Tag Archives: Athena

Oshkosh 1/2 marathon 2012 race recap and cute dogs :)

It was a beautiful, slightly chilly day for a race. Brian and I woke up at 5 am, got dressed and ate breakfast (yogurt, bananas, chia, agave), then headed off to Oshkosh. We got there around 6, and I stopped at the race HQ to pick up my bib. I was so happy to see Nancy, Thomas, Kim, and Kim’s awesome grandma there. Thomas ran the 5K this morning and took 1st in his age group and 3rd overall! Way to go, Thomas! πŸ™‚

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Brian and I continued our race tradition in Oshkosh and walked over to a little coffee shop, where we got coffee, kept warm, and hung out.

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Brian is the best spectator and race support system. πŸ™‚

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At 6:50, we left the coffee shop and walked the block to the starting line.

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I started the race with a track jacket and thin gloves, since it was chilly. It was about 40 degrees. The first few miles were good- I went out at about a 9:00 pace. I took a few Gu Chomps at mile 3, but got a little sick to my stomach; I tried to ignore that feeling. I ran with the 2:00 pace group for a while, but I knew that I couldn’t keep that up, so I let myself stay back when they pulled ahead around mile 4. I played a lot of mind games with myself in miles 4-6. I kept looking at the people in front of me and wondered who might be competing with me in Athena. I intentionally slowed my pace to about 9:15 and thought if I hung in there at that pace, I could make my goal of 2:02. Brian was waiting for me at mile 6 and took my jacket and coat, encouraged me, and blew me a kiss.

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I continued along for three miles until I saw him again. During that time, I tried to eat a few more Gu Chomps, but thought I might just yak them up, so I decided to forgo solid-ish fuels for the rest of the race and stick with Gatorade on the course.
Miles 9-12 are kind of rough in this race. We run through a business area and there aren’t many spectators. The best part of that section was when a 65-ish year old woman cheered me on and said, “What is this? A fashion show? You look great!” It was the cutest thing ever. I was wearing a new purple running skirt, so I was pretty cute, haha.
I started thinking about TK and Rachael around mile 10. A few tears escaped my eyes, but with all the salt from sweating, the crying hurt. 😦
The last few miles, my baby cows calves were cramping. I was afraid that would happen- but I pressed on. As a result, I had to take more walk breaks than I wanted to. 😦
I still knew that a PR was in my future, so I was able to will myself in through the finish line chute…

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…with a final time of 2:03:30. That’s two minutes faster than my previous 1/2 PR, so yay for that. Second race for Rachael in the books. πŸ™‚

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On to the not-as-fun part.
So, I mentioned in this post that I signed up to run this race as an Athena. I thought I’d have a chance of getting a good placement in this division. Even with running a new PR, I placed 9th out of 17. I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t disappointed in myself. I’d be lying if I said that a part of me didn’t feel really defeated. If I can’t even compete realistically against the other big girls, then why bother competing at all? I’m still sort of struggling with that concept. It might have been a mistake to mentally give myself permission to compete for real- I might have been setting myself up for failure.
I may just go back to trying to compete against myself for a while. :-/
Anyway, I stopped at the stretching tent for a little help with recovery. They had a chiropractor there who was VERY helpful for my sore calves and hips.

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And of course, I had to have a cup of Drop Dead Blonde. Thanks, Point Beer, for being an sponsor! It was like a little taste of home πŸ™‚

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Brian drove me back to New London and I immediately hopped in the shower. I was one salty, sweaty, cold runner girl. After my shower, we went outside to play with our pups. Brace yourself for some shameless pictures of my cute pups. πŸ™‚

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Abbie got a “war wound” on her nose from a branch in the woods.

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That didn’t stop her from helping with shucking the corn!

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Poor cute thing. She also entirely covered herself in mud. I rested my legs a bit, I was feeling pretty tired after that run.

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We had a great lunch of turkey burgers, roasted veggies, and sweet corn (thanks, Jean!), then packed up and headed home.

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That’s all for now. Sorry to be a downer, but the bottom line is that I’m proud of my PR, and I hope there are more to come. I’m still as strong as ever!

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Miles this year: 210.3

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Running: the fun stuff, then the serious stuff.

I have a LOT weighing on my mind today. The last couple days have been pretty darn great. The temperatures cooled a bit to be more seasonal, and I had a few great running days in a row.
Awesome things to note: the co-op has my favorite mint tea on sale! I left a little bit for other people, but bought a bunch myself.

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Luke was working, and we had a few laughs over the Great Quinoa Shortage of 2012, a.k.a. they’re still out.

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Yesterday morning, I had a coffee date with my friend Jen, from high school. She is still as adorable as ever, and she’s in the midst of planning a beautiful wedding to her longtime love, Josh. She’s in town to do some clinical work or something over at Marshfield clinic, so I grabbed her for coffee while she was in my neck of the woods. It turns out that yesterday was her birthday! Happy Birthday, Jen! πŸ™‚
After that lovely coffee date, I did something semi-stupid. I decided to start eating chia seeds, so I put a whole tablespoon in my yogurt. A tablespoon is a normal serving, but probably not the best to start with on your first day, right before a run. Danny stopped over so we could log a few miles together. He’s from Nashville, so it was extra awesome to catch up with him.

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Hmm, I should have called this week ‘Reuniting with Far-away Friends Week’ or something. πŸ™‚ Danny was kind enough to slow his normal 5 min/mile to my 9:30 min/mile… With a few walk breaks. I’m not going to lie, I thought I might lose those chia seeds a few times. Luckily, I’d rather die than embarrass myself by puking during a regular run (especially in front of people!), so I held it together. 7 miles of catching up with Danny: check.

One of the things that Danny and I talked about is something that has just been on my mind constantly lately. Thanks to Danny for letting me air my grievances during our run πŸ™‚
It has to do with speed, especially when it comes to slower runners. I’ll preface this by saying that while I am continually getting faster, I know that I am by no means a fast runner. A couple years ago, I ran DePere’s Noodleini 15K in the Athena division. Athena (for women) and Clydesdale (for men) are weight-based divisions- opposed to age-group divisions. The reasoning behind offering these categories as competitive options seems to make sense; it is more comparable for a 170-pound woman to race against another 170-pound woman, compared to a 170-pound woman racing against a 110-pound woman, even if they are the same age. Until that Noodleini race, I’d never placed in my age group. In fact, I was so far down the list, compared to other 20-29 year olds, that I often didn’t even look at my actual placement. I was simply interested in my official time, improving my race times, and competing with myself. Once I crossed the finish line, I finished second in the Athena division. I got this TROPHY!

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It was the first time that I’d gotten a trophy for an athletic event (I can put it next to all my hordes of MathCounts, music, and dance awards…). That race lit a new competitive fire in my heart- and I’d never felt that as a runner. I saw my name with a single digit placement next to it. It felt like some sort of small miracle.

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A few quick Google searches later, I realized that the majority of serious runners sort of consider those weight-based divisions to be a joke. I read a lot of opinions saying that all runners should race against each other, regardless of weight- and if the heavier runners think it’s unfair, then we should just lose some weight. While I still have body fat to lose, I am a pretty muscular girl, and I like it that way! I love being able to load my kayak on my car by myself, and help hold drywall during remodeling, and hold my own in a push-up contest. The runners in the weight-based divisions are often tall, broad-shouldered, muscular athletes. Take a peek at the times on that race’s division winners- those racers are fast! The Clydesdale men continually impress me with their speed. Racing in Athena and Clydesdale are by no means a piece of cake.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not overly offended by the opinions of other runners. Everyone is entitled to one! I just wonder if continuing to race in Athena categories is a mistake. I do realize that if I’m upset that my times are slow, and if I’m convinced that it’s because I’m lugging around a 160 pound body- I’m the only one who can change that. The only thing I know for sure right now is that I registered to run the Oshkosh 1/2 in Athena, and I’ve never felt so motivated to train for speed. I want to add another trophy to my rack of medals. πŸ™‚

Enough serious stuff. Back to yesterday…
After a quick shower and some photo sorting, I made a delicious lunch. I was going to have a chicken salad, but then I decided to skip the leafy greens and just put everything I like in a bowl. Sounds reasonable, right? Chicken, onions, tomatoes, spicy mustard, Sriracha sauce, red grapes, walnuts, snap peas, a little tiny bit of mayo, and a bunch of spices. That disappeared faster than the fraud on my checking account last week.
(PS Chase is GREAT at catching that stuff!)

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I forgot to take a photo of Dale and I rehearsing last night. I’ll post a video soon, then you can catch a glimpse of this ‘dancing’ that I do. I’ll have proof soon. πŸ˜€

I was all set to head home from dancing and go straight to bed when Brian text me to let me know that after a somewhat hilarious afternoon at the driving range, Kenny and Brian were drowning their sorrows at Rustys, and I was invited. I can’t pass that up. I mean, come on, look at their bloody marys…

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I got mine with the garlic, but passed on the beef stick. With the beef, that beverage is more like a meal replacement than a night cap. πŸ™‚ Thanks, boys, for the good times last night.

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This morning, I finished editing some photos, and I’m getting ready to run some errands before a lunch date with my photo mentor.
As you can see, I’m hard at work.

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There are so many of my favorite things happening in that photo. Breakfast, Monica’s vlog “Ask a Monican,” a pedicure (I went with blue this week!), and my marimba. Thus, the view from my couch on this dreary Friday morning.

If you’ve got something to say about weight- v. age- based divisions, please chime in! I’d love to hear some feedback. Thanks, y’all! πŸ˜€ Have a great weekend!

Miles this year: 159

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