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From that day forward, if I was going anywhere, I was running.

I’ve Moved!

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And be sure to check out Part III of the Marathon on the new site as well! See you there!!!!

WDW Marathon Recap (Part II)

Okay, so I’m having a good run so far, and while running I saw many, many, many great signs, but I think this was my favorite of the day:

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Definitely made me smile. So, I left Animal Kingdom and headed down Osceola Parkway. I’ve heard this one can be pretty boring, but this year they go into ESPN Wild World of Sports, so it was shorter than the previous course. Not to mention a small shot of coca-cola from a nice lady along the course. It was the best tasting soda ever. Now, with all my training runs, I was fine, blister wise, until mile 19. While at the expo Friday, I bought a thing of Body Glide and lubed my toes up generously this morning. I wish I had thrown it into my shorts pocket or belt, but I didn’t and I was starting to feel them form, and around mile 17 instead. I vowed I would get vaseline at the next med tent. Sadly, all the chairs were taken, so it was difficult to balance on one foot, slab half the vaseline on, put the sock and shoe back on (with a glob still in my hand) and swap to the next foot. Also, while there, I heard them offering tylenol. After lubing up my toes, I headed back onto the road. I also realized that was my first med tent visit ever. Found out later, not only did they have Biofreeze, tylenol and vaseline, they had ice, powerade and water too.

My blisters are weird. I only get two of them. One on each foot, on the ‘ring’ toe. The one next to the pinkie. It’s not on the tip, or the side, it’s on the bottom. ?? I’ve searched the web for reasons why, and I can’t find any answers other than the rubbing. I thought it might have to do with my form? Anybody have any insights to this?

Anyway, I’m just glad I wasn’t this guy:

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What?? Crazy.

I approached ESPN and was looking forward to getting closer to the 20 mile spectacular. AND Josh was waiting. Too, my friend Holly and her boyfriend had caught up with Josh, so they were there too.

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Again, a lot of people were complaining about this section of the course. Yes, there were a lot of turns. Yes, it was hot and there was no shade. Yes, it seemed we weren’t the main focus as there were other events going on (and someone got hit by a softball??), but it was nice to run on the track (felt good on the feet, knees and hips), it was nice to run on the baseball warning track (I didn’t get rocks in my shoes). So, I’m fine with it. It was a slightly different course from Tower of Terror, so at least it wasn’t exactly the same. Oh, and the sponges soaked in ice cold water that were handed out around Mile 17? Brilliant! Oh, and I also grabbed a tylenol at the med tent at mile 19 something…

I was approaching the stadium and I texted Josh to give him a heads up, and he told me they were on the third base line. I high fived a few folks on the first base line, came around home base and saw my support team. It was awesome! I continued running around the outfield and back out of the stadium. I wondered if I would see them again as I passed the spectator entrance, and sure enough, there they were! I told them as I was running by “It hurts to run and it hurts to walk, so I might as well run!”. After exiting the “expo sidewalk” it was time for the Mile 20 spectacular!

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They also had puppets of Mike from “Monsters, Inc.” and Genie from “Aladdin”, but I skipped pictures with them. Now I can’t remember if it was right before or right after the spectacular, that I saw Josh waving from the bus as he made his way to EPCOT. Maybe he can tell you…

So now I only have a 10K to go, and this is also the furthest I’ve ever run. Never went over 20 miles in my training runs. I was also worried as there were no more runners heading up the road to ESPN WWOS. So with this, plus a text from Josh telling me the sweepers are out, I picked up my pace. I headed up the ramp to Hollywood Studios (though I still refer to it as MGM), and saw the sweeper buses. It got a bee in my butt and I picked it up even more. I grabbed 2 more tylenol at the next med tent, and knocked them back with some red powerade. After heading down the other side of the ramp, before entering MGM, I overheard a conversation where two veteran marathon runners told a rookie (like me) that we were well ahead of the sweepers. Don’t worry. I felt better, but I still kept the pace up. What if they were wrong? LOL. Right before entering the park behind ToT, I passed some ROTErs. (Hi Megan!) I asked how they were doing, and they seemed to be doing well, so I continued on. I thought of hanging out with them for a bit, but I guess I had that 3rd wind going, so I was gonna ride it.

Backstage, I was handed a Mr. Goodbar, opened it up, popped it in my mouth and….oh. bad idea. I didn’t like that very much. Oh well. Turned the corner and I was welcomed to “HOLLYWOOD!”

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Now, I felt really good at this point and thought “There’s no way they can sweep me now!”. Well what I didn’t know, was there was one more sweeper spot right outside the park on the way to EPCOT. What you don’t know, doesn’t kill you though. Headed down the walking path to the Boardwalk/Beach resorts. This was crowded and narrow. This was a little tough, because I wanted to run, but there were a lot of walkers. So, I walked a bit, then it opened up at the bridge to Beach, so after stopping at the med tent and slapping some biofreeze on my knees, I started running again.

Only one point something miles to go! Made another turn and we were backstage of EPCOT, and right at the entrance a CM was standing there telling us “Ok folks! You’re about to go on stage! Put your smiles on!” I think I had a perma grin at this point, though I was also ready to cry too. I was getting very emotional, and the text messages Josh and I were sending back and forth were not helping hold back the tears. Once I burst out of the doors into the UK, and I heard the inspirational music, I almost lost it right there.

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I managed to choke back the tears, and head up the bridge to France. It wasn’t as bad as I anticipated, and besides, to see this at the bottom of the hill is awesome:

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1.2 to go!!!! Now, I’ve been to EPCOT about a million times. I’m not exaggerating. It’s my favorite park of the 4. And I never realized how many little hills there are in the world showcase until this moment. Haha. Though I was still enjoying myself, and I was soaking it all in. Once I reached Norway, I stopped to visit the marathoner Grete. I had to ask some guy to snap it for me. He was very nice, so thank you kind sir!

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I had my debit card and drivers license with me…now why didn’t I stop to get a margarita? Josh told me that people were running across the finish line with them. Maybe next year! Once I approached Spaceship Earth, we were sent backstage and I heard the choir and saw this:

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The cast member who took that photo was great. “Give me strong arms! Now give me muscle arms!”. This was when I realized I was going to do it. Only .2 to finish. I headed around the corner, out of the park and there was Josh, Holly and John. I was walking at this point and almost started crying. All the sacrifice, time and training was coming to an end.

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Yeah, I high fived Goofy before crossing the finish line. And, I have to say, I paid more attention to the finish line. When I ran my first half two years ago, it was one giant blur and I don’t remember much of the finish. I didn’t want that to happen again. I only wish I stopped to get a picture with Goofy at the finish, as the photographers didn’t get one, and my finish line photo is disappointing. Oh well.

While at the EXPO I bought one of those framed bib, medal, photo things from lasting commemoratives. I think the 5×7 photo that will go in there will be this one:

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We got a few comments from people around us. It was fun to stage, and the best part, is I didn’t feel like this at all! So after crossing the finish line (I DID IT!) I got my medal, a snack box, a little bag, etc, and headed through the bag pick up tent where I saw Josh on the other side. Yup, I pretty much lost it. I had taken my little snap towel, balled it up in my hand and buried my eyes in it. It was over. It was over and I was overwhelmed. I immediately headed to the ice tent, grabbed two bags, found a tiny sliver of shade and plopped the ice on my knees. They weren’t in pain, but I wondered if the Tylenol was masking something, because those are the first things to go on my runs. I was a competitive swimmer from 5 years old to 18 years old. I was a breaststroker. 13 years of breast stroke and flip turns can kill your knees. Josh got me a diet coke, which was the best diet coke in my life. The beer line was crazy, and fortunately for Josh, I wasn’t craving one. I wanted carbonation. We watched the runners cross the finish line on the giant jumbo-tron nearby, and realized I was an hour and a quarter in front of the sweepers.

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So after a few more photos, we walked to the ESPN tent so I could order a “I did it!” shirt. I thought it was bad juju/karma to buy one at the expo, so I didn’t. I have to wait and they’re going to mail it to me. Next time I’ll get it at the expo. Holly and John said good-bye and Josh and I walked to the car and headed back to the hotel for my ice bath.

I did it! I’m a marathoner. It took me 7 hours, 4 minutes and 38 seconds. I would have liked to have done better, but the heat prevented it. And you know what? I don’t care. I didn’t have a time goal. My only goal was to finish in the upright position and not get swept. I achieved that goal.

Part III will be my pre and post race experiences, so stay tuned!

 

WDW Marathon Recap (Part I)

I’m going to break this amazing weekend up into 3 posts: Mile 0-13.1 (Part I), Mile 13.1-26.2 (Part 2), and Pre & Post Race (Part 3).

Well, I did it! I am officially a marathoner. I woke up bright and early Sunday morning (0230), got dressed, grabbed a roll from last night’s dinner (Mamma Melrose) and headed out. I left the ditch sweatshirt behind since it was a pretty warm one and was scheduled to only get warmer. Along the way to the front lobby I ran into this guy:

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I pointed him out to another runner walking up at the same time, but she must have been in game mode as she ignored me and kept walking. Well good morning to you too. I guess she wasn’t a morning person. I popped into the food court, grabbed a banana and a coffee and headed toward the bus. I guess I was super early enough because I stepped right on, grabbed an empty seat and settled in. About 5 minutes later, we were off. We arrived to EPCOT with no problem and walked to the “H” tent to hang out with some ROTE folks. I also got to see my friend Jenn and Christina, and after a quick hello, I headed to the porta potties for one last stop before the corrals. I stuffed some extra paper into my shorts pocket before leaving. This came in handy later.  I dropped off my bag and started the long walk to the corral. I grabbed a cup of water on the way and slowly sipped it. Mistake. By the time I got to my corral, I had to go to the bathroom again. At least I’m hydrated. I figured I would go at the next available pit start after we take off.

Before I knew it, they were starting and my corral (D) was moving toward the starting line. Then it was our turn, and I started running. By this time the nerves had died down, because I think I tricked myself into thinking I was doing a half. Every porta potty I passed had huge lines, and of course, I kept spotting runners (men and women alike) running off into the woods. I think it was mile 3, I couldn’t take it anymore and I became one of those runners. I saw a monorail post surrounded by bushes and off I went. That toilet paper came in handy. I soon approached the gates to Magic Kingdom, and the security guard wasn’t as good a photographer as the one for my first half marathon, so I did a self-portrait shot instead.

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I continued on knowing I would see Josh soon (Ticket and Transportation Center-TTC), and I could pass him my jacket. It was still a little cold out and when I took it off my first instinct was to put it back on, but I just had to adjust. I knew it was going to be a really warm one, and enjoy the chill now. I saw him up ahead, and after passing him my jacket and grabbing a quick kiss, I was off again. Heading past TTC and toward the Contemporary Resort. Pretty soon, a CM was off to the side welcoming me to the Magic Kingdom!

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Two years ago, my boyfriend Josh and Liz’s then fiance Brian, were waiting on Main Street up on the left of the picture above. This was also for our Half Marathon, not the full. Josh asked if I wanted him there again this year so he could get a snap shot of me on Main Street, and I said I’d rather see him twice (Mile ~4 and Mile ~7) this time, instead of once, around MK. “But you won’t get a Main Street Picture”, I told him that it was okay, I could ask someone to snap one. And I did.

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I continued on, running and walking, and just enjoying the sights. I got to see my buddy Bullseye from “Toy Story” (he’s tied for favorite with Dug from “UP!”) and got in line to take a picture, but Jesse came to relieve him, so I got out of line and continued on. It was probably for the best. I continued on, out the back of MK and down behind Grand Floridian and the Polynesian (where Josh was waiting for our second meeting). While passing the Grand Floridian, I noticed two guys in white bathrooms, clutching coffee mugs and wearing their half marathon medals cheering us on. Pretty awesome and funny.

Josh told me to listen for Elvis music, and then I would be close, sure enough, I did and spotted him right away. We were on the opposite side of the road, and he was closed off by a fence, so I only got to wave and throw a kiss when I saw him, but it was great to do that. I love support. After seeing him, he hopped on the monorail and headed back to EPCOT to catch a bus to ESPN. He was going to try and hit Animal Kingdom first, but some volunteers recommended he didn’t. He should get a medal for his spectating!

On to the Speedway! This was a new part of the course that Disney had never done before. I don’t know if they’re going to to keep this route for future races, based on some of the comments I’ve heard from people that have run both the old and this new. This was all new to me, so I can’t compare anything. Anyway, the ramp down (and up) to the speedway was STEEP! Meaning, toes hitting the front of my shoe steep. I had to snap a picture of the entrance as it stated “No Pedestrian Traffic”. I know why!

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This track looked smaller on the map, but man, was I on there for awhile. At least they had a lot of eye candy. Corvettes, Aston Martins, Mater, Lightening McQueen, etc. I enjoyed it, but it seemed to go on forever. The grassy exit didn’t bother me, but I’ve read some reviews where people were not too excited about it. At this point in the race it was all new for me. Now down a stretch of road that I was told was “boring”. I actually didn’t think it was so bad. They had the villians out there. (Including the Evil Queen, whom I adore) some tacky tourists in their RV (they were pretty funny), and the Country Bears (whom I also adore)! I also got a text message from a student of mine, cheering me on.

Pretty soon, I was nearing AK and they had the CUTEST TINEST little owl. Oh, I wish I took a picture of him. It was adorable. They also had other animals, a snake included. That was fun to watch runners that didn’t like snakes, realize what the CM was holding. I bet their split was lower for that part. Anyway, we entered the backside of Animal Kingdom, ran through Asia and headed toward Expedition Everest.

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I stopped for the bathroom again, and got to use a real one. I was afraid if I sat down, I wouldn’t get back up again, but it wasn’t a concern at all once I got in there. As we were exiting the park, I heard a pack of runners coming through talking about how amazing Everest was. Yes, they rode it. I had considered it days before, but as I was concerned about the sweepers, I decided against it. Turns out, I would have been fine and I had a good hour on the sweepers that lasted the whole race, but as one of the runners in the pack talked about having a headache, I figured that would have been my fate, so glad I didn’t.

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And finally, I had hit Mile 13. This was it. I was about to cross the halfway point. Pass the furthest actual race point. Yes, I had training runs that far exceeded 13 miles, but this was race day. I was going to see signs for miles that I’ve never seen before. It was getting exciting, and I felt pretty good too.  What did the other 13.1 miles have waiting for me?

To Be Continued…

Gator Bulldog 5K Recap

34 Gator Bulldog 5K

As some readers might know, the University of Georgia and the University of Florida have a great rivalry. You might also know that this particular football rivalry game is played in Jacksonville Florida. So, 1st Place Sports of Jacksonville decided to host a Gator Bulldog 5K, where you side with a team for the race. Seeing as I was born in Atlanta and grew up in Athens, Georgia, I registered as a Bulldog.

This Friday night race was a replacement for my Thursday training run. Right after work, Josh and I headed up to Jacksonville and went straight to the park where the event started. I realized after registering that I did not have any Georgia Bulldog clothes, so I ended up wearing my Atlanta track club shirt that I picked up at the Peachtree Road race in July. It was the closest I could do. After picking up my packet, that included my red Bulldog bib and my red Bulldog shirt, I contemplated switching to the race shirt. Personally, I think it’s bad luck and tacky to wear the race shirt the day of the race, so I opted to stay in my track club shirt.

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As an aside, what do you think about that? Are you a fan of wearing the shirt during the race, or do you wait till it’s over to don the threads?

Ok, back to the recap: The day was really windy, and the course had a slight hill on the first mile or so, but I felt good and ran a 2:1. As I came around the corner and saw the finish line, I still felt pretty solid, so I kicked it into overdrive and sprinted over the finish. I thought, having looked at the time when I crossed, I may have had my fastest time ever, but Crissy Field in San Fran was still faster. I wonder if it wasn’t so windy or hilly, if I would have had a PR. Oh well. Still felt great and enjoyed the race.

Overall, I had a great time, and there were more Bulldog fans running than I thought there would be. I would definitely run this one again. Again, let me know in the comments, what are your thoughts on the race shirt on race day?

Land Bridge Trail Run Recap

33 Land Bridge Trail Run

For this race you had a choice of running the 2.5 course or the 5 mile course. My training run was 5 miles, so decision made!

Race start was 8 am and there was a promise of pancakes afterwards. Everyone loves pancakes, right? Both distances lined up at the starting line, in the middle of a horse field. We were given instructions to follow the signs, be careful, and watch for animals. Joy! That’s exciting news, haha.

It was the first year of this run (and they hope to make it an annual thing, which is great. I would like to run this one again) so it was a small turnout and everyone was to adjust themselves. Since the 2.5 miler was running with us, it got a little crowded when it narrowed down to a path. I ended up in the prickly bushes at one point trying to pass and got a nice scratch on my leg, but it’s all good. Made me run faster. At a certain point, volunteers pointed for the 2.5 to go left and the 5′s to go right. The course was challenging at times, and I had to watch the ankles, but it made it a fun training run, not flat and straight. For most of the race I was alone on the course, and there was a volunteer telling me to stay along the fence to the next course marker. At one point, I thought I was lost, but then I saw a marker and all was good.

I did fairly well for this race. I felt good, I had a nice pace, and the training is paying off. Oh, and I found out that “Am Sexy and I Know It” is a power song for my running. Oh, and those pancakes? Pretty darn awesome. I had a nice helping with a nice helping of butter and a nice helping of syrup too. Yummy. As I said earlier, I hope to be back next year.

Tower of Terror 10-Miler Recap

32 Tower of Terror 10 Miler

Wow, I’m behind, and I hope the time has not faded my memory.

I took off work on Friday because it was also the weekend of our Mickey and MINI event which is eight years in the running. My friend Holly and I also host drinking around the world on Saturday for the event, so my “resting before the race” is out if the question. I rented a scooter so at least I was off my feet for most of the day.

Around 6 o’clock, I left EPCOT, and hopped on the boat to Hollywood Studios to the starting area. I met up with my friends Sarah and Philip, and after some photo ops, I said goodbye to both and headed to corral B. I found some fellow “Running of the Ears” folks, introduced myself, and gathered with them near the back of the corral.

Pretty soon it was time to start and off we went. Let me tell you, the humidity was gross and awful. I also cramped up pretty badly for the first 2 miles, but I pushed through and felt good around the 3rd mile marker. The rest of the race seems a bit of a blur.

The course entertainment was lacking, but it didn’t deter me. I was at Disney running an inaugural race. We got to run around the track and field track at ESPN Wild World of Sports AND around the Braves spring training baseball field.

Definitely fun, an I’m sure it was practice for the full marathon in January, as it will be following a similar course back in that area. After I emerged from the field, Josh, Mike and Holly were waiting there for me. I ran up and gave Josh a big sweaty hug as I still felt good (mile 7). He said that I had more energy than the three of them, and we’ve had an identical morning/afternoon. Though I think they all drank more than me, as I knew I was running that night.

Once inside Hollywood Studios, I picked up my pace as I knew I was nearing the finish. I also ran into a former student at the beginning of the race, and caught up with her right before the Sorcerer’s Hat. I then ran with her for a bit, but when it came time for my walk break, I took it and she kept going.

After crossing the finish line, and getting my medal, I snapped a pic in front of the ToT (not a very attractive angle).

and one obligatory finisher photo:

I told Mike, Holly and Josh not to waste their money on a party ticket, and that I would be out fairly quickly after riding ToT. It was only a 13 minute wait, so I got right in line, and while squeezing my thighs around my water bottle (so it wouldn’t fly up and hit me in the face) I squealed as the elevator went up and down. I then wandered over to Indiana Jones to pick up my bag, and though it was enjoyable having to walk across the park to get it, it was best as it kept my legs moving. The stairs down to the stage was a pain, literally, but again, it probably worked out some lactic acid, so I was okay with it. The line however was very very long and slow.

I wandered out of the park, and met up with the trio and we headed off to McDonald’s so I could get a nice big fat burger and fries. YUM. Soon after we headed back to the room and crashed.

Overall, I enjoyed the race. runDisney can’t control the weather, but the things they did have control of were handled fairly well. The cons to me were the lack of entertainment and the dark path of the ‘trail’ portion of the race. It was bottlenecked and dark, I worried about twisting something in the leg region. The pros were the medal, the organization for an inagural race and the course. Yes, I’ll probably do it again, and just hope they fix the lighting and add some distractions!

9 Miles and an Ice Bath

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I am writing this while sitting in the bathtub. The blogging is a nice distraction from the cold and waterproof cases are great to own. I’ve never done this before, but I’ve heard only great things about the effects of an ice bath. It makes sense, so….here I am.

Anyway, I had a 9 mile training run today and ended up running 9.44. Oh well, poor planning on my route, but I won’t complain about getting extra mileage in. Speaking of my route I had some very interesting moments. It was nice to get off the treadmill. The weather finally cooled off enough for an outdoor run. Ran into this creepy woman on my run. Came around a corner and “BAM” right there. Freaked me out a bit.

I also saw some bicyclers twice, a car break down, and some friendly neighbors. I did run out of water around mile 7 and that sucked. Time to go shopping for a fuel belt. One I will wear for the full.
I think too, that this was my longest ever, training run. Not sure, I’d have to look to confirm, but I’m pretty confidant with that statement. I’m still in shock that I will be attempting 26.2 in January, but the more I read Jeff Galloway’s book saying I can do it, the more confidant I am. His tips and tricks are awesome and got me through this run.  I pushed the wall back a tiny bit more today, and that makes me proud. I’ve also changed my stride and my mantra due to his book and I didn’t feel weary until mile 6.5, so another big help.
I leave you with a picture I took on my run that made me smile and feel good about life.

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Training for the Full

I did it! I finally registered for my first marathon. EEK! I’ve never run more than 13.1 miles in one go, so I’m very nervous about this race which is January 13th. I plotted out my training program, and began. I was doing great until this past Saturday when I woke up congested and miserable. I was supposed to run 9 miles, but I was out of breath just going up a staircase.

Well, looking at said schedule, I noticed I had to tweek it in order to run the Tower of Terror 10 miler and the Wine & Dine Half Marathon (Which I’m registered to run both). This weekend was 9 miles, the next two weeks was 4 miles followed by the 11 miles the Saturday of ToT 10 miler. So rather than try to make it up, I’ve decided to run the 9 this Saturday, then 4, then 11. So I guess I had a built in back up system for being sick that coincided with being sick.

On a side note, the WDW Marathon is sold out! So it’s a great thing I paid my registration and committed to this endeavour. I hope I can do it!

Peachtree Recap

31 Peachtree Road Race

I guess this post has been looooong overdue, and I apologize. I have no excuses, I just haven’t sat down to do it. Writer’s block perhaps?

Well, where do I begin? Let me start by telling those that don’t already know, that I grew up in Georgia. I was born in Atlanta and lived there through 4th grade. The following summer, we moved to Athens, Ga which is a short drive to the Northeast. I’ve only run this race once before, but my brothers and dad have run it several times over.

I wanted to stroll down memory lane, and I was getting tired of running the Freedom Run 4 Miler here in town, so I entered the lottery and once I got confirmation of an entry, I started making arrangements. The Fourth of July was a Wednesday this year, so the plan was to leave for Athens on Monday and stay the night, leave for Atlanta on Tuesday and hit the road back to home on Thursday. Everything went according to plan….well almost.

My parents made the trip up with me and we left early Monday morning. We arrived in the early afternoon, checked into our hotel then went for a drive down memory lane. Our only disappointment was our restaurant pick, The Last Resort, was closed. So we called The Savannah Room, and they were closed! Gutherie’s is gone as well as The Flamingo Room. Sadness! We went with plan C and had dinner at The Taco Stand which was our lunch pick for the next day. After dinner, we drove down an old friend’s street and recognized the car in the driveway. I went and knocked on the door and sure enough she answered the door! We had a nice little chat, and then headed back out for a drive.

Athens has changed so much. UGA seems to be taking over the town! They have property everywhere. My old High School is renovated and so many new things I almost didn’t recognize it. I’m so glad I grew up in this town, but I don’t know if I would want to grow up there today. It just seem so different.

Tuesday morning, we checked out and hit the road for Atlanta. We stopped off and made a visit to our old neighborhood. The house looks the same, though the giant weeping willow out front was gone.

The pool was chained off and overgrown. I hopped out of the car and ran down the gravel path to check it out. The pool would make a great horror story movie shoot site. It’s completely abandoned, overgrown and even has furniture floating in the pool. It’s really sad because that’s where the whole neighborhood came together for holidays. It was a great atmosphere. We then headed downtown to check into the W Hotel, our home for the next couple of nights. I booked through the Atlanta Track Club (ATC) and had a choice of staying at the starting line or the finish line. I choose the latter because I did NOT want to get on a train with a bunch of sweaty bodies after running 6.2 miles. Besides, look at the view!

The red arrow on the left is pointing out Peachtree Street, probably mile 5 point something. The arrow on the right is pointing to the starting line…at least somewhere over there. We left for the expo at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC). This place was huge! I picked up my bib (PURPLE!) and my parents and I wandered the aisles. After collecting a ton of free stuff, buying my one way MARTA ticket and having a quick lunch, we then walked over to the Centennial Olympic Park to visit our bricks. They were setting up for a Fourth of July concert, so some areas were off limits, but our bricks were in the clear.

After driving around for a bit…or maybe this is when we checked into the hotel (it’s already getting fuzzy. See I should have done this sooner), we drove the entire course backwards. We headed down Peachtree Street to Buckhead and saw the water stations and mile markers. Looking at the map in my packet, we guesstimated the starting line and the location of my corral (L). We then worked our way up Peachtree to the finish at Piedmont Park.

Bright and early the next morning, I woke up, got dressed and headed downstairs for free coffee. I met a nice couple and asked if I could tag along to the MARTA station with them. They were experts and this was the 3rd year they were staying at the finish line. The first year they stayed at the start and they said they would never do that again. So YAY for me on a good decision! They also told me to get on the back of the train, another great tip.

I made it to my corral, found a spot on the ground and then heard my name. “Sarah?” I look up, and out of 60,000 runners, my childhood friend and fellow girl scout Jennifer, finds me! Let me premise this with the fact that I haven’t seen her since 1987. AND we’re in the same corral! CRAZY!

We ran together for about 5 minutes then I jogged over to the right and she kept on trucking. She PR’d the race I believe. Kudos! I once again achieved my goal of finishing! LOL But seriously, I had a good run. I felt good and I was really happy with how I did for how warm and hilly it was. Gotta remember, I’m used to Flat Florida. I also had my chilly NASA towel that cools when you snap it. At every water stop, I drank a little of one, poured the rest over my back, grabbed another cup, dunked my towel in, snap, and placed it on my neck. You can see it in the picture above. Life saver I tell ya!

After the race, I got my famous Peachtree Road Race t-shirt, and headed to the “R” balloon to find my parents. I went right to the base of the giant balloon with the “R” painted on it, and nothing, but I hear my name being called in a voice I know too well, look up and find my mom waving. I head up the hill that she’s at the top of and ask where my dad is. She said he was looking for me. So I head back down to hunt for him. After a small search, I find him, we head over, get a finisher picture taken, grab a ice towel (Courtesy of Delta Airlines) and a nice juicy peach.

After wet wiping down, changing my shirt and putting on my compression socks, we head back to the hotel. Yeah, it’s in the picture above. So are the giant balloons. It gives you an idea of the size of this event. It’s the largest 10K in the world! I’m starting to hurt a little and I just want to go to sleep, but my dad and I have a Braves game to catch! We hopped in the van, drove over to The Varsity! Best drive-in food ev-a! Fill up on greasy food then head out. I called my friend Adam and we meet up at a bar in nearby Decatur. I haven’t seen him since 1993…well later, because he visited me once at college, but it really was a trip down memory lane all week.

We headed back to the hotel, dropped off my mom and my dad and I headed back to the MARTA station that I went to that morning. Was it only that morning? Yup. We took the train to the closest station to Turner Field and walked the rest of the way. Our seats were amazing. We were on the first base line in row 7. They were also doing an entire Independence Day presentations with Fireworks at the end of the game.

Yup, that’s Chipper Jones standing about 200 yards from me. You can see some fans got to bring out a giant flag onto the field. They really went all out. The Braves lost, but it didn’t deter from the wonderful day! I had a great time, and I’m sorry, you my readers, haven’t heard from me in awhile.  I’m hoping to get back into the blogging habit and hope to see you again soon.

Also, looking back, I now know why I waited as long as I did….that was a really long post. Hope you enjoyed it!

Prison Break Mud Run, eMeals and Weight Watchers

This past Saturday I ran the Prison Break Mud Run in Tampa:

“We have received information that numerous prisoners (you) have escaped from the Hillsborough County Correctional Facility. Unfortunately, for you (the escapee), the prison doesn’t want you to return. You are now running for your life through the forest, jumping logs, crossing creeks, and sneaking through fields in an attempt to avoid police snipers that are hot on your trail.

This event is like NO OTHER mud run. We are going to let you loose on a large tract of land in Tampa, Florida and it is your job to follow the trail without getting shot! That’s right, it is part mud run, part prison escape adventure. We are literally going to have two snipers hidden with paintball guns. Their entire job is to take down as many prisoners as possible. The catch… they can only fire a single shot at a time! Those that survive the trail… are rewarded… those that don’t, well… it’s just paint…

The area that we will be running in is COMPLETELY undeveloped. This means it will be as close as we could possibly get to an actual prison break scenario without real prisoners and without real guns.

Since this area is undeveloped, there’s plenty of wildlife… lots of trees… lots of scrub… and tons of places to duck and cover while running for your life.”

Okay. I highlighted an important part of the description. Turns out they were NOT paint guns, but BB GUNS! Yes, rubber/plastic BB pellets. WTF?!?! How did I know this? About a half mile in, there was a large group in front of me and one girl started screaming and somebody said “There he is!” and I could hear the shots to my right. People were running by this one area and I could hear a shot then the pump of the gun. So of course, being the smart one that I am, I waited for the shot and ran during the reload. I escaped without a hit. The guy in front of me got shot in the small of his back. He asked me if there was paint on him, I said “no” and we both realized this was NOT as advertised.

So check out the RunKeeper map, and you will see I swam through ponds, and ran up and down stream of creeks big and small, and through a ton of brush. I didn’t get shot either! Until the very end. We had to go upstream in this large, quick moving wide creek. I was about knee deep, running away from a shooter that was clear and out in the open (which confirmed the bb guns) when I got shot in the right hamstring. SON OF A BITCH did it hurt!!! Like Forrest Gump I yelled out “Something bit me!” I swear I thought a water moccasin had come out of the water and bit me, until I realized that I was shot. It was that painful.

Here’s an after shot. Yes, I wore cargo pants and you had to wear goggles (which were $5. I paid it forward and gave them to a girl who needed them as I was leaving) That’s the first “obstacle” behind me. We either dove into the water, swam across and climbed a ‘mountain’ or run across a board to the same ‘mountain’. I ran across the board. Wanted to save my energy ’cause I knew I would be getting wet later.

 

 

Pros: It was fun. It wasn’t a typical mud run, there were no obstacles other than mother nature. No assigned waves, you were given a time to arrive and when you were ready you joined the next wave on the beach of the swimming hole. Small groups of people.

Cons: Some confusion as to where to go after signing in, The bb guns instead of the advertised paint guns, they didn’t get a liquor license in time so no complimentary beer at the end, no ‘gear’/’packet’ (you had to pay an extra $10 for a t-shirt), $5 to park, and the last (which probably only affects me) NO BIBS! It was a plastic wristband.

So yes, the Cons outweigh the Pros, so no, I wouldn’t do it again unless a group of friends wanted to do it, then I would gladly go again. It’s no fun going alone, though I did make a few friends along the way and we were all having a good time. And I DID have a good time, but it didn’t kick in until 3/4 of a mile in…that’s my own problem though.

Okay, so eMeals.

eMeals - Easy Meals for Busy People!

This thing is pretty awesome. Now I’m only in the first week, but I tried it out last night and it was pretty darn tasty. Here’s what I did:

I signed up, selected which menu I wanted and which store to shop at. I typed in my zip code and done. Now, every Thursday, it will send me my menu for the week (7 dinner meals) and how to cook it on one page, and the other page is my shopping list (with prices). They make the meal based on the sales of the store you choose. So you save money! My mom asked “what if you don’t like one of the meals?”, well the shopping list has the meal number next to it, so if you don’t like meal #5, then cross off all the items with a 5 next to it. Then go out to eat or cook something else.

They also promise not to repeat a single meal in the 365 days! I told my mom, that if we eat something that we really liked, I would save it, and on those days that something doesn’t sound appetizing, I would substitute it in. So the only time we would repeat is because WE chose to.

Finally, remember I said which menu I wanted? Well that’s because they have a lot of menu’s to choose from. Gluten Free, Low Carb, Portion Control (which is what I chose, because it has the Weight Watchers points plus value listed for each meal), regular, clean eating, low fat, natural & organic, and vegetarian. Then you can choose the serving size (1-2 or 3-6) and the store you want to shop from (ALDI, Kroger, Whole Foods, Publix, Wal-Mart, Safeway, Ralph’s or ‘other store’).

The only :-( I have with the company is the fact that the smaller serving meals only have Wal-Mart and other stores as a choice. So you don’t benefit from the particular store sales unless you shop at Wal-Mart.

LAST but not least, as some of you know, I’ve been on Weight Watchers for the past…6 weeks. I’ve lost a total of 17 lbs and I only have 6 more to go for my goal weight. I feel better, I’m a little bit faster and I’m not as tired all the time. Well, at least the past 5 weeks. This week I’ve caught a bug of some kind and I have a terrible sore throat. I also get drained quickly. I was called in for Jury Duty Monday and I was so tired from just sitting there. Fortunately I was released before noon, but yesterday I took a shower and I was out of breath after. In other words, my workouts have slowed dramatically from everyday to zero. I need to go run today…I bet it would make me feel better.

Sorry for the long post! Thanks for reading!

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