Tag Archives: racing

Columbia’s Relay for Life 5k recap – A family thing


Another week is beginning to wind down around here and that means that we have another race day coming up on Saturday. The Okatoma Festival River Run 5k is Jason’s hometown run. He calls it his “Super Bowl” of races mainly because it’s a race he’s run in since the very first one which was about 15 years ago and because this race usually signifies the end of our racing season. (Although we are kicking around another race or two in the next few weeks this time.) Last year’s Okatoma race was awful for me. If you go back and read my very first blog, you’ll see that, besides being a new runner (only 3 months), I was injured with a stress fracture too. Obviously, I thought I only had horrible shin splints and ran it anyway (not a wise choice). This race on Saturday will be a sort of redemption for me, which puts a little pressure on me, to say the least. I know I can run faster than I could last year. I’m not in pain. So, now it’s time to put my positive thinking cap on and start focusing. I had been doing hill training pretty faithfully in the last few weeks but I didn’t do hills last week and I didn’t do them this week but I’m going to trust my body, my legs. I’m thinking it’ll be an appropriate race to listen to “Tick, Tick Boom” by The Hives for a little bit of motivation: “You know I’ve done it before and I can do it some more, I’ve got my eye on the score…”ย  The last few days have been really cool in the mornings. Hopefully, that cool weather will hold out for Saturday morning (even if it’s just until 8:30)! I’m just going to keep visualizing a great race.ย  I’ll update you in a few days on how it went. ๐Ÿ™‚


The race last Saturday in my hometown was a good one as far as race courses go and the weather was really pleasant. It’s also fun getting to go stay the night with my parents and visiting with them. There were 61 people in the Relay for Life 5k put on by The Columbian Progress. Our oldest son, Tyler joined us for this race. My sister-in-law, Donna even drove over and ran in it with us too. She’s only been running for a couple of months now and is doing great! I keep telling her that I’m glad we’re in different age groups because she’s getting faster very quickly and I’d have to start worrying about some serious competition. We actually ran together for a large part of the race and finished pretty close together. I did a better job on this race of pacing myself and not feeling like I was going to collapse towards the end. I had just enough energy saved up to finish out my last km really strong. My time was 30:32 and Donna’s time was 31:16. She’s already reaching times that took me nearly a year to even get close to!! There’s no telling how fast she’ll be in a year. Like I said, it’s just a good thing we’re in different age groups! ๐Ÿ™‚

Donna and me in the background of this picture. (Pink shirt & green shirt) *This picture was taken by The Columbian Progress

Donna approaching the finish line!

Jason running in with me towards the finish line.( I don't even know what to say about my hair that day!!)

Almost to the finish line! (I loved this picture for only one reason - both of my feet are off the ground!! Woohoo!)

Jason had a great race that day. His finish time was 22:25 and he finished 3rd overall!! He’s never done that before so it was a huge deal. I’m so proud of him!! He’s been working really hard. Tyler had a really great finishing time too. He hadn’t run in 2 weeks and still had a time of 27:49. I think he has the potential to be really fast with just a little practice.

Here's Tyler getting ready to cross the finish line. *Picture taken by The Columbian Progress

Top 3 Finishers Overall *Picture taken by The Columbian Progress

The disappointing thing about this race is that after paying $30/entry fee, they didn’t have anything but water (no bananas or oranges) afterward and no awards for age groups…actually no awards for anyone. I know it was more of a charity race but it’s nice for runners that have worked hard and done well to be given just a little something to recognize it. (Even a certificate printed out would have been ok.) That’s just my opinion though. I’m not much of a complainer about races so as Forrest Gump would say, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

Besides those things, it was fun and of course, helped out towards a really good cause which is Relay for Life.

My best buddy, Stephanie, showed up to cheer us on. (I somehow got Jason's number stuck on my skirt when I gave him a hug, lol)

Jason and me after the race.

Tyler and me

I received my new Nike GPS watch in the mail 2 days ago so I plan on blogging about it soon and letting y’all know what my thoughts are on it. So far, I think it’s going to work great. I still haven’t gotten everything figured out on it but I will. I’m definitely going to miss my Nike lady’s encouragement in my ear but I do like the GPS.


More to come on the watch….





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Baby, We Were Born To Run! (Some a just a little slower than others….)


It was another super busy week and weekend for us…again. I think major news for us will actually be a week or weekend when I can blog and say that nothing in particular happened at all. I’m not sure if or when that will ever happen but I’ll be ready to blog about it if it does! ๐Ÿ™‚

We had the Relay for Life 5k in Columbia on April 30, which is my hometown and a big reason we have run in it the last 2 years. We also had a huge day on Wednesday of last week when we had the rare opportunityย  of meeting and running with Chris McDougall, author of “Born To Run” , ultra-marathoner, Scott Jurek and Chris’s trainer, Eric Orton. I also had the honor last week of being featured on anothermotherrunner.com as their “Follow This Mother!”. Talk about my head spinning!!

Here’sย  a recap of our meeting with The Naked Tour 2011 folks.

When I say naked, please note: naked feet or minimalist shoes. ๐Ÿ™‚ Recently, my brother, John Wesley and his wife, Jennifer have gotten interested in walking/running and since they were having some problems with really bad shin pains, they decided to try the Vibram Five Fingers shoes. While they were at Sacks Outdoors, one of the workers told my brother about the “Born To Run” book and that the authors were coming down for a group run, book signing and to talk about the inspiration behind the book. After reading the book and finding that his shin pain was subsiding from wearing the Vibrams, he was really looking forward to getting a chance to meet them.ย  He mentioned it to me and even though I had heard of Chris McDougall, I have to admit I hadn’t read his book yet…but as a fellow Vibram owner, I was interested. My brother read the entire book in about a day and then eagerly filled me in on the story during a run/walk we took one evening. The story is amazing. (I won’t ruin it for you here, just in case you’d like to read it yourself.) Even after only hearing the condensed version, I was about as eager to meet these runners as my brother was. I told my husband about it and he agreed it would be great to get a chance to run with these guys and hear what they had to say.

When Wednesday came, there was some doubt about whether we’d get to go or not. That was the day that all the severe weather was moving across our state and Alabama. (My prayers go out to all those people that have been affected because of the tornadoes. Please find a way to donate and help them if you possibly can!!) We were very fortunate that day and didn’t get the really bad weather but because it was very threatening outside, we were waiting until nearly the last minute before we made a decision about heading over to Hattiesburg. Jason’s mom had said that the little ones could come and stay with her if we decided to go so, in our usual running late fashion, Jason decided he’d take them over and let me get a head start. We both wanted to run if possible but figured if we rode together, we might miss out completely. (I was very appreciative that Jason was so sweet to offer for me to go on ahead, even though I would have gladly taken the kids.) My brother had gotten there really early and had been texting me before I’d left, urging me to get there as soon as I could. When I arrived, a fairly large crowd had already gathered in the parking lot and I had to make a grand entrance (unfortunately!) by driving through them. As I parked and started gathering my things up, my brother had found Chris and was chatting with him. Suddenly, Chris started saying, “C’mon Gina, get moving! You’re holding us up!”, jokingly of course. I guess that’s what I get for being late, lol. When I got out of my car, he came right over and spoke to me. Chris came across as a genuinely friendly guy that’s full of life. I told him that I have a running blog and he asked would I write about them? Well, you know the answer to that! ๐Ÿ™‚

Group gathered up before the run.

We all walked over and joined an excited crowd of runners…some with their tennis shoes on, some toe shoes and other barefooted as the day they were born. The 3 guys introduced themselves and then opened up the floor for questions before we ran. Secretly, I was hoping that there were going to be lots of questions to give Jason some extra time to get there. Finally, the questions had ended, the race course explained and Jason was still no where in sight. I felt terrible because I knew how badly he’d wanted to run too. I left instructions with my brother to tell him where the run was going to end, still hoping that somehow he’d show up and then took off, trying my best to keep up with the crowd. I’m sure that nearly everyone there was running at a “comfortable” pace and were enjoying the “relaxing” group run. I, however, felt like I had never run a step in my entire life. Was I the only person there that was about to die from a lack of oxygen??? It was also one of the more humid days, most likely because of the bad weather in the area. Oh, and we went up a giant hill first thing. That was just great. Immediately I was thinking this run wasn’t one of my smartest decisions I’ve ever made.ย  As we sprinted ran along the streets, I saw Jason pulled over on the side of the street up ahead. He was waiting to get a shot of us coming through. (He took pictures of me, by the way, but as the author of this blog, I decided not to include said embarrassing picture, lol.) I made a quick decision. As soon as I was right in front of him, I ran across the street to him. Looking a little confused, he asked what was going on. I told him, “It’s your turn, I’m done. They’re all too fast for me anyway!” ๐Ÿ™‚ He gave it quick thought, handed me the camera and took off to catch up with them. I knew he had a better chance of having an enjoyable run than I would have anyway, plus, I really felt bad that he had almost missed the whole thing. Happy that I’d had a chance to participate for even just a little ways, I drove back over to where the run would be ending and waited to take pictures of them.

And we're off....That's me in the blue shirt, black capris trying to keep up! (Thanks to my brother for taking this picture.)

Sacks Outdoors provided great refreshments afterward.

Lots of books for everyone!

Jason (white t-shirt and scub bottoms) running with part of the pack that included Scott Jurek (yellow shirt).

Jason (white shirt) finishing up his run with Scott Jurek (bright yellow shirt) and the rest of the crew.

During Jason’s half of the run, he was able to run with Chris and visit with him and then ran with Scott and talked to him too. They were all so friendly and extremely interested in what everyone had to say. They made sure that they ran with each group, what ever their pace was, and chatted with them and answered questions. After the run was over, everyone gathered outside for a few minutes to have a snack and some water while Chris and Scott signed a few autographs and talked to the media that was there.

Scott signing a few books after the run.


We then went inside and each of them spoke to us and answered questions. Each person had something different to bring to the discussion and I learned a lot of stuff I never knew. I learned that we are the only animal that is built to run for really long distances because we sweat. Our bodies can stay cool at speeds and distances that would overheat other animals. I also learned that while guys are better at sprinting, women are better at endurance running. In fact, the longer the distances, the stronger most said they felt. (I have to say that I’ve expressed the same feeling when I was doing my half marathon training!) Go Ladies!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Chris McDougall and me

Jason, Chris and me

Eric Orton, Jason and me

Scott Jurek, Jason and me


I learned that Scott Jurek is a freak of nature – in a good way, of course!! Actually, it was absolutely amazing to hear him speak about running ultra-marathons. He said he has to set an alarm on his watch so he’ll remember to hydrate every 20 mins or so when he’s running in places like Death Valley…..DEATH ?ย  He also talked about running for 24 hours on a 0.7 mile loop (And setting the American record, by the way: 165.7 miles!) ….if you know me, that would be an absolute nightmare to run that loop even for an hour!!! He comes across as an extremely humble, peaceful, nice guy. It was great getting a chance to meet him.

Chris speaking to us.

Scott speaking about ultra-marathon running.

Chris McDougall has a very fun, free spirit about him and that’s what he wants running to be for us again. He doesn’t want running to be something that we dread or hurts us, which is what was happening to him several years ago until he began training with Eric Orton. He stresses that we weren’t born broken, we were born runners and that sometimes it’s the shoes we’re wearing that are doing more damage than good.

At the end of the night, they had a huge door prize giveaway. One of the first winners of a pair of Vibram Five Fingers was – Jason!! I won a pair of Injinji toe socks – woohoo!! (Jason declined a picture or else I’d insert a pic here. :))


All in all, it was an evening filled with fun, learning and meeting new friends. I don’t really have a final verdict on the whole barefoot running thing just yet. I wear my toe shoes some and have even run in them a little bit. Those suckers have certainly made me sore in places on my feet that I didn’t realize could be sore but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. You’ve probably noticed the shoes I run in. They are pretty much the furthest thing from “minimalist” as you can get. I’ve decided that this summer, when race season is over, I might try to run a little more in my Vibrams. I might decide I love it and never go back or I might decide they’re great for hanging around the house in and that’s it. When it comes to running, there is so much I don’t know yet but I’m learning everyday. I don’t want to miss out on something that could make my running even more fun and efficient (*faster*) if it’s out there. I will say that I don’t foresee a time when I’ll be ripping my shoes and socks off and running with nothing between my sweet feet and the asphalt but air….but I’ll never say never. A little over fifteen months ago, I wasn’t a runner…. ๐Ÿ™‚


Sporting my Vibram Five Fingers

I hope you’re all having a great week and staying active!





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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!ย  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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll spare you the pictures that Jason took of me eating breakfast that morning. Definitely not blog worthy! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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.ย  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.ย  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!ย  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?”ย  “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.ย  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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ I may have finished strong but I was very near the point of quitting not long before that.ย 

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.ย  Good news was that he got a picture of a guy dressed in a banana suit. The same one that blew passed me. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I think next year I’ll put the words “HEY JASON – HERE I AM!” on my shirt. ๐Ÿ™‚

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!ย  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!ย  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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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.ย 

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 little bit of running, a whole lot of blogging and a big race this week


Hi!

I hope everyone had a great weekend, and if you had races, that they all went even better than you expected! My weekend was busy but we didn’t race because we have the Crescent City Classic 10k coming up this weekend! I’m super excited about this race. It will be my 2nd time running there and Jason’s 3rd. I was expecting Zoe when he ran the 1st time…oh, and I wasn’t a runner then…wow,how times have changed!ย 

My training days usually start on Mondays which mainly consist of hill work. This week, I bumped my Monday run over to Sunday for two reasons. One was because I needed to get my runs done early this week so my legs can rest up for Saturday and because I had to be at our local tv station on Monday at 3. I’m now the WDAM TV blogger for our county, which is pretty exciting for me! I think it’s going to keep me pretty busy but I also think it will provide a great service to our community. I can’t wait to get started! Going there was really interesting and fun. The folks at the station were extremely nice and gave us such a warm welcome. We were given the grand tour of the station and shown all the ins and outs of how everything works. I even got to pretend I was doing the weather! After meeting with their web manager, we had the treat of getting to sit in and watch their live 5 o’clock newscast. It was a great experience and definitely worth moving my Monday run over one day.

This is me taking a stab at the green screen.


My run on Sunday was done at our school track (I know…I skipped hills).ย  I purposely went to the flat track because I’m helping my 13-year-old daughter get back into running some. We are strictly working on 1 mile now and she’s doing great. I walk one warm up lap with her and then we run a mile. It was also a good warm up for me because after we finished the mile, I ran my 5k. It was a hot one again and my time was stinky but a bad run is always better than no run at all! I had a little bit of a freak out moment after I finished that day because my left hamstring was so tight and almost felt as if it was having some kind of weird cramp. It stayed that way for a couple of hours and all I could picture was having some type of horrendous injury and not being able to run for weeks. Luckily, I was overreacting just a tad and everything seems ok with it now.

I need to work in 2 more runs this week before we go to New Orleans for our race. I’m thinking that if I do anything with hills or speed work, it should probably be today and then I’ll do a light run on Thursday. The last thing I need is to have weak legs while running 6.2 miles in the heat and humidity that is New Orleans!!ย  I would love to say that I will beat my chip time from last year but when you are running in a sea of 20,000 people (or more), there can be a lot of chances to be slowed down. We are going to try to line up in the very front of our group. Hopefully, we’ll avoid some of the congestion even though the first mile or so will probably a little hard to maneuver regardless of where we are.

I also received my running skirt and top that I plan on wearing in the race! I don’t usually buy anything specific for a race but I decided to be a little festive this time and get one in Mardi Gras colors. Some brave folks dress up in bunny outfits, super hero clothes and anything else you can imagine…..they are obviously better runners than me!! I don’t think I could function running even a mile in a bunny suit or even bunny ears if you get down to it. I have to keep it simple and keep distractions to a minimum. Hopefully, this outfit will help me stay cool, that’s my biggest concern!

My Crescent City Classic running outfit.

I’m still planning on writing about some of the things I eat before races and supplements but I may have to save that for my next blog. My day has been full and it’s not over yet! It seems like things are always non-stop around our house. I’m really looking forward to Friday night in New Orleans which means getting to go to bed super early! (I bet that’s strange to hear when someone is talking about New Orleans, lol.) I’m also looking forward to eating some really good food and going to the expo. We will take tons of pictures and I’ll post them in my recap of the race.

I hope your Tuesday has been a great one!

Here’s a video I found that was very inspirational to me and I wanted to share it. I hope you’ll enjoy it too!



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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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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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Running in Circles


I’ve been writing this blog for nearly 2 days and I’ve started and stopped about 20 times, so if I sound a little scatter-brained throughout it – it’s because I am! ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s been another busy week around here. My days have been so jumbled up that I’ve only gotten to run at night, which is not my preference unless it’s scorching hot during the day. My normal hill training night (Monday) was spent riding out severe weather, so I pushed it over to Tuesday. By the time I finally got out of the house, it was really late and I decided to go to our local school’s track and push hills over to Thursday. My run Tuesday night wasn’t too shabby. It was actually really chilly which is fine by me! I ran a 5k in 30:02 (woohoo!). I think I’m still in disbelief that I’m finally speeding up a little. You’ll rarely, if ever, hear of me running any farther than a 5k when I go to the track. I just don’t like running in circles! If I had to choose, I think I’d probably enjoy running longer mileage on a treadmill (I don’t enjoy treadmills)ย  than on a track, which is why I spend most of my running time on the Longleaf Trace. That being said,ย  I’ll take what I can get and go where I can when my choices are limited.

We went to visit my parents yesterday (Thursday) and the kids had such a fun time playing with them. Zach finally got to go fishing with my dad and caught 15 fish! By the time we got home, ate and got the kids ready for bed and asleep, you guessed it, late again. I’ll admit, it’s been really, really hard getting out of the house and going to run this week. I think most of it had to do with it being later at night and I leave the house already feeling pretty tired. When I can go during the day, I’ve still got a little energy but by 9 at night, I’m just ready to do nothing. But, I know that if I don’t go, I’ll completely regret it and I almost always feel more energized after I’m finished.

When I arrived at the park, I stepped out of my vehicle and was shocked to hear, “Hey, Gina, is that you??” It was my niece and my sister-in-law out walking/running. (They’ve been to the last 2 races that we’ve been in and my sister-in-law, Donna, ran most of the way in the last race! I’m so proud of her!) It was so nice to get to run my first lap with them last night. They helped get me motivated and out of my slump I was feeling like I was in. After they left, I didn’t try to overdo since we’ve decided to race on Saturday and hills usually leave my legs feeling a little spent for a day or two afterward. My run was good,32:23, but not nearly as fast as my run on Tuesday night but that’s ok. They don’t all have to be personal records especially on hot, muggy nights when you’re running hills. What I haven’t done lately is add extra mileage to my runs. I’ve got to get back on track with that next week because the Crescent City Classic is 2 weeks away and I have to be ready!!

Something amazing has happened in the last week or so that has not only taken me by surprise but has also touched and encouraged me. I’ve had at least 5 people either call me, email me or text me to let me know that they’ve started walking or running because of reading my blog. Some have just contacted me to let me know and others to ask a question. You have to know that when I began this journey, it was to improve my life and my health. After my experiences (good and bad) in this last year, I’ve had an overwhelming need to share it with others. I didn’t know if anyone would even have an interest in what I had to say but since it doesn’t cost anything but a little time here and there, I had to try.

As I’ve said before, I’m not a running expert. I’m just someone who has experienced what consistent physical activity can do to change your overall well-being. I get tired, I get frustrated andย  even discouraged at times but I see where I used to be and where I am now and that keeps me motivated. I don’t proclaim to know it all or even half of what is out there to know but I do promise you this: I will always do my best to share what knowledge I do have with you. I’m constantly learning – usually from mistakes – but I think that’s when I learn the most. I mess up, I try again and sometimes I mess up again but I learn. I want you to hear about my good runs but I also want you to hear more about all those bad ones because that’s what make the good runs, great! I want to write about how painful the speed workouts can be and how hard it is to run hills some days because if I do well running a race with hills, you can see that the training works (even if I do complain!). I’ll also share anything helpful that we stumble up on, whether it’s a book or gear or just something that’s kinda cool.

For you wives and mothers out there (husbands and daddies too), I will be the first to tell you that it’s going to be difficult on some days to get out of the house to go run or walk. Sometimes you may have to go later and sometimes you may have to go earlier. Other days, you may have to load those babies up and bring them with you or if that doesn’t work, scrap it and remember that you can always go tomorrow. Even though it’s extremely important to take care of yourself, your family needs your attention too and some days it’s impossible to get away (unless you go at midnight, lol). I don’t want to ever sound like I’m being selfish about my time spent exercising.ย  I devote all of my days (and nights) to my family and I’m so thankful that I have a husband that provides for us so I can be with our kids everyday. I think that if I take an hour out of the day, usually 3 days a week, to go run my stress away, it’s a good thing for everyone (they agree, by the way). ๐Ÿ™‚

I always find that I handle things so much better after I’ve come back from running and I bet you will too. I used to be on anxiety/depression medication but not anymore. Running is now my medication and it works so much better!ย  Just remember that you aren’t just doing this for yourself….you’re doing this for your kids and for your spouse too. You are setting an example that will be a positive influence in their lives. I don’t want it to be a shock when they see me in my running clothes, I want it to be as normal as seeing me in pajamas at night. I want my kids to see that being active is a part of their parents lives and hopefully they will want to be that way too.

One of the best running books, in my opinion, is Jeff Galloway’s Book on Running. We are constantly referring to it. If you ever get a chance to pick up a copy or even borrow a copy, get it and read it. He’s extremely knowledgeable and stresses the RUN-WALK-RUNโ„ข method so you can stay injury free and have a more positive experience. We were loaned our first copy and then promptly headed out to buy our own. (By the way, this is only my opinion and I haven’t been compensated in any way to endorse this book.)

Jeff Galloway's Book on Running

I know I’ve been long-winded today with my writing but I’ve been so excited to tell you about what’s been going on and to let you know how much you’re encouraging me. I’ve touched on a few things today that I will go more in-depth in on another blog. I’m so excited for all of you that have gone out and taken those first steps on your journey to a new and healthier life!!ย  Whether you’re running, walking, biking or something else, ease into it, be patient with yourself and most of all, enjoy it!ย  I want you to see that if I can do this, you can do it too!

We’ll be racing tomorrow in the Run for the Roses 5k. I’m afraid it’s going to be super hot and muggy but I’m really looking forward to the experience after reading about all of the fanfare that goes along with that race!

Have a great weekend!


Here’s a little inspiration:




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Sometimes you just have to have a little faith….


Well, this is my update that I was hoping to do on Saturday after the race.ย  I should really stop thinking that I might actually get to blog 2 days in a row because it’s just not happening, lol. Another reason I’ve held off on writing was because I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around the race on Saturday. If you don’t already know what happened, I’ll fill you in.

The last time I left you, I was preparing for my biggest 5k racing challenge yet. I was feeling more than intimidated after we drove the course the day before and I got my first good look at those hills.ย  I’ve just recently started kicking in serious hill training days in order to prepare for the Okatoma 5k race in May but this one on Saturday was much worse and much sooner than I’d anticipated. Not sure if you know this but I don’t like hills! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ What’s really crazy is that I wasn’t nervous on the morning of the race. I was super tired the night before (read my previous entry to find out why) and I really think, for once, not being amped up helped me. I had given myself permission to go slower if needed…to do worse than I’d ever expected…to not even beat some of the walkers – Ok, I’ll admit I was being a little overly permissive but I really thought I was going to bomb, which is not the way anyone should think when they are trying to do accomplish something. I suppose you could even say that I had come to terms with my poor performance long before the race started. When we got there, it was so nice and cool, which was a huge encouragement for me because I loathe hot weather when I’m running! I had worn my long sleeve 13.1 running shirt and my running skirt but really could have been a lot more comfy in a short sleeve shirt. I’m certain of this because by the time I had hit the first mile I was really wishing I could rip my sleeves off. There was a fair amount of people there for such a small town race but still not nearly as many as the other two in the last couple of weeks.

When we started lining up, I decided to use Jason’s suggestion again and line up near the front. This time, I lined up right beside him and we were very close to the front row. As I looked around, so many of the ladies “looked fast”. If you’ve ever raced, you know what I mean. I always look around and think, “Yep, she knows what she’s doing or he’s got his shirt off and weighs a lot less than me…he’ll run it in less than 20 mins. So, after sizing up my competition, I just prepared for the race to finally begin because I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me.

I had planned on running the first 200 yards a little faster because it wasn’t as hilly and I knew I should use that to my advantage. As I took off from the starting line, most of the front-runners did what they normally do, they left me in their dust but there were still a few folks in front of me that I could have reached out and touched. We made our first turn on to the main road that we would be running on (yes,the one with the killer hills!) and I expected a pack of ladies to pass me but they didn’t. I made it over the first hill and started my descent down. “Now, they’re going to catch me”, I thought to myself because they could gain all the speed they needed once they headed downhill. No one passed me. I kept trudging ahead, the thought of them gaining on me any minute occupied my thoughts as I closely watched my pace. Finally, a younger girl ran by me and continued on ahead and I expected the same thing to keep happening. (Was I being ultra negative that day or what??!!) We turned left off of the main road and continued our run around a school. When I turned, I could see where I had been and where the other ladies were. (I can never bring myself to actually turn around and look behind me during a race, so that’s the only way I was going to check.)ย  I was in shock and kind of freaking out too. They were far enough behind that I had a safe lead on them but I just kept thinking that I couldn’t slow down because if I did, they’d catch me! What the heck was wrong with me?? Where did this crazy competitor come from? I’ve raced before and I’ve even beaten a few people as we approached the finish line but this…this was a whole new feeling. Going around the school gave me time to recover from the hills we’d been running on just in time to go right back on that road and run them again in the opposite direction. I was so happy to hear my Nike+ lady cheerfully tell me that I only had 1 kilometer left!! I kept a close eye on my pace but never once checked my time. I turned right to make the final loop before turning down the street towards the finish line. It was a little flatter and I was so glad of that! When I got to the turn to head towards the finish, Jason was there waiting to run in with me. I was so glad to see him but I knew what seeing him meant – Run even harder! He was egging me on to run faster and as we approached the time clock, several things happened at once. He started telling me not to slow down (I didn’t realize that I was?), my jaw dropped and I was laughing and nearly crying and then I sped up again. The clock said 29:something…I didn’t even see the other two numbers. Apparently when I saw my time, I nearly stopped completely out of shock. Thank goodness I didn’t! My time on my Ipod said 29:47. This was my 3rd personal record in 3 straight weeks/races. Each time I’ve been equally shocked and excited but never as much as this day. This is the day that changed things for me. This wasn’t a flat course….it was HILLS! Of course, immediately I started thinking it had to be a mistake even though they had clearly measured it out and spray painted the mile markers on the road. I just couldn’t believe it. With such little faith in myself, I’d done something I never expected to do (at least not any time soon).

We began the wait for them to announce the winners. Jason was telling me that he knew I’d placed but I just couldn’t let myself think I had. I’ve never won anything before in a race. (I really have confidence issues when it comes to running, if you haven’t noticed yet…I’ve Got To Work On This!) When they finally got to my age group, the announced 3rd – not me, 2nd – nope, I never thought when they announced 1st it would be me. The words 1st place and Gina Mooney have never been put together. Ever. But this day was different. I’ve had many milestones as a runner in the last year but this was like a dream. I’d imagined it while I was out running many times but never thought of it as a possible reality. I cried more than once that day when I tried to talk about it and, in fact, I did a little while writing this tonight. It may sound silly to some of you but I finally feel like I’m not just a beginner anymore. I feel like I’ve finally moved to the next level and I’m just going to keep on moving forward.

Jason won 1st in his age group too with a time of 21:36, a new personal record for him as well! We both received Olive Garden gift certificates (yum!) as our prize instead of a medal or trophy but I still ended up with one! Jason bought a medal for me that says 1st place to commemorate the first time I ever won a race and yes, I have it hanging up in our room. ๐Ÿ™‚


So, that was Saturday’s events in a not so brief re-cap. It was pretty much a red-letter day for me. I missed my hill training tonight because of all the bad weather we had here but I’ll hit it tomorrow evening. We are thinking about racing in the Run for the Roses 5k this Saturday but haven’t decided for sure.

If I learned anything this weekend, it was to have a little more faith in myself and never give up even when it all seems uphill. If you take anything away from my blog today, I hope that you will have the confidence that I should’ve had when I was racing that day, never give up and DON’T SLOW DOWN WHEN YOU GET TO THE FINISH LINE! ๐Ÿ™‚

Gina



“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”

1 Corinthians 9:24 ESV


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