Running Through a Fulfilled Life

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Race Recap: Stephen’s Sunrise Pi Mile

This past Saturday I ran a race that had been booked on my 2012 Racing Calendar since January 1.  Stephen’s Sunrise Pi Mile was a new race this year, but one that was put together in memory of Stephen S. Fenstemaker.  Stephen was one of my brother’s best friends growing up, as they went to elementary, middle, and high school together.  They shared memories in and out of the classroom, on and off of the soccer field.  On October 29, 2010, Stephen was involved in a single car accident off the campus of Miami University.  My brother was the passenger in his car.  Needless to say, that day rocked the Jackson and Louisville communities to their cores.

Stephen’s family put together a Math Scholarship in his honor, to be given out to deserving students at Jackson and Louisville that demonstrate interest in majoring in math or science.  The proceeds from the Pi Mile were to fund these scholarships.

The race started and finished in front of the Paul&Carol David YMCA.  It was a course I knew well; as my mom and I had helped to design it for this race.  Hilly, but scenic.  It ventured in and through both the North and South Parks, with a small portion being in a neighborhood.  That morning, I awoke to a bunch of rain.  I prayed that it would clear up for the start of the race, as I knew Stephen would be watching over us.

And it did.  The skies cleared and the sun peeked through.

We were instructed to head to the start where a brief prayer was said.  I began to tear up as we prayed for a good race, good weather, and for Stephen and his family.

We lined up to begin the race.  And waited for the siren to sound.  Shortly after, we were off.

The race proceeded along the back road behind the High School, turning its way into the North Park.  If I look emotional in this picture, it’s because I was.  I didn’t care how much it hurt, I was running this one for a purpose and for Stephen.

Yes, it definitely was a little bit hilly.  One thing I found so touching was that the JHS Boys Soccer Team came out to run the first mile with the racers.  They had their first District Game that evening so could not run the full race, but they hopped in to celebrate the life of a former alumnus.

Such a beautiful morning to run.

My mom served as the Mile 1 Split timer.  She was able to yell out to me “7:12!” at the first mile.  The hills had majorly fizzled my legs.  They were sure to not be able to recover as the course was an out and back loop, I would have to run the same hills again.

The hills did their work on my legs as Mile 2 clocked in at 7:35.  I tried to rally some energy going into the hills again, but was only able to manage a 7:38 on my 3rd mile.  Because the race was a “Pi Mile” the course was purposefully long to clock in at 3.14 miles.  I finished in 23:39 (7:32/mile pace).  And finished with a smile on my face and my heart.

I was able to finish 2nd Overall Female out of a smaller field of 166 runners.  As ecstatic as I was to have placed overall, I was more happy that this race finally came into fruition.  I can only hope that everyone that participated this year will return next year and bring a friend or two along.  This race needs to grow, so the memory of Stephen can live on and help worthy high school students achieve their dreams of college.




Race Recap: Project Homeless Connect 6 Miler

Akron is home to many things.  Rubber.  Lebron (aka LeBum).  Soap Box Derby.  Hills.  And part of the Towpath Trail.  Only a few of these things were included in my race on October 13.  Mainly hills, towpath, and LeBaby (kind of, see photo below for proof of Letaintedrace).


I was excited to race and see how my legs had recovered from my recent super successful Half Marathon PR Questfest of awesomesauce.  Not expecting much, I just chose to run by feel.  I ignored my Garmin quite successfully and didn’t even look at my time until I was cresting the final hill of the course.

I loved it.  The run felt effortless.  I never felt like death on a platter.  I was channeling my inner Ryan Hall while listening to the Odyssey and being a mothaf’n BAMF.  Yes, redundant I know.  I could go into specifics at how I felt at every mile split, the joy I took in passing people, the clunk clunk of my shoes as they smacked across the bridge, or the churning of my stomach due to pumpkin spice mixed with a 1.5 hour drive prior to race time.  But, I won’t.  This race was simply about the run.

So I give you, without further ado, my run (in picture form).










Final Finish: 45:52 (7:39/mile pace)
Overall: 14/99
Females: 4/63
Age Group: 1/13

Because this race gave overall awards to the Top 5, I FREAKING PLACED OVERALL which must be a sign that hell is freezing over ( I received that lantern with candle inside…so cute!)

omg so much food, so overwhelming om nom nom noms #pr #runfast #ilovefall

Overall, I absolutely loved this race.  It was run over the newest portion of the Towpath Trail in Akron that goes over the water.  The weather was perfect.  The leaves were at their most brilliant colors of orange, red, and yellow.  And I was in my happy place, wearing my Pure Flows and prancing around like a gazelle (that’s what I apparently look like when running per my Mom).

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Race Recap: Red White and Blue 26.2 (13.1 for me though)

Spoiler alert: the invitation to the PR arrived promptly during my training for this fall’s half marathon.  I sent in my RSVP, had some mild reservations, but showed up to the party nonetheless.  I didn’t leave early, I showed up promptly and was rewarded with a Shiny New **Half Marathon PR**!!  Of course this half marathon gloryfiesta of awesomesauce could not be achieved without some ups and downs.

I have used a mantra throughout my training this cycle, especially for my long runs.  “One Mile at a Time”.  I tend to focus too much on the big picture that I have “X” number of miles to tackle, so I liked focusing on my runs by breaking them down mile by mile.  I even fed into this so much that I purchased a race bracelet I was so looking forward to wearing for the race.  

It took me until I was driving 10 miles down the turnpike on Saturday to realize I had forgotten it for the race.  Epic splurge purchase fail.

I arrived in Findlay to set up shop at our hotel for the race.  Met up with my parentals and we picked up our race packets at the Findlay YMCA and then drove out to Riverbend to peruse the race course.

My Dad and I were super excited to see that the Findlay Reservoir is the Great Plains of Northwest Ohio.  A quick trip to Jimmy Johns for dinner, watching a crazy explosion of offense in the OSU game, and a sleepless night of sleep later…Sunday arrived.

The race was to start at 7:30 AM.  It was pitch black as we drove to Riverbend.  The temperature was hovering around 38 degrees and cold sensitive fingers and toes were already preparing for a freezefest.

We lined for the race start promptly at 7:30 and the flag was presented and the National Anthem sang (somewhat…poor girl forgot the entire end of the song and it was quite possibly the worst rendition I have ever heard.  i cringed for her).

Shortly after, we were off!

You can hardly see the blur of my Dad whizzing by

I tried to start off my pacing slower than usual in order to allow myself to build up to my cruising speed.  My bad habit with half marathons has always been going out way too hard.  As you can see, the course was rather NON-exciting.  Lots of long straightaways on country roads, little crowd support with the exception of relay exchanges and water stops.  However, early October is a time of year I love and I enjoyed taking in the sights of Fall in the country.  The best part of the course, though, was the fact that the net elevation gain was +15 feet.  Flat as a pancake.

Mile Splits (per Garmison) so much for going out SLOW:
Mile 1—8:16
Mile 2—8:00
Mile 3—8:07
Mile 4—8:13
Mile 5—8:16
Mile 6—8:14
Mile 7—8:14
Mile 8—8:21 (during this mile I reflected on my combustion at GCM and had to start mentally self coaching myself to push through this)
Mile 9—8:26
Mile 10—8:28
Mile 11—8:40 (YIKES!)
Mile 12—8:41 (DOUBLE YIKES!)
Mile 13—8:23
Mile 0.2 (Garmison measured long)—1:24 (7:05/mile pace)

Final Finish: 1:49:35 
Average Pace: 8:22/mile
Overall: 29/149
Females: 10/73
Age Group: 2/16

TRex Dad coming to the finish

I attempted to not look at my Garmin at all for pacing and instead focused on doing mental math to calculate my overall pace.  Had I realized I slogged through Miles 11-12 I probably would have pushed myself harder as obviously I had stuff in my tank.  And not just an upset stomach.

Trying to hydrate the dehydrated TRex


More awesome cheesin

My two wonderful parents

All in all, the Red White and Blue 26.2 (13.1 for my part) was a wonderful racing experience.  I snagged a new PR as did Trex Dad (2:25:28–1st Overall Walker).  My legs may officially hate me for running them off today, but I am so excited that I finally hit my “A” goal for a race and have now managed to knock off over 10 minutes from my half time since I debuted back in 2009.

8th Half Marathon COMPLETE! Happy Running!

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Tomorrow is the day I officially toe the line for what will be my 8th Half Marathon.


I am thankful that I even get to stand amongst a crowd of runners at 7:30 AM and wait for the starting signal.  It has been long journey since May in terms of my wonky knee, but I am praying for good weather, good running, a smile throughout, a well behaved knee, and another recorded finish.  Do I have goals for this one? Yes and no.  I have a secret time goal, but it entirely depends on how my body feels.  My overall goal is to finish.  And to be smiling.  And to have enough energy to help run my Dad in to finish his 3rd Half.


I have watched the weather reports progressively drop the starting race temperature over the past week.  It will be 38 degrees at race start.  40 degrees when I finish.  This is the weather I bask in.  Runner’s World recommends a lot of extra clothing (yuck) but I like to remain cool when I run.

The conditions you reported were:
Temperature: 40 degrees F, Wind: Calm,
Conditions: Sun, You like to feel: In-between
We suggest you wear:
Hat with visor
A hat with a visor serves not only to keep the sun out of your eyes, but also to shield them from blowing snow and rain on the run. A lighter-colored hat helps to keep your head cool on warm days.
The basic element of any runner’s wardrobe. Usually a nylon or technical fiber.
Long-sleeve shirt
A long-sleeved shirt made of high-tech polyester will pull moisture away from your skin, keeping you from getting clammy and cold on a cooler day.
Essentially a jacket without sleeves, a vest provides the wind-blocking and water-resistant functions of a running jacket, but only for the body’s core, leaving the arms uncovered – warm, but not too warm.
To keep your hands warm on a cold day. Mittens keep your hands warmer when temperatures drop below 30?. When in doubt, better to take your gloves with you. They’re easy to tuck in your shorts or tights.
By keeping the sun out of your eyes, a good pair of sunglasses can save you energy by allowing you to relax your face (no squinting). Though their uses are obvious on sunny summer days, they’re also useful on bright winter days, or any other time when glare is likely to be an issue.

The hay is in the barn.  I have made it this far.  Let’s see what I’ve got in me…I know I can do it.  Now it’s just a matter of actually doing it.