Monday, March 31, 2014

March Recap

Ok, so March wasn't my best month both in running and life in general. To put it nicely, it came in like a lion, and basically was a big old Lion for the rest of the month. But I'm not going to dwell on it.  Here's to an Awesome April as I will be calling to it (perhaps we just finished Mean March?).  Let's just talk about the good stuff!

Races: Georgia Publix Half Marathon
I Waldo'd and I liked it.

Highlight of the month: I joined the Island Boost Ambassador team!
That's my Island Boost shirt if you can't tell.

Not so highlight of the month: I took a chunk out of the arch of my foot and it got infected leading to several weeks without running.  Thanks to antibiotics, I'm back in business. Three cheers for modern medicine!
A detailed reenactment of the injury. I actually drew the wrong foot first and had to reverse my lovely piece of artwork. Obviously I pay really good attention to my own injuries.  Is it April yet?

Things I am excited for next month:
  1. The Girls on the Run 5k.  A certain 10 year old asked me to be her running buddy at the Girls on the Run 5k at the end of the month and I am pretty darn excited.  No words yet on if we will wear tutus.  Need to confirm the coolness of tutus with other 4th graders first.
  2. Ragnar Trails Atlanta.  I'll have another post on it this week to explain how it all works and how I am going to get totally schooled by my team.  I am really pumped for it!  Hopefully the weather cooperates.
How was your month?  Any big plans for Awesome April?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Race Recap: Georgia Publix Marathon

Georgia Publix Marathon, Atlanta, GA
Field: Between the full, half, and 5k~10,000-12,000
Spectators: A couple of neighborhoods have a strong showing every year, as well as a few bands on the course and some very energetic water stops.
Start/Finish: Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown Atlanta
Course: A hilly tour of some of the city's neighborhoods and parks.
Schwag: Dri-fit shirt and medal
Other: The races starts and ends in Centennial Park, home of the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coke, CNN, Georgia Dome, and Phillips Arena.  Tons to see and do in the area if you are coming from out of town.
At the Expo to pick up my packet because I'm not a bandit. Just a Waldo.
This was my fourth running of the Georgia Half Marathon and once again, it was different from all the rest. Going into this year's race, I knew speed wasn't going to be a factor as I was still recovering from a foot infection and untimely head cold in the week leading up to the race. The race is a fun tour of Atlanta, showcasing some of the most interesting neighborhoods, parks, and hills the city has to offer.  This year, I was looking for another way to enjoy it. To take the pressure off and bring some extra fun into the race, I decided to run with a little extra style.
Where's EB?
Race morning arrived and I had some pre-race jitters.  I typically don't get nervous before half marathons anymore because it's my favorite and most run distance. This time, with so much up in the air and having not run in 3 weeks, I was nervous about how I would feel throughout the race and if I would make it to the finish.  It's not the flattest race in the world and the hills can really be punishing if you  haven't trained well. Luckily, I had just read Captain Speedypant's post about running downhill, so I was ready, at least to go downhill.
The hills are alive in the ATL. Source.
I met up with Jen at the start for a quick "Hello" while we waited for the gun, which really helped take my mind off the race. I met Jen at 26.2 with Donna last month and it was great to see here again! 
With @HelloFitnessJen pre-race
The race itself went well. I started towards the back in an effort to start out slow, but I was a little concerned that I was working too hard at mile 3 because I was a little too hot and sweaty.  Luckily the temps started to drop around mile 5 as we were heading into Little Five Points, a funky, offbeat neighborhood where one of my friends always cheers. Both items were aptly timed (along with the race provided Jelly Bean stop a mile later) to help me feel like I might actually make it through the race.  Part of what I love about this race is how it showcases the city.  You start and end in Centennial Olympic park, home of many major Atlanta land marks (The Georgia Aquarium and Georgia Dome, just to name two) and pass through many of the neighborhoods that make Atlanta unique (Little Five Points, Old Fourth Ward, the Virginia-Highlands, etc).
Half Marathon route is in orange. Source.
Coming out of the Highlands and into Piedmont park, the wind began to pick up.  The morning's forecast had been for 60% chance of showers and I was determined to bring in it before it got too bad.  As I left the park, I passed by Baton Bob out cheering in all his glory.  Definitely a fun sight and the amusement I needed as I was working my way up more hills. After that, we crossed through downtown (where I took my second Island Boost of the day at mile 10), ran by GA Tech, and on to the long finishing mile (it's straight down one road).  With about 0.75 miles out, we passed by the last live singer, a gentleman who was more than a little excited to find Waldo.  I finished in 2:11:50, right on my 10 min/mile goal pace.
I really like the shirt this year even if it's my 3rd orange shirt in the past year.
Running as Waldo (or Wilma as the female character was named) was a lot of fun.  It was the perfect way to take the pressure off and make new friends, while wearing a perfectly runnable costume.  I was "Found" several hundred times during the race by other runners, fans, volunteers, PA announcers, and eager musicians, and only mis-identified a few times as the Cat in the Hat (at least it was another children's book?). Even on the train home, a duo looked at each other and said "There she is again!"  I guess I kept popping up throughout their race and they think it will be rather funny when people "Find' me in their race photos.
They included landmarks and neighborhoods that you run through on the ribbon.
Overall, another great running of the Georgia Publix Half.  I am very happy that I decided to participate and that my body recovered in enough time for me to be there. I've already taken advantage of the registration blitz for 2015.  Who knows what I'll do for my 5th year to make it different!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Four (because I'm too tired to come up with 5)

Since I wasn't able to run this week because of my foot wound and I was put further out of commission with a vicious head cold, I had some free time on my hands.  Here are a few amusing links from the week (note: some of them might be more amusing if you are on lots of cold medicine).

1. Must do race of the year:  I'm not sure if you all read the Oatmeal comic, but you've probably at least seen creator Matt Inman's running comic on some form of social media.  If not, go check it out now for a good laugh.  Well, this week it was announced that there is a race inspired by the comic complete with birthday cake at water stops, Japanese giant hornets (to help you PR of course) and a blerch chasing you.  Registration opens Monday, and there is no doubt it will sell out quickly! If I only lived in Seattle, it would be at the top of my to do list.

2. Great article on Running as Therapy by Jen Miller.  I started running partially as a form of stress relief from a job I was not loving and the sport just stuck with me.  I still find that during stressful times, a run is an even more important part of my day.

3. Kara Goucher signs with Oiselle. I find this move very exciting and interesting both as a runner and as a consumer. Nice to a small company with a great ideology get the win.

4. My new cross training routine.  You are welcome Atlanta.

Hope you all had a great week!  Any big plan for the weekend?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Non-traditional Race Goals

Changing your race day goals. Once you've run long enough, it's bound to have happened to you at some point. You may have had an injury during training, or a head cold leading up to race day, but whatever the cause, at some point you face going into a race knowing that a PR or even a course best is not in the cards. The focus won't be on speed that day, but on fun.
This is the only way I am running fast this weekend.
So what do you do? Previously when my fitness hasn't been optimal, I've fun run races with friends of a different pace, treated races as long runs with lots of people cheering me on, and worn plenty of flair. But sometimes you just need a new way to mix it up and enjoy the day.  A few years ago I decided to PR the number of high-fives I gave during the Peachtree Road Race and I ended up somewhere in the 60s. It was a lot of fun and produced a lot of smiles among the little fans.
Who wouldn't want a high-five from this crazy nut?
Sunday looks to be one of those days.  With a foot that is still improving, some iffy fitness because of time off due to said foot, and a hilly course, speed is not on the menu.  But that doesn't mean I'm just going to take it easy.  I'm always up for a challenge and adventure, so I'm looking for a new way to experience a course that I've already raced 3 times. Seeing as I can't juggle or knit, both of those are off the list. Given that we are only a few days from race day, any costume ideas need to be pretty simple. And seeing how I already mastered eating donuts while running, I won't be doing that either.

So this is how I spent my week while waiting for my foot to heal (I'm not good at being inactive). Plotting, dreaming, and scheming up ideas for race day. So yes, there is a good chance I will be trying something new (again) on race day for half #20 and I am open to suggestions!

It was hilarious. Note: Need to practice selfie skills.
Do you find other ways to challenge yourself on race day?  What creative ways have you heard of people having fun on race day?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Catching up and Racing news!

Hello or should I say Hola!

We are back from our mini break to the Dominican Republic and I already feel ready for another one. Our trip was a combination vacation/friend's wedding and it was wonderful. It was so much fun to see loved ones and sneak in a few days of relaxation after the ceremony.  Thank heavens our friends like to get married in such lovely places.
Diego Columbus' House; The Jayhawk and I on the beach.
I've wasted no time jumping back into real life with a touch of bad luck to start it off.  I took a nasty chunk out of the arch of my foot and it has significantly impacted my ability to run.  Fortunately the Jayhawk has been helping me care for it and placating me when I ask him every 2 hours if it looks better.
One week post injury, the swelling is down and the wound is about half the original size.
It's been a week and it is improving, but the wound is right on the arch impact point in my stride, so next weekend's half may have just been downgraded to a run for fun, not time. Since bad things tend to come in 3s, I rounded my three out with my car dying and getting pulled for jury duty all in the same week. Seriously! I think that should take care of my bad luck for the month.

But on to fun things!

I'm not sure if you have noticed, but that little list over there to the right has been growing. 
I kind of got excited post marathon and registered for a race or two. Then several I was already planning on opened registration and then on top of that I got asked to join a relay team with some super fast ladies (I believe I am the comic relief for the team and I am very much ok with that). I'm hoping their speed is contagious.
I've got a mix of distances (5k to 39k), surfaces (road, trail, and hills), and a one team event.  This means I'm going to need to mix up my training a bit and increase my mileage.

So. I hope you've rested up. We're going to be busy!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Big Fueling News (not about barfing)

I have some really big news to share.
Bigger than the Rockies.
This might be the least shocking fueling news I've told you in awhile.
It's more shocking than my amazing strength though.
No, sadly, it's not about donuts.
I love donuts.
No, seriously, it's not about donuts.
I've been named a 2014 Island Boost Ambassador!
Shocking, right?

I guess constantly professing my love for their product has paid off.
What does this mean for you??
There will be more giveaways, contests, and challenges in your future!
I hope you're hungry.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chocolate Island Boost Contest Winner!

Ok, it's the moment you've all been waiting for. You've read the recaps.  You've seen the pictures.  You're overwhelmed by the color pink. Now let's figure out who won some Chocolate Island Boost!
Remember, the prizes go to the person closest without going over to my combined 5k and marathon finish times at 26.2 with DONNA in hours and minutes (seconds not needed).

For the 5k, I came it at:

And for the marathon:
Sorry, blurry photo from the rainy shuttle ride!
That adds up to:

The winner is Victor Runs with a guess of 4:41! Honorable mention to Captain David Speedypants with a guess of 4:40.  I'm feeling generous, so if both of you gentlemen will email me (address on the contact page), I will send you some prizes! Don't worry, Victor, your prize will be bigger because you won.

I do request that you come back and let me know what you think of Island Boost. It works well for me and I'd love to hear what you guys think of it.

Even if you didn't win, you can still use the coupon code RunningEB on the Island Boost website to get one pack free when you buy ten!  It helps support 26.2 with Donna!

What did you think of contest format?  Should I do more like this in the future?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

February Recap

Miles: 54.35 (a short month with a taper and bad weather!)

26.2 with DONNA 5k
Obviously, I was not fully awake yet, but I had my taffeta on!
26.2 with DONNA Marathon
Never ending smiles that day. :)
By the way, 26.2 with DONNA registration is open for next year!  It's February 13-15th and there is good chance I could be there again.  Feel free to join me! :)

Highlight of the Month:
Meeting these ladies.
And these crazy people!
Not-so-Highlight of the Month: Being iced into our home and missing workouts.

What I am looking forward to next month: Vacation!  It might get a little quiet around the blog for a few days, but have no fear.  I will return reenergized and relaxed with new stories and photos! Lots of things coming up when I return.

Funny item of the month: Because you all got such a kick out of my awkward ribbon photo, I thought I would share this gem from after a half marathon a few years ago. Neither I nor the Jayhawk noticed how funny it was until someone commented on facebook.  I need to pay a little more attention when taking photos. :)
How was your month?  Anything exciting coming up in March?
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