Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ORRRC Half Marathon Recap


The Ohio River Road Runner's Club Half Marathon is my favorite.  Since the first time I ran it 4 years ago, it's held a special place in my heart...partly because I've earned 2 PRs (personal records) there (2012 and 2014), partly because it's a small race and there's no elbowing my way through the crowds (or being elbowed), partly because of the post-race food and showers and partly because it's cheap.

I love this race and I will run it every year as long as my schedule allows.

This year, the ORRRC Half was extra special: my husband decided to make it his very first half marathon.  It was also my first race as a Skirt Sports Ambassador.

My parents came to visit for the weekend to stay with the Little Ladies while Randy and I went to the race, which is a little over an hour from our house.

Randy and I left just before 6am to head to Xenia, OH.  We were about half way there when he turned to me and said, "I think I forgot my watch."

Rookie.

I checked his bag and, sure enough, there was no watch in there.  I, being the awesome wife that I am, offered him my watch so he could make sure to keep his pace conservative on the hills in the beginning of the race.  He's new-ish to distance running and doesn't trust himself to keep his desired pace by feel alone.  I knew he had been secretly hoping to beat my PR time of 1:57:48...and I knew that I had no intention of coming close to that finish time this year, I would be running for fun, so the watch would better serve him.  I remember last year when I told him my PR finish time...he was ecstatic for me.  He told everyone who would listen how beastly his wife was.  He was so proud.  It really was adorable.  I hoped that he would beat my time.  There's no competition between us.  That would be silly; his legs are a good 12 inches longer than mine.

We arrived at the Xenia YMCA and picked up our packets and visited with some friends until it was time to head to the starting line.

Moms RUN This Town from the Columbus and Dayton chapters!
Randy and I lined up together at the start and stayed together for the first mile or so, but he soon pulled ahead, running with our friend, Allen--who came to Xenia for moral support for a few of us, not to run the race.

Around mile 4, I passed by Allen who had sent Randy ahead and was going to head back to the starting line to get his bike.  He told me that Randy was holding a steady 9:20 pace and was looking good.

Of course, I had no idea what pace I was running since I didn't have a watch.  My guess was between 9:40s and 10ish minute miles.

I ran for a while with a fellow MRTT member, and then another MRTT member and then I found myself alone, just running, cheering for the runners who had already reached the turn-around and were on their way back.

After I reached the turn-around, I got to cheer for the runners who were still on their way to the turn-around.  I just ran.  With a smile on my face.  I love this race.

I'm not even sure when I saw Allen again...mile 10, maybe?  He was on his bike this time--taking pictures.  Allen is a great spectator and I'm thankful he was there to document some of this run for me.
Randy at mile 10ish.
Photo taken by Allen
For the next couple of miles, Allen rode back and forth between me and his girlfriend, Sunshine, chatting and taking pictures.


Bike selfie!
He was waiting for me when I turned the corner to run up the hill to the finish.  He took a few pictures then hopped back on his bike to ride with me for the next half mile or so.


Randy was waiting for me at the finish, he took a few pictures as I ran up the last of the hill then I crossed the finish line in 2:6:56.

I was happy to see him at the finish.

I'm thrilled to say that Randy beat my PR time by 15 seconds with a finish time of 1:57:33.

Way to go, Babe!

I've asked him if he'll run another half.
He hasn't decided yet.
About my outfit: I'm wearing the Runner's Dream long sleeved shirt and the Vixen Capri skirt.  The Runner's Dream is my favorite shirt and I'd very much like for it to come in lots of colors and patterns.  I'd buy them all.  The belly and back of this shirt is non-see-through mesh for maximum breathe-ability and conservative coverage.  The Vixen Capri is so freaking fun.  The capri have a light compression so there's no chafing in the lady bits or the thigh area and the skirt is flouncy and very girlie.  The first time I put them on, I couldn't help but to shake my hips to make the skirt bounce.

I've washed and worn both garments many times and the high quality material doesn't lose its shape or color.  I keep telling you, friends, I'd much rather have a few good-quality pieces than a drawer full of cheap clothing that I can't wear.  Happy shopping when you save 20% with this coupon code: SSRRMR20.

Have you ever run the ORRRC Marathon or Half?
Want to join me next year? (waggles eyebrows)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fearless and Free

A few years ago, my word of the year was Fearless.

That was the year I tried new things, I tried out trail running, I got muddy, nature touched me.  I took a flying leap out of my comfort zone and I'm better for it.

Fearless is still one of my favorite words.  I like to think I'm pretty fearless.  I'll try just about anything...unless it involves heights or spiders.

OK, so, I'm selectively fearless.

Let me tell you about a fearless woman whom I look up to: Katherine Switzer.

Photo from the Skirt Sports Website

For those of you who haven't read up on the history of running (horrors!), Katherine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1967.

Why is this important?  I'm glad you asked.

In 1967, The Boston Marathon was a men-only event; Katherine registered using her first and middle initials with her last name, showed up and started running.  When the race director, Jock Semple, found out that a woman was on the course, he found Katherine and tried to push her off the course (pictured above).  As you can see, another (male) runner helped to guard Katherine from the angry race director and she was able to finish the Boston Marathon.  Katherine considered stopping, afraid that the race director had been hurt and not wanting to "mess up" the prestigious Boston Marathon, but then she thought to herself, "If I quit, nobody would ever believe that women had the capability to run 26-plus miles. If I quit, everybody would say it was a publicity stunt. If I quit, it would set women’s sports back, way back, instead of forward. If I quit, I’d never run Boston. If I quit, Jock Semple and all those like him would win." (source)

Photo from the Skirt Sports Website
It wasn't until 5 years later that women were officially allowed to run the Boston Marathon.

Katherine paved the way for women, like myself and many of my friends, to be able to participate in marathon events today.

Thank you, Katherine.   Because of you, I have the freedom to be fearless.

In honor of her fearlessness, Skirt Sports developed a clothing line named 261 after Katherine's bib number in the 1967 Boston Marathon, dedicated to fearless women everywhere.

Skirt Sports is hosting a Virtual 261 Fearless Run on April 18.  If you're in the Boulder area, you can join an in-person run at 7am, or register to run virtually 2.61 or 26.1 miles. Race registration includes a Skirt Sport gift card and swag. (We love swag!)

How will you celebrate your freedom to run?  I think I'll run 2.61 miles over and over and see how far I get.

Disclaimer: Part of my job as a Skirt Sports Ambassador is to spread the news of awesome Skirt Sports happenings.  I am compensated for my time with Skirt Sports clothing at no or low cost.  All thoughts and opinions posted on this blog are my own.

Respecting the Legs

A conversation came up on a run recently about stretching and massaging tight muscles.

Since my friend and I are distance runners, we were speaking specifically about our legs.

Our legs have a big job: get us from point A to point B...both points are usually double digit miles apart.  Our legs should be pampered when they're not running.

But they're not.

We both admitted that we're really good about stretching and using the foam roller to massage our tired, tight muscles for a while, but then everything feels really good and we get out of the habit...

...then our legs remind us that they need some pampering.

Usually, that "reminder"comes in the form of pain or aches or stiffness.  So we start stretching and foam rolling again until we feel better and we get out of the habit.

It's a vicious cycle.

One I plan to break.

From now on, friends, I will stretch after every run and foam roll my weary legs at least three times a week.  I know I should foam roll every day, but....baby steps.


Respect your legs, friends, and your legs will take care of you.

Who's with me?

Do you stretch out your muscles regularly?
How about massage?


Monday, April 6, 2015

A Lot of Excitement

March ended on a busy note and it doesn't look like my family's schedule is going to calm down until May!  This mama better keep the calendar close and hold on for dear life.

Last week was Spring Break for the Little Ladies and I and we took the opportunity to travel to Massachusetts to visit with my grandparents and other extended family.

Cheers!
We had "tea" with my grandmother every morning and Randy and I took the Ladies to Boston for a day to walk the Freedom trail to see some of the historical sights since they are becoming interested in American history.

USS Constitution - we got to board the ship and tour the lower deck!
North Church
One if by land, two if by sea...
Bunker Hill Monument selfie

Right before we left for the east coast...in the midst of my packing and list-crossing, I got a really exciting email: I've been asked to become an ambassador for Skirt Sports! (squeal!)

 
I've written about Skirt Sports before.  I love, love, love their clothing and I tell everyone who will listen how much I love the company and the apparel.

A little bit about the company: Skirt Sports was dreamed up in late 2003 by Nicole DeBoom because she wanted to look pretty when she ran.  She then brought her dream to reality by creating flattering, cute, high-performance running skirts in late 2004.  These days, Skirt Sports offers a wide variety of clothing specifically designed to fit and flatter the female body.

Any female body.

Photo taken from the Skirt Sports website.

One of the things I truly love about Skirt Sports is that their sizing doesn't stop at a Large.  Or even an Extra Large.  The ladies at Skirt Sports believe that if a woman wants to be active, she should have something cute and comfortable to wear. Skirt Sports clothing is available from a size 0 to 22.  Most skirts have light compression shorties, capris or pants underneath to keep the chub from rubbin' and the skirt covers your bum so you don't feel that you're baring your secrets to the whole world.

Also, they're cute.  So stinking cute.

I just placed my first order as an ambassador and I'm spinning in excited circles for the mail man to drop off my package so I can wear all of my awesome new clothes!

You may be wondering what being an ambassador means.  Simply put, it's a job.  I provide a service, I talk about the company publicly, and wear their clothing (which I do anyway) and in return, I earn awesome Skirt Sports clothing at no or low cost.

Disclaimer: All of the Skirt Sports clothing that I will be reviewing from now on, I will have received for free or at a hefty discount.

I also get a special coupon code to share with all of YOU!  Enter the code SSRRMR20 at checkout to save 20% off your entire order (excludes clearance and Flash Sales).

My order includes the Lioness skirt, which has shorts underneath.  I currently have skirts with capris and a skirt with pants underneath, so it will be fun to try shorts. 

I'm wearing the Vixen Capri at the St. Jude Marathon.
Photo credit: Jonna Stumpo
I'm also getting a sports bra.  I've heard awesome things about the Skirt Sports bras, including that the Jill bra (for the bustier ladies) was rated number one by Runner's World Magazine.  I ordered the Kelly and I'm looking forward to letting y'all know how much I love it.

Your turn!

Have you ever worn Skirt Sports clothing?
How about a Skirt Sports bra?  I can't wait!!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Eight.

My sweet Ellie.  Today, you are eight.

I'm not sure how this happened because it seems like such a short time ago, you were a cross-eyed teeny tiny bundle of flailing arms and legs.

2 weeks
3 weeks

You've always had such a fun personality...

10 months
4 years
 ...great fashion sense....

2 years
6 years







...and such a loving way about you.

5 years
Eight years ago, you made me a mom and I have very much enjoyed our adventures over the years...

3 years

7 years
...and can't wait to see what new adventures EIGHT brings.



Happy birthday, Ellie-Bean.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The 50K That Wasn't


I'd been looking forward to and dreading the Green Jewel 50K for months.

Looking forward to because it was sure to be a grand adventure.

Dreading because, well, it's a shit ton of miles to run.

So excited!
There were a bunch of us from Columbus heading up to Cleveland for the weekend.  We stayed in a hotel on Friday and were up bright and early on Saturday to run 31-point-something miles.

We had read reports about icy conditions on the bike path, where most of the running would take place, but we weren't too worried. We'd been running on ice for the past 2 months.

No biggie.

We had no idea.

The condition of the bike path was worse than anything we've ever run on.

The path had been plowed and the snow was built up on both sides of the path. With the warmish temps in the past week, some of the snow melted and the water puddled on the path. Then it froze again.

Ice.
Photo borrowed from a friend with permission.
We were running on an ice skating rink. And it lasted for 15 miles.  Never more than half of a mile of dry pavement between sheets of ice that lasted up to two tenths of a mile. There were a lot of falls. I was one of them.  Just before mile 10, I went down, not gracefully, right on my bum. I assessed the situation. My tail bone was fine, I got up and kept going.

Less than a mile later, I slipped again. it was like a cartoon. My foot slipped out from under me and flew up in front of me. I caught myself with my other leg before I fell. I felt my IT band and hip flexor strain when I did.

It was ok for a bit, but "running" on the ice was more like cross country skiing.  If we picked up our feet, they would slide out from under us, so we slid like skiers...and that aggravated my hip flexor even more. Once we passed the aid station at 15ish miles, I had a lot of pain trying to run.  It hurt my hip to swing my leg forward and I was hoping that if I could just keep running, it would loosen up but there was so much ice, we couldn't ever settle into a running groove.

Hip flexors are fussy little bastards.  I had a hip flexor injury a few years ago.  I ran a marathon on a strained hip flexor and then I couldn't walk without a limp for 8 weeks after.  I couldn't run for 12 weeks.  I missed out on a lot of running and a lot of races that year and I learned that one race is never worth throwing away all others.

I have a whole year of fun planned this year and I'd like to think that I'm a bit wiser now than I was a few years ago.

At this point, I'd been in pain for the past 6 miles and still had 14 to go.  This is when I told my friends, whom I'd been slipping and sliding around running with, that I would not be finishing.

Don't get me wrong, it didn't go down as calmly as I'm making it sound.  There was swearing.  There was crying.  There was a tantrum.  There was a call to my husband followed by more crying.

We had a couple of friends who drove up to cheer for us driving to all the aid stations to scream their heads off cheering for us.  At mile 16, I saw their van come around the bend in the road.  I flagged them down and climbed in.

That was the end of my 50K.

I spent the rest of the day and the next day crying (and self-medicating with vodka).  To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.  I busted my ass training for this; snow, ice, sub-zero temps, three layers of clothing for one run...this winter has been brutal.

But....shit happens.

A few days later, I'm feeling better.  My hip is feeling ok, thank goodness, and I'm more emotionally stable.  I know I made the right decision.  There's no way I would have made it through the next 14 miles of that race.  Had I tried, I'd have wound up with a more severe injury and still would have ended up with a DNF (did not finish).

The smart decisions are always the hardest.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pretty as a Picture

A friend whom I met through my local chapter of Moms RUN This town, Jessica, is a photographer in the Columbus area.  A few weeks ago, she asked if she could borrow my youngest daughter, Aleena, for a photo shoot.

Jessica wanted to try out a snow angel idea with a little girl and my sweet Aleena looks pretty angelic.  Jessica has three sons, so should couldn't exactly do snow angel pictures with them.  Sure, I said, Aleena loves having her pictures taken and, seriously, she would make a sweet, sweet angel.

Aleena and I met Jessica at a local metropark at 5pm so she could capture my little angel in the sunset light.  I was a little concerned about how little time we'd have with the light, but I should never have doubted Jessica.  Our appointment lasted about 15 minutes.

The pictures are amazing.







If you're in the Columbus area, I highly recommend Jessica Kranz Photography for any of your photography needs.  She is efficient, had a great eye and you will have amazing photos.

Jessica offered me pictures of Aleena in exchange for being able to use said pictures for advertisements.  Jessica did not ask me to blog about her business, I offered after I saw the pictures.  All opinions are my own.

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