Thursday, July 21, 2016

Centerpoint Half Marathon Race Recap

April 2, 2016

Race Week

I had a tough week leading up to the Centerpoint Half. I debated skipping the race entirely, but I didn't for two reasons. Number one I paid $80 bucks in registration fees. That's pretty steep for a small town race, but it's the price you pay when you miss the early bird specials. Reason number two is pretty silly really, but I'm a numbers gal. If dates have any significance I feel like it's going to be a good race. This race would be my 13th half marathon, two years and two months after my first half marathon on February 2nd, 2014. Get it? Two years, two months later (February 2nd, 2/2). I know it's ridiculous.

I debated running this half the past two years, but it never worked out with my schedule. I heard great things about the overall race organization and course. I knew several people who ran PR's on this course. I doubted that I would beat my current sub 2:00 PR, but I was hopeful that I could run my best time of the year.

That was until race week began with what I believe to be food poisoning. I woke up with both vomiting and diarrhea late Sunday night and it lasted well into Monday morning. I had to call in to work and I had nothing planned for a sub. Thank God for my paraprofessionals! I don't know what I would do without them. Once my stomach settled, I was able to rest the remainder of the day on Monday.

The stomach bug was nothing compared to the news I was confronted with when I returned to school on Tuesday. One of my students had fallen critically ill over the weekend. She had stopped breathing and she was air lifted to Children's Hospital in Birmingham. She passed sometime later Tuesday night. She was just six years old. She was first introduced to me by her nickname "Precious". I couldn't think of a more appropriate name for her. She was the first person I saw every morning. I could hear her squeals and contagious laugh from the parking lot. She always greeted me with a smile and extended her arm for a hug every morning. She greeted most everyone the same way. She was a happy, fun, loving child.  Although our time together was brief, I will always cherish the memories I have of Precious. She touched many lives including my own.

I couldn't bring myself to run the remainder of the week. How could I do something that brought me so much joy when all I felt was emptiness and sadness? I didn't think I should race on Saturday for that same reason. Then I realized Precious wouldn't want me to go on mourning her death. She would want me to celebrate her life and continue to do the things that make me happy. I decided to go on and run the race as planned.

Race Day
I picked up my packet on Friday night before race day. Good thing because I would have felt rushed otherwise. There was limited parking at the YMCA where the race began. Overflow parking was available at a church and neighborhoods nearby. There were only three porta potties that I noticed and the lines were pretty long just thirty minutes from the start of the race. There may have been other porta potties elsewhere, but I didn't want to risk my spot in line to search for them.
While I was in line the song, "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me began playing. This song came out around the same time that my brother passed away. Since then, I cannot listen to it without crying. I thought of Raymond, but I also couldn't help but think of Precious. I had a huge lump in my throat and my eyes began to water. I tried to drown out the song by listening to some other runners discuss the course. I felt like they were staring at me and I wondered what they must be thinking. Luckily, a porta potty opened up just in time to escape the awkwardness.
With about ten minutes to spare, I met up with some friends Valerie (icecreamrunner), Dee, and Holly (HoHo Runs) at the start line. I felt much better chatting with them. The race directors went over the course and said a short prayer, then we were off. It rained the night before the race and there were large puddles near the start/finish line. I tried my best to dodge them, but I had to go through some of them because of the crowd.
I settled into what felt like an easy pace in the 9:00 min/mile range. Holly and I were pacing together. We chatted some, but we both agreed that we struggled to hold conversation while running. It was just nice to have someone to push me. I was pacing better than I anticipated after such a rough week. I started to think maybe this could be my best half of the year after all.
Mile 1- 9:47
Mile 2- 9:48
Mile 3- 9:30
Mile 4- 9:29
Mile 5- 9:28
Mile 6- 9:32
I ate some Honey Stinger chews at the halfway point. I tried them on my last half and actually liked them better than the waffles because they didn't leave my mouth feeling so dry. I slowed down while I ate my chews and walked for the first time in the race. I lost track of Holly sometime during the break. She was completely out of sight by the time I started running again. I couldn't speed up to catch her no matter how hard I tried.
 Mile 7- 10:30
Mile 8-  9:45
Mile 9- 10:01
  Mile 10- 10:07

I had only a 5K remaining when the wheels came off. My knees started aching after my first walk break and the pain intensified with each mile that followed. By Mile 11, it hurt to walk much less run. I stopped and stretched, but it didn't seem to help. It was the same pain I felt at the Sea Turtle Half Marathon in February. I hadn't experienced any knee pain since that race. I thought maybe poor hydration the week before might explain some of my pain. I also thought the course was a bit windy. Almost the entire course looped through residential neighborhoods. I lost count of the endless turns. There was one steep downhill followed by an uphill climb in the beginning miles, but the course was mostly flat. The course map will give you some idea of the number of turns.
I gave up both mentally and physically. In the final miles, it was all about just finishing the race. I was no longer concerned about my time.  The cheer stations and other runners on the course did their best to cheer me on and motivate me. I love the camaraderie that I experience at the races. I couldn't push any harder if I tried, but at least they lifted my spirits some. The final mile looped through a park and came out around the YMCA entrance. I was so happy to see that finish line.
Mile 11- 11:24
Mile 12- 12:04
Mile 13- 11:37
My official time was 2:13:53. As much as I wanted to do better, I thought it was cool that I got a time of 2:13 on my 13th half. There I go with the numbers again.
After the race, I met up with my friends Holly, Valerie, and Dee. Holly had a strong race and finished way ahead of me. I wish I could have kept pace with her the entire race. Valerie had an awesome time and placed in her age group.
Holly, me, and Valerie
Dee had a great race and ran a new course PR.
There wasn't much post race food or festivities. I didn't really expect there to be with a small town race. There was an adequate amount of muffins, bagels, crackers, and fruit for refueling. I chatted with Holly and Valerie for a short time afterwards before heading home.
Overall, I was glad that I did this race. It's a nice small town half marathon to support missions for Centerpoint Church. I was pleased with the overall race organization and course support. Some people had timing issues which occur every year with this race. I would definitely recommend wearing a GPS watch or using an app to prove your time in case it didn't register. Luckily, I didn't have any issues. It wouldn't matter for AG placement, but I'd hate to know I just ran 13.1 miles and my time didn't register. The tech shirts and medals for this race were nice quality and design. I would definitely run this race again.




Monday, June 13, 2016

Weekly Wrap

June 6th-12th, 2016

I am joining the Weekly Wrap hosted by Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin. The Weekly Wrap is a blog link up where bloggers share their active lifestyle and other exciting things weekly. To find out more, click on the image below. Feel free to join in on the fun.
I am not training for anything currently. I will begin training for the Pensacola Marathon (my third marathon) in July. I am participating in the Runner's World Summer Run Streak (run at least one mile a day Memorial Day through the 4th of July). I just wrapped up Week 2 of the streak.
Monday, June 6th
I ran a short 1.5 mile run on Monday. I normally cross train or rest on Mondays, so I try to keep my runs short (1-1.5 miles) on those days during the streak. I don't want to overdo it.

Tuesday, June 7th
I ran a 5K for Day 9 of the RWRunStreak. I got an early start because I had a meeting before Summer School at 7:00. I do fine getting out early when I have somewhere to be in the mornings.
Wednesday, June 8th
I ran 4 miles for Day 10 of the streak. I can't believe I've made it into the double digits already.
Thursday, June 9th
I ran 5 miles for Day 11 of the streak. Technically, I ran 4.99 miles. Does that drive anyone else crazy? I'm usually one to make loops in the driveway until I have an even number of miles, but I goofed. I hit the save button too soon.
Friday, June 10th

I ran a short mile and a half for Day 12 of the streak. There's no summer school on Friday's, so I didn't have any morning obligations. I hit snooze one too many times, and it was HOT by the time I finally got out the door. I started out way too fast, but I felt ok. That was until I stopped to talk to a neighbor a mile into my run. While I was standing there, I felt like I was going to throw up. I ended up walking the last half mile home.
I may have had a tough run, but at least I looked cute in my Aurora Borealis print Spandits Boardies! You can save $10 on Boardies or 1/2 inch Tights now through July 1st. Use code SPLASHINTOSUMMER. Don't forget to tell them I sent you at checkout.
Saturday, June 11th
I learned a valuable lesson on Friday's run. There's no sense in making myself sick over a practice run. I told myself to forget what the Garmin says and run by feel on this run. Surprisingly I ran even splits (10:38, 10:38, 10:36). It worked! Plus, I felt much better when I was done.


Michael and I went fishing Saturday. We didn't go to our usual spot because it's so crowded on the weekends. Instead, we went fishing on a different lake just below the dam. I get nervous fishing below the dam with the swift current, but it's usually a guarantee to catch fish. We didn't catch anything really worth keeping. I caught a few drum. They're not the best eating, but they are so much fun to catch. They bend your rod and put up a nice fight.
 This picture doesn't really do the current justice.
This is the biggest drum I caught. He lived to see another day.
Sunday, June 12th
I did a 7 mile long run on Sunday. Once again I got another late start, so I took this one at an easy pace.
Do you have a hard time getting up early when you don't have any morning obligations?
Do you like fishing? What's the biggest fish you've caught?



Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Weekly Wrap

May 30th-June 5th, 2016

I am joining the Weekly Wrap hosted by Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin. The Weekly Wrap is a blog link up where bloggers share their active lifestyle and other exciting things weekly. To find out more, click on the image below. Feel free to join in on the fun.

I am currently not training for anything. I will begin training for the Pensacola Marathon (my third marathon) in July.
Monday, May 30th
I joined the RW Run Streak on Monday (run at least 1 mile/day Memorial Day through the 4th of July). I attempted the streak last year, but quit after 17 days due to a stomach virus. I'm hoping to redeem myself this year. My plan is to run my usual mileage on five days of the week and run a 1-1.5 miles on the other two days when I would normally rest.
I ran 1.5 on Memorial Day. We didn't do anything special on Monday for the holiday since we just returned from our beach trip. Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day! May we never forget the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
Tuesday, May 31st
I ran a 5K for Day 2 of the RW Run Streak. Don't you just love my Starry Night Spandits! boardies. Use code SPANDITSLOVE to save 10%.
This run made 102 miles for the month of May. I am still a little behind on my goal of 1,200 for the year, but I am catching up.
Wednesday, June 1st
I ran four miles for Day 3 of the streak and for Global Running Day. I started teaching for the Extended School Year program on Wednesday. It's only half days Monday through Thursday for the month of June. It keeps me busy. I can't imagine sitting around the house all summer.
Thursday, June 2nd

 I ran five miles for Day 4 of the streak.
 Friday, June 3rd
I ran 1.5 miles on Friday to continue the streak.
I met my grandfather and cousin for breakfast. My cousin is staying in Fairhope before moving to Texas this fall. She was passing through town. I enjoyed our short visit.
Michael and I went fishing later that afternoon, but we didn't have much luck. I enjoyed the peacefulness on the water on a week day.
Saturday, June 4th
There was rain in the forecast all weekend, but luckily I caught a break in the rain to run a short 5K for Day 6 of the streak.
Michael's cousin got married on Saturday night. Luckily the rain held off for the ceremony. It was beautiful!

 The happy couple
Shay and Shelby

 Those are weights on top of the groom's cake. Shelby is a personal trainer.

The bride's cake was chocolate chip and cream filled cookies.
The bottom dropped out an hour or so into the reception. Water flooded inside the tent and they had to cut the lights because of the electricity. A party that should have lasted well into the night was quickly shut down. We were home by 9:00.
Sunday, June 5th
I ran a long run of 6.2 miles on Sunday. It was another steamy day as evident from all my sweat.
We went to the assisted living around lunch to celebrate Michael's grandmother's 90th birthday with cake. Her birthday really isn't until Thursday, but this was the only time we all could get together.
Later that afternoon, I visited my mom and dad. They're fostering a two year old Chihuahua mix for a week. He's really sweet. Maybe they'll decide to keep him. His current name is Goro. That would have to be changed. Haha!
Have you ever fostered an animal? Did you decide to adopt after fostering?
Are you doing the RW Summer Run Streak? If not, have you ever done a running streak? What's the longest you've been without a rest day?



Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Weekly Wrap

May 23rd-29th, 2016

I am joining the Weekly Wrap hosted by Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin. The Weekly Wrap is a blog link up where bloggers share their active lifestyle and other exciting things weekly. To find out more, click on the image below. Feel free to join in on the fun.
I am currently not training for anything. I will begin training for the Pensacola Marathon (my third marathon) in July. For now, I am trying to stay in a routine of running 4-5 days a week and doing a long run of 1+ hours on the weekends. I hope this will help me ease into my training in a little over a month.
Monday, May 23rd
I rode on my bike trainer for thirty minutes on Monday morning. My legs were heavy and tired from racing on Saturday and running long on Sunday, but they felt better after my ride.
Tuesday, May 24th
I ran four miles on Tuesday morning. It was actually on the cooler side with temps in the low 60's and low humidity. That weather didn't last long. It warmed up significantly later in the week.
Wednesday, May 25th
I ran four miles on Wednesday morning. I stopped to take pictures of some flowers on my run. I pass by them everyday and I had been meaning to take some pictures.
Wednesday was the last day of school for the students. The end of the school year is always bitter sweet. I'm happy for summer break, but I am going to miss my students. I get so attached to them.
After waving the buses farewell for the summer, the teachers went to a local theater downtown for our end of the year surprise party. It was a luau themed party with pasta, salad, breadsticks, and cake for dessert. Some of the teachers and administrators performed an end of the year skit for us and the Superintendent even stopped by for  a visit.
Later that evening I went out to eat with some co-workers to celebrate one of our paraprofessional's retirement. We went to a nice restaurant on the lake. As we were leaving, I couldn't help but take a picture of the sunset over the water.
Thursday, May 26th

Thursday was inservice day for teachers, so we didn't have to go in until 8:00. I slept a little later before heading out for my run. It's amazing the difference an hour makes in the temperature. I'm really going to have to be disciplined about getting up early this summer or I'm going to suffer through my training.
Teachers were dismissed at noon. I went home and packed. Then, Michael and I headed to Orange Beach, AL for the weekend.
Friday, May 27th
I took a rest day from running on Friday. Michael and I got up early, so we could secure a spot on the beach for Michael to fish. We were on the beach by 7:00 and we stayed for several hours before it got too crowded.

We went back to the condo around 11:00 to get cleaned up before grabbing a bite for lunch. We went to the Wharf for lunch and some shopping.
We tried a new restaurant at the Wharf called Montego's. I had the Grilled Shrimp Tacos with the Caribbean Mango sauce and Michael had the fish tacos. They were delicious! I would definitely recommend this place if you're ever in the area.

The Shrimp Tacos and Fried Green Tomatoes
I love the atmosphere here as well. We ate outside overlooking the marina.
We went back to the condo later that afternoon. Michael fished the pier while I took a nap. We had a late dinner at a place called Bill's by the Beach. This restaurant is down West Beach in Gulf Shores. The atmosphere here was also nice with more fine dining inside and a more casual feel outside with views of the gulf from across the street. I ordered the Grilled Mahi with rice and veggies and Michael got the Shrimp and Grits. Both of our meals were delicious!

My Grilled Mahi
I'd describe this place as a mix between fine and casual dining because they had more of an upscale menu, linen napkins, but plastic souvenir cups. I'm not complaining though. I love a souvenir cup!
This place has the best gelato. I would make a special trip just for dessert. I had the Banana Caramel and Michael has the Strawberry Cheesecake. I've never tasted gelato so rich and creamy!
Saturday, May 28th
I got up early on Saturday to run. I ran five miles along the Backcountry Trails. I'm familiar with these trails from several races that I've done in the area. I love the peacefulness on the trails away from the hustle and bustle of traffic. I wish we had more places like this at home to run.
Michael and I met my brother and sister in law along with some of their friends for a boat ride later Saturday morning. We anchored down on an island and hung out for most of the afternoon. I've never seen so many boats in my life. The pictures don't really do it justice.

My sister in law, Jodi

Sunday, May 29th
Michael went deep sea fishing with our brother in law and some of his friends for most of the day on Sunday. I wish I could handle deep sea fishing, but I just can't do it. I've tried twice and I've gotten sick as a dog both times. I've tried all the tricks Dramamine, Sea Bands, ginger ale, saltines, staring at the horizon, but none of these have worked. I'd rather stay on dry land and not chance it.
While Michael was fishing, I ran my long run of 9 miles. It was hot by the time I started at 7:20. I ran out of water just past the halfway point. I stopped off at a park at mile 7 for a short break. Luckily, I found a water fountain there and a beautiful pier.
After my long run, I hung out by the pool and caught up on three months worth of Runner's World magazines. I wish I could recover from all long runs this way.
It was 6:00 before Michael got back from fishing. We went to eat at Hog Wild, my favorite BBQ place in town. I love their pork sandwich with slaw on top. Michael likes the Wild Fries with pulled pork and slaw. If you like BBQ, you have to try this place next time you visit Gulf Shores.
Pork Sandwich with Slaw

Wild Fries with Pork and Slaw
While we were eating Michael and I discussed heading home early instead of waiting until Monday morning. We knew the traffic would be bad on Memorial Day. We packed up and cleaned the condo. Then we hit the road. We got home just after midnight, but it was worth it to have all day Monday at home.
Michael returns to work on Tuesday and I will begin teaching summer school this Wednesday. As much as I love a break, I would be bored to tears sitting at home all summer long. I will teach summer school through the month of June.
How was your Memorial Day weekend? Did you travel or enjoy your long weekend at home?