Wednesday, November 20, 2013

HTC Awards Banquet

Last night was our annual HTC Awards Banquet.  I've gone to these on-and-off over the years, but this year I was very motivated to go.  I'd been told beforehand that Kylie, a good friend and teammate, would be receiving the Female Performance Award.  Back in 2004, I received this award, but I must say that Kylie deserves it much more than I did back then!  Her times are so fast!  But when Eric Charette, her award presenter, asked me if I could add anything about Kylie, I chose to tell him about what a great teammate she's been.  She's united us girls and included me on many training runs, and she's humble and very likable.  I couldn't wait to see her reaction when she found out she'd won!

If you're an HTC member, these banquets and meetings are free for you, and they include a nice catered meal at the Monte Sano Lodge (this time it was Zoe's Kitchen kabobs, salad, rice, and cookies).  The chance to socialize with the other runners is a big highlight for me too.  I brought my daughter with me tonight, and Rick took our son to basketball practice. 

Anyway, Eric's presentation of Kylie's award went great.  I thought I knew about Kylie's amazing performances this year, but Eric really knew her very well and gave many reasons why she was chosen for this award.  I enjoyed seeing someone so deserving get the award.  Others that received awards included Dink Taylor (he got many!), Josh Whitehead (Male Performance), and the Holiday Inn (our beloved Rocket City host hotel which is closing the day after the marathon this year).

I wasn't expecting an award, so I was surprised to receive 2nd place in the Female Grand Prix!  You can find results here, but the Grand Prix is basically a series of races throughout the year.  HTC members earn points based on how they finish in these events.  I've been as high as first place in the Grand Prix (also in 2004), but of course I dropped way down when I had my kids and slowly worked my way back up.  This year, I hadn't paid any attention to my rank (I do look it over when I get my HTC newsletter mailed to me each quarter), so I was totally surprised!  Kathy was first place, and we both received Fleet Feet gift cards!  Here are all of the winners (top 10% in their divisions):

Picture by James Hurley

I guess with this many runners it's a guarantee that someone will ruin the picture by wearing reflective clothing.  Way to go, Katie!

I looked over the results of the past few years, and I usually finished top 5, but finishing in 2nd place is really a honor...and kind of just "luck of the draw."  Sometimes it's your year, and sometimes it's not.  It's hard for runners to stay on top of their game year after year.  This year, it just so happened that I came out near the top.  I certainly was happy to receive the award though, and I am thankful for our wonderful track club and for the many benefits I am able to enjoy as a member.

Krispy Kreme Challenge!

So what do you do if you are just recovering from a marathon with no plans to race anything?  Why, you run the Krispy Kreme Challenge, of course!  This is a race where you run 2 miles to a Krispy Kreme where they have boxes of donuts waiting for you.  The challenge is to eat the entire dozen donuts and run back two more miles to the finish.  There is always someone from our racing team that goes out hard to win this race.  I, on the other hand, entered because our team was given a comp entry that no one else wanted (I waited until a couple of days before the race to ask for it), and I was NOT planning to eat the entire dozen.  If you don't eat the whole box, you can carry it back, and you receive a different colored finisher's shirt.  I could live with that.

I arrived at the race and did a 2-mile warm up with some team members.  Our great local photographer, Gregg Gelmis, was out capturing the event.  These pictures are all from him unless noted.

As the race started, I fell back and let many people in front of me.  I just took it easy.  When I arrived at the shop, I had no idea what to expect.  I found my teammate, Jill, going for first place.  I tucked in next to her and her friends to eat a few donuts.  I like this picture from James Hurley.  I'm all like, "Yes, I usually just stand around with a box of donuts in my hand in the middle of a race."  I'm actually looking away from the stack of donuts the guy in front of me is scarfing down!  Jill looks pretty miserable here.  That girl was doing amazing!

So after 4 donuts, I called it quits!  I took my box and started running (this was as per the instructions given on the race website, "Casual runners who are not competing to complete the Challenge may race back with a box of doughnuts to take home if they so choose.").  I look really happy about my finish here!  I just remembered to look up my time, and I was 4th female in the "non-challenge" category with a time of 38:04, or around an 8:00 minute pace for the running portion of my race (I ate for around 6 minutes).

Closing Thoughts
This race is for a good cause (United Cerebral Palsy), and it was a lot of fun.  I've never seen so many people having fun in a race!  I was able to bring home donuts to my kids and also get in a little run, so that was a win-win for me.  But, this race started as a fraternity challenge (so I heard anyway), and it's not really a good idea for anyone to eat an entire dozen donuts.  I didn't feel like I fit with the people scarfing down donuts.  There was the option to do teams of four, where the entire team eats only one dozen donuts.  I think that is a better option for me in the future.  Congrats to my teammates, Eric and Jill, who managed to eat the whole dozen and still post great running times with only a few minutes spent eating the donuts.  You guys sure helped me make a memory today!

Indianapolis, Indiana Monumental Marathon

Friday, November 1
We drove up to Indianapolis on Friday.  It was about 7 hours total, including stops.  Upon arriving, we headed to the expo to get our packets.  We really had not researched the marathon at all, so seeing the expo was the first chance I had to gauge the size of the race.  It seemed to be a fairly large race. We also stopped to look at the pace groups.  We had decided to aim for a sub-4 hour time, so we checked out the pacers near that time.

We met my sister at Siam Square, a nice Thai restaurant near her house.  Our stipulation was that it had to be kid-friendly, and it was!  The service was fast, and the food was good.  It's nice to have a filling, high-carbohydrate meal the night before the race, so this dish of white rice and shrimp was great for me.

We laid out our stuff and settled in to sleep.  I tossed and turned since her apartment had lots of loud people late into the night!  But I never worry about the sleep I get the night before a race.

Saturday, November 2
This race went well but was different from most of my races lately.  In this race, Rick and I started very conservatively and moved up as the race went on.  My splits started at 8:35 (we were just wanting sub-9 pace).  But everything seemed easy and was going well, so I picked up the pace to around 8:10's.  When I crossed the halfway point at 1:47, I knew I had a chance to get a sub 3:35!  I ended up negative-spliting!  This was not something I was expecting to do at all today.  With only minimal training, I knew that the last few miles could seem very hard, but that didn't happen.  I passed the 3:35 pacer and just kept going (this was near the end--maybe Mile 22?).  Rick surprised himself and felt even better than I did, so he took off around Mile 17 and picked up his pace a lot.

I finished the race in 3:32:31 (I do remember that the last mile seemed to take forever!).  What a surprise for me (and Rick, who got a 3:27).  With our training, we just did not think we could do this. These times are only about 20 minutes slower than we could do with good training right now.  I wasn't expecting a BQ, but I was amazed that I had done it!  It was a great way to finish my 30th marathon, and I think it shows the power of experience in the marathon.  We are well-seasoned marathon runners now, and this helped us greatly today.  Our bodies and minds remember this distance.  

The course was nice and flat, the weather was perfect (40s), and aid on the course was nice (Clif Bloks!).  I think these things helped us out.  And Rick, who tends to get put pressure on himself, did not feel any pressure today.  I also enjoyed not having the usual "PR pressure" on me today.  For me, I saw it as a "last chance," at least for another year or so.  I always run better when I think, "One day you will not be able to do this.  Today is not that day." It helps me to appreciate the moment so much more.  

After showers, we went to Bazbeaux's for some wonderful basil pizza.  It was almost a mile each way there and back, and we'd already walked 2 miles getting to and from the start/finish.  I was sore and stiff!  We went to a toy store and a grocery store and headed back to my sister's apartment for short naps.  

Dinner on Saturday night was Chipotle, and we made a trip to Trader Joe's and a nice mall.  I was exhausted that night and slept like a baby!

Sunday, November 3 
We had a great opportunity to spend one more night at Laurie's apartment.  It worked out since the kids have homeschool on Mondays, so they would not miss school if we drove back that day.  And Laurie pointed out that she'd watched the kids for Sunday marathons in the past.  Having this one on Saturday was great.  So today we went to Scotty's Brewhouse (we had looked it up that kids eat free on Sundays) and the Indiana State Museum (we used our U.S. Space and Rocket Center membership to get in for free!).  It was another day of walking...and lots of standing at the museum.  I definitely felt sore and tired today.

Indiana State Museum

We did a pretty riverwalk on the way back to Laurie's place.  

Rick points to where we finished yesterday.  
Crazy to see it totally back to being a regular old street.

Laurie is really into healthy eating, so she wanted to make us a good, made-from-scratch dinner.  The kids had never had brussel sprouts or asparagus before!  And the main dish was a delicious macaroni and cheese.

It was hard telling my sister good-bye.  I am so proud of her for moving to a new city alone, but I really miss her in Alabama.  And I am so moved by how willing she is to watch the kids for us.  She talked about flying out to meet us for some east coast marathons and others too.  I love that she offered that to us.  I could never repay her for what she's done for us in helping to make this dream possible for us.

Monday, November 4
 We set off for Alabama as Laurie headed off to work.  We made a stop in Louisville, Kentucky to visit the Kentucky Science Center (another free museum for us--yeah!).  This museum was great!  The kids had a such a good time that we had to go out and feed the meter to get more playtime!  We ate lunch in the car (Jimmy Johns) and made it home around 5:30.

Closing Thoughts
I love taking the time to look back on each marathon and reflect.  This one just seemed like such a gift--the unexpectedness of it, the uncertainty due to our lack of training, the utter surprise and joy of having a good race and finish, and the happiness of reaching the milestone of 30 marathons.  I am constantly surprised at what each race brings to me, and that is why I like running marathons so much.  I even enjoy reading about my races that went poorly.  There's lessons there too, and they toughen me up.  I feel amazed that I was able to BQ today and thankful for the chance to do it.  A lesson I can give you is to never be afraid to try something.  If we'd just taken the easy road and not done this race, we'd have missed an unforgettable experience.  As usual, the trip was a wonderful family vacation and a great chance to see a dear family member.  I love that marathoning lets me do all of these things together.

Race Pictures
So strange--I didn't receive any finish line photos!  And I looked through the "unidentified runners" and couldn't find me anywhere!  Oh well, I know I finished! 

Here are some pictures from the course and after the finish.

Loaded down with arm sleeves (pushed down), gloves in hand, and a water bottle!  With a start in the low 40s, I had to have the gloves and sleeves at the beginning.  

Mile 1 8:35
Mile 2 8:13
Mile 3 8:05
Mile 4 8:13
Mile 5 8:15
Mile 6 8:07
Mile 7 8:12
Mile 8 8:15
Mile 9 8:12
Mile 10 8:06
Mile 11 8:04
Mile 12 8:00
Mile 13 7:53
Mile 14 8:00
Mile 15 8:01
Mile 16 8:13
Mile 17 7:56
Mile 18 7:57
Mile 19 7:51
Mile 20 7:54
Mile 21 7:53
Mile 22 8:07
Mile 23 8:02
Mile 24 8:13
Mile 25 8:11
Mile 26 8:10 
.2 1:42


Saturday, November 16, 2013

30th Marathon and 24th State!

So the month of November ended up starting with a marathon after all!  It's amazing how much I craved running a fall marathon once we decided not to run one.  I got reminiscent about Iowa, Chicago, Baltimore, West Virginia, and all of the other fun fall races we've done!  I kept feeling sad. So one day I looked up Indianapolis just to see if we'd missed the marathon there or not.  We had talked about it and then dropped it back in August for various reasons.  The Monumental Marathon had a counter on their website saying, "13 Days Until the Marathon."  So I knew we still had time!  I had to persuade Rick quite a bit, but I really did think we could do it even though we hadn't trained specifically for it (though we'd both built up to run long runs of around 14-15 miles). 

And so, the crazy tale of Marathon #30 and State #24 begins!  I will post more later!

Liz Hurley Ribbon Run and Spooktacular--5K Runs in October

Liz Hurley Saturday, October 19, 2013

I ended up just watching this race this year so Rick could run it.  It was a sort of chilly day, and the kids didn't have jackets, so I had them wear my Mountain Mist and McKay Hollow Madness jackets to stay warm.  We found some pretty leaves that they wanted to play in, but they were all wet.  

Waiting for the race to start

The runners!

Something that was new this year was that men and women started together (had they not, we both could have run!).  Since I was just spectating, I don't really know how that went or whether or not the start was too congested.

Spooktacular 5K Saturday, October 26, 2013  

Nothing big to record here!  Rick and I had just decided to run a marathon the following weekend (more on that later!), so I used the Friday before Spook to run 18 miles.  I never do that before a 5K. I need to rest before a 5K if I am going to run fast!  Also, I hadn't been doing speedwork.  I expected my time to be slow for me, and it was!  I ended up with around 6:40 miles for a total of 20:54.  My splits were so consistent that I knew they were all I could do today, and I just focused on having a good time.  I was 5th OAF and still managed to get 1st in my age group.  

Mile 1-6:43
Mile 2-6:44
Mile 3-6:44

As usual, Gregg Gelmis found a great spot and took some wonderful pictures of the runners.  To get this shot, he was actually lying down on the street!  I love how fallish it looks!