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!