Updated yoga teaching schedule for July/August

Updated yoga teaching schedule for July/August – Come Join Me on the Mat!

EVERY Monday (starting 7/14/14) LA Fitness Brookhaven @ 8:00pm – 60 Minute Flow Class (EVERY Monday from now on! Well every Monday except when I’m at the TransRockies 🙂 )

EVERY Wednesday (starting 7/16/14) LA Fitness Atlanta Peachtree Road (the old Urban Active) @ 8:30am – 60 Minute Flow Class (EVERY Wednesday from now on! Well, every Wednesday except when I’m at the TransRockies 😉 )

Tuesday 7/22/14 @LA Fitness Toco Hills @ 8:00pm – 60 Minute Flow Class

Wednesday 8/20/14 evolation yoga atlanta @6:15pm – Hot 90 – I am not teaching this one, but my good buddy and awesome yoga teacher Rose will be teaching, some come out, take class with me, and support her!

Thursday 8/21/14 evolation yoga atlanta @6:00am – Hot 60

Thursday 8/21/14 evolation yoga atlanta @12:00pm – Hot 60

Friday 8/22/14 evolation yoga atlanta @ 6:00am – Hot 60

Yoga Goat! Come Get Your Yoga on Goat-style!

Updated yoga teaching schedule for July/August – Come Join Me on the Mat – a great way to stretch out after summer races/training or warm up for summer races/training!

Tuesday 7/8/14 evolation yoga atlanta @ 7:15pm – Hot 90
(get the class for only $10 with discount code “Yogarunners”

Monday 7/14/14 LA Fitness Brookhaven @ 8:00pm – 60 Minute Flow Class (EVERY Monday from now on!)

Tuesday 7/15/14 evolation yoga atlanta @ 7:15pm – Hot 90

Wednesday 7/16/14 LA Fitness Atlanta Peachtree Road (the old Urban Active) @ 8:30am – 60 Minute Flow Class (EVERY Wednesday from now on!)

Wednesday 8/20/14 evolation yoga atlanta @6:15pm – Hot 90

Thursday 8/21/14 evolation yoga atlanta @6:00am – Hot 60

Thursday 8/21/14 evolation yoga atlanta @12:00pm – Hot 60

Friday 8/22/14 evolation yoga atlanta @ 6:00am – Hot 60

Let’s Get Out of Funk(y) Town…

I’m in a funk!  Anyone else finding themselves in a late winter slump?

Um, Yup.

Um, Yup.

Well, I’ve managed to gain about ten pounds since Christmas.  Yes, ten whole pounds.  At first I surmised that maybe it was muscle from all the lifting I’ve been doing.  But then I realized the girls had grown up, if you know what I mean, and then I saw my tummy jiggling…and…Let’s just say it’s been a long time since anything significantly jiggled on me.  I guess it’s the out of control snacking and the endless spoons of nut butter straight from the jar.  Sigh.

Ok so I'm cool in the thigh department for now (while they don't really fit in my jeans anymore, they also don't clap)...but my belly...well it's become it's own entity...

Ok so I’m cool in the thigh department for now (while they don’t really fit in my jeans anymore, they also don’t clap)…but my belly…well it’s become it’s own entity…

I don’t know what it is…I did great through the holidays and then from January on…it’s been straight downhill!

I did have two great races – the Mountain Mist 50k in late January and the Thrill in the Hills Marathon in late February.  But as you can see, since I’ve been residing in Funky Town, I haven’t gotten up the gusto to write and post race reports.  I was certified as a running coach over a year ago; have been training athletes; and am now ready to announce and promote and expand…but I just can’t seem to get around to doing it.  Double Sigh.

Mama Goat, being the devout Catholic she is, gives up something for Lent each year.  Myself, I’m something of a heathen and haven’t given up something for years.  Anyways, I need some sort of catalyst here, so I thought I’d join  her in giving up sweets and junk food until Easter (April 20th).  That’s a loooooong stretch!  Day One was Wednesday.  It went alright. I managed to skip my new afternoon habit of late – a Kind Bar Granola Bar (which isn’t horrible for you – but is still minimally processed and has sugar and grains in it…..I replaced it with a green apple), and after dinner I only had some banana chips and homemade sweet potato chips (I made them myself – with nothing more than a sweet potato and an oven).  I know, I know.  But I needed something.  Yesterday I had a super clean day of eating with only dried apples for dessert.  But then I woke up at about 1:30 a.m. and had a bunch of banana chips.  Well at least they were unsweetened and organic.  Plus I got up at 4:30 a.m. to get my workout in and didn’t eat so I count the middle-of-the-night banana chips as breakfast.  Triple Sigh.

Not ready to give up on cranky just quite yet :)

Not ready to give up on cranky just quite yet 🙂

I went for my regular check-up Wednesday with my doctor.  She is an MD but also a Holistic practitioner, so she does super thorough blood panels that test for some unconventional things – including a regular allergen panel.  She told me my allergen panel came back showing me super allergic to Almonds and moderately allergic to peanuts.  WHAT?!?!?  I’ve been all sniffly and bloated and icky, and she said my over the top consumption of almond milk, nuts and nut butter (and reversion to allowing more gluten back into my diet) might be fueling it… She wants me to layoff the almonds and peanuts for a while to see if the results were just due to overconsumption of late or if I’m really developing a new nut allergy.  So looks like almonds and peanuts will be added to the list of things I’m giving up for a while.  This means a re-think of the morning smoothie, so I stocked up on coconut water as my interim base.  Might make some cashew milk too but I tested a little high on that one too but no where near the peanut and almond.

Doc also said there were signs of inflammation in my body likely caused by me falling off the wagon as to my other food issues (i.e., gluten, dairy and rice – revealed in an ALCAT test a couple years ago)…So time to go back on the wagon with that.  Particularly with the history of auto-immune type diseases and issues in my family.

It’s funny – a couple years ago when I first went to see Dr. Bhatia – she did the ALCAT and gave me recommendations as to supplements, diet, etc.  I took those recommendations to heart – and maybe over the top – and I felt really good.  However, everyone harped on me that my diet was too restrictive or I needed to do this or that…and slowly I let in a little here and a little there and slowly I’ve become more and more miserable.  It’s a funny relationship we have with food.  On one hand we think – what’s the point of being so restrictive with what we can eat that it makes us miserable – go ahead! Live a little!  But then on the other hand, if you’re miserable – for whatever reason – overweight, allergies, health problems, not performing up to speed athletically etc – and someone said, all you have to do is alter how you eat and you’ll feel great – then why wouldn’t you?!  It’s a hard balance to find and something I think we all struggle going back and forth with.  I have a hard time with moderation and tend to be an “all or nothing” type person in all aspects of life.  So I think I need to get back to my hard-line stance… At least for a while.

Same goes for diet I suppose :)

Same goes for diet I suppose 🙂

SO anyways…you all ever feel like you have so many things you want to do, you need to do, you have to do?  Things that are obligations but then things that you really truly want to do for yourself…but can’t find umph you need to start?  Yeah, that’s where I’m at right now in Funk(y) Town.

SO not sure if anyone else needs a pre-Spring re-boot to get their mind and body in check?  If so – join me!  Here’s what I plan to do (as best I can!):

  1. No processed junk foods!
  2. Gluten free/Dairy free diet (and no processed “gluten free” or “dairy free” replacement faux food – also cool it on the rice, almonds and peanuts (specific to me due to an extreme sensitivity/allergy)
  3. More fresh fruit and veggies!
  4. No snacking in between meals (and if need be, keep it at fruits and veggies or homemade unprocessed whole food snacks (like “ice cream” made of blended fruit or “chips” made of sliced and baked zucchini or sweet potato or other fruit/veggies) and very limited nighttime snacking…
  5. To bed early, to rise early!
  6. Lots of yoga – at least 2-3x a week!
  7. More blogging!  (For yourself, insert here some hobby, pet project or thing you do for yourself that you’ve been neglecting)
  8. More focused work days and less lazy (i.e., less pissing around on Facebook and Amazon and Deadspin and HuffPost and….)
  9. More gratitude! (i.e., hello, my life is awesome…move out of Funky Town)
  10. More volunteer work! 

This week has gone so far so good. No real junk food since Tuesday…two yoga classes…too blog posts…tons of veggies…a volunteer conference call Saturday afternoon and a charity event Saturday night!

So during this 40 day stretch from me, look for more posts! To include: posts with recipes and health tips; an announcement regarding coaching services; race reports; volunteering opportunities and stories; and updates as to my new racing plans, strategies and a new certification I’ll be getting soon – yoga teacher goat guru : )

Let me know if you plan to join in, what you’ll be doing and how it’s going along the way!  Would love to see updates via Facebook and Twitter too.  I’ll try to update too to keep us all accountable!



Gear and Glimmer Awards 2014

Gear and Glimmer 2014: A Celebration for the Southern Multisport Athlete!

So I’m sure you’ve heard myself and Swim Bike Mom talk about the awesomeness that is the Getting2Tri Foundation.  The Getting2Tri Foundation is an amazing organization “whose mission is to provide services and programs to assist individuals with disabilities with athletic pursuits, create communities for support, and reduce barriers between people.”

Screenshot 2014-03-06 12.27.53

This year’s flagship event to support the Getting2Tri Foundation is Gear and Glimmer 2014.  Gear and Glimmer is part awards show, fashion show, cocktail hour and celebration of all things awesome of endurance and multisport!  Gear and Glimmer will also honor some amazing and inspirational people and will feature a keynote address by Sergeant First Class Joseph “Kap” Kapacziewski, the only amputee in Army Rangers history to return to combat, serving nine tours in the Middle East.  If that doesn’t get you inspired…I don’t know what will.

As to the awards – I am completely humbled and honored to be nominated in the category of Best Female Endurance Runner!  The other ladies in my category are amazing and particularly, Kelly Luckett, an inspiration!  And my very dear friend, Meredith Atwood, aka, Swim Bike Mom has been nominated as Best Female Comeback Athlete!  I would urge you to go online and read about all of the inspirational nominees for the 2014 Gear and Glimmer Awards Sponsored by USAT Southeast.  You can vote online here until March 7, 2014 at Noon EST.  You can also vote by “liking” the pictures of each athlete on Instagram here also until March 7, 2014 at Noon EST.

Mike Lenart – the founder and fearless leader of Getting2Tri has put together an amazing event.  I would urge all of my fellow endurance athletes and multisports athletes (yes that’s you runners, swimmers, cyclists, triathletes, etc.) to come on out on Saturday if you’re going to be in the Atlanta area.  It’s going to be a great time for an amazing cause.  Go and take a look around their website and see all the fun things in store!

If you can’t make it out, then I urge you to make a donation to the Getting2Tri Foundation through their website, here or my personal Getting2Tri donation page, here (don’t mind that it hasn’t been updated since the TransRockies).

Screenshot 2014-03-06 12.28.51

Spotted in Xterra Trail Mix!

If you’re looking for an awkward read about an awkward person this morning, check out the Xterra Trail Mix from this past Friday.  It features a short story/interview on me here and here!  Unfortunately, in true goat fashion, it has a pretty awkward feel to it.  The article was supposed to be about Atlanta’s snowpacolypse and how it didn’t stop me from my training!  Clearly this would have been a more appropriate interview for someone who actually puts on their big girl pants and goes out in the rare snow and ice and keeps on keeping on.  Instead, I went for the stairmill and treadmill and yoga and weights…knowing that if I waited a couple days, outdoor temps would be back to the 60s and icy fall risks  and the need for slathering one’s face with vaseline would be gone 😉  Doesn’t make for the most exciting piece, but always neat to see yourself in print.  A race report from Saturday’s Thrill in the Hills Marathon is forthcoming.  Until then, enjoy the Xterra Trail Mix and go Google yourself an Xterra trail race, duathlon or triathlon to jump into!

Credit: The Oatmeal

Credit: The Oatmeal

Happy Monday!

Pine Mountain 40 (12-8-13) … A First Time for Everything…

Pine Mountain 40 Mile

 So I came back from the TransRockies super geared up about running crazy races.  I was totally obsessed and wanted to find a 50 miler to do STAT.  However, I really couldn’t find one that was convenient (i.e., driving distance) and right away (because I must do everything immediately!).  Mostly because most people don’t want to run 50 miles in the August heat in the South.  There were plenty to be had in the fall and winter, but I was impatient and didn’t want to wait. (cue Paula Cole in the background…”I don’t wanna wait…” – on a side note, I went to see Paula Cole once in high school.  She played at the local water park.  She was a lovely singer, but didn’t shave her pits which kind of sullied the show.  Totally random… OK back to running…)

Screenshot 2014-01-19 18.37.30 And then I just didn’t end up signing up for anything at all.  But then my friend Alex talked me into signing up for the Pine Mountain 40.  I had always thought I would do it one day because 1) It’s put on by GUTS and GUTS is awesome!; 2) It’s close to home; and 3) 40 miles seems like a logical step before 50 miles, right???

OK so running 40 miles or 50 miles is not logical at all. I know. I know.

OK so running 40 miles or 50 miles is not logical at all. I know. I know.

However, I never signed up because I knew it was at FDR State Park and I knew that trail was pretty technical.  And in December, a rainy December, it was totally covered in wet leaves.  So rocks and roots hidden by slippery leaves.  That just seemed like it would be miserable to traipse about for 40 miles of slippery leaves which lay upon rocks and roots galore….particularly with clumsiness…

So anyways…yeah, when Alex said he was doing it, for some reason I decided I would do it too.  I never did find that suitable 50 miler and was itching to do something crazy – so this should be plenty crazy, right?

We haven't even reached my underground garage of crazy yet...trust me!

We haven’t even reached my underground garage of crazy yet…trust me!

Leading up to the race, I didn’t quite get to train as I had planned… or much at all.  I ran the Darkside 50k in Peachtree City on November 10, 2013 – I was supposed to run Rock ‘n Roll Savannah, but we had so much going on at work…it was just bad timing to trek down there.  Darkside was run on pavement, and I ran it pretty quickly.  Afterwards work continued to be crazy.  We had so many mediations and depositions and other madness.  There was just no time.  So I did no running the next week.  Then in the next couple weeks I ran maybe three times.  I lifted here and there.  But surely no sort of 40 mile training.

Darkside was fun and had cookies!  Yay!

Darkside was fun and had cookies! Yay!

I checked in with Alex the week before the race.  Turns out post NYC Marathon he had taken on a similar training – or should I say non-training – schedule as me post Darkside.  He bailed.

Some other friends – Deborah and Brennan decided to sign up last minute, so I was still assured of some company.  I’m typically a loner when it comes to running, but 40 miles with no headphones is  a long way alone!  And you know what they say – misery loves company!

Screenshot 2014-01-19 21.11.23

The race was on Sunday.  The whole week I wrestled with whether to run or not.  I had to cancel the hotel by Friday so the decision had to be made by then.  The weather report looked crappy – rain…but 40s/50s.  So doable.  Debate some more, debate some more.

Friday came and I sat on the bed expressing my internal torment to my husband.  I told him, I didn’t train properly, it was going to rain, the whole thing was a bad idea and I thought I would just back out.  And, in true Pooky fashion, he looked at me and said, “Why wouldn’t you run it?  It’s only 40 miles.  You’ll do just fine.  You should definitely do it.”  So I decided I’d suck it up and do it.

Screenshot 2014-01-19 21.13.41

Later, when I said, “But what if I hurt myself and then I can’t run for a while…” And his face went white and panic set about. I could see him remembering a time when I hurt my back and didn’t run for months.  A time when I was a cranky, horrible monster.  Then he panicked.  And you could tell he regretted giving me his usual motivational speech…but it was too late.

Nuff said.

Nuff said.

Saturday came and I packed up my crap.  We headed down to Pine Mountain in the afternoon.  Stopped in the cute little downtown and discovered a cupcake shop that was simply amazing.  Best cupcakes I’ve bought from a bakery in a very long time.  Soft and wonderfully delicious.  If you’re down there, get you some.  You’ll thank me.  So we bought what she had left in cupcakes and cookies (it was closing time) and meandered on.  We went to Lodge and checked in.  They had a big Christmas lights display at Calloway Gardens (and I LOVE Christmas lights) but the only time left to see it was at 9-10pm.  I hemmed and hawed whether we should go or I should rest.  Finally I pissed around so much that it was sold out.  Problem solved.

Pooky got me some great pre-race goodies too!  My phone died so I didn't get any pics of the awesome sweet treats though.

Pooky got me some great pre-race goodies too! My phone died so I didn’t get any pics of the awesome sweet treats though.

We indulged in lots of free apple cider and cookies at the hotel.  The hotel was super nice, and I wish we had time to explore and hang out.  Dinner time came and we both decided we were exhausted and didn’t want to go out…I did my usual thorough googling of the area’s offered cuisine.  We found a pizza shop that got good enough reviews and ordered a feast of pizza and potato wedges.  Then I gorged on pizza, potatoes, cupcakes and cookies.  Suffice it to say that I was OVER carb loaded.

I tried to sleep but I was SO restless (…could it be the carbs…).  I thought about bringing some Benadryl, but  didn’t.  I had a headache and just didn’t feel good.  And the front desk had no sort of Tylenol, Advil or anything else.  Sigh.  And I basically didn’t sleep the whole night.  Come about 4AM I finally fell asleep for about an hour.  After that, I just gave up and got up.  I looked out the window.  Looked cold and rainy.  I decided to bail.  But I couldn’t.  It was too late. I could see everyone else Facebooking about getting ready.  It was go time.

I layered up, lubed up, and choked down some Purely Elizabeth granola with almond milk  and a banana.  I woke up the husband to give me a ride, and we were off into the misty, rainy darkness.  He dropped me off near the front since of course I was late…A quick trip to the bathroom was of course the priority.  And there was no line!  Woo hoo!

Obligatory pre-race hotel picture.

Obligatory pre-race hotel picture.

It was actually not that bad when I got out there.  Much warmer than expected and only lightly misting.  I saw Brennan and Deborah and Matthew and started to get excited.

We climbed the steps up to the road and I looked around for friends. I found Deborah and yelled and yelled for Brennan, but couldn’t find him…but low and behold Pooky suddenly popped up out of nowhere, and that was a very welcome site before take off!

It was pretty dark!

It was pretty dark!


Off into the darkness we want, headlamps a bobbing.  Into the woods and winding around the trail in the darkness was pretty awesome.  I tried to stay with Deborah and company but ended up alone for a bit.  I just super duper focused and tried not to trip in the dark.  However the sun came up quickly, and I got warmed up fast.  Shed some layers and just kept on keeping on.  I was really tired due to lack of sleep, but overall felt pretty good.

Deborah on the move!

Deborah on the move!

Not too far in, Brennan caught up to us, and we kept trucking on together.  We chit chatted about everything and the time passed pretty quick.  We kept a pretty leisurely pace (which would bite us in the ass later) and enjoyed the trail.

The aid stations were well stocked and full of awesome volunteers who were always a welcome site.  Early on I got an extreme craving for nachos.  When I expressed this at an aid station, one volunteer reached into her purse and pulled out some gluten free tortilla chips and gave them to me!  So sweet!

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

Brennan and I had a great “coach” and cheering squad….an older gentleman that Brennan knew.  He was at each aid station and would tell us how on or off pace we were and offer encouragement.  Not to mention Snickers.  Yes he gave me a Snickers mid race 😉

Aid station still smiling ;)

Aid station still smiling 😉

I texted Pooky every now and again with my whereabouts.  He told me he would see me at Mile 22, at the TV Tower.  I texted him that I had a couple more hours – meaning a couple more hours to Mile 22.  However, next time I had a text from Pooky it read “until you finish?  Awesome, you’re doing great” lol.  Talk about an overconfident husband.  If only…

At some point it started raining pretty hard.  It was super slippery with all the leaves and there were lots of rocks and roots to keep us on our toes.  Somehow I did manage not to fall.  Amazing!

However, in our chit chat, Brennan noticed I had decided to wear my wedding band.  He was like, um, you better watch because your fingers will swell. I said, “nah, its fine.  I wear it all the time on long runs.”  Then I went to wiggle it to show him.  At this point I noticed my fingers were WAY swelled and the ring was VERY stuck.  We  tugged and tugged and I freaked out.  Eventually we got it off.  Aaaah that felt so much better.  Thanks for the wisdom running buddy.

Brennan - all smiles!

Brennan – all smiles!

Brennan and I pushed on.  When we got to Rocky Point which was like 17 miles in we realized we were meandering pretty slow and may not make the 6 hour cut off at Mile 22.  Eeeeeek!  I’ve never run this race before; I’ve never run 40 miles before; and I’ve never been so close to a cut off before.  Never!  So naturally, I started to freak out.  And then I told myself, there’s only one way to fix this….so I put my head down and pushed on.

Me and Brennan chugging it into Mile 22 cutoff!

Me and Brennan chugging it into Mile 22 cutoff!

I got to TV Tower, Mile 22, with minutes to spare.  They tried to feed me, and I wasn’t  feeling anything.  But then someone offered me a grilled cheese sandwich. I haven’t eaten a grilled cheese in eons.  Eons.  And this was on regular old white bread with regular old fake orange cheese.  For some reason it sounded good.  It was promised to be hot and salty.  And omg it was.  This grilled cheese sandwich was the most amazing thing I had ever eaten.  It was magical.  It was spiritual.  This grilled cheese sandwich was a religious experience.  And it was all I could think about for the next 10 or more miles.

Yay for the awesome aid stations!

Yay for the awesome aid stations! I guess this is the only pose I have.

At this point my only goal was to make it to mile 28.5.  That was when the sweepers were unleashed.  I knew Jason Rogers was sweeping, and I felt comfort in knowing that I could run with someone I knew.  I figured I could just keep telling myself that I just had to stay one foot in front of him, and I’d be ok.

Beautiful day to be in the woods!

Beautiful day to be in the woods!

I got to 28.5 aid station and Pooky was there!  Yay!  I was so happy to see a familiar face.  By this time I had lost Brennan (he had to drop out) and Deborah (little did I know she was right behind me).  However, Pooky was in full blown “Dance Mom” mode.  He was dead set on helping me finish.  When I got to the aid station my pack was finally empty and I needed to refill with water…which is an ordeal – getting it off, getting it open, filling it, etc… And Pooky was admonishing me, to hurry, that I didn’t have time…he kept me moving and he meant business!

Jason was there, preparing to sweep with a few others.  He told me that I had some time… so off I went!  I just kept thinking they were one step behind me and so I high tailed it best I could…

Trying to get my supplies as fast as fast can be!

Trying to get my supplies as fast as fast can be!

The aid stations were every three miles after this.  I was a little woozy and mostly just pissed at myself that I was going so slow and barely staying ahead of the cut off.  The race cut off was 10.5 hours.  And it looked like I wasn’t going to make it.  I have to admit, I thought I’d run the race in 8.5 or 9 or maybe even 9.5 hrs.  But 10.5, or not finishing, that never even crossed my mind…until now.  I spent a good 10 miles or so of the race, at various points, yelling at myself and scolding myself.  I don’t know why I trucked it so slow.  I was super tired, but my body felt fine.  I think I was just being overly cautious on the rocks and leaves and roots and such.  I guess.  Who knows.  I guess there is a first time for everything and this was my first time to be barely barely making it…and I sure didn’t like it.

Pooky met me at every aid station until the end.  Poor thing.  It was cold and rainy.  And it had to be so boring.  But he met me with great “Dance Mom” zeal at each spot.  Yelling at me and not letting me slack.  If this were a pageant of some sort, he would’ve been ready with the vaseline for my teeth, hairspray for my undo and lipstick for the touch up at each stop.

When I saw him at the Buzzard’s Roost road crossing (about 2 miles from the finish) …at this point I knew I was going to make it.  I passed two guys taking a picture with one of their wives (or sisters?) and kids.  It was so cute.  I started to get emotional thinking about the long day and the fact that I had done something that seemed kind of impossible earlier.

Almost there!

Almost there!

I rounded the corner and could hear the camp.  I knew I was getting close.  I looked at my watch.  It looked like I wasn’t going to make it under 10.5 hrs.  They were still letting people finish for some time afterwards, but I made a promise to myself that I would not accept one of the coveted fleeces unless I crossed the line in 10.5 hrs or under (not to say there is anything wrong with doing so – a finish is a finish – but I had already worked this out with myself and a promise is a promise).

photo 1

I could hear the camp for sometime.  Eventually I could faintly see it.  It was almost dark by now.  I sped up and ran in as fast as I could.  I spotted the clock in the distance.  10:27 !!!!  I made it in under the wire.  Pooky was there cheering me through.  Lots of people were there cheering me through.  I really have to hand it to all the volunteers and fast runners who stuck around for us slow pokes (to put it in perspective, the winning woman ran it in 6.5 hrs… FOUR hours faster than me!!!!).  I loved it!!!  And totally totally appreciated it! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  Trail runners rock.  Supporters of trail runners rock.  They are just good people.

photo 3

Victory is mine!

It was SUCH a good feeling when I crossed that line.  Indescribable.


I headed inside and went to get my fleece.  Molly was handing them out, and I had met her at the Six Hours of Dauset Trail race.  She came in second behind me (not even sweating or tired) and then went out for an “extra” cool down loop of six miles afterwards.  But then again, she runs 100 milers.  What can I say, she’s a beast.

They were out of size small, but were sweet enough to order more and have it shipped right to me!  More awesomeness!

I changed my clothes and got my chocolate almond milk.  I went outside and saw that Deborah had finished too.  Yay!!!!  Was so glad to see her smiling face come through.

Deborah and MDD

Deborah and MDD.  MDD is a beast.  She finished, had time to take a nap, then see me and Deborah finish lol.

We chit chatted with a few people, I changed (OMG it felt good to get out of those cold wet clothes) and then we were on our way.

It was an epic, awesome day.  First, it was a humbling experience.  This was my first time at this race and at this distance, and I almost didn’t make it to either the starting line or the finish line.  However, I’m so lucky to have such an awesome supportive husband…and friends and family…who encourage me to do these crazy things I love to do.  Every time I want to give up on myself before I’ve even started, Pooky won’t let me.  And each time I run one of these crazy races, it reminds me how awesome and amazing my husband, friends and family are….and how ridiculously lucky I am to have them in this unreal life of mine.  What I learned is, that while it was disappointing at the time to be barely making the cut-offs, what would have been most disappointing was if I hadn’t even gone out there and tried today.  If I had quit before I even toed the line.  Luckily, my friends and hubby won’t let me get away with that 😉 You never know if you don’t try…so if I have anything to tell you from this – it’s go out and try!!!  A slow finish or a DNF (*did not finish) is way better than a DNS (*did not start) in my book!

We headed home and I racked my brain for what I wanted as a celebratory meal. Exhausted and worn out, we decided to eat in the house.  No sleep, 40 miles, 10.5 hrs by foot and 1.5 hrs by car later, I cooked us dinner.  Mac n cheese from a box and crossiants from a tube… with a can of green beans for good, healthy measure 😉

It was an amazing fake food meal, and I loved every artificial morsel.  Promptly thereafter, I fell dead asleep.  And what a glorious sleep it was.  Time to dream about the next crazy adventure to conquer….

Happy Trails until next time guys 😉

Superheroes v. Villains 5k (10-19-13)

Superheroes v. Villains 5k

(10-19-13…was like three months ago…I know!  I know!  Bad blogger, bad blogger!  But, better late than never, right?!)

So while trolling the internet for races (don’t tell my boss, but that’s basically all I do interspersed with some Facebook and Amazon) I happened upon this race.  The race was for a good cause – it was to honor the memory of Mat DuVall, owner of Required* Fitness and to raise money to benefit a scholarship in his honor.  Also, the premise of the race was that you either dressed up as a superhero or villain!  For a good cause and an excuse to dress up like a superhero or villain?  I am SO in.

This is true.

This is true.

I circulated the race around to all the usual suspects, begging someone to come along.  I couldn’t go to a superhero themed family friendly race alone – lest I look like some sort of odd ball creeper.  Luckily Swim Bike Mom, the Expert and Kids all signed on!   Yay! I could tag along as the third, large child that they never wanted.

This would not be the first time I tried to tagalong as the third Swim Bike Kid.  Here I'm trying to blend in with real life Swim Bike Kid Stella on Tybee Island.

This would not be the first time I tried to tagalong as the third Swim Bike Kid. Here I’m trying to blend in with real life Swim Bike Kid Stella on Tybee Island.

Swim Bike Mom is a great Mom to even her fake, fully grown children as evidenced by the fact that she fed me a nutritious cereal breakfast before the race.

Swim Bike Mom is a great Mom to even her fake, fully grown children as evidenced by the fact that she fed me a nutritious cereal breakfast before the race.

After signing up, I further inspected the website.  It appeared that the prize for overall male and overall female finishers was an all expenses paid trip to Universal Studios with all the fixings.  Then I saw that the first superhero and first villain got courtside tickets to the Hawks game of their choice.  When Pooky heard this he freaked out.  Being a super NBA fan (and even bigger LeBron James fan), he was hell bent on me winning these tickets.  So somehow, out of all the races I was doing and had done this year, this local community 5k had become my “A” race.  Me, the girl who likes to run long and slow and leisurely through the mountains, preferably where candy and potato chips are provided at the aid stations.  But there would be none of that at a road 5k.  Especially a road 5k I was expected to run fast.  Sigh.

Road runners are just a different breed.  A fast breed ;)

Road runners are just a different breed. A fast breed 😉

Figuring that far less people would sign up as “villains” than superheroes, I emailed the race director and asked to switch to villain.  Figured that would help my chances of winning my man the tickets.

Fast forward to last night.  Friday. Before the race.  About 6pm. And I have no costume.  Shoot.  I had plenty of good ideas but none seemed to lend themselves to running (think Bane, Dark Vader, Storm Trooper, Magneto)…masks would suffocate me and long capes would trip me.  Hmmmmm…

I really really really wanted to be Bane...but I really really really also like to freely breathe and eat pizza

I really really really wanted to be Bane…but I really really really also like to freely breathe and eat pizza

I eventually decided that I was tired and didn’t want to deal with it, and that I would skip it.  Then after Courtney finished my long awaited and MUCH needed massage, I thought, well let me just go look for a costume (mostly because Pooky wasn’t due home until a couple hours later and I was in fear that I would eat everything in sight in the house while I waited for him).

I went to Party City.  I was horrified at the selection.  When asking the woman for a Darth Vader costume, she gave me something that had a short skirt, hooker boots, and this cutesy hat thing. Um, I don’t know if you’ve seen Star Wars lady, but Darth Vader don’t wear no skirt.  Sigh.

Completely absurd.

Completely absurd.

Screenshot 2014-01-19 16.25.48

This is what was offered me. What the **** is on her head?!

I went on to Atlantic Station, Target, and Walmart..  Nothing, nothing nothing.  I was exhausted and about to say screw it again.  Then I thought about it, and I really wanted to do the race, and it was rare that I had a chance to see the Swim Bike Family, so I went back to Atlantic Station.  They had a little boys’ Darth Vader costume which was just a shirt with a cape and a mask.  I smooshed myself into the shirt…now Darth Vader is wearing three quarter length sleeves 😉  It would do.  They even had a lightsaver and it was only nine bucks so I got it too.  In my mind I could totally carry it while running.  Pooky offered to fashion a “holster” for it, but I didn’t have much faith in that idea and passed.

Race morning came and I donned my get up.  Got to the race and met the Swim Bike Family who looked as cute as could be.  About 10 minutes prior to the start it started raining.  I decided at this point it was probably a bad idea to run in a mask holding a lightsaver in the rain.  So I stashed them under a table and went for my usual multi-bathroom trip routine.

I had an awkward family photo of me with the whole SBM family which was hilarious but now I can't find it.  So this ridiculous pic of me and SBM will have to do.

I had an awkward family photo of me with the whole SBM family which was hilarious but now I can’t find it. So this ridiculous pic of me and SBM will have to do.

Got to the start and there was a guy at the front holding a sign that said “8 minute miles and faster.”  So I thought, well I’m going for faster so let me give it a try.  A guy dressed like Johnny Depp in those pirate movies was next to me and apparently planned to run in his boots.  Good luck with that.  He asked me if I was fast.  And I said, fast for me.  He told me that the front line was only for “fast people.” I told him, don’t worry, I’ll be fast enough.



And we were off like that!  Right at the start there was one girl who went out ahead of me.  She was wearing no costume – only a sports bra and shorts (despite the fact that I was freezing my vader legs off in the 60 degree / rain temps) and she clearly came here not to pretend to be a superhero or villain but to kick butt and win (incidentally, that’s what she did!)

She probably read this book before the race ;)  Just kidding!  I could use to be a bit more serious myself...then maybe I would've won myself a sweet vacation like her...

She probably read this book before the race 😉 Just kidding! I could use to be a bit more serious myself…then maybe I would’ve won myself a sweet vacation like her…

I was ok with her passing me and staying ahead because she wasn’t dressed up.  She was going pretty fast and my legs were still heavy with the hills of Mystery Mountain from last week’s marathon, so I let her go.  She could have the trip – however, my man wanted those courtside seats so I just needed to be the fastest villain.  No problem, right?

Who could say no to this face?  It's tickets he wants, it's tickets he gets!

Who could say no to this face? It’s tickets he wants, it’s tickets he gets!

However, right out of the gate, there is another lady Darth Vader right next to me!?!? What??!?!  Grumble, grumble, grumble.  She stayed with me for a bit, but she was out of site within a mile or so.  Shewwwww…. Thank goodness.  I didn’t want to have to fight to the finish for this.  Also I would’ve been really p.o.’d that I went to such lengths to dress like a villain to improve my chances when the only girl near me was also dressed as a villain!

I am the villain of the story ;)

I am the villain of the story 😉

Only because I love you, I offer you these hideous race photos to enjoy.

Only because I love you, I offer you these hideous race photos to enjoy.  See the other Darth?

WHAT am I doing??? WHAT?

WHAT am I doing??? WHAT?

So I have to admit something – I really wanted to run this sub-20 minutes.  I know, I know, a ridiculous pipe dream for a lazy long distance runner who’s been doing a marathon or more each month since February and who spends the rest of the time eating tortilla chips and granola and watching Fringe on Netflix.  But after the fast half at Atlanta 13.1 Marathon, I really thought I could do it.

Well, first mile was slightly under 6:30.   Next mile had a hill in it and I started to get tired.  And hungry. And thirsty.  I think my body is too used to getting to eat and drink lots on runs, but sorry body, this is no long distance trail race. Sigh.  I think I clocked the second mile pretty close to 6:30 too, but I’m not sure.

Me, after the first 6:30 mile.

Me, after the first 6:30 mile.

I looked behind me and didn’t see any girls in sight – neither superhero nor villain nor civilian.  This gave me relief because my lungs were burning and I was really ready to slack off.  So I did.

I guess I was happy that I could now slack off?  More time for skipping?  These pictures of mine...weirder every time...

I guess I was happy that I could now slack off? More time for skipping? These pictures of mine…weirder every time…

I came around the 3 mile mark and thought I could sneak in under 21.  I didn’t but pulled out a respectable 21:02 for the race, 2nd overall female, 9th overall.  Not bad for a sloth of a trail runner out on the mean streets for a 5k.

Screenshot 2014-01-19 17.29.29

Actually its neck and neck with gluttony.

I must have it!

I must have it!

I was pretty sure that I had got the courtside seats at this point, but didn’t want to jinx it until it was official.  I was winded, so I sat down on the curb and drank my water while I waited to take a picture of the Swim Bike Couple finishing together on their anniversary!  (this is so awesomely cute I can’t stand it)…however, despite my best efforts I didn’t get a picture of this : (  Hopefully the race guy did.

OK somebody got a picture.  Look how cute!  Happy Anniversary!

OK somebody got a picture. Look how cute! Happy Anniversary!

Afterwards, we went and retrieved the Swim Bike Kids from the daycare (they seriously had child drop off for this race – how cool is that?) Then we set the Swim Bike Kids forth for their kids run.  So cute to watch them in action.  Stella totally takes after Aunt Liz – she was smiling and pumping her arms and upon finishing said, “The race was too short.”  Love it. Love it. Love it.

Ready to zooooom!

Ready to zooooom!

I was loitering around when I noticed the awards were happening so I ran over just in time.  Got my courtside seats!  I would not let my man down!  However, they say which game you get the seats for is subject to first come, first serve, out of the four winners.  So I instantly emailed the woman from my phone from the awards table in hopes of scoring Pooky the courtside Heat tickets in January.  His birthday is right around that time so it would be totally awesome.

I did it!

I did it!

I was going to say goodbye to the Swim Bike Family when they called my name again!  Apparently I also got the age group award?!  Random!  And it was $20 cash in an envelope and a car wash.  Awesome.  I never have cash in my wallet and my car is always filthy so this made my day.  It also included a gift certificate for the Rib Shack.  Anybody want it?  😉

…you know, these 5k things aren’t so bad afterall 😉

And although this post was 3 months late, it’s totally relevant because tomorrow we use the tickets I won!

Til we meet again (or until I’m not too lazy to write a report) … Happy Trails!

mepodium2 mepodiumdarth

Too Much of a Good Thing…

Mystery Mountain Marathon 10-13-13

So for as many trails as I run, of course I’m a member of the Georgia Ultra and Trail Running Society – or “GUTS” as its known.  However, in the years that I’ve been a member, I rarely make it to their races.  They Mystery Mountain Marathon is a staple, and this year I decided to add it to the race roster.

Screenshot 2013-12-07 20.07.32

This year was a crazy year for racing.  Starting in February I’ve done a marathon or greater nearly every month.  February I did the Thrill in the Hills Marathon coming off an exhausting back to back trip to India and Portland.  March I did the Publix Marathon and had a PR.  April and May I don’t really recall.  I know I did Scenic City in May…June I did the Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race (3 days, 3 mountains, 60 miles), July I did the Troop Trot 39k (ok, not really a marathon, but I won!), August was the TransRockies (6 days, 120 miles, 20,000 feet of elevation gain), September I did the 6 Hours of Dauset Trails doing 6 loops in 5:06 (just shy of 30 miles…and beat all but one boy!), and October I had Atlanta 13.1 and Mystery Mountain.  Who knows how many small races I also had peppered in along the way plus all my training.

I know! But I can't cover it up!

I know! But I can’t cover it up!

I came off of the TransRockies feeling good but searching for the next big thing.  Then I did Dauset Trails where I had a totally unexpected win and great day.  That lead to over confidence which lead to last week’s PR at the Atlanta 13.1 Marathon.  My body was pretty mad following the 13.1.  You see, it can run long and slow all day long, but short and fast does not agree.  My back was hurting, and my legs were crampy and I was feeling a hot mess.  Following a glorious 14 days of detoxing, constant yoga, healthy eating, weight loss, and sanity in early September (If you’re in Atlanta try out the seasonal detoxes at Kashi, they are awesome!), I had about 14 days of no yoga, bad eating, weight gain, and insanity…and about a month of not taking any of my many supplements …then running the 13.1.  So I scheduled a massage for Thursday evening to set all right in the world.  However, we were in trial and I missed my appointment for the closing.  Then, my beloved Courtney of Sequoia Massage went on vacation for the weekend (how dare he?!)!  Eeeeek!  I thought about going to someone else, but I decided to just suck it up.

Courtney is so amazing.  He can fix what ails you. I promise.  He keeps the Goat go-go-going.

Courtney is so amazing. He can fix what ails you. I promise. He keeps the Goat go-go-going.

Saturday I went to a yoga class and that provided some relief.  Afterwards I went to the office to do some work then home to pack up my stuff.  Pooky was out of town again and so I was flying solo.

I packed my provisions and headed up to Chatsworth, Ga to the lovely Super 8.  On my way there I passed through so many small towns and counties that I had never heard of….each town had a Dollar General and several Baptist Churches.  The upside was that they had a great country music channel, so I rocked out and especially enjoyed cruising the crazy windy road up the mountain to packet pickup.

Here at last!

Here at last!

I made it up to packet pickup and they had all sorts of swag, and moonpies, and fun GUTS stuff for purchase.  I couldn’t help myself and decided to partake in a lovely GUTS tie dye.  Awesomeness.

I tried to rotate this photo a million times but oh well! I give up!

You don’t want to know how long it took me to rotate this photo.



On the way back down the mountain I stopped and took some pictures of the beautiful view, but the pictures didn’t come out so beautiful.

2013-10-12 18.40.53 2013-10-12 18.40.57

My pictures suck but the view was awesome!

My pictures suck but the view was awesome!

I checked into the Super 8 which actually wasn’t bad.  I walked to the gas station across the street to get water and was super excited to check out the ice cream shop next door.  Too bad the town closes up at 7:30 p.m.  Oh well, next time Chatsworth.

I went back to my room, laid out my clothes and my swag and photographed them for you all because I know you care.  Also I wanted everything ready to go for the morning.  I then heated up the food I brought for myself and settled in for some TV.  Interestingly, the Super 8 did have about 3 different Fox News Channels, but I was unable to find MSNBC.  I settled for USA’s re-runs of Modern Family.

It may look gross, but it was delicious!  Pumpkin kibbee, mujadara and hummus! Vegan gluten free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for dessert ;)

It may look gross, but it was delicious! Pumpkin kibbee, mujadara and hummus! Vegan gluten free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for dessert 😉

I tossed and turned through the night and didn’t get much sleep at all.  Don’t know what the major malfunction was.   My alarm went off and I was already up.  Went through the usual routine and was once again thankful for remembering babywipes.  Super 8 toilet paper is just not forgiving.

So I go to get dressed and put on my sports bra. The only one I brought.  And its one of those Moving Comfort ones with the two hook and eyes on the back.  And I can’t get one hook hooked.  Arrrggh.  And I try.  And I try. And I try.  And I finally take it off to investigate.  Here the hook is broken!!!! Nooooooo!!!! I am in the middle of Chatsworth 30 minutes from go time with no sports bra and a loosey goosey tank top to wear?  Oh dear.

Ready freddy!

Ready freddy!

So I go on to gnaw on this hook and twist it and fuss with it until I get it where it can hang on at least a little.  I get the thing closed and can finally move on with the rest of my life.

I go out to pack up my car and go check out and pour hot water on my to-go oatmeal cup.  On my way past cars to the front desk area, there are all these people gathered around an SUV.  I hear some murmuring and then I hear lots of “meowwwing”.  What the heck?  Then I go inside the office and am fixing my oatmeal.  And these two kids go to the desk and try to explain to the clerk that there is a cat stuck in the engine of an SUV and that they need to figure out who owns the SUV so they can tell them and try to get the cat out.  What a fiasco.  I wonder what became of the cat?

So I head on out to my car, crank up the good country station I found and have a grand old time driving up the windy mountain road.  Trail races are really the only time I get to do some fun driving so I always take advantage.  I got to the race, parked, immediately went to the bathroom and meandered towards the start.  I spotted Alex and we had some chit chat.  In fact, so much chit chat that I forgot to make my usual second  and third bathroom trips.  And so much chit chat that we didn’t realize the race was starting until this insanely loud gun (or something) was fired, scaring the crap at us and letting us take off.

It was so beautiful!

It was so beautiful!

Alex was certain that I would finish well ahead of him.  I told him I had a tough week, was tired and sore and had no idea how this would play out.  I said I was hoping to finish under 6:30 but really I wanted to finish under 6 hours.  Ever the optimist.  Well, at least when it comes to racing 😉

So we started along the trail, talking with some others Alex knew and I felt pretty good.  Of course I had to pee within the first few minutes, but I just ignored it.  I had one quick fall but bounced right back up.  Not bad for me.

However, about three miles in or so, when I stopped to mess with a packet of Island Boost (decided to try something new, I’m on the fence, more later) I lost Alex and the pack by a little.  I restarted again and wasn’t too far behind.  However I started feeling wretched and got further and further behind.  For the first time in a long time, I just wasn’t enjoying this race.  Eeeeek.  It’s the end of the world as I know it.

Damn Island Boost.  Tasty but hard for me to work with for some reason..

Damn Island Boost. Tasty but hard for me to work with for some reason..

About mile 6 or 7 I finally lose Alex and the gang completely, and I’m pissed that I’m moving so slow.  Ugh. What is going on here?  The race is legendary for being tough and the tough stuff hasn’t even happened yet.  Sheesh.  I don’t know what it is… perhaps it’s all the crazy racing mentioned in the second paragraph of this post.  Maybe I’ve just had too much of a good thing.  Maybe I just overloaded my body and mind on trail racing.  Could it be?  At this point I’m freaking out and think that I may make this my very first DNF (“did not finish.”).  There was both a 12 mile and marathon, so I tell myself I will drop at the 12 mile split and I put my head down and meander on.

If only...

If only…

At some point around this time I finally give in and pee.  Using the skills so artfully taught to me by my dear partner Heather during the TransRockies, I pull off the trail behind some large log and squat down for sweet relief.  Except that I squat right into a jagger bush.  Uh, for you that don’t speak Pittsburgh-ese, I essentially sat in a bunch of thorns.  Awesome!  I even drew blood on one finger and one calf.  At least my unmentionables stayed unscathed.    However, a group of dudes comes by right as I am standing to pull my pants up.  Super awkward.  But that’s my life.

Screenshot 2013-12-07 21.19.35

When I get to mile 11 which is where the 12 milers go on to the finish and the marathoners go up a humongous set of hills known as the “Power Lines,” I get my second wind.  I don’t hate the race anymore and am starting to feel the groove.  I decide that I am enjoying this, eat a bunch of junk at the aid station, and march on right up the power lines.  The power lines are steep but not horrible.  Of course I believe this comes from a place of powering up far worse things for six days in the Rockies and haven’t yet forgotten it.  Part way up there is a Barbie head which scares the sh*t out of me!  But I loved it.  I get to the top and there are the “Beer Fairies” sitting there.  I decline the beers but thank them and they note that I look way too happy for having just climbed the power lines.  I tell them it’s a beautiful day, I’m on the trail, and I’m still moving forward on both feet, so how bad can it be?  They agree and I realize I have officially turned my frown upside and am back in the game.

Made it to the top!

Made it to the top!

I feel great and am all smiles at the top.  However the yin to the yang of the uphill is this super long, super terrible steep crumbly rocky dirty downhill.  This thing was so wretched and horrible and I’m so clumbsy on the downhill that I took it nice and easy to avoid falling.  Then I get passed by like 20 people going downhill and its like the TransRockies all over again!  Grrrrr!!!!  I hate downhill.  There, I said it.

down down down!

down down down!

I get to the aid station at mile 13.3 and don’t feel all that bad.  I catch up to some people I recognize, and a guy tells me that we’re only a little over three hours in so there’s still hope for a 6-6:30.  This lifts my spirits.  And on I go!  Although at this point I realize that my hands feel swelled up just like my partner’s were at the TransRockies.  So although this is annoying, it amuses me and reminds me of Heather waving her hands madly above her head throughout the race and I do the same and get a good laugh in to myself.

After a while this old man comes up and tells me that around mile 19 there is a 1.3 mile climb that goes up 1300 feet.  As I typically never look at the elevation map before a race, or even the course really, this came as a surprise to me.  But I think that this should be no problem after all the power climbing up crazy climbs at the TransRockies.  I get to an aid station right around mile 19 and I feast and feast.  At this point I have decided that I am going so slow that I might as well enjoy myself and I’m stuffing my face at every aid station more like I’m running a 100 miler than a marathon.  I tucked pretzels and chips and bananas and gummy bears into my vest pockets like I was a squirrel hiding nuts for the winter (do squirrels hide nuts for the winter?)…It was just like me and Heather’s picnic breaks during the TransRockies.  Just without the days of mileage…and I was alone so that wasn’t quite as fun either.

Screenshot 2013-12-07 20.00.26

Crazy Barbie head!!!

Crazy Barbie head!!!

I leave the aid station and I have to pee – again.  I look and look for cover but there is none to be find so I just cop a squat in the middle of the trail.  To hell with it.  Luckily no one caught me on this and luckily there were no thorns to be found.

It was pretty and I was alone ;)

It was pretty and I was alone 😉

About Mile 22 or so I got another wind and really started to enjoy the thing.  Somewhere around Mile 23 I caught up with Alex and that made me feel vindicated like I hadn’t actually ran all that slow thank goodness.  Alex waived me by so I trucked it on in as by Mile 23 I was finally feeling really good and ready to run.  It only took me six damn hours.

Anyways, it took me 6:14 to run the damn thing!  Terrible!  But between the peeing, the thorns, the lack of a massage, the tiredness, the hills, it wasn’t bad.  Not bad at all.  Plus as with all my runs, if I’m not feeling it at the beginning I was feeling it by the end….this one just took a little longer.

Got the medal!

Got the medal!

But I think I realized that I may have been on to too much of a good thing.  So I enjoyed a nice week of no workouts save for a yoga class and a couple walks so that I could rest up for my big 5k “A” race next week…but more on that next time!

Screenshot 2013-12-07 19.54.03

Happy Trails guys 😉

Did I say there was homemade root beer?  Awesomeness!

Did I say there was homemade root beer? Awesomeness!

Respect the Half Marathon – Atlanta 13.1 Marathon

Respect the Half Marathon – Atlanta 13.1 Marathon

Race day came and I decided I would take Marta.  There was one train early enough to get me there on time, and it was a mile to the start from the station.  It seemed so much easier than the prospect of driving…but we all know I hate driving.

So I packed a drop bag (um, why have I not done this before?  It was awesome) and off I went.  With oatmeal in a cup.  Of course the Marta was only running on one track and so it was late.  Sigh.  But I saw some fellow runners on it, which made me feel less spazzy.  Still we got there with very little time to spare – especially when you’re me and require many multiple bathroom stops pre-race and there are crazy long lines at these busy road races.  I hopped off the Marta and sprinted the mile to the race.  I couldn’t figure out all of these people leisurely walking to the start.  I guess they didn’t have to go to the bathroom.

I got there and dropped off my bag.  As expected the bathroom lines were outta control.  I was able to make it through once.  This seemed woefully inadequate, but would have to do.  At least it was only 13 miles.  Although coping a squat on the side of the road was probably not a realistic option.  Another plus of trail running 😉

If only...

If only…

I ran to the start corral with less than a minute to spare and frantically looked for the pace groups.  My PR in a road half is about 1:42.  I thought I’d start out chasing the 1:40 and see what happened.

I sort of found him and set off chasing him.  Within the first quarter mile of the race, some dude in front of me drops his Five Hour Energy.  I see this and I think someone is going to break an ankle on that thing rolling down the pavement so I dive down, get it, bounce back up and sprint to the guy and give it to him.  As I keep on running past (chasing the 1:40 pace guy) the Five Hour Energy guy’s friend makes fun of him for a girl picking up his energy drink, returning it and then chicking him.  As he should.  Come on man, this is a half marathon, not an eight hour work day.  What’s with the Five Hour Energy.  But I digress.

I cannot have caffeine for this reason...

I cannot have caffeine for this reason…

Wonder if it worked out for him?

Wonder if it worked out for him?

 So I’m following the 1:40 pace person and I’m not too far off.  There are some chicks inbetween me and the pacer guy so I just try to stay with them.  I’m feeling good.  It’s dark at the start so that was kind of freaky.  I just kept expecting to trip and fall since I’m always miss graceful.  But alas, I made it until the sun was out and I could see.

The race runs through the Brookhaven neighborhood in Atlanta.  The start of the race is about 7-8 miles from my house right down Peachtree.  So for long runs, I often run down there, past there and back to my house.  So parts were not unfamiliar.  After some time we turned back into neighborhoods which was some new scenery.  I was just enjoying mindlessly running chasing the pacer

Some time around mile 4 or so, we looped back out on Peachtree to go past where we started.  I was feeling really good and enjoying the race despite ever increasing heat and humidity.  OK mostly humidity.  Damn humidity.  Ugh.  Then out of nowhere the 1:40 pacer guy veers off course!  And I’m like, wait, don’t go, please! I need you!  I don’t know what his deal was, but I’m guessing he needed to take a dump or something?  Who knows.

I wanted to tell the pacer this so that he didn't mess up my race…but then I guess I didn't want to be down wind from that for another hour...

I wanted to tell the pacer this so that he didn’t mess up my race…but then I guess I didn’t want to be down wind from that for another hour…

So then just like that I’m totally on my own.  And let me tell you – I suck at pacing.  My strategy is usually as fast as I can for as long as I can.  No pacing there.  It’s all out or die.  Or if it’s a long race or a hard trail, then slow and steady.  But out here on the road…I got no strategy.  So I pick up on the ladies in front of me and just follow them for a while.  But I’m feeling good so I pass them and I keep on keeping on.  Eventually I get to this guy who is running with this tall guy.  The tall guy keeps running ahead then stopping and coming back or running in place waiting for the other guy and shouting motivational phrases the whole time.  I guess he was the other dude’s coach or something?  I don’t know, but I now join the coach and his runner as well.

Here is coach behind me.  Yes I know I look insane.

Here is coach behind me. Yes I know I look insane.

Here is coach's athlete in front of me.  And, yes, I know I look even crazier in this one.

Here is coach’s athlete in front of me. And, yes, I know I look even crazier in this one.

We went through this cute little section of the PATH trail in Dunwoody and at this point I realize the 1:40 is definitely happening for me, and I’m so excited!!  It was a fairly hilly course and there was a big hill towards the end, although just where escapes me now as I write this in retrospect.

Let me tell you – the volunteers and aid station workers and spectators were awesome.  Lots of fun signs, bands, djs, music, and just fun happy people.  Really loved the vibe.  And in my usual form I just took the time to really really enjoy the day and settle in.  I smiled ear to ear the whole race and was just grateful for another awesome day in the sun moving forward on my own two feet.   It was a great experience.

I got to the home stretch and realized I was about to break 1:40 significantly!  I finished in 1:36 which is crazy fast for me.  I was pretty pumped and really happy with myself for sticking it out the whole race.  A six minute PR. Not bad, not bad at all.

Following the race I took some pictures and perused the vendors.  There were some giveaways at Big Peach so I went there and got a raffle ticket.  You had to be present to win so I loitered around while waiting for Chuck and Kim.  I realized Big Peach had a super nice new bathroom that no one was a using so I hurried and got my drop bag and snuck in there to change.  It was glorious!  Clean and wonderful and even had a shower.  I was tempted, but I didn’t.  I did change and go to the bathroom.  I really wanted to loiter around the nice bathroom some more, but I knew people were waiting so I hurried out.

2013-10-06 10.23.07

Now, I know I run a lot.  But what I don’t do is run hard and fast a lot.  And let me tell you, going into this race I thought, it’s just a half marathon.  No big deal. What’s 13 miles after what you’ve done this summer.  But what did I learn?  Respect the half marathon.   When you run only 13.1 and when you run them at almost as hard as you can, your body gets mad.  And mine was no exception.

I exited the bathroom and the Big Peach and some obstacle race had a booth set up outside.  They tried to convince me to do some sort of challenge which involved pushups, kettle bells, and box jumps.  Suddenly, my stomach did something crazy and I was like, dude, I love push ups but I gotta go.  I ran over to the porta potties because there was no line (thank god). I dug around in my drop bag like a crazy woman and found some baby wipes in there.  Oh my goodness, let me tell you these baby wipes were like mana from heaven at this point and I had never been so happy to see something.  Sigh.  Yeah, my body was not happy about moving so fast for so long in such humidity.

Don't leave home without it…and I don't mean your American Express card...

Don’t leave home without it…and I don’t mean your American Express card…

I got that all taken care of and squared away and went back to Big Peach to wait for the raffle and Kim and Chuck.  The obstacle race people got me and I stupidly agreed to do their challenge.  Push-ups no problem.  However, kettlebells and box jumps post-half marathon sucked.  Ugh.

…Seemed like a good idea at the time...

…Seemed like a good idea at the time…

Chuck came over shortly thereafter and he had a PR too!  Yay!  Go Chuck.  Kim and Chuck are a super cute runner couple so Chuck had taken sufficient supplies for both he and Kim to ensure she’d have what she wanted when done (so sweet!).  After some cajoling I convinced Chuck to put their fuel in my bag and we went to the finish to cheer Kim in.  While we waited, Chuck called Kim on her iPhone and encouraged her along.  This was beyond sweet.  Every runner wife’s dream.  Sigh.

Kim came in also having a PR!  Which was awesome.  We got some pictures in and they dropped me off at their car.

Three PRs!  Yay!

Three PRs! Yay!

I was delighted to find the Pittsburgh mug in their back seat (Chuck is a fellow Pittsburgher!)

Go Steelers!

Go Steelers!

All and all for the day it was a pretty good one!

Screenshot 2013-10-19 13.58.53

Another awesome day to stop and smile in the sun and appreciate the fact that I’m still moving forward on my own two feet.  A good day indeed.

Until next time…Happy Trails ;)

Until next time…Happy Trails 😉