Monday, September 30, 2013

Neon Vibe 5k (ha!) Race Recap

A few months ago my oldest daughter came to me & announced that she wanted to run a race.  I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming.  This particular daughter "hates" (with a passion) running.  Dance?  Oh, she can do that all the live long day.  But this running stuff.....yeah, pretty sure she was switched at birth or something because it's hard to believe any of my offspring would be so far removed from something that is vital to me.  Don't get me wrong, she'll all supportive & proud of what I do with my running.  But her having any part of it is just out of the question.

Once I realized I was in fact not dreaming I quickly agreed to her request to run a race.  I hurried up and signed us up so there was no backing out.  The race was set to happen the week of her 18th birthday.  What a perfect way to celebrate!  It was going to be her, Jim (my husband/her daddy) & I running the Neon Vibe.

Normally, I'm not into the craze of these types of races.  I'm not dissing anyone that is.  I hear & agree with all the arguments of it's getting people running & they are so much fun....yada, yada, yada.  Great!  Horrah!  It's just not of interest to me.  Not to mention that because it's a specialty type of race they want to justify charging you an arm & a leg ($40 for this race, times 3, plus internet sign up charges.....we paid a tad over $120 for us to race this!!).  I admit, I'm a cheapy when it comes to races.  If I'm going to plop down some moolah I better be getting something really great out of the deal.  Being splattered with paint or colored neon powder is not on my list of "now that's worth some good money".  But remember, this race is not about me, but doing something special with my daughter for her 18th birthday.  So I plopped down the money & just rolled with it.

When the day of the race came we ended up taking some of the other kids with us (against MY wishes), but hey we were going to have a good time no matter what & it actually worked out well to have them along.  Angel had sort of, kind of, not really completed the couch to 5K.  I was pleasantly surprised when she told me she could run 1 mile without stopping.  (Baby steps here people, it's make or break it with potentially steering her toward running).  So ready or not Neon we come!

We arrived with plenty of time to grab out stuff & get ready.  You are given packets of your own neon powder stuff & douse yourself before the event even starts.
 Pre color

Adding some color

 Ready to go!

Well, then all we had to do for almost an hour was wait, wait, wait.  They were starting groups of people every 10 minutes or so, but there was so many people it took that long to get up to the start gate. By then it was completely dark.
The start line.

If you look closely you can see Angel & I taking off.

We entered a field of darkness that was lit with a mass of glow.  I stuck with Angel & she did a great job of pacing herself.  The course had some rock, unstable areas which made it more tricky especially for a newbie to not only running, but in the dark as well.  I had my gps going so I had an idea of where we were on distance.  Eventually the course went from winding through an open field to zig zagging through animal buildings (it was held at a fair ground).  With the exception of the color stations the course was not well lit, most especially at this point.  I'm amazed no one was hurt.  Even for a seasoned runner the course was tricky.  We hadn't even hit 2 miles yet, but came up upon a crowd of people.  Angel said "I think it's the finish line."  Impossible since we hadn't even ran that far.  Sure enough we were ushered right into the finishing gate.  I was MAD!  What kind of race is heavily promoted as a 5k and then falls short of 2 miles?  I thought maybe we had taken a wrong turn or something, but after hearing many others they confirmed that it was in fact short.  I still celebrated with Angel that we had finished the race (as well as many others who felt accomplished that they had ran a "5k").

An idea of what the course was like.

We looked over at the starting area and they were STILL releasing people.  I was reeling from disappointment when Jim had a great idea for me to run it again.  He gave his bib to John & Angel gave her bib to Mandy & the 3 of us took off to run the course.  Gosh darn it, I paid to run a 5k I was going to get my 5k & some!!  We took off.  This time it was every man for himself.  Since I had an idea of where the course was going I took off and ran full speed.  It felt good to release some frustration & have fun (not that the first time wasn't fun, it was just different sticking with someone else & their pace vs. my own).

If it was up to me I would never do a race like this again.  So not worth the money & now I have trust issues as to whether or not the distance is going to be accurate.  If it means doing a race with Angel again I might do it.  She's worth it to go & have some fun & sneak in some running as well.  At least I'll have an idea of what I'm getting myself into.  I shouldn't have put so much stock into this "race" to begin with.  Oh well, live & learn......

p.s.  I'm extremely aware that it's been 2 weeks since I posted & it took me that long to get this post done.  I'm not even going to give you the sob story.  It is what is it.  I'm just going to pick back up where I left off & continue on.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday's Motivation: Taking the Stairs

My kids are finally having their first full week of school.  All 5 days.  All 7 hours!  Woo!  Hoo!  This is largely why my blogging has been lacking.  Them being on a partial schedule is worse than them not being in school at all.  It messes up my planning, scheduling & productivity.  Which is fine, from time to time.  It's the reality of my life that I chose.  I get that.  It just changes what I do with my time and what I do/don't get done.  As much as I love you all, you tend to slip to the bottom of my must-get-done list rather quickly.

Even though it's still a little weird being home with no kids I'm fully ready to embrace it all.  18 years was more than enough and I'm looking to finally getting the chance to be a little more balanced as a wife, mom, housekeeper, etc.  Things that take time and doing them the right way.  There are no short cuts in life.  We can try, but in the long run (ooooh, a running pun) it won't last.

I still have a lot to do, a lot to balance & get done every single day.  No more excuses of kids keeping me busy, pre occupied or making messes while I clean up another (oh, wait they still do that, it just has a 7 hour time delay....haha).  I'm working my way up to the next level.  I'd like to jump on an elevator and just step out of the opening door to wha-la it all just falling into place, but that's too good to be true.  And just like the short cuts it likely won't have a lasting effect.

I'm talking about all areas of my life.  Yes, running is among them.  But, really, mastering or being successful at running does me no good if I ignore other areas that I'm called to in my life.  This also applies to my blogging.

Instead of being stuck down on the landing at least I'm moving upward, one step at a time. Some days I'll get stuck, maybe others I might go back down a few steps.  With this new phase in my life I plan to keep moving up & forward.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Boston Bound?

 Today registration opened for the 2014 Boston Marathon.  Unless you live under a rock or just started to read this blog you know that I qualified for this race at the Illinois Marathon last April.  I've been giving great thought to if I'm going to actually run the race next April.  Maybe that's a no brainer because OF COURSE I want to run it.  However wanting and being able to are two completely different things.

Being that I'm married and have children, I have 7 other people to consider if such a big race is possible.  I don't believe in doing whatever I want with my time & money.  So right off the bat it's already not an easy decision to make.  I'm know my husband & kids want to me do to big things and are proud of me.  But if it wasn't for them I would likely make running my life and all I would do is race every weekend. So it works well that having them in my life keeps me in check with some of the other things that I really love & desire in life....having a husband & kids.  I came to the conclusion that it's not practical and just "not my time" to be traveling for and competing in the Boston Marathon.

There is also the aspect of the bombings and the impact they have on the race.  For me, I had the dream of qualifying and running Boston long before that first bomb went off.  None of that changed my dreams, it helped inspire me even more.  However the bombings seems to have brought on a whole new slew of runners who are determined to qualify and run next year.  In light of it all the Boston Marathon is opening an additional 9,000 spots for people to run next year.  This makes it the second largest field the race has ever had.  Honestly I think it's going to be a mad house with so many runners in pursuit of redemption of what happened this year.  That's great in many aspects.  But I feel it takes away from someone (meaning me) who wants to run the marathon for the honor & privileged of running THE Boston marathon.  I'm afraid my original dream & inspiration will be lost in the sea of passion as they also honor the victim & events of the bombings. Don't get me wrong.  The vicitms & spirit of the marathon should be honored.  I'm not saying any of that is bad.  It's just not what I had in mind for my first running of the Boston marathon.

Based on those things I know that 2014 will not be my year to run the Boston marathon.  I am still eligible to run the race in 2015 and it's possible I will re-qualify and extend that time frame even further.  I really want to do it soon.  Even with my injury I still consider myself at a prime of my running.  Who knows what life holds for me down the road.  I'd rather do it sooner rather than later.  However, if I can't, re-qualifying should not be a problem.  If you look at the qualifying standards my current time qualifies any woman in any age bracket.  Also, in my current age bracket I'm 10 minutes under my qualifying time and that standard is only going to drop as I get older.  And as far as I know I plan to drop my time not add to it. 

Although registration opened today I can't register.  They have a staggered process to allow the fastest runners (those 20 minutes under their qualifying time) to register first.  Even if I was going to register, I would have to wait until Wednesday.  It would still put me a step ahead of several others who have to wait for the next wave of registration open.  So, unless something drastically changes between now and then I won't be registering for the 2014 Boston marathon.  That's ok.  I'm fairly optimistic that the door to Boston will stay open for a long time and at some point I'll be going through that door. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

August Rewind

Well, stink! I had created a vlog for you today, but it doesn't want to load to youtube. Maybe because it has something to do with them changing things up with google/youtube, etc. I don't know. I'm confused, but it's not letting me load the video and when I'm on my channel it tells me I have 0 videos on there. Oh, yes I do!! So I guess that vlog is on hold and I'll continue with my monthly recap.

August was an interesting month with Howl at the Moon (yes, I'm aware that I never posted a race recap) & recovering from it. I still managed to complete 157.50 miles.  Note that I didn't say I ran all those miles, I completed them.  Because yes, some of those miles were walked.  I still managed to walk out the door with exercise in mind and put one foot in front of the other.  In terms of my running streak....well, can I still call it that since I purposefully walked several days this past month?  Should I just start calling it a streak?  Either way I have now streaked 462 days in a row.  This brings my monthly total for Run This Year up to:  1,212.29 miles.  I'm not giving up hope yet.  I'm 800 miles away from reaching my goal.  It's not impossible!!!!

I don't have any plans for racing in September.  Right now I'm focusing on getting & staying strong so I can finish up this year.

Otherwise there is not much happening on the running front.  There is plenty of action on the personal side of things.  Even though it has me going from one thing to the next and keeping me busy I'm enjoying it all.  From time to time it messes up my exercise schedule.  Mostly by making me so tired it's hard to get it all done.  I make adjustments and still make time for exercise even if it's my little 2 miles a day rule.  When I want something, I work my rear off and go after it.

How was your August?