Sunday, September 22, 2013

Milton Harvest Festival 5k 2013 Recap

Yesterday was the day of my mom's first ever 5k!  Running has become such a huge part of who I am, so I was extremely excited to be sharing it with her.  My sister was joining us, as well as my two sisters-in-law, my good friend Kelli, and several other running acquaintances.  I was surprised by just how many people I ran into at the start, a few people I never even knew were runners! 
 

Me, Mom, Brandi @ top/ Erica, Maddie, Alania on bottom right
 
 
We had a couple of snags before we could get started.  First of all, parking!  There were cars everywhere and no one directing us where to go.  We pulled into the McDonald's parking lot and headed to packet pick up, got our bibs and shirts, and headed back to the car.  Once there an employee came out and told us we had to move.... of course we do.  So we head back out of the parking lot where I see my friend Kelli walking by, I shout to her and ask her where to park, but the lot she was in was already full.  We find someone in a safety vest and they direct us around and we end up parking in some grass, but we never got ticketed or towed, so its all good. 
 
The next snag?  Bathrooms.  There were no port-a-potties anywhere!!!  This is a festival with food and vendors, I couldn't believe they didn't have any bathrooms!  So we stood in a very long line to use the borough building restroom.  That left us about ten minutes to the start of the race, so we headed toward the start.
 
Mom was nervous.  She also had been having pain in her left leg and was worried that it might keep her from finishing.  I had no worries.  This is my mother we're talking about here, I gotta get my stubbornness, I mean, determination from somewhere!  So the air-horn sounded and we were off!
 
I tried to take some selfies while in motion.... not too bad, right?!
 
We ran at the start, Mom telling us later that that was the longest distance she had ever run without stopping.  Once we hit the second mile we ran some more, and Mom was looking strong!
 
 
Go Mom!
 
 
After that second run we walked until we were in sight of the finish line, when Mom said with a grin, "I'm doing another one."  (YAY!)  And then we were off one last time.  We crossed in 48:05, and in the words of my mom, "We weren't last!"  We hugged and had just a few happy tears.  Here's to the beginning of something wonderful!
 

Steps from the finish!  I'm so proud!

 
 

 
 




Friday, September 20, 2013

Race Day Jitters

This post is to celebrate my mother, Lori.  Tomorrow morning she will be participating in her first road race, the Milton Fall Festival 5k.  She is nervous, says she is going to puke.  I know that feeling.  I still get it a little bit before every single race.  My heart rate picks up just at the thought of an upcoming race! 

She has recently lost over 20 pounds.  If you've ever had weight to lose you know what an accomplishment that is.  She is at the beginning of her journey, and it is my hope that she one day looks back at this race and thinks with pride about how far she's come.

She posted this on her facebook and I hope she remembers it tomorrow.  She doesn't have to live up to anyone's expectations tomorrow.  Although if I'm being completely honest, I do expect her to start, and I expect to be with her every step of the way, and I expect to cross the finish line right by her side.


Photo: That's me! How about you?
I love you, Mom!
26429700_1588
 
 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Operation Jack 2.0- Part 1

I'm very excited to finally add something to the "Fundraising" tab in my blog!  I've often thought about how I could combine running with raising money and awareness for something important to me.  People do it all the time.  I just wasn't sure how to get started.  Then Crystal brought something to my attention, something called Operation Jack 2.0.

 
If Jack's dad can run 61 marathons in one year, I can certainly run one to further the cause.  Most of you already know that my son was diagnosed with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) in July.  And in another post at another time I'm going to write a lot more on the subject.  Suffice it to say that raising awareness and money for research and support for autistic children and their families is a cause that is important to me.  
 
So the basics of Operation Jack 2.0 are simple- I raise at least $100 for the autism charity of my choice, and Operation Jack 2.0 pays for my marathon registration.  They will be doing it for one runner every week of the year, so that's 52 runners raising money and awareness in the fight against autism.  It is Operation Jack 2.0's hope (as well as my own) that I raise more than the required $100.  I have decided that I will look for a charity that directly benefits my son, and if I can't do that, then my autism charity of choice will be Operation Jack.  I've chosen to run River Towns Marathon (May 3, 2014) again for a couple reasons.  One- I've already done it, two- its close to home (which is good for SOOO many reasons), and three- registration is less than $100, so more of the money I raise can go to charity.  Aaron has also decided to be one of Operation Jack 2.0's 52 runners!  He will be running Mt Nittany Marathon, date TBD. 
 
It is my hope to be wildly successful with Operation Jack 2.0, as well as my second running of RTM.  I will be posting updates and a link to a fundraising page in the near future.  In the meantime I will be brainstorming ways to make donating more appealing, perhaps a one-on-one training session, a running training schedule personalized for your goals, a pot of soup, free hugs...... I don't know, just in the thinking stage for now.  All I can say at the present time is that I'm excited to be a part of Operation Jack 2.0, excited to have the opportunity to connect my love of running to my love for my son and have the chance to run with a greater purpose.  Please consider supporting me in this venture.  There will be more to follow.  With gratitude in my heart, until next time!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dam Half Marathon Trail Race '13

I love trail running.  Even though my pace is slower, I feel like I'm in flight.  I guess its because of the swift passing of the woods that are so close around me.  Plus time moves so quickly.  I think that's because my mind is so focused on where I place my feet (you know, so I don't fall on my face) that there is never opportunity to get bored.  Today's race was my fifth trail race but my first trail half marathon.  I was still on a bit of a runner's high from my sub-2 half marathon the weekend before, so I was excited.  I knew this race would be no joke though.  See the course description below.

  The Dam Half and Dam Full courses are all situated within Bald Eagle State Forest, and you really get the feeling of being far removed from civilization when doing this course! Mostly narrow single track trails with some jeep trails and a little bit of dirt road mixed in to relax your legs (but not too much). The Dam Half has a total elevation gain of 2,500 feet, while the Dam Full has a total elevation gain of 4,600 feet. The courses have several climbs with a few boulder fields mixed in to test your legs (and wits)! In between the climbs though, there are some nice flat and rolling sections winding through beautiful hemlock and pine forests with some stream crossings here and there. Both courses have the toughest climb of the event near the end, the dreaded Stairway to Heaven. Stairway to Heaven is a brutal single track climb with 700 feet of elevation gain within a half mile straight up the side of Naked Mountain. But once you summit, it’s 1.5 miles all downhill to the finish!!!

I had picked up my packet the night before.  Running with me would be my husband, sister-in-law, and a couple other running acquaintances.  I was ready to go!
 

 
 
 A pretty big crowd of runners gathered near the start and listened to some announcements.  Once they were over we started to move to the starting line.  Then I guess someone said "go" because the crowd started to move.  There were a lot of people!  Aaron and I did our best to break away from the crowd, but there were just so many!  The race was going great, until a had something sharp sticking me in the heel and since it was so early on I decided it had to go!  I couldn't shake it loose so I stepped off to the side to get it out.  Aaron left me in the dust without so much as a, "are you okay?"  I couldn't dig it out with my finger, so I ripped the shoe off.  It was a piece of wood stuck in the lining of my shoe, so I yanked it out and tried to shove my foot back in the shoe, which of course is double knotted so I can't.  I tried to untie it and made the knot worse, and worse, and worse.  Eventually, after what seemed like ten minutes (it was probably more like 2.5) I got the shoe debacle cleared up and started running again, cursing that I would have to once again, re-pass all the people I had already managed to pass with much difficulty on the single track trail.

Amazingly, I caught back up to Aaron when he eventually pulled off to the side to take off his long sleeve t-shirt.  (I tried to tell him he would regret wearing long sleeves.)  I figured he would fall in line behind me, so I kept going.  A little while later I passed one of my runner acquaintances and was pretty pleased about that.  She is a very buff, fitness instructor and runner, so it felt good to catch her.  She had done the course before and was hoping to come in under 2:30.  She stayed hot on my heels until we got to the last boulder field after the final climb where she then passed me and vanished down the hill.  How she took that descent so quickly I will never know.  I hope she accomplished her goal!

The trail was very tricky.  The elevation was exactly what I expected and I felt prepared for that.  I was not prepared for quite so many rocks.  We got so few breaks from them!  I nearly face-planted on several occasions.  And the boulder fields mentioned in the course description above???  They are aptly named.  How some runners managed a 7:40/pace on this course is something I will never understand!  Those folks must be part mountain goat!  Literally, it was fields of rocks and boulders.  And some giant boulders that you think will never move when you step on them in fact do shift when stepped on!  Very tricky!

I hiked up the dreaded Stairway to Heaven, feeling like it would never end.  Once to the top you are "rewarded" with a boulder field before you can begin your rocky, steep descent.  I had made a new friend from a State College running store.  We chatted quite a bit and he encouraged me to go ahead and get the trail shoes I've been wanting.  I had confessed to him how my feet were killing me in my non-trail shoes.  I always just wear the oldest sneakers in my possession for these things.

Brooks Cascadia- Come to Mama!!!
 
 Anyway, back to the race.  I got to the finish and was super pleased with my time.  A respectable 2:34:08, 6th place of 45 in my division (F 30-39), 17th of 143 women, 100th of 343 runners overall, with a 11:46/pace.  I turned around knowing that I had distanced myself from Aaron a little bit, but I began to worry after a few minutes.  It seemed like forever until I finally saw him walking/ hobbling toward the finish over thirty minutes later.  His knees were really hurting him and I understood why.  The final descent was a doozy!  While I was waiting I too started having severe pain throughout my legs.  I have never experienced that before.  It didn't matter if I was standing, walking, or sitting, they just throbbed.  It was so bad in fact that I started asking around for some ibuprofen.  I was directed to the ambulance.  I had a feeling they wouldn't give me any, but I was desperate.  Unfortunately, I was right and they wouldn't give me any.  So I downed five cups of Gatorade hoping it was just an electrolyte issue and massaged, massaged, massaged.  I ran into buff fitness girl at the end and it turned out she finished in 2:32:11.  A great time even if she didn't break 2:30!  She paid me a very nice compliment by telling me she thought I was a "very strong runner."  Something like that means a lot when it comes from a person you admire. 

 

Once Aaron felt up to it we went to get something for him to eat.  I had already downed three slices of pizza from Larry's Pizza so I was good, but I stood in the chicken line with him anyway.  We ran into one of Aaron's coworkers (who had ibuprofen- yay!) and sat down to eat with him as well as one of the full marathoners.  I would run this race again in a heartbeat!  It was a fabulous day!  Mid Penn Trailblazers really know how to put on a great event!  I've done one other trail race put on by this group (Smith's Knob Scramble) and it too was fantastic!  Check them out if you're looking into trying out trail races!  http://www.midpenntrailblazers.com/index.htm

This is how I felt later!

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Beginning of my Love Affair with Running

I ran one race before my on again off again run-mance truly began in 2008.  It was a 5k with my friend Marissa, and if I remember correctly, it didn't go all that well.  Believe it or not I was able to find the results!

343.Janell Weaver        Canton, PA          25 F     39:15 12:38 148/183   F25-29:16/20      
344.Marissa Piazza       High Bridge, NJ     25 F     39:15 12:38 149/183   F25-29:17/20  

Don't get me wrong, I know we were both pretty happy and proud of ourselves for finishing, but looking back, it should have been easier on a pair of 25 year olds!  That was the Run with Rotary 5k April 29, 2007 in Montgomery, NJ. 

Why did I want to run it?  To be honest, I'm not completely sure.  I have always held an admiration for runners.  Their endurance, athleticism, physiques, and mental toughness are all things I wanted to have.  So maybe I thought I would just jump in and give it a try.  I did not know about training.

Fast forward a few months and I have met my BFF Crystal.  We both had just left our homes to accompany our husbands to U.S. Coast Guard Station Oak Island.  There was a 5k and 10k held every April on the island so we decided to train for the 10k.  Okay, so this time I knew about training, but we still had no idea what the heck we were doing.  Nevertheless, we survived and I think that race sparked something within me.  I finished in 1:11:10, an 11:28 pace.  That pace was better than my first race, but I wanted to get better at running- faster, stronger, tougher. 

 
 
The four of us (Joe, Crystal, Aaron and myself) continued to sign up for races here and there, I believe only 5ks.  Our next race was the NC Freedom Run 5k, June 27, 2008.  I finished in 32:11, a 10:22 pace.  So despite my lack of understanding of training, my persistence was paying off.
 
 
 
Next up was the Inaugural Go, Jump in the Lake 5k, August 30, 2008.  I actually placed 3rd in my division for this one!

 
 
 
Our next 5k was the Oyster Fest 5k October 18, 2008.  I finished in 29:27, a 9:28 pace!  Getting speedier!  (I got to say tougher too.  This race was cold, wet, and poorly organized!)
 
 
Crystal and I did a 5k run as part of the Soldier Ride through the Wounded Warrior Project on October 25, 2008.  If it was timed I don't know, but it was a pretty nice run and we hung out on the beach a little bit afterwards.
 
 
Next up was the Bald Head Island Maritime Classic Road Race on November 8, 2008.  Joe, Crystal, and I ran the 5k and Aaron did the 10k.  My time was 29:26 with a 9:29/pace.  Aaron (of course) kicked butt and got 2nd in his division with an 8:15/pace WHILE carrying all of our junk in a backpack AND running twice the distance as the rest of us.  That was my last race before finding out I was pregnant with Cullen, but I did run two races while pregnant.
 
 
My first pregnant race was the Steve Haydu St. Patrick's LoTide Run 5k on March 14, 2009.  I was 4.5 months pregnant and finished in 38:10 with a 12:17/pace.  I remember this finished on the beach in some very-difficult-to-run-in sand! 
 
 
 
A month later I did the Oak Island Lighthouse 5k.  I finished in 35:58 with an 11:36/pace.  This was my last race pre-baby. 
 
An amazing thing was happening through all this running and racing.  I was beginning to not only look better, but I was also beginning to feel a lot better.  It was as if I found a piece of me that I never even knew was missing.  Running did make me faster, stronger, and tougher.  It lifted my mood and made me happy.  Having a baby definitely changes everything, more on how that ties in to running later!
 






Thursday, September 12, 2013

100 on 100 Relay Recap - Part 3

Okay, so I was taking off on my third, final, and toughest leg.  It was 6.7 miles of only up.  It looks pretty terrible as an elevation profile on paper, but I gotta say.... it wasn't that bad.  I think I had built it up so much in my head that during the run I remember thinking that at any moment I would turn a curve and be faced with a wall of a mountain.  Now don't get me wrong, it was absolutely tough.  I was passed by several "elites."  But I had my most "kills" on this leg with a total of eleven.  I just kept my legs churning.  Then my head started getting in my way and I started thinking about walking.  I kept that thought at bay as long as I could.  The Cabot Cheese runner came up to me and said we're almost there.  I said I sure hope so, then he passed me.  I didn't mind, especially because he gave me delicious sharp cheese later.  But not too long after I submitted to my weary legs and began to walk.  And gosh darn it we really were almost there!  I realized that the transition area lay right ahead of me so I ran to hand off to Jamie.  I gotta give a shout out to the police officer directing traffic at this crazy intersection.  She was commanding the entire area, and I felt completely safe.

 
I was officially done and totally proud of my performance on my last leg, a 9:21/pace.  I was also thrilled that I was D-O-N-E!!!  Jamie was off on her last leg, an unofficial costume leg for which she borrowed Crystal's rainbow tutu.  This leg was a four mile run that continued the upward climb.
 
 
We laughed our butts off at some of the costumes runners were wearing.  One poor runner was dressed as Daphne from Scooby Doo and was carrying a pretty large inflatable Scooby!  Jamie managed to keep her smile even after that brutal climb with a 10:55/pace!  She handed off to Aaron who would now be running an extreme down, because after all, what goes up (and up and up) must come down. 
 
 

You could smell the brakes from all the vehicles once we reached the transition area, the downhill was no joke!!!
 
Poor Aaron handed off to Joe one final time and hobbled off to the van, still pulling in a 9:33/pace.  Joe was heading out on his longest leg, a 6.2 mile run.  Because he didn't have any means of carrying water we came up with a plan to give him some midway.  That worked out well then we ventured to our next transition area.  Joe came in to hand off to Crystal one last time finishing his last leg with a 9:11/pace.  It was starting to get dark, so Crystal donned her reflective, blinking safety gear.
 
 
She would be running five mostly flat miles along a lake.  She had been pretty nervous about running in the dark, but she killed her final leg, flying in with an 8:16/pace.  She handed off to Mikey one final time.  He would be running a mostly flat 4.8 mile leg.  Somehow the way wasn't clearly marked and he ended up running the wrong way near the finish.  Fortunately Crystal spotted him and the six of us flew into the finish!  He wrapped us up with a killer 8:01/pace. 
 

Receiving our medals!
We have done it!!!
 

We finished the 100 mile race in 14 hours, 14 minutes, and 18 seconds placing 70th of 160 teams and our team average pace was 8:41.  The race was epic and I can't believe its over.  I seriously want to do it every year! 
 
GO GO POWER STRANGERS!!!
 
P.S. I totally stole all my photos for all three recaps of this race from Jamie and Crystal.  One of these days I will own a phone from this decade and take my own pictures.  Thanks, ladies!
 

100 on 100 Relay Recap - Part 2

So Mike just killed his first leg and I was off for my second leg, a 6.6 mile run with the first 3 being DOWN and the rest with an easy climb up. 
 
 
I was feeling like the downhill was never going to stop, until it did.  I ran through a little town and the folks directing traffic were really great.  I got to run across a nice covered bridge.  And then the uphill started.  I made it to the transition area with an average pace of 8:20 then learned of all the excitement with the van.  Apparently the Check Engine light came on and it had started making a weird clunking noise.  Fortunately we have a gifted mechanic on our team (so what if he's a flight mechanic?)  But Joe got the van up and running again.
 
 
 
I handed off to Jamie and she was off for her second leg, and the longest of the whole relay at 8.3 miles.  I was thinking it was really hot at this point and feeling pretty bad for her.  I thought that maybe we should stop to give her water, but ultimately we forged ahead to the next transition area.  She of course conquered this tough leg with a 9:17/pace.  She handed off to Aaron who would be running a flat and short 3.5 mile leg.  We quickly piled into the van to get to the next transition area ASAP knowing it wouldn't take Aaron long to get there.
 
 
We were right and he came flying in with a 7:42/pace to hand off to Joe.  His would also be a relatively flat leg with a distance of 4.2 miles.  He nailed it with an 8:10/pace and handed off once again to Crystal.
 

 
She took off for her 7.3 mile leg, and it was still hot but I think we were all beginning to adjust to that.  We discussed stopping to give her some water but we got the go-ahead signal as we passed her, so we went ahead to the transition area.  She made it there in no time at all with a 8:50/pace and looking strong.  Crystal handed off to Mike for his second leg, a mostly flat 5.3 mile run.  We all anticipated that he would kill this leg too so we booked it to the next transition area.  We were right because he made it there with an average pace of 8:03.
 
 

 
I nearly killed myself by tripping over that dumb cone into a moving car, but crisis averted and I survived!  I was very excited about my third (and final) leg.  I knew it was going to be the hardest for two reasons.  #1- I already ran twice this day and #2 it was my longest leg with the toughest terrain, the Vermont mountains!  To be continued....


100 on 100 Relay Recap - Part 1

I'm not sure whose idea this relay was in the beginning (pretty sure it was Crystal's) but it sounded amazing to me.  Spending a weekend in the Vermont mountains with my husband and best friends (and my soon-to-be new friends) running a relay, camping, kayaking.... sign me up!  Planning this get together could have potentially been much more difficult.  Think about it- one couple from PA, one couple from NY, and one couple from MA all congregating in VT.  We were meeting in a place none of us have ever been to and running a race none of us had previously heard of.  But we divvied up the to-do list and met up at the end hotel parking lot the evening before the race. 

Our amazing team photo by Crystal!

We would have liked to pick up our race packets the evening before, but as usual, my hubby and I were late.  We ended up just going to our start hotel, checked in, unloaded our stuff, then went to carbo load.  We found a nice little Italian joint with a very friendly, patient waitress.  We ate our fill then ordered a pizza to go, haha!  That's how we roll. 


So the six of us went back to the hotel, set our alarms, and said goodnight.  I'm still pretty impressed that we all got up, through the bathroom, checked out of the hotel and loaded back up into the minivan as quickly as we did.  We made it to the start at the Trapp Family Lodge with plenty of time to spare. 

At the start just a few minutes before my 7am start
 
Coffee is my pre-race Secret Weapon!  Shhh!
 
We had a nice little pow-wow before the start.  I have no idea if they did it for every start or not, but it was a really nice touch.  All the runners for the 7am wave put their hands in and Race Director Guy said things like, "Is anyone going to work today?  Is anyone taking care of the house or the kids today?"  It really amped me up.  The crowd counted down with the clock and we ran off into the fog.  My first leg, the first leg of the entire relay, was also the shortest leg of the entire relay at only 2.5 miles.  I knew I was going all out for this, holding nothing back.  It started with what seemed like a long descent into the woods, then eventually it turned into rolling hills, then back up toward the finish.  I knew we were getting closer when the woods started to thin out.  I saw the transition area and Jamie's red shorts and worked to get the slap bracelet off.
 
 
I ended up finishing my 2.5 mile leg in 17 minutes 30 seconds, which works out to a seven min pace!  It felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!  Jamie was off on her first leg, a 6.4 miler with a gnarly descent to start then some nice climbs to finish.
 
 
 
She came in looking strong for her hand off to A-A-Ron.  Her average pace was 8:40.  Can you say rock star?  Aaron's first leg was seven miles.  He and I have never done a relay before.  He's the kind of guy you love to hate.  Naturally athletic.  This kind of thing comes easy to him.  His "training" consisted of half a dozen six mile runs.  Nevertheless, he finished with an average 7:48 pace.  He handed off to Joe, who was also new to relays.
 
 
What I remember most about Joe's first leg was the terrible, terrible hill, because that's all his leg was!  It was a 5.5 mile leg with about 4 of those miles being UP!!  I remember driving by him and cheering, and then all of us groaning as we drove up what he would soon be running up.  He did an amazing job though coming in with an 8:40 pace.  He would be handing off to Crystal. Until this point it was pretty cool and cloudy, but the sun had broken through the clouds and it was warming up quickly.  Crystal slathered on the sunscreen to prep for her first leg, a relatively flat 5.2 mile run.
 
 
She, of course, nailed her leg with an average pace of 8:15.  She handed off to Mike who would be running a difficult all uphill 5.8 mile leg.
 

 
 
Mike came hauling a$$ into the transition area with an average pace of 8:30, he's just that awesome.  And with Round 1 complete, I would be heading off for my second leg.
 

 
Go Go Power Strangers!!!


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Run to the Rock Half Marathon 2013

I had a week of vacation coming up and my poor hubby did not.  So what's a girl to do?  I decided to split the week, half at home with my family and half with my BFF Crystal.  Once I had finalized the dates I'd be visiting I get a text from Crystal informing me that there is a race on the weekend I'd be there, 5k, 10k, and half marathon.  And what else would my BFF and I do when we get together but run a race?!  So I arrived on a Wednesday. 

Photo
Thursday we had a nice 5 mile trail run and I met a new friend Stacey!


Photo: 5 mile progression run along the canal with 2 of my favorite people. I hate to say it..but it feels like fall. #runner #running #marathontraining #friends #capecod
Friday we ran 5 miles along the canal with Crystal's hubby (and my favorite Coastie) Joe.
 
 
Then Saturday was race day!  Run to the Rock Half Marathon.  I had a sub-2 hour goal in mind.  I had a lot of doubts, but deep down I knew I could do it.  I knew I was capable.  But sometimes, stuff happens and things don't go as you had planned or hoped.  Crystal is deep into training for her MDI Marathon, and while she wanted a sub-2 as well, she wasn't sure if she was going to go for it.  So on the morning of the race I decided it was on!  If everyone else believes in me, maybe I should too.
Sub-2. It. Is. On!


Pre-race, all smiles!


We had picked up our race packet the night before, so we arrived, parked, and boarded the shuttle to the start.  There was a crazy line for the port-a-potties, but we made it to the bag check and the starting line with a few minutes to stretch.  We couldn't hear a thing, and all of a sudden there was an air horn and the crowd started to move.  We had decided to run our own races, so we lost each other right at the start.  The crowd took about two miles to de-clump, three to get into my stride.  I decided I was not going to look at my watch other than to check my time at Miles 3, 6, 9 and 12.  During my periodic checks I was reassured that my pace was where I needed to be to reach my goal. 

I gotta say, the volunteers did a great job!  There was plenty of water at all of the water stops and the people directing traffic did an amazing job.  Thanks to all the wonderful people who make events like these go smoothly!  So anyway, back to the race.  The course was described as very hilly and it did not disappoint!  None of them were bad, its just that there were so many of them!  There were few spectators along the course, but there was a bunch of little kids (I assume associated with The Boys & Girls Club) along side the road cheering and clapping, and it gave me such a tremendous boost.  So thank you to them! 

At Mile 12 I looked at my watch and discovered I had nearly 20 minutes to make it to the finish line and still reach my sub-2 goal.  What a feeling of relief and elation!  I crossed the line with an official time of 1:49:08.  I placed 13th of 77 in my division (F 30-39) and had an average pace of 8:20/M.  This race has given me a new 2014 Goal: sub-1:45 Half Marathon!

Remember how I said I lost Crystal at the start?  I had no idea if she was half a mile ahead of me or on my heels.  When I crossed the line I turned around and there she was!!!  She said she wasn't sure she had seen me until the final stretch, but dang it!  We could have been running together the whole time!

Mission accomplished!!!

 
Photo: How to hydrate after a race #protip #runner #running


We celebrated our victory with some yummy food and beer.......
 
 
....and later ice cream on the beach!
 
What a fun trip!  I'm sad to say goodbye but know that more adventures await us in the future.  Credit to Crystal for ALL the pics in this blog.  Someday (soon I hope) I'll have a real phone and take my own pictures!