Top 5 Reasons Why Running in the Winter is Going to Suck

1. I don’t do cold. Much like I don’t do mornings. There is nothing appealing about not being able to feel my fingers or toes. Or my face.

2. I fall down. A lot. For no apparent reason, sometimes. Ask around. It’s true.

3. The complete and utter lack of daytime.  It’s dark before I go to work. It’s dark before I leave work. Sometimes, it’s dark while I’m at work. No good.

4. I’m not a ‘layers’ person. If I have to have a tee-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt, and a jacket on to maintain my core body temperature, in my mind, there are bigger problems.

5. Walking paths are not usually well kept during the winter. Since I have neither a treadmill, nor a gym membership, this is problamatic for me. See #2 for more.

You only get 5 cause that’s all I could come up with for now.  I’m sure I’ll think of more as it gets closer. In the mean time, I suppose I should enjoy the nearly perfect fall weather when I can get it.

The road from Dornbirn to the mountain village...

Can you spot the runner? No? That's because they've already slid off the bridge into the icy ravine below...

Any additional reasons you can think of?

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Race Recap: Oktoberfest Meiler Vier 2011

Ah, a cool rainy night to run, and the promise of beer, brats, and creme puffs….. What more could a girl ask for? It was even enough to convince Mom to come out and run with me again!

The Oktoberfest Meiler Vier (4 miler) was part of the opening ceremonies for the annual Oktoberfest Celebration, which was held at the fair grounds this year. Which would be cool, except that there was also some kind of cow show going on as well.  Which made for some rather smelly parts. And not just from me…

Just before our beer truck heist…, I mean 4 mile run…

We started out a little before race time because they wanted all the runners grouped together for the Tapping of the Keg ceremony, which was televised apparently, and which I did not actually get to see since I am slow, and therefor stand in the back of the group. It was a good idea, that didn’t quite work out. We all lined up as we would for the race behind the big inflatable arch, trying to stay somewhere near the pacers that we needed (for me, that was somewhere in between 13 and 14 miles/min), and then we circled through the pavilion where the opening ceremony was taking place. This is where it no longer really worked. Instead of completing a circle, everyone just kind of walked as a mass back to the start, and I had no idea where the 13 min/mile pacers were.  Mom and I ended up starting the race somewhere up near the 10min/mile people. Someday soon, but today is not that day. The really cool part, is our “starting gun” where the Alpine Horn players. A little anti-climactic, but cool nonetheless.

Alpine horns are cool

The course itself was eh. It was a 2 mile loop that wiggled and weaved its way through the fairgrounds, along the backside of the barns. Which meant we got to run past a lot of smelly cows. Twice. And a handful of possibly drunk cow owners that were camped out behind said barns. Twice. One of the more entertaining moments was the small kid (seriously, probably not more than 6 or 7) that was offering cans of beer to the runners as they went past. There was quite a cheer when they finally got someone to take one. (No, it wasn’t me)(Honest, it wasn’t).

Finishing strong-ish

Mom finishing.... She's starting to drink the kool-aid

As a course, it was kinda boring, just a lot of kinda battered and pot-holed pavement and mostly empty buildings. The only interesting part was getting to run around and in between the pavilions where all the people and music and food were. It got even more boring when my sansa mp3 player crapped out on me with about half a mile left to go. Just it’s way of encouraging me to run faster?

As boring as the course was, the swag was totally worth it. A awesome medal (cause that’s how M3S rolls, and is why we like them), as well as a free brat, beer, and creme puff courtesy of Schmidts. I’ll let you guess what my favorite was….. (and no, it was not the nasty german beer, yuck).

It certainly wasn’t my favorite race, but it also won’t win “Worst Race Ever” honors at the year-end recap. As an M3S event, it was well organized with volunteers at every twist and turn to make sure that you stayed on course, and also that you didn’t get run over by cow-owners. Which was nice. At the end of the night, it was really just an excuse to go out and get a run in for going to the festival and eating creme puffs and brats.

I don't think the guy offering me more bananas understood that I wanted the whole box...

Race Recap: Patriot 7K

As a newbie runner,  haven’t been traveling to races. There are plenty here in the Central Ohio area to choose from, and let’s be honest, my schedule is crazy enough as it is without adding in travel plans.  However, since the Patriot 7K was being held in Hubby’s hometown, it seemed like a perfectly reasonable excuse to go visit the in-laws.

It was an evening race, so there was down time before the start. A lot of down time.

The Patriot 7K was started in 2009, with the primary focus on honoring the local military, firefighter, police, veterans, as well as having a moment of silence in remembrance of 09/11. They started off with a nice ceremony, including a 21 gun salute (I love those) and the national anthem played by the members of the high school band.  It was a very small race, only a little over 100 people, mostly locals who all knew one another. I stayed in the back.

 

See? In the back

As I started running, I thought about what my goals for this race were, which were two-fold:

#1- Finish in under 1 hour.

#2- Run the entire time.

Goal number 2 was actually the more important one.

So off I went with the pack, desperately trying to remember to run my race, not everyone else’s. There was a nice stretch during the first mile and a half that was on a local bike path. It was nice and shaded (although the weather was great, not too hot, not too cool), and already I had stretches that I was running by myself.

I seem to struggle the most early on, my legs hurt, it’s hard to breathe, and I just don’t feel like I can keep running the whole time.  This time it was a little easier to get over myself, when I started thinking about all the people that died 10 years ago in the Twin Towers.  I can remember where I was, and what I was doing that day. I will not ever forget the details of that day, even though I did not suffer any personal damage that day. I do not personally know anyone that died that day, and I only know a few people that responded to the need and went to do whatever they could to help. Every time I felt weak, felt like I couldn’t go any further, I thought about those people. The ones who are gone who no longer have the opportunity to run. The ones that are still here that have to go on day after day without the ones they love the most. The ones who answered the call and were away from their loved ones so that they could lend help after such a devastating event.

If they could carry on, so could I. And so I did.

It was a nice race, and though the intentions of the race organizers are good ones, their race management left a little to be desired.  On our way to the bike place we went through one of the few major intersections in town.  Coming out of the bike path, we crossed the same intersection to head into the residential area which we followed to the stadium.  I should have known something was up when we were specifically told to stick to the sidewalks.  As I came to the intersection for the second time, there were no police officers (which had been there earlier), no volunteers, nothing. Just a red light, and a few cars that were nice enough to let the slow runners go ahead and run through. At they were until I got there.  There was enough of a gap between me and the runner in front of me that a couple of cars went ahead and went through the intersection. As I started to go through, the light changed, and the next car in line felt that I was taking too long and honked at me. I turned enough to flash my race bib at them (and resisted the urge to flash a couple other things at them, honestly, it’s a small town, like you don’t know there’s a race happening) and kept running. I was nearly at the 2 mile marker, had managed to keep running, and wasn’t going to be stopped by something as trivial as traffic.

My thoughts about race managment eloquently summed up...

Strike number 2 came when I came to the first water station (of which there were two), and the two guys there were in the process of moving the table. Good thing I brought my own Powerade. But I kept carrying on. The second water station was still on the other side of the road, so I had to run out into the middle of the road to meet them, and they almost didn’t give me any since I had my own bottle.  Sheesh.

The finish in the stadium was kind of neat, would have been more impressive if this event was a little bigger of a deal. Really, the only people there were runners and their friends and families, and a group of high school kids serving as cheerleaders. I do have to give credit to the high schoolers, they did focus their attention on cheering me on at the finish line like it was their job. Which I’m pretty sure it was, but whatever. It was still cool, and made me feel good.

What made me feel even better was achieving not one but both of my goals!

Overall, it was a race for all the right reasons, but they need to work on their race management. Leaving runners and walkers at the mercy of the traffic lights is not really acceptable. If you want all level of people out there, you have to support the whole field, not just the fast people.  It was a decent experience, I met the goals that I wanted (which is really all that mattered anyway), but I probably will not return to this race next year.

Eh, you can’t win them all…

Greetings from Slackerville

I have been unapologetically lazy this week. No running since my race a little over a week ago. No working out of any sort. The only reason my house is a little cleaner is because of people coming over to check on the beasts, and I didn’t want to be judged too harshly. I have sat around doing nothing more than rotting my brain in front of the television during the times that I was not at work. Which may not really be all that much time after all.

Anyway, during my lazy week (I know there’s the ‘Lazy Song’, but can it really apply to more than just one day?) when I wasn’t doing much, I was thinking about running. Thinking about my last race, and the Race Recap that needs to be written. Thinking about the other handful of races that I ran prior to starting this blog that need Race Recaps. Thinking about the races that I have coming up, including one this friday. Thinking about all the races that I would like to attempt at some point in the future. Thinking about what I really want to achieve with this whole running thing. Thinking about what I’m going to do as the weather changes and my enthusiasm starts to take a dive.

The good news is that my thinking has been somewhat productive. I’ve got plans for the future. Races I want to run, places I want to go, goals I want to achieve, accessories I want to buy…

And the break this past week was nice. I am a repeat offender in the “burn-out” category. Burn out from work, from various commitments, sometimes just burn out from life in general. I work two jobs, have pets (and a husband) to take care of, have families that want to spend time together, have friends to try and catch up with (some of whom I will only see a couple of times a year, despite the fact that we still live in the same town), social events I want to take part in (haven’t been to a Reds game yet this year, probably won’t get to a Bengals game this year) (that last one might not be a bad thing…), hobbies that I would like to keep up with, blah, blah, blah. The list goes on and on. By the time I get a day off, that day has already been booked for some event or family get-together, or some such thing months ahead of time. I can’t remember the last time I just had a day off. From everything. Nowhere to be, nothing that had to be done.

So even though this past week there were a lot of things going on, and I can’t take a physical vacation, I took a mental vacation. I was only checked in when I had to be, and the rest of the time I spent thinking. About me and what I want and how I’m going to get it.

The bad news (at least for me) is that now it’s time to get off my ass, and start putting thoughts into actions. A couple of the blogs that I stalk read on regular basis suggest putting together a “Goal Board.” You put things on it that motivate or inspire you, and you put it somewhere that you can always see it, and it serves as a reminder to get off your ass of the things that you want to achieve. I’m thinking I might try to put one of these together. Something to do during my next lazy week…

Race Recap: Emerald City 2011

Sorry for being a slacker.  Last weekend was the Emerald City Quarter Marathon, which I had very much been looking forward to.  It is put on by M3S, who generally put on really good races.

This one did not disappoint.

Race time was 7:00am, so another ridiculously early morning. It was still dark when we got there. And it was raining. And there was lightning.  The organizers had been keeping a close eye on the storm that was coming through, and had made arrangements if it looked like it was going to come over top of us. Fortunately it was not needed and we were able to start right at 7:00.

Don't mind my annoyance with my still mostly asleep photographer

The course was fantastic. We started from in front of the Dublin Methodist Hospital, went through some Dublin countryside, did a loop through Glacier Ridge Metro Park, and back to the hospital. The weather played nice, and once the sun was actually up it made for a really beautiful run. Along one of the roads, there was a horse running along the fence line with the runners going by, which made for a nice pick-me-up early on in the run. There’s little more that’s as encouraging as seeing a horse running for the pure pleasure of running. Something most runners aspire to I would think…

The bit through Glacier Ridge was also very lovely in the morning sun.  The course took us along a path that went from paved, to gravel, to a wood plank bridge. I’ve never been to that park before, but after running this course, I may have to go check out the rest of it sometime. The half marathon runners also went through the park, but their course took them more north into a different area.

a snaphot taken from the finish line video that Mom took for me

My goal had been to break 1:30, and I managed another PR with 1:29:42! Go Me! The post-line recovery area was top-notch with water, bagels, oranges, apples, and bananas. There were also some mini-egg wraps (which were ok), organic chocolate milk, (which was really good) and a space specifically for stretching out afterwards (which I didn’t do). On top of all of that, there was also a post-race party at BW3 and meal specials at Sunny Street Cafe for the runners. We didn’t got to Sunny Street, but I’ve heard that the food was only ok, but we did stop in at BW3 for free food (what can I say, I’m cheap) There were boneless wings, potato wedges, cheese sticks and chips and salsa, as well as a free Screwdriver or Blood Mary for those runners inclined to partake.  Everyone there was very nice and helpful, and the food was pretty good too.

All in all, another great event put on by M3S, a new PR for me, and an awesome finishers medal!

It's as heavy as it looks

No party is complete without a giant inflatable shamrock!