Sunday, July 31, 2011

Munchkin Mile - Too Hot To Handle...

A just got back yesterday, and of course one of the first things she wanted to do was... run! We headed out early for two reasons. One was because we wanted to get to the water park by the time it opened at 10:00 and two because the forecast was for HOT temperatures.

We headed out early (well, sorta early, 8:00), and it was already HOT. Well, 75 degrees, which feels hot to me. A hasn't run in a few months, and I figured she needed to get at least a few runs in since we are running the 5k at Disneyland in few weeks. She struggled a bit, but as I said, it was hot and I don't blame her. Even I felt tired. Pictures from our morning:






Saturday, July 30, 2011

One More Run

So it's the last day of July that I plan on running and even though I plan on starting August fresh with the RLRF program, I noticed I was not on par with my goal of 100 miles a month. Meaning... long run. Well, at least it is an opportunity to try out the Zoots on a longer run.


Even though I haven't started RLRF, I decided to "steal" one of the long runs from the marathon program. Adopting a super slow pace that I figured I could manage.

Only. I didn't run as far as I planned (only 11 miles) and the pace that should have been CAKE (5.3 mph or 11:19 min/mile) was ridiculously hard. I took some sport beans at the halfway mark but never felt good. This sucked. I was hot, and working way too hard for such a slow pace. When I finally finished (2 hours and 10 minutes later), I was so sweaty that I literally could wring out not just my hair, but my running skirt too. That was a first.

Good news? The Zoots seem like they will work just fine. So yay, billions of pairs of shoes later I seem to have some that will work!

So over these horrible and hard training runs.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Three Things Thursday

Ch ch ch chaaaaanges

1. Did you notice my blog has had a makeover??

2. I got accepted to and subsequently registered for fall classes! After a few years (ok, 11), I am going back to college! My goal is to get a second BA, this time in Criminal Justice. To ease myself in, I am only taking 3 classes (9 credits).

3. As for running, I'm in a funk. I think I finally found shoes that will work, and next week I plan on starting the RLRF program. Hopefully something different will improve my running. I can hope, right?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Zoot!!

WE MAY HAVE A WINNER!!!


I love the folks at Road Runner. If you are a member of their VIP program, you have NINETY days to try shoes out and if you don't like them, you can exchange that. Now, I'm not one to take advantage of a lenient return/exchange policy, but I've been struggling to find shoes I really like, and this program ROCKS.
So when I discovered I still had a pair of unworn Newtons that were outside the normal warranty (purchased end of February), I took them to Road Runner and the sweet folks there still let me exchange. Now, the Pumas are NOT out of the running, but since I had only run a few miles in them, I felt like I still needed to try something else. I had also tried on the above Zoot Ultra TT 4.0s, but the high heel freaked me out:


Pros:
  • As usual... PRETTY!!
  • Light!!
  • Comfy!
Cons:
  • The high creepy heel. It's actually flexible/soft so it's not necessarily a con, just... weird.
  • The non-tie laces. Unsure if this is a con. The shoes never felt super tight, and I like that I didn't have to think about adjusting them. On a longer run if my feet swell this could be an issue.
So... I had high hopes for these shoes. I was originally going to start the RLRF program, but I had some stomach issues that made me pull way back on my pace. I did still put in 6.75 miles in them, and no feelings of blisters and no numbness in the feet. However, I did have some minor ankle pain (which I've had on and off for months), and my quad felt tight (again, on and off problem since last year). So where I leave this... no running for a few days, I feel like I need to try an outdoor long run at some point this weekend before I really dig deep into the RLRF program.

Best ones so far!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Puma Faas 300s

Um... possibly?? Today was not a scheduled run day, but I usually have 20-25 minutes after Turbo Kick Box for some sort of additional cardio. Turbo Kick Box pretty much kicked my ass today. I have never EVER in my entire life taken my shirt off at the gym. Which is saying something since I have pretty much lived in one since April, 2004.


Blech. I have nasty stomach after giving birth and love handles I can't seem to get rid of. I don't know HOW people have the nerve to do this on a regular basis.

Anyway, I returned the Brooks Green Silence and tried on another jillion pairs of shoes. I was shocked with the ones I ended up with. They didn't even look like running shoes.


Pros:

  • Pretty!! I mean, anything with pink can't be all bad...
  • Wide toe box. At least I'm pretty sure they are. I only ran 2 miles, but didn't have to stop and adjust laces at all.
  • Not as "flat" feeling as the Green Silences.
  • CHEAP... With my discount they were less than $40!
Cons:
  • Not "flat" but not super comfortable either.
  • Wide toe box, but might be overall too wide? I didn't wear them long enough to really judge this, I'll have to try 4+ miles.
  • This is LAST years model... if I keep these, the next years model might suck, but I suppose I could cross that bridge when I come to it.
Questions from last review:
  • Yes, I've tried Newtons. Those were the ones I was trying to get away from because I went through 6-7 pairs last year and at $150+ a pair they cost too much.
  • Pearl Izumis... I went through two pairs of these back in 2009. I liked them, but the ones I wore were (shockingly) discontinued. After I pulled my quad, I switched to a New Balance. The running store I keep exchanging shoes from doesn't carry Pearl in store (only online) so for now they are out.
Where does this leave me? I had another pair of shoes I was trying, Zoots, that I didn't pick because they were about $120 a pair. I think I'll go back and pick those up and try a few long runs between those and the Pumas. I gotta get into something soon, these shenanigans have already been going on a week!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Brooks Green Silence

Sigh. Again. Fail. After the fail with the Kinvaras, I tried the other pair I thought I liked - the Brooks Green Silence. They look good:



Pros:

  • They look good, and match one of my favorite running outfits.
Cons:
  • They didn't seem to ventilate my feet. THEY WERE HOT.
  • Toe box not quite wide enough, although I didn't feel they were as tight as the Kinvaras. I did have to stop a few times to loosen laces. This ended up being a problem because of the weird way the shoe is form with the outside of the shoe becoming the tongue (you'd just have to look at them to understand what I mean).
  • The shoes feel FLAT. The first few strides I felt like I had boards on my feet.
  • Felt HEAVY.
Starting. Over.

You know, for someone who thought they didn't have finicky feet, I'm certainly struggling finding shoes that don't suck.

Answering some comments from the last shoe review:

  • I wear body glide on my feet and toes only when I race. I'm sorta of the opinion that if I can't even run in them for 4-5 miles without body glide they aren't the shoes for me.
  • I don't think I can wear Men's sizes, I have teeny feet. I wear 6-6.5 in regular shoes but bump up to a 7 for running. Bummer. :(

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Newton Lady Isaac vs. Saucony Kinvara 2s

Sigh. Fail. I was really excited to try the new shoes, so I headed off to the gym - looking great and optimistic that I had found shoes that could work. Sadly, my outfit would pretty much be the only good part of the experience.


Newton Lady Isaacs

Pros:

  • Bright colors
  • Wide toe box
  • Overall comfortable
Cons:
  • Life of the shoe... Newtons in general do NOT seem to last long. I am on my 7th pair (if I'm counting correctly) in the last year. At $140-$175 a pair of shoes, that is RIDICULOUS.
  • Nothing I can specifically put my finger on, I just seem to have overall tired and achy legs. Shoes? Maybe.
Saucony Kinvara 2s

Pros:
  • Pretty!!!
  • Comfortable and LIGHT feeling. First mile I felt like I was wearing nothing at all!
  • Basically half the cost of what I have been spending on shoes
Cons:
  • Toe box too narrow. My left pinky toe starting feeling "rubbed" like a blister was forming. I only ran 4 miles in them.
  • Too tight/form fitting. After about 2 miles my feet started to feel numb. I stopped, loosened the laces on both feet. Felt "better" for a few miles but then the numbness came back. Couldn't loosen the laces further or my heels would slip too much.
  • After running, I did a "speed walk" for a half hour with incline. Left pinky toe still felt "aggravated."
  • After leaving the gym, wore the shoes while running errands. Left toe still not comfortable.
Even though the shoes didn't work out, I still rewarded myself with a HUGE salad. Yum.


Today I'm headed back to buy the other pair of shoes that was in the running with the Kinvaras. Review to follow.

Friday, July 22, 2011

TGIF!!!


So I've been struggling with my Newtons ever since the ones I loved were discontinued. I'd switched to the other shoes Newton makes and nothing seems to feel quite right. So... I exchanged the last pair of Lady Isaacs and I'm happy to be trying the Saucony Kinvara 2's! Aren't they BEAUTIFUL??? I haven't done the treadmill testing in years. Turns out I've been wearing a neutral shoe but I have the highest arches in the world. Throw in a pair of insoles and I'm pretty psyched to try these! (Not to mention they are about HALF the cost of what I'd been spending on Newtons. And at 6-7 pairs in the last year??)


Look what was in my mailbox today!!! Thanks Silly Girl!!!

And......


Remember last week when I was talking about finding my passion?? I've decided what I want to do, and this week I filled out my application to take my starter course in... CRIMINAL JUSTICE at my local community college (where I got my A.A. over a decade ago). As you can see by the above, I just ADORE shopping for school supplies and I am PSYCHED that I will be going back in the fall. I was one of those people that went to college just because I liked it. I have a fairly useless BA in English (with a minor in History), so I don't need to take any general education course, just focused courses in my area of interest.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Three Things Thursday

The Whine Post

1. Running sucks. It's hard. I shouldn't have to work so hard at these easy paces. I HATE RUNNING. (Repeat)
2. Running sucks. Maybe it's my shoes. Newton discontinued the style I had been wearing for 9 or so months. No shoes really "hurt" or give me blisters, but maybe the other Newton styles aren't right for me. My legs (especially calves) constantly feel "tight" even though I (sorta) stretch before I run.
3. Running sucks. (Did I say that already)

Sigh.

If I didn't need to increase my mileage base I'm not sure I'd still be running. Only 2 months until that stupid 50 mile race. Why. Why did I sign up?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Things Are Happening...

BUT I CAN'T SAY WHAT!!! (yet)

One thing is sorta "life" related...

One thing is "running" related...

Have to wait for confirmation on things before I say anything...

EXCITED!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Longmont Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Longmont, CO
Saturday, July 16
Half Marathon #39
Weather - Sunny, HOT

I sort of have a goal of also completing every half marathon in the state of Colorado. Longmont is pretty close to where I live, and when I heard about the Longmont Half Marathon, I knew we had to run it. This was also our 9th weekend in a row of racing, so I was feeling TIRED and a bit BURNED OUT.

As always, the race REALLY begins the night before with our carb load dinner. Surprise, surprise, we did NOT go to Applebees! Instead, we went to Sweet Tomatoes. Yum!





Even though the race was pretty close to where we live, it started EARLY to avoid as much of the heat as possible. The week before the race we finally noticed that there was a shuttle that we had to SCHEDULE to get us from the finish line where we parked to the start. Why wouldn't we have done that when we registered? No emails were sent out about it, we only saw it because we were verifying where to go. OK...

We were scheduled for the 5:50 bus, and L thought she had seen somewhere that the packet pick-up was at 5:15. So I had to get up ridiculously early. Alarm went off at 4:10. 4:10!!! Crazy! Got dressed, ate breakfast, and we were out the door around 4:45. Obviously there wasn't any traffic at this hour, and we arrived just after 5:15. The first set of buses (for walkers and those that waited too long to schedule) were STILL there. They were supposed to have left for the start at 5:10. OK... we are wandering around and there is no sign of anyone with bibs. We find a volunteer and discover that we are actually picking them up at the start line and goody bags after we are done. In other words, we could have slept a half hour longer. Sigh.

There were supposed to be bathrooms open in the park (signs said they open at 5) but they were closed. Only TWO port-o-potties while we waited for the bus. It was already feeling warm, I knew this race was going to be tough. I wilt  in the heat.

Waiting for the bus
The busses were supposed leave for the start at 5:50. They didn't even show up until 6:11. WTF!! (We could have slept EVEN LONGER). By now we have been waiting around for an hour. The bus drops us off at the start with 90 seconds until the race is going to start. Obviously it isn't going to start on time. We cycle through the bathroom line again and by the time everyone is ready to go, we are starting 25 minutes late.


There is no "start line" (not even chalked on the ground) and no timing chips. I don't even care. The high for the day is predicted to be close to 100 degrees, and by the time we set out I was already roasting. We once again started too far in the bag and ended up in this uncomfortable jog/trot because I couldn't get around people (lake on one side and a ditch/fence on the other).

Start Line
Immediately decided - I DON'T CARE. I am so not feeling this race. It's actually pretty decent sized field for a new race - 239 people. I figure I'll do a slower and steady pace and try to not overwork myself since there aren't very many aid stations and it's already so hot out.

The first two miles are running on trail around the lake. The course itself is very pretty, but this race should NOT be held in mid July (too hot) and there really needs to be more course support. But more on that later.


The first aid station was at mile 3. I had already decided I'd need a water break before that, so I planned my first walk break at mile 1.5 so I could drink some Nuun. Holy crap. How am I so tired and hot already? It's only been 15 minutes. Grrr....

After we finish running around the lake, we finally get some pavement. We are running on a sidewalk parallel to a busy street. At least there is a teeny tiny amount of shade. Also a slight downhill and for the moment I am feeling ok. The aid station is just after we pass mile 3, and I take an Apple Cinnamon Hammer gel. We make a turn and we are back into the blazing sun.

I had planned on taking my next break at mile 4, and I barely made it there. This heat is just draining all energy out of me. Drink more Nuun and then start jogging again. Next aid station is about mile 5. Take some water and Powerade. Have I mentioned how hot and tired I am?

See the hot air balloons on the horizon?
My strategy of a quick walk break every mile is gone. It is not enough. I stop again at mile 5.6 to use the bathroom. I have to wait about a minute to get in, but I feel better (for a minute) after I get out. We are running by the river and again there is a little bit of shade, so I make it to mile 6 feeling decently ok. Man, I am TIRED.


Next aid station is mile 7. I was hoping to make it to the next stop without a break, but nope. Just can't force myself to do it. Blah!!! There was originally supposed to be an aid station at mile 9, but because some volunteers backed out, they moved it to mile 8.25. Although it was actually right after mile 8. So the only aid station after the one at 8 was mile 11. Do they know it's a bazillion degrees out??!


I have never looked at my watch so many times during a race. Am I even moving? My walk breaks are even more frequent, every 4-5 minutes. I am just so hot and tired, my heart rate should NOT be this high during a race that I'm not even "racing." (My watch would later tell me an average of 175!)

Am I hallucinating? Am I back in Iowa?
Mile 10. More walking. NO shade. Dying.

Hottest I've been. Ever.

Mile 11. Last aid station. SO THIRSTY. I am drinking too much for running, but I am so parched and I feel dehydrated. I have never sweat so much in my life.

Mile 12. WHY ISN'T THIS OVER YET??? Still no shade. !!!!!!!!!!! A lady I had been playing cat/mouse with starts talking to me around mile 12.5. Another super happy person who tries to cheer me up "we are almost there." Not close enough...

We cross a bridge and turn the corner and... there's L???? How is that possible??? I lost sight of her in the first mile. She is walking. I catch up to her while we are climbing the biggest hill of the course. She is struggling BIG TIME. Glad it wasn't just me.

Just before the mile 13 marker we decide to "run" the rest of the race. Our first finish together EVER in a half marathon.
See us SMOKIN' that chick? Bahaha.
SO. HAPPY. TO. BE. DONE. They are out of water at the finish line. Of course they are. They do have some Powerade, but considering how thirsty I am, I just want water. No food that I am interested in, I just want to leave so I can shower and forget this ever happened. But wait!!! My stalker is here!!

Finally a pic of us together. Only he doesn't know he's in it.
We collect our finisher award - instead of a medal it is a pint glass. I can live with that. Pick up my goody bag, and ONCE AGAIN, even though I registered months ago, they are out of my shirt size. NOT HAPPY.

Official Time - 2:22:27
Official Pace - 10:52
Gender Place - 80/101
Division Place - 28/36
Garmin Time - 2:22:04 (No chip timing, remember)
Garmin Distance - 13:08
Garmin Pace - 10:51
Mile 1 - 10:03
Mile 2 - 10:04
Mile 3 - 10:09
Mile 4 - 10:09
Mile 5 - 11:02
Mile 6 - 11:59 (bathroom)
Mile 7 - 10:09
Mile 8 - 11:12
Mile 9 - 10:47
Mile 10 - 11:11
Mile 11 - 11:53
Mile 12 - 11:04
Mile 13 - 11:38
Mile 13.1 - 8:43

Pint Glass - Finisher's Award
Things that annoyed me

  • Lack of communication with the shuttles
  • Buses being 30 minutes late
  • Not enough bathrooms
  • Not enough aid stations
  • Not enough water at the finish line
  • Not having my shirt size. Again!!
Things that were good
  • Liked the pint glass - better than nothing at all, and it will get used
  • The race shirt was a pretty cool t-shirt, but would have liked to have my size
  • Nice course (but NOT for July!!)
I am SO ready for my month off from racing. Nine weeks in a row of racing seems to be more than I can handle - especially during the summer. I cannot seem to adapt to the heat.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Lesser Known Speech

I don't have a dream...

This has been a tough week for me. My grandma died on Sunday morning after battling a few long months of illness. I have spent the last few days in Wisconsin saying goodbye. It's never easy.

One thing that struck me during the eulogies given at her service was what a truly amazing woman she was. Not just to me and my family, but to everyone she knew. She didn't just work for a paycheck, she enjoyed what she did and extended her time to volunteer work. My grandma literally worked until the day she was admitted into the hospital back in April, a month before her 93rd birthday.

So here I am, 60 years younger (EXACTLY 60 years younger, we shared a birthday), and I'm doing NOTHING. Obviously I have spent most of my adult life working, but it was a JOB, and nothing I was passionate about. I have done very little volunteer work.

My grandma literally spent her life doing what she loved. I'd like to do the same. The problem I'm having is that I've spent my whole life just "surviving." I don't even feel I have a passion. I don't know WHAT I would do if I could do ANYTHING in the world...

I'm at a crossroads (maybe an early mid-life crisis) and I need to decide how to proceed. (Anyone who knows me, what could YOU see me doing?)

I am also going to pay it forward and FINALLY volunteer for a race. I run SO many and have never volunteered. Signing up to run an aid station at the Boulder 70.3 in August.

RIP Grannie, I'll miss you.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Missoula Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Missoula, MT
Sunday, July 10
Half Marathon #38
State #33/50
Weather - Upper 40s at start, VERY sunny, no wind. Pleasant.


Montana is another state that just doesn't have that many races. The Missoula Half Marathon was rated a top race by Runner's World, so that was the one that we chose to run. L and I had decided to do the 900 mile drive to Missoula instead of flying since we were looking at paying $500+ for airline tickets.

Since there was NO race day pick up, we had to be in Missoula before 6:00 pm on Saturday. Did you know that driving 900 miles takes a while? Yeah. We hadn't really thought about that. So we opted to head out Friday evening after L got to work to get some  of the driving out of the way.

We left the house around 5:00, with our final destination of the night being Casper, WY. We had done the drive about a month ago and remembered it being about 275 miles away. Of course we had to eat at some point, so once we got out of the rush hour traffic in Denver and the northern suburbs, we ate in Fort Collins. The drive was uneventful, and we arrived in Casper around 10:15.

Sunset over Wyoming. Ignore dead bugs on window.
If you haven't stayed at a Motel 6 lately, let me just say that sometimes it is worth the extra money to stay somewhere nicer. I barely got any sleep at all, and woke up before our alarm was to go off. We headed out just before 7, and after a quick stop at the gas station and Starbucks, we settled in for the remaining 625 or so miles to Missoula. While southern Wyoming is nothing to write home about, it was pretty scenery up north (again, ignore bugs on windows):



YAY!!
So the drive is LONG. Did I mention that already?? We stopped in some teeny tiny town in the middle of nowhere and got Subway for lunch. Delicious. The rest of the drive also pretty uneventful. We were making excellent time. There wasn't a lot of traffic, but Montana is apparently a HUGE fan of road construction. We probably drove through close to a dozen construction zones.

We arrived in the lovely city of Missoula around 4:30. The expo was being held at a park and there was no physical address, but it wasn't hard to find. We parked and walked to the expo, which was being held outside:




There was really nothing of interest at the expo, most of the stuff for sale was specific to Missoula, which I had no interest in spending my money on. We headed back to the car and we were super excited to discover that our hotel was less than a half mile away from the start/finish area. Good job on booking, L! Now... we did pay a price for waiting so long to book. Location was good, hotel Bel Air? Questionable.

Little Fruit Fly - Pink tile! Retro!!
We checked in, and then decided to wander around Target for a bit until it was time for dinner. One of the first times I have forgotten something for a trip, luckily it was just a pair of socks to sleep in and easily replaceable :D

After Target, we headed to... you guessed it! Applebees! For a teeny tiny town, they had everything we needed. Dinner was fabulous:

Queso instead of spinach dip? CRAZY!!


After dinner, a quick trip to Walgreens, then to a liquor store for a beer.

GINORMOUS
I haven't been sleeping well and took a muscle relaxer with my gigantic beer that I couldn't even finish. It took a bit to fall asleep (we did try to go to bed around 9:30), but I woke up feeling pretty refreshed at 4:15.

4:15??? Yep, this race is an EARLY one. The race is a point to point, so we had to catch a bus to the start line. Luckily, it was only a few minutes walk from the hotel. We were out the door by 4:45 and we were probably on the bus about 15 minutes later. We arrived at the start area with about 45 minutes until gun time, and of course our normal ritual of cycling through the bathroom lines.

Gonna be a SUNNY day!
The last time we got in line and were just getting out when the gun went off.  No biggie. The start was impressive:

Hard to tell, but they do FIREWORKS!!
Me and L
So we headed to the start a few minutes after the gun went off.  Since we waited so long we of course ended up behind a bunch of people running slow and/or walking. It was crowded. Our own fault though, we should have lined up earlier.

The beginning of this race is AMAZING. I am not one to go on and on about the beauty of nature, but wow, it was beautiful. The sun coming up over the mountains (which still have snow on the peaks), super green trees, lakes, just gorgeous. The pictures REALLY do not do the course justice.





Anyway. Back to the running. Starts out a little flat, then a downhill. It takes about a mile for me to get out of the huge crowd and get my pace steadied. I'm not "hurting" but again, I just feel tired. I'm not paying too much attention to how fast I'm going, honestly, just enjoying the scenery. Mile 2. Still not able to get into a real groove of feeling good while I am running. Already looking forward to the first aid station which is supposed to be just after mile 2.6 when we merge with the marathon course. I passed these guys around mile 2 (I had seen them at the start - it was less than 50 degrees. These guys were CRAZY):

(Pic hijacked from the FB page for the marathon)
The aid station is not where it should be, it is about a 1/4 of a mile further down. Tired. Take a water and a gatorade and then try to settle in for the rest of the race. The sun is CRAZY bright. I am glad I opted to wear my sunglasses, but we were running directly into the sun and there were sections where I was staring down at the ground because I literally could NOT look straight ahead because of how bright the sun was. Cross over a bridge and then we head onto a rural road.

I will say that there was a surprising amount of crowd support considering we were not in the "city" of Missoula,  but on the outskirts in sort of a "farm country" area. Many people who lived in the area were out watching the race, and lots of them  put out sprinklers for runners to run through to cool off. I didn't need that at 6 something in the morning, but I bet the marathoners coming up behind us in a few hours were going to love it.


The course thinned out a lot more when we were on the wider road. I think this race was the perfect size in terms of the number of people running at my pace and always having a "rabbit" to chase. Next aid station was just before mile 5 and I was starting to think I needed to use the bathroom again. It didn't seem urgent. I knew there were bathrooms at ALL the aid stations (great job, Missoula!!) I figured I'd wait and see. Sure enough, I keep going and it's getting worse. I have to stop at the next aid station around the halfway point. There were four bathrooms, but I still had to wait a minute or so to get in. Then I had trouble with my skirt again (what is WITH me and these clumsy bathroom stops??)

Feeling much better, I am off again and even though I am still feeling sluggish, I am really looking forward to the rest of the race. The aid stations are now only a mile apart, and the rest of the course is flat. The sun is higher in the sky so it has warmed a bit, but not uncomfortably and there is a lot of shade on the course. Into a more "suburban" area, with a lot more crowd support:


I just could NOT seem to get into a good pace. Tired, tired, tired. Aid stations just sorta came and went, one around  mile 7.5, 8.6 and then just before mile 10. I started thinking I needed to use the bathroom again. REALLY?? Why?? Decide to stop again at the one just past the mile 11 marker. Luckily no wait this time, so I was in and out.

The last few miles I decided to just go all out (well, as much as I can this far into a race). I had a few women I had been chasing on and off for a few miles, and I really just wanted to beat them. I still was stopping and taking water at all the aid stations, so they would pass me, but then I'd start running and feeling refreshed I would pass them again. Cat and mouse for the last few miles. I even FINALLY saw a Half Fanatic (she was walking, but I tapped her on the shoulder and said hi).

My right ankle that has been giving me trouble on and off for months was feeling ok, but my left ankle was feeling a bit tender on the inside. I was super relieved to see the mile marker 13 AND the Higgins Ave bridge which I knew as the finishing area. I gave it all I could - and ran toward the finish. A bit disappointed in my finish, but considering I stopped twice, it's about the best I've raced in months.

Wild  Montana Skies and an AWESOME medal
Official Time - 2:13:22
Official Pace - 10:11
Overall Place - 1138
Garmin Time - 2:13:23
Garmin Distance - 13.12 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:09
Mile 1 - 9:40
Mile 2 - 9:12
Mile 3 - 9:49
Mile 4 - 9:54
Mile 5 - 10:24
Mile 6 - 10:00
Mile 7 - 12:16 (bathroom)
Mile 8 - 10:05
Mile 9 - 10:03
Mile 10 - 10:09
Mile 11 - 10:09
Mile 12 - 10:53 (bathroom)
Mile 13 - 9:48
Mile 13.1 - 8:05

One of my best medals yet!
So it was CHAOS after the race was over. They were doing instant results, and I finished in a huge wave of people so the line was pretty long. L brought me a vitamin water and said she would wait for me by the water tents. I got my results and then couldn't find her. I was thinking maybe she meant the food area or something. I saw the area where I could get my FREE race picture, so of course I did that really quick, then walked through the food area and still didn't see her. Luckily she saw me from the other side of the fence and we met up.

We wandered around trying to figure out where to pick up our bags. Hard to get to with all the crowds, but got everything with no problems. It was already after 9:00 by the time we were heading back to our room. Goal as always - quick shower and then be on our way.

I get out of the shower and the first thing L tells me "Grannie died this morning." Oh man. Remember, I went and visited her back in May for a week, and she was already in hospice with a poor outlook (as in, I was hoping she would still be alive for me to see her one more time). Of course I knew this was coming, but not something you want to hear when you are 900 miles from home.

Packed as quick as we could, got gas and Starbucks, and then on our way... We are in even more of a rush because now we need to get home, pack and pretty much leave right away for Wisconsin for the funeral. We stop and get a burger for lunch in Butte, then stop for gas in Bozeman.

Then... just as is our "luck," things go wrong. I am super tired after racing. L is driving and I start to doze off. Next thing I know we are parked at a rest area. She tells me something is wrong with the car, and that she had almost pulled off on the highway and was glad she had been able to get to a rest area. The car won't start. She thinks it is the battery. Of course we don't have jumper cables and the people I ask don't either. It is 90 degrees, 3:00 in the afternoon, and we are still, oh, 600 miles from home. Finally a guy comes over from the truck part of the stop and asks if we are ok. He asks around and manages to find us cables and gives us a jump. The car DOES start, but as soon as we start moving, L says there is something wrong.

She pretty much has the pedal to the medal but she can't go faster than about 50 mph. We are on the phone with everyone - what do we do?? It is Sunday so there isn't anywhere that is going to be open, not to mention we are in the MIDDLE OF FREAKING NOWHERE. We are still about 30 miles from Billings. We don't know if it is the alternator, the transmission, the battery... NO lights are on indicating anything is wrong. None of the gauges are out of range. We decide to just drive as long as we can, maybe stopping in Billings for the night if we have to. This is NOT going according to plan.

L decides to just drive until the car won't run. Yikes. Have I mentioned we are in the middle of nowhere? The car does ok on flats and downhills, but the uphills... scary. The car gets down to 30 mph and can barely move. Construction zones are especially scary. Driving with the hazards on. Do NOT want to get stranded.

We are slow moving, but we are still going, which is good. Unfortunately we do have to stop and get gas. We make it to Buffalo, WY, where the car dies as soon as we have to come to a stop.  Great. I say screw it, maybe lets just let it sit a minute, and we go get some dinner (Pizza Hut). It's getting late, and we are still at least 5.5 hours from home. We get to the car, and it starts fine. Huh. We get gas. Start the car again. Fine. WTH???

Start driving... no issues at all. Weird!! Have to stop again in Cheyenne to get gas. Car still fine! Crazy.

Well, we finally make it hope, just before 1:00 am. Longest.Day.Ever.

Anyway, back to the race, summary of my thoughts:
  • Great race. Scenery is amazing, course is good, all road.
  • Busses are very organized and near the start finish area with plenty of parking although you could walk there from most of the "downtown" hotels.
  • Plenty of bathrooms at the start area, bag drop that could wait until the last minute (which was nice since it was in the 40s and I wanted to keep my sweatshirt as long as possible).
  • Awesome start with fireworks!!
  • Lots and LOTS of aid stations, especially at the end. Stocked well with water and sports drink, PLUS bathrooms at all of them, which is awesome. (only minor complaint is they didn't offer the Clif shots until the mile 10 aid station... that's a bit late, would have been better around mile 7-8).
  • Great volunteers. Great spectators. FRIENDLY.
  • A "small town race" with all the perks of a big race (without tens of thousands of people). Volunteers estimated around 4,000 runners between the two distances. Perfect size!
This is definitely the Montana race to do! (If driving, allow extra time :D )

Week in Review (April 18 - April 24)

Tuesday  (11,878 steps) - Barre at lunch with Laura. Skipped my scheduled miles. Wednesday  (17,863 steps) - Denver run club! Mo has been...