Monday, September 30, 2013

Douglas Dash - Race Report

After whining around about my sickified performance at the Hal Canfield Memorial Mile, one of my teammates pointed me in the direction of the Douglas Dash.   Its a smaller race, and not heavily marketed (in our area at least).  Rather than wait until next year for HC (the only other 1 mile race I know), I went ahead and signed up. Then I promptly forgot about it. 

When discussing goals with my training partner Kelly, I saw the race listed on my excel spreadsheet two days before the race.  Oops!! I thought about DNSing the race.  After all life had been crazy and I still wasn't even sure my dad would be home from the hospital yet.

Coach Pete encouraged me to go on.  My dad was released after 24 hours of monitoring, the doctors ruled out any potential heart issues.  Thus the stars aligned.

The race website wasn't all informative when it came to specific start/finish locations.  I gave myself an hour to find where I was going, and I ended up needed every minute.  Wandering down the streets of the Scottish festival, I met up with another runner from my area and together we asked until we found out where the starting line was.

I ended up getting a 2 mile warm up in between parking, running to the start and running back to get my inhaler out of my car.  (I then drove to the starting line, running back to the start for my 1 mile cool down at the end.)

I set my watch on quarter mile splits so I could keep track of my pacing.  The start of the race is short flat stretch followed pretty steep downhill, but is cluster with excited children to weave around.

1st split: 1:43

Getting on the mail road, the course flattened out.  In any other course, I'd have called the incline to come a "bump," but for such a short race it was definite "hill" material!

2nd split: 1:56

We then turned left and headed toward Douglas Lake.  Once again a bit of an incline followed by a pretty dramatic decline. 

3rd split: 1:58

Then we were to the lake - time to hop a curb and finish out on the grassy dike.  Once again this was a bit congested with excited kids.  Not a complaint, because it was great to see so many young kids out and excited about the race, but definitely worth noting regarding my final kick.

Final split: 1:48

As unorganized as I felt the race start was, the finish was worse.  We were handed note cards as we crossed the finish line.  The cards were numbered with our place (I was 27th over all).  We were then to write our name, age, and sex on the card.

Finishing time: 7:26

Those in charge of the timing had boxes with each category (example: Female 30-39) and the runners were to put their filled-in note cards in the appropriate box.  I noticed when I put mine in, there were no others in my category.  Maybe this was a 1st place a/g win!

As we were waiting for the award ceremony, I met a couple of other runners.  My buddy from earlier in formed me that I was the 3rd overall female.  Hard to describe what I felt at that moment, but giddy was a word that came to mind.  I was in the money!!

They handed me a check with my name on it, a logo-ed lunch box, and even took my picture with the #1 and #2 female runners.  Of course I had to spell my non-local last name for the guy from the paper.   There was over a 2 minute gap between my time and the top female, but I just chalked that up to the size of the race.

After everything was said and done, I overheard someone say my name.  I turned around and introduced myself.  "I'm sorry, I'm going to have to ask for that check back."

I felt as if I'd been sucker punched.  My picture had already been posted on Facebook - word of my showing had gone viral.  *ahem*

I felt foolish.  I should have known I wasn't fast enough to finish in the money.  I should have protested when they called my name.  Instead, I looked like a big, fat fake.  Turns out I was "just" 1st in my age group.  Hard to be disappointed in, yet still somehow hard to be proud of.

Just a few months ago, I have never won my a/g.  Earlier in the month, I was 23 seconds slower at the same distance.  I should be proud.  I will be proud.  Just as soon as I get finish pouting about my embarrassment because of someone else's mistake.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Finally Making the Cut

Over a year ago, my 19 year old cousin Zach was diagnosed with Lymphoma.   Immediately, his sister Mackenzie decided to donate her gorgeous hair in his honor, to be made into a wig for cancer patients via the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program.

wish I'd gotten the same hair genes as her

My sister decided to volunteer our hair to do the same, donating hers last fall.  I, however, have been growing out my hair for over a year.  My hair is super thick and always has layers cut into it to make it more manageable.  The longest layer has been ready for a while, its the rest not wanting to cooperate.

Working out as much as I do requires lots of showering.  Sometimes more than once a day.  This doesn't lend itself to the 30 minute blow-out/straight iron process my hair needed to look cute.  Most often,  I'd throw it into a pony tail, or else scrunch it curly and forget about it. 

sadly, it doesn't look like that much hair just laying there

A couple of weeks ago, I'd had enough.  I told my stylist to do whatever she had to do in order to get 8" worth of ponytails in my hair.  Super short hair doesn't scare me, but thankfully it didn't come to that.  We sectioned it into several pieces and she hacked away.

The day following my cut, Jay's grandfather died and we hurried to join his family in West Virginia.  Then my Great Aunt passed away and we spent some extra time with my grandparents.  Then my dad went to the ER for chest pains (it wasn't his heart - PTL!).  Soooooooooo...I've had this bag of hair laying on my desk at work for a couple weeks now.

Until today.

I got it I got it prepped, then had my dad drop it off at the post office before pick my mom & I up for our weekly Friday lunch.  I'm officially done with the process, never to try it again.  I certainly don't regret the donation, but it took a lot of time an effort.  But mostly I'll never do it again because they won't accept hair that is colored or more than 5% gray.  At the rate Kelly is yanking out my grays, I don't have time to grow another 8" before I hit their designated percentage.

I joined Team Zach in walking the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light the Night event last year as he was undergoing treatment and battling the disease.  Its my privilege to walk it with him again this year, but this time he'll be rocking his SURVIVOR tee.  Donations in his honor are appreciated.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


 When I first considered adding Deeping the Soul for Justice by Bethany Hoang to my reading list (and Marla's read along to my bloggy list), I didn't think I had the emotional energy. 

Turns out, Hoang agrees with me.  The first chapter is all about seeking God.  The second chapter?  Carving out time for a Sabbath.  These are both things I desperately need, and chronically neglect.

Life is busy, and going to church alone is hard.  I've found myself entering a church building only a handful of times since we moved to the new place.  I'll watch church on TV from the comfort of my couch, coffee in hand.  I sometimes stream church on my laptop, on my front porch overlooking the stream in my front yard. 

The result is the same, I spend an hour or so singing God's praises, and receive a message from the Lord (via His preacher) on a topic that always seems to nail me right in the heart.

Only its not the same.  Sometimes I find myself, phone-in-hand playing a quick word (with a friend of course).  I occasionally press pause to get more coffee or ask Jay a question about how the rest of our day is going to play out.

I need more than a Sabbath day, I need the spirit of the Sabbath. 

Designated phone-free time each day.  A church home. 

Why do such simple things sound so unattainable?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Trash the Training Plan {Tuesday}

...or something like that. 
This past month I've been battling a respiratory virus and missing tons of workouts. 
 Most of last week was spent in West Virginia (Jay's grandfather passed away on Saturday, we arrived that afternoon and stayed through the funeral on Wednesday.)
Tuesday: 4.25 miles
Thursday: 3 miles
Saturday: 13 miles
Sunday: 6 miles (with my Ragnar team)
Monday: 3.25 miles
I'm ready for a break, which seems odd since this sickness kinda-sorta-not really gave me a break.  I'm overwhelmed with the pressure of a training plan and proposed training paces.
As a result, my runs are miserable and I dread them.
I can't give up all together - October is a busy month for me.
Iron Horse Half Marathon - October 13th
Moonshine Run (3.2) - October 19th
Ragnar Tennessee - October 25-26th
More than a month before I can throw up my hands and quit. 
The thing is, I'm not sure I really want to quit. 
Probably more like just forget about the pressure. 
Here's the new plan what I'm going to do:
Forget about the plan.  Forget about speed work.  Forget about pace.
Keep my mileage up with lots of easy runs, including 2 more 12-14 mile runs.
If by November, I don't love running again, I'll take a break.  A real one.  A long one.  Who knows, maybe I'll get skinny when I don't constantly have the rungries?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Seeking First Things First

I struggle with prayer.  As a Christian, I should pray.  I should want to pray, to open the communication channel with my Creator, to bring the petitions of others before Him.  My struggle isn’t with the intellection portion of prayer at all, but rather putting it into practice.
Sure I’ll offer up a prayer when someone puts a request on twitter.  I occasionally even use a prayer request app on my phone to keep track.  I’m even reading a book about putting away books and just sitting alone with God.  How’s that for irony?

I’ve tried praying in bed (I fall asleep).  I’ve tried praying while running (I see a squirrel and get distracted).   I’ve tried praying while driving down the road (then I get stuck behind a slow moving tourist and lose my religion).
Seeking God is a latch-ditch effort. 
I’ve grown weary.
He has told you what is good
and what it is the Lord requires of you:
to act justly,
to love faithfulness,
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 HCSB

My friend Marla started another read along a couple of weeks ago, discussing the book(let) Deeping the Soul for Justice by Bethany Hoang.  I’m weary in life, and didn’t really want to take on one more thing on my plate.  The book promised to be a quick read, weighing in at just 48 pages.  The subject matter, however, is a weighty one.  The whole point of the book (as I understand) is to open our eyes to injustice surrounding us and to take action.
I joke that Marla prayer-pressured me to join up.  I enjoy reading, blogging, and making new friends.  Only God knew how badly I needed this.  The first chapter doesn’t deal with justice at all, but rather starts at the beginning.  Funny how I easily skip this step.
We cannot begin to change the world in Jesus’ name without consulting Him first.  We need His strength.  His direction.  Anything less with result in a worn and weary spirit. 
So today, I will follow the advice in the book on solitude.  I will follow the advice of the book about justice.  I will start this day – the day that will end with me attending my 2nd funeral in a matter of 6 days -  seeking God.
*deep breath in*
Lord Jesus Christ
*deep breath out*
Have mercy on me

Friday, September 20, 2013

Another Birthday Foto Friday!

My Mamaw got on to me last week.  I told my mother's age her birthday post (and also my grandmother's age for those who are good with math word problems.)  Today is my Papaw's birthday (my mom's dad) and I somehow doubt he'll mind me telling you its his 81st!

taken at his 80th party
Home is the farm where he was raised. 
The land he tended the evening of his wedding.  We've since dubbed this "Honeymoon Lane" because he and my Mamaw spent their first hours as a married couple milking cows.
Family gatherings are frequently. 
Father of 3.
Grandfather of 7.
Great-Grandfather of 4.
Yet still spry enough to help out with this years {cold} Easter egg hunt.
Two years ago, he and I both took 2nd place in our age group at a local 5K.
And last year we avoided the Black Friday crowds, opting for a hike in the National Park instead.
My Mamaw credits a house full of girls for the patience and kindness in his soul.
Strong.  Reliable.  Godly.  Everything a girl could ask for in a grandfather.
rockin' his Christmas gag gift
Happy Birthday Papaw!! I love you.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Foto Friday 58 Years in the making

...of course the photo documentation I have only goes back for 33 years.

Picture it - east Tennessee, 1955.  A young mother of 1, goes into labor with her second child. 
25 years later, this child gives birth to her 2nd child. 
Thus resulting in the incredible not-so-young woman you have writing this blog today.

Trite or not, words cannot express how much my Mama means to me.  
Today, on her 58th birthday, I wanted to do a blog post celebrating her. 
Break out your dancin' shoes!!

There are so many different facets of her life. 
She's a wonderful mother, wife, friend, grandmother, and daughter. 

Despite being landlocked, she loves the beach and wants to go at every opportunity.

A bit closer to home, she loves the Great Smoky Mountains National Park,
 and has helped to instill a love for it in me as well.

Even if it means sitting out on a cold night, waiting to watch a little lightning bug p*rn
 (The popular synchronized firefly "show" is actually their mating call.)

After almost 40 years of marriage, she finally convinced my dad to take her to Alaska. 
 While there, she brought back this awesome bathroom selfie.

When I met Jay, she knew he was the one,
and wanted to get one last family vacation just us, so we headed to Asheville...

...then she was ready to welcome him into the family with open arms.

At our wedding, she played duel roles.  Beautiful mother of the bride...

...and hostess extraordinaire

I've managed to influence her as well - leading her into the addiction that is racing.

While she's sidelined at the moment,
she's working toward getting healthy so she can tackle yet another 5K.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

August Review - Sharing Spoons

My life purpose statement is summed up in last month's "Sharing Spoons" post:
I want to be the kind of person who does everything I can to make my life better.  I want to be a good/godly wife, living each moment to its fullest.  Medication (while sometimes necessary) can only take me so far.  There are choices I have to make for myself.  

Jamee held her link up last week, but a nasty virus had me out of the loop.  How fitting that illness kept me from writing a post about carrying for myself through chronic illness?  As I like to say, better late than pregnant, so 8 days late I submit to your my review for Sharing Spoons.

1.   Physical

Guilt free healthy eating - no calorie counting or food restriction.  Just good, nutritious foods in moderation. Splurges allowed.

I did well at the guilt free part, no counting or restriction in site.  Not sure I'd go so far as to say "nutrition" was the focal point of the month though.

**For September - I want to keep this up, but be more active about healthy choices.

2.   Mental/Emotional

meeting up with friends (or having people over) once a week

I stopped counting after 5 friends/social meet ups.  While I crave social interaction, I'm very good about getting it done.

**For September - My internist suggested counseling might help with depression/anxiety issue better long-term than treating the symptoms with medicine.  I've got an appointment later this month.  Was suppose to be last week, but I had to reschedule.  Infectious viruses aren't respecters of mental health appointments.

3. Spiritual

 quiet walk/run alone with God (1 per week)

"Ish" is the best I can say for this one.  I found myself going out for quiet runs/walks, then getting distracted.

**For September - I'm joining a read along over at Marla's blog, and the book choice is concerning social justice.  This will take lots of prayer to stick with it, and seek out practical applications.

4.   Something fun

 think i would scare the nail tech if i went in for a pedi with my half-a-toenail?

Had an appointment for a mani/pedi/massage (Jay got me a gift certificate for my birthday I've yet to use) but I had to cancel it thanks to Mr. Virus.)

**For September - Reschedule and use that gift card!

 5.   BONUS - Get out of your comfort zone!

 I'm very lazy when it comes to doing my hair.  I'm donating it in honor of my cousin who was diagnosed with cancer last summer, and with this length/thickness its a cumbersome process.  HOWEVER i always feel good about myself when i take the time to fix it (instead of just scrunching it with gel).  for my bonus I'm going to push myself out of my comfort zone and actually fix my hair once a week.

It felt nice to give a bit of effort to my hair.  It'll feel even better when I cut this crap off!! :P

**For September - Measure, schedule, and chop this nonsense!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Training Tuesday - Beautifully Derailed

Starting today, my friend Jaime is hosting a Training Tuesday link up
Head on over to share your workout progress!
Planned: Total Body weights class
Actual: rest
Planned: 4 mile pace run
Actual: Doctor's visit 
She declared me to be infected with a virus.  Not really all that helpful with getting me better, her directives were more concerned with not getting others sick. Said I would be better in 7-10 days. 
Planned: Total Body weights class
Actual: REST
Day 1 of quarantine
Planned: REST
Actual: 2.5 mile walk
Day 2 of quarantine and I was getting antsy.  Went for a walk in my neighborhood.

Planned: REST
Actual: walk/run
Jogged the flats and the down-hills, walked the up-hills in my neighborhood.
Planned: Townsend 15K
Actual: Townsend 15K
Planned: 4 mile run
Actual: elliptical

Monday, September 9, 2013

Why I Run - A Not-Quite Race report

For over a week, I've been battling a nasty virus.  At its worse, the virus was in my eyes, nose, ears, throat, and not-quite chest.  Doctor's orders included a couple days of quarantine - there was nothing she could do to help me get better (beyond rest) so her concern fell with me not infecting the general populous.

I ran the Hal Canfield Memorial Milefest on day 4 of being sick - still in denial that anything was wrong.  By day 6, I went to the doctor hoping for sage advice/mediation to help get me better quickly.  I'm in training (5 weeks away from my half marathon) - I don't have time to be sick!

Sadly, this cropped version is a vast improvement on the original pic!

Thursday and Friday I was ordered to stay at home.  Amazing how paradise feels like prison when its a demand rather than an option.  Thursday I stay inside - eating ice cream, watching The Office on Netflix.  Friday I felt better, but to save my office from infection, I stayed at home.  Doc said my sickness would last 7-10 days.  Still, I felt well enough Friday and Saturday to go on a walk/jog through my neighborhood.

Day 10 happen to fall on the day of yet another race I had preregistered for - Townsend 15K.  I ran this race last year and loved it.  Eager to repeat the experience, I had my mind set to not DNS this race.  I got out in my neighborhood Friday and Saturday to get the legs moving to make sure my body hadn't forgotten how to run since Monday.

Healthy, I was all but guaranteed a PR.  I've improved that much since last year.  Unfortunately, my sick body just wasn't capable.  Because I don't feel like the race is a good representation of my training, I'm not going to post splits in this report, or a blow-by-blow of how I felt.

I consistently felt like crap.  Save for those moments where I focused the reasons I love racing.

I'm a very social person by nature. That's one reason the so-called quarantine bothered me so much.  I crave human interaction.  Before the race,  I chatted with Roxanne - a local racer who I hadn't before officially met, although we run most of the same races.  She and I chatted about our dog fears, our favorite best-kept-secret race, and wished each other luck before the gun went off.

In the first mile, I recognized a racer from the Carter Mill 10K I volunteered at last month.  As we ran, I introduced myself.  Larry Acuff ran the original Pigeon Forge 8K, back in the day my dad races.  Mr. Acuff is 75 years old, and ran the race only 5 minutes slower than me.  He told me his goal was to finish - and he did just that, taking home the award for 2nd place in his age group.

Running past the camp ground, I told him stopping for bacon would be his biggest obstacle to finishing.  Another runner overheard, and added her memories of the bacon from last year.  It smelled so good! (And I was thankful they didn't have the full breakfast out this year - I might not have been able to resist temptation.)

The course was lollipop shaped, so around the 4 mile point for me, I started encountering the front runners.  Elizabeth Herndon was in the lead (ahead a the boys - a lead she'd hold on to) looking strong.  Then some of my teammates passed and I got the chance to cheer them on. 

I mean really, how often do you get the opportunity to yell "Go P Go!" in life?  That's fun stuff! 

One of the most encouraging members of our KTC Socialites team - Bryan - was a volunteer station at the tour around.  He cheered me on and encouraged my hustle. 

Around mile 6, instead of taking a gel as planned, I took a coughing fit and the 3rd puff on my inhaler of the day.  Frank - another local racer, although on a different team - stopped long enough to check on me.  He talked to me enough to make sure I was okay and didn't need medical attention. 

(I discovered later my forgotten gel in my fuel carrier.  After losing 2 pounds from not eating much this past week, and only taking 1 gel in 90+ minutes of running, no wonder I was low on energy!)

Once again (this time in his car passing me) Bryan encouraged me during the late miles of the race.  While the terrain was downhill/flat for the last mile and a half, it was still the toughest part of the race.  Yet a 3rd time (around the 9 mile marker), Bryan met me with a smile and encouraging words.  He ran in the last 0.3 in with me, forcing my body to pick up the pace. 

This race wasn't a PR.  Not even close.  What is was, however, might be more important.  This race served as a great reminder why I run.  I'm not one of those who train to be competitive, although sometimes I get caught up in the plan and forget. 

I run because I enjoy it - enjoy the feeling of an easy run, the people I've met along the way, scenery I've passed.   If it took 95 minutes of misery to remember just how much I enjoy it, I'll still say they were 95 minutes well spent. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hal Canfield Memorial Mile

So far, it has already taken me longer to write this blog than it did to run the Hal Canfield Memorial Mile race on Monday.  Between taking a couple of pictures, uploading them, and opening a "new blog post window" I have exceeded my time racing.  Even still, this will be one of my shortest race reports ever.

Each year, the Hal Canfield Memorial Mile is held on Labor Day.  Last year was my first time participating, setting my PR at 8:14.  I was disappointed with my time, because I knew I could do better.  My major hang up was starting too fast.  This year, I researched race strategies (Mr. Google is woefully lacking in this regard), asked friends, and came up with a pace plan.

Unfortunately, Jay brought home the crud, which I caught from him 3 days before the race.  Not only was my body fatigued from the sickness, I also had a cough which came in fits any time I tried to take a deep breath.  All this considered, I knew my performance would be affected.  The only question was how badly.

Before the sickness, I wanted to best (quite significantly) the mile PR I set in this past spring's 5ks.  In two races, I got in the 7:50 range.  (7:50 and 7:51 to be specific).  With the sickness, I just had to commit to doing my best, whatever that mean.

I did a slow and easy warm up of 1.5 miles.  My breathing didn't suffer, but my energy was definitely lagging.  I then set up my watch to lap on the 0.25 mile marker.  One change from last year was making this an out and back race.  The half way point would be clearly marked by the turn.

1st - 1:53
2nd - 2:00
3rd - 2:03 
4th - 1:52

The final push was were energy stopped being the issue and breath really came into play.  After a coughing fit in the finishing corral, I looked down at my watch to see my overall time.

Official time: 7:49

Not what I wanted, but its hard to be disappointed with a sick PR.