Tag Archives: heat

New Month with New Goals (And how in the world did I become a race director?!)

Well, a new month is finally here…I guess it’s been here for about 11 days now, lol.  June was very eventful around our house. So much, that I never had time to finish writing that fussy little post I began countless times!  The title was: “Does this heat make me look fat?” and I still may use it one day, lol.

That particular blog was basically me agonizing over the fact that it’s really hot and I don’t like it one bit. And because I’m not a fan of broiling when I go run, I’ve cut back my runs considerably lately. Of course, because I’ve cut back my runs, it makes me automatically feel, well…you know, fat and lazy…and if you ask my family, maybe a teensy bit grouchy at times. It also hasn’t helped that we’ve been really busy lately with lots of summertime activities and by the time I’m able to go run, it might be 9 or 10 at night. Seriously. After feeling down in the dumps over my lack of running when and how much I wanted, I finally decided that I could either keep feeling bad or put on my big girl running shoes and do something about it. (I figured I should take a little of my advice that I give my children and be grateful for what time I do have.) So, on the days that I know I probably won’t get to go and run, I have started using our elliptical machine again and then if I get to go anyway, great! At least once a week, I dress at lightly as possible, bring my water bottle and bite the bullet and go run at the Longleaf Trace. It’s my favorite spot to run my longer runs. It’s always pretty hot and I haven’t run a truly “long” run (more than 6 miles) in a really long time but it’s so much better than running in circles at the track!!!  As for the other days, I have come to peace with the fact that I’m going to be running at night and for now, that’s just the way it will be. Soon enough, it will be cooling off and it will be time to start training for our next half marathon. I think that it’s just hard, for me at least, to go from training hard during the week and running races nearly every weekend to training not nearly as much and no races. It was a shock to my system and I felt almost depressed, as strange as that may sound. In a nutshell, that’s basically the blog I was trying to write for nearly a month.

Now that I’ve given myself a good kick in the rear for acting like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, I’m trying to use this time to work on my form and just kind of be in maintenance mode. We’re also getting ourselves ready mentally to start our half and full marathon training. I think it’s never too soon to get your mind focused and geared up towards looking forward it. I know it takes a lot of physical endurance but I can tell you that if you start thinking that can’t, your body will most likely listen.

Speaking of races, we have one coming up this weekend! Yeah, it was kind of a surprise to me when I found out too. It surprised me first when I was told that it was July 23 and then an even bigger surprise when Jason said he found out that it was actually the 16th.(Here’s a link to the race, if you’re interested.) In a way, I’m excited to have a race to look forward to and in another way, a little anxious. We went Saturday to see what the course would look like and if it’s where we think it’s going to be, then, wow. Just wow. Do you remember that time several months ago when I was so worried about a race with all of those hills? This one may be worse. Especially when you factor in the heat/humidity. I’m trying to tell myself to not fret over it. (Back to the mind over matter/visualization thing.) I know that I’m going to have to take it slow for the first half of the run because it uphill nearly the whole way. On the other hand, while I can cruise coming back, part of it is pretty steep and if I’m not careful, I’ll use up a lot of energy trying to “put on brakes”. Jeff Galloway talks about “gliding“, which is what I’ll need to concentrate on when I’m running the 2nd half of the race.

Here’s how he explains it:

What are gliders? Many of us incorporate gliders into our runs without even realizing it. When you run down a hill, using the momentum of the last few yards to relax while keeping the same speed for a few steps, you’re gliding. With practice you can stretch the distance of this glide, riding the wave of momentum farther and farther. You can even learn to adapt this technique to flat ground.

You can click the link on gliding and see his full explanation of  how to do them and why they can work for you. I will admit that I haven’t done hill work lately which means I haven’t practiced this technique lately. *Mental note – I might need to go do hills tonight…. 

I probably won’t have a PR that day but I’m going to do the best I can and go slow if I need to. The important thing is to have fun and finish, right? I’ll try to post an update on how it went and pictures. Here’s one of me from a previous race:


Another thing that is going to be happening soon is the Race for Grace 5k Run/Walk and 1 Mile Fun Run to benefit Grace Link Kids which is an outreach of Grace International.This idea began during a conversation with my brother about putting on a trail race someday, even though I’m not even a trail runner and it somehow grew into this!! After having a meeting and forming a committee, I (of all people..if you know me, you’ll agree, lol) was chosen to be the race director. I have only been in races and never even helped with one, so you can imagine my surprise and panic mode that I was suddenly in since I’ve never considered myself a “leader”. Luckily, we have several other people who are great with planning and know people who can advise us on things that we have questions about. We really want this to be a fun event that is family oriented and something that runners and their families will want to participate in again. Most of all, we want to be able to have lots of folks participate so we can help as many kids as we can. By the way, if you have any race planning suggestions or advice for me, I’d LOVE to hear from you!! We are planning our second meeting this week and hope to have the final details ironed out. Here is what we know for sure: It will be held September 24 at 8:30am at the Longleaf Trace Gateway, which is behind USM (See directions below). There will be race t-shirts, prizes for the winners (age group categories to be decided on soon), water and snacks afterwards and some fun stuff for the kids too. We will be listing it on the Mississippi Track Club site and the Pinebelt Pacers site too. We’ve already listed it as an event on Facebook and made a page for it too so you can keep up with updates there. If you don’t have Facebook, no worries because I’ll update things on here and Twitter and Grace International has a page started on their website and will post info there too. I’m really excited about it coming together and I hope I’ll see lots of you there!

The temps are looking like they are going to be pretty high this week so remember to stay hydrated and take your water bottle with you when you go outside to exercise!

I hope everyone has a great week.

*Directions to the Longleaf Trace Gateway*

From I59 take the Hardy Street exit and go east on Hardy Street to 38th Street (second light).  Turn left on 38th Avenue and then right at the next light at 4th Street. The Gateway will be on your left at the foot of the water tower at the northern edge of the USM campus. 

From US Highway 49 from Jackson: At Mendenhall turn south on Highway 13. At Prentiss turn west on US Highway 84. The Trace crosses 84 just south of its terminus at the park in Prentiss. Take a side street to the beautiful park (see pictures below) and parking area. For the Hattiesburg terminus see I59 instructions above or the US Highway 49 directions below.

To access the Trace at Sumrall or Epley from Highway 49: Turn west on 42. Turn left on Epley Road (first paved road) to go to Epley, or straight to continue to Sumrall. In Sumrall turn left on 589 and the parking area is a few blocks on your left. 

If you are coming from Mobile on US Highway 98 or from the coast on US Highway 49 (they intersect just south of Hattiesburg): Continue (or turn) west on US 98 to I59 north to Hardy Street. Then follow the directions from I59 above.  

US Highway 49 Directions: If you are familiar with Hattiesburg and USM, another more scenic way to get to the Gateway Southern Miss is to stay on 49 into Hattiesburg, and then turn west on 4th street (watch for signs directing you to the Gateway. You will get onto a frontage road that will take you to 4th Street (4th Street passes over US 49). The Gateway will be on your right across from the football stadium. That way you get to see more of the fabulous hub city and USM. To start at Epley or Sumrall, follow the directions above. Going North, Highway 42 will be on your left about 3 miles after you cross under I59.


Filed under Family, Racing, Running

Good and Bad Runs, Ipods and My(Difficult)Quest to Step Lightly

Hi everyone! No race reports from last weekend. We had considered running one on Saturday but decided to skip it and take the kids (and Flat Stanley – my nephew’s book project) to the Jackson Zoo and State Capital. It was such a fun day and even though we could have run the race that morning and then gone on our trip, we might have felt a little less than energetic by the time we got home that night.

Buckled in and ready for an adventure with our family!

Since I don’t have a race recap to give you, I thought I’d ramble on about a few things that have gone through my thoughts this week while I was running or during my few and far between moments of quiet time around here.

Isn’t it amazing how you can run one day and feel like you are most likely the worst runner that’s ever stepped foot on the earth and then, a couple of days later, you go for a run and feel like you could go on forever? This was my experience a few days ago and then on Monday. Last week it was hot and I mean super hot. (I’m sure you get so tired of hearing me fuss about heat but, guess what, it’s only going to get worse because summer is coming, haha!) I decided to go for a run on Thursday afternoon. Jason said to bring the kids, along with the jogging stroller,and he would just meet up with me after he finished up his run because he was already running at the same place. I’d been talking to my friend, Stephanie that day, who’s just beginning her journey as a runner, and she said she’d love to come along and run with me. We’ve tried several times to get together for a run with no success, so I was thrilled that we’d actually get to go. She’s still doing running with walking mixed in and I thought, since it was so warm, it would be a great day for me to take it slow and enjoy getting back to the basics. We all met up as Jason was finishing and I could tell by the sweat pouring off of him that it was going to be a lot hotter of a run than I had anticipated. I grabbed up my Ipod and ushered Steph over to our starting point, making sure to only put one earbud in my ear so we could visit a little while we ran but I could still hear my music too. I, probably like at least a few of you, don’t like running “unplugged”! For some people, they’d rather hear their breathing and feet hitting the road and stay in tune with their body. For me, I’d rather have something moving me along, especially on those runs when I start to struggle. Sometimes it just takes turning on that certain song and I can switch off my left brain that’s trying really hard to convince me to stop and switch my right brain on and push through until I feel strong again. I think if I only had my labored breathing and sluggish sound of my feet to listen to during that time, I’d probably not be able to make it. That being said….we weren’t more than 2 or 3 mins into our run and my Ipod stopped. (Noooooo!!) I was in shock at first but then remembered what was going on. Now that I have my Nike watch keeping up with my running, I don’t bring my Ipod inside after every run and plug it in to recharge it/upload. I had a miniature freak out and then decided I shouldn’t set a bad example for my new-at-running buddy. I did complain outloud (just a bit!) but decided that we’d probably visit more without the music  anyway. Problem was, since she was walking/running and I was running/running, we weren’t together the entire time. I would run with her and then when she’d stop for a walk break, I’d run ahead and then turn around and come back to meet her. By that time, she’d be ready to run a little more and then we’d repeat the process. (Did I mention it was really hot that day?) By the time we had about a mile left, she told me to go on ahead and finish my part of the run out. I did it but was suffering from the torture of having no music and lack of air to breathe. After I finished, I trotted back to Steph and walked back with her. Jason had been taking pictures of us as we started our run out and was taking some of us coming back too. I was so thankful he didn’t snap any of me after I’d finished because it would have been ugly, lol! I gave Stephanie a quick hug and told her goodbye and was secretly a little happy that she didn’t stick around to see my misery in full force. I was nearly lying down on the back of Jason’s car, eyes clenched shut in pain because so much sweat had gotten in them, and feeling like I had probably just done the worst job in the world at being a good example of a runner. Honestly, for a day or two, I really began to wonder if I was losing my running mojo. That’s not a good feeling, by the way.

Just beginning our run. Pretty sure at this point my Ipod had already fizzled for the day.

Zach and Zoe relaxing in the jogging stroller.

I was pretty disgusted with how my run turned out that day but, keeping in mind that a bad run on one day can make your next good run feel great, I headed out on Monday to try again. I was thankful for much cooler temps and a chance to redeem myself from my less than impressive performance a few days before. It was a cloudy, unseasonably cool day and it felt wonderful! I went there knowing I was going to run more than 3 miles but also knew that I couldn’t run as far as I wanted because our cat was at the vet and had to be picked up by 5:30. It was already almost 4pm so I scrapped my dreams of running 7 or 8 miles and opted for a little over 4-ish. The run that day was one of those that I didn’t want to end. I felt great, the weather felt great, my Ipod worked great…everything was..well, great. I’m not sure if it was truly the best run I’d had in a while because it was that good or if it just was in comparison to the train wreck of a run from Thursday. Either way, I finished feeling strong and excited that probably weren’t as bad as I had thought they were. I’ve said over and over that the heat is basically my kryptonite. Now I just need to remind myself of this when I have a bad run on really hot days!!

Now here’s something I’d like to ask you about: How do you run? Do you startle people when you approach them from behind because of your stealth-like stepping or is there no need to say a word because your feet do all the “talking” as you clip-clop along? Unfortunately for me, I’m in the second category. As I mentioned on the Run Like a Mother page today, I feel like a Clydesdale when I’m running (and not in the glorious, majestic way). I make so much noise and I know it’s not a good thing but I don’t know how to stop! Believe me, I’ve tried. Yesterday, while out running with my husband (who’s not only a faster runner than me but a stealth-stepper too), he was trying to help show me (again) how to take those ever elusive lighter steps. I tried and tried but no matter how I changed my stepping, the noise stayed! What’s the deal? His theory is that I’m pressing down with my foot (into the road) instead of pushing the pavement away. Seriously, I have no clue what I’m doing when it comes to this. I know what I need to be doing but somehow I can’t implement it. I’ve heard that Chi Running was helpful in learning how to run lighter and wearing Vibrams can help too. I’m sure I’m losing a lot of energy by pounding it into the pavement and I’d probably even knock off some of my time if I could ever figure it out. Have any of you had this experience and how did you fix it? I’d love to hear any suggestions that you might have for me!! I’m going to post a pic of my feet while I’m running. Maybe you can see a problem that I don’t?

How's my driving?

 I forgot to mention that our run yesterday (besides obsessing over every step I took) was a really good one again. It was another cool afternoon and the company wasn’t so bad either. 🙂 I love being able to run with Jason although I know he probably feels like he’s going at a snail’s pace, he never complains, only encourages me and that means a lot to me.

So, those are a few of my thoughts this week. Zach is already out of school for the summer and my older kids have next week and they’ll be finished, which means our Florida vacation will be just around the corner! Our racing will significantly slow down during the heat of the summer but I’m sure I’ll still have more than enough to blog about. I’ve still got to fill you in on our Nike watches, some of my supplement/eating tips and I’ve got to keep you up to date on my quest to become a quiet runner (and faster one too).

In regards to my Ipod dependence that I mentioned earlier, I wanted to see how many of you have (or don’t have) a music dependency when you run. So, here’s a quick poll I’ve set up just for you:

One more thing! My blog has had over 3000 hits as of this week since I created my first post on March 22, 2011. This is so exciting for me (even though I’m sure some blogs get that many a day, lol) because when I started out, I figured I’d have mostly family and a few friends reading it. I never dreamed that I’d have as many readers as I do and I want to thank YOU for that! I also appreciate all of my other fellow bloggers that have linked my site to theirs, Rod’s Racers for promoting my blog and Facebook page and to the ladies at Another Mother Runner for profiling my blog on their site and sending a lot of new readers my way.

Thanks again to all of you for being such an encouragement to me! (And for looking over my writing errors that I’m quite certain I miss sometimes.) 🙂


Filed under Family, Running

Not So Easy In The Big Easy – Crescent City Classic Recap

What a hectic week it’s been! Who am I kidding? It’s hectic around here nearly all the time, lol!  Although, with Easter and the Crescent City Classic jam-packed into one weekend, things did seem a little more stressful than usual around here. It’s taken me nearly all week to write this blog but here it is…finally!!

Since we were going sans kids on this trip, we had planned to start making our drop-offs around 11am that morning to two different grandparent’s houses. (With a brood as large as ours, it helps sometimes to have 2 stay at one grandparent’s house and the other 3 at the other house. So thankful for our parents!!!) Of course, we were nowhere near the exterior of our home at 11am much less dropping anyone off! After several false starts, we were finally on our way sometime after 12 to drop off our first two kids at Jason’s parents’ house. My parents live about 40 miles away but in the direction of New Orleans so after another pit stop back at our house, we headed their way! Jason kept asking me how I was feeling about the race the next day. Was I getting excited, was I feeling nervous, dreading it, hoping for a PR? My answer: “Honestly, I haven’t even really thought about it today.”… And I really had not. Yes, I was aware that a 10k race was imminent but getting 5 kids and ourselves packed and out of the door to go anywhere is a major undertaking (even though the older ones can pack for themselves, it’s getting them to actually do it before it’s time to leave…and that isn’t easy). When we’d finally said our last goodbyes to our little (and big) ones, it took me about an hour or so before I could shake that stressed, rush, rush, rush mode that I get into when we have to go somewhere.

We just knew that traffic was going to be awful as we drove into New Orleans, but, there’s a first time for everything and we cruised right on in with no problems. As we made our way to the Hilton Riverside, we discovered that all the traffic we thought we’d dodged had actually congregated down between the Sheraton and the Hilton! It wasn’t just vehicles but people…everywhere. Most of the ones we saw were scurrying around carrying their yellow Crescent City Classic bags and it made me anxious to go check in to our hotel and head over to the Sheraton and get my own little yellow bag. Our room was great! The best part about it was the awesome view of the Mississippi River. I loved watching the boats go by and hearing the boat horns. Very, very cool.

View of the river and boats from our room.

Another view from our room at the Hilton Riverside.

A quick picture before we head out to the Expo.

Jason has been nursing a sore foot in the last few weeks so we decided to look like lazy runners and take a cab over to the Expo. Our driver was very….impatient, to put it lightly. I don’t think I’ve ever traveled that fast or prayed that hard in a cab. He was blowing the horn and tailgating and I was really surprised we made it. Period. Needless to say, when it was time to go back to our hotel, Jason said he’d risk a little foot pain and we walked back. 🙂

The Expo was great! Last year’s was overshadowed by the super-long lines we had to wait in to get our timing chips to go on our shoes. This year, everyone was chipped and it was attached to our numbers that we got in the mail, so the only line we waited in was for our yellow bag that held that t-shirt we all know we want (no matter how ugly it is) when we sign up for a race! It’s always fun getting the free stuff that the different vendors are giving out and looking at all the various running products they have to offer. Our favorite stop was at the Bondi Band booth and the One More Mile booth! We would have stayed a lot longer but next on our agenda was a late dinner at Drago’s and we were starving!!

Hey, look what I found!

Jason and me at the Crescent City Classic Expo

Food, glorious food!!

After a fabulous (but not too heavy) meal, we made our way back up to our room to get ready for the big race the next morning. Of course, by the time we’d taken our showers and gotten our pajamas on, I realized that I’d forgotten my self-tanner downstairs in our van. If you’ve seen any of my race day photos, I don’t have to tell you that I am a tan-in a can-aholic, lol. It’s obviously not necessary to do this and race but since I look like a vampire right out of Forks,WA if I don’t, I’d rather save everyone from being blinded, lol. In a way, maybe it does help me a little. It’s one less negative thing for me to think about while I’m racing. If I start feeling bad, all kinds of crazy, negative thoughts try to jump in and if I can keep the “you are blinding everyone with your pasty white skin” thoughts out of my head, then great! So…I freaked out when I realized my tanner was way down in the parking garage. Pajama clad, Jason was sweet enough to trek with me across the hotel & parking garage to go and get it so I could put a good coating on before bedtime (and have one less thing to worry about the next day:)).

The next morning, we woke up pretty early so we could go eat breakfast in the beautiful executive lounge the Hilton offers. They had a good breakfast (didn’t have the oatmeal I was hoping for :() and an even better view of the Mississippi River and, on the other side, the city of New Orleans. It’s always nice to be able to get up early enough on race days and not feel rushed. Although, since we seem to be chronically late to nearly every race, maybe we should get up even earlier! 🙂 I’ll spare you the pictures that Jason took of me eating breakfast that morning. Definitely not blog worthy! 😉 Here’s what we saw while we ate breakfast:

What a way to wake up! We enjoyed this beautiful sunrise while we had breakfast.

After breakfast, we hurried back to our room to get our running clothes on. I have to admit that my nerves had finally kicked in just a little bit as I got ready. Even though I hadn’t had time in the last couple of days to think a lot about the race, I had been aware of one major thing. It was going to be really, really hot.  Even the night before as we waited to be seated at the restaurant, I could hear runners talking to each other about the next day and the main topic was the heat.  I wondered to myself if I’d had enough water to drink and reminded myself that my time to drink any more was starting to run out. No need to try to gulp down a ton of water and have to go stand in a mile long porta potty line!  We took a couple of pictures and then headed out. As I gathered up my belongings to take with me, I realized I had forgotten my Nike+ sensor in the van!! No!!! I was freaking out (just a little). That’s like showing up to a race with no shoes, which is a bad thing, unless you’re a barefoot runner, lol. Needless to say, my pre-race warm up was a sprint to the parking garage to get my sensor and a sprint back into the hotel because I had to have one more potty break before we went to the starting line. Disaster averted. Whew.

Getting ready to head to the race

One last potty stop before going to the starting line!

Our walk to the starting line was another good warm up but I could tell it was really starting to get steamy hot already. We saw the variety of runners and walkers on our trip over. These are those folks I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog that brave the heat and must have quite the tolerance for wearing things that would literally drive me batty if I had to run in them.

Thing 1&2 on one side of me, air brushed workout clothes on another side.

Tutus were abundant...even on some guys!

When we nearly to the starting line, we were really excited to see that we had gotten there in enough time to watch the small parade start that goes before the elite runners start their run. We even had this crazy idea that we’d get to see the elites take off and still have enough time to get in line. Wrong. As we got closer to the starting line, there was a race official telling us we had to take a left and go a couple of blocks down. Jason was suddenly in panic mode. It was a fast walk (and jog at times) but we finally made it and started trying to work our way into our correct corral, which isn’t easy. We ducked into the crowd in one spot but realized that tons of people with a different color number were there too and it would be a much slower start, so off we went again trying to get closer to the starting line. When we found a suitable spot and waited for the starting gun, Jason took a couple of pictures of the crowd and then, as I always do, I kissed him goodbye and stared straight ahead. (I try not to focus on Jason when a race begins because he runs so much faster than I do. If I watch him running away, I have this weird urge to chase him and since I’d never catch him, it’s better to just focus on my run and not his.)

Here's the parade getting ready to go. You can see the starting line behind them.

Our first spot in the line up...still not close enough.

Here's a view of the sea of people behind us.

When the gun sounded, there wasn’t this mass of people taking off in a sprint, it was more like a fast shuffle. This was because everyone, except the elites, were way behind the starting line and there’s no need to run to it, at least there was no reason for me to, lol. I would say that basically everyone around us was thinking the same thing.The excitement of the crowd was definitely contagious and I was anxious to start running. As I hit that starting line, I took off with a burst of speed. I ran through the first leg of the race thinking how much stronger I felt this year as compared to last year’s race when I hit the wall extremely early on. I was also very glad that we’d moved closer to the starting line because, although there were some, there weren’t nearly as many folks that had lined up in the wrong spot and so I didn’t have to do as much dodging. It was really hot, especially when we were on the streets that had little to no shade. I was ever so grateful to finally make a turn onto the street that went through a neighborhood and I could move over and run in the shade. By the time I reached the halfway mark, the time clock that they had set up said 33 mins (no idea what the seconds were) but it wasn’t a bad time considering the crowd and heat. Somewhere a little beyond the half way point things started going downhill and I don’t mean the streets!!! I felt like I was going to die. It was SO HOT!! I was feeling weak. My sunglasses even felt too heavy on my face. I kept trying to call up my inner coach…the one that always shows up just in the nick of time. Where was she? Had she sat this one out? Things weren’t going well at all. I had even convinced myself that somehow they had added something to the course. My left brain kept chiming in, “Why don’t you just walk?” “Maybe you should quit and you’d feel better.” “You probably can’t even run that 5k next weekend.” “How did you ever finish the 1/2 marathon?”  “You know you’re never going to make it, it’s way too hot.” “Jason has already finished and is enjoying ice cold water right now.” “Look at all these other people around you…they’re passing you.” “You are so SLOW!” Yeah, my left brain isn’t very nice to me when I’ve hit the wall. It gets ugly in there.  On the final loop before we headed toward the finish line, I looked over and could have sworn I saw people making an extra loop in the distance. I nearly started crying. If there was an extra loop, that was it. I couldn’t do it. I kept pounding the pavement and every step seemed to take every bit of energy I had. Lowest point of the day: A guy in a banana suit passed me as if I was standing still. What had he been doing the whole time? Pacing behind me, waiting to break my spirit even more? I started praying. I pleaded for it to be over soon…to just be able to make it across the finish line without passing out.

We came around that loop and there it was – the Marathonfoto spot where they are up on a platform, waiting for us to run through so they can take our pictures. Significant turn of events. 🙂 If they are there on that overhang thingy, that means one thing to me – finish line in sight!! YES!!! Apparently, I’d been hallucinating or maybe had just caught sight of the race after-party. Oh, and guess who decided to show up for picture time? “She” did. (Better late than never?) I was suddenly kicking it back into overdrive again. I pushed my once seemingly 80lb sunglasses on top of my head and approached the photographers with a big thumbs up, smiling like I’d been cruising effortless the whole way. After that point, it was as if I were as fresh as a daisy. I came across the finish line with both hands up in the air, thanking God that I had made it. Prayers answered. 🙂 I may have finished strong but I was very near the point of quitting not long before that. 

Immediately I began trying to look around for Jason. Last year, he wasn’t able to see me because there had been an emergency at the finish line and they had made him move. It took an hour to finally find each other. This year was going to be different. He had even brought his camera in his SPIbelt so he could get a picture of me crossing the finish. They kept us moving along and I kept searching the huge crowd for him but I couldn’t find him anywhere. We were supposed to meet at the first water stop after the finish line. I got there along with a zillion other runners. Because people were constantly coming from the finish line, it was almost impossible to search the crowd. I waited and I waited. Finally, my phone rang and a strange number showed up. It was Jason. He had been to the water stop but had encountered the same problem I had and finally decided to call. When we were finally reunited beside the water truck, he had bad news for me. He never saw me cross the finish line. He said he waited until the 1:15 point, trying to give me more than enough time and finally realized that somehow he’d missed me, again.  Good news was that he got a picture of a guy dressed in a banana suit. The same one that blew passed me. 😦 I think next year I’ll put the words “HEY JASON – HERE I AM!” on my shirt. 🙂

Can you imagine how fast he can probably go without the banana suit on?

These guys were supposed to be the Blues Brothers, I think. How did they not have a heat stroke in those coats?

Entrance to the big party after the race.

The race after party is always exciting. There’s tons of free food and drinks live bands playing. It was also getting hotter by the second. From the time I hit the first water stop when I was waiting on Jason until the time we left to get on the bus back, I drank 2 bottles of water, a bottle of Powerade and 2 chocolate milks. I was really, really thirsty. (I didn’t stop at the water stops along the race route.) I also found out that Jason started out way too fast and was feeling about the same way I had been feeling during the race. He said that he was feeling the effects of the heat around the 2nd mile and beyond. Running in the heat stinks!  It was getting hotter by the second at the race party so after we took a few pictures, we decided it was time to get back to the hotel and find some real food.

Jason and me at the race after party.

Me with the stage in the background.

Look at the sheer volume of folks still coming across the finish line!

Our next big hurdle was to stand in a very long line in the heat, waiting to get on a bus.

Super long lines and we weren't even at the end!

So very happy to be on a bus (with a/c!!) and on our way back to the hotel!

We were both so thankful to be out of the heat and off of our feet!

The ride back to the hotel was very enjoyable but a familiar feeling on the bottom of my feet wasn’t feeling great at all. As soon as we got inside of our hotel room, I pulled my sweaty shoes and socks off to check things out. Blisters? You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve never gotten blisters from running a 10k. Not even when I was just beginning. The only blisters I’ve ever had from running was when I was training for the half and had gotten a few because of the high mileage. I still don’t understand it. In fact, if any of you can think of a reason why I would have gotten them, I’d love to hear! I was wearing my favorite running socks and shoes….nothing new on my feet. I’m baffled.

After getting cleaned up, we went and enjoyed a great post race lunch at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. It was so nice to sit down and eat! The restaurant was beautiful and had a courtyard-type area beside it that we were able to sit by the windows and see. By the time we finished eating and went outside, the wind had starting blowing so hard, you’d think a hurricane was on the way. It was like a wind tunnel! It felt so good and I couldn’t help but wish it had shown up a little earlier when I was suffering from heat exposure, lol!

Jason getting ready to enjoy a post race steak.

Gazebo beside the restaurant

Jason documented my "wind blown" look, haha.

There was just one more stop on my to do list before we packed up and headed home. I wanted to go visit the new Fleurty Girl shop close to Jackson Square. I think the wind blew us most of the way there!  That particular part of New Orleans is so beautiful and filled with history. I could easily wander around down there and just look for hours. We found the shop and I even got a few early Mother’s Day gifts. Yay! 🙂

Neat little place that always decorates for every season. They had a bubble machine going. Perfect for a windy, Spring day.

Trying to find the Fleurty Girl shop.

Overall, it was a great trip. The race could have been better but it’s in the books now and we will take what we’ve learned and apply it to the next race we run. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that when it’s really hot and you hit the wall, a 10k race can seem longer and more difficult than a half marathon. I also learned that I have something inside of me that won’t let me quit, no matter how hard I beg at times. Call it stubbornness, call it willpower or even call it stupid but whatever it is, I’m so grateful it’s in there because this is one race that wouldn’t have been finished without it. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a great race if you have one planned!

P.S. I completely spaced out and forgot to tell you my finishing time!! My chip time was 1:09:28. I finished 4926 out of nearly 22,000! Jason’s time was 52:24 (PR) and he finished 1364. Great day for him!


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A bad run is better than no run

Don’t worry, you aren’t seeing things! I know I just posted a blog yesterday and it’s absolutely unheard of for me to post back to back but I wanted to share with you about my awful run last night.

Yesterday was one of those days that seemed never-ending. (Much like today…hmmm.) Basically, it’s just been one of those weeks around  here. I wanted to work in 3 runs this week before the race on Saturday and I still may be able to get the 3rd in tomorrow night. Last night was one of the times that I was dying to get out and go and it just seemed like everything was working against me. One reason I wanted to go was so I could try my new running clothes that I’m planning on wearing in the Crescent City Classic. If there’s nothing else you do before a race (besides train a lot, drink a lot of water, train some more, and eat right), please try out anything you have that’s new!! The last thing you want to do is find out 2 miles into a 10k that your pants are too baggy, that your shoes are rubbing your heels or your shirt is riding up. So, that was my big concern last night. I wanted to go run and see how the outfit felt, just in case I had to make an emergency trip to the post office to send it back!

Zoe was super tired. We had spent part of the morning on a field trip with Zach and she’d only had one nap. I just knew she’d go down fast and I could head out for a quick run and be back in no time, right? Wrong. Somehow, on days that she’s dead tired, she digs down deep and finds energy that I only wish I had. Long story short, it was after 9pm by the time she went to sleep, after 9:30 by the time I changed into my clothes and nearly 10 when I started my run. Added on to that was the extra awkwardness I felt because our school was just finishing a baseball game up and a zillion people were still there. I do not feel comfortable running when people are possibly looking at me. I know it’s silly but surely someone else feels that way too and that’s why I’m admitting it. (Now you know you aren’t alone. :)) Races are different. People are supposed to be watching you then. Training is a time when I don’t want to have an audience because sometimes I’m feeling like I’m dying and I know it shows. Other times, I’m feeling pretty great and I might sing or play the drums and that looks kind of weird too. So…it was a little awkward getting out there and running in new clothes with people everywhere that possibly knew me or my family, on a track and it was hot. Really hot.

Good news first: My clothes basically felt great. The only complaint I had was a pesky tag that kept sticking in my side like a knife the whole time. I’ll make sure it’s long gone by Saturday. Other good news was that the run itself, meaning the time (31:23) and pace (6:16/km), wasn’t awful after you factor in the heat and 81% humidity. Yes, 81%. I knew it was hot but had no clue that it was so humid until I got home.

Bad news: I started out in a semi-panic because of all the people there so that means that I took off running way too fast. You would think that now I’d say that after the first mile I finally settled down and found my comfort zone…but I didn’t. I ran like a crazy lady…a crazy, sweaty, oxygen deprived lady that felt like everybody there was staring at her. (Looking back, I’m pretty sure they weren’t.) At 3.98 km, I had decided to just quit. I was near the bleachers where I’d put my keys and I looked down at my Ipod and brought my thumb over to hit “stop”.  “Don’t you dare stop!” was the sassy voice I heard coming deep from inside of me. Thank goodness “she” showed up! She quickly reminded me that I had tried all day to be right there – running. I was there for a reason and it was time to suck it up and finish what I started. She also reminded me that I would kick myself for stopping and, it’s true, I would have. I finished. It wasn’t pretty. It was ugly, in fact, but I did it and now I’m glad I did.

Sometimes we are going to be outside of our comfort zones and  we have a choice to make: to push through it or stop. I’m really glad I pushed through, even though it wasn’t easy. I think we all have that little voice inside of us. I hope you’ll decide to listen to it when you think you can’t make it another step. You may be surprised at what you can do!

Comfort zones are most often expanded through discomfort.   

~Peter McWilliams~

If you don’t step out of your comfort zone and face your fears, the number of situations that make you uncomfortable will keep growing.   

~Theo Pistorius~


Filed under Family, Running

Racing for a Rose and (always)Running Late

Saturday was the Run for the Roses 5k race in Prentiss and it nearly started like the Doctor’s Day Dash. (You can read about that debacle in my post “Slow is the New Fast”.)

We woke up super early and “planned” on leaving a little before or by 7 because it was a long drive over and we still had to register and warm up and go to the bathroom one last time. If you haven’t noticed a pattern by now, I’ll point it out. I run late constantly! I never intend to and I really try to leave when I’m supposed to but something just always seems to happen. I end up leaving at the latest time we’re supposed to go instead of the earliest. *Sigh* Most of you that are reading this already know me (some are related to me :)) and know that I’m not exaggerating about this in the least. If you don’t know me personally, just read a few of my blogs and you’ll get the drift. I know it drives Jason insane. I’m so lucky that he’s such a sweet and patient man!

So our race actually began by us racing out of the house and trying to get there in enough time to get everything done. It was foggy and we ended up driving behind the slowest person in the county and it was a no passing zone….so…we were in a bit of a bigger rush by the time we actually got to the race. There were TONS of people there so we were extremely fortunate to find a parking spot right across the street from the sign up booth. Jason is always amped up before a race and running late doesn’t help him with that. He bolted out just as soon as we parked to get to the registration table while I tried to gather my things together and then I caught up with him. When it was finally our turn, we found out that we were at the wrong table (go figure). We also missed out on the race t-shirts because they ran out. Oh, I forgot to mention that the entire time we were trying to register and go to the bathroom there was a man on a bullhorn yelling over and over, “RUNNERS YOU NEED TO LINE UP! WE’RE ABOUT TO START! IT’S A HOT DAY, THE SOONER WE START, THE SOONER WE CAN FINISH!” Thanks mister bullhorn man because we weren’t under enough pressure already, lol! As we ran to the bathrooms, I couldn’t help but wonder if they were going to actually start the race early and Jason’s worse nightmare would come true but luckily, they didn’t! As we were leaving the bathrooms, we heard the faint sound of singing and realized that they were singing the national anthem so we high-tailed it up to the starting line. My ear bud cords were tangled in a knot (what’s new?) and it took nearly the entire time the minister was praying to try to untangle them. I was saying a prayer too and I’m sure the Lord understood that I just couldn’t shut my eyes right then. (He hears us wherever we are!) Well, my prayers were answered because I got them untangled and in my ears just in time to kiss Jason goodbye and take off.

Before I tell you about the race, let me remind you of 3 things that I really don’t enjoy when I run/race: 1.) a track 2.) heat and humidity 3.) hills. Can you guess which one wasn’t part of the race? I’m grateful it wasn’t all 3!

It only took a few steps to realize one thing: I should not have run hills on Thursday!! My legs were feeling tired and I had barely gone half a mile. It was hot…really hot. Not only was it hot but it was humid too and that makes things even worse because you can’t breathe very well when the humidity is so high. I was struggling, to say the least. My legs felt weak. I couldn’t catch my breath. People were passing me like I was standing still. I didn’t care. I hit the wall. I wanted to stop. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt that way and I hate how it feels. I knew that I had to snap out of it. I started telling myself to focus and to get back on track. By the time we were into our 2nd mile, I was feeling a little stronger and into a better zone. I couldn’t let the elements control me. As we turned and went into the final stretch of the race, I was finally back into a groove and looking forward to seeing the finish line. What I wasn’t expecting to see was a steep hill, then another slight hill and to top it off…a hill right before the finish line. I just couldn’t go any faster on that last one. I wanted to but it was all I could do to climb it. I knew that once I got to the top, I could glide my way down and finish. Of course now I look back and think “Why didn’t I go just a little faster up that hill?”. My time was 30:54 but maybe it could have been under 30 if I could have just been a little stronger throughout the race. After racing on hills last weekend in cool weather and racing on hills this weekend in an oven heat, I have to say that heat apparently affects me more than hills do. I don’t know when I’ve been so happy to see a finish line and getting a beautiful long-stemmed rose made things better too.

Topping the last hill before the finish line!

Crossing the finish line!!

I didn’t place on Saturday but Jason won 3rd place in his age group, coming in at 22:18! I’m so proud of him! There was some tough competition there.

Jason receiving his award

By the way, our 16-year-old niece also won 3rd in her age group and my sister-in-law, Donna (her mom) ran the entire race for the very first time!! It was an awesome day overall (minus the heat, lol). We met some very nice people while we were there and had a lot of fun. I’m really glad we were able to take part in it.

Holding my beautiful rose that they gave all of the ladies when we crossed the finish line.

I have plenty of training to focus on in the weeks to come. The Crescent City Classic is April 23rd and that means that I have to start focus on my 10k runs for a little while. We don’t have a race this coming weekend so we can have a little down time, if there is such a thing with 5 kids! 🙂

I’m afraid my hill work for the night might be thwarted again with bad weather. Good news is that with no race this weekend I can move things around if I need to without having to risk tired legs.

I hope all of you had a great weekend and if you had runs or races that they went well too! Remember to just try to get 3 days of walking/running in if you possibly can!

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Springing into the heat…feet first

For anyone without a calendar or who hasn’t walked outside lately (if you live in the Deep South), Spring is here in full force. And while everyone else seems to be reveling in its glorious arrival and begging the summer heat to hurry up, I’m a little disappointed that it got here so promptly. In fact, my mom told me today that this time last year, we were having much chillier weather….and I’m sure I was enjoying it. (Insert loud sigh here.)

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like the beautiful weather, the blooming flowers, the birds returning and the bright green grass sprouting up because I really do. I just don’t like the warmth. Let me be a little more specific – I don’t like the unbearable heat warmth when I’m running.  Ask anyone around me about my opinion (because I express it often) of how I feel about temperatures that dare to go any higher than 55 degrees when I need to go run. I think it all boils down to the fact that I have enough working against me during some of my runs and the stifling heat doesn’t make things better when that dreaded wall decides to rear it’s ugly head.

There’s nothing quite like going out for a run on those crisp, cold days when everyone else is bundled up in about 3 layers of clothes. I can start out feeling numb and cold but in about 10 minutes, I know that I’ll be warm enough that if I wore gloves, they’re coming off and if I wore too many layers, I’ll be aware of it very soon. I guess the cold helps me to feel refreshed even on long runs instead of oppressed the minute I step out of the house on those hot, muggy days. Plus, in cold weather, I can actually breathe!

With all that being said, I’m well aware of where I live and that I can’t turn down the temp every time I decide it’s a little too hot for me. I also realize that in the long run (no pun intended…really!), I’ll become a better runner if I can learn to deal with all kinds of uncomfortable situations while I’m training, heat included. I’ll admit it, I’m a big wimp about it but this is only the second season I’ve had to deal with the heat and I’m going to try and not whine quite as much as last year. (Which is why I chose to do a little extra today and get it out of the way.) I’ll try to make sure I dress smarter when I go and drink extra water on the really hot days. Also, a good thing to remember is that heat slows us down. A 90 degree day with 80% humidity is not the time to try and break records, unless you’re a cheetah…who runs daily in a fur coat. (That thought alone makes me sweat.) The one thing I don’t plan on doing is training for a half marathon or marathon in this weather. I plan on doing that during the most wonderful time of the year (for a heat sensitive runner) – Winter.

I found this quote interesting:

“Out of the silver heat mirage he ran. The sky burned, and under him the paving was a black mirror reflecting sun-fire. Sweat sprayed his skin with each foot strike so that he ran in a hot mist of his own creation. With each slap on the softened asphalt, his soles absorbed heat that rose through his arches and ankles and the stems of his shins. It was a carnival of pain, but he loved each stride because running distilled him to his essence and the heat hastened this distillation.”
– James Tabor, from “The Runner,” a short story

Whew. Makes moving those runs to the late afternoon even more attractive.

Here’s a helpful link from running expert, Jeff Galloway, who gives tips about dressing for and running in hot weather:


(You might have to copy and paste.)

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