Three Things Thursday

1.  I made hotel reservations yesterday for a girl’s weekend for me and my sister!  We’re going to Nashville the last weekend in April and I CAN. NOT WAIT!!!  Coincidentally (or maybe not…), that’s the weekend of the CMM.  I’m excited to go and spectate!  I ran the 1/2 last year and it was awesome, but I’m already running two April HMs, so I just want to cheer everyone on in Nashville.  I don’t know anyone who is running it this year, so if you are, HOLLA!  I’ll cheer for you specifically.  🙂  I even thought about hanging out around the 20+ mile mark and running with various random struggling marathoners for a little bit.  I know that would have helped my morale IMMENSELY when I was running mine solo in December.  Other than that, I don’t know what else the weekend will involve.  Besides The Melting Pot.  Definitely The Melting Pot.  And band-stalking on Second.  And beer.

2.  I got this in the mail Tuesday.  It’s my Heavy Medal medal for completing two Rock N Roll events in 2010 (CMM 1/2 and RnR Las Vegas Marathon). 

It’s pretty cheesey, no?  That’s okay.  It still looks cool on my medal hanger!

3.   I had the brilliant idea to go roller skating this past Sunday with some peeps from church.  I haven’t had wheels on these feet in like 20 years.  I sucked at it then, and guess what!  I still do!  I didn’t even want to go out onto the rink because it was sooooo crowded, but the kids that I was with finally shamed me into it.  It was scary!  The people zooming past me like I was standing still (a stand-still actually isn’t much slower than I was going) made me nervous, and there were kids falling all over the place.  I was scared to death one was going to fall in front of me and I wouldn’t be able to stop before I rolled over them.  But they finally got me out there and I didn’t fall once.  I had several close calls though.

Celebrating my fall-less first lap.  This photo is weird.  It makes me look like I have dark roots and no hair on the right side of my head.  And that looks like a ghost in front of me.
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Tag!

Lucky me, I was tagged twice yesterday because apparently I’m just THAT cool.

Emz and Funderson each tagged me to answer a series of questions, so here goes!  Two birds, one stone.

Emz wanted to know:

What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2010?

DUH!  Wanna see my medal again?

 
Running goals for 2011?

One thousand miles.  I will end 2010 with over 700 miles, so 1,000 isn’t that much of a stretch.  I would also like to work on speed in the shorter distances and knock a few more minutes off my half-mary PR.

What’s your favorite race?

Hands down — Nashville’s CMM.  It was crazy crowded and hilly, but the course support and spectatorship were awesome, and Nashville is just a great city.

Favorite Holiday Guilty Pleasure?

CHESS SQUARES.  I could single-handedly eat a freakin’ pan of those things if I didn’t control myself.  Do they have a jillion calories?  Yes, they do.  Do I care?  I most certainly do not.  I have them once a year, and I savor every bite!

Most embarassing running moment?

I had to think on this one.  Surprisingly, I couldn’t come up with anything that has happened during a run.  I was like, “Come on, Pam, as much as you embarass yourself, SURELY something has happened while you were wearing running shoes.”  But, nope.  Couldn’t come up with anything.  BUT I did come up with something running RELATED.  I used to attend a step aerobics class, and the instructor and I were training for the Clarksville Half Marathon (this was last year, so it was my first) at the same time.  She ended up moving off for a few months and didn’t run it.  When I bumped into her in town after she moved back, she asked me how it went and what my time was.  When I told her, she laughed at me.  Yep.  Out loud and right in my face.  Looking back on it now, it just makes me wish I’d grabbed her by her cute little blonde pigtails and slammed her face into the pavement a time or two, but then it made me feel about this big.

And Funderson wants to know:

What races do you plan to complete in 2011?

That seems to be the million-dollar question these days!  As I’ve said, I want to work on shorter distances and speed.  There is a Cupid’s Chase 5K in Murray, KY on 2/12 that I’d like to do.  And there’s a Chickasaw Chase 10 miler in the Chickasaw State park on January 8th.  And I will probably repeat the Johnsonville Charge and Race on the Trace 5-milers in January and February.  For my spring half marathon, there are two I haven’t chosen between yet.  They’re both close and relatively inexpensive, so I would do them both, but they are only a week apart.  I will either be doing the Murray Half Marathon or the Andrew Jackson Half Marathon.  I’m leaning more toward the Andrew Jackson.  In the fall, I plan on running the inaugural Rock n Roll St. Louis half marathon.

Notice how there are no more marathons on that schedule?  ONE AND DONE, BABY.

What is your #1 indispensable running accessory?  #2?

Numero uno is definitely my Garmin Forerunner 305.  Second would be my iPod.

Do you send Christmas/Holiday cards?  Why or why not?

I do not.  Because I am lazy.

What do you mostly think about when training?

I’m still pretty new to the sport, so I’m not to the “mindless running” level yet.  A lot of you guys talk about how you just let your mind wander and don’t even realize you’re running.  Yeah.  I’m so not there.  I still have to stay mentally present and concentrate on form, breathing, and pace.

Is your sweetheart supportive of your extracurricular active activities?  How?

As much as he can be, yes.  He always tells me he’s proud of me and never complains about the money that gets sunk into it.  Which is more than I can say for myself.

What’s your proudest moment of 2010?

Here, let me show you again.

And now TAG, you’re it, Bobbi, Bootchez, and Zaneta!

Country Music 1/2 Marathon Race Report

The race went off without a hitch! Well, for us anyway. A lot of marathoners that were diverted to the half-marathon finish line and not allowed to complete the marathon because of impending storms probably feel a little differently.

I got to Nashville about 3:00 Friday afternoon and waited in the bar at the hotel for my friend IndyLawyer to get there. She was driving in from Indianapolis, and I beat her to Nashville by about an hour, and the desk clerk wouldn’t let me check into the room because the reservation was in her name. So I sat in the bar drinking a bottle of water, much to the amusement of the other patrons at the bar, who teasingly asked, “Who comes into a bar and drinks a bottle of water?” So that started a conversation about the race the next morning. I spent the next hour or so chatting with everyone at the bar, watching CNN, and cheering for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer as she signed bill SB1070 into law. YOU’RE MY HERO GOVERNOR BREWER!!!!!

As soon as IndyLawyer parked, we checked in, threw our bags in the room, and walked to the Convention Center for the expo. OH MY GAWD was it crowded!!! We spent maybe an hour and a half at the expo getting all the freebies we could find. And honestly I was a little disappointed in the swag bag. The tiny HM in Clarksville last year had better swag than this one! Dog biscuits and Zicam? Come on, CMM, you can do better than that!

We had decided to have dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory, but while walking there we passed a little restaurant called Pearl that we had never seen or heard of before. We stopped to look at the menu and decided to give it a whirl. I LOVE how you find the best restaurants in big cities by stumbling on them purely by accident! This place was great!

We packed it in early Friday night so we could get a decent night’s sleep before having to be at LP Field super early the next morning. LP is where the finish line was, but they were asking everyone to park there and shuttle to the start line. We were within walking distance to the stadium, so we walked there. It was sprinkling rain then. Not enough to get you good and wet but enough to kink my naturally curly hair up really good. We got there and were standing in line for a shuttle when IndyLawyer looked at me and said, “Oh. F**k.” She forgot her bib back at the hotel. I offered to go back with her, but she insisted I get on the shuttle without her and she would meet up with me. That was the last I saw of her until about 10 minutes until gun time. I was already in my corral discussing poop with a woman I had just met like five minutes prior (seriously, does anybody BUT runners do this???)and she was just getting to the start line area. By the time she jogged the mile to the hotel and back the lines for the shuttles were forever long. She got back to the starting area in just enough time to grab something to eat and head to her corral.

I had mentioned before that she was coming off an injury and wasn’t sure how she would hold up and that I was going to keep her pace. Well, that wasn’t an issue because we were assigned to different corrals. She didn’t bring up the topic of either of us changing corrals, so being the running loner that I am, I didn’t bring it up either.

Standing in my corral, I could literally feel the energy all around me. It was like nothing I have experienced before. Everyone there, all 31,000+ runners were buzzing with excitement. The sun broke out from behind the clouds as if on cue and the entire crowd cheered. When they sounded for the elites and first corral to take their marks, I got chills. It was a loooong 30 minutes before my corral crossed the start line!

And then I was off! With all the adrenaline flowing through me, it was hard to keep from sprinting out of there like a bat out of hell. I swear I really don’t even remember much of the first couple of miles. They were over before I knew it. When my Garmin beeped to let me know that I had just completed two miles, I remember thinking, “No way!” And then it started. The hills. The horrible hills. Long, gradual hills. Short, steep hills. Continuously. I had read race reviews about how hilly the course was, and I tried to prepare, but HOLY COW. I wasn’t prepared for 11 or so miles of continuous hills. And maybe the first two were hilly too and I just didn’t notice because I was so pumped. I walked early and I walked often. I walked through almost every water stop and had to stop a couple times and stretch out my calves. Overall it was a grueling course, but the spectatorship and crowd participation were UNBELIEVEABLE!!! Nashville is an amazing city! These people and these bands could have let the forecast scare them into staying home, but the streets were lined with 13 miles of cheerleaders and spirit lifters! Simply amazing. I wish so badly that I had pictures, but I don’t. I was afraid to take my camera with me because I was afraid of it being ruined in the rain.

The sun played peekaboo with us for the first 9 miles or so then it clouded up again. By that time, I was actually hoping for a refreshing shower, but it didn’t happen. By mile 11, the skies were looking pretty ominous. It was right at that point that the half and full courses were supposed to split, but because of the storms they directed all runners to the half-marathon finish line. I felt really bad for the people who had trained to complete a marathon and then weren’t able to do it. Especially this one woman in front of me. She had a shirt on that her kids had obviously decorated for her with “My First Marathon!” written all over it. I’d have been sick if it had been me. By mile 12 I was seeing the first flashes of lightning and hearing the first rumbles of thunder. I was pretty well exhausted by this point. From mile 12 to mile 12.5 or so I was down to doing a run/walk, but when I heard the first cheerleader say, “That was your last hill! It’s all downhill from here!” I tried to pick it up a little bit. My Garmin beeped to indicate mile 13, and the finish line still looked to be a good ways off. I kept an eye on it and stopped it at 13.1 and still had another .15 of a mile to go to the finish line.

Garmin time: 2:28:05
Chip time: 2:29:15

Either way, I met my goal of taking 1 min/mile off my previous time. 🙂

And I have some shiny new bling!

I hope and pray that my finish was captured in photo or video that will be uploaded to the site. It had to be the most graceful finish ever. I tripped over the timing mat. Yes, that’s me. The girl that makes it through months of training injury free only to nearly plant her face in the asphalt at the finish line. It seriously was touch and go for what felt like an eternity. It took me several strides to fully regain my balance. I was laughing and heard lots of people on the sidelines laughing, too. What am I here for if not to entertain??? 🙂

At the finish, there were volunteers with bull horns informing the finishers that the severe weather was 30-45 minutes away and asking everyone to please collect their medals and their bags from gear check and leave the field. We got our bag from gear check and filled it with enough of the free food to hold us until dinner so we didn’t have to get out in the rain for lunch and set out at a jog back to the hotel. It was raining pretty hard on us by the time we got there, and within 20 minutes the bottom fell out. It sucks that we didn’t get to enjoy the postrace festivities, but I am SO thankful that we both finished before it hit!!!

Overall, I am happy with how the weekend turned out. I’m already looking forward to the next one!!!

This Could Get Interesting…

Today’s special weather statement for the Nashville area:

“… POTENTIAL FOR SEVERE WEATHER LOOKS INCREASINGLY LIKELY IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE ON SATURDAY…

A STRONG UPPER LEVEL STORM SYSTEM WILL MOVE OUT OF THE SOUTHERN PLAINS ON FRIDAY AND BRING A CHANCE FOR SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS TO THE MID STATE AS EARLY AS FRIDAY NIGHT. BY EARLY SATURDAY… SOME STORMS COULD BECOME SEVERE… AHEAD OF AN APPROACHING UPPER LEVEL DISTURBANCE… WITH THE THREAT FOR SEVERE WEATHER CONTINUING THROUGHOUT THE DAY SATURDAY. A FEW STORMS WILL HAVE THE CAPABILITY TO PRODUCE LARGE HAIL… DAMAGING WINDS AND POSSIBLY TORNADOES. THIS IS THE STRONGEST STORM SYSTEM TO AFFECT MIDDLE TENNESSEE SO FAR THIS SPRING… AND THE POTENTIAL FOR SEVERE WEATHER LOOKS TO BE INCREASINGLY LIKELY… INCLUDING TORNADIC SUPERCELLS.”

OH JOY!!!

It’s Gonna be a Wet One!

Anybody seen Nashville’s forecast for this upcoming marathon weekend? Yeah. It’s not lookin’ too pretty. I know it’s just Wednesday and the weather dude has ample time to change his mind at least 17 times, but right now he seems to think there will be rain and thunderstorms between 6 and 9 a.m. on Saturday. FAN. TAS. TIC. The thing that bums me out the most about the possibility of rain is not so much that I’ll have to run in it. That won’t be so bad. But it will keep a lot of the spectators at home and bands off the street, and I’ve heard that those are the things that make the CMM a race worth running.

Oh well. I’ll just keep doing my sunshine dance and we’ll see how it plays out. You should really see my sunshine dance. It’s pretty awesome.

For now I’m not doing much running. My schedule called for a Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday 4-3-2 taper. I missed Monday because of other commitments, so I’m doing a Tuesday-Wednesday 4-2 taper. I actually finished the 4 last night at a near-PR pace, and I honestly didn’t even mean to! I set out to do an easy 4 and I didn’t feel like I was pushing myself at all, so I was quite pleasantly surprised with my time. I think I’ll leave the watch at home tonight and jog an easy couple miles without any thought to time or pace.

Things are a little more hectic on the work front these days. Dealing with on-the-job injuries is never any fun, and I’m doing that again this week. A couple of weeks ago, one of my carriers pulled up to a rural mailbox to service it, and when she opened the lid a wasp flew out at her. She instinctively jerked her arm away and when she did she felt something in her shoulder pop. She didn’t want to turn it in as an accident then because she hoped it would get better. But two weeks later it still hurts her to push or pull with that arm, so she decided to go ahead with the claim and get it checked out. No fun for me, less fun for her.

AND I’ve got interviews scheduled for tomorrow to replace the guy I had to let go last month. I hate interviewing people almost as much as I hate being interviewed. But the fun part is going over people’s applications. It never ceases to amaze me the crap that some people will put in an application. This one for instance…apparently she’s a lazy genius. She graduated high school in only a year and three months and hasn’t worked a day since her graduation in 1988.

Seriously? Wow.

Successful Saturday

Twelve miles? CHECK!
Lunch and spa date with friend? CHECK!
Spend too much money shopping? CHECK!
Watch cheesey 1980s horror movie with Hubby? CHECK!

That was my Saturday in a nutshell! I set my alarm for 5:30 yesterday so I could be sure I got in my scheduled 12 miles. I got up, ate a small breakfast, and was on the road at the first signs of daylight. It turned out to be a really, really good run. I took four 30-60 second walk breaks, had to stop and stretch out the hammies a couple of times, and stopped at miles 4 and 8 long enough to chug some water. Even with all those breaks, my average pace was 10:58. Guys, this is HUGE for me. If I can do that again next Saturday and maintain that pace for another 1.1 miles, I will beat last fall’s HM time by twenty minutes. TWENTY MINUTES, PEOPLE.

But in all honesty, I’m not looking for that to happen for a couple of reasons. Number one, the course is supposed to be super hilly. Number two, the girl I’m running it with is coming off a severe ankle injury and is not 100% yet. And since I invited her down and she’s coming all the way from Indianapolis to run this thing with me, I think it would be pretty crappy of me to make her run it alone. So I’m gonna stick with her and keep her pace. Now who knows?! Her idea of “out of shape,” as she refers to herself, might be faster than me on my best day! She’s been running for several years, so she may still leave me in the dust! Either way, Nashville is gonna be about the fun and the experience of running it with a girl that I LITERALLY haven’t seen since the night we graduated high school 12 years ago. (Thanks again, Facebook, for putting me back in touch with these peeps.)

The run was followed by TGIFridays, a facial and manicure, and shopping, during which I promptly ruined the manicure while trying on a pair of shorts in Aeropostale. Pissed me off! It had been about an hour, so I thought they were dry. I had been so careful, even making my friend dig in my purse for my wallet and keys so I didn’t mess it up. I told her my butt itched, too, but she told me I’d better learn to scoot on the floor like a dog. Hmph. Some friend.

We wrapped up our day and I headed home, ready to do nothing the rest of the night. Hubby had been working all day and didn’t feel up to going out either, so we decided on pizza and Nightmare on Elm Street. Believe it or not, I had never seen the original, and I wanted to watch it before I see the remake. Holy crap. It was hilariously cheesy! It’s so funny to think that 20 or so years ago that movie was scary. I was kinda young, so I really don’t remember… did EVERYONE run like this in the ’80s, or was this particular type of arm-flailing scamper reserved for when you were being chased by a dude with some seriously jacked up fingers?