"If one could run without getting tired I don't think one would often want to do anything else." -- C. S. Lewis

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pennsylvania Warrior Dash 2011

Welcome to the Warrior Dash!

Saturday June 11, 2011 maybe wasn't THE "craziest frickin' day of my life," but it certainly was A crazy frickin' day!   When I registered for the Pennsylvania Warrior Dash, I really wasn't sure what I was getting myself into other than lots of mud.  I'd watched some videos of previous Dashes, so I had a slight idea of what goes on...

I somehow talked my husband into running the 3.5 mile Warrior Dash with me and our youngest son, Tyler also joined in as did our oldest son, Jeremiah and his fiancee, Marlenah.  Good clean family fun!  We all signed up for the 3 p.m. "wave." 

The day of The Dash dawned cool and misty.  I'd been anticipating lots of heat and dressed accordingly, but I was wishing I had dressed just a bit warmer both before and after The Dash.  We had a nearly 2 hour drive to the Poconos (Albrightsville) where The Dash was being held this year.  Parking for The Dash was in a massive field, and participants were bussed from the parking area to Skirmish USA, a huge paintball facility, which is where the actual Dash was being held.   Once at Skirmish, we picked up our race packets which contained our race bib and timing chip, then dropped off our bag of stuff at the bag check facility.  Should have brought a bigger bag with more dry clothes to check in! 

I honestly have no idea how many people were in our wave, but there must have been several hundred at least.  Someone told us there were 10,000 people registered for Saturday and 8,000 registered for Sunday.  Not sure how accurate this is, but it's probably pretty close.  Jeremiah and Marlenah were running late and didn't make the 3 p.m. start, but they were able to start with a later group, thankfully.  Anyway, we lined up at the starting line and looked around and admired all the various costumes that people were wearing...everything from Waldo to dudes sporting nothing but thongs.  Ouch.

The race course was mostly wooded, and the trail was full of rocks and tree roots.  I really didn't have the opportunity to admire the scenery because my eyse were glued to the trail in front of me so I could avoid spraining an ankle (which I'm very prone to doing).

Early in the race, pre-mud and sweat.  Note my intense gaze at the ground ahead of me...trying to avoid spraining an ankle!

 Still keeping my eyes glued to the terrain!

There were about a dozen various obstacles the entire 3.5 miles of the run, everything from crawling through tunnels to trudging through mud,  climbing over 16 foot verticle walls with nothing but a knotted rope as an aid, scrambling over wrecked cars, slogging through waist-deep water, running through dozens of tires lying on the ground and leaping over fire.  The very first encounter I had with a mud pit, my right shoe got sucked right off my foot the first step I took!  Now I know why so many people were Duct Taping their shoes on!  Next time...

Oh, THAT'S why they Duct Tape their shoes to their feet...

As I was running through this course I remember thinking that I was going too slow for a "race" mainly because I had to be careful where I stepped.  I tried to convince myself that the main reason I was doing this was for the FUN and MUD, but the competitive spirit inside me was disappointed at my slow pace.  Amazingly, after the results were tallied I ended up getting 3rd in my age group for Saturday!  We didn't stick around for the awards ceremony that evening because I had no clue (until I saw the results online a day or two later).  Unfortunately, awards don't get mailed, so I'm out of luck there.  I ran the 3.5 mile course in 42:03 which comes out to a 12:01 pace.  I missed getting second in my age group by a mere 12 seconds, and I keep thinking, "if my shoe just hadn't gotten sucked off in the mud...."

All in all a most excellent day!  The fire hose afterwards was quite....invigorating!  Talk about cold water!  That was more painful than any of the obstacles!  There were piles and piles of discarded muddy shoes everywhere.  The day was drizzly, so there was mud everywhere too, and that just added to the whole mud-fest atmosphere.  And I'm still in awe at the ability of some women that I saw who were able to change their clothes while draped in nothing but a large bath towel.  How'd they do that?!

There were piles of muddy shoes everywhere!

 Here, warriors are getting a wash...

I'll definitely be signing up to do more of these races in the future.  Next time I'll Duct Tape my shoes to my feet, bring more dry and warmer clothes, and try just a little harder.

More photos from The Pennsylvania Warrior Dash...

Jeremiah and Marlenah navigating the fire obstacle as they near the finish.

Yours truly navigating the fire obstacle just before the mud pit finish...

Another view of the fire...

  And after the fire came the mud pit just before the finish line where we had to slither under barbed wire.

A happy, muddy warrior, though my mud is drying so it doesn't look quite so bad.

Happy feet!

Saving the best for last....we were PHOTO BOMBED!  Check out the dude to the right...wearing a bra and grinning for the camera!  Love it!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Photographic Evidence....

Race photos from the Gettysburg North-South Marathon arrived the other day.  Looking through them I had to chuckle at them as I obviously morphed from an oh-so-happy marathon runner to a when-is-it-gonna-end-already? marathon runner.  See for yourself:
Somewhere early in the race.  See how happy I am?!

 Still fairly early in the race as I'm bookin' down a hill.  Looking perky and energetic with my magnificent hairdo!

 Will this race never end?!  Obviously struggling to stay alive.  There's a very, very large overweight women just ahead of me, somewhere after mile 20 (you can just see her elbow to the left in the photo).  There is NO WAY she's going to beat me!!!

Crossing the finish line!!  Somewhere between happy and exhausted....

Monday, May 2, 2011

Gettysburg North-South Marathon Race Report

And so begins my attempt to describe yesterday's (May 1) Gettysburg North-South Marathon...

Click on photos to view larger versions....

Before I begin, have you ever noticed how nice and friendly marathoners are?!  I don't think I've ever met a crabby, cranky, nasty distance runner.  At least during races they seem that way; perhaps in the real world they do the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thing.

At any rate, I've been fascinated with the Civil War, and Gettysburg in particular, since I was very young.  Don't ask me why because I really don't know.  So I was fairly excited to learn of the inaugural Gettysburg North-South Marathon, and registered ASAP.  The cutoff was at 1000 participants and the marathon sold out before too long.

I'd been training for this marathon for months; this is my first one of 2011.  Strangely, the week leading up to the event saw me feeling rather "yucky"....no energy and just feeling blah in general.  I really didn't anticipate doing very well, though I was secretly hoping I could come close to a 4 hour  run based on my recent 1/2 marathon time (Garden Spot Village) several weeks ago.

Gettysburg is a 2-hour drive from my home, so I opted to do the packet pick-up the morning of the race.  This meant my alarm rattled me awake at 2:45 a.m., my usual waking time during the work week.  Unfortunately I didn't get to bed until late, so I only got 5 hours of sleep.  The drive down was uneventful, though the entire time I was wishing I was back home in bed....And thank goodness for my Droid and its GPS capabilities.  How'd we ever manage in the "old days" when we actually had to use a map or written directions to find our way?!  One of the interesting things about this particular marathon is, the North and South were pitted against one another.  This meant the Northerners would park in one location and the South in another.  Shuttle buses transported us to the starting destination.  Northerners got dark blue race bibs, and Southerners got gray.  At the end of the marathon, results of the winners from both sides would be tallied up to see which "team" won, and all participants on the winning team would receive a prize.

As I was parking my car, I saw another car park opposite me in the lot, and out came someone that I knew I should know based on his racing outfit...an acquaintance from DailyMile, James D.  We met up on the shuttle bus and it was a pleasure to meet this fun and interesting fellow!  Like I mentioned earlier, marathoners tend to be a friendly lot.  We had a nice chat the short distance to the packet pick-up/staging area and hung out there until it was time to move on down the road to the starting area.  While waiting, we met up with Eric, another DailyMile member, and also a fellow member of the Marathon Maniacs.

Packet pick-up and staging area

I always fret about what I should wear during a marathon....I hate to carry extra baggage with me, but will I be prepared for rain?  The heat?  The cold?   And what about the extra food/water that I'll need?  Will the port-a-pots run out of TP?  Heaven forbid!!  The weather forecast for Gettysburg on race day was suggesting starting temps in the low 50's (degrees F) and ending temps in the 70's with a chance of showers thrown in for good measure.  OK.  Cold, then hot, and rainy.

So, I opted for shorts, t-shirt, and my rain jacket to start, plus my fanny pack loaded with energy-boosting snacks (M&M's and Power Bar Energy Gel Blasts--raspberry) + a small container of water.  And Kleenex.  And my car keys.  And my Droid (gotta take pix!).  And I had a baseball cap tucked into one of my coat pockets.  The jacket felt great during the first two miles, then it came off for the duration of the run.  Perhaps I should have chosen the trash bag overcoat instead?  I did take advantage of the bag check, and had a bag with extra shoes and socks (in case of a soaking rain), my sweat pants, etc.  I could have put my car keys in there, but that's just scary (even though I've never had a bag check mishap).

 Moments before the start of the race

The race was scheduled to start at 7:45 a.m., and it did.  We had to walk several blocks from the packet pick-up/staging area to the start of the race, which was fine because that made for a nice little warm-up of sorts.  We stood around and waited for a few minutes, got our pictures taken by a stranger, then the race started and we were off!  James D. and I ran together for a short distance, then parted ways until the end of the race.  Eric had a speedier agenda, and once the race started we didn’t see him at all.

 Just before the race starts, DailyMile members meet up: (L-R) Deb, James, and Eric. Great picture of the guys, but what was *I* doing?!  Taking a nap, of course!

The marathon course went through a tiny portion of the battlefield/park area, which was beautiful.  The majority of the roads, however, were country roads.  Roads weren't closed to traffic, so runners had to stay on guard the entire distance.  I only heard one driver swearing up a storm at the runners.

Runners seen as tiny white specks on the race course

The race course wound its way through some beautiful countryside, and this orchard was just beginning to come into bloom.

Water stops/aid stations were located every two miles along the course.  They did a great job, and my only complaint was at the first one either they didn't have enough volunteers to pour the water, or they grossly underestimated how fast those cups of water and Gatorade would fly off the table!  A lot of us had to stand around and wait while our cups were being filled.  That and in just about all the marathons I've ever run, trash receptacles are never placed far enough away from the tables to actually be utilized.  If a runner is going to actually place their empty cup in the trash can, they either need to down their water in one massive gulp or stand around while they drink.  Most runners just grab their cup and go, and they're not done drinking until they're quite a ways down the road, then they toss their cup onto the ground, creating tons of extra work for volunteers in the clean-up department.  If the trash cans were placed 50 yards down the road, what a lot of work would be saved!

The aftermath of a water stop

As I mentioned, the course was beautiful!  It was hilly, but in a kind and gentle way.  No massive steep hills, at least not in my opinion.  If you're used to pancake terrain, these hills might have seemed like monsters.  The course was well-marked and there were tons of volunteers along the way.

 A well-marked course

Somewhere around the 10 mile mark my right foot started to hurt.  It brought back bad memories of the left foot pain I experienced at mile 6 in the inaugural Washington D.C. marathon (2002) that caused such a severe case of tendonitis that I was in a cast and on crutches for 6 weeks and unable to run for years.  I slowed down quite a bit, which I found extremely frustrating because at the halfway point I was on course to set a new 26.2 PR, even after slowing for several miles prior.  The pain seemed to subside when I'd slow to a walk, but would resume when I started running again for any length of time.  And so that is how the last 16 miles went...run, walk, walk, walk, run, walk, run, walk, walk, walk....

 Only 10 miles to go!  Right about now is when I always ask myself, "What did I sign up for?!"

At about mile 23 it started to sprinkle a little, and I even put my ball cap on for about a mile.  Thankfully that's all that it did, and it let up without causing any kind of soaking!  The closer I got to the finish line, the more I wanted to RUN, and so I did....I'd see a cluster of people ahead of me and think, "if I can just get past them".  Plus I kept looking at my watch and was determined to at least finish in under 5 hours. The crowd was outstanding at the finish line, and cheered for everyone as they approached the line.  I was impressed that our name was flashed up with our time as we crossed the line....those timing chips are amazing things!  My official finish time was 4:50:36.  A beautiful finishers' medal was placed around our neck once over the line, and we were handed some water and Gatorade. 

 Gorgeous finishers' medals!!

James D. caught up with me after the race and we hobbled back to the staging area together, reliving parts of the race and commiserating over our aches and pains.  We grabbed some bananas, bagels, chips and drinks while waiting for the results to be tallied.  The winning "team" (North or South) would all receive pint glasses.  As you can see from the first photo, the winning team was the North.  By the time the awards were all handed out, the rain started coming down, and I can only imagine that the walkers on the course were getting soaked!  We hopped on the shuttle bus and made our way back to the parking lot.  I happened to glance at the license plate of the car beside mine and discovered the nifty vanity plate shown below.  As it turns out, it belongs to one of the guys I was talking to in the seat in front of me on the bus.

 I spied this license plate on my way to the car after the race...that pretty much says it all.

I would like to say that the trip home was uneventful, but it wasn't.  I was about 10 minutes or less from Gettysburg on Route 15 and traffic came to a massive backup.  We were all diverted off of 15 onto a smaller road for about 5 miles, but that too, backed up.  Apparently there was a nasty accident which closed the highway, and what should have been a 2 hour drive took about 3-1/2.  Imagine sitting in a car in the rain with a hurting right foot working the brake and accelerator in stop-n-go traffic after running 26.2 miles.  I could barely stay awake!  But I made it home without incident, thankfully.

Today, the day after the marathon, my foot is still a bit weird feeling, but it doesn't hurt as bad as it did yesterday.  And strangely, I don't have any muscle aches at all.   Normally I can barely walk after a marathon due to muscle pain, and going up and down stairs is just, well, painful and nearly impossible!  But not today.  I'm not sure why exactly...is it because I had the forethought to take some arnica tablets after the run?  (Arnica tablets are an herbal remedy that helps reduce muscle aches and stiffness, swelling from injuries, and discoloration from bruises).  If that's the case, I'm hugely impressed and will take those little puppies after every race!

So, I'm babying my foot by staying off of it as much as possible, putting ice on it, and taking the arnica.  I'm registered to run a half marathon this Saturday, but I honestly don't know if that will happen now or not. Time will tell....

And I forgot to mention that the shirts we got with our race packet were fairly awesome, too!  Love marathon swag!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Robbins 5K Trail Run Race Report

The goods:  t-shirt, race bib, first place trophy (female age group), muddy shoes, and a fat cat taking it all in.

I hadn't really considered running 5 or 10Ks at this late date in my life until someone on DailyMile suggested that my training times were consistent with current 5 & 10K finishing times.  Really?  I ran a couple 5 & 10Ks back in high school and college (30+ years ago), and quite honestly, I sucked pretty badly at them.  I always considered myself a slow distance runner, and, well, I am for the most part.  Compared to some I'm quite speedy, to others I'm a turtle.  So, I signed up for this 5K, which is part of the River Towns Race Series, not quite knowing what to expect.  Based on my recent half marathon pace I was hoping I could maintain an 8:30 min/mile for this considerably shorter distance.

Race day dawned chilly (low 40's F) and raining.  Drat!  I hate racing in the rain.  I wore black tights,  long sleeved t-shirt and my rain jacket, plus gloves.  Hubby Dean decided to accompany me to the race since it was so close to home (1/2  hour drive) and a short race.  It's so much more fun going to a race with someone you know/love.  Once we finally figured out how to get to the start of the race, we pulled into the parking lot and the rain magically subsided.  Thank you!!  There was plenty of mud everywhere, and this was just a taste of things to come!

I picked up  my race packet, attached my bib to my left thigh and strapped the timing chip onto my ankle as per instructions.  Interestingly, my number ended in "76" (276), just like my Garden Spot 1/2 Marathon number (776).  Lucky number, perhaps?  We got to the starting point in plenty of time, so we had a bit of a wait before the race actually started.  Lots of time to stretch, visit the potty, chat with folks and try to stay warm!

This is a fairly informal race, and there were a couple hundred folks here for both the 5 & 10K races, but I couldn't say exactly how many.  This race is run on the oldest rails-to-trails in the US, so that's pretty cool.  It was mostly flat with a few little dips and rises, but nothing drastic.  It was mostly run in the woods and on trails, and that's also very cool.  I love running in the woods!  We were told that with so much rain recently there would be plenty of mud to trod through.   We were also told there were wildflowers blooming along the trail, and to be mindful of an area of the trail that had washed out.

I decided to start toward the front of the pack this time since it often takes forever to even get to the starting line.  And interestingly, even though we wore timing chips, there was nothing at the start to "read" our chips.  So I guess everyone got the same start time and the chip simply read our ending time.

Anyway,  the race started a few minutes late, but that's OK.  Once everyone is running, who cares?!  At least it wasn't raining!  Since I'm so prone to spraining my ankles on even the tiniest things, I had to keep a pretty close eye on the trail and couldn't really appreciate the beauty that I was running through.  Back in college I once stepped on an acorn while running and sprained my ankle so badly that I was on crutches for days.  Didn't want a repeat of that, especially with the Gettysburg Marathon coming up a week later!

It generally takes me a good mile or so to actually get "warmed up" to the point where I can run without feeling too labored.  It's always that way for me....that first mile just feels horrible, like I want to quit because I feel like I'll never catch my breath.  Then, magically, something kicks in and I feel like I can run and run and run.  So once that first mile was over, I felt pretty good.  About the halfway point I heard a fellow just behind me mutter, "I haven't seen any d**n wildflowers", which made me chuckle for some reason.  He ran beside me for a short distance, then dropped back.  About two miles in, Wildflower guy (Joe) came up beside me again and we ran that last mile together, talking, dodging mud holes, trying not to slip on the slippery wooden bridges, and simply stomping through the mud.  That's the quickest I can recall a mile going by....makes such a difference if you're running alone or with someone.  Joe went on to run the 10K, which was simply the 5K course run twice.

I was stunned when I crossed the finish line in 25:14, an 8:08 pace!  We were told our times as we crossed the line and handed a popsicle stick with our overall place.  I came in 15th overall and as it turns out, I was the 3rd female overall and first in my age group (50-54).  I was elated!

 A not-so-clear photo of me accepting my first place (female age group) trophy

So, now a seed has sprouted in the back of my mind, and I'm wondering if maybe I shouldn't train for some shorter distances (5's and 10's) and maybe get my times even better.   Nothing boosts one's ego like a bit of success!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Garden Spot Village 1/2 Marathon Race Report

My race bib and finisher's medal

Finally, after a 9-year hiatus from running, I've completed my first race, a 1/2 marathon which I ran intending it to be a training run for the upcoming Gettysburg North-South Marathon on May 1.  Talk about nervous!  It was like I was running my first marathon all over again!  I'd been watching the extended forecast for April 9 in New Holland, Pennsylvania, and for days all that was forecast was rain, rain, rain.  And cold.  And thunderstorms.  New Holland is about a 2 hour drive from where I live, so I opted to travel down that way the day before and stay with my son, who lives about 40 minutes from New Holland.  I packed enough clothes to last me a week, I think....I just wasn't sure what to expect, weather-wise, and I wanted to be prepared.  Thankfully the morning of the race dawned overcast and cool (40-ish degrees F), but NO RAIN!  Woot!  Perfect for a long run.

Race morning I ate a banana, about 1/2 cup of rice (white...didn't want to add too much fiber at this point!), and a small piece of vegetarian quiche that my future daughter-in-law made (and was extremely delicious, by the way!).  I'd been hydrating heavily the day before, so didn't drink coffee or too much water the morning of the race.  I HATE needing to stop at the port-a-pots along the race course.  For supper the night before I stopped at a McDonalds, something I haven't done in years (!!), and got a fish sandwich, sans tarter sauce.  I now eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but occasionally eat fish/seafood so I'm technically a pescatarian.  I've also eliminated most grains from my diet, along with all sugars and anything that will drastically raise my blood sugar in an attempt to combat the follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that I struggle with.  However, I NEED carbs in my diet when running long distances. In my former marathon life I always stopped and got an Arby's roast beef sandwich the night before the marathon, soooooo, the fish sandwich sort of took the place of that.  Also for supper Marlenah, my future daughter-in-law, served up some delicious roasted asparagus, baked sweet potatoes, and a to-die-for quinoa/feta/spinach salad.  And to top it all off, I had a small glass (or 2) of their homemade Concord wine.  Bliss.

  Mad rush to use the port-a-pots at the start of the race......

So, back to race day morning.  I arrived at the start of the race, Garden Spot Village (a beautiful place, by the way!), nearly an hour before the race started.  This gave me time to wander around, use the port-a-pot, stretch, warm-up, check out the competition (yeah, right!) and in general just make myself more nervous than I already was!  I dressed in black tights, gloves, long-sleeved t-shirt and a black Livestrong short-sleeved t-shirt over that, and wore my running jacket over that.  I opted to NOT wear my fanny pack since there are pockets in my jacket to stash my cell phone (so I could take pix!), Kleenex, and little plastic bag of M&M's.  I figured with a water/Gatorade stop every 2 miles I wouldn't need to carry extra H2O.  It was bliss not running with a fanny pack smacking me all along the way, though the pockets in my jacket were full, so that was nearly as bad.

Looking towards the starting line from my position in the pack of about 1,000.

I lined up about 3/4 of the way to the back of the pack.  In retrospect I should have gone a little closer to the front of the pack since they didn't use chips for this race.  I could have shaved a good 20 seconds (maybe 30) off my overall time if I'd been closer to the front.  With around 1,000 people in the race, it takes a while for the pack to cross the start line.

The pack started moving, and honestly, I couldn't tell when the race started until I heard people cheering and they began surging forward!  How'd I miss that?!   Either I'm getting deaf, or they just didn't use any kind of loud noise to start things off.  And I nearly forgot to turn on my Garmin Forerunner 305 until about a minute before the race started....with the day as overcast as it was, I'm lucky the Garmin was able to acquire the satellites in time!

Thankfully the pack moved kind of slow at first....made for a nice warm-up.  I honestly felt rather yucky at the start of the race; kind of like my blood sugar was out of whack, and was afraid I'd be doing lots of walking.  But, I kept trudging on and kept popping M&M's every half mile or so to make sure I had enough energy.  I drank either water or Gatorade at every water station.  And that first set of port-a-pots....I really, really needed to visit, but saw people hop into them just as I was getting there, and hoped I could last until the second set.  A wise old experienced marathoner once told me that if you can make it past that first set of port-a-pots, DO, because they're always the busiest.  Glad I heeded that advice, because the second set was un-occupied and I was in and out in under a minute I think.
And I must say that, even though I live and train in Central Pennsylvania and hills are everywhere you go, this was indeed a hilly course!  The hills weren't outrageously huge or steep, but they were there, and for anyone not used to hills, well, I feel sorry for them trying to compete in this particular race!  I positively HATE running up hills, but I LOVE running down them!  I tend to walk up steep or very long hills just to conserve energy, then I barrel down the other side.  Works well for me.  Gravity is my friend on the downhills.  At the end of this race, a fellow that I constantly passed (on the downhills), then got passed by (on the uphills), came up to me and said, "I have to ask...when you were training for this race, did you have someone drive you to the top of a mountain and drop you off so you could run down it?!"  Made me laugh because, yeah, I do tear down the hills pretty quickly :-)  The hilliest marathon I ever ran has to be the Stowe Marathon (Vermont).  Monster hills!

 Somewhere along the course...

I kept checking my Garmin and could see that I was keeping a pretty decent pace.  When I started the race I was HOPING I could finish in 2 hours, but realized that in all likelihood it would be closer to 2:10 or 2:15.  My legs felt great and I didn't get too out of breath, but towards the halfway point I started feeling tired....so I popped more M&Ms :-)  A couple miles from the turnaround point, the eventual winner came streaking towards me and passed by in a blur....whoa!  That dude is FAST!

 One thing I enjoyed about this course is the fact that it was mostly all rural.  Lots of Amish families sitting along the roadside cheering us on.  One family in particular was overly enthusiastic, and a small child was blasting a trumpet every few seconds as we passed.  Made me smile and I was thankful that they took time out of their busy schedules to cheer us on.

The closer I got to the end of the race, the more I realized that if I kept the pace I was going, I might actually finish in under 2 hours!  Talk about motivation!  I picked up the pace just a tad, and could feel the effects from that, but trudged on....about 1/2 mile from the end I spied an "older" woman ahead of me and thought perhaps I could beat her and maybe actually place in my age group, me being an "older" woman and all....so I picked it up even more and zipped past her about 1/4 mile from the end. 

Moments after crossing the finish line
I crossed the finish line in 1:59:41....19 seconds to spare!  I was actually quite overwhelmed that I finished in under 2 hours and came very close to getting teary-eyed at the thought!

Very nice finisher's medals!

The finisher's medal was placed around my neck, I was handed a bottle of delicious water, and was given a Mylar "blanket" to keep warm.  At the time I didn't need the blanket, but it sure felt good later as I started cooling down and my sweat-dampened clothes started sucking the heat out of me.

I wandered over to the recovery tent, grabbed some granola, orange juice, several recovery bars, coffee....mmmm.  I looked for several people I've "met" on DailyMile, but didn't see anyone that looked familiar, though since I'd never actually met them I really didn't know what they might look like other than the few photos I've seen.

I stuck around for the awards ceremony on the off chance that maybe I'd actually placed in my age group.  Apparently, according to the official results posted on-line, I got first in my age group (50-54), however, the awards that were handed out were for "grandmasters", which I believe were the over 50 crowd.  I missed placing in that by 2 minutes.  I'm not sure how the placing worked for this race....maybe the top 3 were given grandmaster awards, then the next ones that placed were placed according to their age group (if that makes sense), because the top 3 grandmasters were all in the 50-54 age group.  Go figure!  So it's almost like I got 4th????  Don't know.

So, I'm stoked.  I'm now thinking that if I train a little harder, maybe I can become a bit more competitive.  One good thing about being an older runner is, there's not quite as much competition.  Interestingly, if I had been younger with the time I had, I would have gotten a first place trophy in the 19 and under category.  This old lady kicked young girl butt!  

The 2 hour drive home was uneventful, though I got very, very tired.  Looking ahead to future races...I've got a 5K trail run coming up on April 23, then the Gettysburg Marathon on May 1 and the Rivertowns 1/2 Marathon on May 7.

And I must say....I love going to races for many reasons.  One thing I love is to look around at all the runners and see so many people that are in shape!  Most places, (malls, etc.) you go all you see is fat, obese, out of shape people tottering around.  At races, it's wonderful!

NOTE:  Several days after the race I received a small but heavy package in the mail containing the following award.  Guess I left too early!!

 The award I didn't know I'd won!

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I'll start off this blog with something easy...a photo essay of all things 26.2. It seems we stumble upon subliminal marathon hints everywhere we go.... Here are some 26.2 photos that I've taken recently; more to come as I run across them:

My trusty and well-worn watch

Trip odometer

Fill 'er up! At the gas pumps

Temperature outside the other day as seen on the thermometer in my kitchen window


Salt-encrusted sticker on the back of my frozen car