Sunday, March 23, 2014

Newberry Half Marathon

2nd female
16th overall

Happy to say I have completed another successful half marathon!  I was really happy with my race, especially considering how little I have been able to run lately.  I'm also impressed that I managed a 1:30 race without much of a warm-up.  If I'm able to pull a 1:30 when I'm not in top shape, and without being adequately prepared, what will I be able to do when I get back into a normal training schedule?!

Thanks to the awesome generosity of a good friend, I did not have to do any of the driving on this trip.  The trip was about 5.5 hours each way, so this was much appreciated, especially on the return trip, as I am never able to stay awake after a race.  Of course, it was also nice to have a friend along just because travelling is more fun with someone to hang out with!

My hotel was right in downtown, which was really convenient.  Packet pick up was also at my hotel, so I got to check in, and then turn around, walk 10 feet, and pick up my number. I loved the convenience of that.  And since the hotel was in downtown, (and it was warm out!) we got to walk to dinner.  We went to The Flying Pie, which was a really awesome restaurant.  I highly recommend it if you ever happen to be in the area.  The furniture was all old mismatched tables, chairs, and booths in a variety of colors, and there were funny art prints on the walls.  They had a good selection of local beers, so I got to try a new stout by R.J. Rockers Brewery, and it was quite tasty.  For dinner, I had a delicious plateful of seafood pasta. And then we went back the next day after the race and I had a delicious bacon cheeseburger with mushrooms and onions and avocado on top.  After dinner, we stopped at a local bar on the way back to the hotel for a pre-race whiskey.  I was disappointed to find out that smoking is still allowed inside in SC, but luckily the bar was pretty empty and it wasn't too disgustingly smoky...

The weather on Saturday could not have been more perfect for a half marathon.  It wasn't too warm or too cold, and there was a light breeze that was strong enough to feel good, but not strong enough to be a nuisance.  I wasn't sure how much I wanted to warm up, because I'm trying to beat up my foot as little as possible, but the problem was solved for me by the long line at the bathroom. By the time I got outta there, I had just enough time to take off my sweats and jog to the starting line.  I started out in the front pack of runners, and settled into a comfortable pace that soon had the fast pack leaving me behind, but I was still in front of the next pack.  I spent the rest of the race pretty much alone.  There were runners in sight ahead of me, but we were pretty spread out.  Occasionally someone would pass me.  I didn't pass anyone until the last few miles.  I was second place female for the entire race.  First place was way out of my league, and I never had any idea how far behind third place was. (Turns out, third place was 6 minutes behind me)

Overall, the race was too flat for my tastes, but there were a few small hills that helped break up the monotony of the flat.  There were also some very long straight stretches that I was surprised to survive without too much agony.  My foot didn't bother me too much until a downhill somewhere around mile 6 that beat it up a little too much.  Thankfully it never hurt enough to slow me down.  The biggest hill of the course was in the last mile.  It was the only "real" hill in my hill-snob opinion.  It was pretty long, decently steep, and I loved it.  Once I got to the top of it, I started really pushing for the finish, and gaining on the people in front of me.  After the final turn to the finish, I tried to pass the person in front of me.  He sped up when I got next to him, and he ended up finishing right in front of me.

There weren't any clocks on the course, and I didn't run with a watch, so I had absolutely no idea how I was doing time-wise until I came around the last corner to the finish and saw that the clock was around 1:30.  I was really happy to see that I had been able to run that kind of a time without having too much trouble breathing.
the start

final sprint to the finish

 finishing strong

 awards ceremony


I've got a few weeks until my next race, and I'm going to try to do as much cross-training as possible so that I can keep my lungs strong without putting too much strain on my foot.  My bike is getting tuned up now, and should be ready to ride this week.'s supposed to be cold again this week so I don't know if I will be disciplined enough to actually get on the bike. I might have to get to a gym and do some rowing instead.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Celtic Knot 5k

3.1 miles
1st place female, 3rd place overall

The McDonough siblings came together for another race, although it was only 2 of us this time.  My goal was not to get beat by much more than a minute or two, and I only got beat by a little more than one minute, but that had something to do with the fact that the course was not well marked and Sean ran a bit further than me...and he had to slow down at some of the less-marked turns to make sure he was going the right way...  But we conquered the race field, taking first for men and women.  Happy to say that second place overall was taken by my former (and hopefully future) running partner.  He passed me on the final uphill and urged me to keep up, but I wasn't about to work my lungs any harder than I already was.  He beat me by 9 seconds.

I ran the race pretty hard, but possibly not as hard as I could have.  My lungs are still not on the same level as my legs, and so I ran as hard as I could without putting too much strain on my lungs.  I didn't want to strain them so much that I would end up sick this week, especially since I have a half marathon to run this coming Saturday!

Here's a picture of Delia and I from the award's ceremony.  She ran the kids 1k race.
We were both first female/3rd overall.
PS : this girl gives the BEST hugs! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Mushrooms

Snow Day #8.  I'm so over digging my car out of the snow, scraping ice off my windshield, freezing half to death in polar vortexes, etc.  I know I've been spoiled by mild winters over the last few years, but this is getting ridiculous.  It was 60 degrees yesterday, and then last night it poured freezing rain, and then snowed 6 inches.  So of course we couldn't go to school.  I ended up inside all day long (until this evening when I ventured out to unearth my car).  I had a productive morning, and then felt tired so I took a pre-lunch nap.  I was awakened from my nap by the sound of wet boots squeaking all over the apartment.  I fail to understand why it is so hard to take them off at the door...but apparently it isn't as simple as I think it is?  So I had to get out of bed and grab a towel to dry off the floor before those puddles turned to salt stains.  Because I am also tired of cleaning the salt stains off the floor.  Roommate.  Can't live with one, can't live without one.

I was about to spend the rest of the afternoon being angry about once again cleaning up someone else's mess, but I realize that that is not a productive use of my time or energy.  So I decided to indulge in some kitchen therapy.  First, I made a big pot of my favorite Creamy Carrot-Ginger Soup.  When that was done, it was time to start thinking about dinner, and I decided to try making roasted brussels sprouts.  I had a bunch of mushrooms in the fridge as well, so I decided to roast them too.

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2) Cut the stem ends off of about 8 or 9 sprouts.  Cut each sprout in half lengthwise.
3) Thoroughly rinse the sprouts and 5 mushrooms (whole).
4) Dry the sprouts/mushrooms as best you can with a towel.
5) Put them in a bowl and sprinkle with sea salt.
6) Coat with a mixture of olive oil/mustard/pesto/oregano.
7) Spread evenly on a baking pan and bake for 30 minutes.
8) Eat them.  They are good to munch on straight off the pan.  Or you can be civilized and eat them for dinner using plates and forks and stuff.



On top of my soup

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Blacksburg 10 miler

Happy to say that I have completed another successful race.  I was a bit worried going into it, having no idea how much my food was going to hurt, or how weak my lungs were going to be.  Turns out my race shoes are a lot nicer to my tendonitis than my training shoes are.  So that was a plus.  And at some point during the race, I realized that I don't actually breathe all the way in when I'm running.  So I started focusing on breathing in as far as I possibly good before exhaling.  And I imagine that helped my lungs not quit on me like they did at Beckley back in October.  So that was another plus.

I wasn't sure how many people were in front of me for much of the race, but there was an out and back portion with the turn-around at mile 7, so that gave me a chance to count the females ahead of me.  I was 7th place female for almost the entire race, but 6th place started walking around mile 8 so I decided to pick up the pace and fly by her.  Around that time, the wind was really picking up, pushing against me.  So I put my head down and pushed back.  For some reason, I find it easier to push the pace when I am pushing into the wind.  It was weird, but that wind actually did help me finish the last 2 miles a lot stronger than I would have without it.

I had absolutely no idea what kind of a pace I was running.  I wasn't wearing a watch, and there were no clocks on the course.  Since I was in the top 10, I assumed I was doing pretty well pace-wise, but I knew I wasn't running my normal top-shape pace.  I was quite pleased to come around the final turn towards the finish and see that the race clock had just turned 1:10.  I finished 14 seconds later.  I am super happy with my finish time.  I would have loved to be under 7 min/mile, but I was not expecting it.  I was expecting to be closer to 7:15, considering how little I've been able to run lately, and how few miles I've gotten.

After the race, I picked up some insoles at the running store, so hopefully they will help my foot hurt less on training runs.

The day in pictures:

Pre-race "selfie."
Sporting my Irish Pub glad to have a sponsor this year!
I ended up ditching the long sleeve shirt before the race, it was in the high 50s!

Post-race photo.
Super grateful to these girls for doing all the driving on this trip, I don't think I would have made it home alive if I had had to drive home alone. I was beyond exhausted. 

Needed a post-race bacon cheeseburger, and Trish sent me to The Cellar while she and Bethany got Chipotle.  They had such a fabulous selection of beers that are unavailable in WV, I had to pick out a selection while I was waiting for my burger.  The one on the far right is a "Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter." I can't wait to find out what that tastes sounds intriguing. 

20 days til my next half marathon. After today's success, I'm not so worried about it!