Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Soldier Field 10 Mile - A Race Report

Pretty much since last winter, I've been training for one race or another.  I never have any aspirations to win, or even place in my age group - I'm slow, y'all - but I always want to do "well".  Well is a totally relative term and changes day to day.  Sometime after my 1/2 marathon last October, I decided I would train for and tackle the 25k Fifth Third River Bank Run.  I figured that would be my one big race for the spring and I'd be done with it.  Little did I know that I'd end up running a 10 mile race a few weeks before RBR, a 5k the week after (in a tutu!), and then finish up what I'd eventually termed "Marathon May" with my first travel race - the Soldier Field 10 Mile in Chicago two weeks after RBR.  Somehow, I'd even convinced my husband to sign up for that one too (I think it had to do with the 50 yard line finish).  My husband isn't much of a runner.  Wait - I take that back - he's a runner who never trains.  He can go weeks and weeks without running and then knock out 6 or 8 miles easily.  He'd never run 10.  I figured this was probably my one and only chance to beat him in a race, because even though I train my ass off, he's still faster than me.  I had endurance on my side.  Let's see how it played out, shall we?

We headed for Chicago after getting a bit of a late start at home.  I made poor M drive (he hates driving in the city) so I could play on twitter :)  The roads were clear, until just outside of the City.

Our first stop was Fleet Feet Sports in the Pipers Alley area.  The packet pick-up was easy and well staffed and we got our shirts and bibs in no-time.  I was so geeked to see our bibs were personalized!  I've never had my name on a race bib before :)  We even had a few minutes to shop around, until M reminded me we'd only put an hour in the meter and had to walk back a few blocks to the car.  Party pooper.


After leaving Fleet Feet Sports, we had fun ticking off the Garmin by taking wrong turns.  Eventually we found our way to our hotel.  We stayed at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and I would definitely stay there again.  Our room was beautiful and the staff was so nice.  Dinner at the hotel restaurant was also really good.  My chicken parm could have fed a family of six - no lie.  Before we ate dinner though, we mapped out a route and saw it was only about a mile to the stadium.  We walked most of the way so we'd know exactly where we'd need to go in the morning.  As long as I've lived in this area, I still can't get over how much Soldier Field has changed from when I was a kid.  Don't think I'll ever get used to it (kinda like the lights at Wrigley but that's another post).


We turned in early and set our alarms for 5:15 am.  I was paranoid about not waking up, so we got a wake-up call too, but that was silly because I was pretty much up from 3 am on.  M and I got ourselves ready and cooked up our superexpensive oatmeal that we found in the hotel gift shop. Note to self: remember to bring your damn breakfast next time.  After eating and hydrating, we made the mile walk to Soldier Field.  There were so many other runners and spectators also making that early morning walk.  The weather was cool but muggy (mid 50's but 100% humidity).  There was so much haze that we couldn't see the tops of the skyscrapers.



We got to the stadium and made our way inside to the gear check.  This is actually the first time I've ever checked gear at a race - I've always had M to hold it all for me!  After checking our gear we wandered around and checked out the field.  Because of the weather, they covered the grass past the finish line.  M and I both thought this was ridiculous, but whatever.  I was a little cold, but decided to leave my long-sleeve shirt with the rest of our stuff.  Probably the smartest thing I did all day.  We headed outside to get ready for the 7:30 start.  There were 15000 people registered so there were also 4 starting corrals.  We were in the last corral to start because M didn't have any races long enough to submit for a seated corral.  No big deal though.  We just hung out and listened to the Memorial Day program they put on and rocked out to Springsteen and Mellencamp.  I gotta tell you, though.  15000 people take a LONG time to start.  By the time we started, almost 25 minutes later, the lead runner had already hit 5 miles.


Finally it was our turn to go and we made our way to the starting line.  M seems to hate it when I give him running advice, but I told him he had to stop at the aide stations for water because of the weather.  I was carrying hydration, but he wasn't.  Also, I told him I wasn't planning to stop. 

We made our start and headed away from the stadium and toward McCormick Place.  Running under McCormick was weird - it was very dark and there were LOTS of potholes.  I kept thinking I was going to fall.  M stayed with my through the first aide station at about mile 1.5 but then I didn't see him again until I made the turn around at about 5 miles.  From where we were, it looked like I probably had a 5 minute lead.  (Turns out, he stopped to use the facilities - rookie mistake - he should have peed in the bushes.)  Once we turned around and headed up the lake trail back towards the stadium, the congestion got REALLY frustrating.  I spent most of the first 5 miles passing a lot of people (the benefit to such a huge race) but on the trails passing became almost impossible.  It was extremely crowded and I found myself getting claustrophobic.  I felt great with my run and my pace too, but the heat and humidity were really starting to get to me and I kept hoping M was getting fluids.  I wanted to come in under 1:45, but the inability to get around people really slowed me down.  I also had some major pain around mile 7 - the first time I've felt actual PAIN during a race.  As I was running, sharp, shooting pain was flaring through my right leg from knee to hip.  Most the the pain was in my quad and hip and my first thought was stress fracture.  I walked a few times in the last 3 miles, but looking back at my splits it didn't slow me down as much as I thought it did (only 10-15 sec per mile).  I tried to focus on the beautiful scenery along the lake, but because of the haze, the Chicago skyline was pretty much nonexistent.  With less than a mile to go, I could finally see Soldier Field.  Now, if you've ever walked around Chicago, you know that everything seems MUCH closer than it really is!  It seemed to take forever to get around the stadium and into the tunnel that lead to the field.  Oddly - I had my 3rd fastest split in this last mile though!  We headed into the underbelly of Soldier Field and around a corner I could see light.  Here was the grass and I sprinted to the finish - making sure to look up and see myself on the jumbotron as I crossed the finish line.  So incredibly cool! 


I waited for quite a while for M to finish, but I never saw him.  Turns out he finished only 1:03 behind me but 189 people finished in that minute!  The number of people on the field was unreal. 


Once he found me, we headed off the field to get our medals and celebrated inside the stadium for a bit. 


We made our way back to the hotel, walking much slower than we did to get to the race.  Poor M was really feeling those extra 2 miles over his previous longest run!   We got ourselves checked out of the hotel and headed out of the city.  The first stop was a well deserved lunch.

After lunch, I made M walk around IKEA for an hour before heading the 3 hours home.  All the way home, the rain poured down - and I thanked God it waited until after we were finished running (although the rain might have helped with the heat/humidity a bit).  The rain matched my mood.  I was kicking myself for not finishing "better" - farther ahead of M and under 1:45, but so many of my friends kept reminding me that I had just finished my 3rd race in 3 weeks and I still beat M.  Gotta be happy with that.

The final stats:
B: 1:47:00 (10:41 pace) finishing 8889/12276 overall; 4435/6953 women, and 566/924 in my age group.
M: 1:48:03 (10:48 pace) finishing 9078/12276 overall, 4492/5323 men, and 619/743 in his age group.

Will I do this race again?  Possibly.  I loved the scenery, but the crowding was hard.  Gotta admit, though, the swag was pretty sweet!

Monday, May 30, 2011

LLRB 365: 2011 Week 21

Oh my goodness it has been one heck of a week. 
Enjoy

Monday
5-23-11
Came home from FitBloggin to find my fitbit had arrived!

Tuesday
5-24-11
Tried to catch-up on blogs while watching the Biggest Loser finale.


Wednesday
5-25-11
Cracked open a real book!


Thursday
5-26-11
Felt a bit melancholy and the skies matched my mood.


Friday
5-27-11
Headed into Chicago for the Soldier Field 10 Mile.
My first personalized race bib!


Saturday
5-28-11
The finishers!  I finished in 1:47:00 and M in 1:48:03. 
I've officially crossed a finish line before my husband :)
(Race report will follow - maybe tomorrow)


Sunday
5-29-11
Our resident duck is back and up to her old tricks.
She nested under our deck again.


There you have it - a nice week overall with the last of my planned races completed. 

How about you - what were the highlights of your week?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A FitBloggin '11 Top 11

The top 11 things I learned at FitBloggin' 11 in Baltimore, Maryland
(yes, that totally rhymed but I'm leaving it).

Enjoy

11.  Stay real and true to yourself. 
When I bought my domain name, I had the hardest time deciding on a name.  I had lots of suggestions, but ended up going with the name I proudly wear today.  My goal in life.
Live Life to the Fullest.  Laugh Often.  Run Free. And Just Breathe

10.  Zumba can be fun.
I can honestly say I had a great time during the Zumba class.  And who wouldn't have fun with Thea Zumba-ing (yes, it's a verb) next to you!

9.  I need to communicate with my readers (That's YOU!)
Katy Widrick and Jess Milcetich said in their "Branding Basics: How to Be a Social Media Susperstar" presentation how important is to show readers that I'm listening.  I've always just used the standard Blogger comments, but my biggest complaint was the inability to respond to your comments.  I now have Intense Debate and CommentLuv.  So, please use it and I'll talk back to you!  (It is a work in progress and may not be working at 100%, but it'll get there.)
Update: the comments are not showing up, but I'm getting them in my email - I'm working to fix the problem but any suggestions would be appreciated.

8.  Size doesn't matter - at least in regards to my camera
According to Jim Doran, I need to work more on "The Art of Seeing" vs the "Act of Taking a Picture".  I can stop obsessing about using my little iPhone and Canon Power Shot cameras for my blog photos.  Sure, a big girl camera would be nice, but unless I'm printing poster sized images, it just isn't necessary.  The rule of thirds, angles, lighting, practice taking pictures, and good editing software are more important.  Plus, I can take a pretty decent photo with my iPhone when I want to.


Pretty fish at the National Aquarium
7.  Going to FitBloggin' doesn't mean you have to eat roots and berries (unless you want to). 
The food from sponsors Attune Foods (yummy cereal with lots of fresh fruit), Egg-Land's Best eggs (the best hard boiled eggs I've ever had - and I don't even LIKE eggs), LaraBars, Nature's Greens, popchips, the list goes on and on.  I wish I'd taken pictures of the food!
6.  FitBloggin is the only place you can put a couple hundred women and a few men (Woot! to the Men of FitBloggin) in a conference center and everyone interacts like old friends.
The blogging community really is a community of friends.  I don't remember which session it was, but someone (maybe Katy?-sorry I don't remember) talked about how we shouldn't be in competition with each other, but should help each other learn and grow as writers and bloggers.  I loved this.

photo credit: carriedphotography
5.  I need to be more consistent in my blogging.
This goes back to Katy and Jess's presentation.  I plan to start more of a consistent schedule for my blog.  Sure, I usually do the posts for the Shrinking Jeans challenges on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (and I wouldn't have even BEEN at FitBloggin' if it weren't for one of their contests so I owe The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans BIG TIME - THANK YOU!!!), but I need to add some other regular posts.  I've been posting my 365 photo posts randomly throughout the weekend, but from now on they will always be posted on Mondays. 

I would LOVE suggestions from you for some other regular-type posts.  Please-leave me some ideas in the comments and I'll see what I can do!

4.  Jack Sh*t, Charlie, and Sue are just as funny in real life (if not funnier) than they are on their blogs. 
Plus, that Jack Sh*t fellow is a real dream-boat (someone "anonymous" said that on one of my previous posts).


3.  You will leave with no shortage of swag if you go to FitBloggin'.
Seriously, next year I am packing an entire separate suitcase, just to bring home the swag.  The New Balance shoes and capris were awesome and all this other stuff was just icing on the cake I mean hummus for my carrots!  This isn't even all of it.  Most of the food-stuffs were consumed in an effort to close my suitcase.


2.  Running with friends while wearing a tutu freaking ROCKS!  I'm a total tutu convert.

Christy, Kirsten, ChristieO, Lisa, Me, Thea
1.  Plane tickets $, Hotel Room $$, Cocktails $$$, A weekend with Friends: Priceless

JenInRL

 Lisa
ChristieO & April


Roo
Me & Kirsten - on the shuttle ride to the airport - so sad to say goodbye
After the recaps have all been read, new blogs have been added to Google Reader, and the session notes have been reviewed, in the end there are some memories of FitBloggin that will forever stay in my heart.  I thank The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans,  Roni and the organizers of FitBloggin for not only helping me become a better writer/blogger, but for the memories I will cherish for a lifetime. 
I went to a little conference last weekend to learn about blogging and run a 5k, but I gained so much more than a little knowledge and a workout.
Until next year, FitBloggin'!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May Your Way Check-In Wednesday: The Post Fitbloggin Addition

If you've followed me for any length of time, you know I love The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans and all their fun, crazy challenges.  We are into week 4? of the May Your Way challenge, where we got to set our own goals and whatnot.  I'm totally suffering from an extreme case of Fitbloggin Withdrawal.  Seriously, I'm ready to submit my symptoms to the DSM-IV people and see if we can get it as an official diagnosis when the DSM-V comes out in 2013.  I think this is why I haven't been able to write a recap yet.  Recapping the weekend would mean it is really over.  So sad.

In any case, I need to report how I am doing on my goals.  Make that goal - singular.  My goal for the challenge was to get through my 3 races uninjured.  Well, I'm 2 for 3 with my final race coming up on Saturday.  I felt really good after the 5k and I have no doubt I'll finish my 3rd race.  I was hoping for a 10 mile PR, but now I just want to have fun and finish it.  Enjoy running in Chicago along the lakeshore.  KWIM?  You can read about my 25k here and see how cute I looked in my tutu (if I do say so myself) for the Fitbloggin 5k here (I'm the one in green).  Next week I'll be reporting on how the Soldier Field 10 Mile goes.  I haven't run much this week - only 2 miles actually, because I'm really tired and my heart hasn't been in it.  I was talking with one of my IRL girlfriends and she says this is what overtraining feels like.  I think I'm going to take a bit of a break after this weekend and let my body and mind heal.

As for the mantras and all that other stuff - like I said, I'm feeling a bit of burnout and withdrawal.  I WILL get my mojo back.  No question about that.  Maybe this week I'll even get a Fitbloggin post written. Maybe.

How about you?  Did you attend Fitbloggin and if you did, did I get to meet you?  Please remind me because I met so many amazing women and men last weekend.

PS-I just added Intense Debate for comments, so let me know what you think.  M'Kay?  I love that I can now comment back to you all.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

True Confession Tuesday

This past weekend I was one of the lucky gals (and a few guys) to attend Fitbloggin '11 in Baltimore, MD.  Right now, I have so many thoughts/reflections swirling around in my head and I don't even know where to begin to get them all down.  I promise I will right a post devoted to Fitbloggin, but I need to get my thoughts together first.  I do know that I'm not confessing to feeling guilty about anything I ate or drank this weekend.  Overall, I'd say I was pretty darn good.  For that, I am proud.

I do know that I met so many wonderful, incredible people this weekend, and that is due in large part to The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.  I won a ticket many months ago, and at the time it seemed that May would never get here.  Now the time has past and I can't wait until next year.

One tidbit I did come away with was the need to change up my blogger comments.  I've just installed Intense Debate with Comment Luv.  Please let me know what you think - especially if you run into any glitches.

Much love!

Monday, May 23, 2011

LLRB 365: 2011 Week 20

Well, I have to say the month of May is turning out to be a pretty phenomenal month!  As I write this post, I have a bazillion thoughts running through my head about the conference I just returned from.  Fitbloggin '11 was amazing and will definitely require several of its own posts.  Until then, I leave you with my week in pictures.

Monday
5-16-11
I love the color on this tree in my backyard.  Anyone know what kind of tree it is?


Tuesday
5-17-11
Playing Words With Friends.  Where's a dang "e" when you need one?

Wednesday
5-18-11
Final preparations for Fitbloggin included making my first tutu!
(and then trying to fit it in my suitcase - PSA: roll it up)


Thursday
5-19-11
I spent my first day in Baltimore wandering the Inner Harbor and then visiting the National Aquarium with one of my most favoritest people in the whole world, April.


Friday
5-20-11
The first official day of Fitbloggin '11 and it was full of fitness activities.  I finally got to meet and run and Zumba and ... with so many of my girls!


Saturday
5-21-11
Today's Fitbloggin sessions were all about blogging and social media.  This day deserves its own post, so you get pictures from the most delicious dinner.  If you find yourself in Baltimore, Go to Eat Bertha's Mussels and order the crab cake sandwich (minus the bun) and the seafood pasta salad.  Then go to Pitango Gelato in Fells Point.  April and Kirsten are mine, though.  You can't have them :)


Sunday
5-22-11
Today was a day of travel and tears (I miss my hookers already!).  I feel incredibly blessed to have won the Fitbloggin ticket from Shrinking Jeans that allowed me to meet IRL all these amazing women and men.  I was truly surrounded by friends.


Many of you may be finding my little corner of the blogosphere for the first time thanks to Fitbloggin. If you are new here, Welcome! If you are an old friend, Welcome back :) I hope to implement some of the coolness that I learned this weekend, so you may see some changes here in the not too distant future.


So, thanks for stopping by.  Feel free to poke around, open my medicine cabinet, check in the cupboards.  I hope you like what you see. 

Until next time, I leave you with a question:  What is your favorite photo subject?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Oh My Fitbloggin11

Holy WOW! This weekend has been the BEST! I can.not.wait to get home and start reading all the blogs of the fantabulous bloggers I've met here in Baltimore. A longer post will come next week, but here are a few highlights via blogpress :)










- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Key Hwy,Baltimore,United States

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday Check-In: May Your Way Week 3

Holy cats we are into week 3 of Shrinking Jeans latest endeavor.  You know, the one where we make our own goals?  Sweet!  Even more importantly, we are 1 day away from Fitbloggin!  Can you tell I'm a teensy bit excited?  

My goals for this challenge have been simple.  Stay injury free and complete my 3 races this month.  I'm happy to say that race #1, My 1st 25k is in the bank!  You can read my race report here :)  I'm feeling pretty much recovered and plan to test the legs with a short 1-2 mile run this afternoon.  Also, the back problems that have been plaguing me for a couple weeks, while not completely gone, are improved somewhat. Race #2 is on Friday at Fitbloggin and the Soldier Field 10 miler is in 10 days! Say a prayer that hubby makes it. He's battling injuries for the first time in his running career.  The dude even mentioned wanting to make an appointment with my chiro before the race.

To be honest, I really haven't done many pushups but I've kept up with the Sister Says challenges (64 oz of water and 5 servings of fruits and veggies) at least 80% of the time.  This week's Sister Says is to look in the mirror every day and find one positive thing to say about yourself.  I vow to try really hard on that one.

I'm also channeling the May Mantras: I am Strong, I am Worthy, Just Breathe (heck, BREATHE is in my blog title!) and I had a great time hanging out with the Sisters for SisterChat on Monday :)  Sadly, I missed Tworkout because I was doing blog maintenance and answering questions last night.  Did you notice my new "About Me" and "20 Questions" pages?!?

Last but not least, I was the lucky sister last week to win the Fitbit and I can't wait to get it and try it out!  Make sure you get your digits entered so you can win one too.

When I get home tonight, I will finish packing for Fitbloggin!!!! Say a prayer that I make it to the airport by 4:30 am tomorrow and my flight to Baltimore is excitedly UNeventful.  I can't wait to see everyone Tomorrow!!!

Smootches!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2011 Fifth Third River Bank Run


On Saturday, May 14, 2011, I did something I said I'd *never* do.  I ran 15.5 miles.  I set 2 PRs that day - distance and time.  A pretty good way to start off a Saturday morning. 

But this journey really started over a year ago while training for the 2010 River Bank Run.  I'd decided to start running again and set my sights on the 10k.  After that race, I literally just kept on running.  Another 10k in July and then the Grand Rapids Half-Marathon in October.  A few weeks ago I ran my first 10 mile race.  All in preparation to run the 2011 Fifth Third River Bank Run 25k, the largest 25k road race (participant-wise) of it's kind in the country.  Saturday morning, I set out with nearly 21,000 of my *closest* friends.  Of these 21,000 people, around 5600 would run the 25k race.  (There are also 5k walk, 5k run, 10k, and 25k handcycle & wheelchair races.)  With that many participants, plus around 30,000+ spectators and volunteers, you can imagine how insane the energy was.

I started off the week making sure to eat lots of good carbs and get my hydration taken care of.  This included the obligatory giant plate of pasta the night before the race.  (This might explain the slight bump on the scale.)  I also had a great time wandering around the expo.  I got all my gear situated and crawled into bed by 10:00. 

Somewhere around 0-dark-30, I woke up and started getting ready.  I was less than thrilled to hear the rain hitting the windows, but for the past several years, the weather has been pretty cruddy for RBR so I really wasn't surprised.  Plus, I had been stalking the weather channel, so I knew not to expect sunny skies.  Early morning prep followed my usual long-run M.O.  I had a bowl of oatmeal with butter and brown sugar for breakfast (don't knock it till you try it!) and made up a 32 oz pitcher of Fruit Punch Nuun.  I also spent some quality time with Mr. Foam Roller. (Isn't the hubby a great photographer? - Wait, don't answer that.)

We headed downtown around 6:30 am and found a great parking spot at our church.  Since the rain was coming down VERY hard and neither of us thought to grab an umbrella, we waited for a bit in the car.  I played some Angry Birds and Mike took a nap.  About 10 minutes after 7, the rain let up and we decided to make the walk down to DeVos Place.  As we were walking down the hill toward the expo center, we got to see the lead runner in the men's 5k race go flying by (literally - the dude finished in 15:04!).  We made our way into the expo center and met up with our neighbor, who was also running the 25k.  Scott is hilarious but I needed to find a potty, so we wished him luck and were off.  Since I was signed up as a member of my school district's team, I was allowed access to a special "hospitality" area.  The best thing I ever did was ask what was involved in being on the team.  I never received a response until my name showed up on the roster.  Apparently, nothing is involved - except perks like women's bathrooms with no lines and snacks before the race!  Mike couldn't come in the room, so he stayed out in the main area and kept texting me the number of women in the bathroom lines - 40, 50, 60.  In my line?  Zip, Zero, Zilch!  but the men's line had about 20-30 guys!  Think the teams were a little testosterone heavy, maybe?  Needless to say, I will be a proud member of Grandville's team again next year :)

Anyhoo.  I spent some time stretching and using the facilities, then headed back out to meet up with Mike.  The rain had slowed to a drizzle at this point (it's now around 8:10) and so after one more trip into the "good" bathroom, we headed outside to line up for the 25k race.  I decided to line up with the 11 m/m pacers to keep myself from starting out too fast.  
Here I am, in the rain, waiting for the start!


In reality, it took about 5 minutes after the gun went off to actually cross the starting line.  Lots of starts and stops.  There was a bunch of good natured mooing and bleating as we all felt like livestock being lead to the slaughter.  I finally got close to the starting line and I hear Mike yell my name and tell me good luck.  He got a great picture of the dude next to me starting his race :)

Where's Bari?






I had my playlist all set to go and mapmyrun started, but I had decided a couple days before the race that I wouldn't put in my earbuds until at least mile 3.  I wanted to enjoy the energy of the crowd and just "be" while I settled in.  The race headed down Market Avenue and into the Kent Trails system.  I never saw the 1 mile sign and started to get a bit worried when I checked my watch and it said "18-something".  I thought, "Crap, I'm doomed" but a few minutes later, there was the sign for mile 2.  I hit the split on my watch and clocked 22:17:02 for the first 2 miles.  These first couple miles had a slight downhill grade, which was nice.  Shortly before (or maybe it was after) the 2 mile sign, I struck up a conversation with a woman named Kim from Kalamazoo.  We chatted about our jobs and she told me she had run the Kalamazoo 1/2 Marathon the previous weekend.  We asked each other about pace and both said we were looking to stay around 11 m/m.  It was fate :) 

Before we knew it, mile 3 passed (10:56:17) and so did mile 4 (11:04:48).  We are cruising right along under the tree canopy on Indian Mounds Drive, with the Grand River on our right.  Along this path, we were passed by several myTeamTriumph groups.  Everyone would cheer and yell out the "Team Captain's" name.  Watching these groups push their Captains along the route was truly inspirational.  I was wondering if I should put in my music at this point.  I didn't really feel I needed it, but I'd never run this far before without music.  All of a sudden, I notice a spectator on my left wearing his new Kalamazoo Marathon shirt.  It was Pete! (@pmumbower on twitter)  I got a great, double high-five a high ten? from Pete and a TON of high-fives from the Grandville Varsity cheerleaders and football players (including one from the preschool teacher at my school - she's the cheer coach!).  Go Bulldogs!  Those cheers and high-fives kept me going. 

Mile 5 passed by (11:04:15) and we hit mile 6 just before Wilson Avenue (10:58:04).  On Wilson, we crossed the Grand River and I saw another one of my friends spectating.  A quick right on Butterworth and we started a gradual uphill that would last for about 3 miles.  We passed mile 7 (11:23:83) and 8 (11:11:97) and we were over 1/2 way there!  Cue mile 9 (11:05:78) OMG am I really maintaining this pace and have I really not walked???  Kim and I are still chatting on and off and I haven't plugged in.  I've given serious thought to walking, but so far, have only walked thru aid stations for water (I was carrying Nuun and eating a couple Sport Beans every mile or so).  At this point, we hit the big hill that is Maynard Avenue.  Our pace slows a bit, but we hit mile 10 (11:28:59) without much of a slow-down. 

Now it's time for a nice downhill and the rollers (little bunny hills for a couple miles) of Butterworth Drive.  Mile 11 (11:09:52) and mile 12 (11:13:57) go by.  We are now heading into town toward the zoo.  The spectators are great - even the senior citizen who said he'd like to chase a couple of cute girls (yep-sped up a bit there).  Mile 13 (10:59:16).  I look at my watch a minute or two after mile 13 and I realize I've just probably set a 1/2 marathon PR by about 2 minutes!  We run past the entrance to the zoo and I see a family with a sign that says "Go, Mom, Go".  I've seen them 3 times now!  They've been booking from place to place to cheer on Mom, but this Mom appreciates it too.  There are also lots of kids giving out high-fives and a live band playing :)  We pass mile 14 (11:19:21) and I think to myself, "uncharted territory" and start to get choked up a bit.  Right at this point, Kim says, "2 and a half more miles.  We've GOT this."  My legs are fried, but at this point, there is NO WAY I'm slowing down to walk.  I got a bit lightheaded somewhere around mile 14 and take some more Sport Beans.  All better.  We are headed down Lake Michigan Drive to Fulton Street and around the Grand Valley State University downtown campus.  Mile 15 (11:03:83) - holy crap we've sped back up.  I see a couple people down on the bridge back over the Grand River.  I'm so sad for them that they are a 1/2 mile from the finish line and aren't going to finish their race.  As we cross the bridge, another band starts playing "Don't Stop Believing".  I about lost it.  No, Bari, you will not start to cry.  We round the corner and start heading UPHILL to the finish line.  *Note to race organizers - this is just plain cruel.  Lucky for those mean (not really - they're awesome) organizers, there are thousands of people cheering and yelling us on to the finish line.  I hear Mike and my friends Joe and Angie (who finished in 1:59!!!!) screaming my name.  Mike even manages to take a decent picture as I "pose" while running :) The finish line is in sight (last 1/2 mile in 5:44:28).  I hear the race announcer call my name.  I have just finished a 25K!  Let the waterworks begin.

Official Time: 2:52:55
4712/5221 overall
2010/2360 women
248/295 age group
Our Grandville team finished 7/17 in Corporate Division 1
(a note about our team-8 women, 1 man - GIRL POWER!)

After I crossed the finish line and a really hot volunteer put the medal around my neck, I grabbed a carton of chocolate milk and a piece of watermelon.  I turn around and see 2 of my friends from church who had finished a little bit before me.  In a sea of literally thousands of people, I run into ones I know.  Mike, Joe and Angie find me and we walk around for a bit until I start feeling like I'm not going to keel over.  At one point, Angie points out that my lips are completely purple and grabs my hand.  My nails are also completely purple.  She advises me to get my inhaler, so I take a few puffs.  I also never *felt* cold, but I stripped out of my wet shirt and put on a dry shirt and Mike's coat.  By the time we got to the car about 20 minutes later, I was feeling good, but still a little purple.  Hypothermia? Low oxygen?  Who knows.  In any case, it was a wonderful experience and I will definitely run this race again.  Maybe next year we will break the RBR weather curse and have 50 and cloudy.  Wouldn't that be great?!
Posed for a picture in front of the Calder

I'm a 25K finisher and I have a shirt and medal to prove it! 

Thank you to everyone for your words of encouragement throughout my training, all the tweets on race day, and for the great comments on facebook.  Getting in the car after the race and reading all of your posts meant the world to me.  On Thursday, I fly off to Baltimore for Fitbloggin, where I get to hug IN REAL LIFE many of the women who convinced me to start running again and eventually take on this challenge.  I am so blessed to have such an amazing support system.  I could not have done this without you.

Is there a marathon in my future?  I honestly don't know, but I do know this...never say never. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

LLRB 365: 2011 Week 19

A pretty awesome week, if I do say so myself :)

Monday
5-9-11
started the week with the most beautiful blue skies - totally unedited photo

Tuesday
5-10-11
got together with friends to watch the Red Wings tie the series 3-3
(sadly, they lost in game 7)


Wednesday
5-11-11
apparently she plays basketball, too


Thursday
5-12-11
Grand Rapids is gearing up for the Fifth Third River Bank Run


Friday
5-13-11
lucky me! pre-race carb loading with some chicken parm :)


Saturday
5-14-11
I started and finished a 25k (15.5 mile or 81,840 foot) race in 2:52:55 *\o/*
(preliminary race report here - I'll be doing a post before I leave for fitbloggin)


Sunday
5-15-11
made myself a protein-heavy breakfast and spent the day recovering


I hope you all had a great week and that your adventures have not left you feeling like you've been hit by a city bus :)  It's hard to believe...only 4 more days until I fly to Baltimore for Fitbloggin!!!!