Capital City Half Marathon


I know I have been missing in action for several weeks. I have so much to tell you all about!  First, I ran my second half marathon….the Capital City Half Marathon and wanted to give you a recap of all the shenanigans.

I unfortunately did not take any pictures because I am a HORRIBLE BLOGGER!  So, I will refer you to the website to see all the fantastic picture the photographer took :)

I will start by saying that I was really excited to run this race. It is the second half marathon this year, and I have been training really hard for it all year. My first half marathon was a really REALLY hilly trail run, so I didn’t feel that I knew just how fast I could really finish a race. So, I wanted to run one that was fast, flat and scenic. Close to home was also a consideration. This one fit the bill.  This was also the first time I have run alone during a race.

I started out not feeling super confident about the race.  I had done everything right, except that about two weeks prior to the race, I started having runners knee….and totally stopped running for a week. I kept up with pool running, so I was hopping that my endurance was still there. My last long run was 10 miles (the only one in the last 2 weeks prior to the race) and it really was horrible! I finished, but felt like I had been hit by a truck.

Then, the night before the race, it was calling for rain. I did not want to run this entire race in the rain! To make matters worse, the forecasters were calling for very cold temperatures in the mid 40’s. So, all night I had nightmares about freezing temps and hypothermia. When I was woken up in the middle of the night by thunder, lightening and lawn chairs blowing across the deck of my house, I just knew my fears were coming true. But I woke up at 5am, checked the race website and it looked like the race was still on, so I decided to go for it. I ate my customary banana and peanut butter, poured my small glass of coffee and the hubs and I were off.

The good thing about waking up that early for travel is that there was absolutely no traffic. We got over to Lansing in record time, and Nathan dropped me off near the start. I wasn’t sure exactly where to go, so I just punched in “The Lansing Center” into my GPS and asked him to drop me off when I saw a bunch of other runners walking. Packet pickup was a breeze as well. The race organizers had everything down to a science.  I decided to pack a small bag with a warm sweatshirt, extra dry socks, etc so just in case it rained during the race, I could have something warm to change into.

I lined up at the start with all the other runners and the pacers.  I have never run with pacers before so that was a new experience. Usually during the first 2 miles I usually run out about 10:15 before I settle in to my 11 minute mile pace for the rest of the race. So, I decided to start with the 10:30 pace group and see what happened. The singer sang the National Anthem and we were off.

I felt GREAT for the first 6 miles. The weather was an overcast 50 degrees, not really too breezy. I wasn’t passing a ton of people but I wasn’t getting passed either, so I figured I was doing something right. The race was pretty flat and there were a lot of spectators which made for a really enjoyable run. Then, somewhere around mile 6.5, I started wondering when the half marathon and the marathon course split. Once I started to doubt myself, it went downhill from there. I started envisioning that I had accidentally started with the full marathoners (I could have sworn that I read that we all started together, but when you are in the midst of panic and hysteria, anything goes). I started focusing on looking at everyone else’s bib to make sure I was in the right race!  It went downhill from there!

You can just see how much fun I am having here!

I managed to keep running for most of the race. There were water stops every 2-3 miles, so I decided to walk through the water stops and then run the rest. When the 10:30 minute per mile pacer passed me, I didn’t care. When the 11:00 minute per mile pacer passed me, I cared a little bit. When the 11:30 minute per mile pacer passed me, I kicked it up a notch for about 10 steps, then decided my goal was just to finish. I also learned a great lesson during this race. I didn’t pay much attention to where I was running on the course. I thought I was running along the tangents most of the time (running as close to the corners as possible) but when I finished my Garmin said I had run almost a full 1/2 mile longer than I was supposed to. So, moral of the story, when running a race, stay out of the center of the road or you will run more than you bargained for :)

I ended up rallying at the end (with the help of 2 chocolate gu packets and lots of water) for a finishing time of 2:33:05. My Garmin read a total of 13.48 miles. I was pretty excited about it considering how horrible I felt during the entire second half of the race :)

The finish line was great. It ended with a slight uphill and then completely flat. There was music, lots of refreshments (pizza, fruit and water/ Gatorade). I easily picked up my bag from baggage check with no lines. The worst part of finishing was that I could not get the top off my water bottle to save my life!  I had to ask the nice lady one of the vendors to help me. Apparently I was a little spent :)

I ended up calling the hubs and he picked me up in about 10 minutes flat. We ended the day with lunch with in in-laws and I may or may not have slept the whole way home. It was a good day!

 

 

 

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First Run Back


After my sports medicine doctor gave me the go ahead to start running again, I decided I should probably get back into the swing of thing… you know, since my half marathon is coming like a freight train!  I started with a short 3 mile jog.

It was a great morning, about 60 degrees, sunny and almost no breeze. I got my MP3 player, my handheld water bottle, and I was off. I wasn’t really paying attention to the pace but I started wondering why this 3 mile jog was so taxing….until my Garmin let me know the mileage and I saw that I was running 9:54 minutes/mile. Yeah. I apparently was a little exited. So, I slowed it down a little, and just held on for the ride. My target mileage for my half marathon is 10:30 to 11 minutes per mile.  My mileage  for this run ended up being 9:54 first mile, 10:34 second mile, and 10:57 third mile. Apparently I need to re-discover how to pace myself :)  So, now I need to get in one more short- ish run before the weekend, then a long run on the weekend so I will be ready to do my half marathon on the 21st! So excited.

Apparently I looked like I needed "help" with my supermans

Apparently I looked like I needed “help” with my supermans

Oh, and after I ran the 3 miles, my neighbor Sara and I did a little bootcamp for 45 minutes. Her daughter Grace decided to help me while we were doing supermans. Thanks Grace for the help, it was very much appreciated!

 

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Runners Knee


Lots of things have been happening over here in the Harley household. For starters, I am very excited to say that my first half marathon of the fall is fast approaching in less than 2 weeks. The down side is that for the last 3 weeks I have been slowly cultivating my patellofemoral pain syndrome…better known as “Runners Knee”.

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I first thought I had a slight problem about 3 weeks ago when I started having a slight tenderness below my kneecap when I was going up and down stairs. Of course, being the awesome self-aware runner that I am (ahem), I kept running on it, making no changes whatsoever. Then I noticed a little pain just at the very beginning of my runs, but it would go away within a half mile. Again, didn’t do anything differently. I finally thought that perhaps I should take a week off running about a week ago when I started noticing pain when I got out of bed in the morning, or just sitting in the chair. I got the bright idea of using the elliptical machine at the YMCA for my long run (about 11 miles) that was scheduled over the weekend.

 

Just for kicks :)

Just for kicks

Boy was that a mistake! Although the elliptical did not cause any pain or discomfort while I was on the machine, that afternoon I started feeling really sore and stiff, and that night…holy cow…I was up all night with knee pain and cramping. I tried everything….motrin….icing….anti-inflammatory cream….elevation…nothing worked. So, I took a week off running. Unfortunately, that is the same week that the YMCA decided to close the pool for their yearly cleaning/ painting/ etc. Boohoo. So, I had about a week of doing nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I totally could have done weight lifting, biking, and other stuff but didn’t. Apparently I needed the rest?  That’s what we are going with!

So, on Monday I went to my sports medicine physician just to make sure I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing. This is what he told me.

Runners Knee is signified by pain below the kneecap, usually when going up and down stairs. It is caused by inflammation of the knee and surrounding structures. It can be caused by overuse and by a weakness of the hip muscles. So, when you run, if you have weak gluteus or hip muscles, the knee will turn slightly and the kneecap gets pulled slightly out of alignment and starts rubbing on the tendon/ ligaments and this causes inflammation. The good news is that he said I can go back to running. The bad news is that I have to do stretching/ strengthening exercises for my hips/ glutes to reduce any strength disparities. He offered me a knee brace, but I declined as the pain is not too bad and I plan on it getting better quickly.

Of course, treatment also consists of icing after running, taking motrin after my long runs, and generally avoiding anything that causes a significant amount of pain.  So, with that, I went to the gym and did 45 minutes of pool running and felt great!

what I look like pool running :)

what I look like pool running

I hope you never have to deal with Runners Knee, but if you do, rest assured it is a very common injury and usually very treatable, provided you catch it early and fix the problem where it originates.

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When Bad Thoughts Turn into Great Runs


Last weeks run was such a great run that I had to share it with you. I had a 10 mile run that I was DREADING!  I decided to make the best of things and got up early to beat the heat. I had charged my Garmin and my MP3 player, so I was ready to go. I filled my water belt, made sure to not forget my Gu for fuel, and headed out the door. It ended up being a great run.

unnamed[1] (4)The run started by my house. There was absolutely no one on the roads so I felt like I could take up the whole lane (I didn’t…safety first of course).   It was a glorious 60 degrees and overcast, which made it fantastic to run in. Not too hot, not too cold and not a ton of humidity.

There was a lot of fog in the fields at first, which made it really surreal to run in, and felt like it dampened the sound; making it eerily quiet.

unnamed[2] (4)The fog soon burned off though, just in time for all the neighbors (are they still neighbors when they are 10 miles away?) started waking up and cooking Sunday morning breakfast.  There is nothing like having a great run and smelling bacon and eggs the entire time!

 

I ended up seeing a deer that decided to run next to me in the field for about a half mile. I tried to take a picture but didn’t want to stop for fear that I would scare it off. It kept running with me and looking at me every so often. I decided that it didn’t look like it was going to attack me….so I just went with it :)

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I am truly blessed to live in a beautiful place, that is for sure!

It was a great run, and I averaged about 10:52 / mile pace, which is pretty darn good. I stopped at about mile 5 to help some little girls find their dog. So, in addition to getting a great run in, I also got good Karma points :)  Cannot beat that.

I hope you all have a great Labor Day.

Happy Running

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My Next Big Thing, The Capital City Half Marathon!


I am so excited to tell you something, I almost cannot wait.

As you can tell, Harley is not nearly excited as I am

As you can tell, Harley is not nearly excited as I am

I have been training for the Mackinaw City Great Turtle Half Marathon in October, right?

 

Well, I jumped the gun and started my training plan a little early this year….about 18 weeks before the actual race….I know; 18 weeks is a long time to train for one half marathon. I totally could have just run a marathon in that time frame. Kill me now! That’s just crazy talk though. The half marathon is plenty for me.

So when I started to fizzle a few weeks ago (summer running sucks let’s chalk it up to the heat), I started looking for small races that I could enter to keep me accountable.  The problem is that most of the races I found were held on September 27th which is our wedding anniversary and I didn’t feel like that was very nice to make Nathan spend our anniversary on the sidelines, or home alone. Sad, right?!

 

My requirements for the race was that it had to be a 10K or half marathon, had to be on specific weekends where I did not work (obviously) and not on our anniversary weekend, and it had to fit into my training plan. So, I was very pleased to see that the Capital City Half Marathon in Lansing fits all of those requirements. I am so excited. I registered for it and everything, so it is a go. Best part is that it is close to home, and I can always stay over at the in-laws after the race with Nathan and hang out before riding home in the car. Bonus! I may live to regret this, but for now, I am super excited…so, let the countdown begin!

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The Best Cheap Training Log Ever!


Hi all. I am not lost, I swear! I don’t know what has gotten into me….Actually, that is a lie. I could totally say that I was busy, yada yada yada, but we all are busy. The truth is, I have just not WANTED to update. Isn’t that awful to say? I have been so busy running and playing with Harley and working, that I just have not wanted to sit down and blog about running….and playing with Harley…and working…sorry…
ready for the park

But, here I am now, so lets just get down to business.
Training has been going GREAT! I have been running my little fanny off. I have lost about 30 pounds since January of this year, just by running and training for races. I try to keep an eye on my diet and eat healthy foods, but in the spirit of honesty….I totally eat the junk food too. Just the other day, I had a banana split, and it was fantastic!

Let’s talk training logs. At the start of the year, I wanted to create a training log that I could log all my workouts  and write little notes so that I could track my progress. I looked all over the internet and found all sorts of notebooks and training logs that I could buy, but none seemed versatile enough to fit my needs. So, I decided to just make my own.

exciting, right!!

exciting, right!!

I bought a Cambridge spiral bound notebook (I think it has 120 pages) and I decided to draw bold lines in marker on the pages to divide the pages into 8 squares. I labeled the squares with the dates and day of the week, with one square left over for notes and goals. I have decided that I LOVE this notebook!

Last week training log

Last week training log

It doesn’t take any time at all to draw the lines in the pages, and I tend to do about 10 pages at a time, so I only ever have to prep the notebook about 3-4 times per year. That satisfies the lazy side of me! After my Hurt the Dirt half marathon, I taped my Hal Higdon training plan onto a page, and wrote what I liked/ didn’t like next to it, so when I sought out a training plan this time around, I totally knew what I was looking for. I tape my current plan that I am using in the inside cover of the notebook so it is always within easy reach. That satisfies the OCD side of me.

 

Now I can look back at each week and easily figure out what my times were for my long runs, what my speed work was prior to the Hurt the Dirt half marathon, and if I am losing my momentum. All for about $1.99. which satisfies the cheap frugal side of me.  An added bonus is that I can dedicate pages in the front/ back to what races I want to run or what gear I want to buy and also dedicate pages after my races to diary what I liked/ didn’t like. That way, next year I can look back and remember if I wanted to run that race again.

 

I would totally recommend journaling your workouts to keep you accountable, and if you are a cheapskate like me, then this is totally the way to go.

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My Gear


So I was thinking about my last race, and I realized that I have a lot of “gear” that I use to run. Running used to be so easy….you just got your shoes on and started running. I never ran with music or a watch. I….just…..ran. Now that I have gotten older…and more pansy-fied, obsessive responsible, I feel like I need a lot more in order to run. So I thought I would delve into the gear that currently are my must-haves.

Can you believe I run with ALL this crap!

Can you believe I run with ALL this crap!

  • Saucony Guide shoes– these are my go to long distance shoes. I recently started looking at my shoes, and I have about 4 pairs of various Saucony Guide shoes :)  I have a really hard time finding shoes. I used to under pronate (running on the outside edge or pinky toe side of my foot) when I ran and all my shoes would be worn out on the outer edge. Ever since I started running in the Sauconys, this has changed and my running pattern on my shoes once they are worn out are right down the middle. I also have much less shin and knee injuries since I started using the Sauconys. I most recently have started running in the Guide 7 shoes, and I love them!

 

  • Nike Zoom Structure 17 shoes– I recently bought these shoes and I love them. I use these primarily for my short runs. I find alternating between 2 different shoes at a time is beneficial. First of all, who wants to run in sweaty shoes from the day before?  Also, if you get caught in the rain on one run, no one wants to run in damp shoes the next day!  I find that my shoes seem to last longer when I am not running in them everyday. The shoe store guy told me that this is due to the shoes being able to rest in between runs and the soles spring back into shape if you let them rest for 24 hours after a run. He totally was probably blowing smoke up my you know what, but…maybe!?   So, I have always just bought shoes at the beginning and the end of the season, and then alternated the newer shoes every other day. For example, earlier this year, I was running in Saucony Guide 5 shoes for my short runs, and Saucony Guide 6 shoes for my long runs. My knees started hurting recently so I knew it was time to get new ones. So, of course I got the Saucony Guide 7 shoes ( am a creature of habit), but when I put the Nike Zooms on, they were heaven. They are still a shoe that provides stability, like my Sauconys, but they also feel very soft and provides cushion for my feet. I find that when I alternate between these two shoes, they are similar but provide a slightly different feel, and my feet feel better for it.

 

  • Flip belt– I LOVE my flip belt. I usually run on the road by my house or on the trail. So, I need to run with my phone for safety. I absolutely hate having a large fanny pack or belt that will bounce but I also need to store my keys, phone and occasionally my inhaler in it. That’s a lot of cargo :)  I honestly use this on every run.  It is a double layer belt that lays flat on my waist, and has little slits cut into one side so you can slip your stuff into it. If you are worried about losing small items, you can flip it so the slits are against your waist, so nothing falls out. Honestly, I don’t usually flip it and I have never had anything fall out of it.  I have this on every run, so I have 2. When they get sweaty I just pop it into the washer with my running close, air dry and it is ready the next day. So easy.
Oddly enough, Harley does NOT run with me!!

Oddly enough, Harley does NOT run with me!!

 

  • Sandisk MP3 player- I used to use my phone with Pandora app when I ran. It was a pain to deal with as I never had control over which songs would come up. It would never fail that when I needed an upbeat song (like when I was running up the biggest hill ever), I would get a super slow song on Pandora and would have to stop, fiddle with the music, and lose my mojo. So, I went looking for an MP3 player that was small, inexpensive, easy to use and stayed put on my belt. So, I was overjoyed when I came across the Sandisk MP3 player. I bought the 4 Gig player and had an old memory card to use with it. (Side note, check your old smart phone that you’re not using anymore, there was a memory card in my old one that I had forgotten about, so I didn’t have to buy one for my MP3 player!!). I clip this player right on my collar of my tank top so it is easy access. When I want to change a song, it’s just one push of a button that I can do without looking at it. The player holds a ton of information (all together there is 20 Gig of data). It only cost about 35 dollars, so if I get caught in the rain and it dies, it’s not the end of the world. Unlike my cell phone, which I can keep tucked into my flipbelt wrapped in a little plastic baggy. Also I recently got stuck in a downpour and I got soaked to the bone. It didn’t even phase my little Sandisk! Of course, use your favorite earphones with it.

 

  • Amphipod runlite airstretch hydration belt– I only use this on my long run days of 6 miles or more. It has 4 water bottles on it that each hold 8 ounces. I usually run with 3 bottles, and only use the fourth if I am doing over 10 miles.  I find that even with all 4 bottles all filled with ice water, it never bounces or sloshes. The bottles clip in which can be sort of tricky at first since 2 bottles are behind your back, but you get the hang of it on the first run and it is smooth sailing after that. It also has a bonus pocket that I put my Gu, phone and tissues. Everything you need for a long run. :)

 

  • Amphipod handheld 12 ounce water bottle- I use this on most of my runs that last 3-4 miles. I don’t run where I can refill it, or else I would use this all time. This bottle is lightweight even when it is full, and it has a little strap that you put around your had so you don’t even have to hold onto it. Sarah M showed me this and I had to get me one!

 

  • Gu: chocolate or peanut butter- I use this when I am running for longer than an hour. I find that at about 55 minutes into running, I start feeling DRAINED! I just totally give up running :)  At first I wasn’t sure what was causing it. I would be really excited for a long run, and then about an hour later, I would just start thinking how I was too tired and could not go on. Someone told me about refueling and it has made such a big difference. I tried Gu shots first, and had raging GI distress, so that was out. These packets are great. They are single serving, so once I use them, I can throw away the package. They are small and fit into my hydration belt or even in my flip belt if needed. I can take them to my half marathons and they don’t take up any space. And they are easy on my sensitive tummy. I especially like the chocolate and peanut butter, but it comes in lots of flavors. Some flavors have caffeine in them, so I usually use the non-caffeinated one about 45 minutes into my run, and then a caffeinated once about 1 hour 30 minutes into my run. That sustains me until the end of the run. During my last half marathon which took me 3 hours!!!! I only had taken 2 packets and I totally should have had a third! Lesson learned. Take more than you need. Also, take with water!

 

  • Samsung Apps– RunKeeper, free HIIT timer- I used to use RunKeeper for my mileage tracker. Now I use my Garmin, but I still use it time to time if I don’t have my Garmin charged. Also, I use the HIIT timer (high intensity interval timer) three times a week, easy. It gives you the capability to put in a warmup, 2 intervals (rest and active period), how many intervals you want, and a cooldown….all for free. LOVE IT!

 

  • Garmin Forerunner 220 watch- I recently bought my Garmin this year about 1 month prior to my half marathon. What a difference it makes. This is not a must have by any means, and was totally a splurge buy. But, I can keep track of pace, mileage, distance, and total run time all on my wrist that I can glance at whenever I want. Be careful though, because it is addictive, I swear. You will become a slave to data!

 

So, that is pretty much it. These are my favorite running things that I use on a daily business. Is there anything that you feel you cannot run without?

 

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Happy Fourth of July!!


I was hoping to get this up yesterday, but it was not meant to be! I am having such a great Independence Day weekend, and as always, am giving thanks to all the men and women that are fighting so hard to make this country what it is.

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So, lets start by saying that I am loving a 3 day weekend! My last day of work was Thursday. Right after work we scheduled a house to look at to see if we wanted to buy. Yes…I know what you are thinking…we are STILL looking for a house. We have not seen anything we liked, so we are taking our time. So, we went to see 2 houses. One was a ranch that I did not like at all. The other one was a 2 story that was really nice but Nathan thought it was too big for us, and it had lots of rooms that we would not really use, so we passed. After that the weekend started off with a bang. (Sorry, I could not help it)

Friday we did lots of yard work. I had managed to run Thursday night so I was a little sore. I finally got my garden de-weeded, and my front flowerbed in order, so I could enjoy the weekend :) I got all my tomato plant stands up so I am just waiting until tomatoes are a-growin. Then, late last night we all sat by Sara and Scot M’s fire pit and watched the fireworks. We have a really awesome guy in our neighborhood who sets off lots of fireworks, so we can just sit back, relax and enjoy the show. It’s really nice!

f-11, 1 sec, ISO100

Honestly, these are fireworks from last year, but I was too tired to take more photos…you get the drift :)

 

I went out with Sara M this am for a long run of 4 miles. Waking up felt really early since I didn’t sleep well last night on account of the fireworks being set off at all hours of the night. Thanks neighbors….really. I like the firework show, but random loud fireworks just for the sound of it does not do it for me, let me tell you! So, this morning we got up early, went to the store for some groceries, and then Sara and I were off for a run. I like to run with Sara because she makes me go REALLY FAST! I ended up doing all 4 miles at about 10:45 to 11:15 per mile. Consistency is what I like! So, today, I am lounging on the deck, eating cherries and blueberries, and just enjoying the days off. I hope you all are having a wonderful day!

How do you spend your Independence day weekend?

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St. Patricks Festival 5K recap


I have to be honest about something.

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I really didn’t want to run this thing. I mean, I wanted to run it when I signed up for it. I was excited to do a race with Sara R. We hadn’t run together in about 5 years and it was going to be a fun race. An added bonus was that it motivated me to start running regularly again after my half marathon, since I had lost my running mojo afterward.

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So, I started really running routinely about a month ago. That was actually really great timing since I started a weight loss challenge around the same time. Don’t you LOVE IT when your worlds come together!  Anyway, I was focusing on just running 3 miles with emphasis on trying to get faster. I figured if I could get faster on a 5K, then when I started training again for the half marathon this fall, it would all translate.

 

Well, it all paid off, let me tell you!  This race was the St. Patricks Festival 5K in Ada, Michigan. The race raised money for St. Patrick’s school, a Catholic school in the area. It was scheduled for Friday at 7pm. So, I worked all day, and miraculously got out of work at 2:30. That NEVER happens!  So, I turned off my pager, and high tailed it out of there :) I was able to go home before the race and get all my running gear situated. I had not planned on taking my Garmin since it was going to be a fun race, so it was not charged. But, at the last minute I decided to take it anyway so I would have a watch to make sure I made it to the start line on time. I am a stickler for punctuality.

 

I ended up getting excited about this race again, about 3 days before we were scheduled to run it. I’m not sure why, but I was just really excited to see Sara R and run with her again. It’s been SO long!! Funny what kids and career will do to friendships :)

I wasn’t sure where the race actually started. Sara R was volunteering at packet pickup prior to the race (her children go to the school). I arrived at 6pm, about an hour early. I easily found a parking spot and picked up my packet. I milled around for a while. They had a live band there, so it was nice to just soak in the sun and listen to the music. Sara had invited another friend along for the race as well ( her name was Alyssa?), so we got acquainted and chatted for a while.

 

obligatory pre-race selfie

obligatory pre-race selfie

After a last minute port-a-potty visit (one can never have enough of those before a race) and obligatory selfie (don’t I look fabulous?), it was time for the race to start. As we thought we would be kinda slow, we picked a spot at the end of the runners but before the walkers to start.  They had a short prayer and we were off. It was a small race, only about 200 to 250 people had registered for it, which was nice that there were enough people to make you feel like you were racing but not enough to make it really congested at the start. We started running together at a pretty good pace, not too slow, not too fast. All three of us had our earphones in, so there wasn’t a lot of talking, but it was nice to run together. I ran about half a mile, intermittently commenting to Sara who I thought was a step behind me about the funny things I noticed during the race. Then, I happened to look beside me, and wouldn’t you know…I was talking to a complete stranger!!  Somewhere I had lost Sara in the crowd, and now I was the crazy girl who says stupid things to complete strangers. :)  GOTTA LOVE IT!

I looked back and couldn’t see Sara or Alyssa (I don’t wear my glasses when I run, so honestly they could have been 200 feet behind me and I wouldn’t have recognized them), so I decided to go for it and honestly race it. And that is what I did. The course was an out and back course on a small road next to the church. It has 2 slight hills in it, and then after about a mile we made a left turn and ran on a hard packed gravel road next to farm fields for 1 mile. It was nice to have the change in terrain. My knees have been hurting lately, so I welcomed a little dirt to run on. The scenery was great. I love running down dirt roads (I like to hear my footsteps in the gravel) and I absolutely LOVE to run through farm fields. They are so solitary and so pretty, especially when the sun is low and shines across the lush green.

It was a really humid hot day, with temps in the mid 80’s. The course had quite a bit of shade for the 1st and last mile, but the second mile was grueling. To make matters worse, the sun was directly in front of us, so it shined directly in our eyes, making it very clear how hot we were :)  There was only 1 water stop and it was right in the middle at the 1.5 mile mark. I had brought my hand-held water bottle but decided to leave it in the car at the last minute, and that was a mistake. Note to self….next time, take a water bottle!

At the finish line, there were quite a few spectators and someone had a loudspeaker so they could call out your name and shout uplifting comments to you. That was fun. Then there were 3 ladies that were handing out ice cold water about 10 feet after the race finish. I think they were angles! ….Truly…Water has never tasted so good :)

After the race, there was live music. You could get drinks if you wanted to at the concession stand. There were prizes given out to the top 3 male and female finishers. I finished, and waited for Sara and and Alyssa to finish so I could cheer them on.  We sat on the grass, cooled down and stretched. It was nice to talk for a while. I never get to see Sara, so it nice to catch up. I didn’t stay for the festivities afterward since Nathan and I hadn’t eaten yet, and it was late. I ended up getting home at about 9pm, so I picked up Chinese food on the way home.

And finally, lets talk about race times!! I hadn’t anticipated racing this course, but over the last few weeks I have been trying to increase my speed in general. So, when my watch beeped to signal the first mile was done, I was stunned to discover that I had run my first mile in 10 minutes, 28 seconds. My goal was just to keep running at that pace. I tend to run the first mile fast, then peter out and have to walk at the end. My second mile was 10:48, and my third mile was 11:03.  I finishing time was 32:51!!  I was 4th in my age group.  That is a 5K PR my friends. So, apparently running with the neighbors (who are super fast)  has paid off.

I would totally run this race again. The atmosphere was fun and it was a really easy race to run on a Friday night, without taking up too much of my weekend. The only thing I would change is that I would definitely take my handheld water with me next time!

 

Sorry for the long post you guys. I wish I had taken pictures of the race, but my phone battery was low and I realized it just prior to the race, so I wasn’t able to snap any pictures! I am such a bad blogger :(

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Krupp Farms Strawberries


Strawberries are on RIGHT NOW!!

I get super excited for strawberries during the summer. I almost missed them this year because the winter was so long. It just doesn’t feel like it should be time for strawberries…but…I drove past Krupp Farms and the sign was out.  So, over vacation, of course I HAD to stop by.
I was really nervous that they would not be open because it pretty much downpoured every single night over our vacation, but I picked a bright and sunny morning to go down there and they were open.

strawberries2

I ended up getting 30 pounds of strawberries. I know what you are thinking…what is a girl to do with that many strawberries?  To tell you the truth, I think I am obsessive compulsive when it comes to fruit :)  I started out thinking that I would get one flat (about 12-15 pounds if you pile it full). At $1.50 per pound, that is a bargain. But, as I was picking, I realized that the strawberries looked so big and juicy… and alluring apparently, because I went and got a second flat. My thought was that I would do a lot of strawberry jam and strawberry rhubarb jam this year, so I wanted to have some left over just for eating.

strawberries

Yeah, it only took me a little over an hour to pick 30 pounds of strawberries. I immediately know the error of my ways as it took me ALL DAY to wash and prepare them :)  Then came the problem of stowing them. My fridge and freezer was full of strawberries for the next couple of days. I spent all day one day jamming. Now I have about 3 batches of freezer jam just begging to be eaten. We used the last of the strawberries this morning on top of pancakes. Wonderful!

 

If you are in the area, stop by Krupp Farms to pick up some strawberries for yourself before they are all gone.  They are super helpful and will always tell you when they are planning u-pick times. If you don’t want to pick them yourself, they do have already picked strawberries available.

Address: 8025 Krupp Ave NE, Comstock Park, MI 49321

phone number: (616)- 887-8271

 

Do you get a little OCD about fruit picking or is it just me?

 

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