Tag Archives: racing

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


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! 

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).  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!!  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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Filed under Blogging, Racing, 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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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! 🙂

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)  than on a track, which is why I spend most of my running time on the Longleaf Trace. That being said,  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 and  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.  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). 🙂

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!  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-RUN™ 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!!  Whether you’re running, walking, biking or something else, ease into it, be patient with yourself and most of all, enjoy it!  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.  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.  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! 😦 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.)  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. 🙂

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! 🙂


“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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In a fog today…Running with the F.O.G. in the morning

Well, it’s finally Friday and boy, has it been a long week! In fact, today has seemed more like 2 days. Zoe decided that she wasn’t tired last night and didn’t go to sleep until after 10pm. After we finally got to bed, I couldn’t go to sleep and then when I would drift off, she would wake up or the neighborhood dogs that come to visit our dogs would show up and start a barking frenzy. Finally, around 2am I fell asleep but still not completely because Zoe is the lightest sleeper in the world, so I’m constantly up and down checking on her. By sometime around 5am I woke up and was sure that the house was either on fire or just our room was. It was so HOT!! Apparently, one of the kids had bumped the heater up a notch or two on their way to bed and I didn’t realize it until I woke up sweating as if I’d been out working in the yard. Of course, Zoe woke up (again) as I stumbled around to go turn the inferno down. She needed a little milk, so I fixed that too. By the time I got back into bed, it was still unbearably hot, I was wide awake, the visitor dogs were back, again, and I couldn’t go back to sleep at all. 😦 Three miserable hours of sleep make for an extremely long day.

My big plan was to get the older kids off to school and wait for Zoe’s 9am nap and then I’d jump in the bed too and either sleep until she woke up or until it was time to pick Zach up at 11:20. (As you can tell, I’ve done this before. Naps are wonderful!!) I fed her breakfast, we played, we watched Barney and then I carefully made my way back to her room, praying that she was at least a teeny bit sleepy. I put her in her bed and quietly slipped out, biding my time until she finally stopped wiggling and fell asleep. A few minutes went by and I started thinking I was in the clear. Nope. “Maammmmaaa!!!” You know the saying, “If I had a dollar every time…”? Well, if I even had a quarter for every time “Mama” was yelled in this house and maybe 50 cents for every trip I make trotting into that baby girl’s room everyday, Jason could surely stop working for good! 😉 Back to my pity party story, nap time just didn’t happen for either one of us this morning. She wasn’t sleepy and the April Fool’s joke was on me for even entertaining the thought of napping. There’s been no chance since then because after I picked up Zach, we had to take her for a checkup and a shot. (The last of her shots until 5, yay!)

I’m so glad that it’s finally bedtime for the little ones even though she is in her room now emptying her bed out for the 4th or 5th time and saying “Oh No, Mama” so I’ll come back in there, lol (it’s nearly 10 now by the way). I know this stage won’t last forever. It just seems like it on days like this. 🙂

Oh and did I mention that we have a race in the morning at 8? That was the whole reason for this little blog tonight but my mind seems to wander when I’m sleep deprived.

We’ll be running in Sumrall at the Run with the F.O.G. 5k. I’m a little bit more nervous about it than most races because of some wicked hills. Jason ran it a couple of years ago and said he *thought* it only had one big hill. When we drove the course yesterday, it was like a stinking roller coaster! I’m not amused. Hills don’t freak him out like they do me. I’ve been doing some hill training lately on Mondays but aiming it towards the Okatoma 5k on May 7. I guess I should just look at this as a little extra hill training for the week and quit freaking out about it.

The great thing is that I bet I won’t lose a minute’s sleep tonight over that race in the morning when I finally go to bed, if I ever make it there.

I’ll update on the race hopefully tomorrow!

Here’s the race info:

Click to access fog.pdf

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Slow is the new fast

It’s been a few days since I’ve had a chance to sit down and blog, mainly because things have been pretty busy around here. We had another 5k race on Saturday, March 26 which was the Doctor’s Day Dash (I’ll come back to that in a moment), Sunday was my oldest son’s 17th birthday, dentist and doctor’s appointments abound this week , AND the weather cooled off. ( Yay!! Thank you, Lord!!)

Saturday was the Doctor’s Day Dash at the Longleaf Trace Gateway at USM. There was a pretty large turnout for it, which we expected since it was free, unless you didn’t pre-register and then it was only $5.00 to run or walk in it. I thought it was a really well organized race and the weather, compared to the race the weekend before, was much more tolerable. Even though we had planned to get there early enough to warm up for a few minutes, we were running late. Our warm up ended up being us trekking through the parking lot as quickly as possible to go get our race packets, take them back to the vehicle and go to the bathroom, of course.

The bathroom seemed to be the biggest challenge on this day! The line was a mile long and some brave girls were even sneaking over to the men’s room. The countdown for the race was down to about 2 mins or less and there I stood with about 5 ladies in front of me. Why oh why was I thinking that 5 women could all go to bathroom in 2 mins or less?? Jason finally convinced me to try the men’s bathroom, but, as my luck would have it, it was occupied too by women. I looked back over at the ladies room. With about a minute or less to go before the race started, low and behold the bathroom had cleared out (apparently they had given up on it, as I should have)! I made a mad dash from the bathroom and there was about 20 seconds left before the gun fired. With my heart pounding, I feverishly wiggled my way through the crowd to get closer to the front, stuck my ear buds in and pressed play on my Ipod just in time. That’s not the best way to begin a race, by the way. 🙂

Besides the awful start, I really felt good while I was running, once I finally settled down and was able to get to a good pace. I don’t usually start near the front but gave it a try because Jason had suggested it was much easier than using so much energy passing people at the beginning. He was right!  I felt only a little fatigued around the 2 mile mark but after allowing myself a few seconds to “get it together”, I was ok again and feeling strong. As I approached the finish line, for some reason I had decided my time was going to be slower than usual. I don’t have a clue why I was thinking that…maybe just not getting my hopes up? I hadn’t even looked at my time on my Ipod, just my pace. I was only about 100 meters or less away and I glanced up at the numbers on the clock that I had been dreading to see. I couldn’t believe it. Surely I was hallucinating? I looked over again….it had the number 31 at the beginning!!! Not 32 or 33…Thirty one!! My unofficial time was 31:08. Fastest ever. Now, for you really super fast runners that are reading this, I know you’d probably choke on your sports beans if your time was ever this “slow”. For me….the person that considered getting a tshirt that says, “This is my race pace!”, it was a huge deal! In the race the weekend before, I had set another PR,coming in at 32:04, even though the actual race results were jumbled and it shows me coming in behind Jason at slower times. (He was behind me that day, for once in history, only because he was pushing Zach and Zoe and I’m pretty sure he was still holding back.)

I really thought that it would be awhile before I could surpass my time of 32:04. He kept saying for me to try and start closer to the front and try to aim for 31:59. So, that’s what I did and I couldn’t believe it. I’m so thankful to have Jason to encourage me, give me a high five when we meet each other in passing during our races (He’s always the one on his way back and I’m on my way to the turn around!) and cheer me on at the finish line! Oh, and he set a PR that day too by running it 22:30 *unofficially* AND won 3rd in his age group!!

Overall, it was a really great day. I didn’t win any prizes or medals but sometimes the best prize is accomplishing something that you thought you couldn’t and running into the arms of the people that you love. I did both.


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March 31, 2011 · 3:04 AM

Looking back at one year of Running, Racing and Reaching Goals

***Warning:  If you aren’t a runner or remotely interested in running, this may be the most boring thing you’ve read. Ever. Trust me.***

I was never a runner….that’s what I’ve always said.

I would see people out running and think how nice it would be to be able to do something like that but knew I never would because “I’m just not cut out for running”. I would watch with curiosity while Jason got his gear ready for a race the next morning and could never understand why in the world he had to get up so early to be at a race that started at 8 and was 15 minutes away.  It was, in fact, the most uninteresting thing to me in the world of exercise, mainly because I thought it was this big unattainable feat.

I had tried it before. I’d speed the treadmill up and go from a fast walk to a trot and I’d glare at the time ticking so slowly as I felt my legs burning and my chest tight because I could barely breathe. I’d press the button as fast as I could to slow it down and go back to my fast walk. I’d try it at the track. I would try to run the straight parts but most of the time I could barely make it from one end to the other before I thought I was going to absolutely collapse. “Who would want to do this and why am I even trying??” were a few of my thoughts. I would leave thinking, “I’ll just stick to walking.” and (again) “I’m just not a runner.”

It all started innocently enough last year, a few months after I had Zoe. I had started trying to ease into some type of exercise. I decided that taking some walks on pretty days would be one way to do it and I could bring the kids and push them in the stroller. My oldest daughter came too and on the days that it was too cold, she was sweet enough to offer to watch them while I went for my walk. My first walk consisted of walking to the first rest stop, which seemed far enough to me, and then walking back. If anyone is familiar with this part of the trace in Sumrall, you’ll know that I wasn’t exactly pushing it to the limit….in fact, my heart rate probably didn’t even change but I was trying. My next big venture was to walk all the way to the first car crossing, as I call it, and then go back. After a few times of doing that, I had the craziest thing come over me. I wanted to see if I could mix in just a few seconds of very slow running jogging with my walking. I always assured myself that I didn’t have to do it for long and then I could go back to walking as soon as I felt like I needed to. So that’s what I’d do. I would push the stroller for a little bit and then I’d hand it over to Becka and inform her that I was going to run for a min or two. It was more like 30 seconds or a minute but little by little, things were changing. One day, we got to our turnaround spot and I told her that I was just going to keep going for just a little ways more. Instead of walking, I jogged from that point until I was across the first car crossing, which is a pretty good stretch for a non runner! There was another one coming up. I walked until I got to it and then I jogged it too. I can’t really explain the excitement I felt but it’s kind of like when you’re first learning to ride a bike and you actually stay on it long enough to pedal a few times before you wipe out again. You can actually feel it, get a taste of how it could be if you could just keep pedaling. So, I turned around and did it again and then after that, I walked a little and then jogged until I caught up with the kids. I was exhilarated! Suddenly, I began having thoughts that maybe I could try to do this every time and maybe I could actually start trying to run a little more than I walked. Crazy? Yes. Did I try it? Of course.

Fast forward a few weeks to February 8, 2010. I went alone that day. I had my new Nike+ gadget that goes with my Ipod. I’d only used it a couple of times. The last walk/run I had gone on was a few days before and I’d gone 12k (about 7 miles). There was something on this day (Feb.8) that made me decide I was going to just try to start out running….slowly. As always, I reminded myself that I didn’t have to keep it up if I started feeling bad, so I hit play on my Ipod and away I went. Step after step, my smile seemed to get bigger and bigger although in the back of my mind, I still wondered how far was going to be “far enough” and I’d have to walk. I had set my distance for a 5k. Could I do this? As I clip-clopped along, the lady on my Ipod informed me I had completed 1km. All that I could think about was that I was still running and I wasn’t ready to stop yet. Before I knew it, the little voice from my ear buds cheerfully announced “Halfway point”. Halfway point?? Already?? I was really doing this…slowly…but I was doing it. The only reason I wanted it to be over was so I could call Jason and tell him what I’d just done. Then the countdown began. 400 meters, 300 meters, 200….I was nearly there and I hadn’t stopped once. This was huge. My little lady friend on the Ipod congratulated me for completing my run, it was if I’d finished a marathon. I had tears in my eyes but it was from being so very happy. I took the next day off but could only think of when I could go again and when I did (2 days later) I ran 8k. Looking back, I shouldn’t have kept pushing distance so soon but I was in awe of how my body adjusted and how much better I felt. Seven days later, I ran my first 10k distance and made up my mind then that I was going to run in the Crescent City Classic in April. I think Jason probab thought I’d lost my mind.

My first race ever was on March 19, the Irish-Italian Festival in Hattiesburg. It was more so I could get the feel of how it was to run with other people in a competitive environment because I surely didn’t place. I liked the feeling of a race. I liked the excitement and I really liked being there as a racer, not a spectator.

My first 5k race. Italian Irish 5k March 19,2010

Crescent City Classic was only a couple of weeks away (April 3) and it would be only my 2nd race ever! When the race weekend finally came, I suddenly realized I had a some quirks too when it came time to get ready for the next morning. (I also thoroughly enjoyed eating the great pasta meal that we’re encouraged to eat the night before a big race!!) There were so many people there! Jason had tried to prepare me on how it would be because he had run in it the year before but I really had no clue. I also quickly found out that not everyone lines up in their correct corral. This meant that as I was running along, I’d suddenly have to come to a squealing halt and then dart right or left to avoid plowing into a cluster of ladies that were walking and visiting and pulling a wagon and even sometimes had their arms linked. I caught on fast and began looking for open spots before I had to slam on brakes. I think it’s all just part of being in a race with 20,000 other people, unless your one of the ones on front wearing a white bib, which means you’ll never even realize how many people are in the race because you’ll finish before half of us make it to the half way point. After the first few miles, I settled in and truly enjoyed myself. People were everywhere cheering us on, bands played, some even had their sprinklers on and pointed in our direction (I would run out of my way to go right through them too!). When I crossed the finish line I felt like I was on top of the world. The only thing missing was Jason to give me a hug or a high five….literally, he was missing. I immediately decided he had broken a leg or had a heart attack during the race. Funny enough, he was thinking the same thing about me. Apparently, just a few minutes before I finished, some poor guy had a seizure after he crossed the finish line and they made Jason and others move away. So, he missed seeing me cross, finally went back to wait for me and started getting pretty worried when I never showed up. I was waiting in what I thought was our designated meeting spot but I kept moving around because I kept thinking maybe that wasn’t it after all. It took about an hour but we finally found each other and low and behold neither of us had broken bones or had been hospitalized. It was a great experience and also one of the longest races I figured I’d ever run. Ever. Who are those crazies that run those half and full marathons???  Not me, thank you very much.

Before the Crescent City Classic. April 3,2010

Sometime after Crescent City Classic and before the Okatoma Festival 5k (May 1) I began suffering from what I thought were just shin splints. This was really starting to become a problem with my training and on top of that the weather was warming up. I had never run in pain and I had never run in the heat. Mix those together and things were starting to get ugly. I ran a race in my hometown of Columbia on April 24 with a time of 34:41. By the time I finished the Okatoma race a week later, I thought my leg was literally going to break off. My time was 32:54. I was disappointed, I was hurt (physically) and I was suddenly wondering, again, if I was really  cut out for all of this.

Crossing the finish line in my 2nd 5k race in Columbia. We ran in an absolute monsoon. April 24

Crossing the finish line, Okatoma Festival 5k. May 1st

We decided that maybe I should take some time off for awhile and let me leg heal. I was devastated but knew I had to. It didn’t get any better. It hurt when I ran, walked, when I stood still, even when I tried to sleep it hurt. It was time to go to the doctor. They examined me and x-rayed my leg. The doctor said he was pretty sure that it was a stress fracture but that it wouldn’t show up on an x-ray until it had healed. He advised no running for 6-8 weeks. Wow. We bought an elliptical machine to help me through that time but it was really hard to deal with. Anyone that runs on a regular basis will understand what I’m talking about.

I slowly and nervously started getting back into the swing of things again around the end of July. As I began to get back my confidence and strength, I also started wondering about pushing my distance a little more. I mentioned to Jason that the thought had crossed my mind about attempting a half marathon one day. I believe he looked at me the same way he did when I mentioned running the Crescent City Classic.

We began to look at training plans. It wasn’t long before we knew that he’d be ready long before I would be. Because he was beginning to peak with his training, he decided to run the Orange Beach Half Marathon Nov.30 and I ran the 5k. I still was determined to run one too.

After the race in Orange Beach. It was soooo cold that day!!!! November 30,2010

As I began to bump up my mileage, I started to realize that this might be the kind of running I was meant to do. I could run slower (without feeling the pressure of having to be fast) and because I was running a little slower, I could run and run and run. I loved that I could almost forget that I was even running and could just enjoy myself. I even loved my black toenails!

My black toenails from running. Gross maybe....but for me it means I've been putting in major mileage!

We were looking at either the Rock and Roll Half in New Orleans or the half in Long Beach as possible dates to aim for and finally settled on Long Beach. Ironically, it was their Carnival Association’s first time to have a half marathon so I think it was a good fit for me. I didn’t go to bed the night before until nearly midnight, which wasn’t my plan but Zoe wasn’t ready to go to sleep. So after riding all around the Biloxi Regional Airport a few times, we actually drove down to Long Beach to where the race would be held.  That’s when I realized I was nervous. I had never been nervous for a race (I’d only be in a few).  I’d always been a little excited, a little amped up but not really nervous. The next morning, I had settled down some and was ready for the race to begin. We were able to take some great pictures with the beautiful sunrise as our backdrop. The race began and people shot by me as if we were in a 5k race. It was the hardest thing in the world to make myself stay on pace. I didn’t want everyone, including one very fast speed walking grandmother, to pass me! Lots did though and I just kept going at the pace I knew would see me through until the end. There were NO mile markers and my trusty Nike+ wasn’t exactly giving me an accurate reading but the one thing I did know was that, at some point, we had to turn around and at least I’d loosely know where I was. I really needed to know when I was starting to get close to the end because I wanted to bump my speed up. Something I learned that day was this: When you’re running by the beach on a flat, straight course, you can see where the finish line is for a really long, long time. Finally, I had an idea. There had also been a 5k race that morning and I remembered passing their turnaround point when our race started. I knew that when I finally got there, the finish line was close! Another thing I discovered is that when you aren’t exactly sure where you are, it feels like it goes on forever. Imagine my dismay when my Ipod congratulated me for completing my half marathon and I hadn’t reached the 5k turnaround point I’d been searching so feverishly for! The thrill of the countdown of those last 400 meters kind of lost their appeal when it was obvious I was no where near finishing. Kind of a spirit breaker, to say the least but I decided to just laugh about it. When the little lady came on and said I had gone 1 mile over my goal, I just laughed and said out loud, “Yeah right!” I’m sure the people around me thought I was crazy but hey, aren’t we all just a little, especially when we’re getting ourselves through a long run. Finally, the elusive turnaround appeared and I felt rejuvenated. As I approached the end and could see people waiting, it didn’t matter that my Ipod wasn’t feverishly counting down every step I made. I could see my family! My husband was there. My sister and her family were there and I couldn’t resist swinging close and giving them a high five as I passed by and then smiling big for the camera because I WAS CROSSING THE FINISH LINE! I’ve never gotten any medals in my first year of running so when they gave me my medal, I could have been receiving Olympic gold!  It ended almost how I had imagined many times when I had been training and visualizing the finish line, except I had kind of imagined a better time too, but you do those things when your dreaming big. The best thing was that I had set a goal that I would have never imagined even wanting to do a year before and I did it.

Almost to the finish line! January 30,2011

After the Half in Long Beach. January 30,2011

So, here I am now nearly full circle. It’s been a year and I’m preparing for the Crescent City Classic once again with probably a 5k race a few weeks before. I truly can’t believe how far I’ve come in a year and how many possibilities lie ahead of me. I’ll do another half marathon again and my husband and I have even been throwing around the idea of a marathon at some point…but probably not anytime soon. My vocabulary has evolved and now includes words like speed work, pace, PR, long runs, tempo runs, hill training, etc. I’m now making sure I am always properly hydrated and that I eat plenty of protein. I’ve also learned that all carbs aren’t bad. I’ve learned that with the proper clothes and shoes, a run can be a lot more enjoyable and that while my Ipod/Nike+ is a good guide, it may not be entirely correct. I’ve realized that our bodies will adapt. They love to move and even if they haven’t moved in a long time (I don’t mean just to get up to turn the tv on either), they can if you just give yourself a little time to adjust.

We were designed to be active. If we’d been created to sit on our rear ends constantly, we wouldn’t have leg muscles that have the potential to be so strong!  I’ve always known this but now I believe it because after 5 5k races, 1 10k race, 1 half marathon, 50+lbs lost, 1 year and 386 miles later, I’m living it.

My only advice I have is this:

  • If you are thinking about trying out running for the first time – Take a chance and just try. Don’t give up after the first time or two. Give it a chance, give your body a chance. You can do it!
  • If you’ve just started running in the last month or so – keep going! Don’t decide you hate it if you have a few bad runs because bad runs happen sometimes. Find out what went wrong and correct it for the next time. You’re at the beginning of a whole new world opening up for you.
  • If you’re an old pro at this – Thanks for being an example and giving us new folks someone to aspire to be like. Keep on lacing up and putting in those miles. You don’t know who you might be inspiring.

I was never a runner... I am one now.

1 Corinthians 9:24

Philippians 4:13



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