Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Lessons Learned


I have seen and done a lot of things in the 11+ years I have called myself a runner.

And, not all of it has been wise.

There was the time (six months ago) when I was oh-so-close to capping the 100 mile mark with my mileage. My body was not feeling beaten up, but it was more tired than I acknowledged. And, I am NOT a high-mileage runner. In fact, I pride myself on keeping my mileage pretty moderate. But, back in May, I was just so close...so I ran a couple of extra days and surpassed that century mark.

The stretch-out following that final run in May.....
Any guesses what happened as a result? Major heel pain! I never admitted to myself (or anyone else) that is was Plantar Fasciitis, but it certainly had all the makings of it. The pain was very localized, only on my right heel, and it didn't hurt much when I was running. But simply trying to stand or walk on it was most unpleasant. Ugh.

I spent the next couple weeks in a myriad of colorful athletic tape
I had a big (12 hour) ultra approaching (less than two months away) and a couple of half marathons (on back-to-back weekends) that I really did not want to miss. I trusted my endurance, so I scaled back my mileage (majorly) in the weeks following...and all went well. I was able to run both of my half marathons (though my finish times were nothing stellar), but my ultra went great.

Christmas in July, the 12-hour overnight ultra
There also was a time when I dug out my old, but very favorite, Mizunos Wave Inspire 8's. Mind you, these shoes were almost three years old, and had gotten me through not only my first marathon (Quad Cities 2013),but also my second (IMT Des Moines 2014), as well as most of the training miles for both of those marathons. I did a quick run in them and was instantly transported back in time (ever so briefly) and reliving many happy miles in those comfortable shoes. I even wore them for a 5K the next day. And in the days following, I experienced some hip pain and multiple other discomforts. Coincidence? I think not.
Oh how I loved these Mizuno babies...even after they were in their prime
In fact, I had a trail race a few days later (on a Saturday morning) and also a 15K (in the evening). Holy Yikes. Imade it through the trail race alright (probably due to the soft terrain),but that evening was a different story. I ran the first 5K and could tell something was "off." I couldn't pinpoint exactly wasn't right, but I could not get my body to work and my hips and glutes and hamstruings were all on fire. I wound up pulling out of the 10K (my first-ever DNF) after the first mile.


Sidelined. Humbled. And in pain.
So, why am I sharing all of these unwise choices? Because although they were (temporary) low points, they also were teaching moments. Running continues to make me proud, but it also keeps me humble. I'm not afraid of sharing my mistakes with the world, I am only human after all. Mistakes are worthwhile if you gain some knowledge from them.

What mistakes have you made with your running? Did you learn anything from them? Repeat offender?

I'm linking up with Deb for the Wednesday Word...and toady's word happens to be Wisdom. And, also linking up with Suzlyfe  Running on Happy Crazy Running Girl and Coach Debbie Runs for the Running Coaches Corner.



Sunday, September 25, 2016

It's Been a Hot One


Stick a fork in me, 'cuz I'm done. Not tired, but definitely "over-cooked."

I hate to see (and feel) summer end, and apparently Momma N tried to appease me this week. That's right, summer came back with a vengeance...ironically, in the first week of fall.

Monday was pleasant, though.  I headed outside for four easy miles (by the light of the moon) in the early morning. Never miss a Monday. Ever.

Never miss a Monday....
Tuesday, I had some hill work on the agenda, and just did not feel like attempting those in the wee hours (and I may have been a bit sleepy when the alarm sounded at 4:58AM. I also had a busy day at work, so I didn't get home until near-dinner time and wanted to watch The Voice at 7:00PM. I changed clothes and headed outside, towards a nearby county road that has a couple of good hills. After running back and forth (several times), I  finished the workout with almost five total miles (including warm-up and cool-down). And I was a saturated mess, but felt great for what I'd accomplished.

sweatfest #1
Wednesday is typically a non-running day, so there's usually some strength work and moderate aerobic activity. And, of course, there's planking!

more side planking
Thursday arrived, and (again) I was not eager to do my assigned running in the early hours because I had timed ladders on the agenda, and those are a pain to do in the dark (for me) because I get annoyed by constantly needing to hit the "light" button on my watch. Instead, I waited to do those after work...in the heat of the day, none the less. I was a saturated mess after that workout as well, but felt great for the effort.

sweatfest #2 for the week
Friday was another day of easy-does-it activity.

Saturday. Ever have one of those moments of wonder when you read your training plan (again) and realize you had read it wrong several times prior? Well, I decided to double check a few details on the plan only to realize I had a short run on the roster. So, I got it done. An easy shakeout run is actually a good thing to consider if you have a race happening the next day.

three easy miles that almost didn't happen
Sunday was race day! I have a deep fondness for the Quad Cities Marathon, being it was my first marathon (2013). This year, I was part of a relay team with three of my cousins and I also ran the half marathon. Momma N seriously played with our minds in the days leading up to the race....threatening rain and storms. Low and behold, she waved her magic wand and blessed us with a dry morning, ample sunshine, and lots of heat (and humidity). Alas, it still was a great time. Stay tuned, the recap is coming!

Double bib = Double bling
And I also got in a plank after I finished the half marathon and had some down time (awaiting the relay team to finish).

yes, some of us plank in broad daylight at marathons
So there you have it. I think my weekly mileage came in around 29 (and some change), that's definitely my highest weekly mileage in awhile. Yikes, I'm currently sitting at 83 for September...so I'm gonna be close to another century mark for the month.

Has it continued to stay hot in your area?  What's the highest weekly mileage that you've done? Did you plank this week?

As usual, I'm linking with my gals Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap. I encourage you to swing over and take a peek at their blogs and all the others linked.







Thursday, September 22, 2016

Five #hashtags for the Weekend


I have a very exciting weekend on the roster!

I'm heading to the Quad Cities (a cluster of four adjoining cities along the Mississippi River) for the Quad Cities Marathon. This event will always hold a very dear place in my heart since it was the site of my first marathon (in 2013 ).

Pre-race pic from the 2013 Quad Cities Marathon
I returned and ran on a relay team last year (recap HERE ), and it was such a surreal experience being back at the start line...and then running in with the team to the finish line. I seriously had tears in my eyes and that awkward half giddy smile (because I was so excited to be there) and half awkward ugly cry face (again, because I was so excited to be there). This year, I'm not only running on another relay team, but I'm also running the half marathon.

Last year's relay team...Lynn, Carie, myself, and Kristi
Here are Five #hashtags that I am embracing for this upcoming extravaganza:

#takemeback
Oh, The Quad Cities Marathon! How I love thee! As mentioned, this was the scene of my first marathon (recap HERE). I was truly blessed with a perfect "first marathon" experience. The weather was awesome, I managed my fuel like an expert, I never hit "the Wall," and even though I let myself walk a few times, I had no regrets. I even had a gentleman, Dean, run the final mile with me, all the while repeatedly shouting to the crowds of people,"Hey, this is Kim! It's her first marathon!" Yes, I felt like a celebrity. Then, as soon as we crossed the finish line, he grabbed a guy and immediately introduced us to each other...and told this guy that it was my first marathon. This guy was none other than Joe Moreno, the race director! Joe, then, congratulated me, and expressed his thanks to me for choosing the Quad Cities as my first marathon ((sigh)). It's a good thing I had just finished 26.2 miles and was slightly dehydrated, otherwise I would have been a blubbering mess. Seriously, how do you top that???

Approaching the finish line with Dean, my final mile hero
 #familyfirst
This will be a very significant race because all of us gals on the relay team are cousins. One of the gals, Jessica, is a seasoned marathoner (and a Quad Cities Marathon veteran as well). The other two gals, Rhonda and Kelly, have been running consistently in the past year or so but have not done many races (yet). This marathon will be their first time experiencing the 26.2 atmosphere. I am SO excited for all of them!

On a side note, Jessica's mother (our aunt, Linda) is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. We are going to be lifting her up as we knock out those 26.2 miles and are dedicating this race to her.

We got this!
#gobrightorgohome
That's right...I'm bringing this theme along with me and sharing it with the team. We're all wearing purple, and I will be in search of some funky purple-patterned headbands at the expo. Life is all about living, right? A huge part of living is NOT blending in, so I am sharing my #colorfreak (that's a bonus #hashtag for you) with the other gals.

This purple tank will be joining me at the QC marathon on Sunday
#halfcrazy
Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE the 13.1 distance? Well, this race will not only be run on a relay team, but I'm also continuing on after I hand off the baton and running the half marathon (the half marathon course splits off from the full course around mile 8.5). And, (cue the drum roll) this will be my 30th half marathon! So, yes, there's just a little bit of excitement in the air!

The IMT Des Moines Half Marathon...October 2008....my first-ever 13.1
#redemptionrun
Did you know I had a half marathon two weeks ago (recap HERE) that didn't end as well as I'd hoped? My energy putzed out on me (most likely due to an improper breakfast), and by the 10th mile I had pretty much given up. I still finished with a respectable time, but it was nowhere close to what I'm capable of doing. I landed a sub-2 hour finish in May (recap HERE), and it had been two years since that last happened. I'm in decent shape right now, and this will be an ideal course to spank another sub-2, and (hopefully) even a 13.1 PR. #fingerscrossed (another bonus #hashtag)

The medal from Park to Park Half Marathon, September 10th

So, do you think I have the makings of a great weekend? We're a little tense about the weather, though. Currently, there is some rain in the forecast, as well as thunder storms...but most of that appears to be happening in the afternoon, hopefully long after we are all in our cars heading back to our respective homes.

Have you ever run a marathon (or any race, for that matter), and gone back and done other events in subsequent years? Ever been on a relay team? 

I'm linking up with the DC gals (Mar and Courtney and Cynthia )for the Friday Five....I encourage you to check out their blogs, as well as the many other linked blogs for some great reading!
















Sunday, September 18, 2016

I can do hard things






Another crazy week is in the books (with some Aha Moments ). Whew! Stick a fork in me, because my rest/recovery days were  greeted with open arms! This week's theme? I can do hard things.

My first outing in the running shoes, on Monday, was greeted with nice, crisp temps and and clear skies. I hammered out four easy miles and was back home before the sunrise. As I have said before, I welcome the cooler temps, but it's with a sad heart that I bid farewell to summer.

Yikes...we're in capri's and arm warmers....
Tuesday, I woke up early,but just was not feeling the run. My body was feeling fatigued (too many late nights prior to my early mornings...#myverybad), and I rationalized I could just do my run after work. The temps were also pleasant, and there was ample cloud cover, so the heat would not be much of an issue.

All worked out well, and I was able to get my run done in the mid-afternoon hours. I was supposed to do a negative-split run...but my mojo kicked in, and the run turned into more of a progression run instead (which still netted me some awesome negative splits). My splits (after the 1-mile warm up) were 10:29, 10:11, 10:06, 9:48, and 9:33), and that's just what my shattered ego needed as a comeback performance following my frustrating half marathon (recap HERE ) three days prior.

Yes, I like running (again)
Wednesday is typically an active recovery day. We also had an unplanned jaunt to Iowa City (an hour away) to tend to some landlord duties (dead oven in our rental). So, there were some (oven) dead lifts and squats added to my roster. When we returned back to town around 9:30 PM, I was exhausted, but had not had time to do any light cross-training....so I went with my fallback go-to: stair-climbing. I added in some planks and push-ups, and nearly collapsed in the stairway before falling into bed. It was hard, but I got it done (and slept pretty soundly).

Late night, get it done....
For Thursday, I had  some hill repeats on the schedule, but wanted to test out the hills on the treadmill. I know, I know...the dreaded 'mill, that has been in a dormant state for the better part of 2016.  Our treadmill currently resides in our mudroom, which is directly below our daughter's bedroom...and I knew she would not welcome the sound of that at 5:15AM, so I elected to post-pone that experience until later in the day. I was anticipating a relatively slow day at the office, which usually guarantees an extended lunch hour...so I could do it then. But I did some planking to start my day...

A morning plank...still in last night's workout clothes...
Have you ever done hill repeats on a treadmill? Holy crap. There are no words to accurately describe the torture of that workout. After an easy warm-up mile (outside, in the beautiful mid-day sunshine), I headed back inside and fired up the 'mill. I set the incline on 4, and upped the speed to 7.0 (ha ha ha, a bit grandiose, don't you think?). After 600 meters, it was all I could do to not fall off as I hit STOP. I lowered the incline, and reset the speed for 4.5 for an "easy" recovery jog. I then, again, adjusted the incline to 4 and upped the speed to 6.8 (because 7 was just too crazy for me). After 600 meters, I (again) had to hit STOP for fear of face -planting as I lowered the incline back down and reduced the speed.

This pattern continued for four more sets. Although I was tempted to call it quits after four, I persisted and finished all six. My legs felt like over-cooked spaghetti, and there were drops of "water" everywhere on the control panel (remember, this had not been in use for several months, so it was pretty dusty when I started). My braids were dripping and my clothes were totally saturated...but I had (somewhat) conquered the beast. Even though I eventually lowered the incline to 3 and reduced the "fast" speed with each set, I felt like a war hero returning from combat when I climbed (carefully) off the 'mill and headed to the shower. Wow, that workout was hard.

Too bad none of the sweat is really showing....except on the control panel
Friday was pretty uneventful after Thursday's hill repeat episode. Some simple cross-training, foam-rolling, and fueling for Saturday's long run.

With a busy morning on the agenda (volunteering for a local race), I headed out early to get my 10 miles done. I left the house around 5:20AM and got almost three miles done (under the beautiful full moon) before meeting up with my friend, Barb. The two of us ran almost six miles together. We parted ways (she also was helping with the race and needed to report for duty earlier than me), and I finished up the final miles on my own.

Moonlight at the start and sunshine at the finish
I really like these early morning miles. The tranquility and peacefulness is beautiful, and it feels great to get the miles done before all the other craziness of the day begins.

Sunday was another low-key, active rest/recovery day. There was some planking, biking, and LOTS of stretching and foam-rolling.

more planking in the sun
In other news, the planking challenge is going strong! It's hard to believe we're already past the halfway mark. I don't always post my planks daily, but I have been doing them. I'm currently around 80 total planking minutes for September. There may be a few more minutes that I have forgotten to write down...my goal is not a specific number, but to keep on with the daily planking and inspire others to do the same. Are you planking with us? Want to join us? Use the hashtags on Facebook and Instagram #GoAhead #MakeMyPlank!

Chataranga plank...that's hard to do...
...and if you all can bear one more (filtered) pic of Max.....

Max...he loves his car rides...


How was your week? Great workouts? Plenty of action? Can you do hard things?

As usual, I'm linking up with the lovely Holly and Tricia  for the Weekly Wrap. Do headover and see what's been happening!



Thursday, September 15, 2016

Recent things that made me go "Hmmmmm"


I have had several things to "Hmmmm" about this week.

Even though I sometimes think I have seen and done it all, there's always a new revelation or tidbit of wisdom that gets revealed.

Here's five recent favorite things:

***The hill repeats on the 'mill. Holy crap, they were evil. I don't mind doing hill work on actual real-in-Life hills. Doing them on a 'mill was an entirely different ball game. There was no gentle breeze blowing through my hair and the recovery runs were on level "ground" instead of a downhill grade. I usually scoff at 'mill running because it's (typically) easier than outdoor running because the 'mill sort of propels you along. Not the case with the simulated hills....there is no altering your steps (stride length or speed) unless you want to risk face planting across the room. The 'mill humbled me (again)...reminding me that (ultimately) the 'mill is in control, not the 'mill user.

Whew! There was sweat everywhere...even on the control panel....
***The realization that I may not be "respecting the distance." My recent half marathon left me feeling pretty defeated until that light-bulb moment smacked me square between my eyes (figuratively). Even though I can (pretty easily) run 13.1 miles, I have not been respecting the fact that it is, indeed, 13.1 miles. Most vehicles will not make it that far without gas in the tank, after all. Runners are not any different. 
Thankful for another 13.1 finish line
***A strong run can (almost) instantly propel you back after succumbing to a brief lull in your confidence. My negative-split run on Tuesday turned into more of a progression run.,.after a warm-up mile, my splits were 10:29, 10:11, 10:06, 9:48 and 9:33. Not bad considering miles 4 and 5 were into a head wind. Yes, I think I like running (again).

Feeling victorious after a great run
***Daily stretching and foam rolling has its benefits, even on rest/recovery days. Who'da thunk? My coach has me doing a slew of stretches, exercises, and foam-rolling...daily. And although my stubborn glutes/hammies/piriformis still get angry, I'm noticing less issues while I'm running. Crazy how this is all such common sense stuff, but yet I need someone telling me to do it in order for me to actually follow through.
Daily maintenance is necessary
***Most of us get an endorphin rush after a long run, but I'm starting to notice the traces of a runner's high following my speed work and/or tough training runs. The knowledge that I can actually (sometimes) do hard things if I just suck it up and not quit until it's finished....that's intoxicating! Even though I was cussing out loud on that %&$# indoor running-in-place torture device (sorry for what you had to listen to, Max), I felt like a badazz beast when I stepped off of the 'mill yesterday. And I don't think I stopped sweating for at least an hour AFTER my shower.

I can do hard things

So, there you have it. I've been doing this running gig for more than 11 years, and I'm still having "Aha Moments." Lucky for me....I embrace learning new things and not being stagnant in my fitness.

What's the latest lesson you've learned (or been reminded of)? Do you embrace change? Enjoy learning new things? Treadmill...yay or nay?

I'm linking up with the DC gals (Courtney and Mar and Cynthia ) for the Friday Five....I invite you to check out what everyone else is talking about!





Tuesday, September 13, 2016

2016 Park to Park Half Marathon recap




Some finish lines are more hard fought than others, but every finish line (none the less) is a victory. And, every race is a teacher.

Did that grab your attention?

This past weekend, I ran my sixth (consecutive) Park to Park Half Marathon (Waterloo, IA). This is one of those races I just cannot stay away from. I have had some great finish times. There have been some miserable weather conditions. And there have been days when I have totally tanked my performance. But still, I go back each year because this event is top-notch (there's also a 5K, 10K, and half marathon relay).

Ready for the start line
As mentioned, I have run this race five previous times. And, I have yet to snag a sub-2 finish time. Mind you, I have come close...my course PR is 2:00:45. And, this is the ideal course to spank a PR because it's relatively flat and it has probably 90% shade cover (no excuses, right?). But for some reason, that darn sub-2 has eluded me at Park to Park. Every. Single. Time.

But, let's back up and go back to the beginning....

My friend, Barb, and myself arrived in town the evening prior to race day, and stayed at a hotel. We went to the expo, got our goods, and grabbed dinner at IHOP (actually, it was more like breakfast...omelets and pancakes!).

Go Hawkeyes! Beat State! (spoiler alert--the Hawkeyes won!)
Barb and I are both University of Iowa alumni, and race day also was the day of the big football game against our inner-state rivals, the Iowa State Cyclones. Both of us brought along UofI clothing to wear for the race (and there were several Cyclone fans dressed in their gear as well).




We arrived at the race early, and had plenty of time to relax before the start time. We had been warned there would be water on the course (due to recent heavy rain) that could not be avoided. The Cedar River was predicted to crest on Sunday, so the race director had gotten the "all clear" (from the park ranger) to keep the race scheduled (we later learned that the water had risen several inches over the time span of the race. Had this race been scheduled for Sunday, it would have been cancelled).

The temps were near perfect (mid 50's), and the humidity was MIA.

My plan in getting to that sub-2 (or at the very least, a course PR) was to start out easy, and crank out a negative split (run the second half faster than the first half). My typical stiffness (glutes/piriformis/hamstrings) was very minimal, so I was optimistic things would go well.

The first couple miles felt pretty good. I remember glancing at my watch near the 2-mile mark and noticing it was showing my elapsed time (instead of my pace)...not a big deal. I probably hit another foreign button, and would have to wait until I was finished to see the individual splits/paces.

The race director told us the water was after the 4-mile mark....so when I came upon the flooded trail, I tried to veer off in the grass (only to have even more water and muddy grass to deal with). Bad idea. Thankfully, it was only for 100 yards or so (but it was ankle deep at the minimum).   Imagine my surprise when a short ways later there was another section of water on the trail. Ugh. I managed to "high-step" my way through the first crossing, but I chose to walk through the second one. The asphalt trail was difficult to see through the water and I didn't want to take a chance and face plant.
Can you believe the water? (pic from my friend,Sheryl)
Wouldn't you know? There were two more water crossings a short ways later! These were both much deeper...the water came up at least half way on my shins (and I have long legs).  Double ugh. Not only were my (pretty) shoes and (wool) socks saturated, but also my calf sleeves. And this was all before the 5-mile mark. Although it was a bit comical hearing everyone's shoes squeaking and sloshing, I couldn't help wondering what my feet and toes would feel like for the next eight miles.

The water was deep and cold! (another pic from Sheryl)
Happy to have the water behind me, I pressed on. The next part of the course is my least favorite. It's around the 5-mile mark where the course winds out of the park and onto a sidewalk along a city road, leading us to a short jaunt along the edge of a residential area. This involves a very good (bad?) hill, then another 1.5 mile or so of a flat (but curving) cement path back to the park trail. It's long, flat, boring and it feels like you are going nowhere. Just saying.

It was also about this time I could feel my mojo evaporating and my pace slowing down. Did I mention there also was a major head wind for these couple of miles as we made our way back to the park trail? Ugh. It was all I could do to not pull over and walk....my toes were already feeling sore from the wet shoes and socks, there was a dull ache developing in my tummy, and I could tell my energy was on a downward spiral. I had a Huma gel with me, but I was leery of taking it too soon (since I wasn't at the halfway mark) and I didn't have water with me (but I knew there would be a water stand near the 7-mile mark).

My watch showed I was just under an hour as I passed the 6-mile mark, so my pace was still in the game, but I would have no wiggle room and would really have to up my pace if I wanted a shot at pumping out a negative split. A course PR was still a possibility, but a 13.1 PR probably not. And the sub-2 was not looking very doable either.

I got to the 7-mile water station, gulped down the gel and drank some water quickly as I walked for a few steps. My stomach was feeling really strange, but I didn't need a potty stop. So, I pressed on. I kept hoping the gel would give me a little boost of energy, but I couldn't feel anything changing with my pace...and my gut was still a mess.

My watch showed 1:25 as I passed the 9-mile mark. Four miles (and some change) remained. Finally, I accepted the fact that I just didn't have it in me to make the sub-2 happen. On any given day, I probably could have ran those 4.1 miles in the 34:59 minutes (or less) standing between myself and that sub-2 finish time. But, it wasn't going to happen with dwindling energy and a messed-up tummy.

I'm not a negative person, but the reality of my situation smacked me in the face. I'm not one to give up, either, but at that moment in time everything was looking pretty hopeless. My stomach still ached, so I decided to pullover and take a quick potty stop...kind of a last-ditch effort to "fix" the tummy situation in hopes that I'd be able to get back in the game (physically and mentally). Except, there was only one porta pot, and it currently was occupied....by a very slow porta pot inhabitant. UGH. I'm not sure how long I waited, but it felt like an eternity.

Miles 10 and 11 went alright, albeit slower than desired. I even walked a few times (in the midst of self pity). Finally, when I made it to the start of mile 12, I felt a bit of my energy renewed. Even though I ran the final two miles at (what felt like) a decent pace, the damage had been done and there was no undoing it. My official finish time was 2:14:45...not my worst half marathon, but definitely towards the bottom. And, my watch's GPS function failed...so I do not know my splits.



So, what went wrong? Looking back, I can spot a few obvious possibilities, the biggest one being my fuel (geesh, here we go again). Remember that Friday night dinner at IHOP? Well, I could only eat half of my omelet, so I took the leftovers to the hotel and ate them for breakfast on race day. And, I typically do not eat omelets on race day (I usually go with oatmeal and/or a granola bar). I also have some sort of "fuel" prior to the start line. I had some Beet Boost and PlowON gum...but nothing else (because I assumed the omelet would be enough to get me through two hours (or less LOL) of running (how's that for optimism?). What never crossed my mind (until a few hours after I finished) was that the eggs gave me plenty of protein, but not much in terms of carbs (duh!). Apparently, my tummy does not like eggs prior to running (lesson learned).

What else? Remember I waited until mile seven before taking the gel, even though I could feel my energy dissipating around the fifth mile? Well, this was not my first rodeo, but ignoring the warning signs of "low fuel" was pretty naive-like. To run a successful race, the racer needs to stay ahead of the game in terms of fueling and hydration....if you start to feel tired or thirsty, it's (usually) too late. (another Duh!)

As mentioned, having done this race five times prior, I knew miles 5-7 were my least favorite part of the course. I was already dreading them at mile four (as I trudged through the numerous water crossings). My energy was dwindling, my gut ached, and there was that head wind....and my shoes and socks were sopping wet.  Not a great scenario with almost half of the race remaining.

Anyways, the bottom line is that I should have known better. This was my 29th half marathon. I can't help but wonder if by doing so many of these races, I'm starting to take them for granted. Running 13.1 miles is no longer a challenge, so I'm not fueling (or breakfasting) as effectively as I used to. My 2:14:45 finish was very disappointing....not because it's a bad finish time, but because it's much slower than what I know I am capable of doing.  Granted, my energy was tapped, but I regret not making more of an effort to keep my head in the game.

None the less, this is a great event. The course is beautiful, the communication (regarding race day details) is excellent, there are numerous volunteers at the many water stations and a huge post-race party with plenty of food and drink. The swag, also, is top-notch...long-sleeve gender-specific tech fabric shirts (for the half marathoners), crazy beautiful medals and unique race bibs. I even won a hat (from one of the many contests via their event page on Facebook)!


Will I return for a seventh go at that (still elusive) Park to Park sub-2? Most definitely! Care to join me?

**side note** After my disappointing performance (in the final miles) at Park to Park, the old confidence (in my running shoes) took a nose-dive...but I redeemed myself with a great negative split (6-mile) run on Tuesday. My warm-up was 9:38, then the splits were 10:29, 10:11, 10:06, 9:48, and 9:33. Life is good again. 

Have you ever had a great race that derailed late in the game? Were you able to rally back? Or did it take a few training runs after the race to get your mojo back?   

I'm linking up with Deb at Deb Runs for the Wednesday Word link-up...and (drum roll) today's word is Teach.