Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fort4Fitness Half

A half marathon in my hometown...interesting idea. I first heard about this race back in April of 2011. Was not even running at that point in time, but had been walking for exercise for about a month. Called my Mom to see if she was interested in doing the 4 mile walk, but it was the day after the first price increase and she was not interested. As I got into running that summer, this race is the one that was hanging out in my mind saying, "Run me!"

Fast forward to Saturday morning September 29, 2012. I arrive at Parkview Field a bit too early, but had no problem finding a parking spot. Not busy inside the stadium yet and I snap a shot of the quiet finish line.

After the 4 mile race started, runners for the half started filing into their corrals. I was assigned K, but considered moving back a few since my training time was minimal. But then I remembered that at Geist I spent my first mile weaving around those that were walking straight from the start.
The start

After the cannon sounded 2000+ runners were off. I seemed to be fine with my corral choice as I was not weaving around many people and others were not streaming past me. As we turned down Calhoun, a wondrous bakery smell hit, soon to be replaced with the scents from the many Asian restaurants and grocery stores. Oh look, there is Southside High School where I took the SAT's in 8th grade. Look, there is the huge cornucopia on Scott's grocery store.
I took this holding the phone over my head and
facing it behind me.

We turned onto a paved trail that might be called Rivergreenway. It follows the St. Mary's River along Foster Park. We went right past the apartment building my parents lived in when they were first married, and where I lived as an infant. There is still even several pieces of playground equipment on the other side of the path just like waaaay back when.
The apartment where I lived as a baby and Melissa
aka Miss Pink

I did not take any pictures along the park but it was gorgeous. Huge old oak & sycamore trees, leaves changing colors...ah...beautiful scenery.

Somewhere between mile 4 to 5, a lady in a pink shirt pulled alongside and said, "Hey...we've been keeping the same pace," and let me know what it was (I don't wear a watch, as I keep track with Runkeeper on the phone). We then proceeded to run together for the rest of the race. She had only gotten to 8 miles in training and it was 10 for me. In my mind I called her Miss Pink until I finally asked her name (Melissa). Neither of us had much extra energy for chit-chat.
Just a pretty shot

After exiting Foster Park area we saw huge old houses in the Old Mill Rd. area. No pictures as I was trying to focus on the running. It was getting more difficult and oh no...all of mile 9 was uphill!

Then came the merging with the 10k walkers. I think trying to get around them the last several miles added at least a minute to my time. They were walking all the way across the road rather than staying on the right. Many times Melissa & I played "thread the needle" where I just pushed through a tiny space between two walkers. We used so much extra energy of which we had none.

Those last two miles were the most painful, and I even started saying, "Ow...enh...ow," outloud. As we turned onto the last bit before entering the stadium, I just wanted to cry because it was almost finished and I had made it.

It was really awesome entering Parkview Field. People were lined all around the edges and in the seats cheering for the participants. But you know what...running the perimeter of outfield is long!
Coming to the finish line

I was quite thankful that I had Melissa to keep me going those last miles, and she was thankful for my help.
On the jumbotron!

Mile 4 was my fastest, and mile 12 the slowest. But the most unbelievable thing?? I ran the entire time and did not once walk!!
Recovery area
Finisher medal
Post race cheese!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Volunteer Day

I am ready to sleep. Who knew that volunteering at a race was much more tiring than running one?

The PTO at the school I work at just had their first year organizing and hosting a previously established race. This was a transition year from the former beneficiary to the PTO. Even though I have run several of the Wayne County Challenge events, volunteering seemed the way to go this time.

Registration before it got busy

This little kitty and his twin entertained those of us waiting while runners finished the course. They darted back & forth across the finish line area, and up & down a nearby electric pole. At one point, I ducked under the finish chute flags to remove a kitty that decided the blue mats were a perfect spot to sit and watch the runners. Didn't want anyone tripping over him.

Kitty vantage point to view the start
They're off! 3.1 miles to go
The WWES contingent
One of my jobs today was to be at the finish line calling out the numbers of all finishers to Ann, who was writing them down. This is done as a back up to the chip timing system...just in case. It was fun as I was able to see all as they came across the finish, and to cheer for the ones I knew by name, and still clap and encourage the others. We had 305 finishers, a record for this race. Around 340-350 signed up, but it was surprising the amount of no shows.

After the last finisher crossed the line, I headed out to pick up items from the two water stops on the course (had delivered them several hours earlier). Clean-up and loaded several trucks to take items back to the elementary.
The cab is stuffed full, too
A much deeper appreciation to those that organize and run races! Way to go Western Wayne Elementary PTO officers!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Race to Read 5k

March 17
th was supposed to be my first ever 10k. I had trained for this distance, beautiful spring weather was predicted, and even had a fun little St. Patty’s skirt to wear (back of the pack=lets have fun). Not to be…the evening of the 16th I was down and out with the tummy bug.

This left me with still needing a March race. We were leaving home Friday evening the 23rd to head to Tennessee, so the 24th was out. There was the possibility of the Bunny Rock 5k in Indy on the 31st. However, I don’t know my way around downtown Indy at all. Avoid it if I can. Haven’t been there since Lucas Oil Stadium was completed. Give me Castleton and the Fishers/Noblesville areas any day.

Ding, ding, ding!!! Light bulb moment…I could look for a race in the Lexington Kentucky area where we would be staying overnight on Friday. Did a search and found a list of races in the area and did some map looking to figure out where they were located. Found one located right by an interstate exit that had lots of motels!! Woo, this might be doable if I can talk hubby into it. And it would be really nice if motel had a late check-out time so I could take a shower. J

Daughter gets sick mid-week…will we even be going on the trip? Thursday night decision to go, but still don’t know about the race. I book a motel room Friday afternoon, conveniently located at the same exit as a race.

11:15pm Friday: I can run the race in the morning. After not having had supper that evening, and doing a strong 3.5 miles at noon, and knowing there would not be a good night’s sleep due to snoring in the motel room (not from me!!).

I set my phone alarm and to head over to Coldstream Dog Park in the morning. This was about a 1-2 mile drive from the motel. Redbuds are blooming all along the course. Gorgeous.

At the check-in I ask about the course. “Oh, there is one hill at the beginning then it’s pretty flat.” Um…Kentucky flat! At two different spots the route is going uphill for a half mile length. Happily, the finish was at the end of a downhill. One of the interesting obstacles on the route was the worms! There had been strong storms the night before, and there were many worms all over the road. After awhile, I just didn’t look down. Ick!!

The race was the Race to Read 5k sponsored by Reading Camp, a literacy education program that serves 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade children who are struggling with learning to read. Wow, what a great race to support since I am a teacher.

There were 115 participants and I came in 50th overall. So I can actually say I was in the top ½! No back of the pack on this day. A beautiful course, very well organized race, great volunteers, and my best 5k time to date!!  31:17.
In front of the redbuds is where the finish line is located

Race over! Time to head to Pigeon Forge and the Smokies!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chris Brown 5k

"What do you predict will happen on the next page?" This is a phrase I use often while reading stories to preschool classes. But this time the question was, "What time do you predict you'll finish the race?"  A prediction watches allowed, no calling of splits at the miles markers. During registration you wrote down your guess at your finish time, and the winners were determined by who came closest to their time guess.

And they're off!
The race was held Sunday afternoon on the campus of IPFW in Ft. Wayne. The course wound around the sidewalks with many turns and twists. It was an enjoyable route...with good support letting racers know which direction to head.
Cheeser at the beginning

Several great things about this race. First, I set a new PR with a time of 32:34 (my prediction was 32:18). Second, this is the first race I ran the entire course with no walking!There were plenty of goodies to eat once the race was completed, including three choices of soup. And here is a great one...there were about 40 stalls in the women's restroom!!  I've been at a race with only 1 potty...not fun.
Just after the two mile mark

My Dad met me there and was "official" photographer for me.  Afterwards my daughter and I went on out to my parents' house for a nice visit.

Here she comes! The last 1/2 mile they kept saying, "Almost there."

Still cheesing at the end!

Look!! AIR!

What did they say my time was? After crossing the finish line, we had to write down our time on an index card...was not expecting this!
Phew! February race done. On to first 10k.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

#TwitterRoadRace 5k

Twelve races for least one per month. Seems like an easy goal that has a nice ring to it: 12 for 12. Other than the fact that January and February have the tendency to be a bit snowy and cold. Never mind that Central Indiana has just finished several weeks with temperatures in the 40's-50's. Today was the day of my TwitterRoadRace 5k. Mid December I signed up for the virtual race that Doug Cassaro set up using Twitter.

Last night the freezing rain, snow, and ice arrived to cover the roads. Also awoke to a 4 degree windchill. Driving to Muncie to join a running group was not going to take place this week. So, after waiting for the temps to rise to a nice 19 degrees this afternoon, and being very excited to see a snowplow come down my road, I started to bundle my layers and prepare to trudge through the snow.

How does one run on a snowy, slushy, and possible icy road? With Yak Trax! But I don't have those. Wait! I do happen to own an "off brand" called Winter Trax!! Received these as a Christmas present several years ago. They are fantastic for walking across icy parking lots and my driveway. Found out today that they do work for running on the road.

This was a real road race with a bib, and over 700 participants around the globe. Support came from all of those tweeting at #TwitterRoadRace and from race director @Seedouglasrun. Even Bart Yasso ran!

Sherberts was my Dad's nickname for me when I was a kid

Look at me go, speeding down the lane

Must have the cheeser moment!
The road before me.

Who made this print? Crazy runner girl wearing winter trax on her shoes.

What made this print? Horse pulling the Amish buggy down the road. Just as I headed out the door, saw the Amish neighbors heading home. Only vehicle encountered was a neighbor driving a tractor. Had to step off the plowed section of the road into a drift to let him pass.

At my finish line

The run was not a speedy venture as I did my warm-up walking as part of the 3.1 miles. There were also pauses along the route to snap several pictures. Found out there are a different set of muscles used when running in the snow & slush. It was akin to running in sand. Overall, I enjoyed my time on the road today (even if the family thought it was nutty) and am happy that I took that step out the door.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Miles go by in 2011

As most of you know, I began walking this year and progressed to beginning to run mid summer. Because my parents used to run & compete in road races, I knew all about tracking mileage and speed. Runkeeper is an interesting freebie app I have on my phone. It uses the GPS to track distance, speed, and route which I can view on the phone or on the website with more details. I had downloaded it soon after the phone purchase to use when we walked the trails at the park. I used it a few times, but that was it.

Somehow I remembered this app when I began walking. I would use it most times I ventured out, but not everytime. Occasionally when there was a certain type of cloud cover it did not want to get a gps signal. Then, there were times I just didn't have any pockets to stash it while I was moving. Most of the summer running shorts only come with a little "key" size pocket...nothing big enough for a phone. I bought a handy dandy Spibelt which is just big enough for the phone, driver's license, and car keys to solve this problem. Still, there were plenty of times I went out and did not keep track of the miles. During several of my races, the days I went out for the mail or paper and went to the corner and back, hiking around in the fall...or just didn't care about time & distance.

Runkeeper was my main tracker with Endomondo as a second app used to track when I walked with family. Their walking pace is slower than my running pace. Wanted to keep my average up :-). Both of these apps have made improvements and upgrades this past year...gps locating works the same on both for me. Both have web sites available to review stats, etc. One advantage I like about Runkeeper is I can put in "notes" for the activity on the phone before I save. Little things like it was windy, my shoe came untied, I did walk/run intervals, hot enough to melt... Runkeeper was my exercise log for the year. One feature recently added is the option of audio cues. It can be set at a distance of your choosing to "voice" your speed, pace, etc. This is handy when running a new area, but not wanting to look at the phone every so often to check time & distance passed.

I had not even planned on adding up my miles until many of my Daily Mile & Twitter running buddies started posting their totals. This made me curious. And that is the point of this post, to state how far I went this year.

Okay, so my total of TRACKED miles for 2011 is 313.83. This includes walking, running, hiking, and biking miles.
Total tracked running miles is 130.3. Not too shabby for taking up running at the end of June.

In case you were wondering, there is no particular mileage goal for 2012. The goal is one special big race, and many smaller ones. And possibly the 12 for 12 (at least one race each month).

Here is to a year of improvement in my times and to continue on the quest of fitness.

Jazz hands!