Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Running with the Cows Race Recap

RWTC is the 3rd and final race of the Heartland 39.3 series. It is a fundraiser for a Catholic school in Bucyrus, KS.

It had been raining basically the whole week before the race, so the fields that everyone would park in were a mess. Due to that, the race directors had everyone park a few miles from the race (literally on the side of a dirt country road). Then a school bus would pick you up and take you to the start. Everything went smoothly and I got there just in time. All of the volunteers were absolutely great; they were friendly and helpful.

The bus system worked perfectly. We did not have to wait for a bus. We arrived right at the start. There was lots of things going on. Lots of people but there were plenty of ports-potties too. 

The national anthem was sung by some students from the school, and we were off. I was running with the 2:00 pacer. This flat course was my big chance to get a sub-2. The water stops were very frequent, and the volunteers (mostly students at the school) knew what they were doing so all of the runners got through fast. The course was partially new this year. With the new course came new hills. I was feeling kinda blah so they really took a lot out of me. I FINALLY saw my first cow at mile 9 (come on, the race is called Running with the Cows!). I can't remember where I finally gave up the dream of the sub-2 race. I took off too fast and it killed me later in the game. I can not remember much, because I am writing this post 3 months after the race (oops). What I do remember is the fact that the front 2:00 pacer was running a 1:50 race pace instead of 2:00. (The back pacer brought that to my attention). I had run the first 4 ish up there with him! I remember this particularly killer hill at mile 8. It was really bad. I live in a really hilly state (believe it or not the Midwest is NOT flat). It would have been hard during a normal run, but what made it worse was the fact it was later in the race, and I was not feeling my best to begin with. Mile 11 there was a table full of milk and cookies! I had to eat an Oreo! I finished but I would not consider it strong. Final time 2:05:37. My second best time for a half marathon! I was a bit disappointed because I didn't get my sub-2 but this was my third half in 5 weeks. With the completion of this race also came the completion of the Heartland 39.3 series!  
This medal is my new favorite!

This blog post is not over. OMG the food afterwords: ridiculous! There was every single food under the sun. It was AMAZING. I unfortunately don't feel too hungry immediately after the race but I still made sure to grab a sub and a cinnamon roll from Strouds! I also took a picture with an adorable baby cow!!!! 

(I say baby cow, but
I know proper term is calf)
I was very happy to be done with the 39.3 series!

I heard a few days later that the leaders in the race were mislead and they ran extra!!! Seriously too funny. Probably wouldn't be if I was a leader. 

I also bought this ADORABLE tank for $10. I had such a hard time deciding. There was so many adorable options!

Every year you get something different for completing the 39.3 series. Eventually (not next year) you get a jacket which is really exciting! So next year I'm definitely doing this again and again the year after that. Even if this wasn't a part of the series, I would do it again. I had so much fun and it is run so smoothly! 

Garmin Half Marathon Race Recap

Garmin is the 2nd race out of 3 in the Heartland 39.3 series. The first race Rock the Parkway, went great and I earned a new PR. Exactly a week later was the Garmin Half. The race takes place at the Garmin World Headquarters in Olathe (O-lay-the), Kansas. The race is nicknamed the "Wickedly Fast Half" due to the flat course (which IS NOT flat). There is also a full marathon too.

The night before the race I did not sleep good at all. My parents were out of town so I didn't sleep too well. At least one of our dogs woke me up nearly every hour (Not cool, Murray, Sunnie & Keeper!).

Once again, I was running with Barnesey. I met up with her and I noticed her whole demeanor was off. She usually is a lot more talkative and lively, but she was the opposite today.

We discussed whether we wanted to try for sub-2 or not. Since Rock the Parkway was a week ago, we decided to run with the 2:05's again. I was surprised with how easily she said ok to not trying for a PR (totally not like her).

At mile 1 Barnesey had to walk. She was breathing hard and did not look good at all. At that point, I knew there was no way she was finishing the race today. My legs were tired, but I was feeling pretty good. I jogged ahead until she was able to join me again.

The weather was overcast, warm and humid. I was wearing a tank top and already sweating a lot.

By mile 2 Allison was not making any sense, she was tired and her speech was mumbled. What I got from our conversation while running was that the day before she went to the Dr. to get her blood drawn to see if she was anemic

BIG MISTAKE... we have blood drives at school, and XC girls are not allowed to donate blood. Some of the other sports coaches outlaw it too. I don't remember the science behind it, but I know it's detrimental to your performance. She apparently did not hydrate the day before, and stayed up late the night before as well.

At this point I was wondering how far she would make it. I was seriously freaking out in my head... what is she collapses and dies on me right there?

Mile 4 she told me to go ahead. I was scared she would pass out, and nobody would know who she is. She does not have a Road ID, and at least when I was running with her I had her Mom's phone number in my phone. After I left her I felt like the worst runner-buddy ever.

The race continued to be hilly, and I was starting to get tired before I usually do. Mile 8 I got a text from Allison, and she was picked up by the paramedics and was in good hands now. That made me feel a lot better.

Around mile 9 we got on a trail (I can not remember the name). But there was dirt on it and around that time it started to rain. The smooth asphalt and mud made it really slippery.

The last hundred yards I swear I was in the same tornado that carried Dorothy to Oz. With less than a mile left, you turn a corner and can see the finish, so you're like "AHHH"... but then you have to wind through this super long parking lot which is like .75 miles!!! It felt like it took forever to reach the finish.

Finish time 2:09:37, which is my second best time ever, so that's rad.

The weather was crazy, so we quickly left without any food or anything.
I'm not a huge Wizard of Oz fan, but I thought the medal was pretty cool..

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Rock the Parkway Race Recap

Last year I ran my first half at Rock the Parkway. I was undertrained, out-of-shape and terrified. Nevertheless, I finished my first half in 2:26:13. This year I was determined to train hard right up to the race unlike last year where I ran my longest run in January *facepalm*. I stopped running because I had track practice everyday after school and I was tired from school/practice so I didn't run. This time my miles were still limited, but I went to the KC Running Company groupie runs on Wednesday nights where we run 3.5 miles ( I made sure to run them at Tempo pace) and long run days on Sunday's (I got in two faster-paced 10 milers). I also ran one or two days during the week. 

I had no real expectations for this race. I had no idea of where my fitness was at. I couldn't even go to the expo because my track meet went late (THREE HOURS) and I had to go to this awards thing (it was a joke). I was thinking I'd finish around 2:10-2:15 due to my limited running. She's always faster and I really wanted to finish with her. 

We met on race day morning and both of us weren't sure whether to run with the 2:10 or 2:05 pacer. 

The weather was absolutely AWESOME. It was about 55 when the race started and when we finished around 65. 

We opted for the 2:05 pacer. We ran the first 5 miles side-by-side with the front pacer. One of the things that makes RTP stand out is the course and spectator support. It's unlike any other race I have run. There was a lady dressed hilariously 

and people WITH A KEG giving out beer to the runners. (I learned later they were shut down by the police). 

There's tons of signs and cute puppies (I counted 61 in the first half of the race). The course makes it easy for spectators to drive different places to see their runners multiple times. The course is on Ward Parkway, which goes by million-dollar old houses that are absolutely gorgeous and well-kept up with. At mile 6 we arrive at Loose Park and run around that. My parents were able to go there and see me (I forgot to mention earlier I saw them at mile 1). I gave my arm sleeves to them because it was warming up nicely. Around this time we were feeling good enough we ran a bit ahead of the front pacer. Allison's knees were being annoying but other than that we were feeling good. In fact, I was feeling great. Around mile 8 we were running out of energy. My stomach was starting to grumble and get hungry. I took a strawberry-something Gu and it was really good. It satisfied that hungry feeling. I didn't notice a huge burst of energy, but now that I'm thinking about it my energy level did not decline either, which usually happens around that time of the race. The 2:05 pacer really didn't give us any time to take a Gu or fuel (which I understand), so she went ahead of us about 10-20 feet. I kept saying "make it to mile 10" because often 8,9,10 are the hardest miles for me. I was also determined to stay with Allison for the whole entire race. Mile 10 was a large downhill so we strided out to get back with the front pacer lady. (Although we were behind the front pacer, the back one never got close to us at all). I forgot to say earlier, but around 7.5 I started to not breathe very good. I was out-of-breath. It wasn't a fitness type of thing, it was just hard to breathe. Besides that, my legs felt absolutely great. The last two miles were hard for me. I couldn't breathe and I was getting tired. (We advanced about 50 feet in front of the pacer). Mile 12, I see my grandparents. It's also a downhill finish from there. We really banked it the last mile (8:13).

 I was struggling big-time. I couldn't breathe and I knew I was about to puke. If you read this blog then you know it's not a real race until I puke. When we got .25 from the finish we were really striding it out and the last .1 we sprinted. The last mile we probably passed 50 people. I finished strong but not without this:

                      (Oh my gosh)
When the race photos came out, I was really excited to see a good Instagram-worthy photo. These were the only photos they got of me. Seriously. 

I knew I got a big PR. My old one was 2:09:49 at Longview Half Marathon. However, I didn't know if I got a sub-2 or not, which is my ultimate 2015 goal. 

After I got pics I went and got my heat sheet. I will admit I held my breath as I glanced down at the receipt. 

2:02:59. A 6 minute 10 second PR. I admit I'm disappointed because I was so close to that sub-2, but since I wasn't even expecting a PR I'm very happy. Plus I have the Garmin Half (I ran that last weekend and didn't get close ((review coming soon))) and Running with the Cows. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

BMO Harris Bank Phoenix Half Marathon Race Review

This race was probably one of the best I have run. Not because of my performance (which sucked), but because of how smooth everything went from packet pickup to getting on the bus to take me to the start. Despite my poor finishing time, I had an amazing Sweet 16 in sunny Phoenix.

Sunday 22nd: my brother became sick earlier this week, with a fever and cough. He had been to the Dr. twice now. I started coughing too, and became worse as the day progressed.

Monday 23rd: I wake up feeling terrible and have a low-grade fever. Despite being sick, I go to school anyway since I will miss Friday. (By the end of the day I was feeling much better)

Wednesday 24th: I do not have a fever anymore, but now my cough is worse and so are my sinus issues. I go to the Dr. and she prescribes me 2 steroid inhalers and an antibiotic. She never really told me what was wrong except, she said it was probably a sinus thing and it was draining down my throat which caused the nasty cough. 

Our plane left Friday morning at 5:50 in the morning. The early wake up call wasn't too rough, because it's easy to get up to go get on a plane to somewhere warmer. When the plane took off, the ground temperature was 2 degrees. 

We arrived in Phoenix at 8am, got our rental car then headed to Surprise to watch the Kansas City Royals practice. 

After that we went to the hotel and went swimming! The weather was absolutely beautiful; sunny and 80.

After a short swim, we went to packet pickup. It was held outside under tents at a local Academy Sports store. The expo reminded me of a local farmers market or fair. I went up to a table, showed my ID and got my bag. As a t-shirt they gave us these AMAZING tank tops. I am obsessed with this tank top. SO cute and comfy. They guys got a tech shirt which looks nice too. I met up with a good runner friend of mine, Glynnis. I ran Hospital Hill with her and her fiance (then boyfriend) Morgan. She's from KC but moved to Phoenix to pursue her career in Neurology. We walked the expo together and visited for a bit. She ran the full, and earned a new PR!

After that, we ate dinner at Joe's Farm Grill in Gilbert. This place was seriously so cool! They grow all of their produce in the huge gardens behind the restaurant. The food was average, but the enviroment was great.

Before I went to bed, I made everything was laid out pretty so I would not forget anything in the morning. I about crapped myself when I saw they forgot to give me SAFETY PINS. If this were a normal race there would have not been a problem since I have hoarded about 5 million safety pins from all of my races. But I was 1,000 miles away from my house, so I frantically texted Michael. Her husband Jim had some. Phew. I was absolutely exhausted, so I went to bed at 7.


Another early wake up call: this time 3 am. I felt rested since I went to bed very early. I got up ate some strawberries, a tangelo and a Lunchable protein pack thing with ham, cheese and almonds. 

My Dad drove me to the finish line while my mom and brother still slept a bit. I felt rested and ready to go. I took puffs from both of my inhalers and put one of them in my belt. I met Michael from Slowly Tri-ing. She is also from Lee's Summit. She runs a bunch of races all over the U.S. and does triathlons too! She was nice enough to let me ride the bus with her to the start so I would not be alone (which is a bad idea). I probably could have managed just fine, but I didn't want to take any chances. We drove right up to the start and walked onto the first bus. The bus left not long after we got on. The bus dropped us off at the start which was in a industrial park area. They had hundreds of heat lamps set up along the road, which was very nice because it was a bit chilly. Michael and I stayed under the lamp for awhile and talked to several other runners from all over the world. There was a lady from Canada! We talked and sat under the lamps because we had 2 HOURS to spare until the race started. There was an announcer/DJ playing music very loudly. It reminded me of a club! About an hour to the start I went to a porta potty to go pee (walked right in with no line). But, 30 minutes to the start the lines were RIDICULOUSLY LONG. Thankfully, I did not have to go. 

The race started with the shooting off of some fireworks (which was really cool). One of my only complaints is the fact there were no pacers. The race website said there was going to be some, but I looked around everywhere, and I could not find anyone. I was going to run with the 2:10 pacer. I can't pace myself worth crap. Nope, can't do it. It really sucked because it made me really nervous at the start. I did not know if I should have been closer to the start or farther. So, the race starts and I immediately start coughing. It's hard to breathe and I keep barking. Great... I do this for the first 5 miles or so. As well as being out-of-breath I remember just not having the motivation to run. I knew it wasn't going to be my day from early-on.

We started in the industrial area, then ran through neighborhoods. They have a butt load of orange trees, by the way. The elevation chart I saw before the race showed how it was downhill for the whole race. It was not downhill, but very flat. We ran through neighborhoods and cities. It was cool, but boring too. The weather was absolutely perfect; overcast and 60 (I think?). So the whole time, I was either coughing or my legs were crap. Blah blah. The water stops were spot on. The volunteers were absolutely awesome, and the spirit was great too. 

The finish was very exciting. It was a long stretch of flags, and fans. The finish was divided from the marathoners. By the way, the marathon winner did not beat me! (yay). It was a bit of a traffic jam after we finished, but that is not the first time that has happened. I finished in 2:17, which is my second slowest time ever. But this was only my 4th half, so it isn't too terrible. We got our medals, then I walked through the post-race festivities (runner's only). There were lots of vendors, but the lines were pretty long. I managed to get some muscle milk which tasted great. 

I met up with my parents. They only were able to see me finish, because they could not get out of the parking lot! 

There was a ton of food trucks at the finish which was great. I got a waffle with strawberries and Nutella on it. Seriously the best poor-food choice I have made!

When my parents were waiting for me to finish, a man came up behind them (not too close) and placed a cooler on the ground. Almost immediately, police showed up and was asking whose cooler it was. They also had a bomb dog! Talk about scary. I'm glad they were keeping an eye out.

Although my performance sucked, the race was great (besides the pacers and the potty issue). I'm trying to convince my parents to make the race an annual trip. Thankfully, I don't think it will take too much convincing because we had so much fun! Next year it is on the exact day of my birthday (2/27). 

I need to figure out why my calves have been giving me so much trouble. If I run anything more than 7 miles, they tighten up really badly. I do not know if it's because they are weak, or what. I am going to start wearing my calf sleeves again, which I am not looking forward to. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

I am alive

The past month has gone by in a flash.

I have been very occupied with school, track and other happenings such as the Phoenix Half (review coming soon).

Track started this week, and all I can say is wow. They have been kicking our butts! It feels good to get in a good workout besides running.

Speaking of running... I ran the Phoenix Half this weekend (more on that later) and haven't run since. I want to rest my legs so they will be prepared for the next training cycle starting soon. My next race is the trifecta of half marathons, the Heartland 39.3 series (Rock the Parkway, Garmin and Running with the Cows)  I will probably start running again today or tomorrow, it depends on my crazy schedule.

After a disappointing race this weekend, I am starting to second guess myself on my speed. I want a PR at one of the halves, but I am doubting myself now

Until who knows when,

Monday, February 9, 2015

Training for Phoenix and More

Hello Blog.

Long time no see.

I have shamefully abandoned my blog once again. Oh well. I have been busy running and doing other stuff (running is not the only thing I do).

After a scary knee incident (look at my last post) I took off a few days to recover. Thankfully, my knee feels 100%.


I really have/need to step it up training-wise (now or never). All of my training runs have been fairly spot-on pace-wise, except for tempo runs.
 Let me tell you, I have lucked out. I live in Missouri. Missouri winters are cold and snowy. However, this winter has been the opposite. I have ran in tank tops and shorts! We haven't even had very many snow days (only one and that was a joke).

 I really want to PR in Phoenix, and maybe even go sub-2. Some days I feel like I am on the right track and other days I feel like I'm not even going to cut it close. On my long runs I almost feel like I am out of distance shape and on my short runs I feel fat and slow. I have one more long run this weekend, then it is taper time.

Either way, I am going to have the time race of my life, whether I want to or not!

 I will be cutting it close.

Monthly Mileage:

In January I ran a total of 70.5 miles. I'm proud of that. Between recovering from my wisdom teeth surgery, my strained knee and a nasty cold, I still managed to get some miles in.

New Running Store:

My city got a running store! I am SOOOOO happy. Yesterday, I attended the inaugural group run and I had so much fun! This was my first group run outside of cross country. I met some new friends, too! I ran 5 miles. The course was set up for 8, but I ran 10 the day before so my legs were tired. They also host runs on Wednesday nights and I am planning on going to that as well. I have heard from several credible sources KC Running Company is also opening a store in Lee's Summit. I have my fingers crossed!

I think that is it for now. I need to get back into posting my weekly runs and other stuff like that...

If I do choose to abandon my blog, follow me on Twitter and Instagram!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Treadmill Troubles

My wonderful Grandma was nice enough to lend me her treadmill for the winter so I could train for the Phoenix Half Marathon. I have liked it a lot so far. I can actually run after dark. 

Last week I ran on the treadmill. 

It was a 45 minute tempo run, and considering my deep hate for tempo runs, everything went okay. I ran at nighttime, so after I did a half effort of a stretch, I went to bed because I had school the next day. During the night I woke up with sharp pain in my left knee. I took an Advil the next morning, everything felt fine and later Thursday I went to track conditioning and ran 3 miles, everything went good. Thursday night pain was really bad. I couldn't bend my knee. Friday I ran my mile to keep my streak alive. Saturday it was bothering me and swollen. I never swell or bruise so it was quite a big deal. I was forced to end my Runstreak at 44 days. I completed the 36 days and was really happy about it, but devastated to end my streak. I took Sunday off too even though my knee was feeling much better. 

Let me be more clear: it was my upper knee, above my kneecap. I am 99.9% I just pulled a muscle. My long run last week was non existent and I have been taking it easy this week. I have run, but not done any speed workouts. I am planning on going back to 100% effort tomorrow.

 One good thing is just how easily I'm able to bounce back from something like this. It sure gave me a super scare though because Phoenix is coming up soon. I will crawl that race if I have to. 

My school has 2 athletic trainers (big high school perks). They have their own room. It looks just like a physical therapists office.  I thankfully haven't been before, but student athletes can go there for free and get help, which is super awesome.  I was going to go, but don't need to anymore. 

It sure has sucked with getting my wisdom teeth out, then this. I have lost 2.5 valuable weeks of training. I'm very thankful that I'm alright