Rock-n-Roll NOLA Race Recap!

February is my most favorite month to travel for races … Ohio weather is unpredictable at best and it’s the perfect time to escape to warmer climates. My sister lives in New Orleans, which seemed like a great reason to take a long weekend trip for another half marathon! A flat course, and getting to hang out with my sister for a few days??? I’ll call that a win! So, here’s race recap #12 … I’m certain I’ll get sick of writing these before I hit 30.

Allegiant has a direct flight from Cincinnati to New Orleans on Thursday evening – so my friend Kelsey and I booked a cheap flight down. And let me tell you – I will never choose a cheap flight on a budget airline ever again. Our 6:30 flight was delayed for the first time around 10am. We got to the airport on time, just in case. But 5 minutes before our newly scheduled departure time of 7:06, we still had no plane, no gate agent, and no word on how much longer our flight was going to actually be. Finally, we boarded a little after 8, and arrived in NOLA two hours late.

Thinking back to Friday – the only thing I really remember was eating. We went to District Donuts for breakfast to begin our carboload (4 donuts between 3 people). Seriously the best donuts ever. We went to Rum House in the Garden District for lunch and more carbs. I indulged in a few margaritas because, why not?! It’s vacation! Jen dropped Kelsey and I off at the expo and we wandered around for an hour or two. I may or may not have fallen in love with an electric foam roller. We walked back to my sister’s place and then relaxed until going to Dat Dog for dinner! I had an alligator hot dog and OH MY GAWD – so good.

Saturday was mostly spent relaxing around my sister’s place. We went to a crepes place for lunch over by Tulane & Loyola, and then I went back to the expo to buy that electric foam roller (they were sold out, but it’s being shipped to my house!). When we got back from the expo (round 2), we took my sister’s dog on a walk to a little park. Dinner was pasta and chicken followed by a popsicle. We were all in bed really early, even though my alarm was set for 5:50 – which seems relatively late for a race day.


I felt great on race morning, albeit a little nervous. But I was super hydrated, and excited to get going! Jen dropped us off near the start line and I left Kelsey in her corral and headed a little farther back. I met a nice girl and chatted with her while waiting for the race to start. I followed her pace for the first 3 miles or so, then lost her when I had to make a potty stop. My first three miles were really fast, but felt really good. I thought for sure I was heading for a big PR.

But then I hit mile 4. I started feeling a blister on my toes. It’s important to note that I purchased my shoes exactly one week before the race. Definitely not advisable to run on barely broken in shoes. I stopped at a medical station around mile 5 and put some more vaseline on my toes and armpits. My sister and her boyfriend live a few blocks off the course, so they walked Hannie up around mile 8. She even made me a cute sign, too!

mile8HannieHannie(If you don’t already, you should follow Hannie on instagram)

I had a solo cup of champagne around mile 9.5 while running through the French Quarter. And I found probably my favorite race sign ever (except for the kayne one from the Enchanted 10k last year)IMG_2297assslaps

I was fading quickly in the last 3.1 miles. My feet hurt, but I wanted to be finished SO SO badly. I pushed the last mile super hard and around 12.8, I couldn’t breathe. I crossed the finish line mid-asthma attack with tears streaming out of my eyeballs – because not being able to breathe is scary (my official finish line pictures are truly dreadful). I met up with Kelsey right before my phone died and we had our one free can of beer and a few of the unlimited draft beers before Jen picked us up.


We went back to Jen’s to pick up Eric before heading to Bourbon Street for some celebratory hurricanes and Fat Tuesday Slushies! P.S. How cool is that medal?! I love the beads instead of a ribbon!


We got some pizza and ice cream before heading to the airport to head home. I’d love to run this race again next year, but with my full marathon being a few weeks before, I may have to sit it out. It was a really fun, high energy race, and my sister and her boyfriend (and hannie) were such gracious hosts!

I felt great about my race. Twelve half marathons in three years is no easy feat. And I truly believe that no time is a “bad” time. Finishing a half marathon in under two hours is impressive, yes. But finishing a half marathon is impressive, if it takes you 2 hours and 51 minutes or even longer. I ran into a woman at the airport in the bathroom who, upon hearing my time, told me “OH, I’m so sorry! What happened?” What happened is I worked my ass off and I ran 13 miles. I’m not going to blame my time on the fact that I’m “slow” or my shoes or the course or anything else, because I’m proud as shit of my time. I earned that medal just as much as everyone else that crossed that finish line.

Oh, and I had the pleasure of sitting next to that woman on the plane on the way home. Thanks for that, Jesus.

12 “slow” races down, 18 probably “faster” (but maybe not) races left! Next up is Star Wars Half Marathon in Orlando in April! :)

Wine and Dine (not-quite) Half Marathon Weekend

What happens when you go on vacation and come home with food poisoning that lasts 8 days? You write a race recap and then forget to post it. So let’s just pretend it’s November 11th, not November 25th.

I set off to Orlando again last Friday for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon! This race has been on my bucket list since I ran my first Princess Half, and I was so excited to escape work for a few days at Disney World! And let me tell you, it was certainly a race weekend to remember!

I landed on Friday night and took the Disney Magical Express to the hotel… My first experience with the magical express (so fast and easy and I’ll definitely be using it again!). I ate a huge pasta dinner from the hotel dining hall and called it an early night. Since the race was at 10pm on Saturday night, I wanted to get up early enough so that I could take a mid-day nap. My strategy worked, because I was up at 6:30 Saturday morning, all ready to go! My breakfast consisted of a cheese omelette and some Mickey waffles! YUM!IMG_1608

I may or may not have been on the first bus to the expo. I was hoping to get some cool W&D merch, but it was so picked over by the time I got there. BUT – I did get to meet Jeff Galloway, who is basically runDisney royalty. I had him sign my race packet and take a picture with me.IMG_1617IMG_1612

All week, the weather for Saturday night looked like it would be insanely hot, humid, and generally awful. Before I left, I bought a handheld water bottle and some longer compression shorts to wear, but for whatever reason, I didn’t pack a tank-top. Since I bought a red and white polka dot headband at the expo, I thought I would get a black tank top and try to do a modified Minnie Mouse. I went down to Downtown Disney Disney Springs to the running store and grabbed a little lunch.

After a mediocre nap, I started getting ready for the race around 6:30 (too early). After putting on my black tank and my black shorts, I realized it looked like I was wearing a wetsuit (insert embarrassed face emoji here). But, whatever. I prepared as best I could for the heat, and ate a small dinner of a PB&J sandwich and some apple slices before getting on the bus to the race at 7:30 (also too early). Since I was staying right next door to ESPN WWOS, I was at the pre-race party by 7:40. I sat around and stretched and listened to music and checked my bag. And around 8:45, I decided to get in line for a porta-potty before I had to head to the corrals at 9:15.IMG_1625

After standing in line for a half hour in the wind and light rain, they came over the intercom and announced that they were evacuating everyone into WWOS because of the threat of severe weather in the area. Luckily, the two women behind me were super nice and let me tag along with them during the delay. We hung around in the Braves spring training field until about 10:30 while all kinds of questions and rumors spread throughout the participants. We finally got the word to head to our corrals and people were talking about whether or not they would shorten the course. Which they did.

They cut out 6.2 miles of the 13.1 course, and I’m not gonna lie – I was SO disappointed. We would still get our medals, but in my heart, I felt like I couldn’t count it toward my 30 before 30 goal. How could I, because I’d only be running 6.82 miles! On the plus side, I was that much closer to the finish line party, which is where the beer was, and we’d still get to run through the Osborne Lights, which was the part of the course I was looking forward to the most.

A little over an hour later, I set off on the modified course at a fairly fast pace. It was SO hot outside that I quickly realized it was not sustainable to run a 10 minute mile, so I slowed down. The first 2-1/2 miles were all highway miles, and were pretty boring. The course was overly crowded because the roads were too narrow and there were too many people that started at the same time. Had we had the rest of the course to run, there would have been more natural spacing. By mile 3, we were in Hollywood Studios and that much closer to the lights (!!!).IMG_1643 IMG_1636

I probably spent a good 20 minutes wandering around staring at the lights. At that point, I didn’t care about my pace, or the finish line party, or my hip that was hurting. I just wanted to stay with the pretty lights and Christmas music. It was incredible. But, eventually I had to keep moving and I ran the next 3 miles to Epcot and got my finishers medal and free beer.IMG_1645

I changed clothes and road Soarin’ before walking the 1.3 miles around Epcot’s world showcase. Literally ALL of the lines for food were crazy long and the last thing I wanted to do was stand in line (I ended up going back to the food and wine festival on Sunday with my pal Kerri and again on Monday and the lines were twice as long at the after party). I found a station in Morocco with a short line and got a fruity daiquiri and a chocolate chip cookie. I got in line to ride test track with a full beer, and then subsequently had to chug it before boarding the ride.

Around 3:30am, I finally decided to head back to the hotel. I was more than exhausted (and kind of glad I didn’t run all 13.1 miles). I took a brief shower without washing my hair and crawled directly into bed.IMG_1653

Overall, I enjoyed this race. The after-party was fun, albeit really crowded… But that’s to be expected with Disney World, I suppose. I decided to go ahead and count it as my 11th half marathon, considering on Sunday alone I walked over 18 miles around the parks and did almost 45 miles throughout the weekend. Running a night race is different and difficult and I don’t know that it’s for me. That being said, I might sign up to do this race again … Maybe for the 10th anniversary. Honestly, I still prefer the princess :)

The rest of my long weekend was spent doing all things Disney. Sunday, Kerri came and picked me up from “the end of the world” aka, my hotel and we spent the day catching up and walking from air-conditioned gift shop to air-conditioned gift shop. We wined (ok, beer-d?) and dined, and then she put me on the monorail so I could go to Mickey’s Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom! :)IMG_1673 IMG_1669

Monday I met up with an old coworker at Epcot for more wining and dining, and I introduced myself to an adult Dole Whip (pineapple soft serve with coconut rum), and it basically changed my world. I might have had two before noon. I rode test track twice, ate a lot of food, and then took a bus over to Hollywood Studios for one last look at the Osborne Lights.IMG_1721

Back at my hotel, I decided to go for the healthy option and eat some Salmon and veggies from the food court, and thus how I ended up with food poisoning.

All in all, a great race-cation. Next race up is the Rock-and-Roll NEW ORLEANS half marathon in February!


One Third of the Way There!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen … It’s official. On Saturday I ran the Queen Bee Half Marathon and passed the one-third point in the 30 before 30 quest!!! (insert celebration dance!) On one hand, I find it incredible that I’ve already ran 10 half marathons, and on the other hand, I’m struggling to think I have to run 20 more of these!  I didn’t take a single picture before or during the race, so this is a very word-heavy recap!

Friday afternoon I left work a little bit early to get down to the expo. I needed to have my hamstring taped up, because for whatever reason, it had been sore the entire week leading up to the race. And despite my constant stretching and foam rolling, the pain wasn’t going away. I met my friend Kelsey on Fountain Square and we collected our bibs/bags and roamed around the expo. When I say roamed, I mean we aimlessly walked around the entire event 6 or 7 times before deciding we had seen/bought everything we wanted to see/buy. But we couldn’t leave without Kelsey embarrassing us by spilling her green juice all over herself/the floor/her swag bag. (In her defense, the bag she was carrying all her stuff in broke and the glass juice jar shattered).

I spent the rest of Friday night resting and watching Grey’s Anatomy reruns while eating pasta and drinking gatorade out of a wine glass. Class all day.

Saturday morning rolls around, and I’m just begging myself for a PR… I mean, I’m doing my 10th half marathon on 10/10, I have to go for it, right?! I foam rolled my entire body before I left and I hopped in the car literally 30 minutes before the race was supposed to start. I parked, went into the casino to go to the bathroom again and ran into my friend Rachael :). We chatted inside where it was warm until about 10 minutes before the gun went off, and then we made our way to the “hives”. We ran into our friend Lauren as the gun was going off and muttered some encouragements to each other before going our separate ways.

The first mile was basically all up hill, so I couldn’t sprint off like I normally tend to do. However, it was much warmer than I anticipated, and before the first mile marker, I was ready to strip down to my tank top and ditch my lightweight jacket. Stupid Jess decided to pin her bib to the outer jacket instead of the tank top, so I had to switch it to my tank top on the side of the road.

Mile 2 ran right past my apartment, just like the flying pig. Except this time, I wasn’t bleeding from my knee and begging for a break. I need to remember to put a sign in my window next year! Running through my hood was easy and comfortable, and the first four miles honestly flew by so fast. Before I knew it, I was running into Mt. Lookout.

Then mile 5 hit. And my body turned on me. I had passed several port-a-potties along the way, but decided to keep going until I made it to the next one, because I didn’t have to go that bad and there were lines. Ugh, until mile 5. All I can remember about mile 5 is that I thought I was going to poop my pants. I was forced to walk because if I ran, I thought I might lose it. Literally. (TMI?) I seriously considered asking people standing on the side of the road if I could use their bathrooms. Until I finally found one right past the square. I’ve never been so excited in my life. I bee-lined (pun intended) to the bathroom, and luckily there was no line.

Miles 6-12 were uneventful for the most part. The course entertainment was much better than last year’s, and there were people scattered throughout the whole course. I never had to run more than a hundred yards or so without someone cheering. The station I was most looking forward to was at mile 11… The Chippendales!!! Who wouldn’t run 11 miles to get a close up look of some of those abs… Insert heart-eye emoji. Imagine my disappointment when I get to mile 11 to find old men wearing tuxedo t-shirts. Funny Joke …. NOT!

By the time I turned the corner toward the finish line, I was just ready to be finished so that I could have my post-race mimosa or 7. I was already 5 minutes behind my PR, so I think I was running toward the finish line, but I easily could have been walking. Everything hurt. Once I crossed the finish line, I got my medal, finishers gift, banana, and Mylar blanket and headed to my friends apartment across the street.

The rest of Saturday was spent celebrating with a few friends down in OTR. We had Bakersfield margs and tacos for lunch, and hit up City Flea. I finally made it to Taft’s Ale House, and then capped off the day with a family dinner. The best way to celebrate 131 racing miles!!


Only 262 racing miles to go… Ugh. Why did I want to do this again???

Next up, the Disney Wine and Dine on November 7th! :)


A Smelly Race Recap

Running in the summer in Ohio is really tough. It’s usually way too hot to run outside on a regular basis, and there are almost no half marathons offered anywhere nearby. Which usually means I take the summer off from running. It just so happens that the Rock-n-Roll marathon series was going to be in Dublin the same time I was there for work!!! SO I just had to sign up ! ;)

In the days leading up to the race, I probably talked myself in and out of actually doing it 10 or 15 times. The race started at 8:30, and my flight out of Ireland left at 2:40 … It sounds like a lot of time, but when I broke it down, I had a window of about 15 minutes to spare before I would miss my flight to Paris, and subsequently my flight to Warsaw. I was nervous. And up until race morning, I wasn’t sure if I was really going to go through with it. I went to the expo for the goods just in case. (By the way – expo SUCKED … There was nowhere selling KT tape or anything similar.) I properly hydrated and ate the appropriate pre-race foods, packed all my bags up so I could get in and out of the hotel quickly after the race, and went to bed early on Saturday night.


IMG_0936.JPGpre-race dinner … Pretty sure room service thought I was crazy for ordering plain noodles, carrots, and mashed potatoes.

Sunday morning rolls around, and I decide to go for it. I met a nice couple from Texas in the elevator at my hotel and we walked in the rain to the start line together. Compared to all of the bigger races that I’ve run recently, this race was TINY. Like, I think I heard them say there were 5,000 participants. The “corrals” were really just “suggestions” of how to line up. I was assigned to corral 12, but ended up going off with 4 or 5. It stopped raining right before the gun went off, and I sped off toward the finish line.



Mile 1 is always my fastest, but this day it was FAST… like, definitely less than 10 minutes. Too fast, IMO… So I slowed down a bit to 12 minutes or so. One thing that was really bizarre about this race was the water stops … They were handing out FULL water bottles, instead of just cups. The stops were more spaced out (like, one every 2-3 miles), but the empty and half empty bottles lined the streets, and I was constantly fearing that I was going to trip over one.

Mile 3 ran past my new favorite place on earth; the Guinness storehouse. :) Also – next time I decide to run a race in a country where deodorant is considered “optional”, talk me out of it … SO MANY SMELLY PEOPLE.


It stayed pretty dry for miles 1-9. There were a few sprinkles here and there, but my rain jacket stayed wrapped around my waist for most of the trek.

There was a group of people running the race dressed as the band KISS, including full face paint and wigs. I would pass them, then they would pass me for 6 or 7 miles. At mile 9, I saw them taking a break, drinking beers, and SMOKING. I think I’ve seen it all, folks. If you need to take a smoke break in the middle of a half marathon, you probably need to re-think some things. Similarly, I saw an older lady vaping mid-race. SMH, y’all.


Miles 7-13 were all in Phoenix Park. It’s a beautiful walk, but MAN, so boring. I would have liked a change of scenery or a bit more running around the actual city.

Around mile 11, I started to get really nervous about my time. It was nearly 11:30 and according to my time-table in my head, I needed to be on my way back to the hotel by this point. As we turned the corner to see the finish line, I was (once again) audibly talking to myself, and one girl thought I was encouraging HER, so we both picked up our pace and sprinted across the finish line.

This is where the luck of the Irish, or some kind of divine intervention, came in. There were NO cabs around so I was going to have to take the shuttle bus, which would take longer, and I would have an extra 10 minute walk to my hotel. I was headed toward the bus pick-up when I saw someone getting out of a taxi about 30 yards away … I FULL OUT sprinted (faster than I ran at any point in the race), dropped my banana, all to catch this cab. And the driver told me I was a lucky lady as we drove past the long line of people waiting to get on the shuttle (no doubt filled with smelly people who decided not to put on deodorant).

I made it back to my hotel, showered REALLY quickly, and ordered an uber to take me to the airport. Thank GOD for Sky Priority – because I walked right up to the counter, checked my bag, walked right up to security, and made it through with enough time for lunch and a pint of Guinness. (Happy Jess!!)




Overall – I really enjoyed the race. The medal is a little underwhelming, especially compared to some of the other RnR medals I’ve seen from past races. I don’t know that I would do the Dublin one again (mainly because I don’t know if I’ll ever be in Dublin in August again). But I’m already looking forward to the Rock-n-Roll New Orleans in February!

But next up – the Queen Bee Half Marathon in Cincinnati in October! :)

21 more to go!!


The Worst Race Recap Ever

I completed half marathon #7 in my 30 before 30 quest last Sunday, and boy oh boy, it was a hard one. I went in thinking I took too much time off after the Glass Slipper Challenge, because I only started running again less than a week before this race. And honestly, it’s taken me so long to write this recap because I’m still sore. Them hills are a killer.

Up until two nights before the race, I was thinking it was a relatively flat course, with only a few bridge hills. And then a friend informed me that no, it was very hilly and would be really hard. I’ve driven the main road of the course hundreds of times before and not once did i realize that it wasn’t flat. I thought I was screwed because I loathe running up hills.

The day before the race, we found out that they had to close part of the course because the Ohio River is INSANELY flooded right now (like, the most flooded it has been in over 20 years). There wasn’t enough time for them to get a permit for us to run on any other roads, so we were going to have to run part of the course twice. The already hilly course just got hillier.

Race morning rolls around and although I slept like crap, I feel pretty good. I took my pre-race drug concoction of two pepto and two aleve which worked out really well for me during the glass slipper challenge. My friends and I drove downtown and walked to the start line. They’re a lot faster than I am, so once the race started, they sped off and I maintained my 12 minute mile pace.

No shock that the first mile was my fastest at 11:29. It included a pretty significant downhill portion, and my first mile is usually my fastest. Around the first water stop, I was trying to speed walk and take my throw-away sweatshirt off, and somehow messed up my headphones. After panicking until mile 2 that I would have to finish this with no music, I realized I just turned down the volume all the way. ha oops. (no shock that my second mile was my slowest while I tried to figure this out)

Now, the “new” race course included an out and back INSIDE the already out and back course. We basically ran miles 1-4 out the same road, turned around and ran back to mile 6, then turned BACK around and ran the same road back to the original turn around. It got really crowded once the fast people were turning around at mile 6 and trying to run with the slow people like me. Granted, this was the only way it could be done, but it was just messy. Not to mention my miles 6-8 were running straight into the sun. Not fun.

My goal time for this race was 2:45, and I crossed the finish line in 2:42:11. I was SO excited about my new PR… until I realized I would likely be in the bottom of my division, and the entire race for that matter. I ran a 2:47 at the Princess and was in the top 25% of my age group, and here I run a better time and I finish in the bottom 10 of my division. I mean, the Princess has at least 10 times more runners, and picture and character stops, etc. But, I was a little bummed that my “great” time really wasn’t that great. At least I’m getting faster.

All that being said, I will not be running this race again. The course was tough, crowd support was practically non-existent, and it was seriously disorganized. Granted, part of that is because of extenuating circumstances surrounding the flooding. But regardless. There weren’t even mile markers after mile 4. Can’t blame the flood for that . Unless they were washed away by the river, in which case, go buy some poster board and make some signs. Not to mention there were no photographers and the medal is probably my least favorite of the 7 I have so far.

AHA Heart Medal

I have half #8 coming up in a few weeks, and I’m training to finish in under 2:30 so I can submit a better proof of time for the Disney Wine and Dine in November (which will be half #10!!!).

Race-Cation Recap

What do you do when it’s -10 degrees outside in Ohio and you’re in need of some serious Vitamin D? Grab your bestie and head to Orlando, of course!

Now, this little vacation had been planned since July, but the fact that it felt like NEGATIVE 25 degrees outside made the idea of Florida in February that much more appealing.

I was headed down to do the Disney Princess Half Marathon for the third year in a row. It’s seriously my favorite race of all time… And I’ll probably go temporarily insane when registration opens up again for next years race and sign up again. Krystal came with me for moral support, and because I promised her we could go to Harry Potter World. Probably more the latter than the former ;)

We landed Friday around lunchtime and after checking in at Disney’s Saratoga Springs, we made our way over to the race expo. I picked up my Glass Slipper Challenge bib and the shirts, and we shopped around a little bit. Then we both met our Prince Charming and we all lived happily ever after. The End.

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Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.54.56 AMKidding. I wish. We made our way over to Downtown Disney for an early dinner and some shopping. My favorite purchase of the day was my “Chip” mug from Beauty and The Beast. I may or may not be sipping my hot cider from it as I write this :)

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 10.31.09 AM

I was exhausted and had a very early wake-up call on Saturday morning, so we headed back to the hotel around 8. I slept great, and woke up at 3:15 ready to run 6.2 miles. It was a tad colder than I would have liked, but I was plenty prepared with throw-away clothes and blankets. I ran my fastest 10K ever at 1:13, and was SO excited! On the boardwalk, I stumbled upon my favorite race sign ever:

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After a quick shower, we were on our way to Harry Potter World!!! Even though I’ve been twice already, I hadn’t been to the new addition of Diagon Alley. We went to Universal first, and then took the Hogwarts Express to Islands of Adventure.

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Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.28.46 AMI’m obsessed with my new Gryffindor sweatshirt!

We walked around Islands of Adventure a few times, and then after spending 7 hours there, we decided to head back to the hotel. After a quick dinner, I was asleep before 9pm. I had another early wake-up call and 13.1 more miles to run!

Sunday morning was a lot warmer than Saturday morning was, and I was way over-dressed while waiting in the corrals for the race to start. I ran a strong first 5k at 37:14. I had to make a bathroom stop around mile 4, which took about 5 minutes (it couldn’t wait!), so my 10k time was a little slower at 1:17:07. And the second half of the race was a little slower than the first half, mostly because it was warming up a lot and I was getting tired. I finished with a time of 2:47:05, almost 20 minutes ahead of my previous half time of 3:06!! I had hoped to finish under 2:45, but didn’t because of that long bathroom stop. Unfortunately, all my pictures from during the race were taken in Snapchat, and I either forgot to download them, or they didn’t save. Majorly depressing.

After a good foam roll and a shower, we checked out of the hotel and went to celebrate at The Cheesecake Factory! We wanted a margarita and a place to sit outside. I probably consumed all of the calories I burnt during the race, but who cares. We hung around outside at a Panera for a half-hour or so before we had to go to the airport :(

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.43.14 AMScreen Shot 2015-02-23 at 10.34.33 AMoops. bought too much stuff

Such a fun race! Such a fun weekend! And I get to add these three shiny medals to my medal rack!

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I’m already thinking I want to do the Princess again next year. Someone talk me out of it!




Runners Tell All – A Link-Up

I’ve been passively following along with The Lady Okie‘s Runners Tell All monthly link-up. Mostly because I’ve never considered myself enough of a runner to contribute a blog post to the link-up, and up until this point, I’ve been content just reading what others have to say. I particularly liked THIS post from Amanda about poop.

Except this month’s topic is “Share a Running Picture” … And during my race from earlier this month, someone snapped my favorite running picture of me… ever. Most of my pictures from races turn out truly horrific.

But first, you’re going to need a little race recap to understand the feeling behind the photo…

Y’all know I love runDisney races, but man, you have to get up real early for them. You have to be on the bus early and at the pre-race location early and in your corral early or else you simply can’t run. The flying pig was SO different. I guess living close to downtown helps.. But I left my apartment at 5:20, found a parking spot right next to the finish line at 5:25, and was at the starting line at 5:40… And the race didn’t even start until 6:30.

I’m going to preface the rest of this by saying I am not a fast runner… I started out running with the 2:45 pace group, thinking I’d be able to stick with them at least until the hills, and then I might fall a little behind. I was going strong as we crossed the first and second mile markers in Kentucky, and then it all went south for me. First, my entire body started itching. Like, I probably looked like a crazy person running and scratching my arms, legs, head, face, etc. In hindsight, it was probably because of the sweat, but I was convinced I was having some kind of psychotic episode. THEN, my KT tape started peeling. Probably from the sweat and the itching. I couldn’t peel it all the way off, so I just left it flap around. Meanwhile, I was running and itching and trying to keep my tape from peeling for about a mile before all the multitasking caused me to trip. And while I didn’t actually fall down, my foot didn’t quite feel the same after. I slowed down a little bit heading back into Ohio and through downtown because I knew if I kept up my pace, my foot would become a big problem real fast. At 4.5 miles I texted my mom and said “4.5, my foot hurts”.

I kept a 13ish minute mile pace through about mile 7. Then the longest of the hills came. Mile 7 was my slowest at 16:08, and the only thing I could think while running walking up the hill was “ow, ow, ow, i think it’s broken, ow. keep going.” That’s when I saw two of my friends waiting to cheer me on (Thanks Abby and Ryan!!!). I wanted to hug them, but I was all sweaty. I managed a high-five, said something about thinking my foot was broken and then attempted to run a few steps before the pain was too agonizing.

The rest of the race was either flat or downhill, which I thought would be a welcomed change… But the constant pounding of my foot on the ground sent shooting pains up through my ankle and into my calves. By mile 12 I was struggling. I was running 10 seconds, walking 10 seconds, because I knew I was approaching my former PR, and I wanted to beat it. I previously set my PR at the Niagara Falls Half when I was running with a hurt back, and I knew I could push through this to beat that time. (Remember, I’ve only done 4 of these, and I’m not very fast).

Right before the 13 mile marker, I ran into an “unofficial hydration station” that was handing out beer. (!!!!!!!!!!!) I chugged mine, and ran as fast as I could for the finish. One of my sorority sisters was at the finish line cheering on her husband and I came out of my finish-line trance long enough to hear her shout my name and turn to see her waving, and that gave me that extra push for the finish… THANKS AMY JO! :)

And now, for my picture. I wore the shirt from my church’s running group, and there was someone snapping pictures of everyone wearing these shirts along the course. He got this picture of me crossing the finish line, eyes closed, taking in that moment…

Flying Pig Finish

I hope the feeling of crossing the finish line never gets old. I’ll keep racing until it does… Even if it means being slow.