Race Recaps

 

Viking Half Marathon, March 31, 2012, Greenwood, MS, 1:59:44 I finally ran a sub 2 hour half marathon! I owe it entirely to my devoted pit crew, my Lord and Savior, and a little bit of speedwork. You can read all the nitty, gritty details here.

 

Mercedes Half Marathon, February 12, 2012, Birmingham, AL, 2:03:49 This race was the  culmination of a girl’s weekend road trip to Birmingham, which consisted of way too much pizza, the chickiest of chick flicks, hours of gabbing, and relaxing at its finest. While I love the ladies I was with and enjoyed the majority of the weekend, I have pretty much repressed all memories directly associated with the actual run. It was brutally, miserably, intolerably cold, and that’s just not really my thing. It took at least 6 miles for my feet to thaw out to the point of feeling, and a looong hot shower afterwards to regain normal mobility. The cool thing is that the other women I was with ran (and rocked) the full marathon, and I was much more proud of their performances than my own.

 

St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon, December 3, 2011, Memphis, TN, 2:02:08 I always love running this race, partly because it’s in my hometown, partly because it’s the first half marathon and full marathon I ever ran, but mostly because it sponsors such a special cause, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s fight against cancer. I ran this race with my speedy friend Kim, who devoted her morning to helping me run the half in under two hours. I can’t say it was my most comfortable race, because I was struggling almost entirely from start to finish. While I just didn’t have it in me to beat the clock, Kim was the perfect pacer – she supplied me with water and energy supplements, she encouraged me along the way, and she crossed the finish line by my side.

 

Valley Isle Road Runners’ 16-Mile Turkey Trot, November 26, 2011, Kula, HI, 2:59:58 For the full scoop on how I won this ridiculously difficult race, check out my detailed recap here.

 

LuvMud 5k 2011, October 9, 2011, Memphis, TN They have yet to post results and photos from this event, and I just can’t imagine writing a recap about a race that involves an epic slip ‘n slide and a gargantuan mud pit without pictures to back it up. For now, all I can say is that my awesome team, Running Amuck, dressed up as very realistic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and we had an absolute blast crawling, climbing, and sliding our way through the course.

 

12th Annual Shelby Bottoms Boogie 15k, October 1, 2011, Nashville, TN, 1:31:06 It was a chilly yet beautiful morning in Nashville, the sun was shining bright, and the 9.3 mile course along the Greenway was lovely. As picturesque as that sounds, this race was pure torture. The intention was to get a long run in with no concern for race time, and it’s a good thing we weren’t trying to achieve any lofty goals, because I was not feeling it. And that’s a blatant understatement. I attribute my poor performance to several factors: it was cold and early, I had strep throat, I slept awfully the night before, and my asthma reared its ugly head. Clearly, it was not my morning. Literally every step was a struggle, and the only reason I kept at it was through the encouragement of my great friend and running buddy, Wadeyo. The positives: we drank chocolate milk after our run, and the race shirts were the cutest I’ve ever seen.

 

Cooper-Young Festival Friday 4-Miler, September 16, 2011, Memphis, TN, 39:10 I have repeatedly heard that this is one of the best races in Memphis, but for some reason or another, it seems I’m always out of town and have never gotten to experience it for myself. Not this year. This year, I joined up with a group of friends Friday after work to run the 7pm race. Automatic perk: I always enjoy evening races, I guess because they are harder to come by than crack-of-dawn races. I ran with a group of 4, and we decided to proceed at a leisurely pace so as to stick together and foster conversation. We snaked through Midtown neighborhoods, where spectators  gathered in front yards to tend to their grills and cheer us on. My time was nothing to write home about, as expected, but all in all, the race was true to its reputation – it was fun, drew a huge crowd, and shines a positive light on the Midtown community. Also a perk: it gave us an opportunity to treat ourselves to post-run BBQ nachos from Central BBQ, and that alone is something worth celebrating.

 

Foot Traffic Flat Half Marathon, July 4, 2011, Sauvie Island, OR, 2:00:12 A difficult but lovely run resulting in a personal best! For the full scoop on the scenery, the effort, and how I entertained myself, check out this revealing post.

 

Zoom Through the Zoo 4 Miler, May 26, 2011, Memphis, TN, 34:42 I always enjoy this race. I think the fact that it’s 4 miles instead of your typical 3.1 has something to do with it. That, and the venue is top-notch. At the starting line, I took off with two of my *faster* running buddies, and within a couple minutes, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to keep up the pace. I fell back to something slightly more manageable, but still ran hard, as I made it my personal goal to keep them in eyesight. That didn’t quite work out, but it did cause me to run my fastest 4 mile race yet. At an 8:40 mile, my time was almost 5 minutes faster than last year. Equally exciting was Jax surprising me at the finish line.

 

Little Rock Half Marathon, March 6, 2011, Little Rock, AR, 2:00:57 Loved my time! Never in a million years dreamed I could run a half marathon in 2 hours, and now I’m 57 seconds from it. Such fun! After enjoying pre-race dinner and conversation with dear friends, we settled in for minimal hours of sleep before the alarm sounded and we were waiting for the starting gun. The day was dull and dreary, but the race was wonderful. Allie, Clark, and I ran the majority of the race together, dancing to our iPod music and chatting the miles away. I wasn’t concerned with my pace (which turned out to be a 9:14 average), I was simply enjoying the company and the experience, completely unaware that we were on track for a personal record finish. Prior to race day, I was warned about Little Rock’s hills, and I was pleased to find that they weren’t nearly as treacherous as I had envisioned. There were some steady inclines, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. After the race, I downed some chocolate milk, took a quick shower, then cheered in the marathoners. What a fun morning!

 

Move It Memphis 10k, February 26, 2011, Memphis, TN, 55:33 ~  An official personal best, yay! This race is one of my favorites – the course covers a surprisingly vast stretch of downtown, a lot of my friends run it, and the weather always dresses to impress. My iPod lasted all of 10 minutes, which left me and my mind to run the majority of the race by our lonesome. The more I run sans music, which has become quite often, the more I have come to prefer it. I enjoy spending time with my thoughts, really taking a moment to enjoy the sights and sounds of God’s creation. Music is nice, don’t get me wrong, but so is the peace that comes from a reflective run. I ran hard and happy, and I finished surrounded by good friends. It’s days like this that make me thankful for being a runner.

 

Winter Cross Country Series 10k, February 20, 2011, Memphis, TN, 58:26 ~ This race was painful. It felt like punishment. The course consisted of 2.5 loops on the Mullins Station side of Shelby Farms, which I discovered is really just code for HILLS. We twisted up and down across the grass and along trails, and every minute of it was hard work. While not exactly a pleasant race, the weather was wonderful and my girls were there enduring the torture with me, and at least the constant change in elevation was good practice for our upcoming half marathon in Little Rock. When I checked the website for my official time later in the evening, I was shocked to find that I placed 3rd out of 19 girls in my age group. Definitely wasn’t expecting that, but I’ll take it!

 

Valentine’s Day 10k, February 12, 2011, Bartlett, TN, 57:03 ~ First race since the marathon, and first run of the new year! This race was extra special, not only because it was a PR for me, but because my Valentine, his sister, and her daughter joined me for the 5k portion of it. I’m convinced the green heart sticker the little Whit gave me to wear on my cheek is the reason I was able to run my best 10k yet. That, and my speedy running partner’s encouragement. But the hills, oh, the hills! I had forgotten how challenging this course was. In a good way. The weather was great and the race was fun, but the running buddies were the sweetest part.

 

St. Jude Memphis Marathon, December 4, 2010, Memphis, TN, 4:40:50 ~ My first full marathon! It was exhausting, exciting, and an exhilerating achievement!  To read my immediate reaction (and agony), click here, to get a recap of the first 20 miles, click here, and to hear about how I crossed the line finish, click here. Since I ran as a Hero raising money for St. Jude, every hour that I trained, each mile that I covered, and each friend that supported my endeavor translated into the discovery of cures of childhood cancer and lives saved around the world.

 

Ragnar Relay Tennessee, November 5-6, Chattanooga to Nashville, TN, 30:43:28 ~ Definitely the most adventurous race I have attempted to date. This epic race consisted of 12 friends, two 15 passenger vans, and 195 miles of mountainous running. Other highlights include sleep deprivation, rabid dogs as running companions, a frost advisory, multiple injuries, and bonding like you would never believe. It may sound less than pleasant to you, but Team RagnaRock loved it! For more of the gory details, click here.

 

LuvMud 5k 2010, October 10, 2010, Memphis, TN, 35:06 ~ Mere and I ran as a two person team, the Flee Mudskateers. We dressed the part, then ran around Shelby Farms attempting oulandish obstacles with 800 other people. This race was not so much about the completion time, as there were many bottlenecks, and much more about the mud pit finale. I’ve already recounted the excitement in a blog post, so I’ll loop you back to that for more details.

 

Gatorade Tamarindo Beach Half Marathon, September 11, 2010, Tamarindo, Costa Rica, 2:18:46 ~ My favorite race to date, largely because it took place in the beautiful country of Costa Rica. We started at dawn in downtown Tamarindo, and then ran a relatively straight and slightly hilly course through the nearby towns of Villareal, Matapalo, Huacas, and Brasilito. The route was there and back, meaning we ran roughly 7 miles out and then retraced our footsteps on the way back to the finish line. The course was stunning, and the weather was perfect the whole way; some of our race companions complained about the humidity, but that didn’t phase me in the slightest, as I had trained in Memphis and already knew a thing or two about hot, moist air. My asthma was nonexistent, my eyes feasted on miles and miles of beauty in every direction, and I was all smiles. I felt great the entire run, too mesmerized by the lush greenery around me to notice that I was actually running a half marathon. So great, in fact, that I didn’t want the race to end. I literally felt as though I could run for the rest of the day out there in that paradise. It was an awesome, awesome, awesome race experience, one that I will cherish forever and always.

 

Pale is the New Tan 5k, August 6, 2010, Memphis, TN, 28:10 ~ Friday after work I changed into my running gear and headed over to the Ridgeway Loop to partake in the pre-race festivities, which included packet pickup, a free skin screening from Memphis Dermatology Clinic (I’m in the clear!), and the general liveliness floating around on any given race day. Arriving two hours early proved to be very rewarding: after my screening, I sat on the trunk of my car reading my Beatles book, enjoying the music and sunshine. Once my friends arrived, we mingled until go time. About 15 seconds into the race, I realized that my girls are rock star runners and that I should not even attempt to keep up with them. I slowed my pace considerably and spent the majority of the race trying to regain control of my breathing and undo the initial damage. Despite the discomfort, I had a great time and thought it was a wonderful way to kick off the weekend!

 

Zoom Through the Zoo 4 Miler, May 27, 2010, Memphis, TN, 39:15 ~ This was my first race back since my tendonitis scare, so I was a little nervous about how I would perform. In the weeks leading up to the race, Mere and I had been trail running like it was our job, but I hadn’t attempted any road or track running in over a month. Going into the race, we set our goal at 40 minutes, which would put us at a comfortable ten minutes per mile. We ran through the zoo and past the elephants, inside Overton Park and around the Levitt Shell, and finished up zooming through the animal corridor at the zoo’s entrance, just barely making our goal, but achieving it nonetheless. The course was fun, the after-party music was rocking, and Mere and I had a blast. I definitely plan on making this race part of my annual repertoire.

 

TCPS 5k, April 10, 2010, Tupelo, MS, 27:41 ~ This race was tied to the hot air balloon festival in Tupelo that Jax and I attended on a whim. It’s always fun to run different routes and enjoy new scenery, even more so when a different city is involved. The route was interesting and covered a lot of terrain – in 3.1 miles we managed to run a jaunt on a  dirt trail through the woods, through the balloon festival, around a lake, and through winding and hilly trails entwined between trees. The temperature was ideal and the course was fun. I more than likely medal finished, but didn’t stick around for the ceremony, so that will remain one of life’s many mysteries. It all sounds great and lovely, until you fast forward to a couple of hours later when my knee was slightly bothersome, to several hours beyond that, when I began limping, to the following morning, when I could not stand or apply any pressure to my right knee. This progression leads me to believe that there is a possible meniscus tear, which pretty much devastates me. I will not have a definite diagnosis until I visit with a doctor, but I am optimistic and in God’s hands either way. I will report back once I have more solid information.

 

De La Salle Founder’s 5k, March 7, 2010, Memphis, TN, 27:44 ~ What’s not to love about a Sunday afternoon run through the trails of Overton Park? This was a small race with only 125 participants, which in large part explains why I finished first in my age group. After the race, I stuck around for the medal ceremony so I could collect my first-ever gold medal, which gave me the perfect opportunity to lounge in the grass and read my book. Ahhh, nice temperatures, a personal record, and book reading in the park – that’s about as lovely an afternoon as you can get….

 

Move It Memphis 10k, February 27, 2010, Memphis, TN, ~55:00 ~ Everything about this racing experience was absolutely perfect! Well, other than the fact that I was late (story of my life!) and therefore didn’t get an official time, which is a shame, considering it would have been a definite personal record. I started the race approximately 7 minutes after the start time, which I estimate puts me at around a 55 minute finish time. Regardless, the weather was perfect, the course was interesting, and my smile was permanent. Starting the race literally in last place comes with a slew of benefits. For one, I was not passed once; I spent the entire race booking it past others in an attempt to make up for my lack of punctuality. For another, I’ve discovered that onlookers cheer loudest for the people at the back of the pack. Favorite, favorite race. I will definitely be participating in this one next year! 

 

Valentine’s Day 10k, February 13, 2010, Bartlett, TN, 57:12 ~ Mission accomplished! I ran the race in under an hour, my asthma struggles were minimal, the weather was great, and my sweetheart was there to cheer me across the finish line! I was careful to begin the run at a more manageable pace than last time, and during the first couple miles, I made a point to pull back every time I started to pass somebody. As I continued along, I stayed aware of my pace, focused on my breathing, and enjoyed the good tunes my iPod was generating. The course was surprisingly hilly, and as I faced incline after incline, I was reminded that running is as much mental as it is physical. While resisting the urge to walk when facing a particularly daunting hill is by no means heroic, it really can feel like quite an achievement when in the heat of battle. In this light, I guess you could equate this race to a series of small accomplishments, which is exactly what I needed after last month’s debacle.

 

Lisa Lassandrello 5k Remembrance Race, January 23, 2010, Memphis, TN, 29:52 ~ As I took my first step across the starting line, I could tell my asthma didn’t want to be friends today. My every breath was labored, and I was uncomfortable the entire duration of the race. I noticed that I ran my first mile in 8:40, which is faster than my natural pace and surely didn’t help with the breathing. I made a point to slow it down a bit after that, but it seemed the damage was already done. I ended up walking a few spurts, which (to me) is THE cardinal sin when it comes to running. Overall, I wasn’t pleased with my performance and wanted to punch  my asthma in the face, but I’m happy I somehow managed to break 30 minutes. Every race is an opportunity to learn something, and my lesson was this: no matter how well your training is coming along, if you have EIA, don’t get overly confident and start the race too fast, instead aim for a more gradual progression of speed. Note: The fact that I was awake between the hours of 1 and 3:30 a.m. helping my brother and his girlfriend deal with a dead alternator in downtown Memphis didn’t help anything, but hey, what are sisters for?

 

Run for the Red 5k, January 8, 2010, Memphis, TN, 30:45 ~ Running a race on one of the coldest days of the year proved to be a lot more enjoyable than it sounds. Yes, it was absolutely freezing (below freezing, in fact), BUT I achieved my goal of not having an asthma attack, which made it every bit worth it. Success! I didn’t run as fast as I had hoped, but that only serves as motivation for improvement. Bonus: The race t-shirts are very stylish.

 

St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon, December 6, 2008, Memphis, TN, 2:16:55 ~ Training for and running this race is what made me fall in love with running. I think I smiled from the time the starting gun went off until I finished, so thankful that the good Lord gave me the ability to run at all, let alone a distance of 13.1 miles. Unexplainably, soon after this race I developed exercise-induced asthma, which greatly hinders my performance and gives me a new-found appreciation and respect for my body and it’s (somewhat limited) capabilities. Despite the odds, I am determined to complete another half marathon. And so the journey begins…

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