Race Recap: Joe Cain Classic 5K

Hey-o! It’s been a hot minute since I have gotten the chance to do a post and I have lots to catch you up on! Unfortunately, this time of year is CRAZY busy for me at work and I rarely get a chance to sit down and write (even as I write this I am short on time). I really do miss it. We are over half way through tax season now and so the countdown is *officially* on.

Today we are just going to chat about the Joe Cain Classic 5K, which was “darn near perfection” in the words of Young Daniel. The Joe Cain Classic 5K takes place in downtown Mobile on … you guessed it … Joe Cain Day (the Sunday before Fat Tuesday). I’m not going to pretend to know much about the actual history of Joe Cain Day or Mardi Gras for that matter. The basic gist is that Joe Cain is credited with reviving the Mardi Gras celebration in Mobile after the Civil War.

This race is basically our only participation in any sort of Mardi Gras festivities each year. Although, we actually did have our own little “parade” this year …

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The last two weekends we have been in the process of moving and we have made multiple trips through town in the back of my dad’s trailer. It definitely reminds me of those signs that you see at races that say “worst parade ever.”

Our new house came with lots of Mardi Gras decorations and so of course we had to get a picture with them (because obviously we are so festive like that) …

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Anywho … back to the race. The race advertises itself as flat, fast, & ugly! You run through the not-so-beautiful streets of Mobile’s “bail bond district” (seriously, you pass about 10 different bond companies as well as the county jail), but it is definitely flat and fast, so the description is totally on point. Lots of PRs went down (literally (get it … like the times got faster)) yesterday!

I did not PR, nor did I expect to. In fact, I went into this race with zero expectations, which I must admit was quite nice. I ran 20 miles the day before the race and the race wasn’t even technically on my schedule. I made a last-minute, game-time decision to run and I am so glad that I did! It was a beautiful day to run and to spend time with friends and I am 100% satisfied with my decision.

As far as the race itself, I was pleasantly surprised. I met and exceeded all expectations that I had (which was zero mind you). Haha. After a two (ish) mile warm up, we lined up on the start line and it was go time. I ran the first mile in 6:08 and felt good, so I decided to go with it. Daniel didn’t run the race, but he came to support me (or so I thought). He was out on the course at mile 1. I could hear him cheering for everyone in front of me as they ran by. The next thing I know, I have basically passed him and I hear him yell, “Go Jill! … and Sam!” It was pretty funny. I guess I snuck up on him, but it was just the way that he added the “and Sam” that made it seem like I was an afterthought. We all had a good laugh about it afterwards. 

I came through mile 2 in 6:04 and mile 3 in 6:09. It was a tad windy out there (and by a tad windy, I mean it was really windy) and so I tried my best to tuck in and hold on during the second half of the race. I ended up tucking in behind Aaron Freesmeier (who I seem to end up running beside in a lot of races recently). I tried my best to catch him, but he stayed steadily on pace right in front of me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but he ran a PR of 19:05, so that was awesome! I crossed in 19:08, which isn’t a PR, but was actually almost 30 seconds faster than I ran this same race last year, so I’ll take it!

As soon as I pulled my tab off and came through the chute, I turned around to see Jill! She ran an amazing race and ended up with a 27 second PR (!!!) of 19:19. We have been doing some workouts together and I was SO proud of her and happy to see her CRUSH it out there. She totally outkicked this teenager in the last 0.05 of the race too! Girl. Power.

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Not long after that Sasser came in and he also got himself a shiny new PR! He ran 19:48. I’ve been working with him over the last few months. He had a goal to break 20 minutes in the 5K and he has worked really hard to meet that goal. I was SO proud of and happy for him as well!

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Chronologically I have gotten out of order, but Young Daniel also ran an amazing race and came away with a new PR of 18:16! I told y’all. So many PRs. He was way ahead of me the whole race, so I  don’t know exactly how his race went (other than super-fast obviously). He and Steve were neck and neck at the finish.

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Our friend Cody also had a great race and ended up 2nd overall with a time of 17:57.

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Jessica rocked a solid 25:05 running for two! She is staying active and having a wonderful pregnancy so far. I’m so happy for this little mama-to-be!

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We hung out after the race for a little while and waited on the awards. Honestly, most people probably do this race for the post-race festivities. There’s live music, dancing, food and beverages, door prizes, etc. It’s always fun and you never really know what you’re gonna see.

For first female I got a $100 Visa gift card (pretty much the best race prize ever) and a cool coaster. This is me and Darrell, who won for the guys with a 17:35 (smokin’)!

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It was a wonderful day to race and everyone did so well. I LOVE IT. It is great to see people work hard and meet goals. You never know what you are capable of until you try!

That’s it for today. I hope y’all have a great week and I will talk to you soon!

Race Recap: RNR NOLA

Hey friends!

I hope your week is off to a good start! If you’ve been following along for a little bit, you know that I ran the Rock N Roll half marathon in New Orleans this past weekend. The race didn’t go exactly as I hoped that it would, but we had a great trip regardless!

After dropping Brooks off at the Dog Ranch mid-morning on Saturday, we met up with Jessica and Wes and headed to NOLA. Lower Alabama was VERY well represented in New Orleans this weekend! Everywhere we went (i.e., the expo and the race), we ran into so many people that we knew.

We stayed at the InterContinental on St. Charles. We were less than a mile from the expo and just a few blocks from the race start. The location couldn’t have been much better. Once we got to town, we decided to go ahead and hit the expo to get our bibs.

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Kenny, Young Daniel, Daniel, me and Jess!

We walked around the expo for a little bit, but I didn’t really see anything that I had to have. I usually LOVE expos, but this one was just really crowded and not as exciting as usual. I also managed to sign up for a women’s XL tee-shirt somehow. They told me I could exchange it, but the line was really long, so I decided to just roll with it. As the lady handed me the shirt, she said, “they run small …” (the ellipsis here represents an actual trail off of her words and isn’t just my typical overuse of this grammatical punctuation) and I was kind of like, “well cool, thanks (I think).” I do love a big shirt to sleep in.

We walked around a little bit more and stopped at a CVS to get some water and snacks for the room. At this point everyone was really hungry, so we decided to do an early dinner at Trenasse, which was the restaurant in our hotel. It was very good and so convenient (insert K Mart “ship my pants” joke here). After dinner I was so tired! Saturday started off fairly early with my half marathon training group and I missed my usual Saturday afternoon nap (yes, I am 31, going on 80!). We ended up walking over 5 miles around NOLA over the course of the afternoon too (which made for some tired legs and feet). Jessica and I decided to call it a night and the rest of the crew headed down to the French Quarter for beignets.

I got a pretty good night’s sleep. I woke up a few more times than I typically do at home though. One time I woke up and realized I was sleeping on my stomach with my arms above my head (which is not a normal sleep position for me). I tried to push up and roll over and my shoulder came out of socket! Argh. That hasn’t happened in so long. Have I told y’all that story? I don’t think I have because I don’t think it has dislocated at any point in the last few years.

I’ll try to keep this part brief … about 10 years ago, someone dared me to do a flip on my cousin’s trampoline (my cousin was about 3 or 4 years old at the time and I was 21 or 22). It was one of those really small, kid-sized trampolines with a net around it. I spent A LOT of time on the trampoline growing up (we never had one with a net though) and I thought for sure I would be able to do a flip on the little one too and so, of course, I took the dare. I flipped, got tangled in the netting and landed on my shoulder, causing it to dislocate. I thought my arm was broken for a hot minute, but luckily it popped back into place on its own. It hurt like the dickens though.

After that “incident” my shoulder would come out of place off an on randomly (think opening the refrigerator, trying to get something in the backseat of the car, drying off with a towel, wrapping Christmas presents (so very random), etc.). It happened so many times that I started to not even think anything about it. It would usually go back into place without much problem (except one time when my friend’s uncle who was a veterinarian had to pop it back in for me … that also hurt like the dickens).

That “usually” ended one fateful day in the middle of Mobile Bay as Daniel and I were sailing (which is also a funny story, but I’m already chasing tangents here). I was crawling to the front of the boat to let the jib out and my shoulder came out. This time it was serious and we were pretty much stuck in the middle of the bay. It was out of place for HOURS that day and by the time we made it to land I had to go to the ER to get it put back in place. I was given the option of surgery or physical therapy and I chose to do the PT and hope for the best. I rarely have issues with it now, but apparently it does still happen.

Whew. Keeping things brief is not my forte. Back to the race …

We woke up at 6 for a 7:30 race start and made some coffee in the room. I brought some UCAN to drink before the race. I don’t always take something before a half, but I thought this was going to be a good decision. I took a few sips of it and thought that it really didn’t taste very good, but it was a flavor that I don’t typically drink, so I didn’t think much about it. I choked down a few more sips and decided I was good to go. We left our hotel at about 7:15 and got in a quick one mile warm up before the race started.

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My plan for this race was very similar to First Light. In case you don’t have my race plans memorized (sarcasm), it was to start at 6:30 – 6:35, hold 6:23 – 6:28 for miles 2 through 10 and then under 6:25 for miles 11 – 13.1.

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In the words of Weird Al Yankovic, “I’m just too white & nerdy.”

I felt really good about the plan going into the race. I was confident in my fitness and I wasn’t nervous or anxious or anything like that about the race.

The first 5 miles went beautifully. I ran 6:30, 6:27, 6:26, 6:25, 6:24. All of those were exactly within the planned range. I felt good … until all of a sudden, I didn’t. I started to struggle during the sixth mile and from there it just got progressively worse. Miles 8 through 13 felt like the last six miles of a marathon after you have hit the wall. I just tried my best to do some damage control and not let it get too ugly out there. I was riding the struggle bus and I was just praying that the bus would make it to the finish line without breaking down!

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Eek.

I finished in 1:31 and haven’t been that happy to see a finish line in quite some time. This was a goal race for me and I’ve been pretty open about sharing my goal of 1:23 – 1:24. While the race didn’t go exactly as planned time-wise, I am still thankful that I was able to run and enjoy a weekend with friends. I don’t ever want the number on the clock to dictate my feelings.

I’m not going to lie and say that I wasn’t disappointed for a little bit, because I was. I have worked hard and put a lot of energy (mental and physical) into my training and I don’t feel like my race reflected this. I gave myself a little bit time to feel frustrated about it and then it was time to move on.

During my “frustration time,” I came up with a host of excuses or reasons that I don’t think this one went as well as I wanted it to. Just to name a few: I’m tired (the further into tax season I get, the more run down my body gets), I was out of my regular routine and likely didn’t get enough carbs in the day before the race, I ran 8 miles with my training group and then we walked all over NOLA the day before the race (which is NOT recommended … do as I say, not as I do), my UCAN was expired (kind of foreshadowing that I wrote about not thinking twice about food being passed its expiration date in my last post (ha)) and the list goes on …

None of that really matters though. It was not my day, but it was a good day to run! Any day that we are healthy enough to be able to run is a good day and I don’t want to ever lose sight of that fact.

My devotion is morning was just what I needed to hear, so I want to share it here in case it speaks to you too:

Offer God your willingness. Even if you feel small … even if you feel unlikely … even if everything in you is screaming you’re not someone who can be used by God … simply offer Him your willingness.

Use what God has given you. What’s in your hand, sweet friend? What gift, what talent, what ability? Whatever it is, take time to sharpen it. And choose to believe that God can use it when you humbly offer it up to Him.

Stay true to who you are. God isn’t asking you to be anyone other than you either. You do you, and then watch with humble amazement as God uses your willing, obedient, ordinary life to accomplish extraordinary things in His name.

Running in New Orleans this weekend was kind of bittersweet because I will always have the memory of winning that race. As cliché as it may sound, I truly feel like that was a life changing moment and now sometimes I feel like I will never be able to recreate that moment. This devotion reminds me that it is in the midst of the ordinary (i.e., non-life changing moments) that God can use us the most. Running is a truly gift and I always want to be ready and willing to run whatever (figurative) race that God is calling me to run.

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Have a great week! See ya soon!

RNR NOLA: Week 4 (RACE WEEK)

Hey there!

Race week is here and I wanted to go ahead and do the typical weekly training run-down post before the weekend gets too busy. Unfortunately this week was not super exciting from a training perspective, as I had to be a good (well behaved) runner and take it easy to get rested up for the half.

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Monday: 2 mi. WU, 3 mi. tempo (6:34 avg.), 1 mi. recovery, 3 X 1:00 (5:50 – 6:00 ish), 2 mi. CD 

Monday was the only official workout of the week. This was actually supposed to be done Tuesday (since the half is Sunday, that would’ve still given me four days of easy runs), but my schedule on Tuesday is super hectic with strength training in the morning and coaching in the evening, so my options were Monday or Wednesday. Wednesday probably would’ve been fine as far as having time to properly recover, but I’ve settled into a good routine of Monday being a workout day and it’s nice to go ahead and kick the week off with a workout, so Monday was the winner!

I ran into Jill at the grocery store Sunday afternoon and she said that she was up for a “Move It Monday” workout too, so that worked out really well. It is always nice to have a friend to run with! We met at the track Monday morning, but Jill was less than thrilled about the idea of running a 3 mile tempo around the track (I think we just met there more out of habit than anything else) and I was less than thrilled about the idea of doing a tempo run on the sidewalks in the dark, so we came up with a decent solution and decided to take our tempo to the streets. We had to bail or cross to the other side of the road a couple of times because of cars, but otherwise it was great!

The plan for the tempo portion of the workout was a 6:40, 6:30, 6:20 progression. What we actually did was 6:47, 6:24, 6:28. Our route had a few hills (up and down), which made the progression aspect of the workout difficult, but overall our average was pretty much spot on. We got a one mile recovery and then we did three 1 minute “pick ups.” The pick up portion was hilly as well, so we got a bonus hill repeat or two thrown in there.

The workout flew by and I really enjoy workouts that have a little tempo followed by some speed. It keeps things interesting and you get in some solid work!

Tuesday: 4.5 miles (8:32 pace) + strength training

Tuesday morning was 4.5 easy miles with Rebecca and Jessica followed by 45 minutes of BACK exercises. Holy moly. I never knew there were so many different muscles in my back or that there were so many different ways that you could work them out.

Wednesday AM: 8 miles (9:06 pace)

Daniel, Jessica and I ran 8 easy miles Wednesday morning. Nothing super exciting to note, but it was definitely a good run.

Wednesday PM: 4 miles (7:35 pace) + strength training

We got our second strength training session in on Wednesday this week, which worked well. I got off work in time to do a few miles before our session started. I ran a little bit quicker than I typically would have because it was starting to get a little dark and I was by myself. I had my phone and taser on me, but still …

We did lower body and core Wednesday evening (lots of squats, donkey kicks and planks).

Thursday: 5 miles (8:26 pace)

Daniel and I got in 5 easy miles before work Thursday morning.

Friday: 5 miles (7:53 pace)

Friday morning was basically just a repeat of Thursday morning.

Saturday: 8 miles (8:32 pace)

My training group had 8 miles on the schedule this morning. We woke up to chilly temperatures (that seemed to come out of nowhere) in the 30s! I really wasn’t expecting that, but everyone bundled up and did great. This was their longest run so far!

Hopefully the temperature will be good for the race tomorrow … fingers crossed! It looks like it’s going to be mid 50s, which would be really nice.

Enjoy your weekend! Talk to you soon!

January Recap

Well guys, January is done! You should all have your 1099s and W-2s at this point, so it’s time to get those tax returns filed. Fun times! Ha. BUT … only 2 and 1/2 more months of craziness remains! It is probably too early for a countdown.

Since we are at the end of the first month of 2017, I figured it was time for a monthly recap post. I tweaked my “monthly recap” template for 2017 to keep things a little more interesting around here. We’ll start with running (because … running … duh) and then we’ll move on to the miscellaneous randomness portion of the post. There is not much that I love more than running and miscellaneous randomness, so I’m excited to report on both of these things at the end of each month.

Here we go!

RECAP: January 2017

Workouts: 8 workouts this month. From an overview perspective, I had one week of taper for the First Light Half, followed by a week of recovery (so just one workout at the end of that week) and then two pretty solid weeks of training for Rock N Roll New Orleans with 3 workouts per week.

2 mi. WU, 4 mi. brisk (6:49, 6:45, 6:40, 6:40), 1 mi. recovery, 6 X 30 seconds (6:00, 5:56, 5:52, 5:48, 5:44, 5:40), 2 mi. CD

16 mile moderate pace LR (7:30)

2 mi. WU, 12 X 400 w/ 200 rec. (85, 87, 85, 85, 84, 85, 86, 85, 87, 86, 89, 86), 2 mi. CD

2 mi. WU, 3 X 2 miles (13:00, 12:54, 12:44), 2 mi. CD

14 mile LR w/ last 5: 7:02, 6:44, 6:42, 6:45, 6:55

2 mi. WU, 4 X 800 (3:00, 3:00 2:56, 2:54), 2 X 1 mi. (5:56, 5:52), 1.5 mi. CD

15 mi. moderate pace LR (7:38)

2 mi. WU, 3 mi. tempo (6:34 avg.), 1 mi. recovery, 3 X 1:00 (5:50 – 6:00), 2 mi. CD

Favorite workout: I really enjoyed what I am going to call “the race week workout,” which has been some sort of tempo combined with some quicker pickups towards the end (to get you used to pushing hard on tired legs). My first and last workout in January are both examples of this.

Races: 2 races this month. I ran the First Light Half on January 8th & the Charity Chase 5K on January 28th. I mentioned it in my last post, but I’m still contemplating the idea of doing a half marathon each month in 2017. July and August are actually the only two months that there isn’t a half somewhere in the state of Alabama, so I think it’s doable from a travel perspective. The half is my favorite distance too, so it just makes sense … right? Right.

Favorite Race: First Light Half! I rarely order race photos (in my 10+ years of running, I think I’ve ordered race photos maybe 5 times), but I really liked this one from First Light this year. I like that the clock is prominently displayed and I LOVE that my dad is in the background (on the left side in the blue jacket).

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Paces: My paces this month ranged from 5:52 to 10:34! That’s a pretty wide range. The 5:52 mile was in one of my workouts (definitely not an everyday pace by any means) and the runs that I do with the half marathon training group that I am coaching are usually closer to the 9:30 to 10:30 range.

Total miles: 290

Distances: The distances I ran ranged from 3 miles to 16 miles this month.

Strength work: Y’all. Please be super impressed by this stat. I did 4.5 hours of strength training in January (in the form of six 45 minute sessions). WHAT?! That is a big deal from someone who formerly disregarded any and all strength training. I can now pick things up and put them down with the best of ’em.

Current book: I am still working on Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight. At the rate I am going, I will likely still be working on this one until April. I’m not saying that it isn’t interesting, because it is really good so far, but I am just SO TIRED at the end of the day that I only make it through one or two pages before my eyes close and the Kindle hits me in the face (which oddly doesn’t even wake me up).

Current music: I’ve really been digging the song Just Like Fire by P!nk lately. We can get ’em running, running, running.

Current guilty pleasure: Afternoon coffee. You know it’s tax season when afternoon coffee comes back into your life. We have a fresh batch of iced coffee at the office, which is just plain irresistible sometimes.

Current drink: I placed my first official Nuun “ambassador” order and so I’m well stocked on Nuun for a ‘lil while. It will be interesting to see how long the 12 tubes will actually last me. I drink two tabs at a time and sometimes I drink two or three cups per day, so it might not last too long!

Current food: Breakfast has been the most popular meal that we have been eating out lately. My favorite breakfast meal that I’ve had recently was the Bananas Foster French Toast that I got from Brick & Spoon. It was every bit as delicious as it sounds.

Current obsession: Okay, so I’ve got two obsessions (I’m a slightly obsessive person anyway, so the fact that I only have two is probably a step in the right direction). One is Wayfair! They’ve got “Just What I Need!” Daniel and I have been browsing and saving lots of things! The second one is ChapStick (just realized that this is one of those things that what you call it is actually just a brand (like Q-Tips or Coke)). Santa put several things of “lip balm” in my stocking this year and I can’t get enough!

Current need: I need to pack for New Orleans!

Current indulgence: This is more of a “contemplated” indulgence at this point, but I am thinking about getting a standing desk converter for my computer at work. Unfortunately my computer is so heavy (#fourmonitorproblems) that the one I would need is quite expensive. I can’t decide if the cost is justified or not. I know sitting all day is not good and I really like the idea of having the option to stand, but I can also see it being one of those things that sounds way cooler than it actually is. Anyone out there have a standing desk converter? I need some feedback before I decide whether or not to splurge on this!

Current bane of my existence: My phone is about to drive me bonkers. Something is wrong with the volume settings and sometimes it rings even when I have it on silent and other times my alarm makes ZERO noise even when I have the volume on. So strange.

Current procrastination: My windshield has a huge crack in it and I have definitely been putting off getting that replaced. Did you know that you can actually get a ticket for having a cracked windshield (obstruction of view)? Daniel got a ticket for that once. For right now it is a risk I’m worth dealing with.

Current confession: I sometimes eat foods that are passed their expiration date. Daniel thinks that this is horrific and I usually don’t even think twice about it.

Current quote: In the spirit of getting prepared to be uncomfortable in New Orleans … 

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Current excitement: Rock N Roll New Orleans! It’s ALMOST HERE. I can’t wait!

Tell me something that you are currently excited about!