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Blog Entries posted by NCAthlete

  1. NCAthlete
    Vertical Mile Challenge – June 15, 2019
    Rocky Face Park | Hiddenite, NC
    Race 6/12 for 2019 goal! Halfway there!

    It’s been a minute since I’ve written anything, and that’s because my world has changed quite a bit in the last month. I’m now living back in my home state of North Carolina, and have a lot of time on my hands while I find a job. I haven’t been using all that time to run though. I’ve let the stress of everything (that I’ll write about some time) get to me and haven’t used running as an outlet for it, for some reason. Nonetheless, I was signed up to run the VMC and I wasn’t about to puss out of it – trained or not.
    An abbreviated version of the history of the race goes like this: In 2011, some dudes wanted to create a race in where you complete 5,280′ of vertical in the shortest distance possible. They happened upon a park that is 15 minutes from where I grew up, and voila! 2.2 mile loops, eight times, for 16 miles and 5,280′ of vert. All aboard the pain train!
    Jenster is the one that told me about this race. It was only $25 to register and is SO close to where I’m living and grew up. It was such a no brainer! I hadn’t ran in three weeks leading up to the race and finally got in a few runs the week of the race. My niece and nephew are great running motivators and ask me every day if we can go running!

    Jenster and I
    The race started at 8am, so I got up at 5:45 so that I could leave by 6:30, get a great parking spot, and pick up my packet. It was a cool morning, and in the upper 50’s when I got there. There were just over 200 people running, which is the biggest group they’ve had thus far. Word is getting out, apparently. There were plenty of PoPs and a bathroom so I even got to use a real toilet! The smaller size of this race was perfect.

    This shows the bit of pavement we had to run on and the part of the rock that people climb.
    Not knowing a bit of the course or exactly what to expect, I started in the middle of the pack. We ran for less than a quarter of a mile on pavement and then hit the trail. Right away you could see there were going to be lots of roots – they had spray painted most of them bright orange. It was crowded up until we reached the rock face about half a mile in. I was not warmed up enough before we started the hike uphill.

    My first start up the hill
    While it was still cool, you could tell that rock was going to heat up quick – there wasn’t a breeze yet either. The straight uphill portion was at least a half a mile long and felt like it’d never end. I was using the footwork I’d learned while mountaineering in the snow – taking sideways steps so that I didn’t burn up my calves. Others were also using the switchback strategy so as not to go straight up the rock, which I did some as well. There wasn’t a trail so you just made your own way up the rock face.

    At the top, they had a water only station that was stocked with ice cold water. It tasted like the best water I’d ever had in my life.

    When you get to the top, you run through the woods briefly and get to another small rock portion, then hit the woods again and start going downhill. There were lots of switchbacks, rocks, and roots. This was a great way to start my NC racing again! I actually missed those roots! Towards the end of the loop, you come to another rocky portion and this is the portion you can see from the parking lot. This is also the portion that people rock climb on.

    There was a really steep part that was killer on the feet and toes! Just before you get to the start/finish line, there are some rock stairs and then you’re back on the pavement. At the start/finish, there is a bigger aid station with food and other drinks. I didn’t get anything after the first loop and just kept going. I should also note that when I crossed the line, my watch was reading just under 2 miles.

    Just after I started the second loop, I tripped and fell. I wasn’t picking my feet up enough, caught my toe on a root and BOOM! It was enough to scrape the skin off the top of my left knee (the knee that ALWAYS takes the hits!) and a little off my other knee too. My left wrist was what I caught myself with so it was a little scraped up as well. I didn’t run nearly enough trails in CO so I’m going to love getting use to it again! NC trails are far better than CO trails, in my opinion. Anywho, I had a few people ask me if I was ok and I gave them a thumbs up. It hurt for maybe a 10th of a mile and then it was fine! Just a flesh wound! I told one of them that I was due for some trail rash.

    Scraped the skin right off!
    It wasn’t long before I started seeing people getting treated by medical folks. I was also hearing that they had received a 911 call from someone and were looking for them. Shit was getting real and we were all starting to see and feel the effects of the terrain and heat. I didn’t consume anything besides water until after the third loop, which was a Huma gel and half a banana. When I hit the halfway mark, it was just over two hours and I ate a lot more. I grabbed some Gatorade, a pickle chunk, half a banana, and took a packet of 3 salt tabs. It hadn’t even dawned on me that I should have brought more salt tabs. I was lucky I even had the one pack.

    This was definitely early on in the race… haha!
    I had been playing leap frog with several people and kept seeing the same faces. The winner had finished before I even hit the halfway mark. I was also getting lapped by some folks as well. At this point, it was hard to tell who was on what lap and you didn’t really know unless you asked. A lady came up from behind me on the first or second lap and was asking me what model of Altras I was wearing. She said she’d never heard of the Timps and would be looking into getting some. We’d run into each other during all but the last two laps and she’d started calling us the Altra gals. She would pass me on the uphill and I would pass her on the downhill. I even started to “ribbet” when I went by her – haha! That 57 year young lady ended up beating me by 20 minutes! By the way, that’s the farthest I’ve ever run in the Altras and they were great!

    I’m on the far left
    I started off fueling well but didn’t continue to. I wasn’t taking in nearly enough when I needed to. I was only drinking a cup of Gatorade and eating half a banana. One of the laps I dipped a potato in salt and ate that – all that salt tastes so gross! The sixth lap was the worst and I was feeling pretty bad by the end of the seventh lap. I had been feeling like I was going to cramp up since the halfway mark, and I was just hoping and praying that it’d hold off – that could be a serious game changer. I even thought about this race possibly being my very first DNF. My back was also getting super tight and I kept having to bend over to stretch it out.

    However, my brother, sister-in-law, and three kiddos had come out to see me finish! They were there in time to see me start the last lap. I got some food and talked to them for a minute. My nephew and nieces didn’t know what to think about how I looked and that I was scarfing down watermelon, pickles, and banana and drinking Gatorade – all of which I could barely carry over to the bench, haha! By that time, I was averaging 40-45 minute loops so I told them I’d be back in about that amount of time. As soon as I took off for the last loop, I felt re-energized and great! Seeing them was what I needed to finish strong! There was a much smaller field at that point, and I felt like I was way in the back of finishers. I was letting the aid station volunteers know that it’d luckily be the last time I saw them!
    When I crossed the finish line in 4:46, my family was there to record me finishing. My nephew thought my bloody knee was the coolest and he was getting down really close to look at it. He hugged me and told me he was proud of me, dawwww!

    It’s over!
    Race Stats:
    Starters: 203 | Finishers: 184 | Gender Place: 25/48 | Overall Place: 128/184
    Garmin Distance: 16 miles (supposed to be 17.4) | Garmin Vertical: 4,091′ (not 5,280′)
    I noticed a comment on Strava that the course has been off every year and that everyone always gets the vertical amount that I got. That is WAY off, by more than 1,000′! I wasn’t getting the 2.2 miles per loop either. I thought that I wasn’t getting a good GPS signal. Maybe that’s still true? Surely it wouldn’t be off that much and they still claim it as a vertical mile race…. who knows.
    Post Race
    It’s been three days since the race and I have been SORE AF! Getting on and off the toilet is THE WORST. This is certainly in the top of times that I have been the most sore. This time last year I ran the Leadville Heavy Half and I think I was this sore after that as well. I plan to run this race again next year so this will just be the weekend of pain from here on out! I’d love to make this a yearly occurrence! I also plan to get out there and run and hike the course as often as possible. It’s so close! Hopefully I’ll actually be ready for it next year.
    I haven’t signed up for a July race yet but it will likely be a 5K with my 8 YEAR OLD NEPHEW!! Yaaaaassssss!
  2. NCAthlete
    Colorado Women’s Classic – 10 miler | Westminster, CO | May 12, 2019
    Race 5/12 for 2019
    When one chooses to sign up for a race, the results of that race will directly reflect the training you put into getting ready for it – barring any unforeseen, unfortunate circumstances. My result of this race directly reflected my lack of running, as of late. Nonetheless, I have completed my May race and my 5th of the year! I’m still on track to complete one race each month for the year, so I am happy with another successful race finish! Not every race this year will be amazing, and some will be used as reference points and motivation to stay on track.
    One of my best good buds, Erin (the one you constantly read about in my FBF and TBT posts!), came to visit me over the weekend! It was a short trip, and we only had all day Saturday to spend together, but it’s always amazing to see her for any amount of time. I wanted to make sure she had a great Colorado experience and to make the most of the day we had. I took her up Chimney Gulch to Lookout Mountain in Golden to have a nice overlook of some of the Rockies, Boulder, and Denver.

    Re-u-nited and it feeeeels so good!
    It was a decent hike that I could feel on my legs the next morning. After that, we went to a local brewery for some beer and got a cheeseburger and fries from a food truck. Later that day, we both got plates of BBQ and sides to take to another local brewery for more beer and games. I tell you this because these food choices definitely effected how I felt on race day.

    Erin and I got up at 5:25 on Sunday morning and was off to the airport by 5:45 – she was leaving already! I headed to the race right after dropping her off, and wasn’t feeling so hot. I didn’t have any solid plans to meet anyone at the race, so I got there early, got my stuff, and just sat in my truck. After the announcer needing to announce where the PoPs were, I quickly used one. What’s with the weird PoP situations at races lately?! Ha!

    See the PoPs way back there behind the cars? This was up a hill from the race start. Weird spot.
    I did call my mom to wish her Happy Mother’s Day! The temp was in the low 50’s and after starting, I regretted wearing capris and not shorts – at least I had on a tank. It wasn’t a big race so I started towards the front, just so I wouldn’t have to weed through too many people. I planned to start out a little fast, and then settle into something comfortable. I forgot my watch so I was using the Strava app on my phone to track my run. It was tucked away in my FlipBelt and I never looked at it once. I knew I was probably running mid to low 8’s and miles 1 – 2 were 8:23 and 8:25.

    Right after the start: I am between the pink shirt and red tank girls. I was just about to cut over behind the gal in the pink pants so I could pass.

    I’m loving my new Goodrs! They are some of the mirrored ones  
    This course was one of the more boring ones I’ve ever run. It was very exposed, no shade, and there was construction throughout – a lot of the dirt shoulders were uneven due to construction. The sun was right in our faces the whole first half and it was quickly draining me of energy. I didn’t bring anything with me so I took cups of Nuun at every aid station starting at 3. I knew I was going too fast, but I’ve been able to hold the faster paces lately without bombing. Miles 3 – 5 were 8:38, 8:46, 8:43. I was starting to feel everything at the 5 mile turnaround and I was getting REALLY hot. My feet were hurting which tells me I need to stop running in my Nike Pegasus 34’s – but I like them better than the 35’s! Boohoo.

    Right after the 5 mile turnaround, we cut right and were on a packed gravel trail. Yes! A break from the pavement! It was welcomed but I was fading. The sun just felt sooooo hot – I think it was only in the lower 60s but that’s getting hot to us CO folks! The gravel only lasted for a mile and I started taking my first walk breaks around mile 6. This was way too early to start walking. Miles 6 – 7 were 9:45 and 9:43. When we got back out to the pavement, I felt done. Why didn’t I do the 10K?! But thank heavens it’s not a half marathon! I probably walked a couple of times during each of the last three miles. I was over it and just wanted to finish. I got a, “Hang in there!” from one lady that passed me. Ugh. Miles 8 – 10 were 10:24, 10:17, 10:13.

    You can see some of the construction crap strewn about.
    With maybe .05 to go, I could hear someone speeding up behind me and knew she was definitely planning to sprint by me at the finish. Now, I hate it when people suddenly pick up the pace to sprint at the end of a race (when you were running slow before that), because if you have that much energy left, why not use it during the race?? HOWEVER, I wasn’t getting passed right at the end. I felt like shit but I wasn’t letting her by me. So I sprinted to the finish and didn’t let her pass me. I never looked back to see who it was, haha! I DID look at the results and saw that it was a 54 year young lady! You go girl!   Finish time: 1:33:18 | 9:18 pace | 34/148 ladies | 7th in 30-39 AG
    They boasted about how much food there would be at the finish, but it was a total letdown. I did get a tiny cupcake that I killed in one bite, and half a banana, but the other few things I saw were packaged bars. I grabbed a bar and then left. I didn’t want to hang around. I didn’t feel very well the rest of the day but did manage to kill some sushi (a combo of four salmon nigiri pieces and then two other salmon rolls!) at lunch.
    Even though this race sucked ballz, I am glad to have successfully finished another race. I was due for a blowup and am surprised it hadn’t come sooner. Heat and tummy issues didn’t help, but I ran what I trained for! They can’t all go perfectly but we learn something from all of them. Next up in June, The Vertical Mile Challenge! EEEK!
  3. NCAthlete
    Since I have a 10 miler coming up this weekend (Colorado Women’s Classic – my May race!), I thought I’d share this enthusiastic race report. I’ve been under the weather this week, and have been dealing with some heavy stress (which is probably why I’ve been sick), so I’m not expecting this weekend’s race to be quite as awesome as this one was. Nonetheless, I get to JFR around a bunch of awesome, inspiring women on Mother's Day!
    Raven Rock Rumble 10 miler – Lillington, NC
    November 20, 2010
    The weather was absolutely perfect for the run on Saturday. It wasn’t too chilly (upper 40’s) and the sun was blaring. My friend Erin and I drove the 1:15 to the race location and walked the 1/4 mile to the sign-in table. It was a nice warm up! I decided to run in shorts and a sleeveless shirt because I knew I’d warm up after the first mile. Everyone else was all bundled up with their gloves and beanies looking at me like I was nuts. I started off kind of fast and knew that I should slow down. I couldn’t get myself to do it because I feel like a gazelle when I’m running on trails! Plus, right from the beginning it was single track and we were running single file. I would dart out and around someone the first chance I got.
    The trails were magnificent and covered with wet leaves. The wet leaves made it hard to see the roots that were sticking up in the path. Many people ate it, more than once, including Erin! There were some crazy hills and one even included some steps; the ones that take two steps per stair. That hill kept going and going and going! I actually ended up passing a lot of people on the hills. I couldn’t get myself to walk up them knowing I was in a race. I’m too competitive!
    At the turnaround I saw that I was the 8th female and knew I could catch a few of them. I passed several of them on the hills and just kept going. Throughout, I stumbled about four times, the last one being the almost fall but I never fell. Luckily! I did tell Erin that she was “officially” a trail runner because she fell and had blood  

    Erin’s trail rash!
    The last hill was kicking my butt and I ended up walking for about 10 seconds. I had to keep going though because I knew if I walked for too long, it would be hard to start back up again. I finished in 1:26:47 – 1/6 in the 25-29 age group, and 3rd woman!!!

    They jacked up the results and left me out somehow. They recorded my time and are in the process of getting it sorted out I did get a beanie and a cool Montrail T-shirt  
    I had a great race and am so proud of myself!! Yay me!

  4. NCAthlete
    Novo Nordisk New Jersey Half Marathon ~ Oceanport, NJ ~ April 28, 2019
    Race 4/12

    Jersey Shore!
    Fourth race of the year, COMPLETE! I have successfully ran a race each month for the year so far! It’s such a fun goal and I’m having so much fun completing it! That’s the point, right?! For this race, I would be meeting some great running pals and visiting/running in a new state!
    Post Race: Since I’m a pinny-pincher when it comes to travelling, I purchased an $89 round-trip redeye ticket from Denver to Philly. I landed in Philly at 5am on Friday and would then be waiting on Sara to arrive around 8:30. Gwen graciously agreed to pick us up at the airport and drive us to Asbury Park – thank you again, Gwen! Let me tell you something about the Philly airport, in case this might come in handy for you someday. When you leave the secure area and head to baggage claim, you’d better grab some coffee and food beforehand if you plan to hang around for a bit. There is NOTHING when you enter the unsecure area – vending machines, but that’s IT. Since I had checked a bag, I wanted to make sure I grabbed it right away, but didn’t know I was doing so without the chance of coffee. Sitting around for almost four hours was brutal, it being that early and having not slept at all.  I totally signed up to be there that long which I am FINE with, but that liquid magic would have made it easier. Sara was AWESOME enough to grab me a coffee after she landed – thank you again, Sara!

    Sunset Park, close to the hotel
    Once we got to Asbury Park, the three of us had lunch at the Robinson Ale House (go there!) and then Sara and I checked into The Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel. Later, we met John and Greg to pick up our packets and then had dinner. Sara and I had talked about going up to NYC on Saturday, but I just didn’t feel like there was enough time to really make that trip worthwhile. I’d rather be able to spend several days there when I finally get to go – someday. We had brunch and walked around Asbury Park a bit, took naps, greeted Abby at the hotel and went back to the expo with her, then met everyone for beer and dinner. The Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten was awesome and we had fun there! I definitely recommend it.

    Sara, John, and Greg at dinner Friday night. This was my first time meeting Greg and he was OSOM!
    So, it is not unusual for me to have tummy issues post-race, but it isn’t the norm to have tummy issues the days before the race. I’ve been dealing with some very stressful things lately (that I will write about eventually) so I think that was the culprit. I didn’t feel well Friday and most of Saturday and was very worried that I was going to have a terrible race on Sunday. I also hadn’t been sleeping well the last couple weeks and also didn’t sleep well Friday or Saturday.

    Flat Chris, minus the long sleeve
    Race Day: We woke up at 4:45, got dressed (long shorts and compression socks, tank and really thin long-sleeved shirt) and headed out the door for coffee. I was feeling ok but wasn’t able to go to the bathroom before the race started. After sitting in traffic FOREVER (even though we were early), we got to the parking lot. We were funneled into a security checkpoint where they checked our gear check bags and made sure we weren’t carrying any other prohibited bags/items. There were cops everywhere! They made Sara take her purse back to the car! Once through security, we immediately saw the plentiful PoPs but the ENORMOUS lines of people waiting. Abby said this perfectly in her blog, but it seemed like everyone running the race was in line for the PoPs. There just wasn’t enough time to wait, and I really had to pee after the coffee and water I had. I finally ate a Nature Valley peanut butter ‘biscuit’ as my only pre-race food. I checked my bag (that had a change of clothes in it) and Abby and I headed to Corral 4. We were already unimpressed with the traffic/parking/PoP shit show, and then get in Corral 4 to see that we are BEHIND the 2 hour pacer! WTF?

    Corral 4 selfie with Abby
    My plan was to keep up with Abby as long as possible and then do my own thing when/if I needed to. John managed to find us in the corral and started with us as well. It was a little chilly/breezy at the start but manageable. I luckily thought to bring a small headband to cover my ears because I needed it (and then lost it during the race!). We headed off and were immediately in a cluster of people – it remained that way for quite a while. It still pisses me off that slower people end up in corrals that they shouldn’t be in. They have corrals for a reason, people. We had to weave in and out of people for more than a mile to even get a little bit of room. Abby and I still had to pee so when we saw some PoPs coming up at mile 2, we headed over to use them. After opening up the door on a guy who’d been unresponsive and forgot to lock the door, we were back in the race in no time. Miles 1-3: 8:52, 8:26, and 9:44.

    Got lucky with a successful in-motion selfie! This is my chinning photo, haha! So hot.
    We both felt so much better after using the PoP, and I was actually feeling really good – no tummy issues. We were able to maintain a little bit and stayed somewhat consistent. Miles 4-6: 8:23, 8:22, 8:35 (‘hill’). I think I took my first and only Huma+ gel around the 10K point.

    I could tell I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them for too much longer so I dropped back around mile. Miles 7-10: 8:33, 8:24, 8:38, 8:49. The course was super flat but I was just running out of steam. My feet were also getting sore from not running much lately.
    I think it was somewhere around mile 11 that Abby all of a sudden pops up from behind me! My first thought was, WTF are you doing here? – and then I knew she had to take a PoP break. Around here, we don’t call mid-run poops Code Abby’s for nothing! We ran together for about a mile and then I needed a walk break. She doesn’t know this yet, but I took that break so she would take off without me. If I hadn’t I knew she would stay back with me when I knew she could just finish strong, and I also knew that I didn’t have any kick left for the final mile. Most importantly, I had to fart and it was one of those you had to stop running to make happen, HAHA! Which actually didn’t even happen because I thought I might shit myself instead. You needed to know that, right?) It would have been great to finish with her, but I’m glad she was able to turn on the afterburners for the last mile! Miles 11-13: 9:00, 9:04, 8:54 (see, no kick). I ended with 13.27 miles at 1:56:07 – not bad for barely running lately AND a PoP stop! I will take it! It beats my February 13.1 time by almost a minute!

    It was cloudy like that the whole time!
    Post-Race: I grabbed a salty, soft pretzel and some Gatorade and immediately saw Abby and John. We walked over to the gear check area and changed into some dry clothes. However, I forgot the most important piece of dry clothing that I needed – UNDIES! UGH! Another weird logistical part of this race was having to leave your gear back in the changing area – you couldn’t take it and go back to where the beer was. You could only take it with you out the exit. After changing, we went over to the too small, gated off beer area. I already started feeling bad again and didn’t even want a beer. I was struggling because I was also starting to get cold. After waiting about an hour and a half for everyone to finish and have their beers, and not wanting to take the shuttle bus back to the start, we took an Uber back to the start area, and then drove back to the hotel. I took a hot shower and laid under the covers until I warmed up. We had lunch at the Robinson Ale House (third time eating there!) where I got a GIANT Vermont Cheddar grilled cheese with apple butter and bacon, and the best tomato bisque soup I’ve ever had (seriously). Oh and some fried calamari! After saying goodbye to everyone, we chilled out in the room for a bit and then went to Cookman Creamery (go there!) where I got some amazing honey lavender ice cream. I still wasn’t feeling great, and hadn’t even had a beer yet, but I was determined to get ice cream. Ice cream > beer

    I did finally have beers later that night
    All in all, it was a successful race, I got to hang out with some amazing people, visit and run in a new state, and had a blast despite feeling like crap a majority of the time! I doubt I’d run this race again, but the race shirt is probably my favorite one ever received and the medal was cool!

    The hotel

    Asbury Convention Center
  5. NCAthlete
    2019 Goal: 12 races in 12 months
    It’s April and I thought I’d check in on my running goal for the year. I’ve run 3/12 races so far – one each month – and my next one is this weekend! This has turned into my only big goal for 2019 – the only other one that remains is PRing at the Rehoboth half marathon. I’m excited about this calendar! It’s not a complete calendar yet but I’m getting close! Here’s what it looks like:
    January: Resolve 10K (CO) – DONE! Fun run with Kelli and Amy!
    February: Ralston Creek 13.1 (CO) – DONE! 1st in the 35-39 Age Group!
    March: Dig Deep 5K Dirt Coffee (CO) – DONE! I was supposed to run the Behind the Rocks 30K but I [smartly] backed out. Since this is the second time I’ve signed up for and not ran this race, I won’t be registering again – I believe in signs from the universe! The DD5K was a great little race!
    April: New Jersey Half Marathon (NJ) – Registered! So excited for this one! To JFR and to hang out with some running friends in the NJ/NYC area! I might try to keep up with Abby…we’ll see. Race report will be posted next week. May: Colorado Women’s Classic 10 miler (CO) – Planning to register on Monday! I love 10 milers and I haven’t done one in a while. I also have never ran a women’s race either, and I think it’s time! Another thing that really reels me in is this description: “SO MUCH FOOD in the expo.  No, seriously, SOOO MUCH FOOD…vegan, paleo, gluten free, sweet & sugary, carbs, proteins, electrolytes, dairy, fruit…..SO.VERY.MUCH.FOOD. I am hoping to meet up with some Oiselle Team Volee birds at this race since I’ll be going by myself. Oh yeah, I joined Team Volee! I should probably write about that sometime… June: Vertical Mile Challenge (NC) – Registered! This race is 15 minutes from where my family lives AND one of my best good running pals (Jenster) will be there, so I feel like this is a no-brainer. HOWEVER, I will be running eight 2.2 mile loops, totaling 16 miles, AND a vertical mile of elevation gain! It’s gonna hurt, but BRING ON THE PAIN! Oh, and it was $25! July: OPEN August: OPEN September: Hinson Lake 24 Hour (NC) – Waitlisted. This race is certainly a perfect atmosphere for JFRing, and I’ll have a lot of friends to cheer on! October: Runner’s World Festival (PA) – Registered! I’ll be doing the Grand Slam which is a 3.8 trail race on Friday, a 5K AND 10K on Saturday, and a 13.1 on Sunday! Who doesn’t want to run 26.2 within three days?! Since I won’t be running it in a single day, it won’t mess up my plans to JFR. I miiiiight know some other cool kids doing this one too   November: OPEN December: Rehoboth Beach 13.1 (DE) – Registered (duh)! The open months will likely have to be a local race unless I happen to be traveling somewhere where I can also run a race. I won’t be able to travel quite as much as I had wanted since I’ve picked up a car payment again. Three open months out of the 12 isn’t bad though!
    If you have any races to suggest for the open months, let’s hear it!!

  6. NCAthlete
    I was never into golf growing up. I always thought it was the most boring sport on earth. I've actually never liked watching sports that I wasn't good at playing myself - golf (love now), tennis (love now), and basketball (that one I still can't watch) mainly. However, the last few years, I've started paying attention to golf and tennis. I actually really like watching golf on Sundays and I can even name quite a few players! I know little history about any of the players, but I'm learning. I learned a LOT about Tiger Woods this weekend, and all that he has gone through over the last decade+. Wow.
    Bless that man for all that he has accomplished, all that he has dealt with and overcome, and for what he did on Sunday. He isn't perfect, just like the rest of us, but he is an amazing athlete! And unlike Lance Armstrong, I can over look some of the unpleasantries.
    While I have/will never compete with the elites, win any titles, or anything huge in running, I feel that I can somewhat relate to Tiger - it certainly brought up some feelings. I have those feelings of never again being as fast as I want to be, being able to run marathons/ultras again, or that I'll never be that pumped up, super motivated, happy runner again. 
    Age. Fear. Doubt. Other People. Uncertainty. Lots of beasts out there trying to keep me off track.
    At least I know there is always hope out there. If you believe in yourself and your abilities, you can do anything you want. I have always known that. It takes hard work and determination though, that which I currently lack the will for. But that will not always be the case. I will find myself again. 
    Congratulations Tiger!
  7. NCAthlete
    For March, I barely ran just over marathon distance the whole month and only ran six times. But you know what? They were all happy runs! I had definitely thought I’d run more than six times but that’s how it worked out and I’m good with it! I really feel that March was a chill out and reflect month because I certainly did a lot of both. I’ve been taking the barbell and spin classes regularly, and had many dog-walking miles that add up. JFRing + enjoyable classes + dogs = HAPPY PLACE
    I also chose not to run the 30K that I was signed up for and highly untrained for. Sometimes you really DON’T need to suck it up and tough it out. Since I didn’t run the 30K, I still needed a March race so I signed up for a local 5K that was held on Saturday. Dirt Coffee is a local non-profit coffee shop whose proceeds go towards employee people with autism and providing scholarships to families in need and their caregivers. So grateful that my registration fee went towards that as well!!

    Friday night, we got about 3″ of snow at our house. When I headed out for the 5K, it was quit chilly but really clear and crisp. The ground and trees were covered in snow, but the roads and greenways were clear – that’s my kind of snow! This was going to be a small race (64 people actually) so I didn’t feel the need to get there too early and even picked up my bib that morning. I parked on the street, right beside a McDonalds, and was able to use their bathroom – SCORE! I had on a thin base-layer top, tights, and my owl earmuffs and felt pretty comfortable.

    Owl earmuffs! They are unbelievably warm!
    My goal was to go fast and just try to maintain it. Even though I hadn’t been running much, and certainly not doing any speed work, I knew I could still run a decent race. The trails were completely clear except for under and over bridges; I think the wind had blown while it was snowing because it blew some underneath the bridges – I did have to slow down a tad for those. As usual during races, I was chasing ponytails. I can tell when I can possibly pick someone off so I just focused on that – everything was feeling great! There was one tiny “hill” where I actually passed three ladies. The next one was up ahead and had a GIANT orange puffy jacket on. If you are good enough to run that fast, don’t you know better than to wear a puffy jacket to run in? Even if it were colder, you wouldn’t choose a puffy jacket, right? I passed her just after the turn-around and I could tell she didn’t like that. She passed me back, but only for like 100 yards. I stepped on the gas and never saw her again. The next one I really wanted to pass was running with TWO dogs, but I just couldn’t catch her. I was losing steam and just held on to what I had left.
    This course was GREAT because, while it was an out and back, you ran beside the Platte river on one side, crossed a bridge, and ran back on the other side; the only part we re-ran was the last quarter mile. I could hear the finish line cheers before I even knew it. 5Ks are tough but MAN they go by fast! Oddly, there was no water at the finish or anywhere on the course – there was coffee though! I didn’t hang around long because I was there by myself and just didn’t want to stick around. The coffee shop was offering a free beer in exchange for your race bib but I like keeping those!

    Results: My pace was actually 8:07 based on the 3.16 my Garmin recorded. Yessssss!
    I loved this race because of all the things I’ve already listed but it was also just very simple. No race shirt (thank you!) unless you paid extra for it, and no finisher medal. I do like my medals but I don’t need one for every single race. Race 3/12 for the year, complete!
    The next day, I ran 6.5 miles at the monthly bRUNch run and had chicken and waffles and a screwdriver afterwards!
    If you’ll notice, there was at least one ! in every paragraph  The NCAthlete in RW Loop writing days use to use a lot of those.... This shit is getttin’ good, folks!
    JFR friends!
  8. NCAthlete
    My brother, Kevin, has three amazing kids: Kolby (8), Kortney (6), and Kacey (2). I am extremely close with them and treat them like they are my own kids. From what I can tell, they absolutely adore me as well and it is such a great feeling. Not only do I always want to be their “cool” aunt but I also want to be their favorite aunt (I have four others to compete with and I’m also the oldest!). Even though I’m older than their other aunts and I’m older than their dad, they think I’m a teenager. It’s the cutest! When it isn’t cute is when they want me to constantly run around the yard with them, jump on the trampoline, and play hide-and-go-seek. Like I can handle all that anymore! Haha! At least they want me to do all those things with them. Among our favorite things to do together (with the two oldest, for now) is run hill repeats on the road right outside my brother’s house. The next best thing is playing at the creek when it’s warm enough.

    I have a history with that little stretch of road. When I was a kid, it was gravel. We would go to the top of the hill and FLY down on our bikes. Then, when we got to the bottom, we’d use those sweet breaks that bikes use to have using the pedals to slide along the gravel. Are there still bikes with those breaks? However, sometimes we would wreck and that is where most* of the scars on my legs/knees came from. I’d come in the house crying with blood running down my legs and bits of gravel protruding from the wounds. I had a love/hate relationship with hydrogen peroxide. I thought it was cool how it’d turn white and bubble up when you poured it in a wound. BUT, we all know what it feels like. OUCH.
    *The biggest scar I have on one of my legs came from when I played on a softball team when I was stationed in England. Some of the infields of certain fields would be completely grass. I was stoopid enough to try to slide for a base on one of those grassy fields and it took the skin COMPLETELY off my leg in about a 6″x 3″ patch! It took forever to heal and I had to sleep with my leg outside the covers for months. It looked SO GROSS before it healed. Fortunately for you all, I’m not sure where that picture is anymore. You can barely see the scar anymore because it’s faded quite a bit.
    At some point they put some kind of tar on the road but it wasn’t completely a hard-top. Then they eventually paved it – it looks like a normal road nowadays.

    That view use to look much different, including the garden and fruit trees that use to be in the yard!
    Even though I played some sports in school, my brother never did. He has always been very athletic, but my mom couldn’t afford for us to do sports. I think now that he has kids, my brother wants to ensure they have every opportunity to be as involved in sports as they want to be. I don’t know how he does it sometimes. Kolby is in baseball, football, and wrestling; Kortney plays t-ball and cheers. I have a feeling that Kortney will get into cheering and just do that eventually. Kolby is a rock star. He is good and usually the best on his team – in EVERY sport! He just started wrestling this year and was undefeated! I’m bummed I didn’t get to see any matches and I never get to watch his games – I do make it to practices, occasionally.

    Kolby and Kevin  

    That’s Kortney with her glove up. She’s gonna be tall like me!
    Kolby LOVES to run with me and always begs me to let him run with me when I’m back home. I was there all of last week and he ran hill repeats with me. I had it in my head that I would do eight repeats and didn’t care what mileage that was. Kolby started out with me and was right beside me most of the time. At times, he would take a quick break at the top of the hill but would catch up to me on the downhill. On the start of one of the inclines, Kolby shouts, “Aunt Lulu*! I think I broke my rib! It hurts really bad – but I can press in on it and it stops hurting!”
    *My grandfather use to call me Lulu which led to everyone else in my mom’s family calling me Lulu. I’m not sure where he got it from. I love it when the kids call me it because before they are able to correctly pronounce it, it comes out Wuwu. My uncle and cousin call me Ruru so it has many pronunciations, haha! My mom’s family is big on nicknames and I love it. My mom is Chock (and we like to say Chock-a-locka), brother is Urkel (yes, after Steve Urkel because he use to make the, “Did I do that?” impressions and pull his pants up! You’re welcome, Kev!), and my uncle is Beezle. I have no clue where some of these names came from but I love it. It made me smile just typing that out.
    Back to Kolby – poor thing had a side stitch! I had to explain to him what that was and that they would come and go AND it wouldn’t’ be the last one he’d ever have. Although I felt really bad for him, it was the cutest thing. Throughout, I kept telling him, “You’ve done a mile!” “There’s two miles!” When we finished the eight repeats, I told him what a great job he had done and that we almost ran three miles! Kolby then says, “Almost three miles? How much more do we need to get to three miles? Can we do that?” I was amazed and so proud that he wanted to keep going, so up the hill we went!

    He was breathing heavy, his cheeks bright red (I think that runs in the family!), and he was wanting water, but he was so proud of running THREE WHOLE MILES! He ran into the house telling everyone what he’d done and then told some kids at school about it the next day. I’m gonna have to get that kid to run a race with me sometime soon! Muhuhahahahaaaa….. <hamster wheel is turning>
    These kids are going to be great athletes and it’s going to be a blast to see it happen. I hope there comes a time in the near future that I can be at their games. Hopefully they also think of me as their aunt that loves sports and running, and will come to me for advice. It’s gonna be fun!
  9. NCAthlete
    When what you love doing becomes not fun anymore, you should take a step back and assess the situation, right? That is what I’ve decided to do with running, except the step back isn’t to not run at all but to just have fun with running again.

    Circa 2011 – North Carolina
    The thought of taking a step back or easing off scared the shit out of me. It wasn’t long ago that I started running consistently again. It was the end of 2017 and it feels just like yesterday. It was a dark time for me. Probably a lot less dark than the dark times of others, but was one of the darkest for me. I lost myself. I lost myself to the point of not knowing if I’d find me again. That’s some scary shit, folks. Since then, any major bumps that I’ve had have jolted me a bit.
    The love of running isn’t a straight or narrow path (Thank You, Jesus! Ok, sometimes it’s a VERY narrow trail  ) and I need to remember that when those bumps happen – not get scared by them. At least I have people in my life that can help me get through any really tough business that I may come across this time.
    I’m officially running the 13.1 in New Jersey (I made the switch just after publishing my last post), and I’m ready to let the JFRing fully begin! Additionally, I had to take some unexpected time off last week because my grandfather passed away. Because of that and some other factors, I am NOT running the 30K in Moab this weekend. This will also be the second time I signed up for and missed this 30K, so I’m taking that as a sign that I shouldn’t do the race ever. Since I still need a March race, I’m going to sign up for a local 5K for March 30 whose proceeds go towards an autism awareness program.
  10. NCAthlete
    I’ve been holding out on switching from the full to the half at New Jersey. But why? I think I was trying to give myself one last hoorah before I call it quits on long distance running (for a while). I also let it float into my mind that I shouldn’t be travelling so far to just run a half marathon (even though I’ve been doing it the past three years for Rehoboth!). Obviously, I haven’t fully embraced the JFR status yet. I’m not allowing myself to just go ahead and do it.
    Deciding to go to New Jersey was more than just about running a marathon. It was to hang out with other cool runners and see that part of the country – and to run, of course. I’ve never been there and have never been to NYC! My dad’s family is actually from Uniondale, NY; they moved to NC when my dad was 12.
    A couple weeks ago, it appeared that my shin splints were coming back; this caused me to become cautious with how far/much I was running. Now that isn’t JFRing, is it? Being cautious has decreased my running mojo and I haven’t ran since Thursday – haven’t done anything else either. I did go back to NC over the weekend, for my grandmother’s birthday, and expected not to do anything anyway.
    So, to kick this JFR thing into full gear I need to pull the trigger on dropping down. (Some of you may be getting tired of reading about JFR, well… I’m getting tired of your FACE. J/K!) I know as soon as I do that, I’ll mentally feel much better and a big weight will be lifted. I like the 13.1 t-shirt better anyway!

    I have enough black t-shirts. That blue though!
    Oh, I do have a little ol’ trail race coming up that I signed up for because I was to have 20 miles on the training plan to run that weekend. I’m still doing it.

    I’m running the 30K option. Moab, baby! March 23rd
  11. NCAthlete
    I go to a local run club on occasion, however, I haven’t been in months. In fact, the last time I went was November 29th! Wowza! I hadn’t realized it’d been that long until I searched for the last one on Strava. I typically run alone unless I go to run club or if I get to runch with my gal pals at work on Fridays. I enjoy getting to share some run time with others and am grateful when it happens.

    The Denver Milk Market and bRUNch Running have teamed up to host a fun brunch run the last Sunday of each month from the Milk Market. This MM is freakin’ awesome and has a bunch of different trendy restaurants to choose from. These are popping up all over the place here in Denver – I think this is the third or fourth one. Anywho, it’s free to run and you get a free drink coupon – basically you get vodka and get to choose what you have it with (Bloody Mary, screwdriver, mimosa, etc.). I’m assuming you could even get a shot if you wanted.
    I went to said run yesterday, for the first time, and there was lots of people watching opportunities – lots of characters to take note of:
    The mid-drift shirt in 30° weather and WAY too much makeup girls The folks that felt the need to bring water bottles to run 5K There’s always the ones that wear giant jackets and end up taking them off two minutes after they start running Guy in the American flag SUPER short, sluttie slutties (shorts). He is actually a run club regular in my other group and wears that same outfit almost every time. A handful of folks from my other run club! The gal that almost ran me over with her double stroller (but, GO MOM!) Nonetheless, all of these characters were out there running and enjoying the beautiful, brisk morning! It was a bit chilly but warmed up within the first half mile. While slow going, it was great to chat with my friends – married couple, Ashley and Tim, and Jess. I had classes with Jess at CU Denver and we’ve been friends since – we actually both work on campus now and she was also in the military. She also just started coming to spin class as the wellness center on Wednesdays! Ashley was my first friend here, who my BFF Erin introduced me to – they grew up together. Ashley and Jess also know each other from school so we’re all familiar!

    Love these gals! (Jess, Ashley, and myself) Behind us is the Moo Bar
    I ordered some OJ to go with my vodka, and also got some chicken and waffles. It was outstanding! The MM is just the coolest and I highly recommend it if you’re ever in the area. I plan to try to go to this run each month!

    Of course there’s a picture. I’m not a dick. Or maybe I am – for showing this deliciousness to you but not being able to offer you any…
  12. NCAthlete
    This one goes back to the days of Just Fucking Running. I rarely cared about my pace and was still fast. This is what I want to get back to…

    Race Report: The News & Observer Old Reliable 10K Run
    Raleigh, NC – November 2011
      Run as fast as you can for as long as you can. That was my motto about 5 minutes after I started the race.
    Since the 50K (North Face Georgia) on October 15th, I’ve ran about five times; junk miles mostly. I wasn’t planning on anything special for this 10K and actually signed up for it at the last minute.
    I maneuvered myself towards the front of the start. I was also starting with the marathon, marathon relay and half-marathoners at the same time. It was a cluster but it still worked out.
    As during most of my races, most of the run was a blur. I get in the zone when I race and get tunnel vision. Unless someone is streaking buck naked or falls and eats it, I’m probably not going to notice. However, as I was running up the first hill, I passed an older gentleman that looked like he was wearing a singlet over a sweater. No, that was just his back hair. He was nice though and told me good job and I said the same back to him. Also at one point, there was a priest standing outside a church blessing all of us : )
    Mile 1- 7:06
    Way faster than I needed to run but I was weaving in and out of folks trying to get ahead and out of the gaggle.
    Mile 2- 6:48
    Whoa Nelly! I looked down at my watch at one point and noticed it said 6:15. What the hell are you doing! You can’t keep that up, you’ll die! Slooooow your roll sister.
    Mile 3- 7:04
    Still faster than I needed to be going. However, I hit the 3 mile mark at 20:57….my 5K PR is 22:39. You do the math. That’s a 5K PR BABY – except it doesn’t count. At least I know I can possibly run a sub 21 5K in the near future!
    Mile 4- 7:04
    I was being very consistent but I started to hit a little wall at this point. The fast pace was finally catching up to me and I was wondering if I’d be able to keep it up a couple more miles.
    Mile 5- 7:19
    A little slower, but I still couldn’t believe I was doing so well! I never expected to do so well during this race after barely running the last few weeks. I just keep surprising myself…..and that doesn’t get old.
    Mile 6- 7:08
    At this point I knew I was going to do well. I hadn’t looked at the total time during the last couple miles so I didn’t know just how well I was doing. I’m terrible at math and never keep track of pace so the finish was a total surprise. The last 0.3 or so was almost all up hill and I was struggling. I didn’t run at a total sprint at the end like I normally do because I had no steam left. Just how I like it.
    Finish time- 44:20 PREVIOUS 10K PR-45:05 from 2007: Put that in your pipe, 26 yr old Chris, and SMOKE IT! 5/244 female overall 1/45 in my age group 30-34 24/487 overall Hell to the yeah! I received two wooden plaques in the mail – One for 1st in my AG and another for being 5th female overall! I have another 10K this Friday. I am a glutton for punishment I guess. I plan to smoke the bags off of this one as well. I did well last year but want to do even better this time. It’s a trail race too! We’ll see!
  13. NCAthlete
    I’ve been thinking about this training plan and marathon business a lot lately, and it’s brought up some interesting thoughts and questions.
    I’ve been a runner since my junior year of high school (1997) – twenty two years. I’ve run at different capacities during my life:
    High school cross-country team where I was flying by the seat of my pants and just doing what my coach told me to do. I don’t remember running much outside of practice and meets, so I was just doing it to be on the team. I did really enjoy it and got a taste of competing, but didn’t know what it really meant to be a runner. I graduated in 1999, started going to community college, and became an occasional runner. I’d run around while playing volleyball and softball, and run a couple miles here and there around campus. I joined the Army in 2001 and got out in 2009. This is when I really learned what running was about. Started running faster and longer – loving competing in races. When I became a competitive runner, I did start looking at training plans with the hopes of following one and that it would make me a better/faster runner. It would typically turn into something like a compass – I would refer to it in terms of where I should be, but it wasn’t something that stressed me out. Why does it stress me out so much now and why do I feel the need to follow it 100%? I think there’s at least a few reasons…
    Moving to Colorado took away my speed and started a downward spiral of getting out of shape. I tried so many things and I just couldn’t get back to where I wanted to be. I thought that by following a training plan it would bring me back. Nope. SO many of you have so much success following training plans and having coaches – some of which also make it look VERY easy to stick to. That would work for me too, right? Nope. I always want to challenge and push myself which I can do now by either trying to get faster or running longer distances. In my mind, to do those things you need to following a relatively strict training plan. Could I do it that way? Nope. If I love running SO much, why can’t I do this? Hang on…
    Who says a runner has to follow a plan to improve? This is what is always in the forefront of my mind these days. I’ve had so much success in the past just using plans as a compass. By looking back, I can see that success now. Sure they work wonderfully for some people – it’s a proven fact that they can help you improve. They don’t work for everyone and I can attest to that. All it does is add worry and stress and makes me feel like I’m not good enough when I miss a day or two. I now feel that I can still improve if I can just add more consistency and refer to a plan when I need to know around where I should be, mileage wise.
    Also, why am I feeling the need to still run marathons and beyond? If it’s so hard for me to train for, then why am I doing it? I don’t have anything to prove to anyone, not even myself. I need to cut myself some damn slack and stop trying to up the bar after everything I accomplish. I don’t know when I reached the point of feeling like everything I do (athletically) has to be something amazing or better than the last thing I did. Maybe it’s getting older and closer to 40. Maybe it’s because I spent so long in the Army doing great things and I miss it. Maybe it’s because I took on the ultimate challenge of climbing Denali and it didn’t happen. I’m sure it’s a lot of things.
    I have to realize that things do change as you get older, and there will come a point when I won’t be hitting PRs anymore (pfffff, haha!), or I might not be able to run longer distances without getting injured along the way. I’m not going to accept any of that right now, but I am going to start cutting myself some damn slack. I am 37, healthy and active, and am so lucky to be able to do the things that I do. I live in a beautiful place with many beautiful things to see and do. I’m going to soak up all of that while I still can and I’m going to enjoy it without stressing about whether I am doing the best I can or not.
    Being a runner is a big part of me and I need to be whatever kind of runner I want to be. I need to make it my own and not try to follow what others are doing all of the time. For me, running is a hobby and not a job that I’ll ever get paid to do. It’s OK to compete with myself and others, but it needs to be done in a healthier, more realistic way. It’s also OK to try things that others have success with. If it doesn’t work for me, move on. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Relentless Forward Progress.
    Lastly, the days of week-to-week training recaps are over – probably to the relief of many (which is also why not many people will be reading this – thank you to those who have stuck with me). Why write weekly recaps when I have a training log AND Strava that basically do that for me? Moving forward, I hope to write more about thoughts and memorable experiences. And race reports, of course!
    For now, and hopefully forever, I’m going to stick to the advice of some of you and Just Fucking Run – JFR.
    JFR, friends.
  14. NCAthlete
    Insanity or hopeful determination? I'm not sure where my repeated tries at properly training for a marathon fits, but I'm over it. Time and time again I fail at this, and each time I still try to convince myself that this is what I really want, and you can do it this time.
    I'm over stressing week after week that I'm not hitting the numbers. I'm over worrying about whether or not I'm going to get so far behind that I could injure myself if I keep going. I'm over trying to hold this standard over myself week after week. I guess it's just not for me - or at least right now.
    So, I'm still running the NJ 26.2, but I'm going to get there by doing what I can with the time I have left. After that, I'm done with marathons and anything beyond. Until I can get my shit together, I'm just going to run, workout, and run shorter races. I still have my goal of one race each month, and I plan to do that.
    This isn't a pity party. This is trying to enjoy what I love doing without stressing out about it anymore. 
    I'll write when I feel like it.
  15. NCAthlete
    Ralston Creek 13.1 – Arvada, CO / Sunday, February 3, 2019
    2/12 – Race per month 2019 goal
    In case you forgot, I have a goal this year of running a race (of any distance) each month of the year! This was my February race.
    I ran this race in 2014. The weather was pretty awful – cold, snowy, and the trails were pretty treacherous. At least one person had to have gotten injured during that one by slipping on ice. The weather is hit or miss this time of year so, “You never know what you’re gonna get.” I actually ended up having to wear the jacket that I brought because the layers I had on weren’t enough – Athlinks says the temp was 26°. However, this year was much different and it was about 47° and sunny at the start! I was in carpis and a thin LS shirt. The race director had reported the day prior that there were only a few icy spots on the course which were pretty negotiable – they even covered up a longer icy portion with carpet!
    They had eight port-o-potties at the start, which turned out to not be enough. W and I had gotten there about an hour before the start and just sat in the car. I didn’t realize what the PoP situation would be and didn’t need to go until I was ready to go to the start. The line was LONG. There was one single line for all of them, which I think was fine, but it was moving slow – they needed more shitters. I HAD to pee BADLY and there were tons of buildings around, so I had to stand in line. The announcer kept asking any 5K runners to let the halfers go first, since their race didn’t start until 15 minutes later. I got through with THREE minutes to spare! They still started about five minutes late. This one chick had a dog that piercingly barked through all of the announcements and I didn’t hear a thing. When we took off, that dog was raring to go and was pulling her down the road. I can’t see running with a dog for an entire half marathon.
    This was supposed to be a training run and I was supposed to keep the pace around a 9:20, but I can’t bear to run a half over two hours if I don’t have to. Once I started, the goal was to just go, not TOO fast, but just to go with what felt comfortable. I felt heavy and clunky when we started and wasn’t sure I’d be running under two hours. We ran on a wide road for about half a mile but then turned onto a smaller, standard-sized greenway that can comfortably fit about three-wide. It got really crowded and I was feeling claustrophobic. I got around as many people as I could and finally settled in.

    I’m #236. I was able to take my headband off after the first couple miles.
    After a fast-ish first mile at 8:24, I settled into a nice pace: 8:40, 8:46, 8:39, and 8:45 for miles 2-5. Until looking at the elevation profile, I hadn’t realized how much of a uphill the whole first half is, so that makes me even prouder of that pace! After mile 5, we hit a hill that seemed like it would never end. It wasn’t steep but it was long, over half a mile but I didn’t walk once. Mile 6- 9:24.

    I had to wear my runway Goodr glasses because I forgot my others. I also got a little sunburned on my face.
    Once I crested the hill, I wanted to try to make up some time because I could see the next and biggest hill coming up in the distance. It was hard to see it from so far away and see all the bright shirts of other runners in the switchbacks. Mile 7- 8:45. I took a run/walk approach to this hill, just as I did during the Mt. Evans ascent, and it really does help. When I was passed by a runner while walking, I’d end up passing them back when I started running again. This hill was about a MILE and I still managed a 10:18. It was basically all downhill after that and I wanted to make up time again.
    Race Character: “Alice” – I remember first seeing Alice in front of me very early in the race. Once I realized we were going at about the same pace, with her about 5 seconds ahead of me, I thought I’d try to pace off of her. She was very energetic and kept talking to the people she’d pass. She would hoot and holler even when no one was around. She yelled out after almost every mile marker. When we hit the half-way point, and actually at the 10K mark, she yells out, “HALF WAY THERE!” A few seconds later, and with the correction of a guy in front of her, yells out, “OOPS! SORRY! ALMOST HALF-WAY!” We did a bit of leap frogging up the hill, but she settled in again in front of me after it.

    Mile 9- 8:02. It had heated up by this point and I was getting a little warm. I was starting to feel the effects of the heat and my inconsistent training. Miles 10 to 12- 8:28, 8:37, 8:53. I was trying to keep up the pace but was running out of gas. At mile 12, I was just trying to maintain and to keep it under a 9 min pace. I had nothing left in the last mile and just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I let two ladies pass me in that last mile, one while I could see the finish line. Mile 13- 9:04. I had nothing left in the tank – just as I like it. I think the course was a bit long because everyone around me had watches going off well before we got to the mile markers. Mine was 0.25 over which isn’t insignificant – that’s a whole lap around the track! I was running the tangents as often as I could. Anywho, my official time was 1:57:00 on the dot. Good and surprisingly enough for 3rd place in the 35-39 age group! I almost didn’t even look at the results because I thought there was just no way I’d place. Alice finished about 30 seconds ahead of me and was in the F45-49 age group : ) We gave each other high-fives in the finish area and I let her know how much she helped me.

    The wind picked up after the race, and when I got tired of waiting for the awards ceremony, I went up to the table to ask about it and they just gave me an award mug They had awesome breakfast burritos and chocolate chip banana bread in the tents!

    Race Stats: (2019 vs 2014)
    Finish Time: 1:57:00 / 1:55:31 in 2014. UGH! I didn’t think I’d ran it that fast in 2014! Overall: 85 of 248 / 127 of 484. WOW! What a drop in participants!! Gender: 21 of 125 / 39 of 282 F35-39: 3 of 21 / F30-34: 11 of 63 Weather: ~50 / ~26 (Athlinks) Yeah, that was five years ago but I always want to do better. Don’t get me wrong, I am SUPER proud of myself and the effort that I put out. On race day, there is nothing I could have or would have done differently.
  16. NCAthlete
    I was hesitant to write anything about this, and it isn’t about running (until the end) or outdoor adventure, but I just need to write it out.
    I am 37 years old, married with no kids, and am currently on birth control. But you’re 37, and married, and you don’t have kids yet – why are you on birth control??
    I was pregnant once, a LONG time ago, but had a miscarriage. 99.9% of my female relatives and friends either have kids or are pregnant. I can’t tell you how difficult it can sometimes be to be me, at my age, with no kids. I’m past the point of being depressed/upset/angry because I don’t have any yet, and am now in a very comfortable place of it’ll happen when it happens and when we are ready. I am also past the point of getting sad when I’m constantly asked when it’s going to happen or if I even want kids.
    I’d like to share a “use your fucking head” PSA, in case anyone isn’t aware of what you shouldn’t say to a woman (even if they are a relative or close friend – ESPECIALLY then):
    Do you have kids? If someone has kids, you’ll likely find out within two minutes of talking to them. Do you want kids? Are you ever going to have kids? Are you trying to have kids? Your clock is ticking/you aren’t getting any younger, so you better hurry up! This may be the worst of them all. YES, I actually have people say that to me. <while holding a baby> You need you one of these. When are you going to have one of these? You won’t look like that after you have kids or You only look like that because you haven’t had kids yet. Enjoy it while you can! Get the fuck out of here. You are so great with kids! You should have one. There are more, many more, but these are the big ones. Just don’t fucking do it. You never know what someone is going through and these words could have a VERY negative impact. If someone wants you to know something like that, they will tell you. I hear that it doesn’t even stop after having a kid because people want to know when you’ll have another one! For fuck’s sake!
    I decided to go back on the pill last year when I was still on the Denali team. I was that committed at the time to ensuring I’d get up that mountain. This led us to coming to the decision that we’d wait a little bit anyway because I just didn’t feel ready, and there were things I still wanted to do while my body was still in it’s current condition. Plus, we’ve also thought about the fact that there are SO many people in the world already, and so many kids out there who need parents. It’s an incredibly tough life decision – of course those who love kids would like to have one that looks like them and has their traits. I get that our bodies are made for reproduction, but the world doesn’t currently need more people (in my opinion).
    Now for the main reason of writing this post: When I went in for my appointment to get the BC pills, the doctor told me how risky BC is for women my age (over 35) – something about blood clots. I got the pills but they turned out to be the wrong ones. I’ve been feeling very moody since I’ve been on them but just thought I might be going through an adjustment phase. I wanted to give them some time to see if it’d work itself out. It didn’t. This past week has been the worst yet – terrible mood swings, feeling depressed and emotional for no reason, and getting headaches everyday in the evening. I got home yesterday, with the intention to go out for a run, and started sobbing on the way home – for no reason. I got home and just curled up in bed. I couldn’t even force myself to go run. Enough was enough and I think I finally put the pieces together enough to realize it was the BC pills that was doing this to me.
    I guess guys go through things, but I just feel that this is an ongoing battle throughout a woman’s whole life. When you have kids, your body and your life is forever changed (not all bad, obviously). If you don’t, people look at you and wonder why and always have to pry. Some days are just harder than others but you learn to roll with the punches. I am very happy with my status as the woman that I currently am. I am healthy, apparently look younger than 37, and I have nieces and nephews (and kitties) that I absolutely adore and can share my love with. I love them all and feel so lucky to be an aunt. I adore kids. I may or may not have kids in the future. They may or may not come out of my vagina. Only time will tell.
    Well, I went in a whole other direction than just writing about BC pills making me feel so bad that I didn’t want to run, but I think all of this is really good share. There aren’t a whole lot of late-30somethings in my situation.
    Please be courteous. Think before you speak.
    Thank you for reading,
  17. NCAthlete
    This week, anything that may try to work itself into being a sour, lemon head will be promptly turned into lemonade. After getting the past couple weeks frustrations out via tears and sweat, I’m done. Only sweat and silliness from here on out – hence the silly pictures throughout this post.
    I will say, my neck has felt a bit tweaked since the accident. I have full range of motion and there is no pain, but it constantly feels like I slept on it wrong. Just to be safe, I think I’m going to get it checked out. I don’t want to cause any long-term damage if there’s something I can do now to help it.
    Monday: Barbell Strength – All the sessions I missed during the holiday break really set me back as far as the weights I was able to do. Before break, I was able to have 10lbs on each side for biceps but am currently only able to do 7.5 on each side. Keep in mind, this class is high repetitions so that might not sound like a lot of weight, but it’s a decent amount when you’redoing lots of reps. I’ll get back there though!

    Tuesday: Treadmill “5K” – Much to my surprise, I’m enjoying doing some of my runs on a treadmill. I keep my $10 Planet Membership going because it’s so cheap, nice to have when the weather is bad, and is walking distance from the house (but I only walk if it’s really nice out – which means I’m probably not going if it’s nice out). I made sure my Jaybird earbuds were charged, and zoned out to music while I ran. Since I never listen to music when I run outside, it’s an added plus when running on the treadmill. I typically just stare out the window or the reflection of my running legs on the window glass. I did a progression run where I increased a .1 speed each mile. I didn’t touch the incline.
    Mile 1 – 6.5 or 9:13/mile (after it took some time to get full speed) – 9:18 Mile 2 – 6.6 or 9:03/mile – 9:03 Mile 3 – 6.7 or 8:56/mile – 8:56 Last .2 – 7.5 or 8:00/mile 9:03 average / 28:58
    My goal was to run 5K and you’d think, as long as I’ve been running, that I would remember that a 5K is 3.1 miles and not 3.2. I did this two weeks in a row now so it wasn’t a fluke! HA!
    Wednesday 2fer: Spin – After a long day at work (normal hours – it just draaaaged), it was nice to get on the bike. However, it’d been over a week since I’d been to a class so my butt got sore pretty quick. It’ll be fine after the next class. I think it’s really important to let cycling newbies know that they will be sore until about the 3rd class, otherwise there’s a chance they won’t come back! Spin ended at 5:15 and barbell started at 5:30.

    This one is even funnier b/c I’m pretty sure that’s a dude in the picture! HA!
    Barbell – I was obviously a bit tired after spin and had planned for this class to be lighter weights. I basically kept 7.5 on each side the whole class, and didn’t use any weights for the leg portions. The instructor was new and it was her first solo teaching class. It was super rocky but I still give her A for effort. However, I just wasn’t getting enough out of it AND I just don’t think I want to be there until 6:15 every Tuesday night. I likely won’t go to that late class again. Those kind of 2fers sound good until you’re actually doing them. I think I’ll be sticking to Monday barbell, and spin on Wednesday with some extra stuff on my own afterwards – maybe just some pushups and pullups.
    Thursday: Group Fitness Instructor Info Sesh – I went to find out more about becoming a group fitness instructor. First off, now that I will have to start making car payments every month, it’s really effected some of my goals for the year.
    I won’t be able to travel as much for races as I wanted I likely won’t be able to sign up for and run a race every month AND I don’t think I can currently afford this course. I mean, I probably could but I want to be smart with my money. The class, which is EVERY Thursday night from February to early May (and you can only miss 2 classes), is $125; the ACE exam that I will have to take after finishing the course is about $300, and a separate spin certification is around $80-$100. There’s a chance I could afford it all, but I need to think in the present. Ultimately, I don’t think I’m going to do it – yet. They will be having another class in the summer which I can reconsider at that time. There’s always the option of becoming spin certified and just teaching elsewhere. I would love that! We’ll see… gotta be smart.
    Friday: I spent the afternoon at the Nissan dealership (like 4 hours!) and had just planned to look at some options – I ended up purchasing this…

    2018 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X – 4×4 BABY!

    Meet Black Betty (Bam-ba-lam)!
    So many things about the interior reminds me of Bessie which is really nice. Plus, I kept the all-weather mats I had in Bessie and they [mostly] fit! I’m not the biggest fan of black and REALLY wanted blue, but you can’t be toooo picky when buying a used one. I love the name and that song is super catchy and bouncy! Black Betty doesn’t represent any of the supposed things that it did when the song was written (like a whip, a gun, or a vehicle to transport folks to prison), so she’ll make her own meaning!
    Saturday: This was one of those days that I reallllly needed to run, especially since I’d only ran once in the week and has 13 miles on the schedule as my long run, but I didn’t want to do anything. So I didn’t.
    Sunday: Long Run – Since I’d only ran once in the week but I really needed to get in some miles, I played it safe and only ran 10. I could tell I’d only ran once because I couldn’t even keep in in the 9:30 pace range. My legs were pissed at me for slacking and didn’t wanna go any faster. 9:48/mile average.

    Oh man! This tweet that I found totally reminded me of an embarrassing moment I had about 8 years ago! I was running with a new friend, for the first time, and we had left from her house. I wasn’t feeling well most of the run and REALLY needed to shit as we were getting closer to her house. She directed me to the bathroom upstairs so that’s where I did my business. When I flushed the toilet, it wouldn’t flush and overflowed onto the floor!! Yes, my shit went allllll over the floor. Apparently they’d already been having issues with the toilet. She insisted that I leave it and not help her clean it up! 
    Now that the car-buying and insurance situation is behind me (hopefully!), it is time to move on and take back my weeks. It has been a really difficult two weeks, mostly mentally, but it’s time to get back to it.
    Let’s do this!
  18. NCAthlete
    If you can name the song/artist I picked my title from, MAJOR kudos… I have this CD and use to wear it out in my teens! The artist is one of my all-time favorites. I promptly had to play this song on my iTunes when I wrote it in the title, then kept playing other songs – it’s been a while!

    This is my kitty, Gwen (Gwenie Poo). She was NOT impressed with the Super Bowl last night.
    Now that the car wrecking/buying shite is behind me, and I no longer feel like a raging bitch, I can get back to focusing on training and get back into a rhythm. While I was trying not to give myself a hard time about slacking the last couple weeks (considering everything that was going on), I did anyway. Each day I felt guilty about not sticking to the training plan. Yes, I have fallen a bit behind, but I will still run 26.2 at the end of April. If I don’t have any more setbacks, I still have a decent amount of training left and can possible still put up a great time. Anywho…
    Monday: I took a personal day at work because this was actually the day I was picking up Black Betty (bam-ba-lam). I waited around all day for the call to go to the dealership, but it ended up being 3:30 before they were ready. I decided to take a rest day since I ran my long run the day before. I did hate to miss Barbell.
    Tuesday: Treadmill Progression – Since I haven’t been running consistently, I haven’t been doing much speed work. However, I have been on the treadmill more than normal lately because of the weather. I am STILL liking the treadmill (I’ll never say loving). As long as I have some tunes and my Jaybirds, I’m good. This time I was planning to run 4 miles, with the same progression as the workout last week. It ended up being: 9:13, 9:03, 8:56, and 8:48. I liked it. Next week, I’d like to start at 9:03 and work my way down from there. I’m just kinda doing my own thing when it comes to speedwork.
    Wednesday: Spin with Coach Kelli – I always look forward to spin because I get on it and just go. I’m typically at least 10 RPMs over the range the instructors say that we should be in. Kelli teaches on Wednesdays and I love working out with her! She is definitely perfect for being a group fitness instructor, and she constantly keeps me motivated. I started spinning 15 minutes before class started which gave me an hour – I got in 14.3 miles.

    This is the view I had from the studio while spinning!
    Thursday: Matrix Treadmill PCT run! I had a busy Thursday planned and was needing to leave work at 2pm for an appointment that typically takes about three hours. AND THEN I needed to ensure that I was able to feed and walk my friend’s dog by 6pm (more on that in a minute!). I knew I’d be strapped for time and would absolutely need to get up early and run if I was going to get it done. I didn’t sleep well Wednesday night and was awake off and on from 2:30AM. I didn’t get to the wellness center and start running until about 6:30. I’d never run on a treadmill at the WC before and they have the Matrix ones. It lets you pick a workout and a place to run, and then you get to virtually run the course. I chose the PCT! I will say that I’m not sure I liked it all that much. Choosing a trail run wasn’t smart because I kept wanting to jump over rocks and felt myself leaning/shifting a bit in switchbacks! The workout was great though because it had some incline changes. I like not having to adjust the incline and also actually using incline on the t-mill; I’ve been keeping it at 0 on my other runs. I kept the pace on 9:13 the whole time until the last mile when I bumped it up to 9:03. Considering the inclines, it was a good pace! I had a 30 minute limit set and ended up with just over 3.2 miles.
    My friend has asked me if I will walk and feed her dog a few nights a week. Patches (Patch, Patchy Poo) is a very sweet dog and I love being around him. She adopted him when she was doing some volunteer work over in the Bahamas years ago. He’s such a good and smart boy and can be walked without a leash – he also stops when we need to cross a street and waits for me! Can I keep him? Haha! Anyway, I’m very excited about being able to see him each week and earn a little extra money in the process – it’s much needed right now!

    He doesn’t like his picture taken as I can never get a good one of his face! Ha!
    Friday: Threasy – While those in the North are freezing their jibblies off, it has finally been pretty nice here and melted a lot of the snow pack. I’ve been hoping to bump up my runs to four a week instead of three since I’m behind in my training. The fourth day would just be threasy and that’s what I did. Amy and I runched! Runch is THE BEST! I absolutely love using my lunch break to run outside, especially when it is gorgeous out. We ran around our usual group loop which takes us by Elitch Gardens, the LoDo REI, the Broncos stadium, and runs along the Platte River. It’s really a great loop and is perfectly three miles. Happy sighhhhhh
    Saturday: Hot Power Fusion Yoga – I thought about using this as a rest day, but I was really feeling motivated with how the week went and for my race the next day. I ensured I wouldn’t be dehydrated for race day by pounding lots of water this day. I always feel so refreshed after sweating buckets in this class. Namaste.
    Sunday: Ralston Creek  13.1 – Race Report to follow!
    I had a fantastically productive week, in regarding to training! It felt so good!
    January Re-Cap
    It was a bit of a rough month and start to the year, but maybe I just got all the shitty shit out of the way early in the year? One can hope.
    Running miles: 60 Not as much as I should have ran but it’s not bad! Higher than December but 5 miles shy of November’s total. Should only go up from here! Spinning miles: 50 (Nice!) Races: 1 – Resolution 5K New trucks: 1
  19. NCAthlete
    Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
    If you’ve read my last two posts, and are still choosing to read more, thank you for sticking with me and choosing to read the good AND the bad. We all have the good and the bad times and, folks – this is certainly my bad time. Yes, it goes on this week as well.  Man, this training has gotten off to a rocky start. It’s pretty typical, as I’ve written before, but the difference will be in how I handle this rockiness and push through it. This training cycle doesn’t have to turn out like all the others. And it won’t. Aside from the happenings of the week, I still had a pretty good week of training.
    Monday: I was all pumped and ready to run when I got off work. I even left a few minutes early so that I could be a majority of the traffic and get home with a decent amount of sunlight left. 15 minutes later and this…

    This is my car

    This was the person I hit
    It was completely my fault and the first real accident I’ve been in (driving) – especially where it was my fault. Traffic always slows down right before you get off my exit – I know this. Every day it’s the same. However, I take my eyes off the road for just a second and when I turned back forward, BAM! She was only going about 15-20 MPH and I was probably going 40-45 when I hit her. Luckily we are both ok and it seems to only be cosmetic damage to both vehicles. Although my hood is bent in half, it doesn’t seem like there is any engine damage*. It made it the 15 minutes home and it seems fine. I will definitely have to get it aligned though.
    I’m leaving what I wrote above, because I didn’t think it was that bad and it didn’t look that bad. My insurance company sent someone out to inspect my car. After looking under the hood, we discovered that my radiator is busted. That and the cosmetic damage will likely be more than sweet Bessie is worth, which means the car will likely be classified as totaled.
    My insurance company sent me a message on Saturday. Yes, she’s totaled. Being a 2007, and the damages that were done, the repairs would have been more than she’s worth. I will however get a good amount for a down-payment on a new vehicle. While I will be happy for an upgrade, Bessie and I have been through a lot together. I’m actually writing a post about her. Yes, I’m writing a post about my car. Stay tuned…
    Back to training:
    With all that has been going on, I still managed to get in FOUR runs, a barbell class, and hot yoga! I was determined to work the frustration out via sweat. One run was with my co-worker friends, Kelli & Amy, during lunch on Thursday, another was a 5K (and I liked it) on a treadmill on Friday, and I finally got a 10 mile long run in yesterday.

    Treadmill 5K: The weather was crappy but I HAD to get in a run. I’d planned to go to run club the day before, but that was the day the inspector came to look at my car. I got to Planet Fitness, zoned out to some tunes, and used my new Jaybird Tarah earbuds for the first time. It felt good!

    10 mile long run: It was REALLY cold and icy Saturday morning, so I went to hot yoga instead of running. Then, I got out around 9AM on Sunday for my run. The greenway was still icy in spots, but I managed just fine. It was a gorgeous day and I actually got hot in my tights and thin long-sleeve. I even took off my headband after the first couple miles!
    Now that I’ve had time to process things, I’m feeling like things are taking a turn towards positive again. This week must be better than the last two – I just have to ensure that happens. Time to dig in again – 13 miles for the long run this weekend and a half marathon (15 actual miles planned) next weekend!
    Thanks for reading,
  20. NCAthlete
    As I'm sure you read in my last post, I totaled my 2007 Nissan Xterra (only 160,000+ miles) in an accident last week. While I still believe she had a few years left, maybe this was the best way for her to go?
    I’m not a materialistic person. I’d rather spend my money on food or traveling, and I usually don’t buy things at full price. However, when I purchased my 2007 Nissan Xterra back in December 2006, she only had 21 miles on her – most of which I put on test driving. I named her Bessie, sometimes calling her Blue Bessie, because – well – she’s blue. I was active duty in the Army and had just returned from my first deployment to Afghanistan. I had saved up quite a bit of tax-free pay, some of which I used as a down-payment for Bessie, and some that I used to take my mom to Hawaii!
    Right before I bought Bessie, I was in-between cars. My first-ever car, a white 1992 Ford Mustang that my mom lovingly purchased for me in high school, was starting to wear out, and I had borrowed my friend’s Nissan Xterra to drive around while he was deployed. I can’t remember what year it was but it was an older model. While I was driving it, it broke down! At that time, I had to get a rental car while I looked for a new car. Guess what the rental car was? A new Nissan Xterra!! Having that as a rental is what lead me to buy Bessie. I didn’t like the thought of buying a car used, not knowing everything that had happened to it, so I just went for the brand new one!
    Bessie and I have been through SO much together, and she has taken me to some amazing places. She has been the most reliable vehicle I’ve ever driven, and I haven’t had to replace anything out of the ordinary – the biggest only being a new timing chain and radiator. I don’t have pictures to go with every story, but I do have lots of pictures that I will share along the way. Below is only the highlights of what Bessie and I have been through; there's so much more.

    Haulin’ wood…
    The Keying Incident (2007)
    During my second deployment to Afghanistan (not long after I bought her), I left Bessie at a friend’s house while I was away. LONG story short, Bessie gets keyed from top to bottom by a psycho-ex of a guy I was friends with, who lived in the neighborhood where she was parked – $3,500 worth of damage!
    Many mountain biking and kayaking adventures…
    The Break-in (2009)
    I had just returned from my last deployment, and was in my last few months of being in the Army. It was Super Bowl weekend and I had literally just gotten back into town the night before. I had apparently left the door unlocked. I had all of my deployment belongings in the car, including a laptop w/case that included ALL the digital photos I’d ever taken (this was before I had a smart phone), and a lot of important documents. Some jerk stole everything out of the car. The jerk was never caught.

    Selfies and running events…
    Felix the Afghani Cat (2009)
    During my last deployment in Afghanistan (notice the beginning paragraph trend?), I found a kitten and her mother wandering around our camp. The kitten had a special needs disorder called Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH), and apparently the only kitten of the litter that had survived. LONG, amazing story short – I was able to get Felix back to the States, and used Bessie to go pick her up in Arlington, Virginia. It was a BIG moment in my life.
    Please read more about CH and Felix’s amazing story here, in an article written by the amazing Ellen Piligian, for People Magazine Pets.

    Got poop? (2010)
    A guy I dated – let’s call him George – had just come back from an overseas deployment and came to visit me. We went out to dinner and were going to go to a haunted house afterwards; I think it was one of his first going-out dinners back in the States. On the way to the haunted house, George lets me know that he wasn’t feeling well and needed to use the bathroom. There was a Walmart a couple miles down the road, so I was going to stop there. All of a sudden, George yells at me, “Pull over! PULL OVER!” So I pulled over on the side of the road where there was nothing but dark, North Carolina woods. He then yells, “UNLOCK THE DOOR! UNLOCK IT!”as he was pulling on the door handle; I think he must have locked the door with his arm during the frenzy. Well friends, he didn’t get the door open in time before he pooped himself – inside the car. He jumps out of the car, taking everything with him (“it” remained secured inside his draws), and disappears into the dark woods. Many minutes later, I look in the passenger side mirror and see George standing there, stark naked, with his hands in front of his “area”. He had stripped off all of his clothes. He comes up to the door and asks if I have anything he can wrap around himself. I had just moved and had a bunch of packing paper in the back. He wraps it around himself and gets in the backseat. I took him home with the windows rolled down. The next day, he went back to the woods to get the expensive jeans he had soiled. Y’all, I’m not creative enough to make this stuff up.
    Fire Ants (2012)
    William and I went to the beach and stayed with his parents in a beach house for a week, located at Figure 8 Island – near Wrightsville Beach, NC. They rent the same house every year for the week of July 4th, and have been doing so since William was a kid. We drove Bessie there and just kept her parked in the driveway – not driving the whole time. When we left at the end of the week, we noticed a few ants crawling around here and there. That’s weird. Moments later, we realized they were EVERYWHERE! We lifted up the rear seats, and…. INFESTATION!!!! Seeing that many fire ants crawling around was just awful! I obviously had to do a deep clean and eventually got them all out. EEEK!

    This was the day we picked up little Gwenie Poo (2016)
    Road Trips Across the Country (2007, 2013, 2016)
    Arizona 2007: I had to attend a military course in Arizona and just a few months after buying Bessie, I was off from North Carolina to Arizona! It was a great trip and I ended up getting her first oil change while I was out there.

    I got to run in some sweet races in AZ!
    Colorado 2013: William got a job in Colorado so we moved away from North Carolina. Since we both had vehicles, we had to drive separately. I had Felix and Gus with me, and they meowed a majority of the way there! They still did much better than I expected so it could have been worse!
    Getting to Colorado / Bessie with a snowhawk

    Parked in the garage of our first home
    Anniversary Road Trip to the Grand Canyon 2016: We decided to go to the Grand Canyon for our second wedding anniversary. Sweet Felix passed away the day before we were supposed to leave, so it was a much needed trip. We started off in Moab, UT where we camped with cows. From there, we traveled to Flagstaff, AZ, then up to the Grand Canyon. After a decent hike, we went back down to Flagstaff, then to Santa Fe, NM. We then came back up through the south past Taos, Pueblo, and Colorado Springs. We spent a lot of the five days driving, but we saw some amazing places. Almost 10 year old Bessie handled it like a champ.
    Camping in Moab / The Grand Canyon
    Camping and 14er hiking: Bessie has taken us to many outdoor adventures here in Colorado. Even though she isn’t 4×4, she can get around pretty well!

    Waiting out the rain in Crested Butte

    A make-shift Uhaul AirBnB in Salida

    We hiked our first 14er (Grays Peak) two days after moving to CO
    Other random Bessie facts:
    I once swiftly backed up into a light pole, bending the step on the back bumper. I was rear-ended by a chick on her cell phone while stopped in traffic. Bessie was unharmed but the girl’s bumper was dented. I was once again rear-ended while sitting parked in a parking space. No harm done. The above facts all happened within a few months time! Before the gas gauge was recalled, I ran out of gas at a stoplight, on a hill. Only time she every ran out of gas. I use to stop and rescue box turtles in the middle of the road, when I lived in NC.
    No really, I did!
    It may seems silly to some – to write a story about a big hunk of metal and plastic, but it’s the reliability and memories that have me writing this. Bessie is not a person, but she is my friend. She will forever hold a place in my heart and my memories. Bessie, thank you for always getting me from Point A to Point B-Z, safely.
    To celebrate her life (and lighten the mood), I will leave you with my Nissan version of the Marine Corps Rifleman’s Creed:
        This is my Nissan.  There are many like her, but this one is mine.  She is my life.  I must master it as I must master my life.  Without me my Nissan is useless.  Without my Nissan, I am useless. I must drive my Nissan true.  I must drive straighter than the other driver who is beside me.  I must avoid him before he hits me. I will. (Doh!)  My Nissan and I know that what counts in driving is not the gas we burn, the noise of our horn, or the exhaust we make.  We know that it is the MPGs that count.  We will efficiently hit.
        My Nissan is human, even as I am human, because it is my life.  Thus, I will learn it as a sister.  I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its parts, its accessories, its lights and its tires.  I will keep my Nissan clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready.  We will become part of each other.
        Before God I swear this creed.  My Nissan and I are the defenders of my ability to now parallel park.  We are the masters of our road. (Doh!) We are the saviors of my life.
        So be it, until victory is America’s and there is no person who doesn’t use their turn signal.
  21. NCAthlete
    First official week of NJ 26.2 training
    I’m sure you’ve heard people say, “Just get both feet out the door and you’ll be fine.” I know I’ve said it many times and it usually works. However, it doesn’t always work and certainly didn’t work this week. All I can say is that I’m glad that week is over. I’m abnormally happy that it is Monday.
    The week started off great, and I was glad/ready to be back at it and hit it hard.
    Monday: It was supposed to be incredibly windy throughout the day, so I’d planned to run when I got home from work. By the time I got off work, I wasn’t in the mood to run. I made myself change into my running clothes as soon as I walked in the door, and forced myself to go run the 5 miles I had planned. I really dislike having to force myself to run, but I think we all have those days. It turned out to be pretty refreshing although felt much faster than a 9:20. Between miles 3 and 4, and if it’s dark, you can always hear an own hooting in this one section. I actually got to see it on the tip top of a tree this time! It was just light enough to see it’s outline and some white on it’s chest/neck. I love owls.
    Tuesday: I was excited about this day before it even came. I planned to take two classes at the WC (spin at lunch and barbell after work) THEN meet Kelli and Leah for some drinks and apps before watching the new Mary Poppins! It turned out to be a great day and the movie was awesome!

    I’m always the first one in class 
    I always like to write these posts as they progress in the week – to ensure I capture the fun details. You can clearly see how excited I was on Tuesday and it just took a nose-dive after that.
    Wednesday: Was planned to be another 2-fer with this time barbell at lunch and spin after work. However, after taking the barbell class at 4:30 the evening before, and then doing it again at noon on this day, I was smoked. I should have skipped the second barbell and just gone to spin. I’m trying to give it hell in the gym but I need to ease off when my body tells me to. So I did.
    I did find out a little more about the group fitness instructor course. They are holding info seshes this Thursday and next Thursday. The course will run every Thursday night from 4:30-7 for four months (Feb – May) – yowza. I know there will be some weekends in there too. I’m going to attempt to get the day of the week changed, otherwise no run club for me for FOUR months! Plus, there are times where I take some time off and leave on a Thursday.
    I signed up for a half marathon the first weekend of February – the Ralston Creek 13.1. This will be my second time running it. The first time had very sketchy, icy conditions and I hope that it doesn’t repeat. It was quite dangerous. This leads me to a new 2019 goal! Since I raced in January and will also be racing in April, I’m going to try to do a race every month of the year! The only other time I did that was 2011 and it was so much fun! Any distance counts! Race calendar post, coming soon!
    Thursday is where things began to mentally fall apart for me – you can read why from my last post.
    Friday: I was going to skip everything again this day because I wasn’t feeling it and because it had snowed all day. However, W talked me into going to the gym with him so I walked/ran on the treadmill for a mile, then did 1000 steps on the Stairclimber.
    Saturday: Nothing.
    Sunday: Planned: 10 miles / Actual: 5 miles – I didn’t think it was smart to run 10 miles after only running five (once) the whole week.
    It is a new week. Time to get my ass in gear, and get a handle on my shit. A marathon doesn’t run itself.
  22. NCAthlete
    Did anyone else say, “I will NOT let myself slack over the holidays.”, and still slack anyway? I certainly did and gave myself a hard time over it for the first week. I realllllly wanted to keep the momentum I had going on, but just let it slip away once I got back home around my family. I have a nephew (8) and two nieces (6 and almost 2) that just adore me and I find it hard to pull away from them, while also having to tell them that they can’t come with me while I run or workout. Who wants to do that?!
    The older two do love running with me when I do hill repeats in front of their house. I only did that one time this trip, and that was the only workout I did the whole TWO weeks I was there. We did go to an amusement park to see lights one weekend and did walk several miles.
    Since I was feeling my shin a tiny bit before the break, I finally let myself enjoy the time off and take it as healing time. I went two weeks without running and almost three weeks without cross-training. Ouch. Rest is always good but not THAT much rest, especially when it wasn’t required. And especially when I was getting my fill of biscuits whenever possible. I was supposed to start training for New Jersey on 12/24, but I have shaved off two weeks from the program, making my official start date TODAY!
    Last week was my first week back to work and I dove right in to cross-training. BOY did I pay for that laziness! I was sore AF most of last week! I felt almost as sore as I felt after doing the Leadville Heavy Half last year! It felt so good to be back at it and I was even [kinda] thankful for the soreness.
    Sunday, I ran out some of the soreness with co-worker/friends Kelli and Amy at the Resolve 10K at City Park! First race of 2019 and the first January race that I’d run since 2011 (thanks Athlinks!)! I’d almost forgotten that we were doing it until I got back to work on Tuesday. I had talked the gals into running the 10K but they both wanted to drop down to the 5K. I almost did too so that I could just fun-run with them, but I changed my mind race morning. The 10K was two of the 5K loops anyway, so I was able to run the first loop with them. We were going at an easy pace, so I ended up picking it up for the second 5K. I really dislike the course because of how uneven the pavement is in a lot of spots. I ALWAYS get blisters there no matter how far I run or what shoes I run in. It’s the same course as the Pumpkin Pie double I did in November where I had to do THREE laps. Ugh. I got it done, got my medal, and we went to brunch afterwards – best part of the day! Splits: 9:43, 9:20, 9:20, 8:41, 8:51 (stopped for water), and 8:40 – pretty consistent on the second half!

    Kelli, myself (wearing my owl earmuffs), and Amy
    Thanks for reading,
  23. NCAthlete
    Happy New Year, Friends!
    I hope your year is off to a great start – I know mine is! I was all over the place in 2018 and I feel like I’d need to write a novel to recap it. I went back to see if I’d actually laid out any goals for the year and I didn’t. My main focus was getting ready for Denali, and we know how that ended, but we also know how much good came out of it.
    2018 Stats: I didn’t do the best job at keeping my training log going all year, which has become a new 2019 goal. I’m pretty good at logging everything on Strava but I’m not sure how accurate that really is. It said my longest run was 18 miles but it somehow forgot about the 50K I did – but here is what Strava says:
    Days Active – 142 Most Active Month – June Total Miles – 723.6 Total Running Miles – 522 185 Hours 62,124 Elevation Gain Races – 9: NFEC D.C. 50K, Colfax 13.1, Mt. Evans Ascent, Leadville Heavy Half, GTIS 13.1, Estes Epic, Veterans Day 5K, Pumpkin Pie 5K & 10K, and Rehoboth 13.1. Those are some pretty darn good races! No wonder I ended up getting shin splints!

    2017 wasn’t the best numbers year, but it was my comeback year. I’ll always love 2017.

    Much more consistent in 2018!
    After I withdrew from the Denali team, I thought I had something to prove to myself.  I was certainly wanting to make some big moves with some very aggressive goals – like Marathon Maniacs and building up to run a 100 miler. How can I go from training to climb Denali to anything less awesome? I’m an open book and not afraid to change goals that I’ve already made public. While those goals are completely realistic for me, I don’t think it’s the right time for them yet. I need to focus on getting as healthy and strong as I can, while also getting there the smartest way possible (I keep saying that, I get it). I’ve never allowed myself to train properly, so I should definitely get that tuned in first.
    One of my best-good friends (as Forrest would say), Kelli, is a fitness instructor at our awesome sauce wellness center. She has been trying to talk me into becoming one as well. I’ve been afraid of the time commitment and worried that it would get in the way of other things. However, the more classes I take, I’m really starting to think that I could do it. When I was deployed in Afghanistan, the only thing to do outside of work was to workout and run. When I wasn’t running, I was on a spin bike with playlists that I pre-made just for spinning. I even thought back then that I’d make a good spin instructor. I’ve worked out for a long time, and even took a weigh lifting class in community college WAY BACK, so I’m familiar with lots of different exercises.
    Soooo… in February, I will start the ACE (American Council on Exercise) program to become a fitness instructor! I think it lasts about FOUR months! I will be attending an info sesh pretty soon and will have more details. The classes I will likely teach are spin (which I will have to get separately certified for), barbell strength, and HIIT. I’m super excited about this! This will allow me to learn a lot, workout A LOT, and become a smarter athlete!
    While I do want to focus on getting strong, I am still a runner (duh). Yesterday, I registered for the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon which is the last weekend of April! I’d initially had a goal of marathon PRing but I’m not sure I’m officially going for that anymore. I’m already two weeks behind on the start of training – but if I keep training smartly, it may happen on it’s own! I just want to have a happy and healthy marathon. Once I accomplish happy and healthy, then I can start setting time goals.
    Things I want to do in 2019:
    Become a Fitness Instructor Work on pushups and pullups – I like to be able to do 50 and 10 correct form/full range Climb more 14ers in the summer Run a happy and healthy NJ Marathon 13.1 PR at Rehoboth (of COURSE I’ve already signed up!) I am still just as fired up as I was months ago, but now I’m ready to focus that fire in the right places. I’m excited about all the places and adventures that I know 2019 will bring! I’ll see some of you lovelies along the way! Best wishes to you all for your own happy and healthy 2019!!
    Thanks for reading friends,
  24. NCAthlete
    Shamrock pricing was going to be going up on December 16 so I really started looking into lodging and flights. Little did I know but VA Beach isn't the easiest place to fly into/near, and since it's a holiday weekend, all the flights are much more pricey than normal - even my trusty Frontier! And even out of DCA! The hotel and flight alone was going to be close, if not over, $500. I'd been trying to win a race entry all week but it would still be too expensive even if I did win. I just can't justify it. I had no idea that would be an issue, probably because all the times I ran there previously, I lived on the east coast and drove. No Shamrock in 2019 - I will have to wait to run that one again when I'm living back east.
    Luckily, just days ago, some of the Loopsters were talking about the Novo Nordisk New Jersey 26.2, which takes place on 4/28. I had thought about running this one AND Shamrock, but now this will be my PR goal marathon! That means I get a whole extra month+ to train! I'll always take that. My upcoming two week holiday vacation was really going to throw off my training plan, but now it will only be a week - totally manageable.
    In training news, I was worried about my shin going into Rehoboth but I had NO issues! I wasn't really sore after the race either except in the soleus of both legs. I haven't done any cross training this week because of my schedule and I won't be doing much for the rest of the year since I'll be gone! Boohoo! I do plan to upgrade to a Black Card at Planet Fitness just for this month so that I can use the one in my hometown.
    Last week's training was pretty uneventful:
    Monday - Wednesday: REST - I didn't really want to rest this long but it just happened. I traveled on Monday (a looooong day) and woke up with a cold on Tuesday. I had planned to go to barbell class on Wednesday but I had to work late.
    Thursday: Threasy - I needed and wanted some activity so I ran a few mile when I got home. I'd been in a class all day so that was my only option. My soleus were SUPER sore after this run and I was waddling around the house!
    Friday - Saturday: Rest aka Lazy - My motivation was pouting all week. It always does the week(s) after Rehoboth. I kept telling myself that I needed to get moving but I didn't listen.
    Sunday: Long Run - I left the house planning to run 5-6 miles and ended up running 8, at a 8:59 average pace. I felt really good and wasn't even looking at my watch. If that pace is starting to few like my easy pace, should I really be running that? My shin was a bit sore afterwards so I think that means I need to slow it down. I really should be running long runs no faster than a 9:15 pace. I never thought I'd have to force myself to slow down.
    New Jersey 26.2 training starts 12/24 so I'll check back in after that. 
    Happy Holidays, friends!
  25. NCAthlete
    First month of marathon training, complete!
    Monday: Barbell Strength
    Tuesday: PM Spin – I had a REALLY bad day at work. Too many things happening at once sent me into a tizzy, to the point of almost crying. I was really looking forward to spin class after work and knew I was going to push it hard. I started warming up about 10 minutes before class started and then never slowed down once it started. Even during recovery tracks I was pushing it. I ended up with almost 15 miles (I typically average around 13) by the end of class and felt so refreshed afterwards! Exercise does the body SO good.
    Wednesday: REST – I hadn’t planned to stay for PM Barbell Strength because I was going to head straight home to pack for Rehoboth. I was going to have a long day on Thursday and knew I wouldn’t have much time to pack. I thought I might get in a few miles, but I’d started noticing my shin, just when walking around again – nothing painful but achy with every step. Ugh. I knew the speed was going to catch up with me but I just couldn’t slow myself down in those moments of feeling amazing. Also, I don’t know why I haven’t been wearing the compression socks that I own, especially on the long runs. Hey, here are these expensive socks I bought that I only need to wear when I’m injured. Come on, Chris! I had definitely planned to wear those for the race on Saturday, and I did.
    Thursday: REST
    Friday: TRAVEL – REST (I rested Sunday too, in case you’re keep track)
    Saturday: Rehoboth 13.1 – Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

    The Rehoboth House
    Although I had a GREAT run, it was mostly uneventful which is why I’ve included the race report into my weekly recap. The trip to Rehoboth was smooth and most of us had dinner together at the house Friday night. We were luck enough to get the same, awesome house as last year. Like last year, I didn’t sleep much Friday night – mostly because I was in a new bed and I just couldn’t shut my brain down. The race started at 7am and I got out of bed around 5:30. I’m never really hungry that early but I forced myself to eat a fig bar – same thing I ate last year that worked really well. The goal was a course PR – anything better than 1:47. The sub-goal was a 13.1 PR – anything better than 1:42.

    Road trip from DCA!
    It was cold at the start but not unbearable. I was actually surprised that it didn’t feel colder to me. I was expecting upper 20’s there to be much colder than upper 20’s in Colorado. I had on tights, compression socks, a Buff, thin gloves, a thin long-sleeved shirt, and that new thin Nike windbreaker that I blogged about recently. I didn’t overheat in it this time.
    I was going to let myself take off fast and just go with it. However, I was surprised when the first mile chimed in at 8:18 – it felt much faster than that. I picked it up. Miles 2-4 came in at 7:55, 7:40, and 7:36. I had really picked up the pace between miles 3 and 4 because I saw some of my buds and wanted to catch them before the half and full split. I was successful and was able to holler at Mr. Bacon and Randy right before they split off.

    Air goals…
    The tights I was wearing were brand new and I’d just bought them from Athleta. They were the softest tights I’d ever run in and they were amazing. EXCEPT, my effing FlipBelt kept riding up and was all the way up around my abdomen! It was pissing me off so I decided to take it off and carry it. The rest of the way. With my damn iPhone in it (and I didn’t even use it). Ugh. This caused mile 5 to slow to 8:02. Miles 6-7 were 7:50 and 7:56 and I was really proud of the pace I was keeping.
    Around mile 8, we enter a park and start running on a dirt trail. I really love this part but didn’t realize how much it slowed me down until I started looking at the splits. I was also feeling the speed by that point and was losing some juice. Mile 8-10 were 8:09, 8:19, and 8:20. I don’t remember which mile this occurred but I got right beside another girl and she let out the biggest burp ever! It made me giggle but she apologized. I let her know that it was impressive and that I appreciated it (and that she didn’t get anything on me). Unfortunately, I didn’t encounter many characters to report on. Besides the incredibly hairy, almost naked man with the Viking hat on… I saw him at the beer tent afterwards and got a pic.

    At mile 11, I knew I was going to be exiting the trail soon so I picked it up as much as I could. I also got beside a guy and started chatting with him, who told me he was trying to finish with a sub 8 average pace. That’s where I hoped to be (that became a C goal mid-race) but I was sure I didn’t have it in me. I was giving it all I had without burning out before the finish. He took off ahead of me and I never caught him. Miles 11-13 were 8:07, 8:08, and 8:05. Official finish time: 1:46:01 – COURSE PR!

    While the B and C goals would have been cooler, I met my A goal and I am so happy and proud of myself! I have come a LONG way in the last year and a half and I shouldn’t be anything less than proud. Rehoboth continues to be a magical race and is certainly my favorite. Ever. Sorry, Shamrock – at least you’ve got the PRs! Each year I am incredibly inspired and amazed by the performances of my other running buddies. I was able to stand at the finish line and cheer in some of them. Caitlin – who was just shy of a BQ but who got a massive PR instead. Carissa – who’d been in a boot a couple times this and STILL got a BQ. Randy – this guy had a ruptured achilles a year ago and finished the freakin’ marathon! – a 3:33 too! Finally, there’s Mr. Bacon (aka Prom King) who barely trained and still ran a 3:28. If those people can’t inspire you, get the fuck outta here.

    I miss Rehoboth already and am already looking forward to going back next year. This time, the goal WILL be a 13.1 PR. Yeah, baby!

    I miss you guys already!
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