Wednesday, December 26, 2012

St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon Recap 2012

I've fallen way behind in blogging (as usual) but can't let the recap of my second time running the St. Jude half go unwritten.  I always find myself rereading these posts the night before a race or when I need a little running motivation.  I also enjoy seeing the how the 13.1 distance has changed for me over the years.

Mike and I made our way to Memphis Friday afternoon and I quickly fell in love with P&E's new house.  We were without our J and A (from team J.A.K.E. of last year) due to a horrible virus keeping J from traveling and something about getting married this year and being out of vacation days for A ;).

race expo
Friday night we went to look at some awesome Christmas lights before enjoying a yummy spaghetti carb fest and an early bedtime.  Patrick ended up getting night shifts for the weekend so he was able to drive us to the race start first thing Saturday.  The morning was surprisingly warm for December and the time pre-race passed quickly.

We took a few photos and met up with our Louisiana friends who were there to run their FIRST half marathon!

with Mary!
Before we knew it we were on our way!  Erin had mentioned a 1:55ish goal to me and I knew that was probably a little out of my reach but decided to hang on to her as long as possible and just try to break 2 hours.

high quality borrowed race photos
We ran the first 5 or so miles together but my legs and lungs were not thrilled about the 8:20ish pace we were keeping so I dropped back a bit.  I kept Erin in my sights for the next 4 miles.

Patrick did a great job of spectating/cheering/and photo-taking.  High-fives from friends are so uplifting during long runs.  

I was finally catching back up to E as we exited the park somewhere between mile 9 and 10.  I was literally about to reach out and grab her when she slowed to walk.  I yelled "I don't think so" at her and did my best job to be encouraging and convince her she was going to crush her goal if she just held on.  The race photographers must have been all around us at this point as they captured quite a few serious friendship photos that make me smile.

forcing shot blocks and water
Running these two races with Erin have meant so much to me.  Racing 13.1 miles is never easy for me and is always a battle between my heart and my body.  Being able to push through the pain beside a friend and root for each other is awesome and makes memories I will always cherish. 

The last three miles went quickly in spite of my slower pace.  It helped that I knew to expect the long, straight stretch of rolling hills this time around.  I entered the stadium this time determined to not fall apart on the silly gravel track.  I gave it all I had and crossed the finish line in 1:57:47.

"sprinting" on gravel
I found my speedy hubby and made it over to watch E finish in under 2 hours! Yay!  Mike was even more ridiculous than usual beating his goal of 1:45 by almost three minutes and finishing in 1:42:14.  I haven't quite figured out how he races at these crazy speeds when every one of his training runs are with me at my slower pace.  I'd love to see what he's capable of if he actually trained to be fast. 

We rested on the grass with our shiny new medals and lots of water for a bit before posing for some photos and heading through the food lines to find Patrick at the finishers area.

memphis has LOTS of Elvis lookalikes

yay finishers!
This race has the best post-race food.  The hot soup was just as yummy as last year (even if it wasn't cold this year) but the Krispy Kreme really made my day.

Once again, St. Jude put on an awesome race.  I absolutely love everything about this event.  This is my favorite 13.1 and I hope to be able to return again!  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Halloween Hunt 5 Miler

Over Halloween weekend, we ran our fourth race of the month.  This one was part of the Tennessee State Park Running Tour which consists of 21 races run throughout the winter, each at a different state park and of various distances. 

We ran this race last year and loved it.  It's a short drive from our house, includes two laps around a gorgeous lake and is at the perfect time of year for seeing lots of pretty, brightly colored trees. 

I decided to get in the Halloween spirit and dress in costume.  It was so fun to run as Raggedy Ann! 

It was randomly VERY cold so I was happy for the silly hat ;).  The 5 miles flew by and I felt speedier than my normal self (maybe due to the cold). 

One bonus of small races: free race photos. 

Mike finished before me and grabbed the camera before I crossed the finish line. 

waving hi
We both had a great race, beat our goals by a bunch and had so much fun. 

We claimed our post-race hot dogs and cookies and crowded by the grills for some warmth.  Mike went to look at the results and told me something very unexpected-  I'd placed first in my (small) age group! 

I'm not quite sure how that happened, but I'll take it.  We finished up with the costume contest (there were some awesome ones) and awards ceremony where we each got trophies before going home to watch the Gators pathetic game against Georgia. 

who gives trophies for fourth place? ;)
We have been impressed by all of the races in this series.  They are all well run, very friendly, and cost only 6 dollars.  We are definitely hoping to run a few more this season! 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Middle Half Marathon Weekend

Last Saturday morning we were up super early to run the Murfreesboro Middle Half Marathon.  I had run this race solo last year and talked the Mister into running it with me this year. 

Our training this time around had gone very well and we were both mostly injury free (for once).  For some reason, the cooler weather we'd been having disappeared for the day and left us in the sixties and seventies with 90%+ humidity.  I was bummed about this but it ended up not feeling too bad. 

race start

The flat course ran the same route as last year (this time without the whole getting lost thing).  The first half winds through fun streets and historic landmarks and includes a few out and backs where I was able to see Mike and cheer him on. 

starting the race

The last four miles or so run along a 4 lane highway and have virtually no spectator support.  I definitely felt a little lonely during these miles and struggled not to let it wear me down.  I knew if I hit the 10 mile mark before 1:30 and didn't completely fall apart from there, I'd be able to beat my previous time.  Luckily, this worked out and I crossed the finish line at my new fastest time of 1:57:14 (8:57 pace- right under my 9 min/mile goal). 

my face shows the pain I was feeling at this point- haha
I quickly found Mike and was so excited to hear about his speedy race.  He finished in 1:46:15 (8:07 pace). 

It was a successful race for both of us and left us excited for our upcoming races and our next half in December! 


race memorabilia
Our afternoon was spent relaxing at home and playing with a certain someone who was sad she didn't get to run the race despite doing all of the training runs ;)

she's mastered the art of throwing the ball into the door till we come play
In the evening, we made our way to Vandy to watch the Gators play! 

gators taking over vanderbilt campus
The game was a better matchup than we anticipated which kept things exciting.  It was so fun to get to watch them live and even more fun to see most of the stadium decked out in orange and blue. 

lots of orange and blue

go gators!

Our long day was finished up with a work party for M's company downtown at Margaritaville.  Trace Adkins was sitting at the table next to us and we were pretty excited about it (but not brave enough to stalk him for a photo).  Great end to a great day!

*race photos borrowed from here

Friday, October 19, 2012

Weekend in Georgia

A few days after getting home from Philly, we packed up our stuff again for a weekend at Alex and T's.  We drove over early Friday morning and arrived just in time for a lunch at The Troll Restaurant on the Chattahoochee River.


Our next stop was Dukes Creek Falls for a quick hike.  It was a short walk for a very pretty falls- win!  

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the back yard with the puppies.  Once T made it home from work, we went out for some amazing barbeque and some entertaining bowling.  

Saturday, we were up early for our second time running the Currahee Challenge.  

currahee mountain- we climb to the towers at the top
We loved the race last year and were excited to tackle the brutal hills again.  


pre-race boys
Once again, the mountain kicked my butt.  I tried to keep pace with Alex but the final climb got me and I slowed to a walk.  You have to love the walking-in-place feeling up steep hills.  I crossed the finish line just under 1 hour (beating last years time) and found the boys to congratulate them on their speedy races. 

I found out I placed third in my age group so we waited around for the awards ceremony to claim my medal.  

After the race we replenished our calories with some delicious Mexican food and then broke the curse of watching Florida lose to LSU at their house.  Go Gators!

On Sunday, the boys had a shooting match to participate in.  T and I (and Ellie) went to spectate. There were six stages with different scenarios and they take turns shooting the targets.  It was quite the experience and I know M loved it. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Philly: Day Four

We had booked a return flight for Monday night so that we could spend a little more time in the city before heading home.  Our hotel was across from Reading TerminalMarket and multiple sources told us we had to go there.  

The building is filled with rows and rows of stalls selling all types of foods.

apparently a best seller- I don't get it!
We spent a little while browsing all of the food and dessert vendors before picking up some breakfast of fresh squeezed juice and calzone with eggs, cheese, peppers, and tomatoes.  

Once we were properly fueled, we began the long walk to Eastern State Penitentiary.  We had heard from our tablemates at the B&B that it was worth seeing and were so thankful for the recommendation. 

M's instagram as we walked up
original design (source)

When checking in, you receive a headset and a map of the property.  I loved the way the tour was setup.  You were basically given free reign of the entire 11 acre place.  You can take one thirty minute overview tour and then walk to places of interest, type the appropriate number into your headset, and learn about whatever topic you want.  
outside the prison
rows of cells, cool headsets, and the OR
The prison was built in 1829 and was the largest in the nation at that time.  It housed famous criminals Al Capone and "Slick Willy" Sutton. 

al capones cell was fancy
more cells, watchtowers, solitary confinement cells

We were both surprised at how much we loved the tour of the prison.  It was so interesting and such a unique thing to do.  
crazy tree
After we finished our tour we took a cab to the Italian Market region of Philly.  There were lots of interesting Italian specialty shops and grocers and cute little restaurants.  We had gone to the area with the intention at eating at one of the city’s more well known sandwich shops- Paesano’s. 

Mike went the traditional route and ordered the namesake sandwich containing beef brisket, sweet peppers, roasted tomatoes, sharp provolone, horseradish mayo and a fried egg.  I was debating between two and asked for advice from the man at the counter.  His response: Where else are you going to get fried lasagna on a sandwich?  I was sold on the Bolognese- a roll filled with fried lasagna, sweet peppers, cheese, and a fried egg.  Both sandwiches were very rich and very enjoyable.  We were also lucky enough to share our lunch with Julianne who came to meet us on her lunch break.  
his and hers sandwiches
Our final afternoon in the city was spent people watching in Rittenhouse park and leisurely walking through cute streets.  We finally ended up with fresh macarons from Garces Trading Company and a pumpkin pie ice cream cone from “More Than Just Ice Cream" before saying goodbye to Philly and catching our plane back home.