A Race & Weekend Report: Madison Mini Marathon

First, the stats.

Date:  August 20, 2016
Lifetime half:  Number 23
State:  Wisconsin – Number 13

I had been cussing myself for months for signing up for this one.  WHO in their RIGHT MIND signs up for an August race?  haha  “Just do it,” they said.  “It won’t be as hot or humid up here in August,” they said.  Yeah well, I still had to run here in the south in the summer to attempt to train for that day.  And we all know by now how I tend to slack in the summer.  I thought maybe having a late summer race on the calendar would prevent that.  NOPE.  It just means that I went into yet another race untrained.  lol  But this event was much more about a weekend with friends in a new state than it was any stupid ol’ number on a clock, so I consider it a success anyway.

My trip started out the Friday morning before the race.  It was supposed to have been right at a 9-hour drive and I had plans to make a pit stop in Rockford IL to meet some of my long-time internet friends for lunch.  They would be joining me the next day in Madison anyway, but I wanted to make the most of the time I had that weekend.  And this way I got to meet their hubbies and furbabies too!  It was a great kickoff to the weekend–Shelly, Julia, their husbands Brian and Trey, and I went to a local vegan restaurant/brewery I’d heard them both talk about before, so that was my restaurant of choice that afternoon.  If you get the chance to check out Pig Minds Brewing Co., do it.  Good food, great beer. I was all about their HappiDaze (a bluberry California golden ale).  It did indeed make me very happy.  After Shelly got me sufficiently buzzed, she took me home and took advantage of me.  LOL She’s a jewelry designer and she took me to her jewelry-makin’ room.  I left there with so many pretties!  I look at her web site frequently, but photos just don’t ever do jewelry justice.  Check out www.lavorodesigns.com to see her work and trust me when I say it’s even more awesome in person.

After hanging out with Shelly and her sweet furbabies for a couple more hours, it was time to head to Madison if I was going to make it to the expo in time.  It was only a short walk from my hotel.  It was your typical big race expo with all of the typical things.  I did get a good giggle out of one thing that happened…when I arrived at the hotel I realized that I had forgotten to pack a pair of socks for my post-race tour d’Madison.  And upon walking into the expo, the first thing I saw was a sign for free socks.  hahaha  I found it rather serendipitous.  I was in and out of the expo in no time flat.  One of the perks of going in its last hour.  I had nothing else to do that evening so I just strolled around downtown a bit in the area between the expo and my hotel.  It was really a beautiful evening.


But as beautiful as that evening was, I still didn’t know what the next day was going to bring.  I had been stalking the weather like a mad woman all week because of the threat of severe storms.  The race director started sending out weather updates mid-week, and as of the time I pulled out of my driveway on Friday morning, I still didn’t even know if the race would be happening.  They said that they would make the call based on the conditions at the start time whether to go ahead as planned, delay, or cancel the event.  Honestly, had I not already had hotel reservations and plans with my friends, I may not have taken the chance and just taken my loss on my entry fee.  I had also forgotten to bring an umbrella, which I knew I’d need after the race with my friends if it was raining, so while I was out walking around after the expo I ducked into a Walgreens and bought an umbrella and one of those $2 poncho thingies for the race itself.  I also knew I should probably eat something even though I really wasn’t hungry given our late lunch that afternoon, but I grabbed a veggie sub and made my way back to the Doubletree and turned in for the evening.

When I awoke the next morning, it was to the sound of light rain, but a quick glance at weather.com told me that it looked like the threat of severe weather was going to miss us.  I got ready, grabbed my poncho, and hoped for the best.


By the time I got to the start area, it was raining pretty steadily so I was glad I had my poncho, but by the time we actually started I had already taken it off.  It was down to just barely a drizzle and that thing was making me sweat like CRAZY.  It still looked like the sky cold open up at any minute, so I hung onto it just in case I needed it mid-race.  Spoiler:  I didn’t.

As I’ve mentioned, this race was solely for fun.  I still had a full day ahead of me afterwards as well as a long drive home the next morning, so I didn’t push it one bit.  My only regret is not stopping to take pictures.  However, if I had, my timing would have been off and I wouldn’t have been at the right place at the right time on the course to have met my new friend Wendy.  I ran up behind her somewhere around mile 5ish.  She had on a police unity tour bike shirt.  I asked her about that, and the rest is history.  lol  We ran (and walked) the rest of the race together talking about mostly races, traveling, and beer.  As it turns out, she’s an ambassador for the Asheville Half Marathon, and we now have a date to do that one together in March.  THIS, people.  THIS is why I love running so much!

My time was 2:30-something.  I could look it up to tell you an exact number, but I don’t even care enough to do that right now.  LOL  Wendy and I hung out at the landing at the finish long enough to get our free beer and parted ways as we both had plans to meet up with friends, but not before we got our selfie for The Facebook.

8-20-2016 - Pam & Wendy at Madison Mini
Nothing like sweating and being drizzled on for 13.1 miles to make for a glamorous post-race selfie.

And here are some other random photos from the finish area.  It was really a cool little spot.

So I made my way back to the hotel and was just finishing getting ready when Shelly and Julia made it in from Rockford.  They have another friend, Marie, that lives in Madison, so after FOREVER … lol… Julia and Mr. T finally got us to her house.  They fed me a spectacular post-race lunch of tacos and beer.  I can’t remember the name of the taco joint, but it was amazing, and they had this beer.  It, too, made me happy.


Know what else made me happy?  I didn’t need that umbrella I bought the night before.  It turned out to be an absolutely glorious, sunshiny (and even COOL later in the afternoon!) day.  We walked, we shopped, we took silly photos, we had coffee, we laughed… a LOT.  It was just the weekend escape that I’ve been needing!  Love these girls so hard!

In the evening, they dropped me back at the hotel.  They had to get back on the road home, and I needed to get a good night’s sleep.  I was whooped and needed to get up really early to start my long drive to get home at a decent hour.

So just a few final thoughts about the race before I wrap this up.  It’s really a great one.  It’s big enough that you don’t feel like you’re running alone, but small enough that you’re not tripping over each other.  You have some AMAZING scenery throughout the course as you run past the lake and through the arboretum.  The aid stations are aplenty and the finish line well organized.  I definitely recommend this one to anyone considering it!

Next up… California!  Cloverdale Half on 10/23/16!


A Very Belated Race Report: 2016 Garmin Half Marathon

Now this will be a true test of my memory, seeing that this race was ooooohhhh 102 DAYS AGO.  Haha!

Maybe one of these days I’ll be back in the mood to actually give a shit about my race times, but now is not that time.  I mentioned a few posts ago that I had really been focusing on strength training, and while that most DEFINITELY has helped with short-distance speed (like 400s), it hasn’t done my long distance times any favors.  But again, I’m perfectly okay with that.  I’m feeling more balanced and happier than ever with regard to fitness.  I’m enjoying it and staying injury free, and that is ALL that matters!

I made the solo 8-hour drive (closer to 9 if you count my pit stops) to Olathe, KS, the Friday before the race.  It was the picture perfect day for a road trip.  I’m talkin’ the sunroof back, windows down, hard rock blaring kind of perfect.  I made my way straight to the conference center and I’ll admit I was kind of surprised.  I had it in my head that this was a much bigger town and a much bigger race than it really is.  (I also had it in my mind that Kansas would be flat too, so that goes to show how much homework I put into this race, but we’ll get to that!)

After my long day on the road I was famished, so I pulled up the handy-dandy Zomato app and found a groovy little pizza joint very convenient to both the conference center and to my AirBnB for the night.  I’ve always had awesome luck with just randomly picking a restaurant off that app, and I’m still batting 1.000.  Old Shawnee Pizza was THE BOMB.  After I polished off an ENTIRE pizza and a couple of beers (does this girl know how to fuel for a race or what?) I headed to my home for the night.  Since I’m doing so much traveling for races in my attempt to run 50 in 50, I’m trying really hard to do it on the cheap, so I went through AirBnB.  This was my second experience with them and it was an awesome one.  I stayed with Brigette, and I would highly recommend her to anyone traveling to Olathe for this race.  FABULOUS hostess!  (BTW, I have a referral code for $30 off your first AirBnB reservation if you’ve never used them before.  If you want it, just ask!)

I turned in really early that night and woke up feeling pretty good.  I felt like I stood a chance at running a halfway decent race.  Bahahahaha…

I made my way back to the area of the conference center and got parked.  It was an absolutely beautiful morning.

4-16-2016 - Kansas sunrise

I had quite a bit of time to kill.  The race information made it sound like parking would be horrific to impossible if you didn’t arrive at dark-thirty, so I did, only to park immediately and camp out in my car for an hour.  After what felt like forever, we finally got started.  It didn’t take me long to realize, “Hmmm…. Kansas isn’t as flat as I thought it would be.” lol  What I didn’t realize when I registered is that this Kansas race is damn near a Missouri race.  It’s 13.1 miles of constant hills.  Add that to the heat and the sun and I faded pretty quickly.  I just rolled with it.  Could I have pushed myself?  Yup.  Could I have made myself unhappy out there and felt like shit when I finished and had a miserable long drive home?  Yup.  But I didn’t.  I stopped.  I texted people.  I took pictures.  I had a good time!

4-16-2016 - Garmin Half, Olathe KS
Does this look flat to you?!
4-16-2016 - Garmin Half, Olathe KS 3
Lots of people were in costume, but this was the best I saw!

I crossed the line in 2:26 something and didn’t care one bit.  I grabbed a banana (the only plant-based option at the finish) and some water and hopped in line.  There was a massage therapist and a chiropractor there giving free massages and adjustments.  Hell yeah!  I was long overdue for an adjustment anyway, and I’d had a bit of a kink in my left lower back for a couple of weeks prior and that long drive the day before kind of aggravated it.  She massaged the crap out of a big knot I had just above my hip bone and had me good to go for the ride home.

4-16-2016 - Garmin Half, Olathe KS 4
Quads on point

I went back to my host’s house long enough to hose off and hit the road, and several uneventful (boring) hours later I was back home.

There wasn’t much to speak of in the way of swag, but I dig the shirt (fits well and reminds me of Wicked).  The medal was cute.  And I ALWAYS appreciate a good reusable shopping bag.

2016-04-17 17.01.50

2016-04-17 17.02.00

The medal was pretty good sized and pretty heavy, and my husband feared it would be the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Or the medal that broke the sheet rock.  haha  He insisted I upgrade my medal hanger.  I have to admit it.  It looks a lot better.  I love it.

2016-04-17 19.28.51
Before. Haha you can’t even tell there’s a medal hanger under there.
After. Isn’t it beautiful!


So there we have it.  Another state down, bringing me to 12.  Next up, Madison Mini on 8/20!  And, seriously, if I ever mention running another August half marathon EVER AGAIN, please kick me hard in the nether regions.


AHEM…Let’s Try This Again

The older generations have always told me, “The older you get, the faster time goes.”  Sonofabitch, they weren’t lying.  It’s been over three months already since I last logged on here, and I swear it feels like last week.  I had NO idea it had been that long, and to be honest the only thing that made me think to check in was the email I got from WordPress reminding me that my renewal was coming up.  If I’m gonna pay for it, I might as well get some use out of it!

There’s no way to possibly catch up on everything at this point.  I’ll do some throwback posts here and there to hit the high points I’ve missed, but I feel like I spend ALL DAMN DAY playing catch-up.  I don’t need that kind of pressure here too.  haha  So I’ll start with the here and now.  Right here, right now, this is my big news.  Let me preface this photo with NO, SHE’S NOT MINE!

7-16-2016 - Emma 9

This, my dear friends, is my great-niece Emma.  But we’ve all agreed that this “great” shit just makes us sound too old, so we’re ditching it.  haha!  My niece and her husband had their first baby last Saturday, and this great-aunt is positively smitten.  She made her way into this world a tad too early at 35 weeks, but you’d certainly never know it.  She’s absolutely perfect.  All whopping 5 pounds of her.  I just saw her yesterday and I already miss her so much and can’t wait to see her again!  She’s the first grandbaby on both sides… shoot, she’s the first BABY to be born in the family in forever.  The last one was my youngest niece, and she’s 16 years old.  But it’s been even longer than that for me.  All three of my nieces and nephews are by marriage, and they were all already here when I came along.  My uncle had a baby in … 2005? 2006?  But I never saw her as a baby and haven’t seen her much since.  Before that, my sister was the last one, and she turned 30 this year!  HA!  We’re not big on procreation around here.  hahahaha

I’d like to say I promise to be back more regularly, but we all know how that’s turned out for me in the past.  But I’ll be back.  Hopefully sooner than later, with a recap from my most recent half-marathon back in April.  I have another one coming up in August, so my short-term goal is to get the Garmin Half report done before the Madison Mini gets here!  26 days… can she do it?!?!

Strength Training for Runners: Turns out They’re onto Something!

Okay, so I think it’s probably safe to say that most people reading this are runners.  That’s how I got into this blogging thing; that’s most of the blogs I follow; and I’m pretty sure most of my followers are in a pretty similar boat.  So how many times have we heard, how many articles have we read, how much have we been preached to about how strength training for runners is SO IMPORTANT?  Well… as it turns out?  They’re right!

Here’s the deal.  I started running at 29.  It burned calories.  I lost fat.  It was great!  That was all I did.  I knew that my monogamous relationship with running was on borrowed time.  I knew eventually I would have to cheat on running with some sort of strength training, but I was in denial that the time had actually come.  But man, when you see pictures of yourself and cringe, it’s hard to hang onto that denial.

If you’ll remember, I was out with an injury for SEVERAL months last spring.  I was already getting kind of soft just BECAUSE of my lack of strength training and the natural shit that happens to a girl in her mid-30s.  Then when you suffer a chronic injury that sidelines you for months, that only compounds the problem.  Still I wasn’t terribly concerned because I thought, “Meh, it’ll come back off when I can start running again.”  Only then I started running again, and that shit wasn’t going anywhere.  By the late summer of 2015 I weighed more than I have weighed since I was an obese teenager.  Something had to give.  I had to make changes.  A friend of mine whom I’d met through dog rescue was also a Beachbody coach, and because I loathe a gym atmosphere, I opted to go through her for an at-home strength-based workout program.  I opted for the 21 Day Fix Extreme challenge pack with guarded expectations, but I took my “before” photos, bought a couple of sets of dumbbells, and waited for my DVDs and Shakeology to arrive.  As embarrassing as they are, in the interest of complete transparency and keeping it real, here they are.

My God.  I knew I’d put on a few, but I didn’t realize I looked like THAT from behind.  Why hadn’t someone told me?!  It was seeing these photos that made me want to go all in, and I did just that.  I followed the vegan version of the meal plan, and for 30 minutes a day for 21 days I did resistance training, and for the first time ever I FREAKING LOVED IT.  In three weeks I lost 4.4 pounds, an inch and a half off my waist, and an inch and a quarter off my hips.

Also in that three weeks, I fell in love with everything I learned about the company.  I knew that I was in this for the long haul, and I signed on as a coach.  I knew that I would be continuing to use the products (I LOOOOOOOVED the Shakeology), and with coaches receiving an automatic 25% discount, it was a no-brainer.  And aside from that, I wanted to be able to share what was shared with me.  Since I made the decision to be a coach, I knew I wanted to be the best one that I could be and wanted as much first-hand knowledge of the products as I could get, so as much as I loved the 21DFX, I decided to start making my way through different programs so that I knew what they were all about and could help people choose the program that was right for them based on their goals.

My next one was PiYo.  Guys, this is a recovering injured runner’s DREAM.  This program requires NO weights or equipment, and there is NO jumping and NO high impact moves.  It let me build my fitness level and gradually increase my running mileage at the same time without putting too much stress on my hip too soon.  I was hesitant about even trying this one given my hatred of Yoga, but this is a blend of Yoga and Pilates and it keeps you moving and DEFINITELY gives you a good workout.  I saw amazing changes and felt so much stronger in my core, shoulders, and butt thanks to this program.  I came out of it much stronger, leaner, and at a weight I had been chasing for a loooong time.  I was finally under 130 for the first time since my early 20s!

After PiYo, I was well into the hectic Christmas season and didn’t fully commit to a program again until after the first of the year when I started The Master’s Hammer & Chisel.  I was so excited to start this one.  It was a brand new release and I was already seeing the amazing results that people were getting with this program.  I’ve never been one to fully trust the “before and after” photos you see on TV or on social media, but when I’m seeing people I KNOW using the program transform before my very eyes, that doubt factor is removed.  Hammer & Chisel definitely lived up to its hype and then some.  I had some pretty awesome gains in those 56 days.

H&C after

I mean seriously, lets look at those quads and that back for a second, shall we?!  haha!  And feel free at this point to scroll back up to the top and see those very first before photos again for a quick comparison.  Pretty big change, huh?

I’m not ashamed to admit that I am SO EFFING PROUD of myself for how far I’ve come these last six months.  And I’m not stopping here.  I’m now in my 3rd week of P90X (yep, decided to go retro and do an older program that’s been around a while!) and I’m continuing to see changes and feel stronger by the day.


A couple of action shots from P90X Kenpo


I’d like to think that being so much stronger overall will benefit my race times too, but with warmer temps coming, I guess it’ll still be a few months before I can test that theory out.  haha  It’ll be interesting!  I do have another half coming up in two weeks, but I’ve been focusing on running slow, in a fat-burning zone for so long that I kind of doubt I have any long distance speed anywhere in me.  I did start doing 400s again a couple of weeks ago because there’s a 10K coming up in May that I’d kind of like to do and not completely suck at.  The 400s went surprisingly well with every one of them being below an 8 min/mile pace.  When I was doing speed work before, it was rare to ever have ONE lap under 2 min, but this week they ALL were, the fastest at a 7:28 pace!

So we will just see how the 10K goes!  I’d love to PR the distance, but I am not going to be upset if I don’t.  My main reason for ever starting to run was for fun, for health, to have something for ME, and, yeah I admit it, for vanity, and I’m getting all of those through my combo of slow running and strength training now, so I’ll be a happy girl whatever the clock says at the finish line.

***if you have any questions about these or any other Beachbody programs or Shakeology, please feel free to reach out to me!  I’d be honored to help any way that I can.

TOTR: The Best Thing About Running | Six Races, One Report

Good morning and Happy Tuesday, my lovies!  I’m linking up today with MCM Mama and a couple of her cohorts for Tuesday on the Run… which is SUPER convenient for me since I already had this running-related post mostly written.  haha  Today’s topic is “The Best Part About Running.”  I shared an Instagram post a couple of weeks ago on this very thing, and since I have very little overlap between this blog and my IG, I’m using it again.  Recycled content FTW!!!!

While I was running my most recent half marathon last month, somewhere I believe around mile 4, we came out into an opening in the wildlife preserve we were running through, and the view over the water was just breathtaking. In that moment, it hit me like a ton of bricks at just how infinitely grateful I am to have found this life. Let me explain a little bit… I’ve hated my body for most of my life. I hated it when I was a kid and teenager because it was fat. Then when I lost weight in my 20s I still hated it because it bore the physical reminders that it was once fat, and I knew it had the potential to be fat again. I had a very unhealthy relationship with food, subsisting on Slim Fast and lettuce to stay thin. It’s only been in the last 10 years or so that I’ve learned to truly appreciate how strong and healthy I am (yes, even when I’ve allowed the scale to creep back up at times). And since switching to a plant based diet a few years ago, I LOVE food (REAL FOOD) instead of resenting it for having calories! Thanks to running and living an active lifestyle, I’ve been so many places and done so many things I wouldn’t have otherwise. Experiences that are priceless. I’ve explored 13.1 miles (and 26.2 a couple of times!) of some amazing places on foot, up close and personal, in a way that driving through just can’t compare. I’ve hiked into the Grand Canyon and to the top of the Manitou Incline–experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything! And the friends I’ve made literally all over the country!  Fitness has given me back tenfold what I’ve put into it, and I can’t wait to see what adventures are still to come!

And now to catch you up on some of those 13.1 adventures I mentioned…here ya go!  Six races, one report!

#1 – September 5, 2015.  The Tortoise and the Hare – Canton, Georgia (State #8):  This was by far THE HARDEST race I’ve ever run.  Marathons included.  It was also by far THE SLOWEST half I’ve ever run, coming in at 3:09:45.  But ya know what?  It was also by far THE MOST FUN race I’ve ever run!  It was 100% trail.  It was my first trail race, but it definitely will not be my last!  There were hills (oh so many hills), roots, rocks, streams, mud, and it was September in Georgia, so it was effing HOT!!!  But it was also beautiful.  I tried a couple of times to take my phone out and take pictures, but it was impossible.  My hands were so wet from sweat that my phone wouldn’t even acknowledge that I was touching the screen when I would try to swipe or tap, and I didn’t have a single square inch of dry clothes on my body with which to dry my hands.  So pics from the start and the finish are all I have of this lovely but grueling course.

9-5-2015 - Tortoise & The Hare start line
At the start.  We started and finished in this clearing.
9-5-2015 - Tortoise & The Hare Half Marathon in Canton, GA
Over three hours later…
9-5-2015 - Tortoise & The Hare finish
Proudly sporting my tortoise medal.  (It was a super cute medal.  The middle of it spins.  There’s a tortoise on one side, a hare on the other)
9-5-2015 - Post first trail run
I got muddy, so I’m officially a trail runner now!

This race kind of happened on accident.  One of our favorite comedians, Jim Jefferies, was in Atlanta that weekend, and when we were thinking about buying tickets to that, I searched for nearby races to see if killing two birds with one stone could be a possibility.  When I found this one only half an hour or so away, it was a done deal!  After the race, a shower, and a short nap, we drove into ATL for dinner, drinks, and the show.

9-5-2015 - Jim Jefferies

9-5-2015 - Jim Jefferies 2
He is fucking HILARIOUS but definitely not for the faint of heart or easily offended.

#2 – September 13, 2015, Guardian Angels Virtual Half Marathon.  I don’t know that I should even include this one here, but I’m gonna.  I signed up for this virtual race because it was for benefit of a group that helps combat veterans with getting service dogs, and of course I donated the extra few bucks to get the medal.  Because if you’re gonna run that far, it’s my belief that you should damn sure get a medal for it.  The only drawback was that there wasn’t someone waiting for me at the end of my driveway to put it over my head when I finished that day.  But here are some adorable pictures of my pups modeling it when it came in the mail a couple of weeks later.  You’re welcome, internet.


9-25-2015 - Harley

9-25-2015 - Bella 2

9-25-2015 - Bella“Paint me like one of your French Bulldogs”

#3 – October 4, 2015, Key Biscayne Half Marathon in Key Biscayne, Florida (State #9):  Like the Georgia race, this one happened to coincide with another trip, too.  We had already planned a vacation to Pompano Beach, FL, and a few weeks beforehand I searched for races.  This one was an hour away the day after we got there.  SOLD!  It was hot AF and I was eaten alive by mosquitoes since it was still dark at packet pickup that morning, but I loved it.  The view over the bay at sunrise was just amazing.  Races like this really make me appreciate this whole “running just for fun” thing.  It’s nice to just be able to take in the surroundings without worrying about pace or PRs!   I ran the whole thing just like I’d been running all my summer long runs and was perfectly okay with the 2:25:56 finish time.

#4 – November 7, 2015, Monumental Half in Indianapolis, Indiana (State #10):  I have a friend that lives in Indianapolis that has been trying to get me to come and run the 500 Festival Mini Marathon for ages, but it’s in May and there’s ALWAYS a conflict with either a vacation or a graduation or a birthday, so I’ve never been able to make it happen (and already knew it wasn’t going to happen again in 2016!), so I gave up on that idea and went with the Monumental Half instead.  I’m not sorry at all.  It was a great race.  And despite my time of 2:22, I had a great race that day as well.  Six of those minutes were spent standing in line for a portapotty around mile 4.  That’s really my only complaint for the race at all.  It realllly needed more portapotties.  So while 2:16 isn’t a spectacular time for me, for where I was at fitness wise, I was happy with it.  And BONUS I finally got my picture with Bart at the expo!

11-6-2015 - Pam & Bart Yasso

11-7-2015 - Indianapolis Monumental Half 7

#5 – December 5, 2015, St. Jude Half in Memphis, TN.  This one is just kind of tradition now.  I’ve run it the last four years that it was held (it was cancelled due to an ice storm a couple of years ago) and will continue to run it every year.  Based on some of my tempo runs in the weeks leading up to this race, I thought I might possibly just MAYBE be able to eek out a PR at this race.  Nope.  Didn’t happen.  Although I did shave a few more minutes off of my Indy time and come in at 2:12:54, still 5 minutes off my PR.  They changed the course this year, and IMO it was MUCH more challenging.  It seemed hillier to me, but maybe that’s my lack of hill training talking.  Again, no pics during the race, except the proof I swiped.


12-5-2015 - St. Jude Half Marathon

12-5-2015 - St. Jude half finish
A perfect, sunny day in Memphis, TN.  Finishers’ area inside Autozone Park.

#6 – February 13, 2016 – Fly with the Eagles in Marion, Illinois (State #11):  This was one of those surprises that don’t come along very often.  I chose it solely based on two things:  price and proximity.  Marion is only two hours away from where I live in Northwest Tennessee.  Pair that short drive time with the 9:00 a.m. gun time and the fact that they allowed race day packet pickup and you have yourself a hotel-less race.  Since I’m shooting for a half in all 50 states, I’m taking every opportunity I can to travel on the cheap!  Also?  The registration was $30.  Yes.  THIRTY DOLLARS.  So I honestly went into this race not expecting much.  I didn’t even really read any reviews on it.  I read just enough to make sure there was a finisher’s medal because that’s one of my self-imposed stipulations on selecting a race for a state.  Yes, I am totally shallow like that.  I was SHOCKED by this race.  Guys, it was SO well organized.  The volunteers were awesome and many, the aid stations abundant, the course beautiful, and the finish line well stocked.  This race also went down in the books as my coldest one to date.  At the finish, the temp was 14 with a windchill of 8, so the hot soup that the volunteers had waiting for us at the finish was a very much appreciated bonus.  (And the fact that they even had a separate soup for us plant-based folks?  BE STILL MY HEART!)  I found out after the race that the finisher’s hoodie is this race’s claim to fame.  It IS pretty great!  I love getting something other than an ugly t-shirt.  Oh!  And the race photographer uploaded all of the photos for us to grab FOR FREE!!!!  Seriously.  All this for $30.  I have a feeling this one will also become a yearly tradition.  It’s a gem for sure.

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And that’s a wrap!  Six races and four states, bringing my total up to 21 HMs in 11 states.  Next up–Garmin Half Marathon in Olathe, Kansas, on April 16!

Where do I even begin?

And just like that **SNAP!**, in the blink of an eye, seven months has gone by.  My last post was August 16, 2015.  What the hell?  I hadn’t PLANNED on a hiatus.  I had no reason for one…I wasn’t burned out.  I wasn’t any more busy than usual.  I wasn’t off somewhere sulking in a corner.  I don’t know WHAT happened, really.  But I’ve missed it!  For weeks I’ve been meaning to get back here and dust the cobwebs off this old thing.  I’ve even come to the page a couple of times and asked myself the title of this post.  I sat here with my fingers hovering over the home row, ready to pound out a post and drew a big, fat blank.  I did it just now, too, but this time I just decided to roll with it.  I feel like so much has happened in the last seven months, but to keep this one post from getting insanely long, I’ll do you a solid and break them down into shorter posts.   Haha  Maybe one for each topic.  But in short, since I talked to you last I have…

  • Run six half-marathons in four new states.  If things had gone according to plan, I actually would have been in the car traveling to the next one right this very moment, but due to some conflicts I decided to forego this one.  My next one will be the Garmin Marathon in Olathe, Kansas on 4/16.  (*currently accepting applications for suitable travel partners  haha)
  • Gotten very serious about cross- and strength-training.  I’ve been saying for EVER that I knew I needed to do it, but I finally did it.  And now I kick myself every day for not doing it years ago.  I have never felt better or stronger, and if you’ll allow me a moment of vanity, I’ll admit that I don’t think I’ve ever looked better either.
  • Taken an awesome vacation to Florida.  We go to the panhandle of Florida as sort of a farewell-to-summer getaway almost every year, but last year we mixed it up a bit and went to South Florida where epic shit ensued.
  • Got a new tattoo.
  • Carried out a stakeout and trap, resulting in the newest addition to our family.  I now have a new feline brother.
  • Nursed my girl Bella through her third (yes, THIRD) knee surgery.  She’s three and a half weeks post ACL repair now, after already having undergone two surgeries in the past for a torn ACL and meniscus in the OTHER hind leg.

And well I guess that’s about it!  haha  It sure seemed like more before I started writing it out.  That’ll give me a starting place for posting anyway!  Also, when I logged into Blogger, I had approximately 4 million unread posts.  There’s no way I could make my way through all of them, so I cringed and hit the “Mark All as Read” button.  So if I’ve missed any huge news on YOUR blog, please catch me up!!!!!

That Time of the Month

No not that.  Ew.  “That Time of the Month” is a montlhly linkup that my friends over at Ho Ho Runs and Taking the Long Way Home have started.  It’s where we can all air our current frustrations.

But you know what?  I actually DO have a current frustration that is related to the real that time of the month.  I assume you’ve all heard about the chick that ran the London Marathon sans tampon to *ahem* raise awareness?  I’m sorry, but that’s just disgusting.  One of the commenters on an article I read about it said it perfectly when he commented, “Next time I take a shit I’m not going to wipe my ass to show solidarity with my brothers that don’t have access to toilet paper.”  There are acceptable ways to raise awareness.  Free bleeding is not one of them.

And the list goes on…

  • My CSA was cancelled.  At the beginning of the year I paid $225 for a half-share at a local organic CSA.  His yield had been terrible.  With my last experience with a CSA, we got no less than a bushel basket full of goodies every week.  This time (a different farm–the original one doesn’t do CSA shares anymore) after five pickups everything combined probably wouldn’t have made one full basket.  He made lots of excuses about rain and flea beetles and then not enough rain… then one Friday night before our scheduled Saturday pickup he called to say that they were cancelling the CSA and refunding the customers and admitted that it was because he’d bit off more than he could chew.  But when we got there, we were only refunded half of what we’d paid for a share.  I get that there’s risk involved with a CSA, but that risk is supposed to be due to nature and crop failure and such–not due to a man’s inability to deliver.
  • Japanese beetles have been destroying my knockout rosebush.  It went from bursting with beautiful blooms to being riddled with beetles and dead, brown, eaten leaves in the matter of a few days.  As soon as I saw the first ones, I asked for advice on how to get rid of them.  The most environmentally sound option was the trap bags.  They seem to be working.  I’m sure a chemical pesticide would have been faster, but I’m not about to spray that shit out there where we and our dogs hang out.
  • I hate Training Peaks.  Back… oh I don’t know, a couple of months ago?  Right before I really started running again… Runner’s World discontinued their free running log, so I had to find another one.  I’d heard several people talk about Training Peaks, so I started using it.  I hate it.  Yeah, it has a lot of bells and whistles, but I don’t need those.  All I need is something to keep track of my weekly and monthly mileage, my cross-training, and my shoe mileage.  As best I can figure, it only keeps track of weekly mileage and to get your monthly mileage you have to just add it up yourself.  The cross-training function is pretty decent, but I can’t find anywhere at all to keep track of your shoe mileage.  When you post a workout, it asks you which shoe you wore, but nowhere that I’ve found does it tell you how many miles you have on your shoes.  I’ve had to start an Excel spreadsheet for that.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.  It’s free.  Who am I to complain?
  • My 6-year-old Garmin 305 died this morning on my run.  We had a nice long relationship, and I knew it was coming.  She’s been limping along for a while now.  I’ve had to do lots of hard resets lately when she just wouldn’t come on, taking way longer to find satellite signals, battery just not lasting as long as it used to between charges, etc.  I charged it last night before my run today, and after about 3.2ish miles, it just wouldn’t stay on.  It showed it had a full charge, but it kept turning itself off.  Luckily I was on an 8-mile route that I’ve run often so I knew where I was and what my mileage was.  I just don’t have an idea about my pace.  (But judging by feel, I probably don’t want to know anyway.)  I ordered a replacement watch today.  I ended up getting a Garmin 15 just because it was one of the cheapest ones.  I’d loved to have had one of the nicer models, but I just don’t have a spare $349+ laying around right now.  And that brings me to another frustration…
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  • I actually ordered a backup GPS about a year or so ago.  A Bia Sport.  Who has since gone belly up.  So now I have a pretty blue 2 oz paperweight sitting in the drawer since its GPS function is no longer supported.  I know this isn’t new news, but it pisses me off every time I open that drawer and see it in there.
  • As I mentioned in my last post, I recently ordered the Beachbody 21 Day Fix Extreme workout DVDs.  I was almost to the end of the second workout and the damn DVD started skipping and eventually just froze up.  There are no obvious scratches on it, but neither the third nor fourth workouts will start either.  They’re sending a replacement free of charge and not even making me return the defective one, but still.  IT’S IRRITATING.
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Frozen… and not even the kind I can sing along to.

So what about you?  What’s grinding your gears lately?  Join Holly and Wendy’s linkup here!

Perfect Timing: Enter Beachbody! *Insert Shameless Plug Here*

I’ve really been trying to focus more on strength training for several reasons.  One:  I know it’ll help keep me at a lower risk for injury.  Two:  It’s important for chicks in their middle 30’s to do strength training to maintain and/or lose weight.  It can’t be all cardio all the time anymore.  And Three:  Muscles are hot, yo.


Now here are two other seemingly unrelated facts for you.  One:  I’ve recently happened to become friends with a BeachBody coach and distributor.  Two:  (And I’ve mentioned this one here before a time or two…)  I’m currently doing a long-term fundraiser for a local animal rescue.

And here’s where those two facts tie together.  When I posted to my fundraiser’s Facebook page asking for pledges for this month to be made as donations to the rescue, this friend very generously offered to donate her proceeds from her BeachBody business to the rescue for the month of August!  If you’ve ever wanted to check it out, now is definitely the time to do it.  I’ve been curious about the Shakeology products, but never tried them because I didn’t realize they had vegan flavors and–even if I had known–they’re pretty pricey.  But they’ve got a special going on right now where if you buy a month’s worth of Shakeology product you get either the Cize or the 21-Day Fix DVD sets for free.  So for the price of the Shakeology, I’m getting the mix, the 21-Day Fix workout DVDs, and I know that the rescue is getting a portion of that sale, so it really doesn’t seem like such a bad deal now!  I’ve done some of the P90X DVDs, so I’m excited to try this series as well.  If you’re interested in checking out anything from the BeachBody line, shoot me an email, I’ll put you in touch with my friend, and she’ll help point you in the right direction!

Seeing Should Not Always Be Believing

A few days ago I was sorting through some pictures and placing an order for some prints.  I use Picmonkey to do any editing that needs done.  I’ve never used it for anything but the basics like cropping and fixing exposure and stuff, but I was playing around with one of my dogs’ pictures and found a whole mess of features I’d never paid any attention to.

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My baby boy turned 6 on Monday!

It’s truly amazing how much you can do to a photo!  I decided to try it out.  It was early in the morning and I was still sitting around in sweats, face and hair completely undone.  I snapped this selfie.

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It don’t get no more real than this.

Then in literally like three minutes, with a few clicks of self-tanner, airbrush, blemish eraser, tooth whitener, weight loss, eye brightener, lip color, eye liner, etc. I turned that plain Jane into this.

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Ignore the hair. There wasn’t a flat iron feature. haha Although I could have given myself highlights if I’d so chosen!

If I can do that with a completely bare face in just a couple of minutes, if I’d been made up to begin with, I probably could have created a pretty stunning head shot.  I think everyone knows how much editing and photoshopping is done in magazines and other media, but with software like this so readily available to absolutely anyone, can you really believe ANYTHING that you see anymore?  I’m not saying this to sound jaded or anything.  I just know how we girls tend to compare ourselves to other women who we think are prettier or thinner or younger looking than we are–even our Facebook friends or bloggy buddies.  I mean sure as hell don’t have the time or the give-a-damn to do this to every photo that I post, but you know what?  I’d be willing to bet that some of those bigger bloggers that do this for a living do.  This just served as a really good reminder to me, and I hope to you too, that you just can’t compare yourself to someone else’s photoshopped version of reality!

Weekend Recap: Trying New Things and Slowly Getting My Miles Back!

Another weekend, come and gone.  *POOF!*  Just like that.  This weekend was the perfect mixture of fun, active, and lazy.

Friday when I got off work, I did something I rarely do–I went to the gym.  Friday afternoons are usually my unwinding, beer-drinking time, but when I looked at the WOD and saw it was all upper body stuff with some rowing, I wanted to go.  Lord knows I need all the upper body help I can get.  I’m really glad I went!  There was only one other person there for the 5:30 class besides me, so the coach spent a lot of one-on-one time with us.  It was great.

When I got home I was kind of surprised that D wasn’t home yet.  It was nearly 7, and he really tries not to work past 6 on Fridays.  It’s our Friday night ritual to grab takeout for dinner, and I was starving, so when he wasn’t home by 7:15, me and the dogs hopped in the truck to go to the shop and drag him out of there.  But when I got there, I saw what the hold up was.  He had been waiting on his Dad and uncle to get back in town to unload his newest acquisition.  They had driven to East Tennessee to pick up this:

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He won it on auction for $2,500 and it has WAY more than that much on it in parts that he needs for a couple of other Corvettes he is in the process of rebuilding right now.  So it’ll be used as a donor car and stripped for parts and sell or scrap what’s left when he’s done.

The rest of Friday night consisted of Taco Bell and Cardinals vs. Braves on TV.  I’m so feminine.

Saturday morning the insomnia monster reared his ugly head.  I woke up, wide ass awake, for no reason whatsoever at exactly 3:48.  I stayed in bed hoping to go back to sleep until almost 4:30 then gave up, got up, and started the coffee.  I had absolutely nothing I had to do and nowhere I had to be all day long, and I milked that for all it was worth.  I wasn’t a complete bum.  I did do some cleaning and several loads of laundry, but that was spread out over several hours of Harry Potter and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia watching.  But even while I was watching TV I was multitasking:  paying bills online, doing some shopping online, ordering photo prints online… wow, remember when you actually had to put on pants and leave the house to do things?  And, yes, I said ordering photo prints.  I’m still old school in that respect.  I still order prints.  I do one photo album every year with printed photos from some of the highlights of that year.  I don’t know, there’s just something nostalgic about flipping through the pages of a photo album.


But the thing I’m most proud of doing Saturday is this!

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I’m a total newb at canning.  But really I don’t think this counts as canning.  I didn’t cook anything or put any of this up.  It only made three small jars, so I just stuck them in the fridge.  I’m a salsa freak anyway, so it’ll get used quickly.

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I started working on it immediately.

Saturday night we went to the movies to see…wait for it… MINIONS!!!  I’ve been dying to see that since I first heard it was being made.  We were the only adults in there without kids.  It was hilarious.

Sunday I got caught out in a torrential downpour when I left to get groceries.  I had no idea it was even supposed to rain!  It was perfectly sunny when I left the house and by the time I got to town…

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I sat in the Kroger parking lot for 10 minutes hoping it would let up, but it never did, so I got drenched walking in.  Part of my grocery list involved getting the stuff to make pickles.  Like I said, I’m a total newb at this, but I have a ton of cucumbers that are going to go to waste if I don’t do something with them.  This will be my first stab at making pickles.  I got all the stuff with plans of making them as soon as I got home and then run later in the evening, but that rain REALLY cooled things off!  When I got home and it was still only 83 degrees (albeit with matching humidity–yuck), I put my pickle plan on hold and hit the pavement.  I ran five miles, making that my longest run post-injury!  It was at an embarrassingly slow pace and I even had to walk once for a minute at the top of a hill, but I’m just tickled shitless to be back out there.

And now we’re sitting here watching Run All Night that I grabbed from the Redbox while I was out earlier, and this weekend is a wrap.  I’m really not looking forward to this upcoming week.  I’ve got a new employee starting bright and early in the morning, and that’s always kind of a mess for the first little while.  So here’s hoping for a smooth transition!

Do you do any canning?  Any tips for a first-timer?

See any movies this weekend?

I’m linking up with Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading again for her weekly weekend update linkup!