What a whirlwind of a weekend this was! Say that 3 times and see if you don't get tongue-tied. In addition to preparing for the Savannah Rock n' Roll marathon and 5K, I also worked at the Team In Training booth at the expo for a few hours on Friday, rushed home to get the family ready to see Savannah Arts Academy's production of Legally Blonde - the musical (FYI - which was an entertaining production), and then rushed home again to get my race gear prepared for the marathon! I didn't hit the sheets until well after 11:30 and I had to be up at around 4:30 AM to mentally and literally prepare myself for tackling the 26.2! I regret not having a calm, uneventful, and lazy lounge night at the house before race day. I'm sure this would've prevented me from being so frazzled on race morning. I kept thinking that I forgot something! Luckily, that didn't happen.
Saturday morning I drove myself down and parked near Forsyth Park and joined some nice ladies to walk down to the race start. They happened to be CREWbies as well, so I followed them to Reynolds Square for our group photo before the race. Everyone looked energized and ready to roll! The weather was perfect for race day - nice cool bite to the air. I met up with my running buds Larry and Cealan and made our way to gear check and then headed to our corrals. I loved all the excitement and energy in the air! It's so infectious! You can't help but catch the pre-race jitters! I love to see people from all over visit our beautiful city to run our streets, our home.
This was my first time running the Savannah RNR marathon and I was anxious that morning (and that whole week). So many things were going on in my head - I publicized my goal out to the universe (4:15-4:30 range), thought about all my training for this race, and was determined to PR. Now to just do it. I moved from corral 12 to 9 and ran with Larry. As soon as our corral dashed through the start chute, I made the decision to run at a steady pace until mile 13 or 14 - taking it easy while weaving and bobbing through the pack. I felt great! I made sure to cheer on Team Trust (a group of runners from several states running to honor the memory of Jake Zeman who collapsed and died at the finish line of last year's 2013 Savannah RNR) whenever I passed by them on the course. How inspiring! I also had friends stationed on the course around mile 9 holding up hilarious signs and enticing runners with shots! I wasn't crazy enough to take one!
Once I hit mile 15, I started to struggle just a bit and was not feeling it. In fear that I would hit a wall, I refueled with a Huma Chia energy and it gave me the jolt I needed. I ran into my husband, Michael, as we ran across Skidaway Road to enter into Savannah State's campus. He was stationed at the intersection of Skidaway and LaRoche. I ran by and gave him a quick kiss and went on my way. He and his 2 other fellow cops gave me some words of encouragement and that helped too. The amount of cheer and support through the SSU campus is just amazing! I loved every minute of it.
Larry and I stuck together until around mile 20 around Daffin and he stopped to inspect his blistered foot and encouraged me to go on. So I started running...(did you just read that in Forest Gump's voice?)
I kept hearing the crowd cheering "good job 4:15 pacers!" and could see the pace group closing in behind me. This made me feel like I was on track so I kept with them for about a mile. However, this little competitiveness spurred inside me and just came out of nowhere and I started itching to beat my goal of 4:15. Was I crazy? I knew I was going to PR from my last marathon, so why did I feel like I needed to become this overachiever? When did I go mad? So I started pushing it and my goal now was to just stay ahead of the pacer gripping his 4:15 sign.
My right leg locked up coming back onto Truman Parkway because of the incline combined with my tired legs. I winced, but kept running hoping the pain and tightness would go away and eventually it did. Thank goodness! Here's where I started repeating mantras of "Cecilia - you've got this! Keep going!" over and over again. Did it help? Maybe. It made me feel better anyways.
As soon as I got off Truman Parkway, I was overjoyed. I was so glad that portion was over. However, the rest of the race is a slight incline to the finish. What kind of cruel joke is this? Repeating my mantras again. Refuel again. Just don't HIT THE WALL...or was this the wall that I just careened into? At mile 25, I ran up on my co-worker, Chris, who was running his first marathon. He looked just as miserable as I was so I grabbed his hand, without him knowing it was me, and said, "Come on Chris! Almost there! We've got this!!" I let go of his hand and we started running. Glancing at my watch, I wasn't paying attention to time. I was looking at distance and my Garmin read 25.5 and I just wanted to hurry up and be done. I pushed myself to the finish with my CREW coaches and friends cheering me on, and AAHHHHHH - I was through the finish chute and high-fiving the announcer! I JUST FINISHED MY 3rd MARATHON!! WOO HOO!! AGGHHH LEG CRAMP!! Never ever try to step up on a curb after running with all your might. You will scream like a banshee looking like a mad person gesticulating to everyone that your leg is stuck and you're in pain - all the while looking like you're doing the famous Karate Kid move. True story.
I just shattered my last marathon record of 4:49:23 (Austin Marathon) with completing Savannah RNR at 4:14:31! A new PR! Things can only go uphill (no pun intended or wanted) from here, right?
Later than evening, I had a baby shower to attend for my friend, Crystal. We ordered Mexican food and threw her a "Taco About Stella (her daughter-to-be's name)" party or what we jokingly referred to as the "fetus fiesta". It was a great time with good friends. I got home around 11 that night and crashed. Thankfully the 5K of the Running Festival didn't kick off until 1 PM at Daffin Park the next day. This year, Savannah was one of the destinations chosen to have a Running Festival with extra cool medals and shirts and even a remix medal if you completed an event on Saturday and Sunday. I was supposed to sing the National Anthem that morning, but somehow Competitor's announcer forgot and so I didn't get to sing :( What a bummer!
I told myself I would hobble the 5K because my legs were still aching from yesterday's pavement pounding and what do I do? I end up running that 5K like an actual race. It hurt at first, but then the pain subsided. With a pace of 8:08, I finished it in 25:18. So much for taking it easy. It definitely was a good shakeout run. Once the race was over, I got in line to collect my Running Remix medal and jet on home to shower, get ready, and head on over to Fort Pulaski for a movie shoot that would last until 11:30 PM. Needless to say, it was a LONG weekend and this mama is exhausted!
I need to spend as much time with my kiddos this week because CECILIA IS ON THE RUN! I'm preparing to do it all over again as Michael and I head to Las Vegas to run the strip at night on Sunday, Nov. 16th! Here we come Sin City to run the half marathon and renew our 15th wedding anniversary vows! First time in Vegas for the both of us!
Holy shit guys! I just ran 50 miles! I'm still in shock. I can't believe it. Yesterday was a HUGE day for me - I have a new race distance and time PR - 50 miles in 11.5 hours. I could have run until 7:00, but once I hit 50, I was done!
The night before, I spent an hour trying to figure out all the essentials I needed to pack - extra clothes, socks, towel, gaiters, water bottle, Garmin, visor, fuel, snacks and drinks. Oh, and my Shewee (google it)- I can't believe I almost forgot that - and you may laugh or get grossed out, but I find it amazing because I despise portapotties! Back to the night before... I chugged a huge thing of Zyco coconut water (my secret mojo juice) and didn't fall asleep until after 11:30. I was a big ball of nerves. I ended up hitting snooze when my alarm buzzed. When I finally got up, I mentally prepared myself to run for 12 hours, possibly all day in the rain. Ugh. I was running late on meeting up with Larry, Helen, and Cealen, but they had already reserved us a spot to set up our tent. It was a wet and dark morning and Dan and his crew had set up glow sticks and Christmas lights to lead us to the base camp. There was a lot of excitement in the air - despite it being a smaller turnout in the race this year and the undesirable weather. All of my MRTT crew were up and at 'em. I wish we could've sat closer to them, but the spot we had was nice - especially for my trips behind the trees to put my Shewee to use! I saw my CREW and Striders folks, and met many others who traveled from other cities to run this ultra. I had a really nice conversation with a couple from Warner Robins, one of them a breast cancer survivor. I'm sad this will be the last one :( I absolutely LOVE this course - a 1.8-mile route with asphalt path, wooded trails, semi-gravel paths, and grass - and there's tree coverage so whether rain or shine, it's still a nice shaded course. Also, this race benefits a great organization, Liam's Land for Lymphatic Malformation. Liam was out there the whole day with us. It was awesome!
Dan asked me to kick off the race with the singing of the National Anthem. I stood behind the runners and began to sing...and then I started thinking about the lyrics and before I knew it, "for the land of the BRAAAAVVVE.....(pause)...ooops!....FREEEEE... and the home of the BRAAAVE!!", happened. Ha! I can't believe I just did that. I'd like to say that it broke the race jitters since everyone helped me chuckle it off and I'm glad at least it was amongst my running family and friends.
I started running with Helen, Larry, and Cealen with the strategy of running 5 min/walk 1 intervals. We were all nervous because we hadn't run this long - EVER. It rained on us early on, but then held off for the rest of the day. It was an overcast day so not much of chasing the sun at all. The temp was great!
After several miles, my crew decided to adjust their strategy to best suit their needs and I kept on with the 5/1 intervals. I was feeling strong. Damien came out to support us and ran a few laps with me. I was glad for the company. Afterwards, I ran by myself for the majority of the race. I embraced my alone time. It was peaceful and I did a lot of thinking. I talked to my mom and I think she was a big motivator for me. Any rustling of the leaves or a cool breeze to me were signs from my mom letting me know she was there for me and that I could achieve it if I set my mind to it. A few days before the race, Matthew, threw out the idea of running 50 miles. I told him I didn't want to announce it because I was scared of not meeting the goal. He encouraged me to go for it. I was unsure. I felt so good once I hit 30 miles, I thought maybe 50 was a possibility! So I started aiming for it! At mile 39, I asked Tony and Bren if they thought I could get 50 and they cheered me on! I was in game mode!
The volunteers were extremely helpful in making sure we needed hydration, fuel, and even company on the course. Thanks so much to Emily, Lisa, Takis, Victoria, Tony, Molly, Stacy, Dan, Jenny, Wesley, Gregg, and Mary Jo (sorry if I'm forgetting anyone) and all the others who offered encouragement, as well as making sure we were taken care of. It was much appreciated! Their encouragement at the start/finish line always put a smile on my face.
Towards the end, Bren screamed my name as I was making my way for another lap to let me know that I'd hit 50 in this next lap. I was so excited! I forgot all the fatigue in my legs and started jumping up in the air in excitement. I finished my last lap with Pam D. and chatted the entire time. It was nice. Once I crossed the line, I let the guys at the table know that #1206 was done. I had completed 50 miles - something I had once thought was absurd and impossible. This goes to show how much you can achieve if, and once, you put your mind to it. I will always remember everyone's excitement, along with mine, in achieving this goal! Thank you all!
Today I'm sore, but it feels so damn good!
When Life Comes to a Screeching Halt
It's been quite some time since I've posted a race recap due to tragedy and the whirlwind that becomes your life when dealing with grief. I don't exaggerate when I say this. My life came to a screeching halt in March. My mom passed away on March 16th. I will never ever be able to erase that memory of her lying lifeless in that bright white room, tubes in her mouth and nose, the constant beeping of all the machines around her, the nurses coming in and out of the room giving us pitiful glances, and my family and I crying into each other's shoulders and consoling one another. I'll never forget that night where I was alone with my mom, slept next to her with her hand in mine, balling my eyes out, and trying to picture myself with no longer having a mom to take care of me, love me, fix me soup when I was sick, help bail me out when I needed any kind of help - all the things that a mom does for her children. It sucked. It still sucks. I miss her everyday and it reduces me to tears every time I think about it. I find myself crying now as I type.
I was in Virginia when I got the news that my mom was admitted to the hospital. I had traveled up there with the kids to visit my cousins, explore the museums and monuments, and to also run the Rock n' Roll D.C. half as part of my 3-pack Tour Pass. I had just picked up my race packet earlier that day and was preparing my gear for race morning when I got the phone call. I slept for a few hours and left early morning to head home. No one told me how bad it was because they wanted me to drive home safely with the kids. I drove straight to the hospital and entered the lobby to see all my family gathered in somber silence - all of them with puffy eyes. I knew it wasn't good and it wasn't. She was dying from septic shock and was in a coma. I stayed with her the night before she passed, kissing her forehead, holding her hand, and telling her over and over how much I love her. I know she heard me.
My life ended too...or it felt like it. It felt like I was in a haze for days, weeks. I couldn't operate like this. I went out for a run. It hurt. I hated it. I was tired, dehydrated. I went out for a run again. It sucked. I cried. I went out for a run again. It was better. I unleashed my pain on the pavement, exhaling grief and inhaling relief. I started running with CREW and Striders again, started making conversations while running again, and I started to smile again. This was truly therapy for me. Running with friends helped me get through the pain.
It's now September - half a year ago since my life was thrown upside down. I'm doing better. I still have my moments where I'm a hot mess, but I've gotten back in the running game and it's helped me get through my grief. So today I thought that I'd come back and recap my running experiences so that one day I can look back to see all I've accomplished. So, briefly, here we go:
I left off with the Shamrock Run on March 7th (see last post). The next day, my parents helped me throw mine and Michael's 15th wedding anniversary at their house. It was amazing. My mom made her signature egg rolls (which everyone devoured) and my dad had an array of fresh seafood to feed the masses - lowcountry boil, oysters, blue crabs. It was a great night and I'm glad my mom was able to participate in that one last shindig before she passed on. It was a late night for me and I had drank a few beers too many. I don't know what I was thinking since I was running the Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon the next day.
Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon (3/9/2014) - Since I had a late night with a few beers, I took it easy on this run. No PR and ended up at 2:05:30. Had a great time running with my TNT crew. Most memorable part of this run was our buddy Chris V. proposing to his girlfriend, Raye. It was awesome to witness.
Cooper River Bridge Run 10K (4/5/2014) - We drove up to Charleston and stayed with my cousins. Rich, Michael, and I ran, along with my friends, Larry and Wesley. This is one of my favorite runs. Charleston is really lovely and this race is always fun and the after-party is always loaded with free food and drinks! Definitely one of the perks of running it. Michael is starting to run with me now and he's doing great! We finished this one in 1:00:01 and rewarded ourselves with a bratwurst, chia pods, beer, and mimosas!
Crimestoppers Azalea Run 15K (5/3/2014) - I ran this one with Larry and Michael and came in at 1:24:46. I ended up placing 3rd in my age group on this one. I wasn't expecting anything so I left the race early. Jacy sent me a text to let me know. I was pretty excited!
Color Run 5K (5/17/2014) - I ran this one with Michael, Crystal, Will, and Kathy. It's not everyday that these guys participate in a race so when they asked if I'd run, I totally jumped on board. I was excited that Crystal, Will, and Kathy were interested in doing the 5K. We had a great time taking tons of pictures and throwing dyed corn starch at each other for the perfect picture!
Savannah Mile (5/24/2014) - Michael and I ran this one. He ran with his SWAT team in his gear with an additional 40 lbs to run in the Heroes heat and I ran with my age group. Talk about intimidating! One mile - all out. I could see the finish arch from the start line and this was the first time I was really nervous about a race. The goal is to go all out and give it all you got. I started off way too fast. My arms felt like lead and I thought my lungs were going to burst. I ran a mile at 6:53 - definitely a new PR!
Watermelon Crawl (7/4/2014) - Every year, Fleet Feet puts on a group fun run on the 4th of July. It's a hot one, but the best part is the cool, refreshing watermelon you get at the finish. I ran with Larry and met up with JinHi and Mark. She's superwoman!
XC Kickoff Classic (8/23/2014) - I placed 2nd in my age group and also have a new PR at 24:38! I'm starting to get more and more competitive on these runs!
Run for Jane 10K (8/30/2014) - Michael and I both placed in our age groups. I came in 2nd place with a time of 54:34 and Michael placed 3rd in his. This was 2 weekends in a row where I placed in my age group. This was not a fun one for me. Once again, I struggled halfway through the race. I started off way too fast and it was extremely hot and humid. I stopped twice to walk. Running through the finish line was the highlight of this one! I was ready for it to be over because I was hurting!
Peachtree City Divas Half Marathon (9/6/2014) - I ran this at 1:59:26 - a new PR! I went up with my MRTT girls - Megan, Katie, and Jacy and met up with Kim and Gail. This was a HUGE MRTT reunion bringing all the chapters together. This trip was so much fun! The course was so beautiful and shaded. I enjoyed every mile and took in all the scenery. This was the first time I ever wore a tutu to run in, but if I was going to wear one, this race would be the one. There's even a station before the finish where volunteers give you a hot pink feather boa and a tiara so you can have for the finish line - where shirtless firemen hand you your medals. And they hand out glasses of champagne! Score! We probably had the most fun taking pictures with cardboard Bret Michaels :)
Tunnels to Towers 5K (9/13/2014) - What an emotional race! Seeing all the firefighters in full gear running and the kids lining Whitaker Street wearing tributes to the fallen firefighters of 9/11 - it was so touching. I ran this with Larry and Michael. And when I say ran - I say it really loosely. I probably walked more than anything and took the time to high 5 all the kids on Whitaker Street and to just take in everything. Racing was definitely not on my mind at all. We incorporated the run into our long CREW training run.
So that's all the races that I've participated in since March where I last left off. The next one is this coming weekend where I run my first 12-hour ultra - Chase the Sun! Wish me luck!!
What an amazing weekend in Austin, Texas! After completing the Nike Women's San Francisco marathon, I'd decided that I'd run one marathon a year. Since my good friend Steph landed a teaching job in Austin - it was easy to decide that the Austin Marathon would be the one for 2014 - which would also be Steph's first. Exciting! On top of that, our friend, Dan, was coming to run the Austin half also! Last year, we all ran the Scenic Trail half in Chattanooga, TN (and several other local races) so we all jumped on this next travel adventure. Plus - this was my first time visiting Austin! There was so much anticipation for this trip and now I'm so sad that it's over and done :( Where did the time go?!
Dan and I flew in on Friday, Valentine's Day. As soon as my plane landed, Steph picked us up from the airport and took us to eat at a food truck - The Blue Ox - where we had the delicious brisket plate. In Austin, there are food trucks everywhere and so many to choose from! I was like a kid in a candy store! While in town, we also hit up Taco Deli (my life will never be the same), Homeslice Pizza, Baby Acapulco's, and Blacksheep Lodge. In addition to the various eclectic food trucks and eateries, Austin is touted as the live music capital of the world. With that said, Steph got us tickets to see a live concert at Emo's featuring White Lies. I was in heaven! Love them!
After an eventful Friday night, we woke up Saturday morning and Steph drove us around the race course. Holy moly those hills!! I was getting nervous. Even with the hills, it's a beautiful course - especially around the capital building. Riding around, you can tell that Austin is such an active city! Once we finished driving the course, we headed over to the expo to pick up our race packets and shop. When there's so much excitement in the air, I just want to splurge and buy everything. I settled on these 2 shirts from Rogue Running and Luke's Locker, as well as my Texas 26.2 ornament and Austin Marathon charm to add to my Tiffany's San Fran necklace - that way I can wear my badges of honor around my neck all the time :) We met up with a few of Steph's running crew at the expo and carbed up for dinner at Maggiano's that night. I was stuffed. I felt like we'd been eating all day - which we did...eat all day.
After dinner and a glass of wine, we crashed to prepare for the big day. Ugh - 4 o'clock came way too damn early! I checked the weather and the forecast called for an overcast day (YES!!) with the highs in the low 70s. Humidity was in the upper 90%, but living in Savannah, I could handle it. We made our way downtown to park and got there around 5:30 and met up with the rest of Steph's running crew. Everyone was excited! I tried to calm my nerves being this was my 2nd marathon and I was still nervous and anxious. We did the pre-race norms of stretching and hitting up the portapotties before the lines got ridiculous. Then it was show time!
We made our way to the corrals and waited for our turn to cross the start line. Steph ran with her crew as their goal was to run it in 4:00. Dan and another Stephanie (who I met this weekend and is from Athens, GA and was also running the full) ran with me. We took it easy, tackling every hill and giving each other high-5s as we conquered each one. Those hills were no joke!! I want to say that was worse than San Fran. But who knows - I told someone it was like giving birth to a child. You tend to forget the pain and the process. In Austin, you couldn't even enjoy the downhill because your sights were already set on the next upcoming hill. They were right there just teasing you. I was proud that I didn't walk up one hill. I ran up each and every one. Stephanie's a trip and had great energy! Once Dan separated from us at mile 11 to complete his half, it was Stephanie and I all the way to the finish. The spectators were wonderful! They all had signs and chanted us on. Our names were on our bibs so it was nice to hear volunteers call us by name. It gave us that extra push! Residents came out blaring "Eye of the Tiger" (I can't tell you how many times I heard that song during the race) and passing out food from orange slices to Oreos to Twizzlers. There were parties in front yards with signs that read "Cocktails for Quitters" and around mile 21, there was a table passing out Jaeger shots. Ha! They were really supportive and so were law enforcement who came out to control traffic. They were very encouraging as we ran past them. It's so nice to see the city come together.
I felt great. I didn't hit that "wall" that everyone talks about and I was so nervous that I would. I repeated mantras in my head to push me along and just soaked in the chants of "You guys look great!" "You look really strong!" "Check out that smile!" "Go Cecilia!" from the spectators and volunteers. At around mile 22, I realized that I had run this entire time without stopping to walk. At mile 24, crazy emotions happened and I started tearing up. In my head I kept thinking - I can't believe I'm almost done. I can't believe I feel this great. I can't believe I ran every hill! I can't believe I'm going to finish another marathon!
At mile 25.5, we had to tackle not one, but three more hills. It was evil. There were 2 photographers perched at the crest of each one. The man running next to me stopped dead in his tracks and screamed, "F*%% that!" I wanted to scream too. Are you kidding me? I had run this entire time, my legs had started to lock up at mile 25, and now this - right before the finish? I took a deep breath and just...ran. Stephanie and I motivated each other saying "We got this!!" and conquered those last 3 hills! We both said once we turned the corner and saw the finish line, we would sprint to the finish and we did! It was awesome to see Dan waiting to cheer us on at the final stretch. It gave me the push to really PUSH it. I ran with all the gusto that I had left in me and crossed that finish line. Then all of a sudden, my eyes swelled up with tears and I couldn't stop. I had completed my second marathon, but not only that, I ran the entire time without stopping. I had set my watch to 25 min run/5 min walk intervals and ignored the alerts on my run. For me, I just dominated this race!! I felt like Super Woman! My Garmin clocked me in at 26.5 miles at 4:47:35. A huge PR considering I completed San Fran in 5:30. I looked over at Stephanie and she had tears in her eyes too. It was the greatest feeling ever. Those tears were me in total bliss and awe of the human spirit and triumph. I can't even begin to describe those emotions, but I crave that high again. I'm really hoping that I get in for Big Sur next year. Also, why do I keep signing up for these hilly marathons?! Once again, it's like childbirth, you forget the pain and relish in the glory.
We all met up with the rest of the crew to offer congratulations. Steph ran her first marathon in 4:17!! She killed it! It was time to celebrate with BEER!!
This weekend I also got to reunite with my old Bay Street Theatre crew who moved from Savannah to Texas within the past year - Lea, Mike, and Sean. It really was nice to catch up with all of them! Here's a picture of the crew at Baby Acapulco's. It was definitely a perfect ending to this wonderful weekend!
What's up next? My legs and body are still sore, but we are on to the Historic Savannah Foundation 10K this Saturday!
With a going away gathering for a friend/co-worker, to running a half in the cold rain, to Lunar New Year celebrations, to a Jack & Jill baby shower, to Super Bowl festivities - it was just a jam-packed crazy busy weekend! Whew!
This was my first year participating in the Tybee Critz Run Fest. I signed up for just the half. This event is a run fest weekend - a 5K, 10K, half marathon, 2.8 beach run, and a 1 miler. If you do all events, it equals out to a full marathon. Maybe I'll be crazy enough to sign up for the challenge next year...maybe.
I woke up way early than I wanted to on a Saturday morning and first thing I did was check the Weather Channel. Ugh...it was going to be a rainy, gusty, cold run. Boo... Just days before, the weather forecast was showing sunny skies and 70 for race day. What happened?! It was supposed to be a huge contrast to the weather conditions we experienced earlier in the week - what folks were dubbing as the
"s(no)pocalypse". Totally wasn't stoked about running in these conditions at all.
I met up with my running buds, Larry and Helen, and we carpooled to Tybee. We were advised to come early and be parked by 6:30 AM - before the 10K kick-off at 7. Our race didn't start until 8:30 so we killed time sitting in my heated minivan listening to the rain pitter patter on my windshield and watched as my windows fogged up due to the cold. We thought of 101 reasons why we shouldn't run in the cold rain. For a brief moment, we almost - just almost - talked ourselves into putting the car in drive and going back to our warm beds. However, we blamed this blog for not being able to quit. Ha! I had already posted it on my race calendar and mentioned the Tybee half in my last post. Also I had posted a picture of my Tybee race shirt and bib number the night before on Instagram and Facebook. We couldn't quit now. In the wise words of Data from The Goonies, "Shame. Shame. I know your name." There's no way we could not run. We'd hate ourselves for it.
The race ran just a few minutes late and all of us were waiting at the start line jumping and moving around and running in place to keep warm. Once we got going, I was able to warm up around mile 3 - my feet no longer felt like concrete blocks and my hands had finally thawed out. I could feel my fingers again. And then came the damn rain. It rained on and off the entire run and I hated that I forgot my visor at home. Oh well. It also surprises me that I grew up on Wilmington Island and I was running past the lighthouse and the north beach area for the FIRST time. How had I not explored this part of Tybee all these years? Also for the FIRST/WORST time ever, I experienced tummy issues. Alert - Runner TMI! Runner TMI! I had heard several horror stories from fellow runners about their experiences with tummy issues - and now it was happening to me. No!! I could've kicked myself for eating that greasy cheeseburger loaded with blue cheese along with downing a few bottles of beer the night before. It was all hitting me now. When we got around to mile 6, I frantically asked a lady if the YMCA's facilities were open. She said yes, but it was off the course. I didn't care. I had already passed a portapottie, but it was already occupied with 2 waiting in line. I hightailed it to the Y and did the deed. Afterwards, I swear I heard a chorus of angels sing "Halleluiah"! Or it could've been the voice in my head screaming "I told you not to eat and drink that shit the night before a race!"
It was great to see my MRTT ladies volunteering at the mile 12 water stop. My energy was deflated and seeing them made me want to finish strong - which I did! I sprinted through the finish and was so ready for this race to be over. My Garmin had me at 13.4 at 2:07 (I was at 2:05:39 at 13.1). No PRs today. I rewarded myself with a chocolate protein shake, a Corona Light, and some delicious veggie stew and chili. 13.1 (13.4) and done!
Wish me luck as I run my 2nd marathon on Feb. 16 - the Austin Marathon! Dan Finn and I will be flying out to meet Stephanie Roach. It's a reunion - the Sister/Brotherhood of Traveling Shoes!
The weather forecast was looking pretty dreary for race day, but to be honest, I was actually looking forward to it. The temperature was supposed to rise up in the mid 70s and if it was anything like last year, I was praying for rain! I checked the Weather Channel the day before the race only to see images of black thunderstorm clouds with threatening lightning flashes. Yikes!
What a tease! Turns out, there were no wrestling matches with Thor. Although the sun never made its appearance, it never rained (not for me anyways). It was a cloudy foggy morning with a cool damp bite to the air. The gusty winds were pretty strong at times and made the run challenging, but I would take this weather over the heat and humidity any day.
I was really looking forward to running with my Team in Training folks for this race. We met up at Ft. Pulaski and walked over to the mass gathering of runners. I love and crave the excitement in the air on race day. I love seeing all the familiar faces and catching up with my fellow runner friends. Everyone is so encouraging. I even ran into an old band mate that I hadn't seen in a while!
This year, I was better trained and ran with friends. It made the run much more enjoyable. We all fed off each other's energy and offered support. The course changed from last year due to the severe erosion of the trail - which is the reason for this race. The proceeds benefit restoring the McQueens Island Trail. Even though we didn't get to run that much on the actual McQueens Island trail, I didn't mind the course change at all. We ran a 5.2-mile loop on grass, pavement, and oyster bed trail three times for the 25K.
We're so spoiled by the beautiful scenery in Savannah. Even with the dreary weather, the sights were gorgeous. Once the fog dissipated, the views of the marshes and the historic fort made for a beautiful run. I even saw a dolphin as we crossed the bridge! I'm pretty sure he was cheering us on!
I have to say I felt strong running this one - a major improvement from last year! I didn't feel any aches or pains and didn't feel beat at all. I shaved off 9 minutes from last year's time. All in all, I felt better physically and mentally. My Garmin clocked it at 15.9 miles at 2:40:34.
Kudos to the race organizers for putting on a successful race once again! There were all kinds of obstacles in putting this race together - from the altered course and unexpected fees to the weather threat. I'd like to commend all of the volunteers also. They did a wonderful job taking care of us - making sure we were hydrated and fueled and offering moral support along the way. I'm looking forward to next year's race!
I just read an article about how Americans are turning into wimps when it comes to cold weather. I am most definitely a wimp! It was freezing to me and I couldn't believe I'd forgotten my gloves! Brrrr!! My husband, Michael, and brother-in-law, Noah, ran this with me too. I love it when my family runs races with me! It makes me all giddy! Michael's working on incorporating more cardio into his workouts rather than just lifting weights alone. I'm happy he's actually wanting to run these races with me (but now shit's going to start getting expensive). I also signed up for this race because it's part of the series for the Lucky 13 Challenge. 1 point - check! 1 race out of 13 - check!
If you've never been out to Bethesda, you really must. Founded in 1740, it is a gorgeous 650+ acre campus lined with beautiful majestic oak trees. I used to confuse it all the time with Wormsloe. With gorgeous scenic views, we chose this area to have our family photos taken 2 years ago. The race benefited The Women's Board of Bethesda. Their purpose is to enrich and improve the lives of the boys at Bethesda. It began as an orphanage in its commencement for boys, but now operates as a private boys' school. It has a rich history, as does much of Savannah, and is on the US National Register of Historic Places. And so now you know...boom!
Now on to the race - My hands felt like ice blocks! I kept looking at them to see if I was suffering from frostbite. I need my hands to eat. I need my hands to wipe my butt. Yes, a little dramatic, but concerns that ran through my mind. My eyes would not stop watering and my nose was just a dripping faucet. I had this terrible thought that a photographer would snap a photo of me blowing snot bubbles out of my nose (when I wasn't thinking about frostbitten hands)! Now that's talent - and I'm exaggerating folks...although that would be cool. I would totally make that my Facebook picture. I digress.
We ran on a little pavement, but mostly on trails littered with land mines composed of dried mounds of cow poo. Another big fear was to trip and land smack into the middle of one of these cow dung obstacles. Luckily, that didn't happen either. However, it would've made for a great story! I heard a cow "moo" us on and the ladies at Bethesda cheered and made some awesome signs for us!
Overall, it was a great run! I love seeing familiar faces in the running community. I felt great after the run. It's strange, but I'm starting to feel this competitiveness rising out of me. It's screaming faster! Faster! This lil annoying voice gets to me every time and I don't know how to block it out. Part of me struggles with wanting to give it everything I've got and part of me is like - dude, relax. You almost dipped your Mizunos in cow shit. I'm curious to see how my next few runs go and if I'll have to fight these demons in my head.
Another cool thing about the race is that they had a board for runners to write out our new year's resolutions. Just as I walked up to it, a lady had just finished writing, "Yell Less. Run More." I was stupefied. I was totally going to write the same thing - verbatim. I wanted to reach out to her and scream "jinks" or "twinsies", but for fear of being looked upon as crazy, I did neither. So instead I wrote, "Travel more. Run those destinations." And I plan on it.
Click here for the cool video they put together of the race. Michael's in it!
A new year is here which means new beginnings and new goals. We're going to do big things in 2014, right?! With that said, I'd like to summarize 2013 in which many significant events happened for me. Since this blog is solely focused on my running, I'll only recap my race activities. So...get ready, set, GO!!!
In addition to running more races in 2013, I joined running groups - Savannah Striders, Moms Run This Town, and Team In Training. I love them all and it has definitely made a difference in my running. My race calendar for 2014 is already filling up fast and I just signed up with Fleet Feet's Mile Markers! Looks like I'm off to the races again and I'm looking forward to what 2014 brings!!
If you look up the idiom "on-the-run", it means to constantly travel or moving from place to place. Welcome to my life! I get asked the question - "Do you ever sleep?" at least once a week. The truth is - I am always on the run. My weeks are filled with work, training runs, dropping kids off to school and extra curricular activities, traveling out-of-town for races and soccer games, theatre rehearsals, civic duties - you name it. In addition to being an avid runner, I'm a happily married wife, mother of two, an actress, singer, a Fleet Feet CREW coach, and work full time as the Marketing Manager for Thomas & Hutton Engineering Co. I love being on the run!