Last weekend we ran the Breathe Easy 5K, sponsored by the lovely ladies of the Valdosta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. Proceeds from the event were donated to Children’s Medical Services of Valdosta, an agency that helps children in our area receive treatment for asthma.
It was a beautiful morning for a run and many of our regulars were in attendance. Of course there were plenty of pictures. After all, if you don’t post it on social media it didn’t happen. Amirite?
Although this was the first time we have participated in this race, the course was similar to a favorite route. Delta Sigma Theta did a wonderful job with race support. Their volunteers were placed at every turn to cheer on the runners, and they had two water stops. It was fantastic!
The first mile turned out to be my strongest. My usual pattern is to get faster as I go. I’m not sure what happened with this run but that didn’t happen. Joey started out ahead of me again. I think he had ideas of crossing the line ahead of me. He could have all the ideas he wanted but it wasn’t going to happen. I caught up with him at the end of the first mile. We played “cat & mouse” for about half a mile, and then I pulled away. The road was shady and there was a little breeze coming through the trees. Life was good.
But the second mile…brutal. I don’t know why. I wasn’t hot or tired; something was just “off.” I pressed on, waving at the volunteers and giving them a thumb’s up. Despite not feeling quite right my time was good. Very good, in fact. On track for a PR. How awesome would that be? Two back-to-back PRs.
I caught up with another runner and we yo-yo’d from the halfway point to the end. She and I were pretty evenly matched and it was great to battle through the last half of the race with her. As we came down to the last half mile, I saw another friend up ahead. His running pace is very similar to Joey and I, and it’s always fun to compete with him. This time I couldn’t quite catch up with him. Better luck next time. I’m coming for you, Alex!
The final stretch was a gradual downhill. I knew from Runkeeper that I would PR. The clock came in to focus and I saw 37 minutes. What the what?!? Where did that come from? I put everything I had into those last few yards and crossed the line at 37:30 (Runkeeper’s time).
I just couldn’t catch my friend. One more bite of Wheaties and I might have passed her.
Wow!! 38 seconds faster than my previous PR. I gladly took the water and cold-pack from the volunteer and basked in my accomplishment. Joey was just over a minute behind me.
We found our friends and parked ourselves in a shady spot. Picture time!
Finish time: 37:30 (Runkeeper) 12:05 min/mile pace
Mile One: 11:51
Mile Two: 12:24
Mile Three: 12:15
Through Glass (Stone Sour), Dreaming (Blondie), Over the Hills and Far Away (Led Zeppelin), Hey Jealousy (Gin Blossoms), Desert Rose (Sting), Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin), Nothin’ At All (Heart), Solsbury Hill (Peter Gabriel), Midnight Blue (Lou Gramm)
As always, #werun4Chasten #alpha1awareness #alpha1antitrypsindeficiency #whoirun4
It’s the Little River Run 5K! We made our way north to Adel, Georgia to run through Reed Bingham State Park. The race was previously known as the Road Kill Run, which is exactly what you feel like when you’re done. But all good things must come to an end and someone decided that wasn’t the most PC name for a road race. It’s now named after the river that flows through the park and heads toward Valdosta. Incidentally, we kayak on the Little River quite a bit!
We’ve done this race twice before, and my times were less than impressive: 50:25 in 2015 and 51:30 in 2016. I was pretty sure I would do better this time around. At least I hoped so.
We got to the park early – we always overestimate how long it’s going to take us to get anywhere. Well…at least Joey does. I, on the other hand, prefer to live on the edge and come squealing in on two wheels with a minute to spare. Oh, wait. That’s when I go to work. Never mind.
Being early does have its advantages. You get a front row seat to a beautiful sunrise.
There’s also plenty of time for pictures and warm-ups, and boy did we need a warm-up. I was very grateful to find a long sleeve shirt lurking in the back of my car. Joey wasn’t as lucky and broke the unwritten rule of wearing the race shirt before you run the race. I know. Oh, the shame.
After trotting up and down the road for a little bit the cold wasn’t as bad. The sun was climbing higher in the sky and we shed our extra garb. We’ve learned the hard way that by the half mile mark that you come to regret the extra layers.
Once again, Runkeeper decided to act a fool and didn’t start exactly on time. It could be operator error or I may need to tweak the settings. Hopefully I can figure it out before the next race.
Joey started out with a pretty good lead. I was feeling great as we crossed the bridge and looked out over the water. The course went around the edge of the lake and through the campground. It’s fairly flat, which is nice after all the bridges we’ve been over in the last six weeks, and we were at the first mile marker before I knew it.
He was still ahead of me at the water stop, but his lead was beginning to shrink. By the time we hit the turnaround at 1.5 miles I was closing in. His game was strong and I didn’t know if I could catch him. But as we approached the second mile I started to reel him in. I’d catch up, he’d pull away. We went back and forth for about half a mile, and then I kicked it into high gear. Tom Petty was dancing with Mary Jane one last time as the final stretch approached.
My lead was still slim as we came up to the bridge. I knew my time was pretty good and I might even have a chance of a PR, so I decided to run all the way across. It’s nothing like the bridges at the Gate River Run or the Tomoka Half. It’s flat as a pancake (mmm…pancakes!) and the finish line was about 1/4 mile from the end. It would be close.
The run interval ended just as I got across. I was about thirty seconds ahead of Joey and within sight of the time clock. Thirty seven minutes and change. My PR was 38:28. So close.
I started to run. I saw the clock hit the 38 minute mark. Almost there! My unofficial time was 38:09. The final results haven’t been posted yet, but I was almost 20 seconds faster than my previous PR. Oh happy day!
But the best was yet to come. Turning in my results card, I discovered I was second in my age group. And the medals went two deep. Guess who was going home with some hardware? As it turned out, I hadn’t figured on the master’s award and I ended up getting FIRST place in my age group.
Let’s recap: 1) a new PR, 2) first in my age group, and 3) I beat Joey. Again. Admittedly it was by a much slimmer margin than last week but who’s counting?
The Splits: (slightly off final time as previously noted)
Mile One: 12:23
Mile Two: 12:17
Mile Three: 12:12
Average Pace: 12:12
King of Pain (The Police), I Would Die 4 U (Prince), I Won’t Back Down (Tom Petty), Mary Jane’s Last Dance (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers), Zombie Zoo (Tom Petty), Let’s Go Crazy (Prince), A Passage to Bangkok (Rush), Baby I’m A Star (Prince), Hearts On Fire (Bryan Adams)
As always, #werun4Chasten #alpha1antitrypsindeficiency #alpha1awareness #whoirun4
Has it really been three weeks since the half marathon? Time flies when it’s spring break and you decide to paint every room in your house. And then get sick. Good times, you guys. Good times.
This weekend’s 5K was a fundraiser for the James Eunice Charity Fund, created in 2011 by John and Tammy Eunice in memory of their son, James. After suffering an unimaginable tragedy, John and Tammy chose to honor their son’s memory by setting up a fund to provide scholarships and donations to many worthy charities in our community. Joey and I have had the privilege of meeting them at the 5Ks, “Grilling for James” at Sam’s Club, and accidentally stalking them at Publix. They are, without doubt, two of the nicest and most humble people you will ever meet.
Funny story – the second time we did the 5K, I ended up walking with Tammy . As we approached an intersection, one of the policemen providing assistance for the race told us to turn right at the traffic light. Turns out we should have turned LEFT. Yeah…that was awkward. I ended up wandering the streets near the route to make up the distance that I didn’t cover. I am both slow and honest, and I wasn’t about to turn in my finisher’s card without putting in 3.1 miles. Even if it wasn’t the same 3.1 everyone else did.
It’s been a while since we saw our “crew” and it was great to catch up with everyone before and after the run.
I have to admit that I had been dreading the running part – we slacked off a LOT after the half, both in running and cross-training. All week I dreamed that we overslept and missed the race, or that I got lost (again) and didn’t finish at all.
But for a slacker, I did alright. Official time was 39:09. I had a little trouble starting Runkeeper so my info is a little off. The takeaway from all this is….I beat Joey. Not by much. But I beat him.
He was ahead of me for the first mile or so, then I started to gain on him as we passed the university. We were neck and neck at the water stop and then I started to pull away. Around the two mile mark we hit the jasmine wall. All of the sudden we were engulfed by the heavy scent of jasmine. Coupled with the humidity it was almost overwhelming. And then, just as quickly as it came, it was gone and we were in the home stretch. I had about a sixty second lead over Joey. I knew he was there but he couldn’t catch me. It was just me and Geddy Lee, cruising through the countryside in a red barchetta (there’s something for you to Google…).
Once we crossed the line and turned in our cards it was time to relax and scarf down a Chick-Fil-A biscuit. We took a lot of pictures and accidentally loitered in front of the porta-potty. Thankfully we didn’t have any potty photobombs.
Info below is from Runkeeper and not official.
Mile One: 11:56 (Photo on the left)
Mile Two: 12:47 (Photo on the right)
Mile Three: 12:50
Mile One – Look How Happy!
Mile Two – How Much Longer?!
Wishing/If I Had A Photograph of You (Flock of Seagulls), Through Glass (Stone Sour), Little Red Corvette (Prince), Games Without Frontiers (Peter Gabriel), Red Barchetta (Rush), Running on Empty (Jackson Browne), Talk of the Town (The Pretenders), Call Me (Blondie)
And last but not least, this is for everyone who ran the Boston Marathon! Valdosta was represented – we’re so proud of you Debbie G!!
Next Up: The Little River Run 5K (Formerly known as The Road Kill Run) at Reed Bingham State Park
Who decides, out of nowhere, to run 13.1 miles for fun?
Normal people don’t do that. I know, because I used to be normal. I would see people all hot and sweaty, running through town in the middle of summer. In the rain. In the cold. In the dark. Normal people would be at home, on a comfy sofa. Not sweating.
One day, I casually mentioned that I might like to do a half marathon as part of my “I’m Turning 50” bucket list. Big mistake. Huge. Everyone started posting links to half marathons and tagging me. Oh, and Spartan races too. Spartans? Really? Do I look like I need to be committed? If I ever post that I have signed up for a Spartan, that is your signal that I am being held against my will and need help.
So our friend Lisa G. posts a link to the Tomoka half marathon. Price is reasonable and it’s not too far away. The course looks really pretty. Oh, did I mention there was a bridge? And you have to go over it twice?
We hemmed and hawed and finally registered. And then reality hit. In four weeks we were doing a half marathon. Um, WTH?
It turned out that getting there was as much of an ordeal as the race itself. We took the wrong exit in Jacksonville and found ourselves in a sketchy Burger King that couldn’t serve food. How does that even happen? Apparently their systems were down, and without technology you’re not getting a Whopper. Or even a drink. But it did remove the guilt we may have felt for using their restrooms and not buying any food. Thankfully there was a Mickey D’s nearby so someone-named-Lisa-that’s-not-me could get her caffeine fix.
Back on the road, we found the right exit and were heading for Daytona. We cruised along, 80s music blasting and coffee flowing. Life was good. We had 2.5 hours until packet pick-up ended. And then it happened. Traffic slowed to a crawl, and then stopped all together.
This was not good. SO not good. We inched along. I could run faster than we were driving, for crying out loud. The lady in the car next to us was making all kinds of crazy gestures. She was over it. We all were over it.
We waited. And waited.
Finally, things began to move. Once we got moving again our ETA for pick-up was 5:30. We pulled it off with 25 minutes to spare! From there it was on to the hotel and the Great Unloading began.
Funny thing about runners. We have a lot of gear. Before I got into this I thought all you needed was a pair of shoes. But I’m complicated. I need options. We were gone for just over 24 hours. I brought three pairs of shoes, at least three complete outfits – not counting what I was wearing to the race – and more technology that NASA used to put a man on the moon. (As if that weren’t enough I came home with seven new shirts, eight pairs of socks, two bras, and a hat. SMH…)
Fortunately, Lisa G. has a “three body trunk” so there was plenty of room for everyone to stash their luggage. And yes, it’s comforting to know that you have friends who measure trunk capacity in the same terms you do.
With bibs in hand and gear stashed, it was time to find some grub. After striking out a few times, we came across a place called Charlie Horse. It was FABULOUS! I already want to go back and eat there again. If you’re ever in Ormond Beach, you need to go. The seafood was amazing. Heck with carb-loading the night before a run…
Back at the hotel, it was time to get it together. The shuttle left at 5:30 (OMG…), which meant we got up around 4:45. AM. Before the sun even thought about coming up.
Yeah…Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam are in the house. Totally.
And before we had time to think about what we were doing, we were on the shuttle heading to the race. The moment we had dreaded and looked forward to was here. Before we left on Friday I posted a quick picture on my Instagramfeed with my time predictions. I had no idea what to expect. My friends told me about hitting the wall at mile 10 or 11. There was the bridge to think about – twice – and my worry that I wouldn’t be able to keep up my intervals for 13.1 miles.
Even if I had to walk it all, I was going to finish. Of that I was certain. I halfway thought I could finish somewhere between 3:30:00 and 3:15:00. My pace at Gate was 14:20, so it was possible.
We started in the dark. It’s a weird feeling, running over a bridge in the dark. There’s a definite advantage in not being able to see how high up you are, especially if heights make you nervous. The cars stopped in the other lane clapped and cheered as we went by and I waved to a few of them. Joey and I were using different run/walk intervals, so we would catch up with each other at random points. We were evenly paced until the three mile mark, and then I slowly started to pull away from him.
There were water stops a’plenty, and I took advantage of every one. The volunteers were all encouraging and supportive. The sun began to rise and I stopped and looked back toward the bridge for a quick shot.
But there was no time to linger. I had ten long miles ahead of me. The run/walk intervals clicked along, and at every mile marker the Race Joy app chimed in and let me know where I was. This was my first time using Race Joy, and I really enjoyed it. We were able to track each other’s progress during the race and would get a text message when we hit a mile marker. After a certain point, I think it was mile two, it started to announce our estimated completion time – 3:01:50. I shook my head. “There’s no way,” I thought to myself.
The road went on. And on. There was a long straightaway from the bridge to the state park entrance, probably a good 3+ miles or more. Finally, I made the turn into the park. There were several runners coming out and heading back to the finish line. “You’re almost there!” called one of the volunteers. “Liar!” I yelled back, laughing. She waved back.
Once inside the park, the paved road gave way to dirt. There was an aid station ahead fully stocked with drinks, gels, and bananas. As I came around a bend in the road, I looked up and saw him: it was Elvis! We saw him at Gate and now he was here, decked out in his white Vegas jumpsuit! I tried to get a picture, but it was like trying to photograph Bigfoot. Come to think of it, you never see Elvis and Bigfoot at the same time…
Not long after the King passed me by, Lisa G. was running toward me. She gave me a huge hug and I was back on my way. The turnaround point was at mile 7 and there was supposed to be a statue of Chief Tomoka there, and a good spot for a selfie. He was there, but too far away for a selfie. Instead I found a pretty tree with the sun coming up behind it. Sorry Chief.
Mile nine came up just as I was leaving the state park. My hip flexors and knees were beginning to ache a little, and my friends’ warnings about hitting the wall echoed in my head. I brushed them aside and turned up the music. Once again Tom Petty came to the rescue. The Race Joy app was consistently telling me that I would finish close to the three hour mark, and I was consistently telling myself it was a big fat liar. I still had the bridge to deal with, and I had no idea how I would feel at mile twelve.
I didn’t hit the wall at mile ten, but delirium set in for a few minutes. I imagined that I was at mile nine, heading toward mile ten. In reality, I was at mile ten going in to mile eleven. A brief wave of disappointment washed over me. I was over it and wanted to be finished. Thirteen miles was just too much. But a soft, electronic voice whispered in my ear and told me that I was at mile eleven with estimated completion time of 3:00:33. Yeah baby!
Two more miles were all that separated me from the finish line. I forgot about my hips and knees. I passed people. I had to go off the road and into the grass to do it, but I passed them. Runkeeper was set to update my distance and pace at each quarter mile. My pace had been 13:50 for so long that I thought something had gone wrong, so I opened the app on my phone for a few seconds to watch the clock. There was no mistake – I really was that consistent. Holy cow…I just might pull this off!
Just before mile twelve there was a beer stop. An amazing bunch of guys from a local mechanic’s shop were passing out paper cups of beer. Ben Franklin allegedly said that beer was proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. At that moment I was ecstatic and I told one of the guys that I thought I loved him. He laughed. I had never been more serious in my life.
And then I was there, at the bottom of the bridge. As much as I wanted to I knew I didn’t have enough left to run the whole thing. So I did intervals on the way up. When I got to the top I looked out over the water. “It’s now or never,” I thought. I couldn’t run up but I darn sure could run down. All the way to the bottom and around the corner. It was a slow, ugly run. I caught up to a couple of young women and we ran under the bridge together. Then it was a slow uphill turn to the left. There was a wonderful older gentlemen standing near the sidewalk cheering us on, and he came over and high-fived us as we passed. One more turn and there was the finish line.
I had all but ignored the timing apps, but as I crossed the line Race Joy announced that I finished at 3:02:52. I looked up and there was Lisa G. holding my medal! I have never been so happy to see that crazy, coffee-addicted woman in my life.
We checked Race Joy and saw that Joey was on the bridge. The volunteers at the finish ine were absolute sweethearts and let me give Joey his medal. He came in at 3:15:10, a good fifteen minutes ahead of his goal.
Two days later I’m still a little in awe of the whole thing. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t started looking for another half to do sometime this year. But not just yet. There’s a mountain of laundry calling my name and our running clothes should be classified as biohazards.
But we did it!
Overall time: 3:02:52
Average pace: 13:57/mile
Mile one: 14:05
Mile two: 14:15
Mile three: 13:45
Mile four: 13:49
Mile five: 13:42
Mile six: 13:49
Mile seven: 13:54
Mile eight: 13:48
Mile nine: 13:33
Mile ten: 13:39
Mile eleven: 13:39
Mile twelve: 14:18
Mile thirteen: 14:24
Black Dog (Led Zeppelin), Talk of the Town (The Pretenders), Kyrie (Mr. Mister), Time Stand Still (Rush featuring Aimee Mann), Ramble On (Led Zeppelin), Higher Love (Steve Winwood), The Chauffeur (Duran Duran), Wishing – If I Had A Photograph of You (Flock of Seagulls), Mrs. Robinson (Simon & Garfunkel), Little by Little (Robert Plant), Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Queen), Hey Jealousy (Gin Blossoms), Let’s Go Crazy (Prince), Nothin’ At All (Heart), Fat Bottomed Girls (Queen), Layla (Eric Clapton/Derek & The Dominos), Can’t Stop This Thing We Started (Bryan Adams), Stand Back (Stevie Nicks), Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin), Heat of the Moment (Asia), Misty Mountain Hop (Led Zeppelin), Desert Rose (Sting), Games Without Frontiers (Peter Gabriel), I Would Die 4 U (Prince), Solsbury Hill (Peter Gabriel), Call Me (Blondie), Your Love (The Outfield), You Wreck Me (Tom Petty), Can’t Stand Losing You (The Police), Only Time Will Tell (Asia), Now It’s My Turn (Berlin), Take Me To Heart (Quarterflash), Little Red Corvette (Prince), Don’t Box Me In (Stewart Copeland), Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic (The Police), Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin), Into The Groove (Madonna), Zombie Zoo (Tom Petty), Our Lips Are Sealed (The Go-go’s) New York Groove (Ace Frehley), Radar Love (Golden Earring)
Mom always said don’t play ball in the house. Wait. That was the mom from The Brady Bunch. But I’m sure at some point, knowing my mum, she said not to run with scissors. Until a few years ago I didn’t run at all, much less with scissors. Ah, the good old days.
We’ve done this race four times now. There is always a huge turnout and everyone has a great time. But the best part of this event is the artwork. The race benefits the Visual Arts program at Sallas Mahone Elementary School. Paul B. serves as both art teacher and race director extraordinaire. I don’t think he gets a wink of sleep in the weeks leading up to the race. Each mile marker gets a custom sign, painted by him, in honor of the sponsor. The awards are painted by the students. Of all the local races we do this is definitely one of our favorites.
After being left for dead at Gate last week, Joey was pretty confident that he would be faster than me. I tried to downplay my concern but the truth is I was pretty sure he was right. It had been a busy week at work and my brain was already looking ahead to the half marathon.
He was up with the chickens dogs Saturday morning. I don’t know what possessed him, but it certainly didn’t possess me. I laid in my warm, comfy bed until the last possible minute and scarfed down a granola bar on the way to the race. Meanwhile, Mo Farah made himself eggs and toast. Did he save any for me? Pfft.
It was cold and kind of cloudy, so of course we took the MG. “You’ll be warm after it’s finished,” Wonderboy declared. “Of course I’ll be warm,” I thought. “I’m a peri-menopausal woman. I have hot flashes that could power the eastern seaboard.”
We chatted with some friends who were there and then it was “go time.” The race started and I fell in line with a large group of children and adults. I wasn’t sure if Runkeeper and my watch had kissed and made up after their episode last week. I didn’t trust it to work properly so I manually started Runkeeper myself, like some kind of caveman.
Joey had positioned himself ahead of the crowd I found myself stuck in, and I could see him beginning to pull away. He wasn’t too far ahead, maybe 60-90 seconds, but I just couldn’t catch him. We crossed over the highway, entering a neighborhood near the school. The road had a few twists and turns and after a few minutes I lost sight of him. It was just me and Tom Petty, running down a dream. Or a 5K. Or, whatever.
Tom hung out with me for a little while. Things were going along pretty good, but I just wan’t feeling “it.” I was a little tired and my hastily ingested granola bar wore off five minutes after I got in the car. My time was okay but not on track for a PR.
As I approached the two-mile mark, I saw Joey up ahead. With just over a mile left, I wasn’t sure I would be able to catch up. There was always the chance that he was getting tired, and then I could make my move.
We left the neighborhood and were back out on the road to the school. I started adding a few seconds to each run interval, trying to close the gap. He was about a minute ahead of me, but still going strong. It was the scrambled eggs, I just know it. If I’d had another half a mile (or a real breakfast) I might have caught him, but I ran out of road. He crossed the line about about 30 seconds ahead of me.
It would be a long day.
As luck would have it, a little cloud passed overhead not long after we finished and a few drops of rain fell. The top was down on the MG, so someone-who-didn’t-make-me-eggs-and-toast had to run down the street to where the car was parked and put the top up. What a shame.
I waited for a few minutes, then retrieved our jackets and went to find him. He was all but finished when I got there. The 1 mile fun run was about to start and the awards ceremony would follow. Neither of us were in the running for anything, so we decided to call it a day and went home.
Next time, buddy. Next time. See what happens at the half…
As you may know, I participate in a group called Who I Run 4. Runners are matched with children and adults who have special needs or health concerns. I signed up a few years ago and was matched with an awesome little guy named Chasten. This is the second year we have been able to hang out with him and his family for a little while. We celebrated his little sister’s birthday while they were here!
Last year he barely came up to my shoulders, and this year he is almost as tall as I am!
He gave Joey and I a bracelet that he earned in basketball this season, and we will wear them with pride when we run for him. The waiting list to be matched with a buddy is long, but it’s SO worth it.
Overall Time: 39:58
Average Pace: 12:47/mile
Mile One: 13:02
Mile Two: 12:51
Mile Three: 12:38
Into the Groove (Madonna), I Won’t Back Down (Tom Petty), Never (Heart), Don’t Box Me In (Stewart Copeland), King of Pain (The Police), Running Down A Dream (Tom Petty), Tainted Love (Soft Cell), Mary Jane’s Last Dance (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers), You Wreck Me (Tom Petty), Zombie Zoo (Tom Petty), Don’t Come Around Here No More (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers), I Would Die 4 U (Prince)