Albuquerque was good to us

Date: April 19, 2014

Distance: 13.1 miles

Time: 2:25:06 (gun time)

Cheap race shirt and medal.

Cheap race shirt and medal.

Really, really liked Albuquerque. Will definitely go back to explore. Everyone was so friendly and the town felt much smaller than the half-million population. The race, too, was great.

The race was small–fewer than 700 people ran the race. Packet pick up was at a local running store, and the course began and ended at a local elementary school. Much of the course was on dirt or gravel roads or through neighborhoods. The weather was great, Denise and I felt pretty good for the race, and we enjoyed the morning.

Can’t say the post-race food was good, and the shirts were cheap cotton, but we didn’t really care. The entire weekend experience was enjoyable, relaxing, inexpensive, and we were able to take in some of the local flavor–including a visit to two local brew pubs Saturday afternoon following the race.

This weekend will be a nice contrast to our next race weekend in two weeks. We will be running the largest half marathon in the U.S. and another huge marathon the next day. The weekend will be hectic and the expo, parking, and races will be filled with crowds of people–a Niser Albuquerquesharp contrast to our small, leisurely, relaxing race weekend we just enjoyed.

Highlights from NM:

Ron, the Long Island-born bartender at the hotel, who is back in Albuquerque to take care of his ailing father.

The 27-year-old flight attendant and Great Dane owner we met at “The Tractor” who answered our many questions about Albuquerque.

Our Garmin, that insisted we take numerous, unneeded u-turns every time we relied on it for directions.

Our friendly hotel front desk manager who lined up our post race shot in such a way that it looks like I have a most unusual hat on my head.

Albuquerque post race

Antlers or a grand puba hat, perhaps?

Twenty-seven states are done! Yahoo.

Maybe shouldn’t have done that.

Date: April 5, 2014

Distance: 10 miles

Time: 1:39:24

Today I ran the Emigration Canyon Ten-Miler, despite my better judgement.

No medals in a ten-miler, but you still get a shirt.

On Thursday, I woke up with a sore throat and extreme exhaustion, which prompted me to call in sick yesterday when I also woke up with a headache. I rested most of the day and was feeling better, but still wasn’t great by evening. In contemplating whether or not to run the race, I told myself, “I’ll only run if I wake up feeling good AND it’s not raining.” (Honestly, I was thinking I would most likely put in a few miles on the treadmill at the gym).

Surprisingly, I woke up at 5:00 without my alarm, and the updated weather forecast predicted no rain until 10:00. I was also feeling decent–no sore throat, just a bit of nasal and chest congestion–so I got up, made coffee, and ate. Still felt pretty okay, so I took some cold medicine and headed out the door by 6:15.

This race finishes at “This is the Place Heritage Park,” so runners were encouraged to park in the lot there and ride buses to the top of Emigration Canyon to the start. Good plan, so after the race, it’s easy to simply jump in your car and drive home.

The problem with that plan (Race Directors, are you listening?), was the way too early bus departure. We all got up to the start by 6:45 and the race didn’t begin until 8:00. Dang it! It was cold up there and we all had to stand around for over an hour jumping in place, pacing around, or anxiously jogging around in order to stay warm. If my cold turns into pneumonia, I’m not blaming it on the race–I’m blaming it on the fact that I had to stand around in the cold for an hour before I could even get started.

I really had no high hopes on my performance for this race. I really was running more out of guilt rather than anything else because I had broken all training rules and hadn’t run at all since my half marathon two weeks ago. With my next race only two weeks out, I felt as though I needed to get some mileage in. In fact, my normal training schedule would have me run 10-11 miles this weekend anyway and I’ve been completing most of my long runs down Emigration Canyon anyway. The timing and location of this race couldn’t have been more perfect.

The Race

The race began at Little Dell Reservoir  so that means there’s a two-mile uphill climb right at the beginning of the race until the top of the canyon where the course winds downhill the whole rest of the way. I started off very slowly–alternating between walking and jogging during those first two miles. I’ve run this course dozens of times and knew how bad that first part is. Get past those first two miles, though, and the downhill makes it all worth it.

I forgot to wear my Garmin today, so I had no idea how I was pacing and had to rely on the race markers along the side of the road to inform me of my mileage. Every-once-in-a-while, it’s nice to run “naked”–as they say in running circles–meaning without technology. (I wasn’t completely naked, however, because I did remember to bring my iPod).

The nice part about running without tracking technology is you aren’t continually glancing at your watch the entire time and, most enjoyably, you are able to set a pace that isn’t dictated by your watch, but is based on how you feel. That was nice today. Even with the all-downhill course, I took a few walking breaks when I felt like it and then, when I was running, simply ran at a pace that felt right. It wasn’t until I crossed the finish line that I realized I had run an average 10-minute mile the whole race–even with the miserably slow first two miles. Wow. Sure wasn’t expecting that.

Looking Ahead

After the race, I headed home and enjoyed a hot shower followed by an hour-long power nap. Not a bad way to start the weekend and get some much-needed miles in before the Albuquerque Half in two weeks. Just hope I manage to get some shorter training runs and a few yoga classes in there before then as well.

 

Feeling old in heaven’s waiting room

Date: March 23, 2014

Distance: 13.1 (13.29 actual)

Time: 2:40:50

_______________________________________

Nope, the time listed is not a typo. Denise and I really ran that slowly–my slowest race ever–due to several factors.shirt & medal

For my part, I will blame my slow pace on the fact that, instead of resting up prior to the race,  I decided it would be a great idea to put in about ten miles of walking the day before I was to run thirteen. For Denise’s part, she had a blistering sunburn and a pretty bad cold when she got to the starting line. Combine those factors with high temperatures, near 100% humidity, and a nasty spill five miles in, and a slower-than-expected pace is sure to result.

Despite our mediocre showing, I must say this was one of the most fun race weekends I’ve had–primarily because I had enough time to play tourist.

It had been four months since either Denise or I had raced, and I was really looking forward to this one. Denise, her husband, and two boys had already planned a week-long vacation in Orlando, Florida so they could enjoy a baseball spring training game, March Madness basketball games, and theme park tours. And, when you are a runner, you often plan vacations around a race. We had found the Florida Beach Half Marathon two hours from Orlando, just outside of St. Petersburg ( in Tierra Verde on the North Florida Beach) that coincided perfectly with their plans.

Largest hunk of cheese ever shipped to the U.S. (mazarrosmarket.com)

That’s one big hunk of cheese!(mazarrosmarket.com)

I flew into Tampa on Friday, checked into our borderline-sketchy motel, and enjoyed a coma-like ten-hour slumber that night. Yep, that felt like vacation. The next morning, I decided to venture out and see how the day unfolded. The only thing I absolutely had to do was pick up our race packets in preparation for the Sunday morning race. I decided the first thing on the agenda, however, was to find a decent cup of coffee to make up for the poor-excuse for coffee I forced down at the free motel breakfast–you know what I’m talking about. We’re talking a six-ounce Styrofoam cup and powdered creamer. Bleh.

My smart phone (love it), clued me in to the fact that a wonderful sounding Italian coffee roaster/deli was about six-tenths of a mile away so I followed my phone’s lead and found the most amazing store–Mazzaro’s Italian Market. An oasis amid carpet wholesalers, pawn shops, and nail salons, it included a market, deli, bakery, wine shop, cheese shop, and coffee bar. I not only enjoyed a great cup of coffee, but I purchased some crackers, Italian cheese, and a nice “medium bodied Tuscan red,” based on the cheese guy’s recommendation. I also grabbed some chocolate dipped figs, some salami, and novelty chocolates that looked like pimento-stuffed green olives. The place was packed, and I could see why. I could have spent hours in there just browsing.

After unloading my stash back at the room, I waffled between taking a cab or walking downtown to get the race packets and decided the six-mile round trip walk would do me good. Besides, it had been months since I could be outside and enjoy 75-degrees and sunshine. I changed out of my sandals and into my running shoes, and made my way downtown.

I easily found the running store where we were to pick up the race packets, and asked a store employee where he would recommend that I get lunch. He looked at his watch and told me if I hurried, three blocks away was the Saturday Morning Market where I would find lots of food choices for the next twenty minutes. I love street markets! This one didn’t disappoint. It was filled with people, music, art, and food galore. I quickly spotted an attractive, yet inexpensive, painting of tulips that my new artist friend, “Angus,” signed for me and I then found a Cuban food stand. I ordered a shredded pork wrap that was amazing, and I finished eating just as the street market was closing. Sure wish I could have spent more time browsing.

The Hallucinogenic Toreador. (thedali.org)

The Hallucinogenic Toreador. I saw this in person! (thedali.org)

As luck would have it, I noticed directional signs indicating that the Salvador Dali Museum was close by. Since I had a whole afternoon to kill, and I generally enjoy museums, I was intrigued. I followed the signs and spent the next three hours enjoying a formal tour, catching the temporary Andy Warhol display, and checking out “the world’s largest Dali gift shop.” I learned so much during that tour and wished at several points that my family had joined me on this trip. My daughter, in particular, would have enjoyed “The Dali.” I sure was impressed.

After my time at the museum I headed back towards the hotel. When all was said and done, I estimated that I had probably put in about ten miles over the six hours and, with the exception of the ten minutes I sat down eating my lunch, I had been on my feet the entire time.

Soon after I got back to the motel, Denise and her family arrived and we checked in with each other and planned the next morning’s race logistics.

The Race 

The race started at 7:05 a.m. and was about half an hour or so from our motel so our morning started pretty early. This was the first race where I wore a tank top and shorts at the starting line and was perfectly comfortable–that should have clued me in to the fact that I would be a hot, sweaty mess just minutes into the race. During most races, I freeze as I’m waiting for the start and then finally warm up about a mile in.

Only about 1800 people ran this race and, by looking at the list of finishers, the vast majority of runners were from the local area. Things started off normally after the gun went off and we were enjoying the course, which primarily followed a paved running trail through Fort DeSoto Park. While it didn’t provide very many ocean views as I had hoped, the course was a nice out-and-back. Denise and I were pacing only a little under when, at about mile five, Denise caught her foot on a raised portion of the running path and hit the ground hard–bracing herself with the palms of her hands and scraping her forearm and thigh. Could have been really bad. Luckily, the road rash on her forearm was the worst of it and she jumped right up, said she was fine, and kept on going. We had an EMT take a quick look at the next aid station about a mile or so away, and he washed off her arm and wrapped it in some gauze to get her through the rest of the race without dripping blood.

That spill, though, threw everything off. It had caused us to lose some time when we weren’t doing very well pace-wise, to begin with. As for me, I was drenched in sweat and joked that I felt like I was in a hot yoga class rather than a race. And, like I learned in my

After the race--under the obligatory Florida palm tree.

After the race–under the obligatory Florida palm tree.

Cedar Falls race in Iowa, I don’t think I do well on completely flat courses. I find the very flat courses to be more fatiguing on my joints and muscles than courses that have more variety. As we shuffled along, we joked that, at this rate, we will need walking canes to finish off our 50th race. Oh well, we finished. One favorite quote we overheard a walker say, “Hey, I don’t care how long it takes me to finish–I get the same medal as everyone else. The way I see it, I’m just getting my money’s worth!”

Now that’s an attitude we can embrace.

After the Race

After the race we enjoyed some great post-race food, took a couple of photos, and wandered back to the car to drive to the motel. We were beat.

After hot showers, a couple of hours of rest, and our Italian market snacks, we were a bit more revived and met a high school classmate of Denise’s for dinner. Her classmate lives about seven miles from where we were staying and her husband is a St. Petersburg native so they were able to tell us a lot about the area. Most notably, that the city’s nickname was “Heaven’s Waiting Room” in reference to how many elderly people lived there. Now, they enthusiastically noted–the average age is St. Pete’s is probably closer to 50 rather than mid-70s as it has been in the past. When they said that, I immediately thought, “That’s still old.” That is, until I checked myself and realized that I am closer to that demographic than I’d like to admit.

I liked St. Pete’s. Sure, there are parts that are a bit rough around the edges and it does have a very dated feel, but everyone we met was so friendly and we really enjoyed the time we spent there. Next on our list is Albuquerque in a month. At least I know we won’t be dealing with the humidity!

Outside is best

Date: February 15, 2014

Distance: 9.15 miles

Time: 1:34:04

After weeks of long runs on the treadmill due to the cold weather and icy streets, I was thrilled to be able to run outside. Finally.

Looking up Emigration Canyon about halfway into my run.

Looking up Emigration Canyon about halfway into my run.

Back to one of my very favorite runs–Emigration Canyon. It’s not that pretty right now–not like it is during the warmer months of the year–but it was oh, so satisfying. I breathed in the cool fresh air, subtly waved to the bicyclists who passed me, and loved enjoying the scenery. Even the grey, muddy hues were much preferred to the inside of a gym.

Running outside is like playing outdoors where running inside on the treadmill is like playing video games in front of the television.

Heck, the newer treadmills DO have a television monitor and various gimmicky displays. Good thing, too, because that’s about the only way I could get through a treadmill run. Here’s what my long run is like on a treadmill:

1. Step on, push quick start, and wonder what “Fitness Test” would even tell me. Don’t want to know.

And, the view heading down

And, heading down.

2. Start at 2.8 mph for the first five minutes to warm up while I plug my earphones into the audio and channel surf. Watch CNN for the first few minutes, get bored, and then usually settle on the Food Network channel. Or, just listen to music while playing with the displays that show me how many laps I’d be running if I were on a 5-K course around a pond or running on a track.

3. Bump up speed to 5.0 and every tenth of a mile, increase the speed by .1 until I get to 6.5. Every mile do straddle maneuver so I’m off the moving mat while I take a swig of water. I am simply not capable of drinking and running at the same time.

4. Every once-in-a-while grab the bar in front and measure my heart rate–only because I can. I certainly don’t do anything with that information.

5.  Go back down to 2.8 for ten minutes. Then repeat steps 3 & 4.

Or, at that point, advance to step 6.

6. Gut it out at 5.8 (or wherever else feels reasonable) until I reach my planned distance.

7. Wipe down all the surfaces I touched with a provided disinfectant cloth and think, every single time, “Maybe I should have wiped it down before I started my workout, because I bet the person who used this before I did didn’t wipe it down when they were done.”

8. Walk to my car, feel guilty for adding emissions to the environment, and hope for warmer running weather soon.

#megsmiles

Date: January 18, 2014

Distance: 6 miles

Time: 1:15:40

meg

Meg (marathonfoto)

Last Monday, an idiot drunk driver hit and killed a young Virginia runner, Meg Menzies. She was only 34, left a husband and three children, and was senselessly killed as she was on a routine morning run–training for the upcoming Boston Marathon.

Today I joined over 54,000 other runners and logged some miles in tribute to her. The event brought back memories of the running tributes that were completed following last year’s Boston Marathon bombing.

What did we runners do after the bombing tragedy? We ran.

What did many of us do in tribute to Sherry Arnold,  Montana runner who was kidnapped  during her morning run and then murdered? We ran.

In November, a runner named Jim Kelley was also killed by a car while out for his morning run. In tribute, his many friends and family followed the hearse to the cemetery as one united running group–Jim’s Last Group Run. They ran.

Jim's Last Group Run (Runners World)

Jim’s Last Group Run (Runners World)

There have been numerous running tributes for various causes over the years because when something tragic happens, we want to be able to do something–and for many of us, when life gets stressful or too much to bear, we embrace the sanity and peace that a long run can often provide.

Additionally, running creates an instant bond among people and when we hear that a fellow runner has been killed or injured while running we immediately connect to them. We know that we could have very easily been in the path of the oncoming car or otherwise have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

When we can’t make sense of the world, when we don’t know what else to do, at least we can run. We can run in memory, with determination, with anger, with sadness, and with gratitude for the miles before us.

None of us know how many miles our future holds, so we run them while we can, knowing that very often, those miles are cut far too short.

Staying motivated–why should you work out?

Date: December 8, 2013

I ran into a friend yesterday whom I hadn’t seen in several months. When I asked him how things were going he said, “Fine, but I really need to start working out again. I’ve been busy and I’ve lost my motivation.” I think those words get spoken a lot–especially at this time of year when the holidays are upon us, our routines get thrown for a loop, and–let’s face it–it’s damn cold outside and it’s hard to get excited about an outdoor workout. We know we should exercise, but it’s not always easy.Make time

Right now, I am looking outside my window at about six inches of freshly fallen snow and watching the thermometer creep up from 8 to 16-degrees. While drinking coffee and wasting time on the computer, I’m having an internal conversation with myself after seeing all the snow-filled sidewalks and streets in my neighborhood.

“I could go to the gym and run indoors.” “Yeah, but first you need to shovel the driveway.”  

“I could go to yoga class instead, and try to get a run in tomorrow.” “Yeah, but first you need to shovel the driveway.”

Then, I usually have this type of conversation with myself, “I have so many papers to grade, I really should work on those first. Or, I should get the grocery shopping done. It’s been awhile since I cooked a really good sit-down meal for my family, I should do that today. Oh, and this is such good baking weather; I should try that new cookie recipe I saw. I need to do laundry. I need to pay bills. I need to sort through those Christmas boxes and put up decorations. I really need to do some Christmas shopping. I should write a Christmas letter this year. I should…”

I think you get the point. When I allow myself to THINK about my planned workout, I often try to talk myself out of it–and sometimes I succeed. On occasion, I think that’s okay. Things do come up and should take priority–but not on a regular basis.

If other things start to have more prominence on your “to do” list than your workouts, that’s when you are putting other things above your own health. And what’s more important than your health? We often don’t realize how important our health is until poor health begins to affect other areas of our life–when we become too tired, too sore, or too sick to do the things in life that give us joy.

When my inner demons start to talk me out of my planned workout, I need to remind myself WHY I’m even doing this in the first place.

1. Stress release and depression avoidance. I’m a happier person and nicer to my family when I work out on a regular basis. I also notice how “down” I can feel when I go several days without exercise. It’s true. From personal experience, I’m certain that those studies showing how exercise prevents depression are true. Sixty minutes of exercise three days a week or thirty-five minutes five days a week is  just as effective as being on anti-depressant medication.

2. Health. I have a family history of all types of ailments that are prevented or lessened by exercise–heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancers. A list of seven health benefits of regular exercise is found at this Mayo Clinic website. Reviewing a list like this from time-to-time is sometimes helpful in reminding yourself why exercise is important.

Some recent studies have shown that regular exercise might also prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.  That, alone, should be reason to get out there and move.

3. Self Discipline & Confidence. I have self-diagnosed myself as having ADD. I’ve got all the classic symptoms–I start projects I don’t finish, I interrupt people while they are speaking, I change topics of conversations mid-sentence, I have a hard time sitting for any length of time, and I’m always multi-tasking to the point of feeling like I’m living in utter chaos most of my day. In short, I’m  creative, ambitious, and a great problem-solver, but I have a hard time focusing on only one thing at a time.

Running and yoga have shown me that I can follow through on something. I can hold myself accountable to see something through to the end, and–most importantly–my brain is at peace when I work out. When running or in the heat of a Bikram yoga class, I can’t multi-task. For the thirty minutes or two hours of my workout, I am focused on only one thing–putting one foot in front of the other, in the case of running, or holding a pose, in the case of yoga.

During my workouts I feel in control and focused. My brain is turned off and I am at peace. And, that “quiet brain feeling” often stays with me as the rest of my day unfolds. I also feel accomplished. If I’ve completed my planned workout for the day, there’s a small feeling of pride that I also carry with me. In short–I physically feel good, and I mentally feel good because I did what I said I would do. I am accountable to myself and I follow through on my promises to myself. For me, that’s huge.

Now, excuse me as I go shovel that driveway. I’ll remind myself that it’s for my health and I’ll try to convince my family members of the health benefits they should be enjoying as the rest of the snow falls and it will the their turn to shovel.

We’ve got this. Half way milestone.

Date: November 2, 2013

Midsouth Championship Half Marathon

Distance: 13.1

Time: 2:26:51

_____________________

Date: November 3, 2013

Cohick Half Marathon

Distance: 13.1

Time: 2:26:23

_____________________

For the second time, Denise and I decided to knock out two states in one weekend. This time, we tackled Arkansas and Missouri, which brought us to a total of 25 states completed. And what a weekend it was–it included crossed phone wires, errant GPS instructions, and a renewed motivation to complete our 50-states goal–after a bit of rest and recovery first.

Saturday's shirt and medal

Saturday’s shirt and medal

Denise flew in to Salt Lake City on Friday morning and we then got to be on the same flight into Memphis. I purchased airline tickets this time, rather than depend on being able to fly non-rev only to find out that the flight to Memphis was less than half full, darn it. Oh, well, the return flight out of Atlanta was overbooked so the purchased tickets paid off when I came home.

We arrived in Memphis early Friday afternoon, picked up our rental car, and drove the easy, one-hour trip into Wynne, Arkansas–population 8000. Packet pick up confirmed our suspicions–this was a small, inexpensively planned race and consisted mainly of local runners. That meant cotton race shirts, no frills race packet, and few details about the next day’s race. No worries. The town was so small, it was impossible to get lost and smaller races are sometimes a welcome respite from huge crowds.

We had dinner at a strip mall Mexican restaurant near our luxurious Days Inn hotel–both the meal and the room were cheap and adequate. I don’t normally recommend eating Mexican food the night before a race, but for us, it worked. We set out our race gear and went to bed by 8:00 p.m.–looking forward to a ten-hour slumber before the race.

Crossed phone wires. To our surprise, instead, we received a series of calls to our hotel room phone from other hotel guests–requesting wake up calls, complaining about the smoke smell in their room, and to report a burned out light bulb. Turns out, the phones were wired incorrectly and all calls to the front desk were, instead, going to room 212. Lucky us. We reported the mix up to the front desk, they said they knew about it (but neglected to warn us), and advised us to unplug our phone as a solution.

After following their suggestion, we did manage to get a really great night’s sleep and were ready to roll first thing in the morning.

We woke up to a clear, crisp morning and made our way to the local high school–the start and finish for the race. Races like this are nice–regular bathrooms and warm shelter before having to wait at the starting line are always appreciated–as was the ample parking in the school lot.

The course for this race was an out-and-back, and, with the exception of a mile stretch along a busy highway (didn’t like that part), took us along rural, mostly traffic-free roads.

Because the water stations were set up at every mile (or close to it), we used our walk/run race strategy by slowing at each water station to hydrate and walk for a tenth of a mile. After the brief break we would then run to the next water station. We’ve found this to be a good strategy for a race in general, and an especially good strategy when plans call for another race within 24 hours.

Sunday's shirt and medal

Sunday’s shirt and medal

We were satisfied with our time, felt pretty good, and made our way to the next day’s race–about five hours away, according to previous estimates.

The Errant GPS. We surmised, about half way into our trip to Springfield, that the GPS on my phone was not set to “faster route,” but, rather, a combination of “faster and shorter.” That meant that, while we enjoyed very beautiful scenery, we rarely got to travel faster than 50 mph. This added a full half hour onto our trip when we were wanting, instead, to get to our destination as fast as possible in order to get our race packets before they quit distributing them and in order to maximize what little rest time we had before the next day’s race.

We did make it to packet pick up–with less than an hour to spare and feeling sick of being in the car all afternoon. After arriving, I felt a sharp twinge of pain behind my right knee, which I blamed on the fact that our rental car had no cruise control and I had spent almost six hours working the gas pedal on twisting, mostly single lane roads with fatigued muscles.

We had just enough time to pick up our race packets, check in to our hotel, and seek out some grub. We carbo loaded big time. Denise went for pancakes and hash browns and I thoroughly enjoyed french toast, eggs, and sausage. Then, it was off to sleep. Again, another quiet night and a very good night’s sleep.

_________________________________

The morning brought a bit colder weather, but the skies were still clear.

Google Images

Google Images

This was a much bigger race–very well-organized and a lot more participants. I liked the course, too. Instead of a rural out-and-back, like most of my recent races have been, this looping course took us through the city of Springfield–historic neighborhoods, parks, and the downtown area.

We were most surprised by the water beer station stop at mile five–right next to the Mother’s Brewing Company. At 8:00 a.m. Denise and I toasted each other with a shot glass-sized beer sample and continued running. Our race strategy was similar to the previous day’s: walk for .1 mile and then run the remaining mile. Things were going as expected and we were both feeling pretty strong. I, however, had to take a pit stop at mile 7 and lost sight of Denise as she continued on her way. Determined to find her again, I kicked it in to high gear and ran a 9-minute mile to catch up with her.

My favorite slogan from the race. This pcture is taken from Google images.

My favorite slogan from the Springfield race. This one is taken from Google images.

I was glad to make up lost time, but I’m afraid my efforts–or perhaps the previous day’s hours of driving–might have hurt my knee. About a mile later, I felt something pop in my knee that caused me to limp along for the next mile and a half,  and fear that I may not finish the race. I kept plugging along, just gutting it out and was shocked when, as we were nearing mile 11, the pain disappeared completely. I have no idea why, but the pain simply left as suddenly as it had come on. This allowed us to finish strong and run the second day’s race faster than the first (barely).

At the finish area, after we quit running, we started getting really cold so we hurried back to the car so we could get back to the hotel to shower, rest, and–(of course) find our next meal.

We scored some really great bar food at the Springfield Brewery–including Scotch eggs, bread pudding, and beer samples–and then turned in early for yet another good night’s sleep. It was so nice to not have to rush to catch a flight after the race. Instead, we got to leisurely bask in our post-race glory, take our time packing, and hang out together for a little while longer.

We flew out the next day, feeling great, well-rested, and motivated to run races in March, April, and back-to-backs in May. Dare we attempt to knock out all fifty states before January 2017? That’s our goal–25 more races in 36 months.

We’ve got this. 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.