Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Christmas Story 5k/10k Virtual Run - Who's In?

   A few weeks ago, an interesting post showed up on my Facebook feed announcing a 5k/10k.  It showed this medal:

   Being a child of the 80's who loves the movie "A Christmas Story", I immediately thought "I MUST HAVE THIS." And clicked on the link to read more about the race. Turns out, it's put on by the "A Christmas Story House and Museum."  It's the 30th anniversary of the movie (WOW), and there are a bunch of celebrations going on. The race is one of them and the race course actually passes Ralphie's house from the movie. RALPHIE'S HOUSE!
   Being that I'm kind of insane, I really wanted to go up to Cleveland to run the race. Generally, I'd only travel that far for a half-marathon or longer, but come on! It's "A Christmas Story!"  Unfortunately, Dudley and I are already racing the St. Jude's Half Marathon that weekend. While I love "A Christmas Story," the St. Jude's Half is my favorite race of the year and I can't miss it.
   SO - that brings me to the point of my post. The "A Christmas Story 5k/10k" has a virtual option. I'll be honest, I've never really been big on virtual races, but I've spoken to a few people, and I think this one might have some legs (legs...HA! See what I did there? Because it's a running race...and the leg lamp... Oh never mind). 
   Here's the deal on the virtual run: It's $45, which is the same price as the on-site race. For that you receive a commemorative race bib, an official long sleeve race shirt and... the "Commemorative Limited Edition Race Medal!"  Now, is $45 a bit much for a 5k/10k?  Yes - but look at the medal. Plus, if we can get a group of 15 or more, we get $3 off.
   I'm thinking we can meet in Shelby Park (Date TBA) and run our virtual race. We can make it as much of a "real" race as we want (packet pick-up, shirt distribution, maybe a photographer, etc.) - or we can all just go out there and run around Shelby and go home. A group viewing of the movie isn't out of the question. This is all very much in the planning stages. BUT - if you're interested, please let me know. I'm working on getting the group discount code, so don't sign up yet. We need to come up with a creative "Christmas-themed" group name - so you creative types, get on it!
   What do you think? Who's in?! Spread the word and let me know!! 

For more information about the actual race, click here:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Buckhead Border Challenge Race Recap - Part 2 RACE DAY

Note - this is Part 2 of my race recap. If you missed Part 1, and want to catch up, click here.

   My 100 alarms went off at 4:30. Not that I needed them - I never sleep well the night before race day. Whenever my alarms go off crazy early, I'm always thankful that I have a very patient, supporting husband - things could get ugly otherwise. Anyway, I got ready and we were out the door to set up in transition when it opened at 5:30. Again, I can't stress how fantastic it was to just walk out the door, walk through a parking lot and be in transition. If only every race was so easy.

   I'm glad I got there early, as race organizers were checking all of the bikes for the appropriate race numbers, as well as doing the athlete body marking right before entering transition area, so there was a pretty long line to enter.  For the record, I DID try to get a photo of the line, but it didn't really turn out. Blogger FAIL.

#522 - Otherwise known as "The Weapon." 

   Once I got set in transition, I made the triathlete's version of the "walk of shame" over to the Race Director's tent. Yes, I had decided to change from the Olympic triathlon to the Olympic duathlon due to the high level of E. Coli in the Ohio River. It's funny - if someone had said during my pre-triathlon life that I actually debated about swimming in an E. Coli-infested river, I would have told them they were crazy. But the post-triathlon Kristine actually had think about it for a while. I blew my husband's mind because after I received the e-mail about the E. Coli, I threw the subject out on social media (of course). "You've been told you'd basically be swimming in sewage, and you have to ask the INTERNET if you should swim tomorrow?!" While "swimming in sewage" is a bit extreme, I didn't really like the record the Ohio River had in regards to E. Coli. I knew of two other races in this river had been cancelled (within the past year) due to high levels of E. Coli, and the BBC last year also had high levels of "bacteria" in the river. So, while the triathlete in me was saying "Eh - you should swim. It'll be OK," the realist in me, who really didn't want to get sick (as my husband pointed out SEVERAL times - "E. Coli can KILL YOU"), took over and I decided not to swim. I'd be slower time-wise having to run twice, but I wouldn't get sick.

Pre-race - after my walk of shame.

   After changing to the du, we just hung out for a bit waiting for the race to start. If I had been swimming, this time would have been spent being shuttled over to the Kentucky side of the river. But since I wasn't swimming, we just sat around talking to other athletes. The duathletes were just kind of standing around because there wasn't a set start line. We were just told that we should stand "over there" and wait for someone to start the race. Sure enough, about five minutes before 7:00 am, a few volunteers set up a "Start" banner.  One volunteer pointed to another and said "when she says go - start running." And that's exactly what we did.
   The first leg was only two miles and it was mostly flat. I probably ran too fast considering I still had a 40k bike and a 10k to run, but that's the problem with being an average runner- everyone is running faster than you are and you don't want to be left behind. I got passed by a 60 year old woman, which was great for my ego. There were some other runners who were REALLY taking it slow, but I could tell that they were just taking it easy on this leg - that they'd fly by me on the bike or run. I don't have that luxury. If I lost a lot of time on this run, I would be able to make up some of it on the bike, but not enough to matter. Triathlon / duathlon really is all about the run.
   About 18 minutes later, the run was finished. I ran into transition and tried to remember what the heck I was supposed to do. I hadn't raced a multi-event race since March. That's a lot of time to forget things! Helmet - check. Change shoes - check. Sunglasses - check. Nutrition/hydration - already on bike - check. And I was off.

It's impossible to find a flattering bike photo - so you have to look at this one. Sorry.

   The bike leg started out in Jeffersonville, took you 12 miles outside of town, and then back again. Though the route wasn't closed to traffic, there weren't too many cars, which was nice. Other than some tight turns, there wasn't anything too challenging. I do have two complaints about the route though. The first one being there wasn't a directional marker or volunteer at what was probably the most confusing turn on the course. There was a fork in the road, and the natural way to go was straight...which wasn't correct. There was a group of about five of us who all went down the wrong road. This happened to be right before the course turn-around.  Once I got back on the right road and hit the turn-around point, I asked (OK - I yelled - I was on a bike after all.) for one of the volunteers to go down and direct people. I also warned every approaching cyclist for the next 1/2 mile or so about the turn. I'm sure they thought I was crazy, but hopefully were aware and didn't miss the turn like I did. 
   My other issue was that there wasn't a timing mat at the turn-around - or anywhere on the bike course for that matter. I probably wouldn't have noticed this if not for fact that I was counting female racers on the course. Since all of the courses were out and back, I knew exactly how many women were in front of me. I also knew what women passed me. Which is why I can say with a decent amount of certainty that I think one woman cut the course. I'm sure she didn't mean to - maybe she thought the sprint turn-around was the Olympic turnaround - but I know I passed her on the bike and then I never saw her again...until the run when she was about a 1/2 mile ahead of me. I'm not sure how that could have happened without cutting the bike course short. While a timing mat wouldn't have prevented this from happening, it would have made it easier to detect course-cutting after the race was over.

 It only looks like I'm making the "peace" sign. I'm actually holding a Honey Stinger gel and a packet of Smarties. Nutrition of Champions.

   After the ride, I started running...again. Just 10k to go. I was really curious and a little nervous about how this was going to go down. The most I'd really run post-injury was five miles and that was with breaks. Plus - I had already run a tough two miles. Fortunately, with the exception of a very small hill leading up to the main part of the greenway, the route was entirely flat. I don't think I would have handled a hilly course very well. It took a little over a mile to get my running legs. (Note to self - do more bricks.) But after I found my legs, I was OK until mile five. I mean - I hurt. Oh yes, I definitely hurt, but felt OK. Once I hit mile five though, I was ready for this race to be OVER. I haven't checked my pace breakdown for this race yet, but I know it had have to dropped significantly over that last mile.  
   Step by painful step, I got closer to the finish line. Finally, I heard the announcer say "From Brentwood, Tennessee...Kristine Mills." Of course, me being who I am, I yelled as I crossed the finish "It's pronounced miles"! He so kindly announced me again. Hey - when you've been suffering for three hours and your reward is your name being announced - you want it to be pronounced correctly.
   After cooling down a bit, I went to find Dudley. I was surprised that I hadn't seen him when I crossed the line. I figured he was still at the finish waiting for me, and sure enough, there he was. Apparently, I was faster than he had predicted and he missed my finish by about five minute. FASTER than he predicted. Never would have thought that. 
   Unfortunately, someone stole the finisher's medals for the race. (Sidebar: Who does that? What is someone going to do with 500 triathlon medals?) Apparently, the race organizer is going to reorder them and send them to us in a few weeks. All wasn't lost though, because while I didn't receive a finisher's medal - I did take home a lovely piece of hardware:

What's this? Just the medal for winning first place in my age group.
   Yes, that's correct - somehow, even with the change to the duathlon, I managed to win my age group. HAZZAH! Granted, there weren't many of us, but that's one of the benefits of participating in a race with several distances - your competition gets diluted. And I'll take a victory whenever I can take it!

   Overall, I enjoyed this race a lot. It was well organized and there were plenty of volunteers. With the exception of my two issues with the bike course, everything was pretty much perfect. I do wish that the Ohio River was cleaner. I'd race it again next year if the river was cleaner. Who knows? I might come back again next year an do the Du again. Worked out pretty well for me this year!! Thanks, Jeffersonville!! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Buckhead Border Challenge Race Recap - Part 1

   This past weekend, Dudley and I travelled up to lovely Jeffersonville, Indiana for the Buckhead Border Challenge (BBC).

   The BBC is actually four separate races - an Olympic duathlon and triathlon, and a sprint duathlon and triathlon. The "Border Challenge" is named as such because the Olympic triathlon (what I was racing) starts in Louisville, Kentucky and ends in Indiana. It was recently named one of Active's "7 Super-Challenging Triathlons to Try," due to the athletes swimming across the Ohio river. This article falls into the category of "things I wish I would have read prior to signing up to the race," because don't know about you, but I read a "Super-Challenging" swim as "there is a high probability you will drown during this race."
   Even with this warning, we headed up to Jeffersonville. Our first stop was the Sheraton, which was where we were staying, and the host hotel. Staying here was by far our best decision of the weekend. If you do this race in the future - stay here. It's located across the street from the transition area. Unless we actually camped in transition, we couldn't have stayed any closer.
   After packet pickup (which was in the hotel), we walked to dinner. The hotel was, again, across the parking lot from any restaurant we'd want to eat in while in Jeffersonville. We ended up eating on the deck of a place that overlooked the river. Dinner was fine. Nothing too exciting. The funniest part was that there was this duck that kept wandering on to the deck. It made sense that there was a duck there - we were on the river and there were a ton of geese and ducks around, but this one just walked onto the patio like he worked there.
   We noticed that the wait staff all just kind of ignored him, so we figured this wasn't the duck's first time visiting. Turn out, we were right. His name is Howard and he's at the restaurant every night. He's kind of their mascot. In fact, our waitress said that sometimes when the shift starts he's at the door... just looking in the window...waiting for someone to come out with food. He was adorable and reminded us of our little doxie Hef, which is odd because Hef is short, long, black and, you know, a dog. But he does beg for food very well, and so did Howard.

Who's a good duck?  Howard's a good duck!  

      After we finished eating, we walked down by the river. I wanted to see where the start line was. As I mentioned, you had to actually swim across the river for this race.

Dive know you want to.
   Kicker about the river - there was construction being done on one of the bridges we had to swim under. There was a barge sitting right in the middle of the river where we were supposed to swim, as well as a giant pile of construction materials. Because swimming wasn't going to be hard enough, we also had obstacles to avoid. YAY!  We happened to run into a USAT official at this time, and I asked him about swimming around the stuff in the river. Surely, it would add distance to the route. He said that the original course length was correct, and that any course is allowed to have a 10% variance in distance. So this 1,500 meter course could actually be 1,650 and still be considered an Olympic distance swim. Things I didn't know. I do think you should get some kind of extra credit for swimming over a mile when you're only supposed to swim 1,500 meters, but I don't make the rules. Whether this rule applies to the bike and run legs of a triathlon, I don't know.
   By this time, I was ready to head back to up to the room and start getting my gear ready for race day. Like most triathletes, I'm kind of obsessive about this. I lay everything out - then I pack it in my race day bag...only to think I forgot to pack something so I take everything back out. I go through this about three times before I'm finally convinced I have everything I'll need. It's crazy.
   After I have everything ready, I set as many alarms as I can because I have to get up at 4:30 am. My cell phone, Dudley's cell phone, hotel wake-up call, alarm clock - they're all set. When I finally get settled in bed, it's around 10:30 pm. As I start drifting to sleep, I hear a text come in. What? Who could be texting me at 10:30 on a Saturday night other than Dudley and he was right next to me? The race director, that's who. "Please check your e-mail for an important race announcement." Great. What could this mean?
   I logged in to my e-mail and learned that USTA has been testing the water and they found high levels of E. Coli in the river. Yeah...E.Coli. Good stuff. The levels weren't high enough for the swim leg to be cancelled, but they were high enough for the RD to have to let the athletes know about it, and give us the option to change to the duathlon if we wanted. (The Olympic duathlon would substitute a 2-mile run in place of the swim.)
   So, now I have a decision to I swim? Or do I move to the duathlon? Those of you who know me know that 1) I don't like change and 2) I'm not a fast runner. Moving to the duathlon would definitely affect my race in a negative way. Plus, this was my first triathlon post-injury. I wasn't even sure I'd make it through the 6.2 mile leg that was already scheduled - forget about adding another two on! But I really wasn't sure I wanted to swim in an E-Coli infested river with construction materials and barges as obstacles.
   What did I do? Find out in the next recap!


Monday, July 15, 2013

The Dreaded Flat

   Saturday was one of the hardest rides I've ever done. It was 32-miles of leg-shredding hell. Why? Because I got a flat. Two miles in to the ride.
   But let me back up a bit and set the scene for you. Saturday was a group ride with FTP Coaching up in hilly Sumner County. There were 10 of us, including Coach Andrew. On rides like this, we generally ride the first few miles together, and then just split up naturally as the ride progresses. It was supposed to be a "ride hard, but have fun" kind of day.
   We start riding and BAM - two miles in and my front tire flats from a faulty valve. We were still together at this point, and Andrew told everyone to ride on while he stayed behind to help me fix my flat. Now let me say - I know how to fix a flat. It might take me a while, but I know how to do it. To any newbies out there - LEARN HOW TO FIX A FLAT. I can't tell you how many cyclists, both men and women, have told me they don't know how to do this.
   Anyway, I remove my wheel and look in my flat kit for the tire lever that helps separate the tire from the rim lever. What? How can this be? I usually have 2-3 levers in my kit! But no. Nothing. Fortunately, Andrew was there and while he didn't have a lever, he DID have a multi-tool that was a decent substitute. Since I probably would have sliced my fingers off while using the multi-tool, I let Andrew remove the old tube and replace it with the new one.
   I then handed him my CO2 inflator, which is used to pump up the tire. And...there was a hole in the cartridge. Empty. Completely worthless. Unfortunately, that was my only cartridge. I knew this because not five minutes before we started riding, I removed my spare cartridge from my kit to make room for my keys. So of the three small things I needed to change a tire, I only had one - the tube. Which doesn't do anything for you if you can't put air in it. So for the second time, Andrew came to the rescue and gave me his CO2 cartridge. We got the tube inflated and got back on our bikes, and we were finally ready to ride.
   And this is when the leg-shredding began. Andrew and I figured we had lost at least 10-15 minutes to the riders who went on ahead. He looked over at me and said "once we get over this hill, get on my wheel and we'll go catch them." I knew I was in trouble because to say that Andrew is significantly faster than I am is an understatement. And even though I'd be getting a break by drafting behind him, trying to hang onto his wheel was going to really hurt. But what are you going to do? He's my Coach. I can't exactly say "Nah - I'm good. You go on." Plus, I like having a challenge like this when I'm riding.
   At first, it wasn't bad. The road was kind of downhill with some easy rollers. After a few miles, I actually said "I can do this all day." But then we turned and the road wasn't so easy. There were some false flats and definitely more inclines. I tried to stay just a few inches off of Andrew's wheel the entire time, and did a pretty decent job of it, for the most part. Every time we turned a corner, I expected to see part of our group, but no. Just empty road.
   Finally, after about 15 miles, we caught up with two members of the group. HAZZAH! I said something in greeting as we flew by, but kept focused on Andrew's wheel, as we still had five more people to catch! Jessica (FTP Coach and Andrew's wife) was driving SAG for us and we knew from her that the other group was only a few minutes ahead. Surely, we could catch them! Every time I saw a rider up ahead, I thought it was them. Heck - half the time I saw a mailbox up ahead, I thought it was them. But no. Just wishful thinking, I guess.
   At around mile 24, we turned on the road that would take us back to the cars. I KNEW Andrew had to be frustrated that we hadn't caught the other group, especially since he definitely would have if I wasn't holding him back. There was one last big climb on the route, and when we hit it, Andrew dropped me like an anchor. I don't think he meant to, but I just couldn't hang on any more. I had been averaging more than a mile-per-hour faster than I normally do this ride. I was spent.
   Once I crested the hill, I was alone, but still determined to catch the group if possible. I made the last six miles my own individual time trial. With two miles to go, I passed Andrew on the side of the road talking on the phone. I figured he was checking in with Jessica, and when he didn't wave me over, I just kept motoring on - hoping I would catch SOMEONE in the next two miles.
   I did not. I turned back into the parking lot and the remainder of the group was there. Apparently, they had split up into two groups, and the latter had just pulled up a minute before I did. While I was mad that I hadn't been able to catch them (because I'm kind of competitive like that), I felt a little redemption when I looked at my watch. I did the route 15 minutes faster than I ever had previously. Not bad.
    While I was recovering, everyone was asking where Andrew was. I figured he'd be right behind me, but he wasn't. A few more minutes went Andrew. Finally, after about 10-15 minutes, here he comes. Any guesses as to why he was late? Yep - he got a flat tire. Remember when I flew by him with two miles to go? He had flatted. And the reason he was on the phone was because he needed Jessica to bring him what? Another CO2 cartridge. Because I had used his.
    And yes, I'm a horrible person. I didn't stop to help the person who is not only my Coach, but also the person who had saved my bacon earlier in the day. What makes this even more tragic is that the ONLY OTHER TIME I've ever flatted, Andrew was there and saved my butt then, as well. (That time was a true comedy of errors. I think we went through two tubes and three CO2 cartridges to get the flat changed. We ended up using an old GU wrapper to seal my tire.) In my defense though, I did say something to Andrew when I flew by him and he didn't wave me down. Of course, he knew I didn't have anything to change a tire with, so why call me over?
   Let this story serve as a warning to any new cyclists/triathletes out there - or any seasoned vets who get lazy about checking what's in their flat kits (that would be me). Carry a flat kit and check it before every ride. This should include at minimum: an extra tube, a CO2 cartridge with inflator and a tire lever. If you have room, carrying an extra tube and CO2 cartridge never hurts. Some people would rather carry a mini-pump instead of a CO2 inflator, and that's fine.
   And if you don't know how to change a tire - LEARN! Don't think that just because you have never flatted, that you never will (I have flatted twice in six months after NEVER flatting in my entire history of riding). And don't rely on someone always being able to help. The one time you ride solo is when you'll flat. And have no cell phone coverage. And you'll be 20 miles away from the car. Or worse - you'll flat on race day. Then what will you do?
   Here is a brief run down on how to change a flat. Learn it. Sit in front of the TV and practice it. You'll most likely need it one day.


Friday, July 12, 2013

To Wave? Or Not To Wave? A Psychological Study

   About two weeks ago, I read an article about athletes acknowledging each other when passing on training runs / rides. You know the feeling - you're out on a greenway and see another runner approaching from the other direction. As you get closer, you're faced with the decision - do you wave? Nod? Say "Hey?" Or do you just run past them with your eyes focused on the road ahead? It got me thinking - what I do? So these past two weeks, I meticulously logged tried to remember my reactions whenever I saw another runner/cyclist coming towards me, and what their reactions towards me were. Here's what I concluded.
When Running:
   I tend to be a more reactionary person when running. I always look at the approaching runner, and if they make eye contact - I smile and nod. If they look blankly ahead, I do the same. Fortunately, I wear sunglasses almost 100% of the time when running, so I don't look too stalkery stalkerish  creepy while doing this.
When Cycling:
   I'm pretty much a 100% waver / nodder when cycling. Totally not dependent on the other person's reaction to me at all. If you're on a bike and pass me, you get a wave...or a nod. And smile if possible. I can be climbing a hill and be so far down in the pain cave that I can barely breathe, but I'll STILL, at a minimum, do the pinky flip to a passing rider as a form of acknowledgement.
Responses When Running: 
  Here's what's interesting (to me anyway, you're probably wondering how you can get the last three minutes of your life back) - the percentage of people who make eye contact has been directly dependent on where I'm running. You see, I primarily run in two areas of town - East Nashville and Brentwood. When I run in East Nashville, almost everyone makes eye contact with me. When I run in Brentwood - not so much. I'd give it about a 25% acknowledgement level. Now, this could be because my running club, East Nasty, is based in EN and there is a decent chance the passing runner and I might know each other. Or it could be that Brentwood is just a bunch of snobs (though EN has hipsters and isn't that really the same thing?)
Responses when Cycling:
   I ride all over Tennessee, so I can't base others reactions by location when riding. But overall, cyclists wave the majority of the time. It's good to see someone out on some lonely highway while you're out riding. But truthfully, waving is also a good way to check out each other's bikes. And we do.
   Here's a poll: What kind of athlete are you?  Are you a waver?  A nodder?  And if you are - do you get miffed when you acknowledge someone passing and they ignore you? Or are you a strict non-waver? Let me know!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day! Music City 5k Race Report

   Today is July 4th - Independence Day. A day for celebration, fireworks and, if you're me, a 5k - the Music City July 4th 5k, to be specific.

So patriotic.

   I generally don't post a race report about a 5k - the races are so short that there doesn't really seem to be much of a point. But this was a special race, as this was my first race back since I sprained my ankle.  That's right - my first race since April. As excited I was to be able to run again, I was a little concerned about how things were going to work out. I've been running, but it's not the same as before. The ankle is fine, which is great. But whenever I run my legs are like "WHAT are you DOING to us?" They ache the entire time I'm running...and they're tired. Really tired. My endurance just isn't there. That's what over six weeks of no real running will do to you, I guess. My goal for this 5k? Just to run the entire thing.
   I woke up at 5:30 to the sound of rain. Not just a little sprinkle, but straight-up rain. Perfect. Just what I wanted for my first race back. But you know what? Usually it's 98 degrees and stupidly humid in Nashville on July 4th. I'll take cooler temperatures and rain over that kind of heat every time.
   The race started and finished in downtown Nashville. Parking was a breeze, especially since my friend Jane hooked me up with parking attendant at the closest lot and he just waved me in. Thanks, Jane! The lot was underground and literally under the starting area, so after meeting up with Jane and Teresa, we just took an elevator up and BAM - we were there. Very convenient.
   Of course, it was still raining at this point. Jane and Teresa brought trash bags to wear before the start. I brought a rain jacket, but thought it might be too hot to wear, so I left it in the car.

Pre-race. Me, Jane and Teresa trying to stay dry under a tree.

   We tried to stay under the protection of trees, but before too long the announcement was made for the racers to head over to the starting line. I was surprised at how many people actually showed up for the race, considering the conditions. Runners are a crazy breed, I tell ya. It was the PERFECT morning to sleep in - a holiday and raining. But here were 1,000+ lunatics standing out in the rain waiting to run 3.1 (or 6.2) miles. Seriously, there is something wrong with us.
   The race started about 10 minutes late, and I was actually getting cold standing there. Surprising for July, but I knew I'd be warm after I started running. We were all just soaked - rain water dripping down my back. But what are you going to do? It's part of participating in an outdoor sport. 
   The starting gun went off, and we started running. The race itself was great. The race organizer - I Run For The Party - had the course well-marked and well-supported. One thing about downtown Nashville - it's hilly. Really hilly. Great for training, but if you're not used to hills, this course was pretty tough. My legs felt really tired, but I was expecting that. I ran, but didn't really push it too much, as the last thing I wanted to do was slip in the rain and sprain my ankle again. I did walk about 1/2 block up one of the hills. I could have made it up the hill, but I honestly just didn't feel like running up the thing anymore. Apparently, I lost some of my mental edge during my time off, as well.
   Fortunately, the race was only a 5k, so I didn't have to suffer on the hills for too long. I headed toward the finish line and still had a little kick, which was nice to know. After crossing the line, I was handed a sweet finisher's medal, which I found later found out was designed by fellow East Nasty Meg.

You have to admit, that's an awesome medal.
I finished the race a shade under 30:00 if you look at my Garmin, or a shade over 30:00 if you go by the official timing. Either way, I was sub-10:00/mile for the race. I'm torn on how I feel about that. I know I should be happy that I'm out there and running again, but on the other hand, I worked so damn hard to get my running times down last year and I feel like it's all been erased. It's just a little frustrating. Not that I was ever that fast, but hopefully some of my speed will come back in the upcoming weeks.
   Jane and Teresa had great races. Though we've known each other for over a decade, this was the first time the three of us have done a race together. It definitely won't be the last. 

This photo doesn't accurately show how soaked we all are. We were drenched.
Overall, the race was a lot of fun, though the rain definitely put a damper on some of the festivities. I'd definitely do it again though, even with the hills. Could be the start of a new Fourth of July tradition!  Hope everyone had a great Holiday!!