Monday, September 27, 2010

Anniversary, Wedding, and Running- September 17-19

Friday, September 17, was my anniversary.  I had asked my husband if he minded if I ran a marathon, since we were gonna be in the area anyway for a wedding.  Being the good husband he is, he agreed.  Hence, we made it to 11 years.  My plan was to leave our house at 1 o'clock, swing by the local running store for my packet for Sunday's race (more on that later), and then head to the running expo in Dayton, Ohio.  We left five minutes after, picked up my packet, and headed on our way.  British chick, who I've since named Penelope, said it would take us about 2 hours 14 minutes to reach Dayton.  Not bad- for some reason I had in my head it'd be a 4 hour trip.  Well, it almost was thanks to traffic in Cincy and traffic leading to the Nutter Center where the expo was held.  After 3 1/2 hours we pulled in to the Nutter Center with much grumbling about p-ping and ready to divorce before the anniversary was over.  We made our way inside, picked up my race packet for the Air Force Marathon, bought a few stickers, and then headed out the doors.  We decided to go out to eat before heading to our hotel room.  The only problem was, they had decided to run a 5K that night and would not let us out of the lot until the last runner had went through- even though the street was blocked and there was another lane to drive down.  Who's dumb idea was that!!!  Finally, we're out, we've ate, and we are tucked in our room for the night.  The race was to begin at 7:30.  My plan was to get up at 4:30 and leave the hotel by 5.
 Plan going well- out the door by 5 and pulling into a parking spot about 5:40.  A little under 2 hours before the race is to begin, so I try to lay down in my bed I made for the trip.  Finally about a quarter til 7, we file out of the truck and make the 1/2 mile trek to the starting line.  I stand in line for about 10 minutes for the port-o-pottie, with not much progress.  A little frustrated with the 1/2 marathon runners being in line, even though their race does not begin for another hour!  Five minutes to go, I give up and tell my husband let's head up to the starting line.  We are almost there when the Star Spangled banner is sung and then the jets fly over.  This could be a really cool race, I think.  Within minutes, the gun is shot and we are off.  My goals
were 1) to finish, 2) shoot for 5 hours, and 3) find the next port-o- pottie.  My plan was to run 9 minutes and then walk a minute, trying to conserve my energy and finish strong.  About 3 minutes into the race, I spot 3 lone port-o-potties just off of the course a little ways.  I'm trying to decide and I hear the couple next to me discussing the same thing.  No one is in line, but I see a few breaking off from the pack, so I decide I better go for it before the couple next to me do.  I head that direction and right before I get my chance, they step in line.  Okay, I do my business and head back onto the course and get going.  There is a slight hill we have to make our way up, then it flattens out fairly quickly.  I have to say, since I am typing this about a week late, I can't really remember the course as well now.  I always marvel at my husband after playing golf with the guys, he can give me a play by play of all 18 holes.  I can't remember what mile we headed up a freeway ramp and onto a highway. I can't remember what mile the Revenge of the Nerds, Dilbert, or Aliens  
aid stations were at (and yes, I am too lazy to look it up).  I do know that unlike my first marathon (in my hometown, Derby Festival Marathon), when the 10K runners split from the marathoners, it was not a desolate place with a lone runner way up ahead.  This was a much better marathon for a first, or in my case a third.  I did meet a guy from Ohio, Ted, who was running his first marathon.  We would trade places back and forth throughout the day, until about mile 15 when he was having some problems.  I gave him a gel and wished him luck. 
There were many great monuments to look at and it was great to get to say thank you to many of our servicemen and women all morning long.  Mile 10 is in Fairborn, Ohio, and it seemed like the whole town was out there cheering us on.  People sitting at the cafe tables eating their breakfasts on the sidewalk, little ole ladies waving their American flags, school band playing and cheerleaders dancing, marquee wishing runners good luck.  Also, lining the streets on almost all of the street poles were small decorated jet planes.  They were so cool.  I only took a pic of one, but I wish I would have taken a few more pics.  We headed back towards the base and it did get a little bit more quieter and another pottie break.  Between mile 15-18, I was really crashing a little bit.  Trying to imagine why I am possible out there.  You make a turn and come out onto an old airstrip, no shade, nothing really to see, just flat land and a controller tower in the distance.

 I didn't put sunblock on and was hoping I was getting burnt.  That would not be enjoyable at the wedding tonight.  Finally, made it back to some tree lined roads.  Started feeling okay until the 5 hour pace group went passing by me singing and looking strong.  Blech........So I started trying to do my 9 minute run, 1 minute walk, since I hadn't all day.  I was watching my time and calculating that hopefully I could get done by 12:30 and hopefully the hotel would give us a late check out time so I could
 shower before the wedding.  Stinnnnkkkyy!!!  Almost there...past the Alien aid station, up the on ramp to the highway again.  A lady cussing the F-bomb because she was struggling.  Didn't want to hear that.   Ahhh....the half marathoners are now mixing in with us.  The Nerds high five me, feeling better.  Gonna make it.  Another pottie break and then on past the Wright Brothers monument.
Getting really close now.  You can see the flyovers more so now, no more tree lined roads.  I can here the crowds.  Finally, up ahead I can see the stretch, then a turn for the finish.  I text my hubby that I'm almost there.  Yes, I've had my phone with me the entire time, texting him twice and facebooking once, or was it twice (?).  What can I say.....
I finish the race in 5 hours 17 minutes and 23 minutes, meeting 2 of my 3 goals.  Yes, if not for 3 port-o-pottie stops and taking a few pics, I may
have met all 3 goals.  Who cares- I had fun and I got a cool medal, shirt, and towel.  I did finish by 12:30 and we headed the heck out of there.  The hotel was allowing us to stay until 3.  So we hurried and dressed for the wedding and was out the door at 2:30.  Thank you Courtyard Marriott for accommodating us.  While Pat was gassing up, I coordinated with Penelope directions to the wedding.  Oh crap- we are only 30 minutes away.  It's 2:30 and the wedding doesn't start until 6:30.  We decide to go to Applebee's and eat, watch some football and try to waste some time.  We wasted about an hour and then gave up and headed for the wedding- just in case Penelope got us lost.  We made it with about 1 1/2 hours to spare. 
Pat found a shady spot to park and we rested.  : )
The wedding went off without a hitch and the reception was wonderful with such yummy food.  Congratulations Chris and Kerri!  We left fairly quickly, Pat needed to get up to deliver the papers and I wanted to try another race in Louisville.  After running a marathon, the only blister I had was from my new shoes I bought for the wedding.  Ooopsie!!!
  Sunday morning, I woke up and actually could move.  I threw some drinks in a cooler, grabbed my Nathan belt, and headed out the door.  Since I had picked up my race packet on Friday before heading to Dayton, I could just arrive right before the race started.  Which is pretty much what I did.  I did happen to see Mrs. Carol Westerman and chatted with her for a few minutes.  I hope that I can be like her when I am her age.  What an inspiration!  Anyhow, the race was the Downtown Doubler.  You could run either 15K or 30K (run one loop or two).  Although I signed up for the 30K, I figured I would be happy if I completed the 15K.  This time I did stick to my plan of running 9 minutes and walking a minute.  This race is fairly well organized, but the only thing that irritates me is that there are basically 3 water stops.  They give out small water bottles.  So you drink it fast or waste it or carry it.  Which is what I did.  I carried my bottle, which slipped out of my hand once, and I managed to grab it before someone slipped on it.  Another lady had the same issue and I caught hers and made the hand off.  The big thing is that there are not enough trash cans throughout the course and just fosters littering in my opinion.  I can't tell you how many bottles I saw lying around and watching one lady set hers down on the sidewalk.  Like I said a great race, but the trash drives me crazy.  Anyhow, I finished my 15K in 1:43:29.  Walked back to my truck, popped open a cold yoo hoo, and headed back home to Indiana- to bed.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Tale of Two's in Bethel

This morning I woke up at 5 and headed to Bethel, Ohio for the Wild Cherry Loop Trail Half Marathon at East Fork State Park.  Miraculously, I had no problems reaching my destination except for being a little tired.  I did not really do anything on Saturday but lay around the house and watch tv because of a persisting headache.  So, I shouldn't have been tired, but with the fall season and the leaves dropping, my allergies are getting ready to kick- not that I think they ever really stop for me.  Plus, I have a knot on my neck, which I think is probably a swollen gland, but I'm trying to give it a week before I go to the doc to check it out.  Needless to say, I just was not very pumped for the race this a.m.  My precious hubby did try to cheer me up, and I figured he was right-once I started running, I'd feel better.
  Anyhow, I got to the race about an hour before the start and was able to get checked in, get my bib on, and everything ready to go.  I had about 30 minutes still before the race, so I climbed back into the bus and reclined my seat for a little snooze.  I cracked my window, so I would hear any announcements.  This is a great place to have a trail race.  We started at the beach area, so there was plenty of parking and bath rooms.  Plus, it was super easy to find!  I finally heard the call to the post, and I climbed out of Big Bird and headed to the starting line.  The first part of the race was uphill out of the parking lot up to the trail head.  Yeah- I love starting up a hill right off the bat- not!  The only saving grace is you know that at the end you will be going downhill to the finish line.  The only other problem with the uphill, was it did not allow any thinning out of the runners before getting to the trail.  I got sandwiched in with about four other women.  I'm not very fast, so I didn't feel I could pass them, but I felt a little faster than their pace.  So I just settled down to their stride.  I pretty much was able to power walk up the hills and still kept pace with them.  I felt like I was right on top of the lady in front of me though.  Not too mention, the lady behind me sounding like a train.  I even offered to let her pass.  At the 3 mile aid station, I was able to get around a couple, and cruised for a while with another group.  Finally, at the next aid station, there was a down hill that was wide enough to pass.  I jumped at the chance and got past and was finally by myself setting my own pace.  Woo wee!!!  Then the mud came.  Apparently there was a severe storm on Tuesday, and although the organizers tried to clear the trail, there were still many trees down that you either had to go around completely or crawl over/under.  But the mud was something else.  My shoes were beginning to feel like they weighed 5 lbs a piece.  Oh and don't forget to duck under the brier patch.  For once I was thankful I am short.  Somehow, I thought the next aid station was at mile 10 and I could hear them ahead.  I looked at my watch and calculated only about 4 miles left.  Maybe I could get in at 2:30.  Then I got to the aid station and it said mile marker 9!  Arg....mental let down.  I recalculated. I'd be lucky to get in by 2:48 now.  So I'm really starting to drag.  My legs have been alternating hurts between the two of them.  Left foot, right shin, left knee, right hip, I start telling myself I feel good.  I feel great.  I have to go to the potty.  Where did they say that was on the course?  Ii hope it wasn't the outhouse I passed without a door on it.  Finally, I come upon mile marker 12.  One more to go.  I can do this.  Shoot another tree down.  Oooh..not good this one is perfect sitting height.  As much as I wanted to, I only sat long enough to throw
my other leg over and kept moving. Yeah there's the road and it's leading down hill. Almost there now.  I crossed the line at 2:42:10.  A little disappointed, but knowing that the for the past two weeks I've only run twice and both runs were only 2.22 miles each.  I just need to get back on my training regime-especially with the Air Force Marathon this Saturday! 
Sticking with my 2's, I did see 2 turtles on the trail, but at one point I think one was passing me.  : )
Overall, this was another great race put on by Ohio Running and volunteers were super.  I was shocked how people littered though.  I even stopped and picked up some cups and walked back to the aid station.  They are volunteers people, not garbage collectors!!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Not a Benchwarmer Labor Day Weekend 2010

"Don't be a spectator.  Get in the game."-on a building wall at Webb School in Bell Buckle, TN.

I figured that pretty much summed up my whole weekend, especially as seeing how I left town when the big game (UK/UL) was being played on Saturday (Way to go Wildcats!!!).  This weekend transpired because a few weeks ago there was a call out for help clearing a trail for an upcoming race.  Well, once I found out where the trail was located and then pulled the map out and saw that it was very close to my buddy Lina, well, it was a no brainer to offer to help.  My plan was to head down on Friday afternoon right after work.  Then I would help with the trail on Saturday and Sunday, and then head home early Monday morning.  Lina was more than willing to let me impose on her Labor Day weekend and put me up for the weekend.  Well, she did not actually feel like I was imposing.  Those Southern girls are something else!  Anyhow, I pulled out of work Friday afternoon with the British chick and headed to Christiana, TN.  I will say, for once this year, I did not run into any closed roads!  So British chick didn't get to yell out at me "Recalculating".  Ah...bliss.  Of course, I did not really think about running into the drive home with the Nashvillinites.  Now, I remember why I don't work in a city somewhere, I so hate traffic.  I was actually only slowed down about 20 minutes, but of course I could fill the Mt. Dew had made its way and I was squirming in the seat.  Finally, out of traffic and business attended too, I was pulling into Lina's house.  I hadn't seen it since last October and they were not moved into it yet.  It looked awesome. 
La Casa Warden
(My room was on the second floor where the double doors/balcony is.)   Lina's wonderful husband, Jeff, fixed pork chops out on the grill and I learned a new quick and easy way to fix fresh corn on the cob.  (Of course, I will pass that on to my hubby-as we all know I'm not really allowed in the kitchen.)  We sat out on the back porch and enjoyed dinner and the beautiful Tennessee evening.
 Lina and I looked up the address of where I was to be working the next two days.  It just happened to be less than 5 miles from her house!  Small world.  I eventually turned in for the evening with the plan to be at Laz's house at 9:00. 
The next morning I got up and after a quick breakfast, Lina and I headed over to Laz's property.   British chick got me there, but it did help that Laz and Little were sitting in the front yard waiting for us.  She's not always real accurate once you get close to destination.  I think she has a hatred for Americans or maybe she just tortures me.  Laz showed us about where the race will go for one loop and then led us back to where we were going to get started clearing today.  Lina left and we crossed a down fence line and got started for the day.  I have to say I wasn't sure how much to clear or how pretty to try to make it (I mean I used a self propelled lawn mower on my lil' trail back home- so its cut pretty good).  I figured I'd get what I could so that Laz wouldn't leave me lost in the woods.  Laz seemed to delight in leaving little treasures for the enjoyment of the runners.  I didn't think too much about it.  I think I must have been in shock and overwhelmed at the enormity of the project I had just volunteered myself for.  I then remembered that my whole family went to Green River for the weekend.  I could be lying out on the pontoon soaking in the sun, but no, I had signed up for this.  I think maybe I do have a mental disease.  Just when I thought I was certifiable, we broke thru a clearing by the house and Laz said 'let's take a break'.  I have to admit now that when I told Laz in a previous email that I would help him and that he was getting a hard worker, not a candy arse- I must have been reminiscing back to when I use to help my brother on tree jobs.  He was a hard nose too, but I could hang and he couldn't fire family.  Laz got a candy arse and he could fire me too.  After a bathroom break and drink we headed across the clearing to the next part of Laz's trail to hell.  This was when it really started to rear its evil head.  Saw briers, spindly trees, saw briers, cedar trees, saw briers, tall grass.  Did I mention saw briers? 

Finally, we got back into the woods sort of to where there wasn't as much underbrush.  We followed the fence line, come across and followed a creek.  Hope it doesn't rain during the race.  (Pre race:  bring galoshes)  Laz said the corner should be coming up.  Good I was getting tired and hungry.  I think the drive down and sleeping in an unfamiliar bed without my favorite pillow was taking its toll on me.  Did I say candy arse?  Thirty?  Yes, I am.  I'll be right back.  Little and I headed to my truck for a couple of powerades.  Blessed break from the trail from hell.  Then Little and I had a little disagreement, but I should have agreed with her when she jumped in my truck.  I should have jumped in with her and we'd hit those TN roads and not look back.  Alas, I think I heard Laz hollering to hurry my candy arse up.  So Little jumped out of the yellow bus and we trudged back up to the trail.  After downing our powerades and working steadily for a little while longer.  We decided to hike up and see how far the corner was because it was not appearing.  It turned out that it wasn't too far, but luckily Laz had to go to a party and watch the OK football game.  That was okay with me.  Truly it did not break my heart. 
I skipped to my truck and jumped in before he changed his mind.  I think I may have left black marks when I peeled out and headed back to Lina's.  I dragged myself upstairs and took a shower.  Felt human again and I only picked off 2 ticks.  Note to self: apply more OFF tomorrow!
I then drove into Murfreesboro to meet with Lina and her daughter, Emily.  Although her brother and sister were not home, we went and skulked around their beautiful houses.  Her brother's house is truly amazing.  It apparently is the only Gold Certified Green house in the state of TN.  I don't know what it means, other than being really expensive looking.  The landscaping is absolutely gorgeous though.  Then we stopped by and visited with Lina's momma.  I could sit and listen to her all day.  I loved her TN accent, not as southern as the Georgia ones, but better than the British chick's.  We finally headed back to the homestead and Emily fixed the pizza while we went and fed the horses.  Well, Lina fed the horses and I supervised from afar.  After eating and watching World's Dumbest Daredevils, we headed out to the hot tub.  Even though it was like 11 o'clock (midnight my time), I figured it would help my aching back and candy arse.  Stars are so bright when laying in the hammock afterwards.  I had told Laz we would get an early start the next morning.  After speaking with my hubby, I amended my plans and was to head home Sunday night so that we could spend Monday together without me being too pooped to do anything.
So I met Laz at almost 8:00.  Had planned on being there at 7:30, but had problems getting out of bed.  Oh my back and did I mention candy arse?  Laz's plan today was to go past one of many caves on his property and then down to another corner.  I'm beginning to dislike that word.  Corner=unending.  Corner=unattainable  Corner=sticking its tongue out daring us to reach it.  Okay, I'm game today, but we have to do it by 2:30 because I'm heading to Kentuckiana tonight.  We get started and for some reason it seems to be going better than yesterday and we reach the cave in no time.

It is so cool and I'm almost hoping for rain race day so that I can see the waterfall.  But then I remember the rest of the trail.  So I'll settle for rain just over the cave entrance and no where else on the trail.  Before going any farther, Laz deems it a good idea to see where the corner is today and how far we are from the trail we worked on yesterday.  So we started trekking around the boulders and trees.  Felt like I was orienteering without a map and no control points.  I stayed as close as possible and let Laz get all of the cobwebs.  Figured it was the gentlemanly thing for him to do.  Candy arse.  It turned out to be a good idea to scout around, because we were fairly close to yesterday's trail, so we dropped down a level.  Wouldn't want the runners to see each other suffering.  Suffering alone is better than suffering in groups.  So we found the corner, that sneaky devil, and Laz began marking our way back to the cave.  If we didn't get done at least there would be markings to follow ala Little Barkley style.  That's when I remembered I wasn't just helping to clear a trail, I was actually signed up to participate in this event.  Holy crap!  I had to take a new strategy, much to Laz's chagrin.  Laz would cut and I would clear, but I had loppers too.  So I would cut anything I deemed a hindrance to me.  Candy ass.  Log laying across the trail.  I can drag that out of the way.  
Dang it Little!  Ya little traitor.  Yesterday you were ready to ride off into the sunset.  Today you're dragging logs back onto the trail.  Oh it's Little's Barkley, not the Little Barkley.  Oops, I think Laz has caught on to my shenanigans.  So I pet Little and tell her good dog.  Leave that tree there, all of the runners will love climbing over it and if they are tired, I'll go ahead and clear underneath of it so they can crawl under.    We kept a good steady pace, even with texts from my coworker needing help with the QB and a sprained ankle.  I can't believe I had service in the trail from hell.  That's good to know in case I need to call for help when I'm stumbling around on race day.  The trail is actually cleared pretty good, but some trees were too large for the loppers, so Laz did leave the stobs tall enough not to miss them.  Except if you are taking pictures and not looking where you are going.  Shin meet Stob.  Stob meet Shin.  Owwwww.....candy arse!!! 
Thanks Little for taking care of that offending stob! I knew you were on my side after all. I promise to bring you some treats when I return in October if I haven't regained my mental state by then.  Soon after Lina called to say that she had walked over from her house, so I met her and showed off the trail.  We did not reach the offending corner yet again, but we made pretty good progress.  I hated having to leave, but I knew I needed to shower and pack up the bus for the drive home if I was to make it before my hubby got home from work.  So we parted ways and headed into Bell Buckle so I could see the town and where Lina's children attend school.  Which I blinked and we had to turn around so that I could see it.  I will say that if you leave Bell Buckle without stopping at Bluebird for an ice cream and/or fudge then you are missing out.  The fudge is out of this world and the ice cream wasn't too shabby either.
I showered and packed Big Bird up, then we headed to the ponds to feed their fish, then I had to say good bye to Lina, Jeff, Emily, and Phillip.  Thank you so much for putting me up for the weekend.  I know I will be back in a month.
I headed home to Kentuckiana with no traffic and George Thorogood telling me about how he drinks alone.
I did beat my hubby home by 15 minutes!  Woo hoo.  We got a good night's sleep and got up and decided to explore our new hometown, Corydon.  Although most of the shops were closed, we enjoyed walking around the town square.  We did stop for lunch at Magdalena's and went to the visitor's center.  I told my husband about the Upland Wine Trail in Indiana and we talked about how wine is suppose to be good for you.  So I talked him into driving to Turtle Run Winery.  It was a local, small family owned winery that has been open since 2001.  There was another couple in the shop when we arrived.  The lady behind the counter offered us some tastings.  Sweet white wine.  Yuck  Sweet red wine.  Ummm.  Dry red wine.  Blech.  Okay so you can take the girl out of the country but you can't take the country out of the girl.  So we ended up buying a bottle of sweet red wine because my hubby probably felt sorry for the poor lady having to watch my nose crinkle up after each taste.  Can't help it.  Apparently I have still not acquired that taste.  I guess I will have to find another way to be healthy.  A Mt. Dew a day keeps the doc away?
Lesson:  Although I missed the biggest football game of the year for around home, I can't play football and I'm glad I played in the woods.