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Running Through a Fulfilled Life


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Race Recap: Shades of Gray 5K

Oh hey, I’m still here.  The thought of writing any kind of blog entry lately has produced a big fat “pppppppppfffffff” from my brain, which is why I’ve been on hiatus for way too long.  But yes, I’m still here.  I’m still running.  I’m still baby rearing.  Even if I have less time to do the running portion of the equation (spoiler alert: baby #2 takes so much more work!).  The Shades of Gray 5K is the 3rd race I’ve done since coming back into running post-partum.  It’s also the best I’ve felt and run since Lucas made his appearance 4 months ago.

This race was to benefit Serving Our Seniors of Erie County, an organization that I’ve referred countless patients to and know provides invaluable services in the community to those 60+.   Thus, game on.  I arrived early enough to give myself a bit of warm-up time, as this race started over by Battery Park Marina in Sandusky.  It was a 2 loop course of the downtown area and I’ve done several races in that vicinity before and it’s relatively flat.  The weather wasn’t too bad, it was about 72 degrees and slightly humid at race time, but I was ready to do this thing.  My 2 previous 5k’s had been pooptastic and I felt pooptastic during both–like I was running with sandbags for legs.  This day, however, I felt like I had energy and some bounce in my step even during warm-up.

The race started promptly at 9:00 AM.  It was a small turn-out, but hopefully that doesn’t deter the race from coming back next year, as it was well organized, had a cute shirt design and *bonus* pair of socks that came in the swag bag.  We took off heading down Water Street and I quickly found myself in 2nd.

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Look at me! Wee!

Like 2nd overall.  In the whole race (small races throw me off big time when this happens).  The lead male got slightly confused when we had to turn to head into our second loop during the course, so I felt like this did hurt my concentration and game plan for at least 1/2 mile prior to Mile 2, but I regrouped and kept pushing.

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Is this what “striding out” looks like? My legs are actually capable of this position? Gasp

Mantra: Run EVEN.  And I did.  Mile 1 was around a 7:04.  Mile 2 was around a 7:07.  Mile 3 was around a 7:03.  I finished the race in 21:43.  1st Female Overall and 7:00/mile avg pace.

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My finish line photos always look like a hot mess. Like real hot. And a real big mess.

The best part?  I felt good.  No sandbag legs.  No heavy “everything hurts and I’m dying” breathing.  No “I want to quit running because I just don’t have it anymore” feeling.  I felt really good.  It’s about gosh darn time!

I’m really hoping Shades of Gray comes back next year (so, race director, keep this thing together) because I am definitely marking it back on my race calendar!

Eli out.

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Race Recap: Dart Frog Dash 5K

Hark! A blog post that isn’t totally and entirely related to children or pregnancy.  These things DO still exist, kind of.  Back on May 20, Hubs and I registered to run the Dart Frog Dash 5K at the Toledo Zoo.  It’s a race that we did last year, thoroughly enjoyed (despite the weather), and decided it would be a perfect 5K to kick off “Project Get Eli Into Racing Form Again 2.0”.  In essence, it was my baseline 5K test to thoroughly gauge how in or out of shape I currently am.   If this were a pendulum, it would strongly be leaning more towards the out of shape realm (but approaching the midline, hopefully).

After I had James back in ’14, I ran the Melon Festival 5K as my first race back (at 6 weeks post-partum) and clocked a 23:56 after running for a solid 1 day.  I also ran with him up to my due date, so I really only had 7ish weeks away from exercising.

This time, I hopped off the exercise horse early (at 37ish weeks pregnant), but was able to start running again a bit earlier (4.5 weeks post- partum…hallelujah to no repair!).  So, I was off running about the same time, but didn’t run this race until I was approaching 8 weeks post-partum.  So, we are comparing apples to…bananas? here.

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Here we are heading to the start, James looking sullen in the jogging stroller

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Pre-Race family selfie! Dino sippy cup for the win!

The Dart Frog Dash covers the roads surrounding the Toledo Zoo and ventures through some old and very pretty neighborhoods.  My only gripe with the course is that the roads are in pretty god awful shape in some places.  Like, very uneven footing and chuckholes, so you definitely have to watch where you’re going so you don’t roll an ankle or fall into a pit of despair.

The last 1/4 of a mile ends in the Zoo, but has a bunch of hare pin turns that don’t allow you to get a proper kick.  I already knew all of this from running last year and being hella out of shape, I really wasn’t too worried about that part.  My goal, simply, was to A) Finish, B) Run a 24-25 minute race (although on a good day I knew I was capable of faster), C) Not pee my pants (hardy har, post partum runner humor).

The race took off nearly right on time and I cautiously started.  I didn’t want to start too fast (hello, out of shape) and get caught up in the excitement of the day.  Plus, I did no warm-up and my hamstrings were protesting just a tid.  Mile 1 felt like it was mostly downhill and registered at a 7:48.  Feeling good, I tried to pick up my pace a bit and hold steady.  Mile 2 clocked in at a 7:29.  Money.  There were a few runners in front of me that looked to be of the female variety and of my age group, but I felt no pressure to even try to race them.  Instead, I just focused on me.  Mile 3 was a 7:28.  As I wound around the final turn into the finish chute, I saw that I was going to finish under 24.  I crossed the line in 23:13  (7:29/mile avg) and 2nd in my Age Group.  So yes, I achieved all my A, B, and C goals.

Hubs and James crossed the finish line in 24:56 (which I think is impressive given that is 35 pounds of pure toddler to push up the hills going into the wind).  James told me all during the race that “he and Daddy were trying to find Mommy”.
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2nd Age Group 30-34

Definite sense of satisfaction for my first 5K race (and race in general) back since having Lucas.  It was fun to be back out running without having my belly make me do the backwards lean and waddle posture and have my back kill me at the end.  It was fun to be able share a fun event with my husband and son.  It was a pleasant surprise to get any age group award.  But now the work begins, I’ve got some big goals and I’m more than willing to put in the hard work to achieve them.

Eli Out!


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Race Recap: Holly Run 5K

Yes, that’s not a typo.  I most certainly did a race after not participating in any since June.  The Holly Run continues to be a race I automatically mark on my calendar to participate in, and 2016’s edition was certainly not going to be hindered by me toting around my growing baby belly!  This year’s version did not disappoint in the least.  The 5K was filled with 500+ participants ready to celebrate that “Life is Good, No Matter What”.

I wrangled both my parental units into running this race with me.  Probably a good idea because my car tire decided to deflate before we even had left for the race.  Minor tire drama aside, we managed to arrive to the race about an hour before, pick up packets, and do a small warm-up type thing.   For me, this consisted of shedding my sweats, running probably for 2 minutes and deciding that was enough.  No race goals makes for a much more relaxing day.  My only goal was to A) Finish and B) Not get out of breath.  Cool beans.

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The race started right on time after a Moment of Loudness.  A moment of loudness that corresponded to a rising in excitement, a burst of sunlight, and a perfect race morning.  I started off conservatively with my pace, knowing full well that there was a decent sized hill within the first mile.  I chugged up that bad boy, feeling like the Little Engine that Could (except with a pot belly) and arrived to the 1 mile split in 8:10.  Thought to myself, “That felt rather easy, me thinks I can keep this up”.  I continued on, again not feeling any inkling of the urge to race.  I was smiling, waving, and strutting my awkward balanced running gait like it was going out of style.  Mile 2 clocked in at 7:52.

And then…I for some reason felt the urge to be competitive after Mile 2, it’s like seeing age group competition in front of me was somehow the donut to hang in front of my face.  I have not run low 8 minute miles since…um…September, and here I was, throwing down a 7:28 final mile.  And a 6:45 pace last 0.1   And, no breathlessness.  I felt weirdly strong.

And finished in 24:04.  Which is almost 3 minutes slower than my time on this course last year.  But last year I wasn’t almost 5 months pregnant.  My overall pace wound up being 7:47.  Can we say pregnancy PR?  Are those a thing?  Somehow this finish, knowing that I managed it in a race that holds such sentimental meaning to me, meant more than any of the times I threw down earlier this year.    Belly for the win!


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Race Recap: Dart Frog Dash

Back on May 21, I did the Dart Frog Dash in Toledo.  It’s a race that my Hubs has been wanting to do forever because it starts and finishes at the Toledo Zoo.  A place that he pleasantly worked at for nearly a decade of his young life.  So when we discovered that the race date worked well into our schedules, it was a no brainer to sign up.

What was awesome was that my Sis-in-Law, Mom-in Law, and Dad-in-Law all decided to also register in order to make it a family affair!

I chose to wake up at the b-crack of dawn in order to drive the slightly over an hour trek to Toledo on race morning.  The 5K was supposed to start at 8:30, which meant I needed to get to Toledo by 7:20 or so.  I got on the road exactly when anticipated and the drive was pretty uneventful, finding race parking was easy, and we had a slight walk across the Zoo to get near the start line.  It was going to be good weather, a large crowd of >800 runners, and hopefully a good race.

Unfortunately, it was announced about 10′ to the start that the race was going to be delayed by 15′.  Not gonna lie, I am never happy when races delay the start.  To me, unless there are unforeseen circumstances, the race should start on time.  Everyone knows when it starts and it’s your job to get yourself to the start, get your bib pinned, use a bathroom (like a potty trained adult should know how), and line up before the gun goes off.  End rant.  The extra time did allow me to loosen up a little more and do some much needed hamstring stretching.

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Once the race finally started, I found myself without a good race plan.  It’s been a while since I’d done a 5K, so I had no expectations other than coming in under 22 minutes (speed often gets sacrificed when I’m training long).  The course was a large out and back and I positive split the hell out of it.   **bad Eli**.  My first mile was somewhere in the 6:40 territory and then each mile got progressively slower.  I was running in no man’s land and I was behind a kid that kept farting every 50 yards or so (we’ve all been there, amIright, as both farter and fartee) and completely lost my mental game.  The turn into the Zoo had us running a bunch of quick turns and circles, and I lost any possible kick I usually have due to this.  I know I’m being an excuse factory.  I still managed to find some energy and kick in to finish in 21:44 (my watch time, I somehow didn’t get a chip time and received gun time).  Not exactly where I was hoping to be fitness wise, but this race had a couple big hills and lots of sharp turns at the end, so it is what it is.

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Serving melted face/seen a ghost since 1985

Final Finish: 21:44
Females: 7/460
30-34 AG: 1/78

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I run sometimes because of and mostly for this kid

Hubs came in shortly after, as did Kristyn, MIL/FIL while toting my Toddler J.  I’m proud of them all for completing a challenging race and hopefully having a good time doing it!

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Family Finish


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Race Recap: Snoball Run

My training plan called for a 5K race this past weekend.  Since it’s February (which is usually cold, blah, snow, blah, ice, blah, seasonal depression, blah), it’s usually hard to find a large selection of races to do.  However, the Snoball Run 5K in Bay Village seemed to fit perfectly in the training schedule.  Plus, I ran it 3 years ago and they still send me promo codes for discounts.  Since I am huge on saving a buck or two, throwing a $5 off code pretty much justifies me registering.  They were practically throwing race entries at people–you! you can have an entry! and you, you can have an entry too!

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The weather could not have been better for this year’s running of the Snoball Run.  There was a nice wind, but temperatures were in the mid to upper 40’s at race time.  No snow at all, and compared to pictures from last year, I was glad I wasn’t going to finish looking like the Cold Miser.

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I got to the race about 40′ prior, pottied, picked up my packet, and slightly warmed up.  Slightly being a 3/4 mile run followed by various stretches with my Mom.  My parents are both training for Glass City (half marathon) along with me, so we’ve decided to try to hit our key training races together.  Shortly thereafter, it was time to line up and race.  I couldn’t even hear the starter due to the loud barking of dogs next to me (they were super jacked up to run apparently) and after we took off, it sounded like a huge pile up happened behind me (hopefully dogs not involved).

I had no goals for this race, just to run a race effort.  I felt good for the first mile and tried to keep things comfortable.  That was how I tried to keep things the entire race, making a huge effort to pass people and avoid being passed.  I had way too much energy at the end.  What is way too much energy you may ask? How about finishing my last 1/10 at 4:48/mile pace.  That’s called “Pardon me, but I think I can pass one more person before crossing the finish line” kind of speed.

Final Finish: 20:36 (6:39/mile)
1st in 30-34 Age Group
4th OA Female

 

Both my parents also had an excellent day of racing, with my Mom winning her age group and my Dad coming in under 34 minutes (if you don’t quite realize how fast that is to walk, please attempt in your free time–spoiler alert: it hurts really bad to do).

The best part (because I’m all about stuffing my face after I run) was that there was a pancake breakfast complete with breakfast pizza.  I’m pretty sure there was egg and bacon shavings everywhere with how quickly I devoured a slice.  Age group and overall awards this year were very runner friendly as well–gift cards to Fleet Feet!  It’s definitely a race I will try to attend in the future and the community seems to come together to support Bay’s Athletic programs.

Can’t wait to see how our next racing adventure turns out in a few weeks!


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Race Recap: Dave’s Turkey Chase 5K

It’s really not a Thanksgiving morning without a Turkey Trot.  AmIright, AmIright?!  **crickets**

Well, at least for me, I like to justify my smorgasboard of all the food into my belly by the fact that I busted out a race in the morning.  The tryptophan seems to hit a little softer that way.

Since we were planning to be in Toledo for this past Thanksgiving, we had the option of selecting between 2 races: The Eastside Turkey Trot or Turkey Chase in Downtown.  Since we had done done the Trot in years past, Hubs and I decided to give the Chase a shot.  For a first year race, I left being quite impressed.  We had no problem parking in a free lot (probably because I was super insistent that we arrive early) and our bonus of being so early was trying to watch several individuals fail at parking in the clown sized space next to us.  Entertaining enough for me to forget my nerves.

The race started and finished in Downtown Toledo and basically was a giant square.  Which to some may be boring, but for me that=no potential way Eli can get lost!  I never found myself bored at all during the course.  Possibly because I spent the entire race chasing after Forrest Gump, but that happens.  Who knew that Thanksgiving brings out costumes?

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Hubs and I are in there somewhere...Look at that serious forward lean, the stride, the stride! I kind of look like I'm running.

Hubs and I are in there somewhere…Look at that serious forward lean, the stride, the stride! I kind of look like I’m running.

Race morning was perfect temperature, although there was a tiny breeze of which I wasn’t quite a fan.  Hubs and I did a quick warm-up.  And by quick I mean it maybe lasted 2 minutes with an impromptu potty break that involved some sheltering bushes.  We lined up, did the good luck kiss (#pda), and got ready to run our rears off.  And run my rear off, I did.

I was never going to be in the group to make it to the first mile (you know, to win a frozen turkey, aka priorities), but I wanted to clock a solid split.  I clocked too solid of a split.  Like a 6:24 split.   Too fast.  Whoops.

The rest of the race was spent trying to hold onto the runaway train of paces and not poop out.  I was struggling by the end and wound up being pushed in by a middle schooler (who is going to be a fantastic HS runner).  The finish downhill only added to the feeling of a runaway train.

In case you were wondering what a runaway train looks like, this is it. Total loss of form. Looks like I'm frolicking to finish.

In case you were wondering what a runaway train looks like, this is it. Total loss of form. Looks like I’m frolicking to finish.

Final Finish: 20:40
11th OA Female
2nd Age Group

Hubs finished shortly thereafter and we collected our mugs with our free socks (a nice perk for the first 1,500 finishers).

The best part of this race?  The awards!  Pies were given out to the winners.

All the pie. Get in my belly.

All the pie. Get in my belly.

Nothing better than sharing some apple pie after a long day with your Hubby 🙂


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Race Recap: The Holly Run

The Holly Run is quickly becoming one of my favorite races to put on the calendar.  The Life is Good No Matter What Foundation is doing some truly wonderful things throughout Ohio (really, you should go check it out) for adults with advanced cancer.  If you’re going to run races, I think voting with your feet for a wonderful charity reigns supreme.

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This year’s version couldn’t have asked for a better day.  It was a cool, crisp, Fall morning with just a hint of a breeze which is almost unheard of for mid November.  My partner and crime and pasty legs, Lydia, and I got to the race about 45 minutes before race time, found a parking spot with only two or ten turnarounds, picked up our packets, pottied, and warmed up.  The start area just felt excited, hopeful, and…happy.  Rarely do I find myself feeling emotional at the start of a race, but this one gets me everytime.  Listening to the names of all 36 recipients of “escapes” made it real.  We were running for each and every one of these individuals.  And for Holly.   In my mind, I was able to mentally erase any doubts I had about how my run would go.  Screw that I hadn’t run in a week because of stomach flu.  I was one of 800 people running to celebrate life like there was no tomorrow.  Screw cancer.

The race started and we were off.  I found myself feeling super light on my feet, possible because of aforementioned stomach flu, but maybe also because I was relaxed and determined.  99% sure though that it was stomach flu, though.  The first mile always clocks in a decent time, even with the giant hill in the cemetery.  I pressed on, trying to keep my pace honest and even.  I pushed up into 3rd OA for the ladies and that’s where I’d stay.  I had someone nice push me into the finish from about a half mile out.  We fist bumped (yes, mid race fist bumped) and it was on to the finish.  I think I stayed sub 6 pace towards the end (go, Eli, go!).

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I’m sure something like “run faster” was being said here

 

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Hey look, it’s Lydia!

Final Finish: 21:08 (6:48/mile)
3rd OA Female

I definitely am putting The Holly Run on my 2016 calendar already.  It’s a wonderful event that continues to grow in size each year, is super runner friendly, and a truly “community” gathering that brings an entire town together to celebrate what’s great…life!

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