Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Terrain

Tis' the season to be busy, right?
Even though I haven't written about it much, I have been running and riding lots. I've gotten the chance to really break things up too and get some interesting workouts in.

A few Saturday's ago I joined a group of runners who call themselves the "West Side Wackos." They're a lively bunch of runners who live on the west side of town. Thanks to Daily Mile I've been made an honorary WSW even though I live out East.
They welcome any and all regardless of their geographic location.
I joined them at 6AM on a Saturday morning to follow a caravan of 10+ cars out to the desolate highway 17 in Kingman county.
The cold dark morning with the WSW!

I was told this course was awesome, hilly, and beautiful.
I had no idea what I was getting into!!!

New scenery for sure! Can't see any hills in these pic though.

Some of the other runners making their way back after about 10 miles

I ran 8 miles into the town of Kingman on a very cold winter morning. Cresting at least 15 hills all the way. My heart rate was flying! There was a grocery store at mile 8. I caught my breath, grabbed a drink, and headed back for another 8 miles of pain!
It was good pain though!!
I was so tired the next two days. But I know I've found my Heartbreak Hill training course now!!

Another different type of run took place this week. On Monday night I kept hearing more and more about the lunar eclipse that was to take place in the early morning hours Tuesday. I continued to hear how the fact that it was landing on the Winter solstice was a once in a life time event. It had been some like 400 years since it last happened?
On a whim I posted a note on Daily Mile and Facebook just to see if any weirdos might want to run in the middle of the night to observe the eclipse. Sure enough, I'm not the only crazy one out there.
Long story short I meet a group of 5 other runners for a run at 1AM until about 3AM.
We ran through the streets of Wichita and watched the moon disappear and watched it turn red. It was very very cool!
Freezing and Eclipsing at 2AM

Runners moon gazing
I got home about 3, showered, and went right back to bed. I was super tired the next day, a little sore, but stoked to wake up with my workout already done!
I'm so glad I got to do this.

Another new scene for my workouts has been..... my bedroom. Yep, that's right. I wanted to keep up with my cycling as the weather got cold this year. Kenton was kind enough to invest in a trainer for our road bikes. It's taken a bit to get used to it, but my room is where you'll find me spinning away about every other day. I rotate the TV, find a good show and try to knock out a nice long ride.
Kenton's been using it too. Our only little hiccup is that we both have to share a nut for our bikes. The nut on my bike won't fit on the trainer. So every morning I'd unscrew Kenton's to put on mine. It was really a pain and I guess he heard my complaints.
On Christmas morning, I unwrapped a tiny little jewelery box to find my very own nut.

My very special Christmas gift

I guess I got what I asked for
I enjoyed my post Christmas spin while watching Christmas Vacation with my very own nut this morning! Best thing about gift giving is to give them something they'll use. Well, if that's true.... Kenton nailed it this year!
Spinning in my room

Not really my best look...yikes!

Happy trails where ever they might be!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Jingle Bell Run

It's better late than never on these post, right?
The annual Jingle Bell 4 miler was a fun event as always. Here's the low down on the morning.

It was about 30 degrees with a 20mph+ north wind. Needless to say, it was not ideal running conditions.
I ran 8 miles with my gang prior to the race and quickly showered and changed to make it down to the Waterwalk with about 10 minutes to spare.
4 Mile Start
I was a member of a group costume: "The Ugly Sweater Party." I planned to try and run and defend my title as 1st place from last year, so I dressed the part, but missed the fun. These guys ran along passing out hot cider and candy canes along the way.
Ugly Sweater Party!
The gun sounded and I ran with all I had. We were quickly turned into the wind and I struggled as did everyone else. The  wind was cold and strong. I quickly pulled into the front. I could tell I was in about third place. I pulled up to second and then this rouge runner came blasting by me. She had on baggy sweats and an over sized hoodie. I had no idea who she was or where she came from. I chased her the whole race and never caught her. Later I discovered she wasn't in the race. She was apparently either a bandit who jumped in at some point or was just out on her run. Either way, she psyched me out the last three miles.
In addition to feeling like I was going to hurl, the course marshall's weren't at their spots and the first 20 of us ran the wrong way out into traffic. That kept it exciting :)
I ended up finishing 2nd overall in a time of 26:53 or something like that.

Finishing up my 4 miler
The highlight of the day was Kenton and Judah. Last year Kenton won the costume contest in his magnificent "Holiday Fireplace" costume. This years costume was more a performance piece that didn't go over as well. His great idea was to be George Bailey from "It's a Wonderful Life." He planned to reenact the famous scene of George running through the streets of Bedford Falls screaming "Merry Christmas..." Kenton's mistake was taking the costume too far. He thought to paint his face "black and white" as the character is only seen in black in white. It didn't translate.
"Merry Christmas you old Building and Loan!!"

While Judah was dressed as "Clarence" or an Angel *with Wings* (post bell ringing), the one mile gun went off and Kenton screamed and waved for the whole chilly mile.
Due to the paint and Judah's costume, they received 2nd prize in the costume contest. They won for being the "Ghosts of Christmas' Past."

Yep, we're 'special'
That was hilarious! Oh well, they took their Applebee's gift card anyways!
The morning was concluded with lots of medals and prizes. I received a LED head lamp and a medal for my 2nd place finish. The best part of this event was all the door prizes though.
Before it was over I had received enough gift certificates from Road ID to get an ID of my choice, Panera Bread gift cards, Applebee's money, and Freddy's Frozen Custard money!

The finale of our morning included Kenton, dressed as George Bailey (The richest man in Bedford Falls),  going back in for a soda to take on the drive home. Since they all were technically free to the runners, George Bailey comes running from the Waterwalk building yelling: "GO!! RUN!!!"

We made it home with two, yes TWO cases of Diet Pepsi!!!

Oh, Merry Christmas you Old Building and Loan, Merry Christmas Mr. Potter, and Merry Christmas to you too!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Route 66 1/2 Marathon

As I've read through the blog world this week, I noticed many other 2 week old race reports. I figured that was as good of a sign as any to post about my fun run over two weeks ago.

Saturday, November 20th was Wichita's annual 10 Mile Turkey Trot. Just 4 tiny years ago this was my very first 10 mile run. It was so, so hard. I hurt like crazy after it was over. I felt invincible. I hoped as I walked around that day that all the strangers could sense I had just done something amazing.
Now I laugh because I rarely set foot out the door for a run any shorter than 10. It's a great feeling to look back and see that I've come so far.
Wearing a cotton shirt and waving at my baby as I finish Turkey Trot 2006
Every November I look forward to the Turkey Trot. It's an anniversary for me of sorts. However, my only nephew trumps any race. His birthday always comes close to the race. Some years I've crossed the line, hit the shower, and jumped in the car headed for Oklahoma, just to roll in for his party.
This year no amount of Kenton's super driving could land us in Tulsa on time. So, plan B was initiated.

Still not knowing for sure what Plan B included, I woke on Saturday the 20th, ran with a small group of friends who weren't racing, jumped in the car and headed to Tulsa. Officially decided to sign up for the 1/2 portion of Tulsa's Route 66 Marathon the next morning somewhere between singing Happy Birthday and the slicing of the cake.
Kenton and I ran down to the expo and took care of business. I headed back to a chaotic cousin/post party/toy overloaded home and remembered that this race should be fun, trying not to sweat the horrible pre-race rest atmosphere.
After a dinner a Pei Wei and a terrible time getting two little boys to be quiet and go to sleep. The early morning alarm went off way too soon.
I checked the forecast, was in disbelief of the warm November morning, and got dressed. I was going to wear the same outfit that I wore in a half in June. I wasn't complaining, just couldn't believe it.
Kenton rolled off the hide-a-bed and ever so graciously drove me down to the start.
I was in a port-a-potty line when the 5 minute warning was given. Thankfully some 5Ker's let me jump ahead, as they had 1/2 an hour until their start.
Great Starting Line atmosphere!

I weaseled down to the crowded start with my eyes peeled for "Corral A." I could only assume that was the first corral and jumped through the fence, woke up my Garmin, and "BOOM!" The gun went off, the confetti was flying and I was moving.
I assumed I was in the right spot, but wasn't *really* sure until mile 3. That was a long time of hoping I didn't just waste a lot of money. I feared maybe I had gotten in the full marathon only start or something.
But all was well and I began my nice long run for the morning. The crowd was so thick for the for the first 2-3 miles. I could get a good pace going for a bit. But, eventually it spread out and I just took in the race.
It was windy and cloudy but the streets were lined with fans and there were live bands playing about every mile or two. That was great.
Around Mile 5

I thoroughly enjoyed my run. I didn't plan for anything but a strong run and hopefully an enjoyable one. I didn't pay attention to my Garmin until about mile 9. Sure, in the back of my head a PR was bouncing around, but I had just run 12 the day before and had not tapered all week long. However, I thought about what time I could make up if I picked up the pace. So, while mile 9-10 isn't the place to start a race strategy, I went ahead and tried some quick math to see what I could do. Since I stink at math, I just sped up and pushed for the last 4 miles.
The wind was howling as we crossed the bridges

Knowing my sister had the boys and Kenton was possibly asleep in the car, I phoned him and said exactly this, "I'm at about mile 10." He heard, "I have about a mile 10 (1.10)." I love that he even thought that was humanly possible.
Notice "The Flash" in the back?

He phoned my sister urged her to rush like mad to the finish because he thought I was going to win.
Meanwhile the final miles of the course were one straight down and then back. So, I began to see the leaders. I counted as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and even 7 maybe more females ran past me. I still had some gas left so I pushed it. This was the windiest part of the course. A very strong headwind made the finish pretty rough. I passed at least one female in that last stretch. I rounded the corner and heard the 6th female finish as the announcer was shouting out for the top ten finishers.
Motley Crue's "Girls, Girls, Girls," was blaring as I ran to the finish. My sister, nephew, and son on one side, and Kenton on the other.
I purposely made this face...not as good looking as I thought it'd be

I finished with the original goals intact. I ran strong and had a good time. Yes, I was bummed, I know I could have run harder, I just didn't plan for my competitive monster to flare up at mile 10.
I ended up with a time of 1:34, 7th overall female, and first in my age group. For a whim, I should be pleased with that...and I'm getting there.
They had the coolest medals, the wheel spins.
The after party was awesome. Tons of food, a live band, lots of fun for the kids, and free beer. So, if you didn't know here you go. I hate beer. AND I'm allergic to gluten which is in 99% of beers. However, I come from a long line of beer connoisseurs. My sister being one of them. No one in the family is a lush, they just really appreciate the brewing art and flavor of beer. As I continued to walk past the beer tent, with two tickets for beer, my sister couldn't stand it anymore. In her words, "It's a crime to waste free beer."
To keep the peace in my family, I redeemed those tickets and secured my two free beers.
And to offer a laugh to everyone who knows me, this was posted on Facebook.
One for my homies
All in all, I'm so glad I ran this race. I'd like to do it again. I'd know there were some pretty intense hills and I'd plan for it better next time.
It's all relative. I am actually most proud that I'm healthy enough to run such a strong race on a whim. Who would have thought this was possible, just 4 tiny years ago?