Saturday, March 27, 2010

Race Report: Rumpshaker

I really hate to start the post this way and to admit it in blog-land no less, but I didn't meet my goal. Obviously I am disappointed in myself but as I mentioned in a previous post, running is NEVER a guarantee. My IW and tempos/upping the speed had been going well and I ran 3 at pace on Wednesday but it was TOUGH and I could only hope for a flat course today and a good shot of adrenaline to get me through b/c my ass had been truly kicked at the end of that training run.

This is the 2nd year of the Rumpshaker and with over 3,000 participants, it's grown quickly. The organizers actually moved the run to downtown Birmingham this year to accommodate more people; last year it was in one of the suburbs just minutes from downtown. They still have some kinks to work out (parking, start line) but overall was a great event: great goodies, 2 t-shirts(!) race shirt (cotton), 1 New Balance tech shirt courtesy of fleet feet, nice post race party/band/expo. They also had the official race results printed "on demand" and posted on the side of the beer truck (talk about quick turnaround)

After experiencing severely congested traffic trying to get to race area, I met up with Lauren, Amy, Kathryn and her husband, Zach (who was our official gear holder/photographer). We tried to get pre-race photos but my camera seemed to be in paperweight mode :( Luckily Kathryn had hers so hopefully she will send those along soon. It was low 40s at the start and I had really been debating on what to wear. I had my running tights (mid calf) and my lightweight pink Reebok pullover (as seen in Mercedes) but had added a s/s base layer under this. Basically putting me at the same level of clothing that I had used for the half in February. I was really worrying that I might be overdressed but I was under-dressed compared to the group and they convinced I would be happy to have the base to cut the wind (it was incredibly windy this morning). Next time I know I need to go with my first instinct (foreshadowing).

We made our way over to the start, per the announcement and tried to get near the front. A guy in front of me was programming his Garmin so I asked him his expected pace. He said 9:00-9:15 so I mentally took note that if I passed him I was probably in trouble (again, foreshadowing, anyone?)

We stood around and we heard that the race was starting a little bit late due to the parking debacle. I assumed there would be some kind of announcement or countdown to the start since it was a decent sized race but there was NOTHING. All of a sudden people started shuffling ahead! I had already set my iPod and watch to "go" so I took a deep breath and stepped purposefully on the timing mat. To say there was a lot of congestion in the first .25-.3 miles is putting it mildly. I was wildly weaving around people, BLEW past the Garmin guy and I knew I was expending way too much energy for it to be so early. I had a momentary thought "why did I pick this race to achieve a time goal?" Then I looked up. No way around this. "Holy shit" We were getting ready to round a corner to take a monster hill to run on an overpass and would be crossing over the roads/railroad tracks below.

I had assumed that since we were on a downtown course we were going to be taking a pretty flat route. Komen, BE&K and Mercedes have all been downtown and the 1st 2 have been fairly forgiving. Mercedes had its share of hills but that was a little south of downtown and they were more of the rolling variety, not the "I'm climbing the overpass variety".

I kept going and felt my feet going numb as I climbed the hill. Seriously? I was burning up (rolled up my sleeves) and my stomach also started to feel queasy (I don't have issues with this luckily) and I thought "is this for real?" Unfortunately with this hill, what comes up does NOT come down, we got to the top and leveled off. Made it to the 1 mile mark and my watch read 9:34. I knew I wasn't feeling great and tried to ease up the pace. Made it to a water stop shortly thereafter and I was breathing so hard I basically came to a crawl to suck down the hydration. Mile 2 I was closing in on 20 minutes. My body did not feel like I was going to make it. Look up and saw another steep climb probably about .3 in length. Seriously? Then, here it comes...I WALKED. For 15 seconds, but still. Knew my time was going down the drain. I could barely breathe. Made it to the top. Walked again, not sure how long (just picked a tree up ahead to allow me to catch my breath) We had turned at the summit of that last hill and the last .75 was a straightaway and I could see the balloons at the finish line, looking like a mirage. Remember how I said it was windy? While we had not been graced with a tailwind on any part of the course, I faced the last straightaway going straight in to a killer headwind. Not an excuse but I felt like I was having to push extra hard just to move.

Knowing that my time goal had been shot, my goal at this point was just to keep going and to not let my friends pass me (shallow, I know). I actually saw a girl that I had run with for most of Mercedes and she recognized me. She shook her head, also gasping and said she felt like this was harder than the half. I agreed.

I didn't look at my watch when I crossed and I honestly don't remember my ultimate time from looking at the sheet. I do, however, know that my overall pace was 10:24. No, it wasn't my goal, but considering what I experienced above and the fact that I WALKED and got my ass kicked by this 5K, I am pleasantly surprised and pleased. AND my friends said that they had a blast. Kathryn is ready to sign up for another one tomorrow, she kept saying how much fun she had. Amy and Lauren also echoed similar sentiments with the caveat that they need more training. I think they all agreed to Komen in October.

For the record, I never did see Garmin guy again and I looked for him the whole time (he was wearing a distinctive shirt). Also, my sentiments above were echoed by several of the race participants based on the inevitable eavesdropping after the race. I was NOT an easy course for a road race and also (not that this matters) was in an ugly part of an industrial part of downtown and was so reminiscent of the part of Mercedes that I loathed from a mental perspective.

I leave you with one picture from after the race, the only one my camera would cooperate for. Me with Kathryn (left) and Lauren waiting to cross the railroad tracks to head back to the post race party. (We lost Amy and ended up finding her at the party). Look at how seriously short I am!!

I'm not just running for the PR

I am aware that I should be asleep right now but I got home LATE from work and then DIED on the couch for 3+ hours so I am getting all my stuff ready for the morning, rearranging some stuff on the iPod, etc.

I know I have focused a lot on the PR aspect of this race (and for better or worse, I actually ran race tempo for my 3 miles on Wed, but that's another story), but even before slowly developing this running addiction I had been planning on participating in the Rumpshaker for several months. My uncle who is in his late 40s, was suddenly diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer just before Thanksgiving (2009). I am extremely close to he and my aunt (my mom's sister and she is seriously like a 2nd mother to me), as well as my 13 y/o cousin (who is more like my nephew). Ryan (my uncle) is putting up one heck of a fight in hopes that he can watch his son grow up. It's been a rough few months for their family and I continue to be amazed at their strength and perseverance through countless trips to the ED/hospital/clinic, extreme sickness from chemo, daily adjustments to a new lifestyle, not to mention the emotional battle that each of them must face internally every day.

I am wearing a sign tomorrow that I am racing in his honor. (Ryan could CARE LESS if I PR, he has bigger fish to fry.) All of the proceeds to the race go directly to local hospitals/research labs in the hopes of finding a cure for a disease which offers little hope unless caught early (and rarely is). I have lost too many dear family members to cancer (various types) and too many others that are dear to me have been affected, so these are causes which I am truly passionate about.

Thanks to Tall Mom on the Run for the high five! Both Kathryn and Lauren are 6'0" so I will be in "tall company" tomorrow! Race report and pics to come sometime after my pedicure tomorrow. Oh how I feel for the poor Aveda Institute student that gets these feet tomorrow. LOL!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nerves...and a Pacing FAIL

Originally written yesterday, just now getting time to post this.

Rumpshaker 5K is the weekend and I have an unexpected case of anxiety! WHERE DID THIS COME FROM??? I really expected to be rolling into this week cool as a cucumber. I mean, I have been following my training and even adding back distance on my weekend long runs in prep for the Country Music Half at the end of April. I KNOW for a fact I am stronger than I was prior to Feb 14 (Mercedes Half), having “kicked up” (hey, it’s all relative) my pace on both the long and short distances and feeling really good while doing so. For all of this, I KNOW I should be able to PR (that in and of itself, with my past times shouldn’t be a stretch since I had A. trained to finish on my first one…couch to 5K style, B. ran a couple completely sluggish and out of shape). However, I also KNOW that nothing in running is a guarantee. On any given day you can have a completely crap or completely wonderful run. I just REALLY WANT that speedier time SO BADLY and I need to have confidence in myself. I’m pretty darn sure my legs are capable of more than I give them credit for on any given day and I know my breath control is my downfall. Cue up PACING FAIL from Friday…

I had Friday “off” from work (and by “off” I mean, working from home for 4 hours but still having to take a vacation day since I was out of the office doing this work…) so I decided to go ahead and do my 8 miles in the afternoon so that Saturday I could be free to enjoy the beautiful weather and hang out with Matt/do yard work/or whatever. Having not yet ordered my Garmin, I am so not confident with my pace or the distance around my HILLY neighborhood but I couldn’t imagine doing a full 8 on the ‘mill. My plan: 1 mile at Star Lake in neighborhood (2.5 laps = 1 mile), hop in the car and do 6 on the 'mill at the gym (which is super close but also off extremely busy road so not safe to run there), 1 on track at gym.
Head off to Star Lake and walk ½ lap to warm up. Realize I left iPod in car (ALWAYS run with iPod). No big deal, just 1 mile. Start running. Feeling a little speedy, but good. Make it around 1 full lap, look at watch: 2:57. Ummm that puts me on track for 7:30 mile. I DO NOT run 7:30 miles. Not because I don’t aspire to but b/c I am just not there yet. (I run my fast 400s at 9:04-9:13 pace) Tell myself to ease up. Lap 2. Very aware of my breath. Look down and I am 6:04. DYING. Finish next half lap at 8:04. Can you say PACING FAIL???

Amazingly, the rest of the 7 miles clicked by quickly and easily once I got going. (Cardio room a heat box and empty, couldn’t find switch for ceiling fan. Reconciled with the fact I would be running in the inferno. Everybody’s favorite gym buddy, Stan, gets there at mile 1.25 and I am able to ask where the switch is. He directs me to a closet. SUCCESS!!) The next 4.75 are spent watching March Madness and Jeopardy. Track mile feels speedy as well.

So, does this 8:04 mile mean that I am capable of WAY more than I give myself credit for? Was it a fluke? I think this is where part of the anxiety is coming from. Am I going to go out on race day feeling speedy/blissfully unaware of the crash and burn I am certain to experience by starting out too fast? I need a strategy. Conventional wisdom might say to start “slower” and pick it up but I know my self and am pretty sure that I would be better off giving it my all to begin with and adjusting as necessary. I do 3 mile interval workouts so I know I can handle the distance under stress. There has to be a happy medium that will still allow me to achieve my goal. Aughhh!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I have to say that I am so proud for 3 of my friends that have signed up to do their FIRST 5K with me at Rumpshaker! We didn't have enough people for a team, but that doesn't matter in the end. Those that will be joining me are Lauren (friend and coworker), Kathryn (Matt's sister) and Amy (running/walking buddy with who/whom? I have standing Sunday morning 'date'). It took a lot of courage for these ladies to sign up and I look forward to cheering them on in the days leading up to and on race day! Today I caught Lauren (friend/coworker) looking up 2009 results from the race and she was relieved to know she wouldn't be last!

I find it interesting, but also relate to, that the fear of "being last" can keep us from going into unknown territory (race length, certain races, trying something new completely unrelated to running). I find myself looking up past results of races to see if they're something "suitable" for me to run. There is a local 15K with a really great and scenic course that I pondered doing in April, but a look at the past finish times dissuaded me from signing up b/c I didn't want to be last! All of the runners seemed super speedy and I didn't want to stand out in a bad way. Same with smaller races. I want to blend in, not be identified from the crowd when it comes to my running.

Why should this even matter? Would I love any of my friends any less if they were "last"? NO! OF COURSE NOT! I would be upset if they let their fear paralyze them from trying something new, especially if it's something they wanted to do. Would I hate myself for being last in the Statue to Statue run? No. I should be more angry with myself for letting my irrational fear stop me from doing something I know I can do. I can run 9.3 miles. I've run further than that on more than one occasion. And frankly, who gives a shit anyway? Does this mean I'm signing up for Statue to Statue? I wish it did, but I'm not quite there. I'm working on it...

In other news, I KILLED my 7 miles (7.35) on Saturday!! 5 x 400s were great yesterday too (legs felt awesome, I just need to get my lungs to catch up with what the rest of my body is capable of). Schedule for the week:

Sunday: 4 miles (new trail with Amy with hills that literally kicked our butts)
Monday: 5 x 400 IW (I did the last one at 8:50 min/mile...I'm getting there!)
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: 35 min tempo run (ugh, I need to get a better attitude about these)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 8 miles

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Better day today!

After mentally struggling with my run Saturday, "not feelin' it" on the trail Sunday, and having "ok" interval work on Monday, I would be lying if I said I wasn't kind of dreading my run after work today. 3 miles working at a quicker speed (5.7mph), which (other than the speed aspect) isn't anything really "new". I am happy to report that the run went GREAT tonight! It was storming outside so I fully expected a crowded gym, but it was actually nearly vacant and I got one of my favorite treadmills directly below a ceiling fan. Hey, it's the little things! I felt absolutely great during the run and really got lost in my own thoughts (started drafting a document for work; I hope I can remember it tomorrow!). There was a woman a few treadmills down pounding it out at 7.5min miles and I could tell she was only in there b/c of the conditions outside. She was really kicking it and I thought of all the speedy bloggers out there, hoping everyone was having a great run tonight.

Some of my friends had expressed interest in running the Rumpshaker 5K at the end of March, so I went to the "trouble" of setting up a team and not a damn person has registered and team registration ends Friday. While initially I admit I was a BIT pissed, I am looking at this as an opportunity. Knowing that most of these gals were not runners, I was feeling kind of guilty trying for a PR and not hanging back and being encouraging, so I was thinking of ditching the PR goal and just running for fun and finding another race for myself within the following weeks. Well, now the quest for the PR is ON! I am pretty confident that I can make my time goal by just running hard for the 3.1, but I'm wondering what how interval strategy would work for race day. Honestly, I have no doubt I will PR b/c I am a heck of a lot stronger than I was at BE&K last Feb (which is where my current known PR sits), it's being able to achieve a time beginning with 2X.XX. A side note: I may actually have had a PR at Komen in October but due to the mass crowds and no staging, corrals, etc and HUGE groups of walkers, I don't pay the extra $10 for the chip timing b/c conditions don't warrant it.

I have a 30 min tempo run on the blocks for tomorrow but I also have an early day and then Bunco after work, so I might *gasp* deviate from training and take a rest day. I'm actually packing a gym bag so that if weather is cooperating I can run around my friend's neighborhood for a bit (likely not a full on tempo run though). Either way, 7 up for Saturday and looking forward to it.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Next Up...

Now that the half is over, I need a new goal. I actually started developing one nearly a month (if not more!) before I was even finished training for the half. I knew it wasn't going to be 26.2 right away due to the time it takes (and who wants to run a warm weather marathon?!?!) but I wanted a new challenge that would help me (somewhat) maintain my distance so that if I ever wanted to run a half again (and we have established after the fact that I do) I wouldn't have to start from scratch. All that to say, I decided I wanted to work on my speed. I'm aiming for the Rumpshaker 5K at the end of this month, but the program has me going a little past that time-wise, so if I don't meet my ultimate goal on March 27, I should be able to find another race shortly thereafter.

I've chosen an intermediate 5K training program that incorporates "X"x400 interval work, tempo runs, regular mileage and long runs up to about 8 miles. Last night I decided to modify the long run distances to push up to 10-11 miles so that I'll either be prepared to run Talladega 21000 (looking less and less likely from a mental perspective in 2010) or the Country Music 1/2 at the end of April. My best friend, Wendy, is training for the full but my understanding is that the half and full courses are together for much of the time (much like Mercedes) and I think this might be a lot of fun. She and I run at nearly the same pace which is also convenient so it's not like "oh let's do this together" while one person is screaming out 7 minute miles and the other person is huffing it out at an 11 min/mile pace.

Back to the 5K. While not a lofty goal for those elite folk out there, I would like to run a sub-30 minute 5K, which averages just faster than 6mph (10 min miles). It's a completely different mindset for me to go out for 3 miles and give it everything until I'm spent, instead of training for the long haul and needing to conserve for a longer distance (be it 6, 10 or 13.1 miles). I keep telling myself that if I could maintain a 11:30 min mile for the first 10K of the half (and didn't feel spent and had plenty of fuel to keep going for another 7 miles) then certainly I can pick up knowing that I only need to go 3.1! Hell, I run nearly 3 miles just doing IW where my fast 400s (.25 mile) are at 9min miles and I am fine at end. So, we'll see.

I'm in week #2 of the training program and this is what I did last week:

Sunday: 3 miles with running buddy, Amy
Monday: 4 x 400 Intervals for a total running distance of 2.75 (3 with wu/cd)--fast intervals at 6.5mph, recovery jog at 5.1mph
Tuesday: Rest (and I didn't have to work late this week!!)
Wednesday: 2 mile run...did 1st mile at 5.5mph (slightly under 11 min mile) and it felt too slow, so I kicked the 2nd one up to 5.7mph (total distance: 2.5miles)
Thursday: 30 minute tempo run (1st 5 minutes easy pace..5.1mph, next 20 at a comfortably hard pace...5.5mph and it completely kicked my butt...5 minutes at same easy pace) I think the running distance here was somewhere between 2.7 and 2.9 miles (total mileage: 3.1?) also came home and did Ab Ripper X (from P90X) with Matt
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 6 miles probably at 5.1 or 5.2mph pace (The schedule actually calls for 5, but I'm modifying as state above)

I have to document for myself that Thursday's run was REALLY painful and I can't figure out why. Wearing same shoes and socks as usual but I got very painful shin spilts about halfway through the run and then with about 10 minutes left, my whole left foot started to go numb. I don't think my shoes were tied any tighter than normal and the shoes also have plenty of life in them (I got them mid-Jan). Also, the 5.5 mph pace was KILLING me which I think is funny, because the day before it felt "too slow". Must be something about the tempo nature of the run, which works on the lactate threshold. After 2 weeks of them, I do think tempo runs are my least favorite and that the IW are my favorite...very challenging but with respite! I have a love/hate relationship with my long runs. On one hand, I feel so accomplished at the end. On the other hand, sometimes getting in the mental groove and letting go can be a challenge for me. And with that, it's to lace up and go!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

13.1 in the books!

Well, after all the training and anxiety, I successfully finished the Mercedes Half Marathon in just over 2.5 hours. I had absolutely ZERO expectations in time so I am quite happy with my results! I still can't believe it was only 2 1/2 weeks ago. It feels longer and like yesterday all at the same time.

The weather on the days preceding the race was unseasonably cold with a few inches of snow accumulating on Friday. I actually managed to leave work a little early on Friday and head to the expo at the BJCC to pick up my race packet and I almost slipped/twisted my ankle on some black ice while wearing my high heels!

On race day, it was in the low/mid-30s when I headed out at around 5:45 to make it downtown for the 7am start. I ended up driving myself since it was A. so early and B. so cold and I just didn't think it was fair to my mom or Matt to make them be there so early when I knew this run was going to take me a while! As I was traveling downtown and headed north I could see all the marathon and half marathon signs/route guides and my anxiety began to turn to excitement. I was READY! I was able to find parking easily in a deck adjacent to the starting corral but I admit it killed me to pay $8 when I knew there were free options if I cared to look. However, I wanted to have plenty of time to go to the restroom and get my bag checked and do a little warming up, so the $8 was worth the peace of mind in the end.

Even though the race has a few thousand registered runners there aren't time corrals so it's up to the runners to use judgment when placing themselves in the starting chute. Knowing that I'm no speed demon (obviously), I headed toward the back and ran into my friend from GBHS (Lisa) that I knew was running (and also slow) and a grad school classmate/coworker's wife (Lauren) who had trained around the same pace. It was the first half for all of us and we shared our anxiety and excitement. I lost them shortly after the gun went off, partly because of the chaos and partly because of my intentions. I wanted to run my own race and I was afraid if I stuck with people I knew, I would feel pressure to keep their pace (if it was too fast) or to perform a "certain way" (whatever that means). I know running can be a social sport and I like sharing training tips, war stories and the like, but I really like the solitude and losing myself to the moment which is why I also train(ed) solo instead of with a group. (no pressure!)

I was really worried about pacing myself since I had done every single training run on the treadmill and I let the machine dictate what my legs did. In the end, my legs knew what to do and I learned I need to trust myself more. Around mile 1.5-2, I saw the telltale green shorts of my boss-once-removed (so in essence, my boss's boss...BB) and another University superior just ahead of me and I was closing in. At this point I actually did worry a little about my pace since I know BB's 5K pace is much faster than mine but my watch was keeping me honest so I just went with it. They both knew I was running the race but I debated on whether or not to greet them. (hi, BB, in your super short man shorts, look at me in my skin tight running tights! and my oh so sexy hot pink Bondi band!) I decided to stay even and run on the other side of the street until at some point we converged and I turned to them and smiled and said hello. We chatted for a few minutes and I was feeling pretty good at that point, so I trotted off ahead of them so I could avoid any more awkwardness and the pressure to talk. For the record, they passed me around mile 5 but they SWEAR and have told all of our coworkers that I blew past them never to be seen again! (How did you miss passing the hot pink ensemble!)

My initial race plan had been to walk through all of the water stops, alternating water and gatorade. I actually didn't walk through any of them until the one at mile 5. I only allowed myself 1 minute of walking though to avoid getting out of the groove. I hit a major slump around mile 11 (maybe mentally more than anything) but I wonder if next time (yes, next time) I should think about taking in more sports drink than water to keep the energy up or trying some of the gel blasts or something equivalent around the 7-8 mile mark. As I have said, I am quite the sweat-machine and even though it was cold and I didn't feel like I was sweating, let me just say my clothes were soaked when all was said and done.

Overall I though the course was great, and I really enjoyed experiencing Birmingham from a new perspective. I am very familiar with most of the area we ran through but it's always been traveled by car and usually when there is quite a bit of traffic; not exactly ideal conditions for taking in the scenery. I REALLY enjoyed the part of the course from 5 points south and down Highlands and through Forest Park. Lauren actually passed me just past the golf course (mile 9.5?) but I was running positive splits at this point (boo) so there was no keeping up. (I made sure she stayed within my sights for the rest of the race, though, so much for "running my own race"?). However, while some of the industrial parts were interesting on the first half of the course, running through Avondale up until about mile 12 was brutal...the one bright spot was watching and cheering for the MARATHON winners as they passed us!!

As I was coming into the finisher's "corral" or whatever it's called, I was giving whatever I had left and scanning the sides for my mom and Matt. I noticed the corral was kind of devoid of spectators which has not been the experience I have had running downtown before, but I never saw them as I crossed the finish line! As soon as I crossed (and they called my name which was cool) and got my medal, I saw mom and Matt and a ton of other spectators basically trapped behind a tall fence. They were scanning for me and I was standing right in front of them! Turns out it was just bad logistics to get into the spectating area at the finish if you didn't know to come in through the front of the park. And because all of the parking was at the back of the park, since the front of the park is on the race route, most finish line spectators got trapped behind the fences (hopefully something they fix in the future). I was so glad to see them and I was feeling absolutely fantastic at this point! I picked up my finisher's shirt, sucked down a Powerade and was reunited with them in no time. We made a quick stop by the post-race party and I picked up some Jim N Nick's to go. (free for runners) I am not ashamed to admit to you that I ate a pork BBQ sandwich on the way home(!!) but I was so hungry. Not too much different than eating a biscuit, right? ;)

I have to say, if you can't already tell, this was SO MUCH FUN! Yes, it was a ton of hard work but it was worth it for every single second I was out there on the course. I tried to smile at volunteers and supporters and enjoyed the "you got it girl" comments from some of the Birmingham PD that were blocking off numerous intersections. I know I must have looked like a smiley idiot at times but I was really trying so hard to soak in every moment. The weather was so beautiful despite the cold...I actually think that might be perfect running weather. While I had been worried about boredom with the iPod, I could barely tell you what played during the race b/c I was really just tuned into my surroundings. However, I do remember that appropriately, "I Got a Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas started playing just as I was hitting the last .25 miles.

I am DEFINITELY going to do another and I could see this being a "regular" thing. The distance is long enough to be consistently challenging but still allows for evening and weekend training that also allows me to have a life. I am *beginning* to toy with the idea of 26.2 since I honestly felt SO GREAT after the race, both immediately and in the days following, but I haven't locked into that goal yet. BB and US (University superior) are actually trying to coax me into running Talladega 21000 in April and I haven't ruled it out, but I may need to make some adjustments to my current training plan. The concept of that half seems pretty cool (running around Nascar Track, heading into Talladega proper and then back to the track to finish, with pics taken in Pit Road), but it seems to be a smaller race (less than 1000 runners last year) and I still worry about "standing out" (and not in a good way) since, go figure, I still don't totally consider myself "a runner". We shall see! I am working on speed right now (more on that to come) so maybe I'll feel better about this in another 6 weeks.

And because the race photographers got NO postable pics of me, here are a couple of snapshots from race day.

Trying to get to mom and Matt

Mom and I

Matt and I (or as mom called him: Secret Agent Man)