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Running Through a Fulfilled Life


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A Fantastic Finish to a Runtastic August

This summer has had its ups and downs.  

My knee has needed a consistent babysitter since the end of May.

Piece of crap MCL and matching piece of crap meniscus

My husband has been nothing short of wonderful.

A random card he left me one day “just because”

I got to spend lots of time with family and friends.

I fell in love with Lime-a-ritas.

I discovered that bananas are not as good as peaches.

I sweated…a LOT.

My sweaty back created this just for you

It was far too hot this summer making my brain and body want to explode.

My brain wanting to vomit itself out of my mouth from running in the heat

I still enjoy taking very ridiculously hideous self portraits of myself

I got to go on a very Bahamian “2nd honeymoon”.

I have kept my hair rockin the blonde look.

I learned how to run fast.  *cough cough speed work* *cough cough i quit being a giant wuss kid cough cough*

August has nearly wound its way down into September, marking the not so distant end to Summer 2012.  The warm weather days of running in 75-90 degree heat will come to a close shortly, so I went out today to enjoy the sun at Osborne Park.  4 miles planned.  Yes, planned.  Because I am undergoing a top secret mission to train for a fall type race.  I cannot speak of said race for fear that it will jinx my knee.  My knee must remain in the dark about this race and unknowing.  It only thinks we are training for a 5K.  Do NOT tell my knee that it is training for a H___ M_______.  Otherwise I will be forced to kick you with my good leg.

I was able to loop around the Osborne walking path 4 times and complete 4.37 miles in 35:40.  It felt wonderfully good.  The sun was out, people were out walking and running, and not a bug attempted to dive bomb my eyes or mouth.  It was a perfect run.  What else made this one run a fantastic finish to my runtastic August?

A small running camp was going on at Osborne.  The coach had all of the kids lined up across the path.  As I approached, he gestured that they clear a path that I could run through.  What they did next made me smile, laugh, and genuinely appreciate running and kind people.  The kids formed a tunnel, started doing “spirit fingers”, and began cheering loudly for me as I passed.  I yelled out to them: “Thanks guys! You are making me feeling I’m racing”.  And I was thankful.  They put a pep back into my step starting at Mile 2.  And it carried through to Mile 4.37.  I still have a silly smile on my face thinking about it.

Happy Running!


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Race Recap: Alliance Community Hospital (ACH) Runnin For Hospice 5K

I am getting super bad at writing race recaps.  It is getting to the point that my post-race jumping joy happy feelings have long dissipated and I am left with a totally BLAH attitude to recapping something that was once awesome.  Well, still is awesome, but I just care less about how awesome it was.  The ACH Runnin for Hospice 5K was on August 18 in Alliance, OH.

It is sponsored by Alliance Community Hospital and takes place at twilight.  And I absolutely loved it.  It was everything that the Jackson Night Glow used to be before it got too big for its own britches.  The core values of: community, running for a great cause, glow sticks, encouragement, inspiration, and friendly (yes totally friendly) running crowd.  I chose to run ACH mainly because I was visiting my hometown to get my HAIR LOCKS DID and wanted to put my “aching for a good run” legs to work.  WORD.

I was a bit nervous about this race because all the week leading up to since that Wednesday, my knee was being a whiny bitch.  It hadn’t made a peep since the end of June and yet now was choosing to rear its ugly, Mr. Lumpy-esque, douchebag head.  In fact, it was rearing its head in a new place.  The lump had migrated to the front of my knee.  Weird.  Anyways, I chose to run the race because Friday I successfully navigated 3 miles on the treadmill at work without a bitchy moan of knee pain.

I lined up for the race and said a little prayer that my knee would hold up.  I was wearing bright pink shorts which meant I had to put up or shut up.  Or just go hide in some bushes should I need to DNF.  Plus I had some Subway points to defend since a few of my fellow running peeps were jokingly (but maybe for real) not happy that I showed up.

We took off quickly.  I was boxed in at the start and didn’t get off the starting line well whatsoever.  It took a bit to get going.  And around the first turn we went.  I was so angry because nearly half of the runners in front of me cut the corner and ran on the sidewalk through the first 3 turns.  Um, cheating much’?

T-REX TOM IN THE FLESH EVERYONE!

I darted out to get a quick first mile split in at 6:50.  I was slightly aghast at how easy it felt.  But knew I had to keep going hard.  We looped in through Mount Union College and got chased by college kids.  I hit the Mile 2 split when shortly after *whooooomp* a stab of knee pain.  Yuck and Yikes.  I tried my best to not hobble and keep a normal stride.  I pushed and pushed and pushed some more through the pain and final hills.

I pushed past my Mother (who is currently sidelined with injury) while she yelled “Run faster!  You can go faster than that!  You are looking good, run faster!”  Yeah, she loves being supportive when I’m hurting.

Mile 1–6:50
Mile 2–7:18
Mile 3–8:00 (had I not choked the hell out of this mile I would have PR’d AGAIN)
Mile 0.1–6:45

Final Finish–22:33 (7:15/mile pace)
Overall Finish–36/446
Female Finish–5/236
Age Group–1/25

Here’s to hoping the beast that lives in my knee stays at bay (it calmed down the next day) and to more Happy Running!


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Race Recap: Canalway Classic 5K

The Canalway Classic is one of my “go-to” races each and every year.  Why?
1) It’s a guaranteed PR course with a downhill start and finish

2) It makes my knees happy because it is run on the Towpath
3) It is a point-to-point course.  For some reason the threat of having to make it back to my car always makes me more inspired.

4) Nickles Bakery gives you a loaf of multi-grain bread when you finish.  And who doesn’t want a $20 loaf of bread, eh EH?

5) Phillippe (Spell check on the French Frog, Aisle 1 Please) the Frog makes an appearance every year.  And what could possibly be more creepy then a frog trying to get its picture with you?

Anyways, I was really hoping that I could do well on this race even though it was 2 days after I got back from The Bahamas.  Cruise ship running is not ideal (especially on a rocking treadmill) and getting your “land legs” back for running is often a big task.  Also, I was dealing with some funky funk of a sinus/cold business that I likely contracted from a Swan Dive in some raw, dirty, sewer water in Nassau.  But I decided I needed to put my big girl pants on and just RUN.

I apparently ran so fast that the cameras for the Ohio Challenge Series forgot to take my beautiful picture.
Mile 1 Split–6:58 (3/4 downhill, 1/4 on the Towpath)
Mile 2 Split–7:22 (all Towpath baby)
Mile 3 Split–7:29 (1/2 Towpath, 1/2 nasty mean satist hill)
Mile 3.1 Split–6:55 (all downhill, my lungs were congested as crap and I was breathing through what felt like a tiny, itty bitty baby straw)

Final Finish: 22:32 (7:17/mile)  
Overall Finish: 99/613
Female Finish: 16/357
Age Group Finish: 1/38
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

I am now the official new owner of a 5K PR that I thought would never come.  I beat last year’s time on this course by 25 seconds.  All done with a nasty head cold and a bum knee.  Just think what a healthy Eli could accomplish!

Image

Oh yeah, that’s right.  I jump over flames.  And totally didn’t steal that picture at all.


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R&R The Cure For What Ails You

The realization that my mini mid-year vacation “break from it all” is over starting tomorrow has finally begun to sink in.  It was definitely fun while it lasted.

Hubs and I decided to partake in another Carnival Cruise, which was the same cruiseline we used for our honeymoon.  This time we elected to take a 5 day cruise to the Bahamas. In retrospect, I would have loved for it to last 7 days but the only 7 day cruises were in the Eastern or Western Caribbean.  And apparently there was a little “hurricane” action going on all last week along those waters.

We boarded the Carnival Ecstasy on August 4.  The Ecstasy was definitely an older ship than the Carnival Legend which we cruised on in June of 2011.  It had a capacity for 2,000 passengers, but it never seemed to be that crowded.

A view of Port Canaveral from our ship

The Carnival Ecstasy docked

The first night on the ship we spent exploring the ship’s 14 decks.  The ship was easy to navigate minus the difficulty getting access to the Serenity Deck (adults only area) which is really the only place worth hanging out unless you want be tempted to throw screaming and misbehaving kids into the closest body of water.

Relaxing on the quieter, Serenity Deck

The next morning we awoke to some Bahama beauty.  We had arrived in Freeport which is located on Grand Bahama Island.  We elected to take a bus tour of the island from a man that went by the name Mr. T.  He was awesome.  We learned so much about Bahamian culture, and his overall levels of “bluntness” put Hubs to shame.  Major lesson learned: Bahamians LOVE Conch.  It is nature’s viagra.  Conch fritters, conch salads, conch biscuits, conch chapstick, conch butter, conch air freshener (I may or may not have made over half of those up).

Hubs loving Junkanoo Beach

Practicing for the day Vicky’s Secret calls me

It is rude not to double fist daquieris while in the Bahamas. It is actually rude not to triple fist too.

After a busy day in Freeport, Hubs and I were exhausted.  We awoke the following day to arrival in Nassau.  Nassau is home to the Atlantis Resort, all of the criminals of the Bahamas (for real, that is only jail location), and the only place that “pants on the ground” is acceptable.  Hubs and I wandered around Nassau and settled on a public beach to relax.

Nassau, Bahamas prior to my accumulation of UV Rays

We also made our way to Sharkeez so Hubs could try Kalik, a local Bahamian brew.  Probably not worth the $6 price tag, but when in the Bahamas…apparently blow all of your cash on beer and hookers.  Wait, that’s not my take home message?

Classy

It was at this point that Hubs and I had caught the Slot Machine FEVAAAAH to which there is no cure.  The only cure is winning and winning and then winning some more.  I can proudly say we finished on top and I even won $60 on a $1 pull.

My slot skillz know no bounds. Made this machine my B.

The last port of call was Half Moon Cay.  It is a private island that is only used for 1 day excursions exclusively for Carnival Cruise Lines.  And it is ri-darn-diculously beautiful.  Probably the most gorgeous beach I have ever seen.  I love when I can be in water that I can still see every callous and blister on my ugly runners feet.

Didn’t want to leave. Seriously. No I’m being really really serious.

Awkward Tan Lines McGee is my alter ego

While at Half Moon Cay, Hubs managed to win the Free Throw Competition.  Apparently he blew the competition away with his crazy mad skillz to the point that no one believed him that he was indeed a soccer player and not a basketball player.  I wouldn’t know this since I was too busy playing “apply sunscreen that I just sweated off tic-tac-toe on my stomach using my half empty Bud Light Lime for cold compression on my neck”.  It was mildly ungodly hot that day.

Hubs and his janky gold plastic cruise ship trophy that is now proudly displayed by our wedding keepsakes

The last day was a day at sea in which we used to our full advantage. Full advantage of having Hubs be referred to fondly as “Michael Phelps” and “fitness trainer” by our favorite bartender and several other staff.  I am proudly married to a superstar swimmer. Full advantage meaning we sampled every bit of food they offered that day.  Nothing like finishing off a cruise with a good bloat.  My bloat was full of ice cream, chocolate cake, pizza, bagels, eggs, fish, fries, etc.  Literally all were consumed that day.  My scale read “GOOD GOD WOMAN” when I arrived home.

So sad to no longer be cruising

So all in all, we had a wonderful time.  We got a ton of beach time.  Sun time.  Drink time.  Sleep time.  Relaxation time.  And married couple time.  And tomorrow we go back to the real world….BLAST BLAST BLAST CRAP.


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Race Recap: Second Sole “Sole to Soul 5K”

We Came, We Saw, We Sweated a Whole Lot, and We Conquered.

Taking a nap before the race at the check-in table

I am a huge fan of random mid-week races.  The Sole to Soul 5K held in Levis Commons on a random Wednesday in August has been one of my favorite go-to midweek races.  This was the 3rd year in a row that Hubs and I have participated.  The Perrysburg Second Sole flatout is wonderful for the Greater Toledo running community.  They do WAY more than the Akron/Canton branches of Second Sole in terms of sponsoring races, developing interest in running, and being a visible presence in the city.

The only problem with this year’s race?  It was HOT AS ALL BALLS 87 DEGREES AT RACE TIME!  So, I prepped Hubs that I probably wasn’t going to have my best race ever.  We planned to run together.  However, my legs and lungs had other ideas once the gun went off.  I felt good.  Really good.  So good in fact that my 7:08 first mile felt far too easy.  Almost effortless.

The flat course that loops around Levis Commons is conducive for fast running.  The heat is not.  Neither is a Hubs that keeps yelling “We are flying.  I’m dying.  Slow down you crazy woman! (he didn’t say that last sentence, the others are true statements).  So at the 1 mile marker, I purposely slowed down so not to cause Hubs to enjoy his dinner a second time.  Mile 2 split: 7:28.  I continued to feel questionably good but Hubs was still dying, so we slowed a bit more. (this picture would show otherwise as we both look awful)

Mile 3 split: 7:44.  Hubs finally rallied around the tail end of Mile 3 and pushed me into the finish.  Final 0.1 7:00 pace.  The entire race I FELT AMAZING SAUCE WONDERFUL HAPPY FEET.

Final Finish: 23:19.  Pace: 7:31.
Eli Finish: 4/20 Age Group
Hubs Finish: 3/12 Age Group

Meaning….
-Hubs got an age group award…what what son?!
-I am more than capable of hitting my 5K PR on a cooler day or when I’m not running with Hubs 🙂
-Speedwork is finally paying off in a big way

Can’t wait for the next 5K…Canalway Classic!  Happy Running!


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Wednesday’s Inspiration

I have always been a huge fan of the band Muse.  Their rock-opera style of music reminds me of a more modern version of Queen.  I realize this statement probably is up for debate, but their new song “Survivor” that has been one of the theme songs of the London Olympics is not up for debate.  It is straight up inspirational.  I could loop it on repeat for an entire half marathon and probably PR.  To watch the Olympics video go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66molzUEkWI