Holiday Streak: Week One!

So I told you guys that I wanted to do the Runner’s World Holiday Streak, even though I was starting it late. Well guess what? I completed day EIGHT today! Let’s check out how I did really fast.

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December 5th (day one): 2.25 miles on the treadmill.. It wasn’t until afterwards on the stair master that I decided it was going to be the start of my Holiday Streak!

December 6th (day two): 5.25 miles.. I love my 5mile route, only sucks is that it’s not lit well enough to be a good ‘night path’. =[

December 7th (day three): 3.25 miles.. Fit this one in at 4:30pm.. It gets dark here at 5pm.. Got it in JUST before it got dark.

December 8th (day four): 3.10 miles.. Also love THIS 5K route, but again, not good for running in the dark.

December 9th (day five): 1.00 miles.. My first ‘just squeeze it in’ run. My roommate and I had a TON of errands to run, so I just did my mile, scarfed down dinner, then we ran errands for almost two hours.

December 10th (day 6): 1.01 miles.. Another ‘just get it in’.. but this time it’s because I was in a bad mood and just needed a glass of wine.

December 11th (day 7): 3.13 miles. FINALLY mapped out a 5K route that would be good at night! I was excited, plus I love running into ‘downtowns’!!

December 12th (day 8): 1.01 miles. Sadly on the DREADmill this morning.. BUT, I’m hoping that when I get home I’ll have some time before going to get dinner with a friend to do my new 5K route again!

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Well there you have it folks. 8 days and going strong!!

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Here. There. and EVERYWHERE!

Thanksgiving break is SOO needed. Let me tell you why.

1. I forgot my cell phone today. AKA: I feel unconnected to the world, which is both a blessing and a curse.

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2. I forgot to bring quizzes for my students to QUIZ class today. Luckily the peer mentor in my class was able to hold down fort for a few minutes while I ran back to my lab to grab them.

3. It’s SUPER cold in Michigan! Seriously.. As the international students in my lab informed me, it was -5 degrees Celcius out this morning… Bbbbrrrrr!

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4. I need to get back into the gym routine.. I AM going tonight! NOOOO excuses! Plus it’s warm in there, so that has to help!

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5. It’s Monday and I despise Mondays! Especially because we have a class that’s half of the semester that started up a few weeks ago.. so we have to be here, on campus, until class is done at 6:20pm.. And we got here at 8am.. ugh.

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6. I get to go to the Wings game on Wednesday! I mentioned this earlier, and it’s funny, the Friday that I mentioned that I was going to be going SOON, my boyfriend and his parents ended up on a spontaneous double date in Detroit and ended up going to the game that night!!

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7. I get to go to the Lions game on Thursday! Which might mean that I’m not going to be able to do the Turkey Trail Trot like I’d planned.. Mostly because I didn’t realize how much of a time crunch it was going to be.. BUT, if I can’t run the race like I wanted I’m going to get up and run in the morning anyways (Friday too)!

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8. I get to eat a GOOD home cooked meal on Thursday! And hang out with friends/family.. I’m excited!

9. Hopefully get to see MY family this coming weekend sometime! Thanksgiving with be with my boyfriend’s family, and while I love them, I hope I get to see my family sometime this break too!

and 10. I need to catch up on everything that I’ve been putting off… You know, like the, uh.. 15 papers or so that I need to read.. BLAH

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Hope you are all having a better Monday than I am!

Clarkston Back Roads Half Marathon Race Recap!

 

Let me start out with this.. I LOVED THIS RACE!!!! Alright, now let me get into to details.. You might want to grab some more coffee, this might be a long one..

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So, I left my house at 7:30am and decided to stop at Tim Hortons for a bagel and coffee.. Since coffee makes me.. ugh, go.. I know that it’s a necessity before a race.. and the longer before the race starts the better.. I also get so paranoid that I won’t ‘go’ before a race and need to halfway through.. and if you’ve ever done any distance running you know how painful that can be.. Well, luckily it wasn’t a problem!

I got into Clarkston about 8:05am and my parents were calling me to tell me that they had just parked by the starting line and that there were still spots! SCORE! So I pulled into a parking spot four down from them and then headed to the car to hang out with them.. We were early (race started at 9:30am), but luckily so because by about 8:30am they were shutting the road so that you couldn’t park where we were.

We used the porter-johns (a few times) and just hung out. Then came the debate on what to REALLY wear for the race.. It was about 42degs and windy.. I wanted to stick to my original plan of a t-shirt, and arm warmers, but I wasn’t sure. I decided, finally, to wear my running gloves and a headband to help keep me warm. I’m very happy with my decision.

The start of the race went smoothly. We started promptly (maybe a minute or so late) and then were off! I didn’t look ahead before we started, which was probably a good idea, because the first turn was an uphill! Talk about a good way to get your muscles warmed up!

It took me only about half of a mile to realize that my clothing choice was spot on, but it took me about another 2.5miles before I was in a ‘running groove’. Not a bad thing when you’re running 13.1 of course, but it did take me a bit longer than normal.

The first 3.5 miles or so were on roads. Mostly shut down to traffic (our lane was, but there was still some oncoming traffic from time to time), which was nice. Oh, and the first water station (about mile 2) had U.S. Army volunteers passing out water.. I’ll be the first to admit that I started tearing up! It was just so wonderful to see them there, with as much as they ALREADY do for us, then handing out water on top of it!!

Alright, next we started on the ‘back roads’.. I was a bit nervous at first. I haven’t run anything but sidewalks/roads in a while and I wasn’t sure how it was going to be. Plus, they kept saying before we started to watch out for potholes! It would be just my luck to twist my ankle in a pothole.

Well, luckily I didn’t!! I did see many pot holes, but nothing too crazy! What WAS crazy was the amount of people on the back roads that were out to support us! People with signs, cow bells, or just cheer “GO RUNNERS!” when we ran by! It was awesome! I’m not going to say that there were a TON of people, but for the fact that we were on the back roads in Clarkston, MI.. I’d say that it was a great turnout!

There wasn’t too much craziness through the first 11 miles of race. It was roads/back roads, then we got into rolling hills. I, unlike most people, really enjoy hills. I’m a strong uphill runner and I know that. So I did use it to my advantage. I could pass people on the uphills, and they would pass me on the downhill.

I should note here that I’ve read enough about half/full/ultra marathons and I know ‘bolting’ downhill can mess up knees if done in a poor manner.. SO, I’m one to hold back on running downhill! However, they were just as many uphills to make up for the ‘holding back’ on downhills, that it didn’t matter.

Around mile 7 I realized that my pace was a lot faster than I intended, but it felt good so I just went with it. My first 7 miles probably averaged around 9:35 or so, and the last 6 were closer to 9! I looked down a few times and my pace was under 9 minutes! But again, it felt good so I just went with it!

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I also hardly studied the map of the race.. so everytime we turned I got more and more turned around.. Luckily for me, at every turn there were people telling me to turn.. Honestly, like pointing and saying it.. So I didn’t get lost! However, with as good as I was feeling I probably wouldn’t have minded too much.

SO.. I said that the first 11miles weren’t crazy.. True.. But the last 2 or so.. UGH! THE UPHILLS NEVER ENDED!!! And that’s coming from someone who LIKES running uphill!! At one point we were going uphill, it leveled off for, oh, 10seconds, and then we turned and were going back uphill AGAIN! I’m not sure if you’re aware, but I believe that there is a MOUNTAIN in Clarkston, MI!!!

I’d say that the downhills made up for it, and if I was on a bike I’d probably say it would, but running a super steep downhill is not my cup of tea! So the HUGE downhill post HUGE uphill was only nice because it was giving my legs a minute or so break from climbing!

I ended up finishing in 2:03:05!!! That’s almost three minutes faster than Detroit Women’s half which was my previous PR!! AKA: I got a PR on Sunday!!! EVEN WITH THE HILLS!!

After the race I went to the women’s changing tent to get in clean/dry/warm clothes and then went back to the post-race tent to get a small bowl of chili and my free beer! Both were good, but I only finished half of the beer because it was just SO DARN COLD! (not bad, just cold).

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My little sister ended up finishing in 3:39! Not a PR for her, but she needs to work on running more (aka: training) before her next one. The hills that I described as ok for me, the downhills were KILLER for her! (She has bad knee problems.)

All in all, I LOVED the race!! I will mostly DEFINITELY be doing it again! Though next year I’ll make sure to bring a windbreaker vest just to keep my core a tiny bit warmer!

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If you made it all the way through that you deserve an… apple! You thought I was going to say cookie didn’t you?! 😉