Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ragnar Relay Tennessee - What an Adventure!

The first ever Ragnar Relay was an awesome adventure!  Our team name was "First Out Last In".  We secretly hoped we wouldn't live up to our name.  We started the race at the earliest possible time - 6 a.m.  We had 12 runners on our team...6 in each van.  I was in van 1 with Joe, Karen, Ryan, Gail and Chrystyna.  Nicole and Mark were our fearless van 1 drivers.

My first run was at 6:45ish a.m.  I started in the dark and run for a couple miles before the sun came up.  The sunrise over the Tennessee River was absolutely amazing.  Well, until the dog started chasing at me and barking at me.  I think it was only for 3 or 4 minutes, but it seemed like 20 minutes or more.  The best part by far was the donkey in the middle of the one lane road...actually, by the time I got there it was back in it's fence.  But my team really hoped they would see me riding up on the donkey to finish my first leg.  I finished my 6.2 miles, sadly not on the donkey.  The picture to the right is one I stopped quickly to was beautiful!
My second leg of the relay was at 8ish that night.  I was decked out in my night running gear - reflective vest, blinking red light and headlight.  Mark ran with me for this leg - thank goodness!  This leg started in Winchester and then continued into rural Franklin County.  What I learned is that after Winchester city limits there were almost no street lights and no shoulders on the roads.  It was a really challenging 5.7 miles.  Without Mark, I would have been a scared, crying mess.  By far this was my most challenging leg of the race.

After van 1 finished all of our second runs, we got to "sleep".  Though sleep is a very generous term.  We were all trying to sleep in the van.  We could have slept outside but it was freezing!  During our runs this time the weather turned quite nasty.  I luckily didn't have any rain, sleet or snow...but Chrystyna and Gail weren't as lucky!  Poor Ryan had a really hard time during the race.  He was battling time zone change, severe weather change and car sickness.  Unfortunately, he had to leave us during the second round of runs. 

When we woke up the next morning, Karen & Joe were both feeling really bad.  Joe pushed through his run.  Gail was sweet enough to change legs with Karen to give her more time feel better.  My third and final leg of the run was really good.  I was worried after the hard time I had the night before, but it was good and motivating. 

The one mile to go sign was our favorite site during the runs!

I am so proud of our team!  Much to our dismay, we did live up to our name.  We were the very last team to finish...but barely.  And technically, we finished ahead of several teams who didn't finish.  There were a few teams we started with and really wanted to beat.  "We got the runs" was the team we most wanted to beat.  We heard they had some difficulties and didn't exactly run the race the right we were last to the finish line but to us we still beat "we got the runs".

During the race, I made the big mistake and said I would never do another Ragnar race again.  Of course, I have revised that decision and would LOVE to do another Ragnar.  I'm thinking Havard to Yale or Wisconsin to Chicago. 

Here we are at the finish line!  What an amazing experience!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nashville Women's Half Marathon

Yesterday was the inaugural Nashville Women’s Half Marathon. In my previous post, I talked about what made yesterday such a difficult day. However, I don’t want to forget what a great race it was! Prior to the race Mark and I had both volunteered for the race expo which was a lot of fun. It was great to see so many women excited about running. Women from 43 states registered for the Nashville Women’s Half Marathon. Amazing!

I will admit I had looked up the race course elevation map, which was probably not the best idea. As you can see it looks a little scary. Little did I know the actual course would be even harder than I thought! It was a really tough course and everyone should feel very accomplished just for finishing!

After the girls I run with and I had looked at the elevation map, we decided our goal was to finish together and smiling. We also decided we would have fun with it and enjoy ourselves. Mark and Erin were our personal paparazzi. We stopped to have our picture taken at some of Nashville’s recognizable places: the Hustler Hollywood store, Musica and Deja Vu.

Chrystyna, Gail, Nicole and I all finished within a couple minutes of each other. Victoria, Jeanie and Kelly all ran with us at various points. You all made running the race so much fun! I’m so proud of Kelly for finishing her first half and Chrystyna, Victoria and Nicole who all set personal records. My time was faster than my last half though not quite a PR, but I was so happy to help my friends get their PRs. I didn’t fall, which was an improvement from the last race.

One of my favorite things about the race was the personalized bibs. It was cool to have people yell out your name. It also helped when I recognized someone but wasn’t sure about their name. And it was a great way to motivate people who looked like they needed some extra encouragement. I also love the charm inside the medal; I’m wearing mine on a necklace right now.
Being a first year event, I was curious to see how the course support and cheerleading was going to be. It was fabulous! The Zumba team was my favorite. I’m sure they worked just as hard as the runners.

Congratulations to Women’s Running Magazine and to all the women who finished the race! It was a great event!

Lynn Manzelmann

I’ve heard of runners collapsing on the course or near the finish line. I know it happens, thankfully rarely. Without looking it up, it seems like overheating or exhaustion would be the leading causes. It seems reasonable to jump to the conclusion that maybe the person wasn’t adequately trained. But as I learned, that wasn’t the case at all.

Yesterday after the Women's Half Marathon, while still in the post race party area, I heard a runner had collapsed near the finish line. It’s a sad thing to hear. You don’t expect it to be someone you know. Or someone you’ve talked to the last few weeks about training. Or someone who helped start and lead a training group.

Lynn Manzelmann is the runner who went down just before the finish line. I’d talked to her before the race. Along with other members of Nashville Cable, a women’s networking group, we’d gotten together before the race and had a picture made. Before the picture, she was telling me about the intervals they were going to do. She was so excited and so vibrant! I saw her running with some other fabulous ladies from CABLE at the half way point; she looked fantastic.

Lynn was well trained. She’d been training as long or longer than many other people running in the race. She had a heart attack. It was a 90% blockage. The last update I got last night from one of her good friends at the hospital was that her organs were shutting down, but she was hanging on. She needs a miracle to make it.

She’s strong. She’s a fighter. And she has a huge host of friends and fellow runners praying for her. Please continue to pray for her.

As a side note, the race was fabulous. I'll have another post this afternoon about the race.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Race Day Confession

Today, I ran the Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon. It was my 3rd half marathon. The course was beautiful! It was a great way to see the city. My training had a little bit of a set back about 6 weeks ago when I tripped on a hickory nut and fell during a training run. I sprained my left ankle and scraped up my right knee pretty bad, and worse, had to take a couple weeks off from running.

The race started off great. I was running just over a 12 minute pace at the 3 mile mark. I was feeling really good about my run so far. Usually, the first 3 miles are my least favorite, but I felt awesome and was making great time. And I must have not been paying much attention, because the next thing I know I was literally being picked up off the ground by a really nice man behind me.

My fall was caused by a place in the road that was broken up and my over confidence and lack of attention to the road in front of me. I reinjured my ankle and scraped up my knee again. UGH! I spent about 10 minutes sitting on the sidewalk in tears hoping I could at least finish the race, but it seemed unlikely since I still had 10 miles to go.

After feeling sorry for myself for a while, I got up and hobbled a few minutes. I decided to test my ankle and see if I could run. I was able to run - most likely because I had my brace on my ankle which minimized the swelling. I was able to finish the race…just a little bit slower than I’d hoped.

Mark always does a great job finding a tall place to stand and cheer for me. I was afraid he would see my knee, which had been bleeding, at mile 6, but he couldn’t see it. It was definitely a tough mental race after I fell. But I’m really glad I could/did keep going!

The highlights of the race - besides the incredible views - were misting stations, ice cold sponges at mile 10, an icy cold towel and popsicles at the end of the run. I had been expecting it to be a little cooler, and actually the first half of the race felt great and then all of sudden the temperature skyrocketed!

The very best part of the race was after I had finished. As I was walking to meet Mark at the family reunion area, a girl came up to me and told me I did a great job. She said she’d been running with me for the last several miles, and I helped her finish. Awwwwwww! This made the whole race so much better for me!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Top 4 Signs You've Trained with Fleet Feet Nashville

I've trained with Fleet Feet (FF) since I started running last summer.  Even now that the official training has ended, I'm still running with friends who've trained with me in FF groups.  What I'm just now realizing is there are certain things you take for granted after training with FF.

Last Saturday and this Saturday our group is meeting at River Park off of Concord Road.  We were discussing it on Facebook, and we invited someone who asked "Where is River Park?"  An audible gasp escaped my mouth when I read his comment.  How do you not know River Park???  Then I realized maybe he just hasn't yet been bitten by the FF bug.

It made me think about what other ways I could identify FF runners.  Here's my unofficial Top 4 Signs You've trained with Fleet Feet:

4.  Chocolate milk is not just a recovery recommendation - it's the ONLY recovery drink.

3.  You consider a run at River Park "home field advantage."

2.  When you see a police officer during a run, you immediately look around to make sure everyone is obeying traffic laws to keep Tammy out of trouble. 

1.  You feel naked during your run if at least one item you're wearing doesn't have a FF logo on it.

Housekeeping notes - sorry to pick on you Joey if you read this.  And I will post a CMM blog - soon.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wanted: A Good Run

So it's been awhile since my last post.  Why?  Well, lots of reasons.  Two weeks ago our run was cancelled.  Last week was my worst run EVER!  I was in tears at one point (ok for those of you keeping it up it might have been two points).  Thanks to Nicole and Gail for sticking with me even during the tears.  I didn't even want to think about that run...much less write a blog about it. 

My last blog was all about my best run ever and how great it was.  Since then I've been plagued with bad run after bad run.  And really, who wants to hear me whine and complain?  At several points in the last couple weeks, I've even thought running wasn't for me.  Needless to say, after 2 weeks of progressively worsening runs and only being a week away from the Country Music Half, I really needed this week's group run to be awesome - or at the very least good. 

Yesterday's group run was exactly what I needed!  I felt great.  Last week, I had a lot of pain in the arch of my right foot.  I rested all week.  I probably should have gone to the doctor, but hoped I could get away with just resting.  I had a little bit of pain, but was able to push through and it went away.  I felt really rested and the run was easy - well as easy as a run ever is. 

6 days until the Country Music Half.  I'm so excited!  Even though this will be my second half, it is my first big one and the one I've been training for since January.  I'm trying to ignore all the talk of the hills and what a tough course it is.  Instead, I'm reminding myself that I am a runner.  I will have fun.  I will be positive and smile.  I will finish the race.   

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Best Run Ever!

Saturday's long run was 12 miles starting at Grassland Park.  The roads are a bit uneven and there are hills, but it's all worth it because it's a beautiful run!  We previously did 7 miles there, but the further we went the prettier it was. Yesterday's run was my best run ever.

I usually struggle to find a rhythm the first couple miles, but the first 6 miles were smooth and easy, yes I did just say easy!  Even after turning around at mile 6, it didn't get harder for me until about mile 10.  I think I have a mental block at 10.  I will work more on overcoming that next week when we do 10 - 12 miles on the race course.

So what was different about yesterday's run?  I actually changed a few things.  First, I started taking a sports multivitamin this week.  I'm sure that helped some, but more importantly I changed what I did during the run.  I've been just drinking at the waterstops, but this week I filled my new waterbottle with Gatorade and drank during the run; it was nearly empty at the halfway point, where I refilled it and continued to drink.  I also started eating sports beans after about 40 minutes and continued eating them or Luna Moon chews until nearly the end of the run.

Mentally, I didn't look at the mileage on my watch and I tried not to think about how many miles we had run or how much we had to go.  I focused on enjoying and embracing the run.  I think it made a big difference in my attitude.  I've always struggled with tight calf muscles. Chyrstyna let me borrow her foam roller and calf stretcher...I could tell a huge difference in my calf muscles.  Both items are now on my list of items I need from Fleet Feet.  

My goal is to continue with this magic formula of my best run and repeat it frequently!  I know all runs aren't easy and great.  But I hope the changes I'm making help me become a better runner.     

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My First Half Marathon!

Last Saturday, I ran my first half marathon!  I will try not to bore you with too many details.  Since it was my first half all the details seem important to me.  My official time was 2:44:22, for those of you who are none runners...yes the seconds matter, at least they do to serious runners and if they make or break a new PR (personal record). 

The race was the Tom King Half Marathon.  It starts at LP Field and ends inside the stadium on the 50 yard line - which was awesome!  The course was very flat - ideal for my first or any half really.

I ran with Joe & Gail.  We started at the very back.  And for most of the first 2 miles we had a police and ambulance escort right behind us!  For clarification, it probably would have been with us longer, but around mile 2 we entered onto the greenway trail.  Our first 6 miles were probably way too fast, but as you can imagine, it's hard to slow down when you are being tailed by an ambulance. 

Joe & Gail are exactly the kind of people you want running with you!  They are motivating and supportive.  They told me stories and helped keep my mind off of all the ugly things my legs were trying to tell my brain.  We ran 3/1 intervals for the first 10 miles.  After much begging on my part we ran the last 3 miles doing 2/1 intervals.

Mark, Jesse & Matthew came out to cheer for me.  They were the best cheerleaders I could ask for.  I saw them at the very beginning of the race and when I came onto the field at end.  When I saw them at the end, I immediately teared up.  They still had their signs they'd made, but had added air horns and the champagne bottle confetti poppers to their celebratory arsenal!  Seeing them made the end of the race even sweeter!

Gail set a new PR and so did Joe's wife Karen (who is way faster than we are).  I'm convinced Joe also could have set a PR, but he stayed with us and never even mentioned it.  Carol met us at mile 11 or so and finished the race with us, which added some motivation. The Fleet Feet waterstop at mile 12 was awesome!  Drew is full of energy and some of it must have rubbed off, because I had an extra spark after the stop.  A friend of mine from high school, Daniel, was also at that waterstop.  I was so excited to see him, I must have looked like I was going to attack him as I ran to hug him. 

Here we all are at the end of the race!

Finishing the race, felt so good.  It's amazing what you can train your body to do.  Now that all the soreness is gone and the desperate moments in the race have mostly faded, I'm so glad I did it!  Bring on the Country Music Half!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Starting Line

On Saturday, I will lace up my running shoes and run my first half marathon! I’m a mixture of nerves and excitement. I will have some of my running group from our Saturday morning runs with me – Joe, Gail & Carol, I couldn’t do it without you!

Lately lots of people have been asking me questions about running. Truthfully, I can understand the surprise in their voice when I tell them I plan to run several half marathons this year. My most athletic endeavor before last August was one week of tennis camp in high school, though I would argue the waitressing I did in high school and college could also be considered athletic.

So how did an extremely non-athletic girl start running? I owe it all to Fleet Feet and their amazing team. Secretly, I’ve always wanted to run, but every attempt I’ve made ended with me giving up 47 seconds into the run. Several of my coworkers have been runners and I have been curious and admiring of their sport.

One day last summer, Julie convinced me to ride with her to Fleet Feet during lunch. As she was checking out, the guy at the register asked me if I was a runner too. I casually laughed and said no…I’m sure my tone was total sarcasm. He told me about a program they would be starting in a few weeks called No Boundaries. It’s a couch to 5k program. This seemed totally doable!

As much as I wanted to do it, I also tried to talk myself out of it. Here are a few of my long list of excuses. “I won’t have enough time.” “I won’t be able to do it.” And my personal favorite, “I won’t fit in”. Despite these negative thoughts, I really WANTED to do it. So I convinced my best friend Rene to do it with me. If she was there, I was accountable to someone other than myself.

We started out running for 1 minute and walking for 2 minutes. I remember thinking surely I could run for 1 minute…I can do anything for just 1 minute. And I was right! We progressively added to our run time 30 seconds a week and then decreased the walk to 1 minute until we were running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute. At the end of our 10 weeks, I ran my first 5k. In December, I signed up for another training program at Fleet Feet to run the Country Music Half Marathon in April.

I would love to tell you I found the elusive runners high or that I was instantly hooked on running. But that would be a lie. Running is hard work and at times intense. I get out of my cozy bed before 6 a.m. on Saturdays for my long runs, even in the cold, rain, snow or sleet. A few weeks ago, I was nearly in tears midway through a short run because my calves had tightened up and were hurting. Why do I participate in this torture? Because I love the way running makes me feel. I feel strong, accomplished and confident. I also love the people I run with.

My advice to anyone who wants to start running would be to join the next No Boundaries group that starts in April. Don’t be shy and try to make friends with the people running with you. Chances are they are looking for a friend in this new scary world of running. For more information on the No Boundaries program go to Fleet Feet’s website

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I don't want to talk about my feelings!

For the most part, that's usually a total lie.  I'm pretty much an open book and talk about my feelings - often in excess!  However, after running (ok maybe I walked it a little) up a hill and stopping at the water stop at mile 5.5 I really didn't want to talk about my feelings.  Mostly because my feeling was that I was about to DIE!  And we still had 4.5 miles to go.  Obviously since I'm writing this i did survive my TEN miles.  

Wait...what?  Yes I am now a double digit runner!  And it feels really good! Well, it feels really good when it's done.  It really is an amazing feeling of accomplishment. 

I missed the training run with the group last week because I was cave camping with the Cub Scouts.  And by camping, yes we did stay the night in the cave.  We also did a walking tour (easy) and the wild tour (OMG! total body workout and at some points really scary).  Looking back on it, the wild tour was awesome and I would like to do it again - though, definitely not with a large group.  However, during the tour, I told Mark repeatedly that I would rather be running.  In fact, I think running is way easier.  

To go on the wild tour you must be able to fit through this box...Holy Crap!

I went through this box on my stomach, but what they don't tell you is you will have to squeeze through a space this small (I'd argue some of them might be smaller) not only on your stomach, but on your back and sometimes sideways! 

It was a lot of fun...but I missed running with my 3/1 no boundaries group.  And yes I did my run alone when we got back.  

Here are the boys when we were leaving the cave.  They were totally exhausted!  And so was I!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Running uphill is great!

If you've ever run with me, it's likely you just choked when you read the title of this post.  I despise running uphills.  Often I cheat and walk up part of the hill.  But one thing I do love is running downhill.  Unfortunately you can't have the reward of downhill without work of the uphill.  I would get all cheesy here and make it a metaphor for life...but I'll let you make those connections.  

We ran 8 miles today!  EIGHT miles!  And even more importantly, I enjoyed it!  This is our second week in a row that we went 8 miles.  Today's run felt better than last week's...I guess that means this training stuff actually works!  I'm so relieved to know I'm not getting up before 6 am on Saturday mornings for no reason!

My favorite exchange from today's run.  We are at the bottom of a big (in my opinion anyhow) hill getting ready to go up.  Joe says, "This is our last hill today.  Right, Gail?" Gail, in a totally unconvinced voice, says, "Uh, sure."  The moral of the story - Joe will say anything to get you to the top of the hill. 

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Shoes!

I'm so excited to try out my new running shoes tomorrow!  I went to Fleet Feet on Monday and Christa helped me pick out the perfect shoe. At least, let's hope it's the perfect shoe. The best thing about buying my shoes at Fleet Feet is the experience.  Everyone is friendly and says hello even if they aren't helping you.  Christa was awesome.  She took her time helping me and asked about any other issues I might be having.  Which gave me the perfect opportunity to complain about how much my calf muscles hate me.  Much to my surprise, she said she nearly quit running because of her calf muscles!!  And I thought I was the only one.  She gave me some great tips!  I already have the stick, but now I'm using it every night before bed.  

Of course going to Fleet Feet and not falling in love with something is nearly impossible, at least for me.  Oh wait, maybe that's my shopping addiction in general.  I did find the perfect running shirt while i was there.  

New shoes and a new shirt what else could a girl want before an almost nine mile run.  How about beautiful weather?  Looks like I'm going to get that too!  Likely it will still be quite cold at 7 am in the morning, but at least the sun will be shining and warming up!  

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Notes from Today's Run

Last week's run was cancelled because of the snow.  Just wanted to clear that up in case someone thought I skipped out on it.  

Today's run was 7 miles.  Tammy billed today's run as the most scenic.  It was beautiful...especially if you don't count the hills.  And we passed by Alan Jackson's house (see pics at the bottom).  It was the longest run I've completed since I started running!  We were only scheduled to go 6.5 miles...but we decided to be overachievers and go for a full 7 miles.  

Here are a couple notes from today's run I thought I would share:

- If you are going to a new place for a run, don't trust your GPS to get you there on time.  Sometimes it takes you the "shortest" way...which is not exactly the same as fastest.  One really scary road later, I made it just as my group was headed out.

- Ladies, if you haven't already, please go to Fleet Feet and be fitted for a sports bra.  I promise it's not nearly as bad as you think it will be and you will be doing yourself a big favor! I rank bra shopping with bathing suit and cocktail dress shopping as some of my least favorite things to do.  However, Christi Beth and the other ladies at Fleet Feet make it much less of a chore.  I promise you'll be glad you did.

- Courtesy of my dear friend Nicole, even when your in a hurry it's probably not a good idea to park on soggy ground (love you, Nicole).

Thanks so much to Joe, our chipper leader, Delana and Gail for a great run!  Welcome Angela & Jack to our fun little group.  Chrystyna & Carol, missed you guys!

pretty isn't it?

Alan Jackson's house

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pushing It

If you had ask me 6 months ago if I could run 6 miles, the answer would have been no.  An emphatic NO, with a "why would anyone want to do that" added to the end!  And I couldn't have imagined getting up before 6 am on a Saturday morning and running 6 miles.  However, that's what I did this morning, and I love it!

I still haven't found the elusive "runner's high".  But what I have found are some great people, self confidence and an awesome way to burn a lot of calories!  The best part about running with a group is the way we encourage each other.  The first two miles of every run makes me want to quit.  But being with a group of other runners keeps me going.  

Today's run was especially good.  I'm not sure if it was the mild weather or because I've finally started properly hydrating, but I'm thankful either way.  At the end Joe suggested we push it for our last 3 minute running interval.  Ummm....I've ran over 5 miles me that IS pushing it.  However, I did push it.  We ran faster and felt great about the way we finished.  

Here are the two major motivators for me to push it a little harder at the end of today's run.  

Chick-n-minis, who wouldn't be inspired!

Ahhhh, my personal favorite.  

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Second Run

What a difference a week makes.  The weather today was awesome!  I'd prefer it a little warmer...i like the shorts and tank top weather, but today was much better than 14 degrees and snow from last week.

Today's run was five miles, ok so it was just a touch shorter, but i see no reason not to say 5 miles.  After all, I did have to walk to and from my car.  

After running with the 4/1's last week, they were a little fast for me.  Luckily when I got there this morning, a group from my No Boundaries group was there and had decided to run 4/1 but at a slower pace.  I was more than happy to join them!  We had an awesome run!  

Thanks Joe, Gail, Carol, Christina and Corey for a great run today.  Joe lead the way and did a great job.  A positive attitude makes all the difference!  

For anyone who has not been to Ravenwood High School, beware of the speed bumps (actually they are more like mini mountains, at least they are when you don't see them coming and hit them at 40 miles an hour...YIKES)!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The First Run

Today was my first run training for the Country Music Half Marathon. I'm doing my training with the Fleet Feet...I highly recommend them for any running/walking needs you have.

The run for today was supposed to be an easy 4 miles, however mother nature had a little surprise in store for us. Though the snow was should have quit on Thursday, at least according to our weather people, I woke up to a fresh coat of snow on my car. Briefly, I thought about staying in and putting in my four miles on the treadmill. But I was already dressed and thought I would at least meet the group and check in since it was the first day. If it was too bad I could always skip the run.

I had been preparing to run in the freezing cold, but I had not been preparing to run in the snow. My biggest fear was slipping and falling...even on flat dry surfaces, I'm not exactly what most people would consider coordinated.

After signing in, I decided to at least start the run. Bargaining with myself, I decided if it was awful I could turn around. I started out in the interval group running 6 min and walking 1 min. But they proved to be way too fast for me. I fell back to the 4/1 group. It was a much better fit.
I made it the whole four miles, in the snow, uphill both ways. OK, so maybe not uphill both ways, but there were times it certainly felt like it!

Thanks to Rebecca, Erin, and Christina for starting with me...and to Christina who joined me in the 4/1 group and then we progressed/regressed to the back of that group. Judd is an excellent leader and came back for us at the end. It was a great start...and I'm looking forward to next Saturday...well as much as you can look forward to waking up at 6 in the morning on a Saturday and braving the freezing cold. But it will be worth it!