Monday, December 31, 2012

Just Because I'm a Big Geek...

   So 2012 is coming to an end tonight. It's been a good year for me race-wise, with a new PR in every distance ranging from 1 mile to Half-Ironman. And, mainly so I remember, here they are:
1 mile - 7:57
5k - 28:18
10k - 57:49
10 mile - 1:36:10
Half-Marathon - 2:09:34
Half-Ironman - 5:58:36
   And, because I'm a geek, I've started keeping track of where I've raced. I'm hoping to race at least a half-marathon in every state. Granted, my husband thinks this is the worst idea ever, so it might not happen. But I created a map anyway.

   You can't really read the text on the photo, but the light purple are states where I have raced a half marathon prior to 2012. The dark purple is a 2012 half marathon race state. And the green is a half-Ironman state prior to 2012. As you can see, I still have a ways to go. But, I need to add DC, because that was new in 2012, and I know I'll add Louisiana in 2013! Hopefully a few others as well!  :-)

Happy New Year Everyone!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 Medal Recap

   First off - a huge kudos to Robbie Bruce and everyone who participated in / donated to the 26.4.26 run last Saturday. Over 1,000 runners participated and $30,000 was raised to help the families affected by the Sandy Hook tragedy. Truly amazing.
   Now, on to the 2012 medal recap. I know medals don't mean a lot to some runners/triathletes. There are those hard-core racers who believe that you shouldn't receive a medal unless you win. Whatever. I think they're fun and a nice memento from the race. So here we go:

Mercedes Half Marathon - Birmingham, AL

   I liked this medal for it's simplicity. It's the Mercedes logo, after all. What else do you need? It also had a nice ribbon. I'm a fan of the nice ribbon. I mean, you pay anywhere from $75-$100 for a race, you should at least get a nice ribbon, right?

Rock 'n Roll USA 1/2 Marathon - Washington, D.C.

   This was kind of a cool medal. Being that it was in Washington, D.C., there was a patriotic theme, hence the bald eagle. The marathon, half-marathon and relay medals were all the same design, with different color schemes. Of the three, this was my least favorite, but NBD. Cheap ribbon though. Not a fan of that.

   One thing to say about the Rock 'n Roll series, they like to stick with the theme. Have a music theme? Why not have a record for a medal? It's not too exciting, but it's gold and shiny. Again - cheap ribbon. Same one as the USA 1/2 marathon, actually. Rock 'n Roll must get them in bulk.

Hustle for the House 5k - Nashville, TN

   This was the only medal I actually won. This was for first place in my age group in the 5k. Different colored ribbons denoted what place you were. Full disclosure - I'm on the board for this event so I had a voice in the decision of the medals. I like this one. It's cute and matches logo of the race and the theme of the Ronald McDonald House. 

ESI Ironman 70.3 - Augusta, GA

   Now this is a medal. It's heavy and has a really nice ribbon. It's a little too colorful for my taste, with the pink peaches and the purple ESI logo, and I don't really think the ribbon matches the rest of the medal. But at least you feel like you got something for your entry fee. And truthfully, by the end of a half-Ironman, you're so damn happy to get the medal you don't really care what it looks like.

MS 150 Ride to Jack & Back - Franklin, TN to Lynchburg, TN and back

   This medal wasn't for a race, but for a charity bike ride for MS. I've done this ride in the past and didn't receive a medal. I think it's a nice touch. Not really necessary because the ride is so cool, but a nice touch. It's really basic medal, but it's a charity ride so that's OK.

St. Jude Half Marathon - Memphis, TN

   This, of course, was my favorite race of the year, so I love this medal. It's big, the ribbon matches and that part in the middle of the medal rotates.  Enough said.

Bonus medal - Rock Encore:

   A few months back, I received a package in the mail with this medal in it.  Apparently, if you complete more than one Rock 'n Roll 1/2 Marathons in a year, you get a special medal. I ran two - D.C. and Nashville - and this is what I got. Again, this falls into the "not really necessary, but nice" category.   Nice blingy, shiny medal. Again with the cheap ribbon though. Rock 'n Roll has to get over that.
   2013 starts in a few days! Looking forward to another year of racing!

Friday, December 21, 2012

26.4.26 or Why Nashville is Awesome

   In my last post, I talked about focusing on small, positive things that have occurred since the tragedy in Newtown.  Here's another.
   Last Monday, local triathlete Robbie Bruce (X3 Endurance) was watching the horrific coverage of Newtown when he decided he wanted to run 26 miles in honor of the 26 victims from the Sandy Hook Elementary School, and "26.4.26" was born.

   The plan was simple. The run would be Saturday, the 22nd. Robbie planned a 6.5 mile route starting at Nashville Running Company. Hoping that a few others might want to join him, Robbie sent out a few texts and Facebook messages asking if anyone else wanted run. People could run 6.5, 13, 19.5 or 26 miles, depending on how many loops they want to do. Runners would be assigned an "angel" (a name of one of those lost in the tragedy), and would run in their angel's honor. Donations (going to help the families of Newtown) of $1 per mile were requested. The idea was probably to raise a couple hundred dollars, or maybe $1,000.

The text that started everything...

   However, in less than a week, this idea went from one guy running, to OVER 800 with more still signing up. EVERY Nashville running/triathlon/cycling club, store and training group that I know of is going to be there. Almost every runner I know is posting, tweeting or blogging about it, encouraging others to run or donate. The media has covered it. Sponsors are stepping up to donate water and food for the runners. It's gotten so large that the run has been moved from the Nashville Running Company to LP Field (where the Tennessee Titans play) so parking can be accommodated. I don't know the details of the logistics of this run, but I do know you can't pull something like this off without the cooperation from the City of Nashville. No government red tape preventing this run from happening.
   I'm so freaking proud of my Nashville athletic community right now, I could just cry. Seriously. I know I've mentioned how awesome my East Nasty crew is, and how much I love training with FTP Coaching. I KNOW how amazing these people are. But to see them, and so many others, come together to support the Sandy Hook community is just... well, there are no words for it. It just makes my heart swell.
   So you can imagine how disappointed I am that Dudley and I won't be able to run tomorrow. We'll be traveling for the Holidays. Fortunately, there is a way for me to sponsor runners, which I have. And I think you should too - There are also shirts and stickers available for purchase on that same link. Again, all proceeds are going to help the families of Newtown. Robbie is now hoping to raise $26,000. Knowing Nashville, I think that'll happen.
   This all started with a man with an idea, and it's turned into a movement. That's pretty cool. Thank you to Robbie for making this happen. You know we've all had ideas like this and haven't pursued them because it might seem like too much effort, or you're afraid that no one will join you. Makes you wonder what kind of world this could be if we all started acting on our ideas.
   “I always thought someone should do something about that, then I realized I was someone.”
    ~ Lily Tomlin

Monday, December 17, 2012

Small Glimmers

   I can't count how many times I've started to write something here over the past few days, but then just couldn't get anything down. Or, if I did, it didn't really seem to make any sense. I, like most people, am heartbroken and sick about the events that occurred in Newtown on Friday morning. I just don't understand how/why something like this could happen. And unfortunately, I'm the type of person who, when failing to comprehend something, obsesses over it until I can make some sort of sense out of it. But it's impossible to make sense out of something as horrific as Newtown.
   So instead, I'm deciding to focus on the small glimmers of hope I've witnessed since the tragedy. Scenes like the grief-stricken father of 6-year-old Emilie, who showed compassion and sympathy towards the family of his daughter's murderer (I don't think I could have been so merciful). The airline, JetBlue, who transported hand-written letters on a red-eye from Washington State to Connecticut so they could be buried with 6-year-old Noah. The local soldier/father who volunteered to stand watch outside of an elementary school so the kids wouldn't be afraid go to school today. And the teacher who told a nervous mother this morning, "I love your child as if he were my own son. I would give my life to save his." Those words mean even more now, given the sacrifice of Sandy Hook teacher Victoria Soto.
   Be sure, by focusing on the hope, I'm not glossing over the heinousness of Friday's massacre. I'm certainly not trying to put a happy spin on a tragic situation. That's impossible to do in this case. But, as stated before, I can't understand the kind of evil that take his vengeance out on an elementary school. What I can understand is hope - even if it's just small glimmers of it.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Whomp Whomp

   So, in my last post, I mentioned how I was waiting for notification from the DC Nike Women's Half Marathon. My three college friends and I had all applied to be in the lottery for their race on April 28th. Well - guess who all got in? My three friends. Guess who didn't? ME!! I'm totally bummed because I was really looking forward to this race. Not to be too overly dramatic, but 2012 hasn't been the best year for me. Between my parents' house burning down, my company being bought and now my dog being hurt (poor Hef), this year has been one giant ball of stress. I was REALLY looking forward to a weekend away with my runner girls. Sigh.
   Fortunately, all hope isn't lost. I can still sign up as a charity runner with Team in Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I'm not sure about this because, while I'm a huge fan of LLS, I'm a horrible fundraiser. I'm TERRIBLE at asking people for things, especially money, even if it is for a good cause. But I really want to do the race. And I've heard training with TNT is an amazing experience. I'm not sure what to do. I'll probably decide over the weekend so I can get my fundraising started if needed. If anyone has any experience with TNT, I'd love to hear about it!  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

So Many Races, So Little Time..and Money

  So the end of 2012 is near. If you're anything like me, you've already started planning your race calendar for 2013. Though I've only officially signed up for one half-marathon so far (Rock 'N Roll New Orleans), I have several that I want to do. OK, there are A LOT I want to do. And that's where the problem lies. Between training, logistics and expenses, I can't possibly race them all. Not to mention, I'd probably seriously injure myself if I raced everything I wanted to. Anyway, here is a partial list of some of the races I'm thinking of doing this year.

Potential Races:
 - Virginia is for Lovers 14k (Virginia Beach / February 9) - This Valentine's Day themed race is put on by J&A Racing, who also put on the Shamrock Half Marathon I did a few years ago. For those who didn't grow up in Virginia like I did, "Virginia is for Lovers," is the tourism slogan of the state. Why do I want to do this race? It just looks cute. Plus, how many races offer a 14k? And you get a medal shaped like Virginia!

This makes me homesick.

Austin Half Marathon (Austin, TX / February 17) - This race is sponsored by LiveStrong. I'm hoping that there is still a ton of support for this race even with the Lance Armstrong mess. Why do I want to do this race? I've been looking for an Austin race for a long time because this is where hubby is from. I think it would be cool to run through his old haunts with him. Plus, his family still lives there so we could visit them.

- Nike Women's Half Marathon (Washington DC /April 28) - This is the first Nike Women's race that is outside of San Francisco. This is what I'm hoping will be a collegiate runner girl reunion weekend with Debbie, Dana and Jenny. Kicker is that it's a lottery registration, so there is a chance that one, half, none or all of us will get in. Hopefully, it'll be all. Why do I want to do this race? Well, it's in my hometown so I can visit my parents. Plus instead of finisher's medals, the participants receive Tiffany necklaces presented by men in tuxedos! We find out this week if we get in. Fingers crossed!

- Flying Pig Half Marathon (Cincinnati, OH / May 5) - This race seems to be popular for people in Nashville as Cincinnati is only five hours away. From what I've read, the support from the city is huge. A race with something for everyone, there is also a Full Marathon, a 4 person relay, a 10k, and a 5k. Why do I want to do this race? How could you NOT want to do a race called the "Flying Pig?" Plus, I like their logo and want a shirt with the flying pig.

The G is a curled pig tail!  Come on - that's cute!  

- REV3 Olympic Triathlon (Knoxville, TN / May 5) Unfortunately, this race is in direct conflict with the Flying Pig Half. Boo. Why do I want to do this race? I've never done a REV3 race and I really want to race one. I like that it's in Knoxville. Even though Dudley went to law school there, I didn't really get experience the city. And believe me, you get to really experience a city when you literally run through it. Plus, it's on the FTP Coaching calendar, so they will all be there.

 - Hatfield and McCoy Half Marathon (Goody, KY / June 8) - Yes, there is a race dedicated to the infamous feud between "Devil Anse" Hatfield and "Old Ran'l" McCoy. Run by a decedent of the Hatfield family, the course runs through both West Virginia and Kentucky where the feud took place. Cute thing about this race - when you register, you are assigned to be either a Hatfield or a McCoy. The "family" with the overall lowest time "wins" the feud for the year. Why do I want to do this race?  EVERY race report I have ever seen about this race RAVES about how cool it is. Plus, this totally brings out the history geek in me.

- Beach 2 Battleship Half Iron Distance (Wilmington, NC / October 26) - Named by Triathlete magazine as one of the top five iron distance races in the world. Why do I want to do this race? Again, from speaking to past participants, this race seems awesome. Challenging, but not crazy hard. I like that the swim is in the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway, so it's in salt water, but not in ocean water. And, it seems like a bunch of friends are going to be traveling from Nashville for this race, so that would be fun. This would be an "A" race for me (as in I'd train specifically for this race and try to do well).

The finish is by the USS North Carolina.

- Rock 'N Roll Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV/ November 17) - Another "tour stop" in the "Rock 'N Roll" race series, this race runs through the Las Vegas Strip at night. Why do I want to do this race? Because this race runs through the Las Vegas Strip. At night. That's pretty cool.  

Don't you want to run through this?

Savannah Bridge Run (Savannah, GA / December ?) - A 10k and/or a 5k, this race is generally not a distance I would travel seven hours to run. But Savannah is on my travel list, so why not race while I'm there?  (The Savannah Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon is also in consideration.) Why do I want to do this race? Because I want to run over this three times: 

Yes, this looks fun to me.

Unfortunately, this race will most likely compete directly with the St. Jude Half Marathon, which I love.  

And there's more!! 
   I haven't even started on all of the great local races I want to do! I'll definitely do several of the Team Magic and Start2Finish races this year. Plus, I want to do Mach Tenn, which I couldn't do last year because of my parent's house fire.
   To make everything MORE confusing, it seems like every race company is giving an incentive discount today because it's 12/12/12. The Rock 'N Roll group is giving a $20 discount on any race and Team Magic triathlon is giving $12 off if you register today. Unfortunately, with the Holidays coming up, this isn't the best time for me to be signing up for a hundred races. Sigh.
   If anyone has any suggestions for other races, please let me know! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The One Where I Fell

   There have been several races this year that, for whatever reason (laziness), I didn't write a recap.  Now that I'm in the off-season, I have a little more time. So let's play catch up, shall we?
   First, we'll take a trip back to July. Yes, July. If you can remember back that far, when we last left our heroine (um - that's me), she had just come off of her stellar performance at the Old Hickory Lake Sprint Triathlon after a summer full of drama. Next up was the Team Magic Chattanooga Waterfront Olympic Triathlon. (Imagine the Wayne's World wavy line flashback effect here.)

483 is SUCH a better starting number than 1222 like last year.

   Considering this was the race where I wanted to cry last year, I was REALLY hoping for a different experience. And since my summer was so crazy, I wasn't overly concerned about my time. I just wanted to finish and not cry. I know, I know - I have huge expectations for myself.
   Anyway, we (Dudley and I) headed down to Chattanooga on Saturday. The expo is on the waterfront right where the transition area is. Man, was it HOT. I know, Chattanooga in July is hot. But while you're standing in line you're just thinking "I'm racing in this tomorrow? I'm insane!" Check-in went fine though. I had a moment of panic as there was a little glitch with the system and some fast racers (like Coach Andrew from FTP) were seeded later then they should have been. Fortunately, this didn't affect me and Andrew was able to move to the front so all was well. 
   The group from FTP then all met up for dinner, which was cool. It was kind of humbling though because I knew everyone at the table was going to have a better finishing time than me. That's what I get for hanging out with amazing athletes. 
   After a decent night's sleep, it was off to the transition area to set up. Unlike last year, we stayed in a downtown hotel within walking distance of transition. I CANNOT express how much better this was than driving down, finding parking and schleping everything to transition. I don't care we paid a little more. It was worth it. I ran into a few FTP, East Nasty and even work friends while I was setting up. Always fun!

Michael and Jason from my office.

With Meg from EN. Forcing smiles at this crazy early hour.

   After setting up, we headed down to the start. It was same set-up as last year where you wait for the start in a large field with no shade. Always fun when it's on the way to 98 degrees, but I did the best I could to stay cool. Remembering my experience from last year when I almost got sick from drinking too much Gatorade, I only drank water. And, since I had a decent starting number, I didn't have to wait too long to start. 
SWIM - 27:16
   The swim wasn't too bad this time - no open water freak-out which was good. Just kind of cruised along. It's a downriver point-to-point swim. I like that. I would pick a point in the distance and think "swim to the bridge - just swim to the bridge. OK - now get to the boat." I only wish I knew if there was some sort of meaning for the different colored buoys along the way.  They would all be the same color (yellow, maybe?) and then I'd see an orange one in the distance and think "YAY! The end!" but no. It would just be some random orange buoy silently mocking me in the river.  
  The good news is that the finish is pretty loud, and you can hear people ringing cowbells and cheering when you get close to the finish. That kind of stuff helps me. The bad news with this finish is that you have to climb about a million stairs to get to the transition area. Ok, maybe it just FEELS like a million stairs, but there were a lot.

A decent look at stairs. This is Coach Andrew from FTP. Who puts stairs like that after a swim? That's just mean!  

Spectators admiring my amazing athletic ability as I speed by.

Me cursing the stairs. Notice the hot pink toes. Yes, I just had a pedi. Because pedis make you faster.

Oh - there's a camera!  Hi Dudley!  

Bike - 1:24:40
   Feeling OK out of the swim, I was still a little hesitant for the bike. I really had a hard ride last year. I know I should have been all "forget last year! Redeem yourself!" But all I could think of was how I felt at this point last year. Fortunately, as the ride went on, my confidence grew. "Hey - it's mile 5 and I don't feel like crying like I did last year!  GREAT!" I even started making up songs in my head. "AAANNDD this is where I'll pass this girl, pass this girl, pass this girl. This is where I'll pass this girl,  all through the town." Yes, that's a really bad version of "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round & Round."  Whatever. You do what you can to get through a race and my creative juices weren't firing enough to come up with a new last line.  

Waving at Dudley again. I wonder how much time I could knock off if I 
REALLY focused on the race rather than the camera. 

Fixing my shoe while riding. We triathletes can multi-task like that.

   I felt like I had a decent bike leg. I wasn't killing it, but it wasn't killing me either. I passed a lot of people, which is always nice. And I didn't cry once. WINNER! 

Run - 1:13:23
   I started the run feeling pretty good. I felt like I actually could run, which helps in triathlon.

Oh yeah - I'm running.  One more leg to go.

Starting the Garmin. See - multi-tasking again.

   The run was hot - upper 90's. I was much better with my nutrition (Honey Stinger waffle anyone?) and hydration than last year, so that helped a lot. I was tired and hurting, but in a manageable way. The first mile had a bad hill which takes you up to the greenway, and then you have to climb some stairs (what is it with Chattanooga and stairs?!!). I ran all of it, where as last year I saw that hill and was like "Nope. Not running that." But this year, I just cruised right up them. I kept a pretty decent pace for me in a tri - about a 10:00 mile. I basically had the plan of "just run to the next water stop," which were near the mile markers.
   So - I passed through the mile 2 water stop and I'm pretty happy because I'm feeling good. I remember thinking "WOW- I'm almost halfway through the run! GREAT!" And then it happened. I fell. BAM. Right on the greenway. It was definitely one of those surreal moments when you KNOW something bad is going to happen, but you can't believe it. "Surely, I'm not going to fall" was the last thing through my mind as I hit the pavement. I didn't trip over anything - I just twisted my ankle and fell. I looked around to see if there was some uneven pavement or something, but nothing was there. I guess I have weak ankles. Still don't know why it happened. 
   The fall definitely took the wind out of my sails. I wasn't injured (not even a scratch, which was annoying because if my time is going to suck, I want proof as to why!!), but my ankle hurt. I wanted to keep moving though so I tried to run a bit, but it hurt too much. So I kind of did a walk/run thing for the rest of the race. A funny thing happened around mile four when I passed Meg from East Nasty. Bless her heart, her seat post broke on the bike and she had to ride with her seat on the frame the entire time. Since Chattanooga was an out and back course, and I passed her on the way back to the finish. She yelled to me "My bike broke!" and I yelled back "I fell!" Some random racer looked at me and said "Bad day for East Nasty." I say this was funny because 1) it was true and 2) even though I fell, I was STILL having a better day than Chattanooga 2011.

I'm on a bridge!  

Shuffling my way back home.

Finish - 3:10:32
   The finish was completely downhill, which was awesome. I couldn't really run that fast, but at least I had gravity pulling me. There were a lot of people at the chute, including friends from EN, FTP and work. It was cool to hear people cheering my name as I crossed. 
  Team Magic had a tent set up at the finish with chairs and fans, which was fantastic and much needed. After finding Dudley, we just hung out for a while. We had a late check-out, so we were able to go back to the hotel to shower before the ride home. Definitely the way to go.

FTP Coaching Crew - Lindsey, Jessica H., Sam, Jessica M., Andrew and me.

   Even with the heat, this has become one of my favorite races. Can't wait to do it again and break 3:00!

Chattanooga Olympic Triathlon:
Swim - 27:16
T1: 2:57
Bike: 1:24:40
T2: 2:17
Run: 1:13:23
Total: 3:10:32 - improvement of 21 minutes from last year and no crying!!  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

St. Jude Half-Marathon Recap

   Saturday was the St. Jude Marathon Weekend. If you're a runner, you MUST do this race. If you get nothing else out of this post, please remember that. DO THIS RACE. Ok - now the recap.
   Dudley and I left for Memphis on Friday afternoon (about a three-hour drive) and went directly to the expo. Right away, I knew I was in trouble. Not that I was injured, but I knew I was going to be an emotional wreck for this race.

 You see, this race supports St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which "is a pediatric treatment and research facility focused on children's catastrophic diseases." This race was all about the kids and there were reminders of them and the amazing work St. Jude does everywhere. Needless to say, I teared up almost immediately upon walking in the expo. One of the first things you saw were these giant black & white posters of some of the children who have stayed at St. Jude. I purposely didn't take any photos of the posters because it seemed like I would be exploiting the kids somehow. Strange, I know, but that's how I felt. But believe me, they were powerful.
   Another thing that got to me was the wall. It was where runners could leave messages to the kids at St. Jude.

This was just one side of the four-sided wall.
It was so covered, it was hard to find a space to write.

   Notice the letters at the top of the wall? Those are the St. Jude ABCs of Cancer. These were taken from a wall in the hospital where the patients use the letters of the alphabet to express their personal experiences battling cancer. Things like "R is for Recovery" or "N is for Nurses." Two that really got to me were "A is for Alive" and "I - Imagine my brain tumor gone." Are you crying yet? Because if that doesn't get to you, I don't know what will. I cried at least three times over the hour we were at the expo.
  After the expo, we headed off to the hotel. Kicker with this race is that the downtown hotels near the race start / finish 1) book up WAY early and 2) generally require a two night stay. Being that I had to work the Titans game on Sunday, we had to leave right after the race, so no downtown hotel for us. Fortunately, the Courtyard I booked happened to be in suburbia (I don't know Memphis AT ALL) where there were lots of restaurants. We carbo-loaded at Carrabba's and went to bed.
   Got up bright and early and scored the most awesome parking space I've ever had at a race. Probably two blocks away from the start/finish and only $5. Good start to the day because parking is something I usually stress over. The finish line was at AutoZone Park, which is where the Memphis Redbirds play. This was also where bag drop-off was and where everyone hung out before/after the race. Very cool minor league baseball park. Nicer than some collegiate stadiums I've worked.

We got to the race so early, we killed time by taking photos. Well, Dudley took photos of me. He's not a fan of the photo like I am.

Pose with a giant baseball cut out?  Don't mind if I do!

How about a Christmas tree?!  Sure!! 

   Finally, it was time to head down to the corrals. I had kind of a scary moment when I was rolling out my ankles getting ready to run, and heard a really loud POP from my left ankle. Then the pain hit. For about one minute, I thought I might have torn / broken something. Fortunately, the pain dissipated after about five minutes. Still don't know what happened but I was fine for the run. (It swelled up on the way home though. Weird.)
  We had planned on taking it easy for this race. Having run St. Jude in 2010, I knew how special this race was and wanted to really experience the entire thing. I even brought my camera with me so I could take photos on the course, which is something I NEVER do. So we lined up in Corral 8, which was about a 10:15 pace. Very doable. Of course, as with the expo, there were banners and signs about St. Jude everywhere. And one of the patients sang the National Anthem. Cue the tears.

Did you know this?

Yes, this was the starting banner.  More tears.

   So the race starts, and we're moving at a pretty good pace. Part of the herd mentality that that comes with all races. Around 5k, Dudley stated that he wanted to shoot for sub-10 minute miles...which is a PR for both of us. Did I mention that I wasn't planning on "running" this race? That I had even brought my camera? Now he wants to PR? REALLY? Those kettlebell lunges that I did Thursday night are seeming like a REALLY bad idea about now. But hey - if Dudley wants to try to PR, I'm in. Let's give it a go. 
   The half-marathon course was really well laid-out.  Memphis doesn't have the reputation as being the prettiest city (sorry Memphis), but the course hit the highlights. Mud Island, Beale Street, Overton Park...they were all on the course. And it seemed as if the entire city came out to support us. It was awesome. But the highlight HAD to be the run through the St. Jude Campus. Both sides of the road were lined with patients, family, doctors, nurses and other St. Jude employees. Yes, I cried again. One little girl was holding a sign that said "You're running to save my life." Ugh. Are you kidding me? I can't even write about it without tearing up. And those ABCs of Cancer mentioned earlier? They were uses as mile markers. So yes, I pretty much welled up every mile.
   Physically, I felt pretty good. We were hitting sub-10 minute miles, so I felt pretty good about the PR. Plus, it wasn't hard to get motivated when you see signs that say "You think running is hard? Try chemo." Really puts things is perspective. Believe it or not, the heat got to me around mile 10. It was mid-60's towards the end of the race, which is pretty dang hot for December. But Dudley was hell-bent to break 2:10 by this time and I knew I couldn't let him down. He was feeling REALLY good. I have NO idea where that came from. We've done several long runs together and he's never that happy at miles 10-13. He even asked me if I had any kick left at the end! Seriously! Who is that guy? 
   We finally made it to AutoZone Park. The finishing chute was on the field, which was cool. I tried to push it, but we were running on gravel which was hard for me. I wasn't 100% sure if we broke 2:10 - my Garmin said we did, but you never know how that is going to match with the official time. However, I did know we PR'ed, which felt great.

Hanging out in the infield after the race. Yes, I have freakishly huge arms.  They go with my freakishly huge legs.  Genetics.  I blame my dad.

So pretty.  The middle part rotates.

   After cooling down a bit and getting a bite to eat, we stopped by the official timing tent to see how we did.  Check it out.

BAM!  A PR and we broke 2:10!  

   Overall - an amazing weekend. As I said at the beginning of this post, if you're a runner you NEED to do this race. I definitely think we'll be running it for years to come.