The adventures of an unlikely pair. Follow us if you dare....

Monday, October 6, 2014

The One With Marathon Training Week 10

Hello Friends,
This will be a quick update today....
I am happy to say that while I didn't run everything exactly as I intended to while on vacation I did run 3 of the 4 days we were on our cruise and to me that is very successful! Unfortunately though the last day of the cruise I did some super heavy lifting with my sister and really strained my lower back so I took an unexpected and unintended 3 days off because anything other than laying flat hurt like crazy!! Thankfully after some foam rolling and stretching I'm all good now and now have a new reason do focus on some core work again.....

So I left off with 14 miles on the horizon with Kristie, my running buddy and here's what I've logged so far since then:

Friday (9/26) - 14 miles in 2:57 (12:36 average)
Lately our long runs have been frustrating and this one was no exception. We had to walk a lot and ended up doing the last 7 miles at a 2:1 interval.
Saturday (9/27) - Off
Sunday (9/28) - 8.5 miles of speed work. I did a half mile warm up and then 6x1 mile repeats (10:00, 10:00, 9:49, 9:49, 9:40, 9:30) each with 400 meter recovery jogs. This workout really intimidated me when I looked at it but I'm glad I chose to just get it over with the first day on the cruise.
Monday (9/29) - 2 fast miles sandwiched around a super hard leg tabatta workout with my sister. My legs were seriously shaking 5 minutes in!!
Tuesday (9/30) - Off
Wednesday (10/1) - 6 miles progressive run (each mile I spend up about 10 seconds per mile) plus some heavy lifting which was the cause of my back pain....
Thursday - Off
Friday - Off
Saturday - Kristie and I were supposed to run a 15k and add some mileage for our long run and I was super excited because the weather was supposed to be in the 50's!! But due to some severe thunderstorms that came through our area on Thursday evening our race got cancelled and we slept in instead....
Sunday (10/5) - 15 sluggish miles! 3:13 (12:51 average) Once again it was lots of walking and a slow, slow pace. Overall we did better as a whole on this run even though our pace doesn't show it. It was Kristie's furthest distance ever, we ran at 3:30 in the afternoon, it's still hot and our nutrition is not great right now. I've been doing some soul-searching and thinking and reading because overall I feel very frustrated that while I may be increasing mileage I'm not feeling like a should be trained runner right now. But here are a few things I've concluded:
1) I am used to doing any and all LONG runs very early on Saturday mornings; I have been known to get up and be out the door as early as 4:30 in the morning just to have cool temperatures and a full day ahead of me. These Friday afternoons and Sunday make-up sessions are something I'm not used to at all.
2) I'm not hydrating enough when I'm NOT running; oddly enough this has always been a problem area for me but I think I'm finally starting to see the results. Last week on the cruise I had a water bottle connected to me at all times and I felt really good all week. That needs to be the case ALL THE TIME now
3) My nutrition is way off; again, something I wouldn't say I've actually mastered in the past but currently I just haven't even paid attention to nutrition either while running or not. So this has to change for sure.
These are just a few initial thoughts and I plan to start trying to remedy some of them asap!!

So here's the plan for this week:
Monday: Off
Tuesday: 5 miles with hills
Wednesday: 4-6 miles EASY
Thursday: Speed work - 4x1.5mile repeats
Friday: Off (STATE FAIR DAY!)
Saturday: The Showdown Half Marathon + 2 miles
Sunday: 9 miles
Weekly total: goal of 40-45 miles

This week my goal is to finally have a 40 mile week; I want to continue to build up from there and 40 is not a number that I usually see, even during past marathon training, but it's a number I know I need to be at in order to achieve a lot of the goals I have. If you haven't made a donation yet this would be a great time to do so: Donate $40 and sponsor my week of running!

Friday, September 26, 2014

The One With My Fundraising Letter For St. Jude

Hello Family and Friends,
I hope you are all doing well and that school, life and that FALL is well underway for you all. I am writing to you because every single one of you is important to me in so many different ways, and right now I need some help from you .I am currently training for not 1, not 2, but 3 FULL marathons that I will run later this fall, and in doing so I will be raising money for the children of St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis. (The St. Jude Marathon in Memphis, TN will be my 2nd race of the 3 and will be run on December 6th!)
I have a personal fundraising goal of $2500! That amount scares me, but with your help I know that I can reach that. More importantly, I know that that money is going directly to a hospital and organization that I fully support.
Every dollar donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital counts! Take a look at some of the possibilities that your effort could provide to the kids and families of St. Jude:

Infant Care Supplies for 10 Babies: $50
These supplies help parents and nurses care for babies in treatment and include items like diapers, baby bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, footies and heel warmers.
Wagon: $70
Wagons can make traveling through the halls of St. Jude easier for parents and more fun for a young child.
Parties to celebrate birthdays, holidays and "coming off chemo": $75
St. Jude provides parties, decorations, cakes and more to keep spirits high during the holidays and to celebrate special occasions like birthdays and a child's completion of chemotherapy treatment.
Creative Toys: $100
Play is an essential part of every child's life, and it's important for the children to have fun as often as possible. At St. Jude, colorful, toy-filled play areas are just as plentiful as exam rooms.
Delicious Meals: $210
St. Jude provides meal cards so that patients and families can enjoy the comfort and convenience of good, nutritious meals in the Kay Kafe, our cafeteria.
One Day of Oxygen: $447
Oxygen is key to keeping the immune system strong. A gift of oxygen can help a young body thrive and help fight cancer at the cellular level.
Child-sized Wheelchairs: $700
These special wheelchairs help children move easily through St. Jude.

The possibilities are endless, but hopefully that will give you a little insight into where your donation will be used. I personally love the fact that a donation of $75 will provide a party for a child when they complete chemo! I think that is such a great thing for St. Jude to do for their kids that are in their care. I will definitely be making a few of those “party donations” myself!

So now I’m asking you to please take a moment and pray over what you might be able to do to help support this great hospital and help me reach my goal. When others ask what is an appropriate amount to donate, my first response is always, “whatever you feel led to give.” If are looking for a starting point, I would suggest a great amount is $26, a dollar for each mile I will run (or $78 if you would like to give in support of all 3 marathons!). This is an awesome way to show your support to the cause, and a great tie in to both the hospital and the race that supports the hospital!

I realize that everyone is at different places financially and not everyone is ready to give, and that is completely ok. I would still like to ask that you help support me in prayer and encouragement. I have never taken on 3 marathons within a month so that overwhelms me, but I know with proper training and support I can make it happen.I will need much encouragement, love, support and prayers from all of you!

Thank you for taking the time to read through this and thank you very much in advance for your help and support!

The deadline to donate is November 10th. You can find the links to my personal donation page as well as my blog for weekly updates on my training below.

Thank you again.
-Lauren Bridge

The One About Training For The St. Jude Marathon (Again!)

Well hello blog readers, if there are any of you left.....
I could go into the whole, I've been busy story, which is true but I mean we've all heard that right? I do miss blogging, hence why you haven't gotten the "I'm too busy for this so I won't be blogging anymore" post, but I'm working on prioritizing my life and so far I haven't found a place to add in blogging.... That's not to say that I don't have things to write about.
But now I actually do have things to write about and some motivation to do so because once again I'm training for and RAISING MONEY for the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis on December 6th.
If you remember, I raised money last year and planned to run but after an injury 3 weeks out from the race I had plans to attempt the half. But Mother Nature had other plans and a cross country ice storm not only kept me from getting to Memphis but also cause the race to be canceled. St. Jude handled the situation unbelievable well and so I knew I wanted to support them again this year. I will put up another post right after this one but this one will be about my training so far.

Technically training started at the beginning of August, but my goal this year was to run consistently throughout the summer so that when it was time to start official training I didn't feel like I was starting over. For the most part I was successful, at least when it comes to how much I have run the past I did great!
In June I covered 89 miles and ran 1 half marathon and a 5k with my dad.

In July I only covered 56 miles and I was supposed to run a half marathon but I bailed the night before.
In August I also only covered 63 miles and ran 1 half marathon and my second best 5k ever.

In all that's a total of 208 miles!! Given that in past summers I barely have run 100 miles I will gladly take that. I would have liked to have been a little more consistent in July and definitely more so in August but hey, you do what you can.

September is practically over and I'm currently sitting at 82 miles for the month with a 14 miler scheduled for this afternoon. So I will definitely break 100 miles for this month!

Since I'm just catching you all up on my training I won't do an official 'Weekly Training Report' (I will do one NEXT Monday, when I get back from my cruise!) but to give you an idea of what training looks like on a weekly basis here is how I break it down:
Mondays: Speed work
Tuesday: Hills
Wednesdays: easy recovery run
Thursdays: OFF
Friday: Usually long run or mid-distance easy run
Saturday: Long run if it wasn't done on Friday or mid-distance EASY recovery run
Sunday: short EASY run

I am using the Hanson Marathon Training method this go around and it's something that is so foreign to me but so far I really like it. I think more than anything I like the mental toughness it gives me. I will also do a specific blog post on this method and why I chose it later on.

So for now, here is what I have set for the next 10 days or so.... I am leaving tomorrow morning and going on a 5 day cruise with my mom and sisters! I am so excited but I am definitely taking my running shoes!!

Today: 14 miles with Kristie
Saturday: Off/travel day
Sunday: 6-8 miles
Monday: Speed work (6x1600m w/400 jogs) YIKES this one scares me!
Tuesday: 6 miles
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: Off
Friday: 6 miles
Saturday: 15 miles (15k DRC race + 6 miles)
Sunday: recovery run 4-6 miles

Friday, June 27, 2014

The One About How I Fuel My Better

A couple of months ago I was asked if I would like to review a product from Vega as part of the “Fuel Your Better” campaign. I of course was very excited about that because I am a huge believer in finding healthy ways to help fuel my days. A couple of years ago I did a lot of reading about a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle and how that would translate into an active and athletic lifestyle. In all of that reading I stumbled upon 2 athletes that I was really impressed by; Scott Jurek and Brendan Brazier. Through reading about Brendan I was introduced to Vega and their products. Since then I have tried many of their different products and have really liked them.

So obviously I was all over doing a product review for them and I was also excited to be a part of the Fuel Your Better campaign. I was sent a box of the Sugar-Free Energizer. I was really looking forward to this specific product because along with a plant-based diet I’ve also been trying really hard to be as sugar-free as possible. I tend to have a very hectic and busy schedule and my work days are 10 hours long so if I want to get in any sort of workout I either have to get up super early to get them done (which rarely happens) or I have to force myself after a long day of work to get out there and get them done. Most of the time it’s after work that I am getting my workouts in.

Over the past year I have tended to rely on things like sugar-free Red Bulls or other types of energy drinks, and while they generally got the job done for me I was never completely ok with what I was putting into my body in order to get that extra bit of energy. But that is not the case with the Vega Sugar-Free Energy, I feel 100% confident in what I am putting in my body when I use their products.

A little over a month ago I received the product and since then I have been using it on a regular basis. I really loved how convenient the packaging was in the single-use pouches. I could easily stick a couple in my purse, gym bag or lunch bag and have what I needed, and sometimes extras for the day. Most days I would find myself using one of the packets about an hour or two before I got off work so that I had just enough energy to power through the rest of the work day and then get me through my workouts without keeping me up late hours at night. I also appreciated the subtle berry flavoring that wasn’t too overpowering or sweet. And I really liked the fact that I had no stomach issues at all taking this, since I tend to have a very sensitive stomach this is always a concern with certain products.

At the end of the day I am very excited and satisfied with finding a product that I know is a healthy and safe choice for me to use every single day. I think if I were to only have one complaint it would be that unless I was using a blender bottle to mix the powder it was hard to mix at times to where you didn’t have a grainy taste to it. But even if you don’t have a blender bottle you just make sure and give it a few extra shakes to mix it really well and you are good. I can confidently say that this will definitely be a go-to product that I will use for a very long time so that I can always #FuelMyBetter!

If you would like any more information on how to Fuel Your Better and the products associated with the Fuel Your Better campaign please check out the Vega website here: Fuel Your Better

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The One About Clean Caffeine

I was recently contact through my ambassadorship with Sweat Pink to do a review on a new product that is on the market, it is called Lyft and it is a clean energy supplement. I admit that at first I was actually quite sceptical of the product, I mean a stir stick that has zero calories, zero taste and gives you the caffeine equivalent to a tall coffee? What in the world is this stuff? How can this really work and certainly there’s some weird crazy taste involved?

I was even more skeptical when I actually opened the package and saw this weird stick. You have to remove the outer packaging and there is powder on the bottom that will mix into ANY drink. But as skeptical as I was I was also quite curious; as much as I don’t want to admit my addiction to caffeine I kind of actually depend on it daily in the form of iced teas. While iced tea isn’t terrible for me and while I’ve learned to drink unsweet iced tea to be healthier I still need to drink more water throughout my day and these stir sticks allow me the opportunity to do so.

I was pleasantly surprised that there was in fact so taste at all. The powder mixed right in and dissolved really well and at no calories it’s a great compliment to any drink, yes, ANY drink! I personally have only had it with water but I have another stick that I plan to use in something else other than water, I just haven’t decided what is special enough yet to use it on.

As for energy, I was also pleasantly surprised with the fact that I actually felt a boost in energy yet I didn’t experience anything like jitters or increased heart rate at all. It was subtle but noticeable.

The PureLyft sticks are very portable and easy to stick in your purse and carry with you or toss in a gym bag for a quick pick-me-up. My only complaint would be the cost; at the price of $5.99 for 2 or a 24-pack for $49.99 I’m not sure this is something I would make a priority in my budget. I do like the fact that it’s clean and has no calories but I don’t particularly like the price. However, if it were cheaper it would definitely be something that I would add into my daily routine.

If you are interested in trying out PureLyft for yourself I would recommend it. Be sure and check out their website, along with their Facebook page for product info and for giveaways and samples!

*I was provided a PureLyft sample free of charge via the Sweat Pink ambassador program. The reviews and opinions are all my own and I was not compensated for them.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The One Before The Kentucky Marathon

I made it to Indianapolis last night and I enjoyed a nice dinner and relaxing evening chatting with the Thomases. I got to sleep in today, in an amazingly comfortable bed! And I am currently enjoying a bagel (edited to add, my second bagel) while jotting down some thoughts for tomorrow.

I’ve been putting off writing this post for a long time now mainly because I just really have no idea what to say. For the first time ever I don’t have any concrete thoughts per say about how my training went and I just really don’t have many expectations for tomorrow. I expect to finish the race but that’s pretty much the extent of it.

Marathon training started out pretty rough actually; I was coming off of an injury and I was supposed to be training for an Ultra marathon. I didn’t put too much initial thought into marathon training because I just figured if I trained for and completed an ultra then this would be no big deal. Then when I decided to pull out of the ultra I still intended to run the full marathon on that same day but that also didn’t lend itself to be the case.

By the end of February it was safe to say that while I was getting a few good workouts in here and there I wasn’t overly thrilled with my running. In fact I was downright frustrated. Between the months of January and February I only logged 125 miles. After Cowtown I really got my act together though. I forced myself into better eating habits (which resulted in an 11lb weight loss over the last 6 weeks!) and I started trying to incorporate the Hanson Marathon Method into my training.  But mostly I just kind of let go and tried to enjoy running. I stopped worrying about pace and times and I just ran.

March ended up being the best running month I have ever had. I logged 130 miles in March alone. And while my pace wasn’t comparable to what it was a year ago preparing for my marathon I had more good runs than I did bad ones. I can’t say that I successfully followed the Hanson’s marathon plan but I like the idea of it and in the future I plan to try to utilize it more. I actually didn’t really follow a specific plan for this marathon at all, I just ran.

I think that’s why I really don’t have too many expectations for tomorrow. While I can see that I’m not undertrained necessarily I also don’t really have a plan to look at and to give credit to, or blame should things go wrong. Well I guess if things go wrong I could blame it on the lack of a plan… Either way I feel oddly comfortable with my fitness level and preparedness heading into tomorrow.

It’s been a year, exactly, since I’ve run a marathon and while that wasn’t my intentions it’s just how it happened. That does make me a little nervous. I’m afraid I’ve forgotten just what I’m in store for. But on the other hand that may be to my advantage.  I’m sure you can see by now that I really have conflicted feelings about this whole thing.

I am actually excited to run a marathon tomorrow; as much as I absolutely love the half distance there is just something so rewarding about completing a marathon. I know this will not be a perfect race for me (and if it is I’ll gladly come back and say I was wrong!). My goal originally was to go sub-5 (as was my goal last year…) and I would like to come in as close to 5 hours as I can but my real goal for the day is to just run as much of the race as I absolutely can. And, to just enjoy the day. The weather is supposed to be beautiful tomorrow (mid-40’s at the start!) and I’ve never been to Louisville so I want to enjoy the sites.   

So, do I think I’m prepared? Physically I may be slightly under-trained but I honestly feel great. No injuries, no pain or soreness and I’ve been running well the past couple of weeks. Mentally is where I’m not sure if I’m totally prepared or not but I think in this case it’s to my advantage. Since it’s been a year I’ve forgotten the mental struggle and battle and since my plan is to go into the race and have fun I think I’m in the best position mentally I can be in. I do wish Alex was going to be there tomorrow but I will be with the Thomases, and that’s just as good as family.  

Here’s the marathon #4!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday’s Weekly Happenings (4/16/14)

This past week and weekend has been busy as normal but we also had a chance to spend some quality time together as a couple and with some friends.

This past Friday night Alex and I took our friend, Jason out to celebrate his birthday. Jason is Alex’s best friend’s younger brother. Jason moved to Texas last September to be a part of a program here in the area that trains individuals on the autism spectrum about computer programing and how to build and design games. This was a HUGE deal for Jason to be able to be a part of and required a lot of major transitions in his life. He moved all the way from Indianapolis and this was his first birthday away from home and his family so we wanted to make it special for him.

He has done so well in the program and here in Texas and we are so proud of him and all his hard work. We took him to a place called Love and War in Texas and enjoyed a really yummy dinner. 

Then we took him back to his apartment and had cake 

(I made the cake per his request and he told me “it’s just like mom makes it” so that made my night for sure!) and we played Cards Against Humanity. I have never laughed so hard in my life and I most definitely haven’t ever seen Alex laugh so hard.

I got up early the next morning to go run but actually wound up sleeping an extra hour and half and then Kristie and I had to rearrange our running plans a bit. But we still managed 8 really good miles.

I got home from running and after taking the dogs on a 2 mile walk I made a new recipe for lunch and it was really yummy.

I also made play-doh for the first time!

Alex and I were invited to a “Super Hero and Tiaras” Birthday party for  Danny and Clare. 

Danny had just turned 5 and Clare just turned 3. I made them each their own play-doh and put together some really cute little gift bags with coloring books and they each got their own little tiny pot with a plant to grow.

Danny actually wouldn’t pose for a picture so his younger brother, James was the fill in. Don’t we look good with kids? Just saying…

Saturday evening Alex and I just enjoyed a nice evening on our back porch watching the Ranger’s play and talking.

Sunday the weather was once again crazy and we did our normal church thing and a nice lunch together. Sunday lunches have become one of my favorite times each week because it’s one of the only times throughout the week that we can sit and just enjoy each other’s company.

I took a couple of hours to relax with the doggies and then it was time to get to work.

We’ve been in our house for 4 months now but I have yet to organize our master closets. It was pretty much a disaster and I was honestly just so tired of digging through piles of clothes each and every time I needed something and I got fed up. After about 4 hours of work and 1 trip to Target my closet is all clean and organized with folded clothes and just the kind of organization I like. I still need to do Alex’s closet for him (since I’m nice like that) but that will be another weekend project.

My sister Rachel also came over and had dinner with us. Her and my sister Sara got me a giant chalkboard frame for my birthday and I finally decided what I wanted written on it and since Rachel is our family artist she took care of that while she was here. I absolutely love how it turned out!!

The rest of the week has been pretty normal. Last night we had these delicious breakfast tacos for dinner. They were so good I had to document them.

I’m off work tomorrow and heading to Indianapolis and then on to Kentucky with the Thomases for the marathon!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The One About the Fairview Half Marathon

Last weekend I ran the Fairview Half marathon; my 30th half marathon! This is a race that had been on my mind for quite some time now. I actually volunteered on race day last year and then got to run the course for my medal a few weeks later but I was really looking forward to running it on race day. I also had every intention of this being my goal race in which I ran for a PR. In hindsight I’m actually really glad that didn’t play out for several reasons but I’ll get to those in a minute. This race is a small, very local race that’s super close to me and where I grew up and I know the race director personally and there are always so many runner friends around that you can’t help but feel excited and encouraged on race day.

Believe it or not I still get nervous on race day, every single time. Every time. But this race was actually a little different, for the first time in a really long time I a) felt like myself
as a runner (no injuries, no pain, well prepared and at a pace I like being at) and b) had no expectation on myself other than to have fun. The last one was a true blessing and something that is actually really hard for me to do. No matter what the circumstances are going into each race I always tend to expect a great deal from myself or I’m already aware of the fact that the day won’t go as planned and I’m negative before the national anthem is even sung. But this race was completely different - I knew there was no way I was hitting anywhere close to the goal I had originally set for myself but I was not even bummed about that at all. Like I mentioned several weeks ago God has really been working on my life in a lot of ways and showing me what balance is really all about. It’s very refreshing to get up and run just for the pleasure of running (I promise, that’s a real thing).
Race morning was super easy, I was up, ready, had breakfast and out the door, with a husband (who was putting his best efforts into not being cranky!) in tow. 

Getting to the race site was easy, parking was SUPER easy and there were NO PORT-O-POTTY LINES!! I think I screamed with excitement over that one. It actually turns out that there were indoor bathrooms and that’s where everyone else was lined up. But heck, I prepare myself to use a portable toilet on race morning so no lines is totally worth it, you guys can wait for the indoors all you want. I got to pee twice while you were just waiting in line!
Race morning weather was perfection for me - a little chilly, overcast and the most gorgeous sunrise I could have imagined.

After peeing twice, singing the national anthem and telling Alex bye the race started right on time. I easily found the 2:35 pacers and my plan was to just hang out with them. I felt great and knew I was capable of more but I haven’t raced as much as I normally do so I wasn’t entirely too sure what the day had in store for me and I wanted to be comfortable and enjoy the race. I also knew the course was hilly so I figured a safe bet was to hang with them as long as I could and speed up later if I wanted to. I say I didn’t have a goal but we of course all know that’s a bunch of crap, I definitely had a finish time in my mind and it was somewhere between 2:30-2:35.

Within the first mile I saw a friend of mine and we chatted for a little bit. She is coming off of an injury yet has continued to run/walk marathons and halfs. She even did a walk/run for the entire Dopey Challenge at Disney this past January! Totally amazing to me! At about the 1 mile marker she sped up and I got back into the 2:35 pace group. The hills started pretty early but weren’t too bad. I chatted with one of the pacers for a bit. She commented on my shoes and we started talking about how much we love our Brooks running shoes. She was 27 weeks pregnant so we chatted about that too. I seriously hope I can be running like her at 27 weeks pregnant!!

I actually had a bit of a cramp in my side for the first 3 miles which is really unusual for me but I just took a lot of deep breaths and right as I saw the 3 mile marker it just all of a sudden went away. I also started to pull away from the 2:35 pace group a little bit as well. I wasn’t planning to leave them that early but I was feeling awesome and my legs were feeling antsy to move so I just dropped the pace ever so slightly.

One of the perks of this race is the small town country roads that the course is run on and with that comes awesome houses, lots of great scenery and some interesting pets, like longhorns and llamas. I kid you not, within the first 3 miles we passed both a herd of longhorns and llamas. I’m telling you, this race does not disappoint, y’all!

At mile 3.5 we got a nice little downhill portion along the highway and that felt nice. I have to take a moment here and also mention that since this course is on country roads and through neighborhoods there are a lot of volunteers and police officers and they are just awesome! I cannot stress enough how awesome all of the volunteers and law enforcement for the race was. So nice and friendly, very professional and the water stops were great and frequent. I never felt like I was running a smaller race when it came to the necessities of racing.

Right before mile 4 we turned into an awesome neighborhood with amazing houses. I don’t know about you guys but I love house hunting while I’m running, love it! For several miles we wound our way through awesome sprawling neighborhoods with cool houses and lots of little ups and downs. Right about mile 4 I saw a guy sitting in his driveway cheering people on and I realized as I approached him that I knew him and his family. I waved hi and asked about the family. That’s one of the fun things about this race - it’s just so down home and friendly.

Right as I hit the 5 mile marker I was still running strong and I could actually see the 2:30 pacers in front of me. They were still a ways off but since I was feeling so good my goal now was to slowly catch them and hang with them as long as I could. I was feeling good but I’m not sure I actually still believed I had a good race in me at this point. Over the next 2.5 miles I kept them in sight and slowly, slowly, slowly gained on them. This middle portion was fairly even with only a few slight hills here and there.

By mile 7.5 I was at the back of the 2:30 pace group and exactly as we hit the 8 mile marker I passed the pacers. I’m not actually sure who the pacers were because I passed them and kept moving on but I do have to say that the guy pacer was by far one of the coolest and best pacers I have ever seen. He was having the time of his life out there and he was telling a story about one of his race experiences. I only heard bits and pieces of the story but I could tell it was a story that was going on for miles. He was very animated, very funny and quite entertaining; exactly what you want in a pacer!

It was right after I passed the 8 mile marker that we were coming up on a right hand turn that would take us back out towards the highway and there was a big hill coming up. I realized then that I still hadn’t taken any GU or water so I quickly grabbed my GU and actually took my time taking little bits of it over the next mile and a half. Once we got up the hill there was a flat portion before we made another right hand turn to go back up the hill we went down at 3.5. It was a pretty long hill and it was then that I realized I really need to get back to consistent hill training. I never walked though! Once we reached the top of the hill at 9.5 we were heading back through the same neighborhood we did the first 3 miles in. It was exactly the same just in reverse. I know some people were dreading it because of the hills but I actually kind of liked it because I knew exactly what to expect and I knew exactly where I needed to give a little extra push and where I could relax a little bit.

Mile 10 came along and I started to pick up the pace just a little bit, the thought of catching the 2:25 group ran through my head but I didn’t actually have them in sight so it really wasn’t a possibility. However, I did want to come in under 2:30 now. At this point it was pretty much a mental talk for myself: I was telling myself that if I could keep this pace at exactly where it was I would be done in about 32 minutes and I just ticked the minutes off. Mile 11 was the hardest, there were a few hills and I really wanted to stop. I was still ahead of the 2:35 pace group and I wanted to keep it that way but my pace dropped a little bit. Finally I saw the 12 mile marker and we climbed the very last hill!! It was a flat course the last mile on the highway and I knew I could do it. Right at mile 12.5 the 2:30 pace group caught me and they were running strong. I didn’t let it bother me because the time on my watch showed I was coming in well under 2:30. But I also didn’t want them to get too far ahead of me either.

Then right at mile 13 I saw Alex and I knew I had a sprint in me so I took advantage and pushed passed those pacers to finish. 

I saw a friend working at the finish line and she yelled and waved at me. I stopped my watch and saw I came in well under what I was wanting for the day! I finished in 2:25! I grabbed my awesome medal, some water and a few snacks and easily found Alex.

I attempted to take a picture in front of town hall but we actually didn’t get a good one. In my attempt to hold up a 3 and a 0 for 30 Halfs I accidentally held up a 3 and a 5….blame it on the runner’s brain! It’s funny now but I didn’t even realize until later I had done that.

After that I found the race director and thanked her for such an awesome race. I love how accessible she always is on race day, being right there in the action and available for you. We chatted a bit and I asked her about her awesome adventures from the weekend before on her trail races.

Overall this was such a wonderful event and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate 30 half marathons. From start to finish everything was well done, professional, detailed and above expectations. The venue, the shirts the medals and course, the details along the course, the volunteers and police officers and medical staff they were all so wonderful. The city of Fairview really hosted an awesome race and I will definitely be back for more.

Now, to the reasons I am glad this didn’t end up being a PR race… For starters, it was a hilly course, very hilly. Ok, not like the Austin half type of hills and not the I’m going to die type of hills but more like those hills are not really meant for a PR type of hills. Now don’t get me wrong, I actually know quite a few and when I saw quite a few I mean more than I can count on 2 hands a few people that did in fact PR at this race, so it is definitely a friendly course. But for me, even though I love hills I think it was better this way. I also when signing up and planning to PR this race didn’t realize this would end up being my 30th half marathon. As nice as it would have been to have a PR for 30 I really am glad I was able to just enjoy the day rather than worry about trying to go for a PR. So PR or no PR this race is definitely on my favorites list, thank goodness it’s local because it’s one I want to run over and over again.