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About Me

Found 5 results

  1. Turns out grad school takes up a lot of time. I haven’t written since January (when I was between class periods) and have barely been able to even visit the loop. I feel out of touch. Ultimately it will be worth it, but it’s going to be busy until late 2020 at least. My training has gone relatively well even with working full time and taking classes. All I do is run, go to work, study, eat and sleep. (More or less) It’s a good thing running feels mostly like a break to me and I never had any social life. Otherwise this would never work. After a good training season, I thought shooting not only for a PR but that big 4:30 goal might be a possibility. If the weather was good at least. I ran my spring half at GO St. Louis at goal pace and I ran nearly all my workouts as planned. I think most missed workouts happened due to weather. Travel to NJ went smoothly. My friend Rachel picked me up at the airport on Friday. We went back to her house to have lunch – we considered going into NYC for the afternoon/evening but decided it was better to stick to closer things. Instead we went to Patterson Great Falls National Park. It has the second highest volume of water in any waterfall east of the Mississippi. We spotted a skunk (WAY to close for comfort, but luckily we were way more alarmed than he was – didn’t get a picture because he went into the bushes and I wasn’t going to try and get close again!) Then drove around and looked at some of the beautiful, (and EXPENSIVE) houses in the area and did a little shopping. I got a present for my mom for mother’s day and a gift for my sister for her birthday. Then we had dinner at a Lebanese restaurant (Uncle Momo Bistro). We had a falafel salad and beef shawarma which we split. SO GOOD. (Not pictured is the giant, fresh pita bread that was inflated like a balloon on the beef shawarma plate.) Saturday after we ran a couple miles as a quick shake out run and had breakfast Rachel drove me down to Ashbury Park where we walked along the boardwalk. Friday had been very rainy and Saturday was SUPER windy. Rachel headed home and I headed to the expo. There wasn’t a lot to see there but I got some pictures, and chatted with the Team in Training people and the guy at the table trying to sign people up for triathlons including the Chicago triathlon. I’d like to try a tri (ha) someday, but there is no way that is going to happen until I’m done with school. Soon it was time for the Team in Training inspiration dinner. I found a few other solo travelers to sit with and as always was truly inspired by the stories of just what our fundraising has done – and how much still needs to be done in the fight against blood cancers and other cancers (many treatments originally developed from research funded by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has also gone on to benefit people with other cancers). I failed to meet up with any loopsters on Saturday but I was hoping to catch up with some on Sunday. My alarm went off at 4:45 am (3:45 central time!) but I was already awake. Not sure why this hotel has such hard beds – but it didn’t make getting prerace sleep any easier. TNT met up in the lobby and we rode buses together to the starting area. I walked over to the farthest bank of POPs and got in without waiting. At first the sun was shinning but then it clouded over and got a little colder. I was keeping an eye peeled for loopsters, especially Gwen and Greg, because we had talked on facebook about running together until the half broke off and I knew what they said they were going to wear. I had about given up when I spotted them in line for the coral and called their names. They joined me in the corral and after waiting what seemed like a really long time we were off. We ran together for a few miles before Greg stopped for a bathroom break and fell behind. Gwen and I chatted and ran for the full 11ish miles before she turned and went on to the half finish. Up to this point I was pretty close to on pace for the 4:30 I’ve wanted for so long. However I was already beginning to fade a little. The weather was perfect. I felt ok, but it quickly became clear this was not going to be the day for 4:30. I’m just not there yet. The full course felt a lot less empty that it does sometimes. I felt like there were more people around than when I did Austin last year. We started on the long, long out and back. Except for a couple of quick places where the “out” branches off everything from mile 10 or so on is part of the out and back, although not all of it is quite along the same road. We ran past beautiful houses, and houses that were less beautiful but still huge and expensive looking. Some of the fancy houses we ran past (picture taken on Saturday) Part of the boardwalk I ran along, picture taken Sunday evening. (The race route was going toward the camera) I never got off course but missed the moment when I actually turned around and started on the return part of the course. Just after that point the 4:45 pacers caught up with me. I held on and ran with them for a mile or two but when I slowed at a water stop they didn’t and then they were gone. The chance at 4:30 had disappeared miles ago, but now I knew there could be no PR either (PR is 4:43). My C goal became no walking outside the water stops. I just kept plugging along, my pace had really slowed, but I was still running (and somehow passing people). The ocean was to my right and a nice distraction. I thought of all the people I run for who are battling cancer, and those whose battle had ended. I was not feeling great, but it was still way better than what people undergoing cancer treatment deal with, and that kept me running. Team and Training coaches would join me for a short time every once in a while, which is also one of the great benefits of being a part of this group. Finally, the end was in sight. But I had no kick. So I just kept up my slow pace. I managed to smile and do my “trademark” thumbs up as I crossed the finish line of marathon #8. Again, this one was a long time coming. I need to work harder at cross-training and hopefully avoid getting hurt. Stepping up to the beer table I realized I had lost my beer ticket along the way. So, no free beer for me. I signed out at the TNT table and then headed to the shuttle (provided by TNT) back to the hotel. I showered and was lounging around thinking about lunch (at about 2:30 pm) when I checked facebook and saw that I had an invite to join the loopsters still in town for lunch at the Robinson Ale House that was basically across the street. Yes, please! It was so great to meet everyone. I’m glad I got the chance. After we all left lunch I went down and put my feet in the ocean. It wasn’t as cold as I expected, and no colder than when I did it in Ireland. This trip was the first time I’d seen the Atlantic from the US side. After that I was pretty done for the day. I went looking for ice cream about 7, but wasn’t able to find any place that was open. (I think I should have tried harder, but I went back and ate some of the snacks I had in my room). On the way to the train station, shortly before I tripped and fell down (but long enough before that it wasn't because I took this picture - it was because I was rushing). Monday morning I got up early for the long travel day home. I walked a mile to the nearest commuter train station – tripping and falling along the way, ripping a hole in my sweatshirt, and my NJ marathon long sleeve t-shirt, scrapping my wrist and elbow and bruising my knees. Then I took the train to Newark International Airport, which required switching trains twice. Luckily people were very helpful, and I didn’t have to go down any steps! Then at the airport I took the airport tram to my terminal, got through security relatively easily, bought a sandwich for lunch and waited for my flight. It was delayed and I began to worry about making my next flight. My first flight landed just as my second flight was supposed to be boarding! But I made it, and when I got home I saw my luggage had too thankfully! It was a long day of travel, but I was glad to be home. I didn’t run or workout at all until today. I always take 6-7 days completely off. Today’s run/walk felt really good, though I was glad to take walk breaks. I was sore through Wednesday, but I’ve felt worse. I’m not sure what I’m running next. I’m off classes until the 14th and intend on soaking up the break.
  2. Because I’d just run the Austin marathon February 18 I had a little bit of awkward timing leading up to the GO St. Louis half. Around 7-8 weeks. Since I take around a month of easy running after a marathon and a two week taper going into most half marathons I had basically 2 or 3 weeks where I could do speedwork. I wasn’t totally sure where my speed was, I’d run a 5k in January that was just off my PR, but my 5k PR is slow (very close to my half PR pace). Fortunately I had the St. Louis St. Patrick’s Day run to gauge just where my speed was. As I shared in my last bloop, I ran it at 2 hour half pace and it was clear I’m not there yet. Sunday morning my alarm went off at the painfully early hour of 4:30am. I was awake already because waking up every hour or two the night before a race is how I roll even when I’m relatively calm. I keep as quiet as I can because my housemate (also sister) has hours of sleep left ahead of her. Izzie is less concerned about being quiet and tells me all sorts of things by following me around and meowing. She got fed so it wasn’t that, she just likes to communicate. I got myself ready, ate breakfast and headed out the door by 5:10 so I could be in time to catch the Metorlink train into St. Louis (they run every 20 minutes on Sundays, by going at this time I had the leeway to miss the train I meant to catch and still catch the next train and be in time for the race, if I missed that train, I might miss the beginning of the race.) All went smoothly and I was standing on the train platform at 5:30 for the 5:34 train with a dozen or so other runners and one guy who kept singing random bits of songs. At 6:04 I stepped off the train at Laclede’s Landing and made a port o potty stop, dropped my bag at gear check and met my friend John (same John I ran Austin with). As long as I was moving around I wasn’t too cold. We walked around looking for a few other Team in Training runners but didn’t find anyone else before the race. We were in the corral when we were supposed to be 15 minutes before the scheduled race time, but the race ended up starting 15-20 minutes late. In that time standing still I got cold. My feet and hands especially. Finally we were moving. The race starts with a short straightaway before turning and going up a steep but fairly short hill. Apparently somewhere in that first part I ran right past Jackie Joyner-Kersee along the sidelines and didn’t see her. She does so much for the local running community in addition to all she does for E. St. Louis where she grew up. There was at least one wheelchair participant and I can’t imagine it was too fun to start out with that hill. It wasn’t fun for me and wasn’t trying to wheel my way up. We wound around and headed East across the Mississippi River on the MLK bridge. This part of the race felt like we were running on the interstate (which we almost were). Around the first water stop I spotted one of our TNT teammates but when I tried to say hello she slowed down to drink just as I came up beside her and I missed my opportunity. After a short distance in East St. Louis we headed back across the Mississippi on the Eads Bridge where the lampposts were bouncing back and forth like crazy. Good to know the Mythbusters showed it would be nearly impossible for marching (or running) feet to bring down a bridge. At this point I told John if he wanted to take off he should because he was running the 7k and getting to the final stretch. He took off and ended up getting 2nd in his AG for the 7k (but that distance apparently doesn’t have AG awards). Also at this point I was passed by a double amputee. One below the knee and one above the knee amputation. Those blades are engineered for running but still super impressive. The half turned south and headed toward the brewery and the Soulard neighborhood of St. Louis. We ran through the brewery complex itself, sometimes they have one of the Clydesdales out, but not this year that I saw. The crowds in general were much slimmer due to the cold but there were still some enthusiastic people out in clumps here and there. Soulard didn’t have its pajama group out but there were two guys dressed as nuns with one group shaking beer can noisemakers. We ran through Soulard, Benton Park and a few other pretty neighborhoods on the south side of St. Louis before heading back toward downtown. The full split off and I was really glad I was getting close to being done instead of just really getting started. One of the 2:10 pacers caught up with me and I said uh-oh. He heard me and said not to worry because he was a bit ahead of pace. Even so I took this as motivation to pick it up a little. I was past mile 10 so it was time anyway. Around mile 12 I started to push it a little more and mile 12 didn’t end up being super fast but it was my fastest mile of the day. We ran back down the steep hill from the beginning (which is what happens if you begin and end a race on the riverfront) and back along and past where the race started. The finish line was right in front of the Arch. I crossed the finish with an official time of 2:07:09. Nicely under my goal of 2:10. I did think about if I could have found that 2+ minutes somewhere, but hindsight is useless. (The answer is a firm maybe) Post race came the medal and all the snacks I couldn’t carry. I’m not sure how often I dropped things until I managed to stuff most of it in my jacket pockets. I missed a couple of the good snacks, but got the best one - the Ted Drews Ice Cream Sandwich. Even though it was cold that was still really good. Because of the cold I didn’t stick around, I just picked up my gear bag and headed home. I’m happy with how the race went and I think I have a reasonable chance with good training of getting back under 2 hours sometime. Maybe this fall depending on what I choose to focus on.
  3. amarie2009

    Snowbuster RR

    This wasn’t my best race. I never intended to PR, but I was hoping to maintain a somewhat decent pace (for me). It didn’t happen. My legs felt heavy the whole time. I did do a weight workout on Thursday which absolutely contributed to that but shouldn’t have made me feel as bad as I did. It wasn’t the worst I’ve ever felt, but I just didn’t have much in me. Besides that, my left arch hurt a little, and my right shoe is still pushing on my inside heel bone for a still unknown reason. At mile 8 I wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish because that particular problem was so bad. After a couple of tries on adjusting the shoe it was enough better to keep going, but my shoe was now sort of loose…I never lost the shoe, so it worked ok. The weather was perfect though, cool and bright. Not much in the way of spring flowers just yet, but we’re close. A few warm spots probably have daffodils blooming but I didn’t see any. I started out with a group of Team in Training runners before we all spread out. John (who also ran the Austin marathon) ran the first 6 miles with me, but he is running another marathon in Hawaii next week and stopped at that point. The race photographer Doug always takes pictures of TNT runs. The first time around I didn’t get my “trademark” thumbs up out (and he called me on it too), but I was ready the second time when he caught me early in the second loop. Ironically, I actually felt worse at that point because of the shoe problem, but I wanted at least one good race photo. First loop with John (mile 1ish) Second loop solo (mile 7ish) Reflective finisher's photo at my car It was just a slow day for me. I finished the 13.1 right at the visitor’s center of Forest Park and was even given a bottle of water by a group promoting their fundraising for GO St. Louis. (The Little Bit Foundation) Then I took my finisher’s photo at my car and drove home. This was my last race as a 34-year-old. Monday is my birthday. New age group. Yay? I don’t believe the 35-39 AG is any less competitive. Two slightly different loops (see the difference on the right, plus a little out and back to finish up) Official time from mapmyrun Next Saturday I’m running the St. Louis St. Patrick’s Day run. Always a fun race, but very crowded as well. I think I’m aiming for a 9 or below pace. If I can do that and it feels super easy (unlikely, but you never know), I may consider a moon shot of going sub 2 at GO STL half in April. More realistically I am planning on aiming for under 2:10. That’s a big difference, but I need this race to tell me what I might be able to do right now.
  4. The weather has been colder than normal this winter. Still not much snow, but wind chill advisories have kept me inside more often than usual. Tomorrow will be another really cold morning – I haven’t decided if I will face the cold or head to the gym. Training for the Austin marathon is going well, but I am behind where I would like to be. There isn’t much I can do about it – with the foot injury at the end of last year I just don’t have the time to get the long runs I’d like to get done. The good news is as long as things continue as they are I will be able to complete the marathon, but I will be undertrained. I have to avoid any mishaps – and the flu going around has me worried. Everything has me worried. I’m a worrier anyway, and since I’ve had two marathon “fails” in a row I’m even more nervous about this one. I won’t feel confident about getting to the start line until I’m standing on it. I may not feel confident about finishing until I actually have. PRs and sub 4:30 seem almost totally out of the question. (I won’t totally write off a PR, but I’m more concerned about just finishing right now. I feel like I want to write more about my fears leading up to this race but I’ve got other running news… On Saturday I had another cold long run, 15 miles. 14* and cloudy. 14 is actually 11* warmer than my 12 miler last week. 3, even with minimal wind chill is not something I want to run in, especially that far. Both of those runs went well. I did the 12 in my neighborhood because I didn’t have anyone to meet and being close to home meant getting warm after the run a lot faster. The 15 was at Forest Park in St. Louis about 1/3 with friends and the rest on my own. It mostly went well, but around mile 13 my knee started complaining. Just a little but it was in the area of the IT band so I started to get really nervous. It never got too bad, so I’m hopeful that it will be ok. But it doesn’t help my nerves about making it to the Austin start line. I had 16 on the plan, but 15 was already a 3 mile jump from the previous week, it was cold and I had a 5k the next day. The mileage increase over the previous week was also more than I like to do. After the run I got home, got warmed up and enjoyed a lazy day made possible by a long weekend. Yesterday I had the MLK Unity 5k run. It was another cold morning and my legs were tired. I almost didn’t want to go, but I’d payed for the race and the start line is barely a mile from my house. There aren’t a many 5ks less than ½ hour drive from my house (there’s tons in the STL area of course, just not super close to me) and the cause is a good one so I went anyway. With 15 miles on my legs the day before I wasn’t expecting much. I figured I’d run by feel and see what happened. The plan was first 2 miles comfortably hard, then the last mile as close to all out as I could make myself go. Last year was the inaugural race and a pretty small crowd. The race director told me when I picked up my packet they did have more people register this year and the crowd was a little bigger, but it was still a really small race. I didn’t see the previous year’s winner (overall a 12 year old girl). Like last year no one really seemed to want to start on the line. This year I didn’t either since I didn’t intend to run it all out. (Normally I have no place there anyway, but I think this race is about ½ walkers, and I was 4th or 5th woman last year so it was fair for me to be there). I started out and felt surprisingly light for the first ¼ mile or so. Then my legs reminded me of the 15 miles I’d done the day before. Nothing actually hurt so I ignored them. As usual lots of people took off and zoomed away. I just ran my hard but not too hard pace and hoped that I wasn’t going to hurt myself by having two hard days in a row. Mile 1 came in at 9:06. Not especially fast for me, but a lot faster than easy pace. I knew mile 2 would be the hardest as it is mostly uphill. But here is where I started passing people. I hadn’t taken note of how many women were in front of me and I wasn’t paying a ton of attention to how many I was passing, but gradually I was moving up. I may have passed 2-3 on the biggest hill, which is a hill I run at least 2x a week on my normal running routes. My watch beeped the end of the second mile (9:13), I took a deep breath and turned on the speed. Much of this mile is downhill except for a small hill mid mile. I passed more people. I still had no idea how many people were in front of me, or even if I was actually going that fast at all. About ¼ mile from the finish a volunteer was cheering the runners on and said “You’re almost there, keep going!” and then “You’re going faster than you ever have!”. I answered “Not quite!” as best as I could because I was breathing so hard. Then my watch beeped the 3rd mile and I realized that she was right and I was wrong. Mile 3 was 8:08, a mile PR by 1 second. I still had the last 1/10ish to go. By the time I crossed the finish line my mile PR was 8:04. Surprise! I was shocked. Much of that mile was downhill, but it’s been a while since I’ve even come close to PRing. My first 2 miles weren’t that fast, but even with that I was 15 seconds off my 5k PR (finish time 27:23 by my watch, PR is 27:08.) Clearly one of two things must be true – Either I should run 15 miles the day before all my 5ks or I really, really need to run a 5k well rested. After the race I walked into the dance studio/charity offices where the 5k was being held where they had the medals, bananas and water. They were sending everyone to get their pictures taken in one of the dance studios. Then I walked back outside to see if they had computers set up where I could find out my official time. Much to my shock they were looking for me. I had placed 3rd female overall! On a race I didn’t really want to run. I hadn’t been going for a PR either, though I did end up running a lot faster than I expected. Recovery wise I feel good today, taking the rest day I normally would have taken yesterday. I won’t lose a day of running if I switch out a cross training day. I was hoping the race would get pictures posted fairly quickly but they haven’t yet and I wanted to get this written today while I’m off work. I may update with race pictures if I find them. My 3rd place trophy. It's kind of huge, and there is also a picture of Dr. King on it, but I couldn't get it all in the picture. It looks like a thermal mug but it's not (bigger), it also reminds me of an urn for ashes but that would be too weird. Whatever, I'm not complaining, it's the only overall award I've ever gotten.
  5. PRE-RACE Saturday morning 5:00 - wake up; get running stuff and warmer stuff to wear on drive to start 5:30 - check course map and reference Google maps to find a parking lot with easy in/out about midway between start and finish 6:00 - get in car and drive toward downtown (aka uptown) Charlotte 6:35 - park in previously scoped empty, free parking lot; walk to start 6:40 - make small talk with another runner about start; he's not running though and had to defer; told him that's what I did last year 6:45 - walk into open lobby of sponsoring bank where they have shirts and food setup; but not packet pickup; "That's at the finish by Memorial Stadium"; "That would have been good to put in the email," I reply. 6:50 - Warm-up run ~1 mile to finish area; 7:00 - get packet; bite tongue about location of packet pickup because they can't change it now 7:05 - porta-potty 7:10 - another porta-potty 7:15 - walk back to car; shed layers; pin bib; sip water; eat half of banana 7:25 - walk to start; get asked by lady pointing toward finish, "Is bib pickup this way?" "Yes, keep going and you'll see it." She is cutting it tight. 7:33 - short warm-up run from start line to see what first couple of turns look like 7:38 - hear announcer say we're about 5 minutes from start; hmm, one more bathroom visit? 7:40 - no porta-potties by start; take elevator up with others to 5th floor for office restrooms 7:42 - short line to both men's and women's, partially because some women were using men's room 7:43 - use urinal while women wait for stalls; think to self, "I'm probably going to miss the start." 7:44 - skip elevator; rush down stairs; go out one level too high but see out window that race has started 7:45 - get to bottom level, run around corner to start line and make U-turn to cross timing mat behind everybody ROCKTOBERFEST HALF MARATHON 7:45 - 7:59 - Miles 1 & 2 - pass hundreds of runners by hoping on sidewalk on right and then going far left after first turn 8:00 - 8:12 - Miles 3 & 4 - check pace - 6:50ish - hold and conserve; see "Chafing the Dream" poster; show off air guitar skills during guitar solo of "Beat It" as DJ waves to runners 8:13 - 8:26 - Miles 5 & 6 - up down up down left right right right left right left right; passing slows down, but still picking them off; take a gatorade 8:26 - 8:39 - Miles 7 & 8 - mostly downhill mile 7 ends with a steep up from a paved trail back to road; uphill mile 8 slows pace to 6:56; spill a gatorade 8:40 - 8:53 - Miles 9 & 10 - holding a 6:48/49 overall average so far; another runner says, "You must have started late. You're blowing through everybody." I reply, "Held up in bathroom; I'm on about a 1:30 pace so far." He says, "Awesome, there's only about 15 people ahead."; take a gatorade 8:53 - 9:06 - Miles 11 & 12 - pass a few more; see shirtless, muscle, tattoo guy up ahead that beat me in a 10k last year; tattoo on back or a target?; pass him in middle of mile 12; note that he's carrying at least 50lbs more than me; good runner; on the other hand, short, overdressed, older guy who I thought was 12 years old from behind tries to pass me back, hangs for about 100 feet, then fades; take a water 9:07 - 9:13 - Mile 13 - pass many walking/jogging the shorter 9k race (yes, 9); one lady tells me, "You're number 9. Catch that guy!" See the finish line from almost .5 mile away and try not to look at how slow it seems to be getting bigger 9:14 - Mile 13.1 - hear footsteps closing behind me but hold them off and not worried about it because I started more than a minute behind anybody in the front Near end - shirtless muscle guy is now behind me. Other guy provided the footsteps that I heard closing in at finish line. POST RACE 9:15 - get medal, water, banana, Which Wich sandwich slices; throw bean bags at cornhole board getting one in to win a t-shirt and water bottle; grab OVI hydration juice; tell shirtless, muscle, tattoo guy that I had been chasing him a long time; he runs in clydesdale class 9:25 - slowly walk to car, skipping awards because son needs to be picked up and errands need to be done 9:30 - change to dry clothes in car; check results to see 1:29:45 official time, 7th place overall and 1st in age group; text wife and running buddies; 9:35 - leave
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