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Running Through a Fulfilled Life


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Glass City Half Recap

So…happy new year.  This blog fell off the rails kind of like me at the beginning of the year.  January and February were fairly difficult months for me, as I struggled and battled through some personal issues.  I’m doing much better now, and I can only hope to not fall into that place again.   For a while, I didn’t think running Glass City was going to happen even though I had registered for it last year.  The furthest I had run since having Lucas was 5 miles and that was maybe once.  Thus why there was no training plan, no training updates…because there was no training.

Slowly but surely, the clouds began to clear at the beginning of March and I was able to complete a 7 mile run 6 weeks out from Glass City.  I thought to myself, gosh darn, you are doing this.  So with each passing week, I pushed my long run distance.  7 miles, 8 miles, 9 miles, 10 miles, 10.5 miles, and 8 miles.  That’s it.  There was no speedwork.  There were no tempos.  There was just me, my heavy breaths, my shoes bouncing along the pavement as I fought my way back.

Be brave.  Be courageous.  Be strong.

April 22 arrived.  The knowledge of having zero pressure for time or expectations was freeing,  My only goal was to finish.   Just getting to the start line was a victory in itself and I was proud of myself for pushing through.  Glass City is one of my favorite races and is definitely my favorite half marathon to do.  My Dad had also registered and it was wonderful spending the weekend with him and sharing the day with him.  We arrived bright and early to the start, experiencing some difficulties getting out of the parking garage at the Park Inn which delayed our arrival.  We found parking quickly at Rocket Hall, however, and were over to the start area off of Secor by 6:30.  I porta pottied myself and then headed to the start line.  Because of the construction off Bancroft, the start was moved to Secor, which resulted in a change of the course.  My goosebumps had goosebumps, not just from the cold of the morning but also my nerves.  However, I quickly shoved those thoughts aside as we listened to both the Canadian and American national anthems.  I was ready to do this, whatever the result.  Off we went.

I found my legs feeling stiff, cold, hard to move amongst the crowd.  (Probably because of my lack of any warm-up).  I didn’t start to warm up until I hit Mile 3.  I was trying my best to keep things easy, effortless.  Forward lean, run from the hips, light feet.  Be brave.
Mile 1–8:23
Mile 2–8:01
Mile 3–7:49
Mile 4–7:36
Mile 5–7:48

It wasn’t until Miles 6-7 that I decided to finally race.  I was feeling really good and I was surprised that I wasn’t tiring as much as I thought I would.  So I pushed.  I high fived everyone that offered.  I smiled as much as I could.  I was enjoying the hell out of myself.  My only regret was not to push sooner, because by the time I figured out how I was doing, it was too late to make up the time lost in the first few miles.
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Mile 6–7:35
Mile 7–7:37
Mile 8–7:42
Mile 9–7:25

From Miles 10-13.1, we ran into the wind.  It made it a lot harder to hold my kick, but I wanted to fully leave it out on the course.  Everything was hurting.  My left calf, which I strained a few weeks ago, was on fire.  My right hip was screaming every time I went up a small hill or incline.  But I kept repeating to myself: be brave, be strong.  As I got closer to UT, I could hear the announcer and hear the crowd cheering.  I closed hard and made some really good pain faces.  I crossed the finish line, feeling like I couldn’t have pushed any harder.

Mile 10–7:29
Mile 11–7:31
Mile 12–7:36
Mile 13–7:28
Final 0.1–6:30 pace

Finish: 1:41:40.  A small PR (by 15 seconds), but a PR nonetheless when I had no business doing so.

Mike and James met me at the finish line.  There was no better way to end my race then burying my face into my husband and son’s waiting arms.  I celebrated with my post-race beer in my Libby Glass mug and ate pizza while waiting for my Dad to finish.  He rocked it as well, finishing in 2:32:51.

It was truly a great weekend overall and I couldn’t have asked for a better result.  I’m sure that I will be back to Glass City again.  I absolutely loved the half course this year, I felt like the changes helped to add some different sights and I actually liked having a little more elevation change.  The race swag was on point, the half marathoners got a high quality quarter zip long sleeve wicking shirt and the 5K/marathoners got a short sleeve wicking shirt, a finishers mug, a high quality finishers medal, 2 beer tickets post-race and a nice selection of foods at the finish.  James even got to participate in the Kid’s Marathon the day before and set his own personal PR for having his Mom drag him around a 1/4 mile track.  Despite him attempting to bail at the start, he said he wants to race again, but he only wants to participate in “trophy races”.  Truly, my child.

Eli Out!

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I’m Still Here

So this blog really fell off the wagon.  Like fell off, rolled down the road into a ditch, and laid there for several months.  What can I say?  Life has been busy and finding time between family life, work, recreation, and preparing for the holidays has got me cray cray.   I’m full of excuses and not full of a lot of time.  This weather and the total assault to my immune system with mutated germs has produced a LOT of illness as well, so my energy has just not been there in months.  I’ve had 2 bouts now with colds which have both resulted in 3+ weeks of coughing.  I’ve slept more nights on our couch than in bed, and I’m pretty sure that I should buy stock in Mucinex because I’m convinced I’m keeping them in business.  Double yuck.

Despite all that coughing and snot production, I’ve managed to still keep running (just not as much as I would like to, and definitely not enough to get me ready for any kind of training plan).  I finished the year off with 3 5K’s.  Its a day late and a dollar short to do any kind of race recap, so here’s my results.  Summary of all the races, I had some sort of terrible congestion or cough going on during each race, usually ending with snotsicles dripping everywhere.

St Pete’s Spooktacular 5K: 1st OA, 21:07
The Piggyback Run 1st OA, 21:40
Dave’s Turkey Chase 5th AG 21:01

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Utter snot devastation.  

I’m hoping to get back into more regular training, including long runs, speedwork, and tempos in the future, but until my post-nasal drip decides to leave its residence inside my nasal cavities, it’ll be informal training.

In other non-running related updates, my 2 kiddos continue to get large.  The past year has been a whirlwind and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I’m definitely a #momofboys and #boymom and my house generally looks like it’s had a boynado go through and is in some stage of destruction, but that’s life with kids and eventually I know I’ll miss these early stages.

I’m hoping to get back to more regular posts and updates once I start training for the Glass City Half in April, since I signed up for that a year ago and all.  Hopefully half training post-baby #2 goes just as well after #1!  Eli Out!


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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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Louisville YMCA 10K

Way back when on June 18, I ran the Louisville Y’s “Soar Into Summer” 10K.  Mother Nature definitely wanted to emphasize that “summer” part like she tends to do every year for this race.  I haven’t done this particular race in several years, but it is inevitable that this race usually corresponds with a warm and humid day which makes the already challenging 10K course a wee bit harder.  2016’s edition was no different as the 8:45 AM start equated to 74 degrees, sunny, and humid.  I do believe I declared something like “Screw this, I’m just using this as a workout” to my Mom before we started.

The race field was relatively small, so the runners quickly spread out.  I was running by another male runner for the first 2 miles and then he fizzled out behind me and I found myself running alone.  In a 10k.  Which I hate.  I could feel my body temperature slowly rising and I actually took nearly all the water stops (which I never do).

It truly felt like I was out on my long run because my legs could not be willed to run any faster.  So I pretended that’s what I was doing.  At just a little faster pace than long run pace.  I slogged through each mile remembering to save just a bit of energy for the last mile which would be out in full sun and would involve an uphill finish.  I think the finishing temperature was somewhere around 78 degrees.  Poopsicles.

Mile 1-7:20
Mile 2-7:25
Mile 3-7:25
Mile 4-7:31
Mile 5-7:18
Mile 6-7:30
Final 0.2-1:53

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Final Finish: 46:28
1st Female OA
Self Assigned Award for Most Photogenic I’ve Ever Looked at A Race.  NOT.

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Pros: I was pleasantly surprised with the awards post-race, I got a nice gift certificate to Second Sole and the medals for Overall and Age Group winners were very high quality and nice.  I’m not used to seeing medals like those unless I do bigger races (usually involving a half or marathon in their distances).  The race tshirts were wicking and there was a ladies option of sizing which fits perfect.  The post-race food may or may not have involved donuts and I may or may not have crammed that into my mouth while simultaneously downing a Gatorade.  The course was definitely challenging, but well marked and with many enthusiastic volunteers.

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Cons: I am not one of these people that enjoys running in the heat.  So…much…sweat.  Your forehead is not supposed to look like a saltlick.  The uphill finish.  Who designs a race finish up a hill?

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Overall, it was a good race experience and even though I always tell myself how much I hate running this race because of the heat, I’m sure I’ll find my way back to this one again another year because it really is well executed.

 

 

 


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Race Recap: Mother of All Races 10K

This race happened because I was in town visiting my parents, because…Mother’s Day.  What better way to celebrate a major holiday than marking it with a race?  Yes, there are better ways to celebrate, and we made sure to do all of them…after.  The Mother of All Races 10K/5K is held in Canal Fulton on each Mother’s Day.  I haven’t run this race in a few years, and the last time I participated it was just a 5K.  And maybe it should stay that way.

The race entry fee is kind of pricey for a 10K–$40.  Plus I missed the “register by this date to get a shirt”, but I was informed I could always buy a shirt on race day.  For an extra $10.  Just a little helpful hint, any extra shirts should be used on a first come, first serve basis for preregistered/race day registrants.  So what did my $40 buy me? This race left me with a “meh” feeling and it’s probably not one I’ll do again.

The 10K started right on time at 8 AM, the 5K competitive walk and 5K run started at 8:15 and 8:30 respectively.  There were only 100 runners in the 10K, so the race spaced out pretty quickly.  I found myself running step for step with another runner, which really helped push me and keep me honest for the first few miles.  I totally forgot to start my watch at the beginning and figured out my dumbassness by Mile 1, so I only had data on 5.2 miles.  Math skills allow me to deduce my first mile clocked in at 7:01.

I pressed on, as the course entered “downtown” Canal Fulton.  Miles 2 was a 7:17.

The course rolled quite a bit, there was a nice uphill at around 2.5 miles in.  We continued a long straightaway as we paralleled the Towpath.  Mile 3 was a 7:21.

There was a sharp turnaround and then we were onto the Towpath.  I love the Towpath.  I wish a Towpath existed in Huron.  I have run some of my fastest miles along that ish.  At the turnaround I realized that while I sat in 1st (small race field), there were 2 girls firmly plastered on my rear end.  Like plaster of Paris.  Hoping I could shake them by picking up my pace, Mile 4 was a 7:08.  It didn’t work, they liked my rear.

I kept trying to push, as Mile 5 clocked a 7:12.  It was at this point that the 2nd place female came even to me, but didn’t seem interested in really dusting me.  She went past me, but I was able to keep about 6-7 seconds behind.

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Oh look…right when I got passed!

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Ugh…this starting to hurt

Mile 6 was back on the road, and it meant back to some rolling hills.  Mile 6 was a 7:16 and ended with a nasty hill.  I am not a good hill runner, but I closed the gap and was on her heels by the final turn.  I knew it was going to hurt and the feeling of puke did cross my mind, but I ran as hard as I could to pass her.  And finished 4 seconds ahead.  I’m glad no photo finish exists because I’m pretty sure I was serving melted face, flailing arms, and jello legs.

Final Finish: 44:49 (7:13/mile)
1st OA

The reason why this race left me feeling “meh” was the after.  No age group awards were handed out for the 10K (even though it was advertised as such and awards were given to both the 5K run and 5K competitive walk), leaving a really disgruntled group of runners.   The overall awards (for 5k/10k) were just medals without any engraving on them.  No name of race, no denomination of 1st/2nd/3rd, etc.  A medal that if I don’t write with sharpie marker on, I’ll probably forget why I even have it.  These are fine for age group awards, but I would hope that the overall awards could be a bit more.  Hopefully the race organizers fix their issues for next year because they very well could be losing a handful of participants.

Pros: challenging 10K course partially run on the Towpath, photo booth for pre/post race pictures, fun Mother/Son/Daughter categories, good post-race food, good volunteer support
Cons: very pricey given not everyone got a shirt, awards were not given out as advertised and should be upgraded, no apology being issued (to this point in time) to runners in 10K

Addendum: apparently this race has issued an apology email as of yesterday (I didn’t get sent it, though, somehow) and tried to clarify the confusion on awards and they plan to make things right by sending out awards for age group winners