Friday, December 30, 2011

Victories and Defeats: My 2011 Year in Review


The year started off on a great note!  I finished my 6th Mountain Mist 50K trail run while wearing shorts on a snowy day.  It was incredibly fun, and I managed to get my course PR (5:37:57) and got 5th overall female too.  You can better believe I'm looking back at my entries about this race to see if I can beat my time this year!  (To see my history with this race, click here.  To see my race report, click here).

I opened up to my blog readers and shared a pretty detailed story of my past with anorexia here.  I hoped it would be an encouragement to others facing similar struggles.


I wrote my favorite post ever here.  I hope to hang on to the memories of that day (and this stage of my life) through that blog entry.  I began loving documenting my day-to-day runs as much as I loved documenting the "bigger" races.

I ran the Myrtle Beach Marathon and got a new PR--3:18:05.  It was a great race for me.  The time caught me off-guard, but so did the finish--when I ended up in the medical tent.  Read about it here.


I found out that I made the 2011 Fleet Feet Racing team here in Huntsville, Alabama and that I was chosen for the elite segment of the team.  It was--and is---a HUGE honor.  I wrote about it here.

A big disappointment was the cancellation of the McKay Hollow Madness, a local 25K trail run where I was hoping for a chance to defend my title.  Instead, I made the best of it and unofficially ran the course during a thunderstorm (see here). 

I had been looking for a way to prove one of my favorite quotes, and I think I did it that day rather nicely!

The challenge in running is not to aim to do the things no one else has done, but to keep doing the things anyone could do---but most never will. --Joe Henderson


A small defeat was having the Boston Marathon pass me by yet again (see here).  It reminds me of Alexander Graham Bell's quote, "When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” 

I have had to close that door and not look back.  I made a decision to enjoy the MANY other opportunities that have presented themselves to me other than Boston--for now anyway.

One of those other opportunities involved me revisiting St. Louis, the site of my first ever DNF marathon, for a second chance.  Without my amazing husband, it would not have been possible.  I enjoyed having his aid along the course--and his encouragement too.  I still get teary-eyed reading about how he met me at Mile 22 at the spot where I'd dropped out the year before.  The encouragement he gave pushed me along when I had nothing of my own to give.  Read here.


I had a great time at the Memorial Day Cotton Row Run 10K, 5K, and 1-Mile events.  My whole family was able to participate as spectators and runners, all dressed in our red, white, and blue.  Read here.

Photo by James Hurley

I did some prep work for a sub 20 5K in July, including my first speedwork session, and I reflected on how much running takes away from my relationship with Rick.  Yes, I don't always talk favorably about running!


I PRed in the Firecracker 5K with a 19:55 and scored a first overall female as well.  Here is the race recap.  It was wonderful to have babysitters at that race so Rick could pace me to the finish.  I was also in the local news; see this entry.  I won another 5K this month, the Paint the Streets 5K.  See here.

In perhaps the biggest move of the month, though, I decided to commit to the 3:15 training for the Chicago marathon.  Read here


My entries this month vacillated between talk of setting my bar high to entries of doubt to many, many entries about the specifics of my training.  Good posts to read if you are training for the marathon.


With the start of school came stroller runs in rush hour and rain.  Read about them here.  I wrote a nice entry about not comparing yourself to others.  I need to reread this many times!


The big marathon month was finally here.  I wrote more entries this month than any other month this year.  It was such a victory for me to achieve my goal of a 3:15 (and a new PR) at Chicago.  Read about it here and here.  If it seems like I talked about it a lot this month, it's because I knew how special of a gift it was to me.  I knew it may be the race of my lifetime. 

But I was also reminded this month that there's much more to races than times at the Liz Hurley 5K, where I ran with a team from work in honor of two breast cancer survivors at our school.  Read about it here.


I broke my 3rd PR for the year at the Huntsville Half Marathon with a time of 1:31:53.  Read about it here.  I knew then that this was a special year of racing for me.  I wrote here about breaking my PRs in the 5K, 1/2 marathon, and marathon all within four months.  The victory was in "beating" my old self--the one that wasn't a mother of two small children.  I definitely appreciate each and every run more now, and I was thankful for the chance to reflect on my blessings from this year during a month full of thankfulness.

I earned a disappointing time in the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day (a 20:58--my slowest 5K on the year, including the one I ran a week after my PR marathon). There was no denying that lack of speedwork was the cause for this time, but it was still hard to get out there to race and not feel the same "kick" as usual.

Photo by James Hurley


Though you're supposed to end on a high note, it wasn't the case for me in 2011. 

My biggest defeat for the whole year was my pacing experience in the Rocket City Marathon.  I felt like I let myself and others down.  I wrote about it here.

While I can let things like a failed attempt at pacing or shoes that are wearing out too soon or even the struggles of fitting running into a busy schedule get me down, I choose not to let the year be defined by these moments of defeat. 

Instead, I choose to see the victories.  And they probably aren't the ones you are bringing to mind---the PRs, the second chances, the first place finishes.  You see, if I look back over my year of running---and the entries on this blog that remain to define it---it was personal growth that I am the most proud of.  The entries where I expressed gratitude for those who help me run, the entries where I tried new things, the entries where I opened up about who I once was, the entries where I revealed my relationship with God, the entries where I set a goal and made that first step towards it.  For my two children, this blog will hopefully be a chance for them to see a glimpse of who I was at this stage of my life.  I proudly showed that this year.  A victory for sure.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Present!

You know you're a runner when you get as excited about running shoes as you do with your new Kindle Fire!  I was seriously spoiled this year getting these Nike Lunar Racers and the Kindle.  The funniest part of the story (or not) is that I actually knew about both of these presents before Christmas.  I found out about the shoes when someone at Fleet Feet mentioned that the shoes Rick ordered for me were in (I quickly said, "I'll pretend I didn't hear that!").  And the Kindle Fire arrived from Amazon in a box with the words "Kindle Fire" on the outside.  Not too bright, Amazon!  Rick, I still love the gifts even if they weren't surprises!

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and that you are all getting your runs in despite the holiday craziness!  I managed a nice 20 miler on Christmas Eve.

If you are a new reader or if you've never looked at these, I just updated my Biography and Favorite Posts pages (tabs right under my blog title).  I admit that I love finding these "shortcuts" when I find a new blog to read.  It helps me to read a little about the person and about what they think are their best posts before I read anything else.  So in case you want to do the same thing, happy reading! 

New shoes!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Running With My Girl in Fall and Winter

We are in the home stretch before Christmas now.  Unlike most people making big New Year's Eve night plans, Rick and I booked the sitter for New Year's Eve MORNING so we can get a special treat--a run together!  My kids are off from school, and I am feeling majorly lazy.  Not good when you have a 50K a month away.  Today I SLEPT IN instead of getting up to meet the girls...and we were meeting 30 minutes later than usual!  So right now I am debating whether to run with the double stroller or just do the elliptical machine instead.  I am kicking myself for not getting up and running when I had the chance!

I am also reflecting back on a busy first half of the 2011-2012 school year.  It's hard to believe that my son has made it to every day of his first half year of kindergarten and that I've personally dropped him off and picked him up for each of those days.  And on time too!  It's also hard to believe he's old enough to be in kindergarten.  How I've loved seeing him grow this year. 

I am most thankful for something I wouldn't have expected though.  I am thankful for the Tuesdays and Thursdays with just my daughter and me home from school.  She was born fourteen months after her brother, and we've never had any one-on-one days at home, just us two.  For fourteen whole months, her brother had me to himself! 

These two days each week are a gift, a treasure that I hope to not ever take for granted.  Someday I hope we can look back together and remember the fun we had.  Sure, it's mostly trips to the grocery store, dance class, and stroller runs, but these are moments that I can really get to know her, to see how she reacts without her brother dominating the scene.

She's cute and spunky and just a sweetie when she's by herself with me.

And, I'll admit it here, she's a GREAT running partner too!  We take a run most Tuesdays and Thursdays, right after dropping her brother off at school.  She takes her little puppy doll, her snacks and drink, and whatever accessory the weather calls for (I love her little pink hat!).  On cold days, the Baby Jogger winter boot (bought when her brother was a baby) has paid for itself by giving her a warm, cozy place to snuggle in. 

I look down as I'm running and see this mass of beautiful blonde curls and a big pink bow, and I hear her little voice squeaking up to me, and it's just love.  I treat her with Fun Dips, her ultimate candy, and she spends her time licking that stick and then dipping her finger into the sugar again and again.  I smile as I see her little green finger when she's done.  I see her looking around at the scenery as we run through the neighborhood, and I admire the way her cheeks still have that full baby-look.  I wonder if she will run like me one day (she's already got very strong legs!).  I hope she is proud of me for being a runner.  And, mostly, I am thankful for having my little girl to accompany me on some of the best runs of my life.

Fall run

Winter run

Saturday, December 17, 2011

More on the Rocket City

Bringing it in
Photo by Amanda Nichols
While I didn't write the last post so people could comment and try to make me feel better, I am glad you came through and did just that!  I have had a few days to put things into perspective.  A fun 15 mile trail run with Rick, Eric Charette, Dewayne Satterfield, and James Falcon today also helped ease the healing process!  I am not utterly disappointed like when I first finished (Do you ever feel seriously emotional when you are finishing so it's hard to think clearly and rationally?).  I was too caught up with that darn number.
However, I do stand behind the original sentiment in my last post.  My team captain, Eric Charette, does pay attention to how close we got to our time and if we were under or over.  He sent the pacers and the RCM committee an email where he listed all of us and then put our chip time and then put how much we were under/over by.  He averaged how close we were to our goals (see below) and will likely use this in the future as evidence that we are accurate pacers.  I am simply amazed at the efforts of my fellow pacers and for their ability to be just under pace.  I just seem to be the only one who can't do it! 
Here is part of his email:

I just thought I would let you and the RCM committee know how the Nike Pace Team runners fared on Saturday. We heard some amazing comments from runners and other volunteers how impressed they were seeing the pacers carrying the signs that came through right on schedule.
Their average was being UNDER by 42 seconds with some staying under by as close as 5, 7, 9 and 15 seconds to their goal time. Jay Lloyd even went as far as running even first and second half splits of 1:47:05/1:47:05. While not many runners stayed with the pace group leaders after mile 15 (turn into the wind) the pacers stayed even through to the end. This was tough to "leave" the runners as they slowed, but other runners (ahead) were also counting on the pacers to come in right on pace. A couple pacers just missed their times but wasn't due to fitness, but to watch/GPS issues and we did not have any complaints that I heard in these areas.
I am very proud of this team as running even pace for 26.2 miles doesn't just happen on race day; it takes practice and months of training. As my group neared the end, one runner said "This must be easy for you guys". The honest answer is "no". Running a marathon is never easy, especially at an even pace, mostly leading into the wind while the pack drafted behind. 
I took my job seriously and felt like I fell short at the end.  This email did not improve how I felt about my performance.  I appreciate those of you that said you would try pacing again if you were me.  One of the things I've always said about myself is that things don't come easy to me.  They come with hard work.  I've seen this in my running times in every distance.  And I hope that I will see this in my pacing times as well, if I give it another chance.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pacing Attempt #2

Let's start with the end for now. 

The end of Saturday, December 10 was a very awesome lasagna dinner for the marathon committee members (and, lucky for me, their spouses and children too!).  These volunteers do such a great job and deserved the night to unwind together.  My family enjoyed delicious food while we listened to some amazing speakers (Okay, I enjoyed the speakers while Rick chased the kids through the hotel halls.  Just being real here!). 

I really admired them all, like the guy who has run all 35 Rocket City Marathons, the 2nd place male and female finishers, and two friends of mine who were the 6:00 sweepers on the course (one who carried a broom the whole time to "sweep" the course!).  The race director apparently gives the guy with the perfect track record a souvenir of sorts each year.  One year he got the roll of toilet paper from a port-a-potty he used during the race!  This year, he got a huge marathon sign that was on the ground on the course this year.  Everyone jokingly gave him ideas of where he could display the sign at his house!  The 2nd place guy said that our race had a small-town feel and that Huntsville runners seemed like a family, and I looked around and saw nods of agreement.  I think he was pretty perceptive to notice that about us in such a short amount of time.  The 2nd place girl was a sweet 31 year old mother of two who struck me as being so down to earth.  She talked about how she did the "marathon math" at the end trying to figure out what she needed to run to finish in a certain time.  It's refreshing to hear that even the winners struggle out there sometimes.

And now, here's the Race Recap for Marathon #24, Rocket City #4, and Pacing Attempt #2:

Before the Race

I began preparing for the race on Friday.  I laid out a possible outfit (though I ended up changing out the base level for a tighter shirt race day), packed baggies of Clif Bloks and gummy bears, and pinned my number to my shirt.  I lightly tapered by not running on Thursday and then doing 4 easy miles on Friday.  I got back from a work party late on Friday, so I didn't go to bed until after 11.  No worries, since my alarm was set for "sleeping in," or 6:00 a.m.  Rick woke up before 4 a.m. to begin his job as course sentry director, and I tossed and turned after that.  Doesn't matter; it's the night before the night before the marathon that matters, and I had slept great that night.

Clothes laid out, minus the hat and gloves.  We had a chilly start!
The Race

Oh, how funny it is to me the effect the pacer sign has on people.  Suddenly, anyone carrying the sign is Rocket City Marathon expert!  Seriously, I was standing in line to go to the bathroom (while trying to hide the sign the best I could), and people were giving me these strange sidelong glances and others were asking me very bizarre questions about the marathon (one asked me what time I thought we would cross the start line.  Hmmm.).  I hurriedly went into the ballroom to find the rest of the pacers after that.  I was glad to stash my car keys in my gear bag behind the registration booth (I think I carried them last year.  I don't know what to do when Rick doesn't run with me!).  We were supposed to line up at 7:45 a.m., so we all went out then.  I was quickly greeted by several friends and others who were lining up too.  I answered the usual questions about pace and the inevitable question, "Are you going to carry that sign the whole way?" (which was repeated several more times throughout the race.  It's really not heavy, people!). 

As predicted, I started out slow due to the crowds but quickly found pace after that.  I know this is a race report, but honestly, there are not a whole lot of details that are specific to me from this race.  In marathons where I am racing, there are so many moments where I am having to dig deep, to talk myself into keeping up the pace, but today it was all fairly good in terms of effort (minus a quicker pace near the last mile).  I kept a smooth, steady pace without wavering.  A highlight was kissing my husband, Rick, at Mile 18 (he was serving as a course sentry there in between his course set-up and take-down duties).  One girl said, "So...I guess that was your husband?"  For documentation's sake, I took my Clif Bloks, some gummy bears, and two Gus offered on the course.  I never felt weak or like I couldn't continue on pace.  That is why my end result was so maddening to me. 

The Result    

Have you ever looked back at something and realized where a pivotal mistake was made?  And, if you could go back and change it, you totally would?  That is how I feel about the last 5 miles of the marathon.  You know how last year, I finished too fast and vowed NOT to do that again?  Well, I overshot in the other direction this year.  Hindsight is 20/20.  We learn from our mistakes. 
You know how I don't usually run with the Garmin?  I have run 23 marathons and only two of those were with the Garmin.  I am used to pressing lap at each mile marker of the race and using that to gauge my performance.  Well, it never occurred to me to turn off the autolap feature on the Garmin.  The Garmin beeped (indicating a mile) ahead of the actual mile markers.  It never dawned on me that I would thus be running MORE THAN 26.2 miles.  Oh yes, I was that dumb.  I was SO focused on the trees that I missed the forest.  I was SO intent on getting each mile in on pace, that I didn't think about the big picture.  I saw the 8:58, but I did not see the 3:55.
I sadly realized the inevitable path of disaster I was on with one mile left to go.  Yes, I am the pacer who did not think about overall pace until there was one mile left to go.  Then, it was easy to add 9:00 to my watch time and to see that I was nearly two minutes too SLOW.  I panicked and tried to book it to the finish, ending my until then evenly paced run with an 8:30 pace for Mile 26 and a 7:00 pace for the remaining .43.  When I saw 3:56 on the clock, I was so mad and frustrated with myself.  My only consolation is that most of my group had fallen behind me earlier than this and probably had been caught by the awesome 4:00 pacer.  Many would still finish sub 4 hours, which was the goal of everyone that I talked to with a time goal in my pace group today (many had a goal merely to finish).  My official chip time was 3:55:50 for my Garmin's distance of 26.43 miles.  Oh, how eaten up on the inside I was about my mistake!!  As soon as I finished, I grabbed some food quickly and called Rick to vent.  I missed the chance to cheer in my group.  I am just now realizing how my anger at myself cost me the joy and thrill of seeing my new friends finish the race.  I was so embarrassed at my time that I forgot to consider theirs.  I lamented to Rick about wanting a redo of the last 5 miles, so that I could gradually increase the pace and bring in the runners in 3:54:59.  I will probably be haunted with that time for quite a while.  I feel like I failed.
When I told this story to my friends today, they were like, "What's the big deal?"  Since I am pretty new to pacing, I don't really know why it's so important not to go over.  I got a 3:15:33 at Chicago, and I still say I got a 3:15 when people ask.  I do know that with Boston's new qualification standards, there is no longer an allowance of "seconds over."  So if someone needed a 3:55, used to be they could get a 3:55:59 and still qualify.  Now they need a 3:55:00 or under (no seconds allowed).  
I know I'm a perfectionist and very hard on myself, but I really think this race shows that I am not cut out for pacing.  Just like when I was a new teacher, I feel like I am learning about pacing through the expense of others (when I taught, I learned how to teach at the expense of my first students).  And I feel like a very slow learner.  I've had two years now to "hit the target," and I've missed both times.  And, frankly, this year was worse of a failure than last year's since being too slow is the worst thing a pacer can be.
After talking it over with Rick, I felt a little more encouraged about the job I did.  He said it was an honest mistake and that it could have happened to anyone.  He said that I should remember the people in the beginning who were thanking me for starting on pace.  He said I should remember the people I encouraged along the way.  And he reminded me that, in the end, it is an individual race.  I can't pull along or hold anyone back.  He said in many ways, I was more successful this year than last, and that I shouldn't dwell on the number on the clock so much (I think the way he actually put it was, "It's not as bad as you are making it seem.").  I took comfort in the fact that he was trying to comfort me.

Running with Brandy
Photo by George Titsworth
  • People came up to thank me for "holding them back" at the beginning.  As someone who always starts too fast, I can see how a pacer could really help there.  As the miles went on, many people mentioned how great it was that I was running consistent miles.
  • From the beginning, I encouraged the runners to pick up the pace at the end.  I know that was a good thing to say, now that I know my outcome.  I told them to shoot for a negative split. 
  • There were not (to my knowledge) any people from my group who were trying to BQ.  I talked to people who were running their first marathon and to people who were trying to break four hours.  I am happy that I was able to pace them to do those two things.
  • I was able to give good advice from my experience in running while I was pacing.  Examples are telling one guy named Seth about how I like to do a marathon a month.  I think I talked him into running the New Orleans marathon after this one!  My group was able to discuss many marathons with my personal accounts, along with others' accounts too.  Some I remember that were mentioned were Boston, Myrtle Beach, Chicago, Nashville, Arizona, and New Orleans.  It was fun "comparing notes" with people who had already run them and to give recommendations for those wanting a personal account. 
  • I chatted with people.  I had conversations about Madison (with a guy who lives on a street my group runs all the time), a guy's twin daughters who both run, and local races.  I was there to listen as people shared with me and distracted themselves from the running. 
  • I offered encouragement.  For fun, I "cattle-prodded" two guys from my Sunday School class with my pacer sign.  I encouraged a friend as she ran past me, one that ran with me, and one that I had to leave behind.  I think it helped them to see a familiar face.  I waved my sign and yelled, "Cheer for us!"  many times as we approached big groups of people.  (As a side note, if you are a spectator, please cheer for all the runners, not just "your" runner.  It means a lot to hear the crowds, especially at the end.  Even if the runners don't react with a big smile or wave, they still like your cheers.  Trust me!)
  •  I wished that I could either a) run backwards or b) have eyes in the back of my head.  It was so hard to know who, if anyone, was still trailing me!  I did get some indication at the aid stations, where workers would shout, "Whoa, that's a big group!" and scramble to get more waters!  But when someone was talking with me and then fell back, I never knew if they were still with the group or not.
  • My inexperience with the Garmin did come back to bite me.  I did not think about the fact that I would probably run MORE than 26.2 miles as I went along (yes, even though I have run 23 marathons, I wasn't thinking about this until the very end).  I am NOT a math whiz or good at calculating pace in my head.  That is simply not one of my strengths as a runner.  I never really even thought about "running the tangents" as I was running; in fact, I usually ran on the outside of the turns so my runners could have the shorter route.  I am a very literal person, and when it says to run an 8:58 pace, then I am going to run an 8:58 pace.  It did not occur to me to adjust for the longer route until the very end.  By the time I realized my mistake, it was too late.   
  • My overall time was 50 seconds too slow.  I am majorly disappointed that I did not adjust my running earlier since I easily could have done this.  My group had been warned of a negative split, so I easily could have run the second half two minutes faster to bring us in on time.
  • My group had thinned considerably around mile 20.  I remember feeling bad that I was just cruising up a hill and leaving many of them behind, yet I had to stay on pace (little did I know I was actually behind pace).  In a way, it helps me feel better than if they were being held back by their pacer at the end. 
  • People asked me many specific questions about the Rocket City Marathon (such as where were the aid stations), and I was not able to answer those.   I need to become more familiar with the route, the location of the aid stations, etc.

 The medal

Ending Thoughts

Curious to see if I had ever run a 3:55:50, I found my closest time, a 3:56:02 from the Madison Marathon in Madison, WI in May of 2008.  Twelve seconds separate these times, but the experiences are miles apart.  In Madison, I was victorious, finishing my first marathon post-kids in my goal of sub 9:00 minute miles with Rick by my side.  This year, I feel like a failure and that I let people down, and it's there for all to see.  Yet both of these marathons (and most of my other marathons) fall in the 3 hour something range.  So much depends on the numbers after that 3 and the experiences that surround them.  I've had triumphant moments and crushing defeats all within this range.  We runners live and die by the little numbers.  To all of those who met with success (and whose numbers were in your favor out there), congratulations.  You deserve to celebrate.  To myself I say, there's always going to be another run.  Another chance to make those numbers say a time I can be proud to claim.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Analyzing My Running Shoe Wear Patterns

Here we are three days from the marathon, and all of the doubts/negative thoughts are starting to creep in. 

Here are some of the thoughts I have scrolling through my brain today:
"You should've practiced more with the Garmin."
"What if the Garmin dies in the marathon?"
"Have you really trained enough for this?"
"What if you wear too much and get hot during the race?"
"Did you just slack off after Chicago?"
"Are you tapering enough?" (Ran 6 miles Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday of this week)
"What if you can't do it?"

I usually find that I will overfocus on one thing when I have all of this nervous energy.  It is currently on the wear on the bottom of my shoes.

I mentioned to Rick one day that I felt like I was wearing out my shoes really quickly, more like 200 miles instead of the 300-500 miles you are supposed to be able to run in them.  I told him that I start to hurt when I run in shoes with worn tread, so I replace my shoes a lot.  There were something like five old pairs in our garage just cluttering it up, so Rick decided to take those over to Fleet Feet to donate them.  He looked on the bottoms and told me that I really was wearing my shoes out pretty badly.  I decided to take pictures and bring the old shoes in to Fleet Feet to see if someone can help recommend a shoe that is better for my foot.  It is obvious that I am wearing the outside heel of my shoe out, so I did a little research on my own.  Here was an article about the different types of runners--pronators, neutral, and supinators (or underpronators).  Runner's World had more on supinators.  This one seemed to agree with my wear pattern the best. 

Why focus on this now?  As I said before, I think I am diverting some nervous energy.  But there are many benefits to making sure I am in the right shoe!  I can think of several.  Saving money on shoes that fit right and wear correctly, avoiding injuries, and just minimizing my annoyance of watching my foot striking the ground on the outside edge as a run.  I have been staring at my feet as I run lately, and that's not a good thing. 

Here's some pictures in case you wanted to see the evidence:

Uneven wear

I'd say that the outer edge is pretty worn out.

The black tread is separating from the shoe.

Another picture of the left shoe, which is slightly worse than the right.  I actually notice this foot landing incorrectly as I run.

Any thoughts/advice on the matter?

Monday, December 5, 2011


Here are the seeds from our Fleet Feet Racing Team for the Rocket City Marathon.  If you are new to marathoning or racing, you may not know what a "seed" is.  Basically, it is an honor to be seeded with a low race number.  They seed you based on your recent times (usually of the same distance) compared to others in the race.  So, if I am seeded first, I have the fastest recent marathon time, and thus, I am favored to win this race also.  Of course,am not seeded first in the marathon!  But I did get seeded 14th (women's seeds began at 1100).  I am quite proud of that seed!  I don't feel bad at all knowing that I will not get a chance to race with the other seeded women on Saturday.  I am even prouder of being asked to pace the 3:55 group!  A total of 5 team members will be pacing rather than competing in their seeded positions that day, so I am not alone.

Here is what Eric Charette wrote on the Fleet Feet Racing Team blog about our team's seeds:
With Rocket City Marathon coming up this Saturday, the Huntsville Track Club has announced the top seeds for Men and Women. Among them are quite a few runners from the Fleet Feet Racing Team and Fleet Feet employees who are either racing or have volunteered to be Nike Pacers as noted.

Seed / Recent Marathon Time / Marathon PR / Name / Age
17 2:41:20 2:41:20 Tim Vinson
19 2:43:40 2:43:40 Eric Charette (3:10 pacer)
20 2:44:00 2:44:00 Brandon Mader (3:00 pacer)
22 2:48:00 2:46:00 Zachary Koch
26 2:52:00 2:42:30 Dewayne Satterfield (3:05 pacer)
27 2:53:04 2:53:04 Blake Thompson
29 2:54:52 2:54:52 Kevin Betts
32 2:58:00 2:58:00 David O'Keefe (3:15 pacer)

Seed / Recent Marathon Time / Marathon PR / Name / Age
1103 2:54:21 2:54:21 Candace Jacobs
1114 3:15:00 3:15:00 Katie Maehlmann (3:55 pacer)
1126 3:28:18 3:28:18 Jillian Koch

Also serving as pacers from the Racing Team are Eric Patterson (3:30), David Rawlings (3:45), Christy Scott (4:00), Linda Scavarda (4:25), Kathy Youngren (6:00) and Rob Youngren (6:00).

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Best Individual Performances

After this entry on my own 2011 best performances, I thought it would be great to link up to my team's blog so you could see all of the great performances we've had this year.  Here is the blog for the Fleet Feet Racing Team of Huntsville, Alabama.  What I find pretty amazing is that one of our captains, Eric Charette, writes the blog and was able to correctly identify each member's best performance.  He knows us all that well.  Eric did ask Rick (my husband) to verify the race he thought was Rick's best performance, but he knew that Chicago was mine (I, of course, agree).  Eric is pretty amazing to know all of us that well.  He really celebrates each victory with all of us, but he was one of only a few to offer condolences when I failed at St. Louis too.  I have great respect for someone who can know each of his teammates that well.

Our team will choose winners for the Best Male and Female Performance of 2011.  I don't plan to win, since we have so many outstanding performances this year (and every year).  But it does feel pretty amazing to be compared with these great athletes.  I feel very blessed to have such great competitors and friends.  Just yesterday, we stuffed packets for the Rocket City Marathon, and we caught up with and joked with our fellow teammates who were also volunteering their time.   Our children played with Candace's little boy (Candace is the overall female winner of the marathon last year and a fellow teammate).  It feels great to have these friendships--with teammates and with other runners too!  We have a great running community, and I am so thankful for it!