30 November 2009

Great Duck Race 10k pics

The dogtag that Karen had made up for all the women 2 months ago! She said she had faith that we were all going to finish :)

The age group awards were handmade wooden duck boxes. Cute, huh?!

Me and Charity with the duck mascot after the race
Tala and the duck :)

Karen's sign on the back of her tank! She kicked my butt yesterday by the way, lol

Patti, Jesse, and me

My new Brooks Launch kicks, so light. I'm going to change out the laces for pink ones :). and no that's not the tag on the right foot, it's the race timing chip.

10 of the 12 Ironpeople-picture courtesy of Kristen <3
And as Jesse put it, 7 different cameras and we're all looking in different directions. Except me, my eyes are closed, lmao.....
Patti, Jesse, Jennifer, me, and Karen with the duck

Great Duck Race 10k and Grand Prix is done!

November 28th marked the final race of the 2009 Arkansas RRCA Grand Prix series and it's brought about mixed feelings. First, I am so relieved it's over..........Second, I am so sad it's over...........It has been a grueling year trying to complete all 20 races in order to Iron the series this year, I've missed out on so many cycling events and races that I really wanted to do. The Big Dam Bridge 100 and the Sara Low 5k are two that I especially missed this year. Sad because I have made so many awesome friends this year that I'm probably not going to get to see most of until next January when the Grand Prix starts back.

Who knew that way back at the beginning of the year I would complete all 20 of the races, it had been a goal but with my job I knew that there was the very real possibility that I would miss a race or two due to being laid over at some point. Fortunately everything seemed to go mostly right and there were only a handful of races that I really, really had to hustle to make. Last Saturday just happened to be one because of the holiday week and a comedy of errors with the parts plants.

Anyway 132.8 miles and the one hour track run later, I am one of 12 Ironpeople this year!!!! Me, Jackie, Jennifer, Karen, Patti, Joe, Mike, Jeff, Eugene, Brice, John, and Jesse!!!!! Joe by the way has ironed the series for the past 5 years.....So am I going to try again next year? Probably not, there are more duathlons and cycling events that I'd like to do and to be honest I don't know if everything will work out as well with my work schedule to repeat it. But I will not rule it completely out, just waiting for all the different race schedules to come out at the moment.

So back to the Great Duck Race 10k at Stuttgart, AR :). First year for me to run this race but I am all too familiar with Stuttgart because that's where I went to truck driving school at, lol!!!!!! A good portion of the race route took me over roads that I'd driven multiple times both at the school and later when picking up at one of the plants in the area. It's billed as a completely flat race and as far as Arkansas goes it may be one of the flatter ones but there's still an invisible incline for the first 2-3 miles that's not noticeable in a motorized vehicle, lol. I'd rather have a hill I can see rather than one of those inclines........

Warmed up with Tala, Karen, Becky, and Joel, so lots of great conversation for the start of the day :). Not sure exact mileage but was over a mile.

Took off too fast as usual, 1st mile was under 8 minutes and my left foot as has been the case lately started hurting about 2.5 miles in :(. There was also a bit of a headwind for the first 4 miles but everybody said it wasn't as bad as previous years.

Garmin splits

Mile 1 7:37

Mile 2 8:04

Mile 3 8:30

Mile 4 8:21

Mile 5 8:20

Mile 6 8:22

Mile 6.2 1:53 (7:21 pace per mile)

Final chip time was 51:11 (garmin was 51:10) but no starting mat again :(

69/236 overall

18/121 females

2/15 40-44 age group

Good enough for 2nd in my age group and my 2nd fastest 10k time. If it wasn't for the left foot, I'm pretty sure I would have busted the Chile Pepper 10k time but with everything going on I'll take it. Oh forgot to mention that I'd only had 4ish hrs sleep beforehand because of the screwed up schedule. I'd ended up driving all the way up from south Texas on Friday and only had 5 hours sleep Thursday night so wasn't exactly firing on all cylinders to begin with. But enough whinging I suppose, lol!!!

So some shout-outs!! Karen got under 50 minutes, Becky had another 10k pr, Ethan placed 3rd overall, Charity toughed out yet another 10k on a bum knee (so proud of her!) and Leah set another female course record (woo-hoo!!!!!!!!). Jesse, Patti, Karen, and Jackie, can you believe it's finally over?!!!!!! Jesse and Kristen are some of the awesomest people you could ever hope to meet, just wish I'd gotten to know them sooner, Jennifer is mind blowingly fast and getting faster (and as TWB noted, quite a cutie!) And yeah, I know I'm getting all silly and emotional but you know what, I don't care, lol.... And I'm getting long-winded and have left people out so guess a friends only post needs to be written in the near future.

22 November 2009

pics of the week again

View of yesterday's mountain from the 7th floor of the Arlington

Age group award from the Spa 10k, much better than last year's plastic cups

downtown Hot Springs and the mountain

Jackie and me after surviving the MidSouth Marathon

I can see the finish line!!!!!!!

Spa 10k and an unexpected award

Lucky number 13 yesterday :)

I had a couple of people questioning why I was running a 10k two weeks after my marathon so thought I'd start with a quick explanation. I'm a member of the Arkansas Road Runners Club of America and this year I decided to run all 20 races on this years Grand Prix series in an attempt to become an ironperson. The Spa 10k is the 19th race of the series, next weekend is the Great Duck Race 10k, the 20th and final, yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I must say I'm very relieved that it's almost over, it's been very, very draining. Can you believe that there is a guy who has not missed a G.P. race for the last 100? Amazing!!! Super nice guy too :).

Spa 10k is an awesome race even if we do have to run up then down a small mountain, lol.........Lots of crowd support, beautiful scenery, just an all-around great race. The only improvement I would recommend is that the timing service buy a starting mat :). I do know the couple that owns the timing service and they are on a limited budget (and great people) so not going to complain too strenuously but it does hurt your time if you start in the middle or back of the pack. Because of my foot I decided to start in the middle of the pack in an attempt to keep myself slowed down a bit. Well, I was 38 seconds slower than last year but still pushed harder than what I should have since this was a get it done for ironman status race.

Started out with Tala, Becky, and Alea (Becky's daughter) and we thought Tala was going to be our rabbit today but she wouldn't play, ha-ha! Took the first 3-4 miles fairly easy then couldn't help myself, started picking up speed :).

Last year going up the mountain killed me, this year, not so much. Not a single walk break and I passed people going up. Had a couple pass me including Becky (woo-hoo!!!!) but overall was doing more passing than being passed. I wasn't even pushing hard at this point. Still trying to not kill my foot and the road is very tilted in this area.

After this though, I just couldn't stand it anymore......Started picking up speed and picking people off (sorry Melinda!). Even caught back up with Karen and Becky just before the finish line :). Felt good to push but as Karen said afterwards while I was limping around, my left foot wasn't so happy :(.

Mile splits
mile 1 8:50
mile 2 8:53
mile 3 9:01
mile 4 8:50
mile 5 8:11
mile 6 7:47
mile 6-6.2 1:54 (6:50 pace).
end time was 53:31

Final results
122/365 overall
first in age group 40-44 :)

Nice and consistent for the first 4 and negative splits to boot, a rarity for me. Not a 10k pr, not even a course pr (last year was 52:53) but considering that I was injured, not bad at all, and excepting the foot, I feel a helluva lot better than last year.

Next up was the State RRCA 2009 Runner's Awards. These aren't the points based awards, that is in February but are for male/female runner of the year, etc and are decided by member vote.......Surprisingly I was nominated in 2 categories--2009 Female Masters Runner and Most Improved!!!!!! I couldn't believe I was nominated even for one, much less 2 awards. Jackie was called up to present the female master's award and squeezed my shoulder when she went by, at this point I knew that I had won. Shocked the heck out of me!!!!!!!!!!! About started crying and if you ever have a chance to be introduced for something, Jackie's the one you want, she made my life sound impressive and it's not really :). Unfortunately, I was in such a state of shock that I carried my cup of water up with me and spilled it on both of us when I hugged her. Yep, typical klutzy Gabby fashion, lol. Sorry Jackie and thank you so much for the awesome introduction. It was better than I deserve :). Love my Cabot peeps soooo much! Karen won most improved btw!!!! Hard category that with several friends in it (I voted for Patti though!). Karen I do believe will be the 2010 Female Master's Runner :).

The Week and my left foot

kinda not in a blogging mood but if I don't get this down now it won't get done.

To start with the week went ok workout wise. Had recovered (I thought) and my runs were going great. Even had a kick-ass 5.05 miler last Saturday that was awesome :). Sunday was a 3.33 mile run/walk with James and Elsie, beautiful weather by the way. Monday was a mediocre treadmill workout of 3.56 miles with a decent core workout. Tuesday had a limited amount of time so decided to combine Elsie's morning walk with a run up the rutted out track that passes for a road up to Pulaski's water tower. This is almost straight up and my goal is to reach the top without walking at some point. Still didn't make it Tuesday but came the closest that I ever had, 7/8 of the way up running :), not fast but running nevertheless.

Wednesday however is when things went awry. Logbook said I had to start rolling early so got up pre-dawn dressed in fluorescent gear and armed with my clip-on blinky light to run on the Industrial Road in Prescott, AR. Can't use my favorite route right now due to deer season :(, I'd rather not be a hunting accident statistic. Things were going great until 1/2 through my run and my left foot cramped up again.........No one to call so no choice but to run back--it was less painful to run than to walk. Since then it's been double doses of Vitamin I, ice and ibuprofen. Unfortunately the Industrial Road is one of those cambered roads with a bit of chip seal. Not a good combo at the best of times.

Oh, a bit of background, my left foot has been taking some abuse since October. First, it's the foot that I've had the plantar fasciitis issues with that I thought were resolved. 2nd, at the Chile Pepper XC 10k I'd caught a rock at the base of my second toe and it had been swollen and a bit painful for a few weeks. Still swollen at the base of the toe actually :(. 3rd, my last 12 miler the Sunday before the marathon I tripped over a root in a field and face planted, had a bruise and cut on the inside knuckle of the foot. The bruise is still a bit visible even today. 4th, my foot started cramping up at mile 24 of the marathon (cambered/rough road) and then had a major cramp afterwards that went from my toes to just behind my knee that I didn't think was ever going to release........

So add in the re-injury from Wednesday and I'm pretty sure my left foot hates me and wants a new owner, lol!

15 November 2009

photos of the week

Finally updated my header pic :)

Blurry pic of the beginning of Thursday's parking lot in Houston :(

Sunset in Kerens, TX over the dollar store

Kerens, TX--Quintessential Texas shot

Elsie in the creek today :)

Finally a shot of me near the big truck I drive, it's clean for once, lol

14 November 2009

umm, er, uhh

So today I received a phone call from somebody that I'd only communicated with via texts or online up to that point and I must say that I probably didn't make much of a favorable impression. See while I consider myself to be somewhat decent in online communication and in real life, when it comes to telephones I seem to turn into a blithering idiot, lol.....I have no clue why that happens. My vocabulary is not limited to words with less than 4 letters, although the grammar usage could use some fine-tuning but shove that phone at me and you can have a more intelligent conversation with a zombie from "Shaun of the Dead". Combine that with a mind-numbingly exhausting work-week and yeah, you have it, Queen of the umm, er, and uhhs with maybe a touch of "oh I'm such a ditz, ooh shiny!" Geez.......

Marathon recovery has been ok but I did end up with a raging case of post marathon blues that was completely unexpected. A friend helped me out with that by pointing out that it was probably due to my first marathon being a very small event. Not much crowd support so I was left with a feeling of "this is it?" Yeah, silly I know but still it was what I was feeling :) so I'm going to own it, lol. Thursday midday was my first run since Saturday and it went quite well even though it was a bit warm and I was starving. Took Elsie out with me so I would be ensured of some walk/rest breaks and we found a nice little city park not far from the Pilot at Denham Springs, LA. Ended up with 3.65 miles and felt pretty darn good :-).

I am exhausted through and through so it's time for bed, I will try and write another blog entry before Monday........

08 November 2009

MidSouth Marathon part Roku

Done!!!!!!!!! Can't believe I just completed 26.2 miles. As soon as I could my shoes came off and I was barefoot :), well except for my pink injinji socks. But it felt so good getting the shoes off my feet, lol........It didn't feel so good 10 minutes later when I tried to put them back on and my left leg cramped up from my calf to my toes. OWIEEEEEEEEE! Didn't think I was ever going to get it loosened up and my toes uncurled (and those toes weren't curled in a good way). I'm pretty sure that cramp is why my leg is so sore today.

Final time was 4:40:40, very easy to remember and kind of unusual especially since I'm 40 years old. A friend suggested I play those numbers in the lottery, lol.

77/158 overall

3/9 40-44 female age group (but first won a masters award so I got 2nd age group)

not sure where I placed female overall and too lazy too count it up :)

The bling!!!

Jackie asked me afterwards if there was anything in my training I would have done different but there wasn't. I felt strong at least until the headwinds but those affected everybody. I heard later that even most of the faster runners were 35-40 seconds off their usual times per mile--haven't verified this but everybody did say they were struggling with the winds. The only way I could have trained better was to have thrown in some midday runs in Central Texas (notoriously windy).

So war wounds--hobbling about today because of the left foot and calf, a blister on my right pinkie toe, and a bit of chafing on the inside of my thighs from the shorts under my running skirt. The chafing I discovered in the shower afterwards, OUCH, OUCH, OUCH! Little bit sore through my shoulders (leaning forward into the wind) but otherwise I don't feel any worse than after my first half marathon last year. If it wasn't for the left leg I could even go for an easy run today.

Thanks to Jackie for running with me in my first marathon and to the entire Cabot crew for the support and training (esp. Brenda, Cindy, Lisa, and Jackie). TWB and Terry were also a major cheering section as was my Twitter friends (I'll leave somebody out if I try to list them all). Love to Patti, Becky, Karen, Brice, and Tala!! Another thank you to Jeff Clark, the Marathon Trucker for the encouraging emails and advice. A huge shout-out to my friend Alyson who bought the very cute "Running. I do that." tee-shirt as a 1st marathon gift. Thank you Aly!!!!! and here's the pic of me wearing it to my ohmygod, I finished the marathon celebratory pancake dinner that I'd been obsessing about all week. Wow, sound like I'm giving an Academy Award speech or something :).

MidSouth Marathon part a cĂșig

Jackie and I agreed around mile 16ish or so that we were just going to go on and do whatever we could do. She has 14 or 15 marathons completed so she's much stronger than I am with the longer distances. I was able to keep her in sight until around mile 24 (more on that in a bit).

As I wrote earlier I was so disappointed when I didn't see James where I thought I would so that kind of dropped my spirits even more. Yeah, I'm such a baby :(. He most definitely made the right decision with staying and helping with the water stop, I am so proud of him for that.

At this point I'm playing the game of picking out a cone, sign or a pole to run to, then another to walk and so on. Wind is continuing to pick up and I'm soldiering on albeit slowly, lol....I get passed by one of the faster women from the regular start and she's taking walk breaks too. Later I found out from Jackie that this was the woman who won the MidSouth Marathon last year.

Mile 24 up the monster hill and this is where my left foot starts to cramp up. Yep, the one I had the plantar fasciitis problem with last spring, the one that hadn't bothered me for the past 3 months. That's the one :-(. Way more walking than what I wanted at this point, grrr and this is where I lose sight of Jackie for good. Finally up and over the hill but still walking more than running.

Finally some crowd support :). There was this lovely older lady that had a series of signs staked out in her yard and she was offering bottled water to the runners. So sweet and a welcome sight. I didn't need the water but absolutely loved that she was doing that. Groups of JR ROTC members are at every corner now. Some are cheering more enthusiastically than others but I was getting an "I love your tattoos!" from every single group, lol. Finally see James again and hand off my water bottle to him and get a quick kiss :). Muster up the energy to run (slog!) the last 1/4 mile through the finish line, smiling and laughing and almost crying all the way.

MidSouth Marathon part Vier

So, turnaround point, headwind, still running strong.........

At least until we get out of the tree cover then the wind is BRUTAL.............

Started slowing a bit but nothing too drastic, then I realize that I took a bit too much water at the last 2 stops and had to hit the portapotty for a quick pee. Small race-walk to reach it, come out and I swear the wind has picked up even more for the less than a minute I was in there. Run for another 1/2 mile or so, it's steadily uphill (where the hell were the downhills?), and I can't catch my breath at all. It ends up being a race walk/run pattern from this point on (mile 17-18) with the wind continuing to pick up and gusting and it's getting hot. I simply could not draw enough breath in. Legs were still good at that point but that deteriorated quickly with not getting enough oxygen in :(.

Here is a graph of the weather conditions from yesterday. Note the wind speed/gusts. The highest wind gusts yesterday were 46.5 mph.

Was looking forward to seeing James at the first point we'd seen him that morning because I was going to drop some gear with him to try and lighten up the load a bit. To my disappointment he wasn't there and oh man did my spirits plummet :(. Afterwards I found out that the mile 11ish/15ish water stop had only 2 volunteers working it and he stayed with them to help out until 1030. They were getting overwhelmed so he started refilling cups and handing them out. After that a couple of other spectators jumped in to help too. But isn't that so awesome of him?!?

MidSouth Marathon part Tres

Ok, line up, listen to the speech, starting pistol is fired :)--3 minutes late by the way....Chip timed but no starting mat for it. I think they compensated for it in the final results though.

Jackie asked me what my race plan was but to be honest, the longest race for me so far has been a 1/2 marathon and my longest runs were 20 milers (and only 2 of those) so I had no idea what my race plan was or even should be....I was going to be relying on her guidance and advice. My nutrition plan was one gel every 5-6 miles, I was carrying my amphipod bottle with heed and would get water at the stops as needed.

Morning started out cool but within a mile it was heating up already. I'd left my long sleeve shirt with James but kept my gloves on, they only lasted about 3 miles. Good steady pace in the beginning but do not let anybody tell you that the MidSouth Marathon is flat.......It may be in Wynne but the course takes us over and around the edge of Crowley's Ridge. I do believe the only flat parts were the first and last miles.

Jackie's nutrition plan was to take 1/2 a gel every 3 miles with a bit of a walk break so I ended up following that and it worked out great. May continue that routine from here on out for my long runs (I want to stay in 1/2 mary shape consistently).

James surprised us by showing up at the first place along the route that was ok for spectators to drive to and cheer the runners. I was so surprised and happy! Can't believe how much that lifted my spirits up to see him throughout the course :). Unfortunately there is very little crowd support for this marathon except at the water stations. The water stations however were every mile or so and the vast majority of people were very enthusiastic. I do wish they were still doing the themed water stops with costumes like they used to, not sure when they stopped that. A lot of kids were working the stops and they would be so happy when you chose them to take the cups from. Sooooo cute! There was more than one where they looked so crestfallen that you didn't take their cups :).

I had a low spot right around mile 5 or 6, just wasn't feeling great, hills were taking their toll and I was cramping a bit (oh forgot to mention my period started Friday evening, yuck) but came out of it fairly quickly. Maybe I need to start carrying a recorder so I can note what's going on where and when. Would be a great reminder for afterwards 'cause things tend to blur together sometimes. It was so nice to reach the tree-covered part of the course for some shade, but still seemed like there wasn't any corresponding downhills to the uphills, wth?!?

Kristen drove by cheering at one point :), she's such a sweetie! Saw James again at the mile 11ish water stop, hit the turnaround point, give Charity a quick hug and introduce Jackie to Kristen. Feeling awesome, we start meeting the fast runners from the regular start and the runners that are behind us from the early start. Great boost to cheer everybody on and so very, very cool to see and cheer on Ethan and Leah twice, once meeting them and then when they zoomed past us.

Saw James again at the same water stop on the way back but this time he was handing out water and gatorade with the volunteers :).

The turnaround point marked the headwind though, eep.......

Freezing at the start, cute gloves, and Carol to the left.

MidSouth Marathon part Deux

Jackie, me, Annette, and Jane. Not sure who number 76 is :), Brice is at the far right with blue cap, and I think that's Patti's arm.

Patti, me and Becky :). I adore these girls!

Breaking this up into several posts so hopefully will be easier for everybody to slog through :-).

Earlier last week we received an email from the race organizers saying that the early start of 0700 was going to be open to all runners and I started noticing facebook posts that most of my friends were going to take advantage of it because of the warmer temps being forecast. This led to an overwrought post about what I should do and Brenda sends me a text to call her. I soooo needed that! Thank you so much Brenda!!! What we decided was since it was such a small marathon I would be essentially running by myself or pretty close to it anyway that I should go for the early start and run with Jackie, another experienced marathoner who would be doing the same pace as me. Since it was my first my only real goal was to finish under 5 hours and still be walking afterwards. Plus there are two final grand prix races (2 10ks the final two weekends this month) so wanted to try and stay well enough to complete them.

Saturday morning, James and I actually arrive early, early!!!!!!!!! That is so unusual for us, we're almost always rushing around at the last minute in panic mode, lol.........This gives me time to go to the bathroom, get geared up for battle, go to the bathroom, get my race packet and chip, go to the bathroom, socialize, go to the bathroom.........yes I have a nervous bladder, LOL......

Got to visit with Carol and her daughter quite a bit and she was giving me major compliments on my muscle tone and was telling everybody how she got to witness my transformation and how awesome I was. The thing is Carol is one of the most awesome people I know!!! Always so bubbly, positive, heckuva body herself, and has completed 14 (I think) marathons so far this year plus 1 ultra. And that's not counting the various shorter races..........Amazing, amazing woman :). I'm very privileged and honored to have her as a friend.

Visited with Patti, Becky, Annette, Jane, Arland, Jackie, Brice, Tala, and Karen :). Oh shoot who am I forgetting? Getting old sucks, lol......Unfortunately Tala missed our facebook posts about us doing the early start so she didn't run with us. That sucked for me and her :(.........I am so sorry Tala, I should have thought to email you directly, I feel like such a jerk.

MidSouth Marathon

Well, I am no longer a virgin--marathon wise that is, LOL!!! This can now be marked off as one of those bucket list items, although I'm fairly sure it wasn't on my bucket list to begin with, ha-ha........

Good news is that I didn't hate the experience and may even try my hand (or feet) at another one in the future but the next one will most definitely be one of the larger venues just to get the full experience of the crowds. This one was kind of an accidental marathon because at halfway through the year I'd realized I'd made all the state's Grand Prix races and thought why not try to go for Ironman status............Yeah, I knew there was a marathon involved but kept thinking that work schedule might cause me to miss one of the earlier races then there would be no pressure to run the marathon :).

Unfortunately last month James' mom suffered a minor stroke which has caused some major stress in our household in trying to rearrange schedules, deal with government agencies, etc.......Anyway I've whinged enough about this on twitter so don't feel I should go into all over again except to note that this caused some major sleep deprivation, stress, and a weight loss of 2 pounds 2 weeks prior to the marathon that I couldn't afford to lose right then. Major thanks to Lybbe, The Wondering Brit and Terry aka Little Trucker for getting me through last week with what little sanity I have left somewhat intact :)

Why the heck is my hat so crooked? LOL! Lots of compliments from non-runners about my shirt

02 November 2009

random pics

Again most of this has been posted on twitter so don't bothering looking if you've already seen them.

Blurry pic of weird sky in Memphis last week

muddy shoes from today's trail portion of the 12 miler

eww, muddy socks. Plus the little bitty dot on the inside of my ankle is where I cut it when I face planted today

Immediately after today's run :). Was in such a great mood wanted to share it with James. When he received the pic he called saying that it must have been a really good run since I was grinning so big. And yeah, I was wearing gloves throughout (chilly fingers!) even though I ended up shedding the long sleeve technical shirt.