold!!! and since we were downtown we had to valet park at the hotel so it would be a pain to get the car and then we didnt' really know where anything was so we opted to walk a few blocks to a small restaurant that was serving spagehetti and meatballs as a special for the Race participatnts. The restaurant was OLD.. and you could tell that most of the customers other than the other racers had probably been going there every Friday night for YEARS!! but the food and service were very good. Walking back to the Hotel after dinner was Freezing cold and I kept thinking how hard it was going to be to run the Marathon in those temps! actually it was the wind that was so killer!! Once back in our room we laid out all our gear and headed to bed, not as early as I would have liked but then I never get to bed as early as I want to on race eve.

First thing Arland does when his alarm goes off is check the local tempature on his iphone. I really didn't want to know but it was 17 degrees!!! So I piled on the clothes. Tights, skirt, longsleeve tech shirt and finally my Marathon Maniac singlet. Gloves, bondi band and a throwaway jacket and I was ready to go. On the ride down in the elevator I got the first taste of Maniac love.. The Marathon Maniacs are such a fun bunch of people and there were a ton of them at this race. Somehow we managed to run into Carol before the race started, got seperated at the port a potties and then ran into each other again at the start line. Oh the start line what a confusing thing that was, we had come from a side street and there was a huge clump of people, thankfully Carol was one of those people so we just fell in with her. I knew we were too close to the front but didn't realize how close until we started. Before the race started they had a huge screen t.v. thingy going with the troops from Iraq counting down the start for us.. OMG I was bawling!!! The National Athem always gets me but seeing those soliders put me over the edge. I didnt' have much time to wallow in the emotion though because when they said go we were right there crossing the start line just seconds behind the elites! I of course was feeling extremely guilty but the course was really wide at that point and I stayed as far to the right as I could. It was fun but also made us run a little faster than I wanted to start with. By the second or third mile I was ready to shed my jacket, it was a heavy jean jacket and it felt so good to get it off!! I also had my foil blanket from Rocket City but I wasnt' quite ready to throw it away yet so I tied it around my waist. I really thought I would throw it away after a few more miles but I never did and I got many compliments on my "skirt" the whole race. Carol had run on ahead of us at the start but a couple miles later I could see her pontytail bobbing just up ahead. When we caught up with her she introduced us to the man she was running with. Larry Macon who just happens to be in the Guiness book of world records for running the most marathons in a year, 105!!! He has also been Maniac of the year for several years. He is truly a Maniac but also a really, really nice guy!!! We loved talking to him and from that point until the half way point we would do a little hopscotching with each other and whenever he would see us coming he would tell whoever he was running with "here comes Arkansas" :)
I had so much fun running in my Maniac shirt, I got to talk to so many more people than normal, all the Maniacs are just so friendly and many of them would slow down and run and talk with me for a little while. It almost always starts with "hey maniac" "what # is this one" where are you from etc. I LOVED IT!!!!! Combine the maniac shirt with my foil skirt and I got lots of attention!! One supporter commented that I had on a "bubble boy" skirt! and many many more would say "great skirt" the first time someone said that to me I didn't realize what they were talking about, I always wear a skirt so I just thought they meant my regular skirt but after a look down I realized they meant the foil skirt.
I was very impressed with this Marathon. The volunteers were so awesome it was 17 degrees with a feels like 9 degrees wind chill and there were hundred of them everywhere, they had every single intersection and public driveway manned to protect us from traffic. They all thanked us for running in Mississippi and I would always say THANK YOU for being out here in this freezing cold to protect us!!! I felt so bad for them, we were staying warm by running but they had to be freezing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I started getting a weird pain on the top of my right foot around mile 4 I tried to ignore it, but it was not going away!!! it would change in intensity but it constantly hurt. I had also started needing a bathroom about this time but whenever we would pass a port a potty there would be a line and I didn't want to have to wait. Finally it was becoming urgent and of course now there were not port a potties to be found. Luckily we could see a gas station up ahead and decided we would go in there and what a great decision that was!! No line, warm and a place to wash and dry your hands!! It was great! Unfortunately I spent more time in there than I would have liked but I felt much better. When I think about this race I think about the sea of maniac shirts, Arland and HILLS!! Jackson is very hilly especially the last half! We passed Larry for the last time right before the halfway timing mat. He was planning on running another marathon the next day in Mobile so he was slowing down and taking it easy for the last half. Everyone wanted to know if we were doing the double.. one of the reasons there were so many maniacs at this race was because of the close proximity to Mobile making it an easy double. I really want to do a double sometime but I realized after jackson that I am not quite ready for that yet.
Around mile 16 mile stomach started revolting again and I had to stop for a minute and then walk a bit to let things settle. Sometimes that helps and I can resume running and sometimes I can't, luckily this was one of those times where the walking settled things enough that I was able to run a couple of miles until we found a port a pottie. This stop also ate up a lot of time, mostly because my skin was frozen and I was having a hard time removing all of my layers! LOL
Arland was great!!! This was the first time we ran a whole marathon together and he was really supportive and encouraging. I didn't even want to hit him...well ok maybe a couple of times when he was walking some of the hills that I was having to run so that I could catch up with him!!!
The pain on the top of my foot was getting worse and was travelling up my shin, I was really starting to panic thinking of all the upcoming marathons I have planned. Finally around mile 20 I stopped leaned down (not an easy thing to do at mile 20) untied and retied my shoe and it immediately felt better, they damage was done but at least it wasn't the same intense pain it had been for the past 15 miles. Why didn't I think of retying my show sooner???
I kept thinking that eventually the hills would end but they never did!!! I think it was around mile 23 I met Diane Bolton she is a titanium level maniac and ran 31 marathons in 12 months!! she is on a quest to run all 50 states before she turns 50 and she is way ahead of the game, I think she only had 8 or so left to do. She is a much faster runner than me but she was having some knee issues and was taking it easy. I really enjoyed talking to her and since then we have become facebook friends and I am able to keep up with her 50state quest.
Finally although you couldn't really see the finish line I knew it was close, if I could just get up this last hill and then ;yes.. there is was. Arland and I ran through the finish line holding hands and I was sooo happy!!!!!! I had really wanted to do better but with the two bathroom breaks and the hills I was ok with 5:27.
We got our really cool guitar medals and headed to a warming tent for some food. All of the good stuff was gone but they did have some little sandwiches. We spoke to a few more maniacs and then headed out for the long cold walk back to our Hotel. Along the way we struck up a conversation with another marathoner, who although not a Maniac has run a ton of Marathons.. I think he said 100 or more. He was really nice and we talked about different races and the fact that Arland and I might try to do the 50 state thing, he told us that when it came time for us to do Michigan to be sure to do the Grand Rapids Marathon, turns out he is the Race Director! too cool!!!
Jackson really kicked my booty!! I was sore for close to two weeks, I have not been this sore since the summer I was training for my first marathon, but I would recommend this Marathon to all my running friends!!!!! just be prepared for lots of hills!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rocket City Marathon December 12 2009

Arland, Brenda, Cindy and I all headed to Huntsville Alabama on the Thursday before the marathon. Huntsville is about a 5 hour drive from Cabot and we really wanted to have a day to relax before the marathon. The trip down was fun and with all the chatting the time flew by.
We stayed at the Host hotel which was the Holiday Inn downtown. It was perfect!! Thursday evening we checked in and then headed out to fin an Olive Garden for a yummy dinner.

The Expo was in the hotel so it was great to be able to just get up have breakfast and then walk down to the Expo. It was pretty small as Expo's go but well organized and one of the vendors had a bunch of great stuff where everything was $9.99. Arland got a few things and I found a new pair of capri running pants. The Packet pick-up was organized by age group which seemed weird but I guess it worked. Of course the 45-49 age group had the longest line!!
After the Expo we decided to go find Fleet Feet and drive part of the course. This is the first time I have ever done that and during the Marathon was so glad we had!!!! Huntsville is very hilly but the race directors did a great job of keeping out as many hills as possible, many times we would be be driving along and see a huge hill and think oh great but just before you get to the hill you get to turn, and it was good to know that while running!
For lunch we went to chix filet and had grilled chicken sandwiches with fruit. We also stopped at Dick's Sporting goods but didn't find anything we had to have!

Pasta Dinner
Bart Yasso was scheduled to speak at the Pasta Dinner which was also at the Hotel. We had not bought pasta tickets when registering for the marathon so at the expo they suggested we get there early to buy tickets. We bought the tickets thinking it was going to be another hour before time to eat but they told us to go on in. They had a buffet set up with spaghetti and a choice of meat sauce or marinara, salad, bread etc. It was really nice nothing exciting but actually pretty tasty. We sat at a big round table and met lots of interesting people. the first ones to join us were a young couple who had trained together for the Marathon. The wife suffered an injury and wasn't going to be able to run, she was pretty sad but was there to support her husband. A little later 2 guys joined us. Not sure if they were freinds or a couple but they had also trained together, it was going to be the first marathon for one of them and the other one had been acting as his coach. Several times during dinner the organizers would ask us to go ahead and leave after we finished eating. We thought Bart was going to be speaking during the dinner but turns out he was speaking afterwards, well we didn't want to leave we had a great spot so we ate really slow I also grabbed a desert just to have it sitting in front of me so it would look like we were still eating. We were not the only ones who stayed put so I didn't feel too guilty.
Bart Yasso was great!! He has great stories and also had a slide show presentation! Afterwards Arland and I stayed behind to buy his book and get it autographed.
Several people had suggested we have a glass of wine the night before the marathon so Arland and I stopped at the hotel bar and ordered a glass of red wine. We struck up a conversation with the man sitting next to us at the bar. I don't remember all the details but he has run 50+ marathons in his life but Rocket City was going to be his first Marathon after surviving throat cancer. He was so upbeat and positive and we had a great time talking to him. Af little bit later Bart joined us, he said he had forgotten to eat at the Pasta Dinner! LOL he ordered a veggie burger and joined in our conversation. I really really admire him and am so grateful to have the opportunity to meet and spend time with him.

Race Day
The race had an 8:00am start and the start line was right outside of the hotel so we were able to sleep in a little bit and set our alarms for 6:30. I always get dressed first thing and then I headed down to see what I could find for breakfast. I ended up getting some bagels and taking them upstairs. I ran into a girl from Arkansas Carol, I didn't really know her very well but I see her at all the races and she has always been very friendly. She is a Marathon Maniac and is also working on 50 states. She has been running a marathon every weekend!!!
I almost forgot to mention that we had all been stressing out over the weather forecast for several days. The chances for rain, sleet, ice pellets had been all over the map ranging from 20% to 90%. We actually lucked out and although it was really cold low 30's it was not raining or sleeting! When we went downstairs the lobby was full of runners staying warm. I had to make one more trip back to the room to use the bathroom again and when I came down it was time to head to the start line. The announcer was yelling at us to hurry up and line up, he was stressed about starting the race on time.
I really had no real time goals for this race this was my third marathon in 61 days and I have more scheduled so I mostly just wanted to finish healthy. My next goal was to finish under 5:30 hours. I lined up towards the back and was ready to just hopefully find my happy pace and have a good run.
We were barely lined up when the gun went off and so was Arland!
I was content and was just running along when I caught up with a man who had "Tortise" screen printed on the back of his shirt. I really can't remember which of us spoke to the other first but he asked me what my goal was for the race I told him I didn't really have and goal and asked him what his goal was. He informed me he wanted a 5:15 and I said well that sounds good to me I'm going to hang out with you. He was happy to have a running partner! right away though he kept saying he had run the first mile too fast and for the next couple of miles he would stress that we were running too fast. He was very organized, he had on two pace bands, one of them he had marked where all the aid stations and port a potties were he also had his watch set to beep every 12 minutes. We were doing great and were ahead of pace, along the way we picked up another running partner when Todd heard William talking about his 5:15 goal. I was having a blast and was loving running with William. I also met a guy from Little Rock and ran with him for a little bit, he was faster than me so I had to let him go when we got too far ahead of William. Everything was going great, I was following my nutrition plan and so far my stomach was behaving. I guess it was around mile 10 when I started feeling the beginnings of the need to go. One of the only actually probably the only complaint I have about this race was how few and far apart the port a potties were!!! We had passed a couple of them because there was a line outside of them but by mile 12 we both really had to go. When we got to the next port a pottie we lucked out and there was only one person ahead of us. Still with both of us having to use the facilities it took some time and we lost quite a bit of our cushion. I think we lost almost 4 minutes. After the break we were still running strong but William was starting to worry about meeting our 5:15 goal. Around mile 15 or 16 he started to fatigue and slowed down a bit but we were still running, other than the bathroom break we had not stopped or walked at all. Although we were both getting tired it was very encouraging to start catching up with people we had been running with/around before the potty break. Mile 19 we/me finally had to take a walk break. several times William had encouraged me to go on ahead because he knew we weren't going to make his 5:15 goal but I assured him that I didn't care I really just wanted to run with him!!!! Around mile 23 William got ahead of me and I thought maybe I had lost my partner. I took another gel and got a little burst of energy not that it sped me up but it helped me run longer. Mile 24.5 I was closing in on William and he must have sensed I was close because he looked behind him and when he saw me put his hand out and encouraged me to catch up. We stayed side by side the rest of the way and I really wanted us to cross the finish line together but William insisted I go on ahead and have my "special moment" really it would have been much more special crossing with him but he was right behind me so it was all good. The race finishes in the back parking lot of the hotel and immediately you have your own volunteer who wraps you in a foil blanket, gives you your medal, hat, bottle of water and walks with you for a bit to make sure you are ok. The finishing chute leads right into the hotel where it was nice and warm and they had food. William and I found each other he was with his wife I really wanted him to meet Arland but I had no idea where he was. I headed up to the room to shower and change but my key wouldn't work, we had secured late check out so they just gave me a new key but it cost me quite a bit of time. When I got back to the room Arland was there, apparently he was in the shower the first time I came up and didn't hear me.. oh well I took a very quick shower put on warm clothes and we headed down to the lobby to meet the girls. Luckily we ran into William before we left and I was able to introduce him to everyone and get a picture.

I really just can't say enough how special this race was for me. William made this a race to always remember!! William is 65 years old and this was his second marathon, he has only been running for less than 4 years. His first marathon he finished around 5:48 and although he really wanted to finish in 5:15 he still had a huge PR with a 5:23 finish. He talked about his wife and son a lot during the run and I really wish I could have heard the conversation with his son when he told him about his finishing time.
Our other running partner Todd also had a big PR he finished in 5:20.. his previous fastest finish was somewhere around 5:45 so he was also very happy.
I was happy with 5:23 eventually I want to start pushing harder and get back under 5 hours but for now I am really enjoying just being able to run run multiple marathons!!

On the way home we stopped at Red Robin somewhere in Tennesse and we all had big cheeseburgers to celebrate our Marathons!! I was a manager at a Red Robin in Alaska and always loved their burgers and fries so it was an extra special treat for me.

Rocket City was marathon # 9

Friday, January 22, 2010

Marathon Maniacs

I have two Marathon race reports to write about and they were both great marathons so hopefully I will get that done soon but for now I am going to talk about the Marathon Maniacs!
After Rocket City I qualifed to become a Marathon Maniac, I actually qualifed at the end of 2008 beginning of 2009 but never did anything about it. Since then I have noticed a lot of Maniacs as some of the marathons I have run and then I checked out their website and decided it looked like fun!!!!
Once they verify you qualify you get the key to the Insane Asylum!! LOL and you can order a Marathon Maniac singlet etc. I wore my singlet for the first time in the Mississippi Blues Marathon and it was just the coolest thing ever!!! It really is a whole new experience! I belong to a running club so I am used to being part of a running community but the Maniacs .... well that is just something else altogether! I met so many new and nice people just because I had on the Maniac shirt. Other Maniacs were waving at me from across a huge 4 lane highway. Other Maniacs always would at least acknowledge you as they ran by, but many more actually would slow down or speed up just to hang out and talk for a while.
One of the Maniacs that we met and ran with for a little bit is Larry Macon.. Larry is in the guiness book of world records for running the most marathons in a year - 105 or 109 whatever that is just amazing! and the nicest guy in the world!!!
Arland qualified for Maniac status after running the Mississippi Blues marathon so when we go to Surf City next month we will be running in matching shirts! Fun.. Fun...Fun!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

St. Jude- Memphis 1/2 Marathon

The St. Jude 1/2 marathon is special to me for various reasons but number 1 is the fact it was my very first half marathon!! That first race was so scary and exhilirating all at the same time and I was hooked after that! The second year I ran it with friends Cheryl and Kim. Cheryl had a miserable first 1/2 marathon in Little Rock so Kim and I wanted to run St. Jude with her so she would hopefully have a good experience and want to keep racing!
The third year at St. Jude I did the full marathon and it is still my marathon PR. The first 20 miles of that race were awesome, I ran the first 20 miles without ever taking a walk break....but then at mile 20 a car pulled out in front of me and when I had to "put on the brakes" my calves and quads started seizing and the last 6.2 miles were a very painful walk/run/survive!! I still had a huge PR but when I think of what it could have been it still makes me sad!

So on to this year......
Towards the end of the Women Can Run clinic in the spring a couple of the girls from my group decided they wanted to do the St. Jude-Memphis 1/2 Marathon as their first race. During one of our group runs they were discussing the race and Missie said to me that she didn't know if she could really do it, and I told her I knew she could do it because I was going to run with her. I think we all know how important having a big race planned is in keeping you motivated and the girls ran all summer to keep up their base mileage and then towards late summer we started increasing the mileage. I was so proud of Missie, running is not easy for her but she kept running and it was starting to get a little better. We had 3 good 10 mile runs, two of them were with me and then her last one was on the same day as the Wynne/Midsouth Marathon. Missie and Kristi ran it together and it was a great run for both of them.... and then her foot started hurting, not just hurting but swollen, red and intense pain. She tried the standard ice, elevate, rest but it wasn't getting better so she went to the Dr. for an x-ray. Nothing showed up but the dr. gave her some high dosage nsaids and told her to rest, it didnt get better, next she went in for an MRI and got the diagnosis of torn tendon and put in a boot. So no Memphis 1/2 Marathon for Missie. We were both really sad!!! but have already started making plans for her first half.....
So no Missie but Kristi had also been training very hard for Memphis and was very nervous. Kristi is a natural runner and is naturally fast but when Missie told me how nervous Kristi was I told her I would love to run with her if she wanted me to.

The trip to Memphis was fun. Jackie and Brenda rode with us and I don't think a road trip to Memphis has every flown by so fast!!!!! We were all at the same hotel so we checked in and headed over to the Expo. It was actually much better this year and I found a few goodies.
Our friend Rock was Brenda's roomate for the weekend, she and her mom drove up from Georgia. I hadn't seen her since Memphis last year so it was great to get to see her again!!!! The Marriott downtown has a special buffett pasta dinner for the runners so we all met in the lobby and headed over I think we had about 15 people. I love, love, love when we all do races together!

Kristi and her husband Philip got into Memphis a little late so they didn't eat dinner with us but we did get to harass them a little bit while they had their dinner in the hotel bar. Missie and I had put together a little goodie bag for Kristi's first 1/2 Marathon so she came up to our room later and I gave it to her. We shed a few tears and a few laughs and thenit was time to get ready for bed.

The next morning bright and early I get a text from Kristi... she said do I really want to get up out of this warm bed and go run???? such a silly girl!! I think my response was a simple YES you do!
It was freezing cold race morning and i had already suggested to Kristi that she dress in layers that she wouldn't mind throwing away and boy did she take my advice!! She looked like a big ol football player it was hilarious!
We all gathered in the Lobby and said our good-byes to Jackie, Arland and Brenda. Jackie and Arland did not get signed up in time before the race filled up and Brenda was tapering for the Rocket City Marathon.
We all walked to the start together and then everyone kind of scattered. First stop was bag check and then we were lucky enough to find a restroom that was not filled up so we were able to use real bathrooms before the race!
Heather S. was also doing the race, it would be her first half since having baby Avery in July.. I think it was July. I had forgetten to put my phone in my dry bag and at first was pretty upset since I have ruined too many phones during marathons!! BUT it turned out to be a blessing because Heather texted me wanting to know where we were.... of course I was in the port-a-pottie at the time!!! LOL
We were able to meet up with her and start the race with her!
I threw off my big fuzzy purple sweater while we were still in the Corrall but kept my foil blanket from a previous race. Have you ever run with one of those on??? they make a lot of noise! I was running along thinking sheesh this thing is loud when a guy runs by and tell me I'm making a lot of nosie! LOL
The first few miles were great, it was awesome to be running with Kristi and Phillip. I really felt good the whole run, it didn't take long until I lost the loud foil thingy and then next came my homemade arm warners and then my gloves. We got to see Brenda and Arland about mile3.5 and I gave Brenda my phone, something I would regret later!
About mile 5 the long sleeve tech shirt came off, it is super light so it was not a problem running with it tied around my waist. Kristi, Philip and I were carring small bottles of water so we were able to avoid a lot of the aid stations. I was so thankful to have that little bottle of water! Those aid stations were dangerous! One of the aid stations was on a highway bridge and it was icing up from all the water being spilled, a volunteer was warning runners about the ice so I made sure to steer us away from the worst of it!
Somewhere around 6.5 I lost Kristi and Philip, we were coming up on a long curved incline and I told Kristi was going to slow down. I really wanted to keep running with them but I also had to keep in mind that I would be running a marathon the next weekend and I didn't want to do anything foolish. It was pretty lonely after I said goodbye to my running partners. I had my i-pod with me but I never turned even turned it on. Rocket City has a very strict no i-pod rule so I decided to do withoutit for Memphis as well.
I never had to use the port a pottie during the race!!! I was so happy about that but the last mile I was starting to get that feeling and was just praying that it would hold off until I finished..and it did!!! When we ran by the Wonder bread bakery my stomach was really rolling!!!!
I never looked at my Garmin the whole time I was running so I really had no idea what my time was going to be, I knew it wasn't fast and when I looked down just before runing into Auto zone and saw 2:2x I wasn't surprised. Definately not a great time but I was happy with it and happy to be done and thinking good grief how am I going to run a marathon next week!!! I really didn't do a great job with nutrition and hydration, it was so cold I would forget to drink and the one gel I consumed took me so long to finish that I didn't want to do another one and I definately think that was a bad decision!

Once I crossed the finish line I started feeling a bit off... it was so crowded and I had no idea where anyone was and it was cold and .................I was LONELY!!! I retrieved my warm clothes from the bag check and went into the restroom to put them on. When I went back out it was so crowded but as I was wandering around I heard my name. It was Kevin, Heather's husband. He called Arland for me and I so wish I would have stayed with him and waited for Arland to call back because I ended up spending the next 30 minutes wandering aimlessy around. I did find Joan and her group but no Arland. After a little while I finally saw Krisi and Philip and gave her a big hug.. they did great!!!!!! It turns out that Arland was in that area all along but I just never saw him :(
I knew we all wanted to see Rock finish her marathon so I decided to head over to the Marathon finish line and lucky for me a very nice lady let me use her phone and I finally got to talk to Arland and we finally found each other! I was so relieved and for the first time since i finished the race i was able to relax a little bit! Brenda was sitting right by the finish with Rock's mom so we found her and we all waited anxiously for Rock. In the meantime we got to see some great finish's!! It was so amazing to me to see people sprinting in and in some cases racing each other to the finish! We also saw some people who were obviously in a lot of pain. One man was walking and it was a slow but steady walk, it was obvious it was all he could do but the amazing thing is he still finished under 3:30 hours!!! just amazing. It didn't take long until we saw Rock come into the Stadium and she looked so great!! she had on her serious running face....until she looked up at the time clock and saw the time... she got the biggest grin on her face and you could see her say "YES" and do the little arm pump!! It was priceless!!!! Her offical time was 3:37..... a PR and of course a BQ!!
We wanted to stay until everyone we knew was finished but we had to get back to the Hotel and get checked out.
We met up once again and headed out to find the Mexican restaurant we had eaten at the year before. We had a great lunch but soon it was time to say good-bye. We all really miss Rock so much and it was so hard to say good-bye :(
So once again St. Jude-Memphis was special and I look forward to next year!