Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving...not just a holiday...

Well....Thanksgiving is almost here! EEEEEEK! I am excited about the yummy deliciousness that will abound on Thursday...all day...mmm...

I always look forward to this particular holiday, and then I get busy and it just seems to sneak up on me! What's better than taking a whole day to look at your life, and look at all there is to be thankful for! I know...sounds easier than it is. Right now, I'm still having to be purposeful about it in terms of my not being able to run yet. I am encouraged that the foot seems to be feeling better...but....I did a little experiment last Friday to see if I could run and it was a FAIL. I was optimistic, because it had been feeling much better all week. Even when I laced my shoes, I was amazed it didn't hurt! forward 0.3 miles down the street, when YEP, it started bothering me. I tried to run with my shoes tied even looser, but I felt like my shoe was going to fall off. Sigh...I must say, I did tear up a little in frustration. Part of it was, of course, not being able to run, but was feeling that I might have set myself back by doing that. Geez.....I hope not...

Anyway, my point being...I can still do other things, and I'm thankful for that. I have been riding my spin bike a lot and hadn't realized how much I missed it! I've also been doing the Power Pump weight class at the gym and hadn't realized how much strength I had lost! But I love the feeling of getting stronger and starting to see those hidden muscles start to peek out again. And in the midst of all this....becoming a more well rounded person and desire to do a tri is coming alive again...Maybe by doing all this other stuff, I am preparing in advance for a tri attempt next year...hmmm...

So...right this moment, I give thanks...for all that my body CAN do! What are you thankful for?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The stages of grief....

Five Stages Of Grief:

1. Denial and Isolation.At first, we tend to deny the loss has taken place, and may withdraw from our usual social contacts. This stage may last a few moments, or longer.
2. Anger.The grieving person may then be furious at the person who inflicted the hurt (even if she's dead), or at the world, for letting it happen. He may be angry with himself for letting the event take place, even if, realistically, nothing could have stopped it.
3. Bargaining.Now the grieving person may make bargains with God, asking, "If I do this, will you take away the loss?"
4. Depression.The person feels numb, although anger and sadness may remain underneath.
5. Acceptance.This is when the anger, sadness and mourning have tapered off. The person simply accepts the reality of the loss.

(from the website)

I know...this may be a tad on the dramatic side, but my inability to run lately, has been somewhat of a loss for me. I think if I knew it would be over soon, it would be easier to handle or work though, but after having tried all I know to do to help the foot situation and without much improvement, it seems as if no end is in sight. In my head, I want to make the most of this time other ways to exercise and basically, get a life! That's a bit harder in reality...When I decided to start training for my first marathon, over a year ago, I'll admit that it was mostly to challenge myself and see if I could really do it. Before then, I loved exercise, but hadn't run since college. Even back then, I ran to keep my weight down and basically punish myself with a hard workout, for indulging...or to stay fit for the crazy, control-freak man I was dating at the time. Running and me...well, we didn't have a healthy relationship.

Training for my first marathon was filled with little setbacks and injuries, lots of questions, and I ran further each week than I ever had before. And I thought, that once I was DONE with the marathon...goal achieved, done running..Unexpectedly, I wanted to do it again. The second time around...still had setbacks..a few less injuries...but a bit more balance and speed work every week...with someone cheering for my improvement (not just pace, but running form, being healthier, recovering smarter, and learning to set my own goals). The Bass Pro Marathon was my favorite and best race yet. Not only that, but it turns out that I LOVE running. An unexpected gift........and just for running's sake. I miss lacing up my shoes, grabbing my ipod, listening to my breath, feeling every step...

And now...two weeks later...I am grieving....back and forth between several stages of grief....I denied for days that anything was TRULY wrong, even as I put my sneakers on and couldn't STAND to have my shoes tied, finally going to the doctor after trying all I knew to do to "fix" it. I have been isolating myself, because sadly...the only DAMN thing I talk about is running and now that I can't run, the only DAMN thing I talk about or think about is NOT being able to run...That's depressing and no one wants to hear it, so I just stay away from people, so I won't be a downer. I've been angry...angry that yet, AGAIN, I am injured and that somehow any progress I make seems to be fraught with setbacks...As I look back, I know it could have happened in any run, at any time, but sometimes I wonder if the race was even worth it, because I would rather be able to run, PERIOD! Then I tell myself, YES...I'm still glad I did my race, because it was a culmination of so much hard work. I'm angry that after all this time off, I will have to start over, FROM SCRATCH, and lose all that lovely progress. I have also bargained...been depressed, thinking it will never end...and tried acceptance, with little progress.

Whether my lack of being able to run is worthy of all this drama and introspection, the feelings of grief are still there. It does not help me to ignore them, pretend they aren't there, play the "what if" game, or in general, act like a b**. Feelings are feelings...they don't discriminate, depending on whether I deem them "valid" or not...It seems like the mental stamina I practiced for the marathon, is far more applicable NOW, when faced with the unknown and things I can't control. I'm trying to make the best of what I can do and maybe the acceptance will take a bit longer. The thing is....I can't argue with how much running has become my everything...and although I love it, that's kind of sad...When I look back at my training, I realize that it has become just another way that I have come to define friends...Although I LOVE the training...the anticipation of the race, the companionship of my running buddies, the commonality of swapping stories, the challenge of pushing myself....I have neglected so many other things that mean so much to me...the MOST important, my relationship with God and my good friends. I'm not saying that I can't have both...maybe it's been poor time management or priorities...I guess I just turned to running to "fill me up", to fill that place in me that makes me feel "OK" or "worthy"....Don't get me wrong, I definitely believe that God has given me the freedom to enjoy running and get pleasure from it...but when I can't run...what does THAT do to me? It's worth a look, I guess...even though it sucks. I think the grief I am experiencing has to do with much deeper issues than not being able to may just be the thing that gets me to take a long, hard look at myself...

I guess grief is part of life..I'm sure the next few weeks will be a lesson in that. Just know that I am working through some things that have some to do with running, but mostly...control...or lack of it...And don't most of us want to learn to be a little more flexible and adaptable to life, so that we don't fall apart at the smallest sign of trouble? I'm sure I won't be the easiest person to be around, but just wait it out...don't bail on me yet! Maybe you won't know what to say...or have "the answers"...that's OK...just tell me that I will be stronger through this experience. Alot of the hardest lessons in life come through hard circumstances. I am a runner..but that's just PART of who I am. figure out the rest!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009



WAAAA!!! cry...cry...scream....

Having a baby tantrum running...

Monday, November 9, 2009

MD Update...

I just got back from my doctor's appointment..and can I just say...I LIKE my podiatrist. It's true. He's a quirky little guy (I say that because he CAN'T be more than 5'5) ...he is friendly, professional, and one of those kind of people that is serious...but you know that they are hilarious underneath, like the people that can look you straight in the face, say something that kills you with hysteria and not even blink...but I digress....

After inspecting my horrid feet and palpating them, having me flex and dorsiflex...blah, blah...there really wasn't much new to say. I was relieved when he said that it was NOT a stress fracture. He didn't even go so far as to say that I had tendonitis, but just that the two tendons on my foot were "irritated". I knew as was partially a relief that it wasn't anything worse, and partially I was like..."What the hell then?" because it has hurt too much to be "irritated". Anyway....he suggested that since there was no swelling or redness (I don't even remember seeing that after the race), that I probably didn't make it worse by waiting to put ice on it. He suggested both ice and heat in a 1:2 minute ratio, alternating for about 20 minutes, several times a day to increase blood flow to the area. Other than that, he knows I'm cheap (and I will take samples whenever I can) and suggested "You can wait it out and it will get better over time, or... (some hesitation here) there is a compound topical cream I use and it has been very effective in reducing pain and shortening recovery time...".

"I WILL TAKE IT" I said...and I did. It is a cream that has Ketamine HCL, Lidocaine and Cyclobenzaprine HCL (aka topical Flexeril)...And that was that...I'm a sucker for fast recovery.

He didn't restrict my running or activities, but suggested that I ease back into them as it starts to feel better and to wear shoes, as much as possible, that will not be tight across the top of my foot/ankle area. Of course, if needed,... lacing my shoes a different way or not lacing the top holes of the shoes. I DIDN'T like, however, his suggestion that I can make it worse by traumatizing it over and over, which could delay full healing for 6-8 weeks...EEK! So, it didn't really give me a time frame on my running, but hopefully after using the cream for a few days, I will be able to tell a difference. I'll keep you posted on the progress. Of course, it's tempting to want a "quick fix" and I guess it could be so much worse (it's only been 8 days)..Still, that feels like an eternity to my runner's mind..oh well, at least my PR will keep me warm at night, right?

Finally.....I guess I need a doctor..

Yep....still stir-crazy...there isn't much progress, despite my avid use of the heating pad yesterday and no spinning, even though it was killing me not to. I went for a short walk yesterday in my Keen sandals, and even did a 3 minute running spurt, but there really is not enough arch support in the sandals and didn't want to cause another problem...aka...shin splints or arch pain. The only exercise it seems I can do without too much drama is least, some of it. I have also been trying to do some upper body to keep from turning into absolute jello. I don't know how long I will be "out of the running" (literally), but I'm going to have to clean up my diet if I want to avoid weight gain...that's thousands of calories not being burned, by my lack of being able to do any cardio! I rode my spin bike earlier in the week, but maybe it made the foot issue worse? I'm getting paranoid. Unfortunately, I cannot wear my sandals to work, so I will have to suck it up and just lightly tie my shoes on that foot for work this week. I made an appointment with my Podiatrist today. I'm going to have to go to the Conway clinic, because there was no other way to get an appointment this week otherwise. I don't know what he's going to tell me..but I figured that all I have been doing to help "my poor foot" would have helped a little more by now....

I will give an update after the appointment today!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 7 and counting...

Sigh....nothing new's day 7 since my last run and I am bummed..I miss it and the weather has been beautiful! The top of my foot is still pretty sore and I am wondering about the whole doctor thing...should I go? I was looking at information about foot pain and injuries online and there really is very little difference between tendonitis and a stress fracture, in this particular area of my foot. I have been doing all I know to do to move the recovery along....I read that even if it is a stress fracture, a lot of times the x-ray will not even show it until 2-3 weeks after it has started healing...In other words...I can pay to go to the doctor and basically he will tell me to do the exact same things, maybe add that I should stop running even longer...

I'm not getting stupid about much as I want to run, I am being a good little girl. With training resuming soon for the Little Rock (probably Half marathon), I want to make sure I am healed up and ready to go...especially when it's time to get back into speed work and hills. I guess it could always be worse, I keep telling myself that..It's not going to do me any good to get uptight about something I'm doing everything I can do help and cannot control. When it comes to injuries, I am always brought back down to my human self, my body that is not immune to pain or little mishaps. I can, however, at least try to learn from them and do the best I can to take care of myself so that I can go back to doing what I absolutely love. That's really what it comes down to...Yes, I am looking forward to the next race and all...but the act of running, just for the sake of what I miss... the meantime, as I try my best to avoid going may hear from me...

Friday, November 6, 2009

A bum foot...

Well...I tried it this least, I got dressed, laced up my shoes...went outside and tried to do a little jog and .....NOPE...NOT HAPPENING TODAY...

I was so excited last night, knowing that I would be getting up to run with the girls this morning...but it did not happen. The top of the foot is still pretty sore. I hope it doesn't sideline me for too long, I miss running..

Trying not to be too dramatic about it, since it's only DAY 5 since the marathon...but on the thankful least I can walk and ride my spin bike for some sort of exercise. I don't want to chance making it worse by trying to run with it still hurting. I will keep up with the meds, SalonPas, ice/heat, Vit C..and hope it gets better. I was told that if it is just a tendon issue, it should get significantly better over a few days. If it does not by Monday, I may end up seeing the Doc. Sometimes, it ends up being a Metatarsal fracture...Man, I hope not! The things I do for a PR...

Stay tuned to my future races...maybe I'll break something just to get a sub 2 half marathon...kidding...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Itching to run...but playing it safe... it is already Thursday! I can't believe it's already been 4 days since the marathon! I am itching to run I tell you!!! The day after the marathon I was pretty sore, mostly in my hips and quads. Usually after a hard run, it's my hips and knees, but surprisingly, no knee pain! I have had, however, a pretty sore upper right foot (on top where you tie the shoestrings). I think I had my strings tied too tight for part of the race and it has been bothering me more than anything else.

I have been pretty purposeful about my recovery this time...eating well, with a good combo of protein and carbs (although I have been craving veggies like crazy!), drinking plenty of fluids, taking Ibuprofen or Tylenol and applying SalonPas patches regularly for the muscle aches, and drinking my Emergen-C Vitamin C/Glucosamine drink mix. I have really felt exceptionally well, except for the foot thing for the past 2 days! I ALMOST tried to go run today, but decided to give it one more day to let the foot heal and try an easy run tomorrow morning. I would rather be healed up and rested well, than push it, as usual, and hurt myself!

As I get back into the swing of things, I am looking at my running goals for the next few months. I have not decided whether I will do the Little Rock Half or full Marathon in March. This will probably be my next race, so I will have to see how my recovery goes and go from there. Dennis is not resuming the running clinic until February or March, so I will have to do speed work on my own. I may keep Tuesday nights as my speed work day depending on my schedule. I am used to working the same days every week, but lately I have been getting cancelled so much, who knows what shifts I will be working?! I would also like to add in some form of cross training again, because I can tell I am losing some muscle mass! I may mix it up with some more cycling and get my butt back into the pool...Sigh...well, the good thing is I'm still free to make those decisions without having to train hardcore for anything yet. Kim and Cheryl have already been running for several days and of course, Cheryl is worried about her pace...YOU JUST FINISHED A MARATHON, FOR PETE'S SAKE! I just want to run...PERIOD!!! Crazy Skipper...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Bass Pro Weekend and race recap

It all started on Friday morning...Cheryl, Kim, Josh and I loaded all our belongings into the vehicles for our weekend extravaganza. Of course, I brought everything under the sun...Cheryl had been duly warned and ridicule was already out of the way. She actually said that I brought less than, the comments were at a minimum. We stopped at Starbuck's on the way out of town and took off. The trip up there seemed to go on forever and I was feeling every curve of Hwy 65..wishing I had not consumed the extra coffee...ugh...We stopped in Harrison for lunch and got some goodies from my favorite Mennonite Bakery 'The Homey Hearth' (Monster cookies and peanut brittle) and were on the road again.

The first thing we did upon arrival to Springfield, was go to the Bass Pro Shop for the marathon expo...well, I say expo, but sadly it was not...I don't know if it was due to the economy or decreased interest, but the "Expo" consisted of a packet pick-up...THAT'S IT! We were pretty disappointed. We picked up our shirts and packet, and although I was glad to get a tech shirt, the sizes were CRAZY big, and even the extra-small I got was huge. Oh well. We had a good time looking around The Bass Pro shop. There was an insanely big fireplace right inside the front door and it was so cozy! There were lots of "wildlife exhibits" and we got to see some crazy-big fish, cute ducks, an alligator, and lots of "stuffed animals" everywhere. I didn't really find much to buy but a few headbands that were definitely needed and was happy with that. Next, we headed to our hotel to get checked in. We stayed at the Hampton Hotel and Suites, thanks to Cheryl's hotel points, and had a wonderful FREE stay. The hotel was clean and cozy, with a huge fireplace in the lobby. Our room was pretty nice with big down comforters, a microwave and fridge...which really came in handy to store our drinks and snacks. Once we got everything settled in, we watched a little TV and relaxed for a bit and then headed to Branson to get some dinner. Cheryl and I were definitely craving some seafood! We went to Branson Landing and I was hoping to go to Joe's Crab Shack, but in the end we went to a Fish House...can't remember the exact name. The atmosphere was nice, but the fish selection was surprisingly small and didn't sound too appetizing. Each modification or side item had an extra charge and in the end I just ended up getting the "build you own burger"..I know...I can get a burger anywhere..Well, the burger was extremely good and I was glad I did! It was a huge medium-well patty with lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, and mushrooms, with a spicy-sweet barbecue sauce. The fries were good too. Kim and Josh weren't really happy with their food, but Cheryl liked her prime rib quesadillas. By the time we got done eating, most of the shops were closing, but we did get to go into the candy shop and buy some expensive candy...hehe...we were all craving the sweets! By the time we got home, we were BEAT and it didn't take long for Cheryl and I to fall asleep!

The next morning, we got up around 6:45 to go down to the hotel fitness center. The girls were wanting to "work out"..I just went to do a light walk/jog on the treadmill. I didn't want to do anything too strenuous to deplete my glycogen stores before the race...the girls thought that was ridiculous and funny, but nevertheless, I only did a mile on the treadmill and about 10 minutes easy on the elliptical, with some light stretching. Kim had already been down there a while before we got there and I think she stayed a bit longer after we left. We went to check out the breakfast, and they really had a great spread! I ended up getting some fruit and coffee, and a box of granola cereal for later. We went up to our room to shower and get ready for the day. By the time we were all ready, it was around 10:30. Of course, we had to make a stop at Starbuck's! Then we headed to a health food store I had checked out online called Mama Jean' was AWESOME!!! I wish we had one in Little Rock, I could have stayed in there for hours!! I bought some great stuff and some "not so great" stuff (aka Soy jerky and Kombucha), but all in all, I loved it! We headed AGAIN to Branson, so Cheryl and Kim could check out the Tanger Outlets...I thought that I had been there before, but there were a few stores I didn't mind going to..Josh ended up shopping more than all of us girls! We grabbed some lunch while we were there and later headed back to Springfield. Kim and Josh wanted to nap before dinner. Cheryl and I decided to go ahead and get something from Panera and just take it back to the hotel and be in for the night. We got our race gear and snacks ready for marathon day and ate our food. We watched "Australia" and oogled Hugh Jackman for hours and then fell asleep pretty easily.

We had set our alarms for 5:00 am ,but somehow Cheryl's phone did not automatically reset with the time change, so it went off at 4:00. We went back to sleep for another hour and then started to get ready. The forecast said the temp was 41, but the wind was supposed to be 10-20mph that day! YIKES! I heard Cheryl say "Oh SHIT!" to that, but looked outside and the leaves weren't even moving, so thought that maybe we would luck out, at least for a while! I had my outfit laid out already...running skirt, short sleeve tech shirt, long sleeve tech shirt and vest, all black...with my gaiter, gloves and a bright pink headband. Last time we had done a run in 40-41 degree weather, I wore the same amount of layers and was comfortable, so it seemed like a good idea. I put my chip band on my right shoe, which if I could go back and do over, I would put it on my left, since I always end up having to adjust my right shoe, but oh well, lesson learned!
My fuel belt was full...3 bottles of fluid (2 with G2 and 1 with coconut water), one pouch with 5 Gu packets, safety pins and ibuprofen, and my other pouch with my ipod and my "focus card" (aka things to help me stay encouraged and focused during the race)...Cheryl and Kim had to take last minute potty breaks, and we were off. The nervous energy was starting to build as we got closer and saw all the people gathering inside the Bass Pro Shop...most of them were half-marathoners. The capped limit on the marathon was 600, but I think there were only around 300+ that actually ran.

We gathered at the start for The National Anthem, and my numerous shoe adjustments and only had about 16-17 seconds from when it started and when we crossed the START line. Kim, Cheryl and I started off together and stayed together for probably the first 5 or so miles. I shed my "throw away" layer around mile 2 when I was warmed up. We were on residential roads, uphill I might add, until about mile 3-4, when we veered off from the half-marathon crowd and headed toward the trail. It was really similar to the Little Rock River Trail, and for those of you that know me, I have had MY FILL of that damn trail for the past several months in training!! It started to mess with my head a little, being on it, reminding me of those endless mornings on the River Trail, but I tried to force that from my mind. There was one part where we had to go through a tunnel, but it was covered with water, after all the rain they had, so we ran up this little hill, across a busy street and back down to the trail. I didn't want wet shoes that early in the race, if I could help it! At that point, I needed to adjust my shoe, and take a walk/fuel break, so I told the girls to go ahead and go on without me. It was tempting to try and stay with them, but I knew I would need those small breaks to get through. I only walked for 1 minute every 4.5 miles, long enough to take my Gu, and started back running. It was helpful and I'm glad I did it. Anyway, I saw the girls ahead of me for a bit, but with all the curves of the trail, it wasn't long before I didn't see them anymore. By this time, many runners were meeting me on their way back my direction, so I knew there was a turn-around point ahead. The other runners were SO fact, I can't remember a race that so many runners encouraged each other so much! That alone, was a huge boost! The spectators were spread out, not too many of them, but steady and excited enough to really help me keep going. By around mile 8-9, it had really started to warm up outside and I had to take off my outer gloves ( I was wearing gloves and liners) and my gaiter and unzip my vest a little. The weather was just so beautiful, that I didn't mind carrying my stuff! It was close to the first turn-around, that I saw Kim coming towards me, and she waved! I was wondering "Where's Cheryl?" because I thought she was ahead of me, and figured she probably had to make a bathroom stop. Not too long after that, after I had turned around, I saw her and we made a pathetic attempt to high five..hehe...I figured any minute she would bust past me, like she did in Tupelo! At mile 9, I adjusted the shoe again and took my second 1 minute walk break. I passed a few people in the next few miles and it was nice to have other people around that weren't coming towards me! I decided I would let myself put my ipod on at my next fuel break and was excited to do so at mile 13.5! I tend to speed up when I have the music just really pumps me I figured I should wait, so I wouldn't burn out too quick! At this point, I had just run through a beautiful neighborhood without too many race markers, so I was glad to get on a long stretch of road where I could tell where to go! As predicted, I sped up some listening to Justin Timberlake's "Damn, girl" song...hehe...but did have to adjust my shoes AGAIN because the top of my foot was hurting. I think it was around mile 14 or 15 when we had to get back onto the trail again. The fuel stops on the route were really good...they used Powerade and they filled the cups up well, not too much in the cup..they seemed to have a good flow and the volunteers were super! I think it was around mile 19.5 or 20 that I got a Carb Boom that was Apple Cinnamon flavored and it was really yummy! I had just fueled at mile 18, so I held onto it until around mile 21 and took it early, since the volunteer had already opened it. I had been seeing runners coming towards me again, so I knew there was another turn-around. I had seen Kim and passed her earlier...she had taken off several layers and said she was hot, at the time she was texting Josh. Later, about 0.5 miles after the second turn-around, I saw her coming towards me...and shortly after that I saw Cheryl! She looked so refreshed, like she wasn't struggling at all! Right before mile 20, I can remember thinking..."Okay, isn't mile 20 where I'm supposed to hit the wall, because I know I have 6 more miles to go?" and then I told myself..."There is no wall here..." and I just kept going! The whole race, the miles just seemed to fly by...and even more so when my ipod was on. The feet were a little sore and at one point I had a calf cramp (?), but I just stretched a little as I walked and told myself "Your legs are not hurting.." and somehow...they didn't seem to hurt anymore. I told myself "You are victorious"...."You are stronger than you think you are"...and as I saw my pace, "You are killing it!" It was cool that the songs on my ipod were just pushing me forward, giving me energy...At mile 25, I saw lots of people start to walk. I slowed down too, but then I saw a sign that said "Finish Strong" and I started to pick up the pace again. When I got to mile 26, I saw a sign that said "26 miles, only 0.2 to go" and I started to get excited..and then...the finish that I will always remember..(it gives me chills as I write this)...As I rounded the corner, the theme to Top Gun came on ( listen here: and it was like a movie...I could feel my legs speeding up...the people were eyes were tearing up and I ran as hard and fast as I could, as I heard them call my name...I looked at the clock and saw..4:37 something...I couldn't believe it! My actual official chip time was 4:36:27...a pretty significant PR from my last marathon, a 5:13:14! I had a stupid grin from ear to ear, as they put my medal on me and I got my finisher's hat! I saw Josh waiting for Kim, right after that, and I couldn't help tearing up all over again!
Here were my splits:

Mile 1 10:43, best 9:52
Mile 2 10:28, best 9:48
Mile 3 10:26, best 9:03
Mile 4 10:23, best 9:06
Mile 5 11:00, best 9:13
Mile 6 10:25, best 9:01
Mile 7 10:17, best 8:18
Mile 8 10:30, best 9:22
Mile 9 11:04, best 9:07
Mile 10 10:36, best 9:25
Mile 11 10:34, best 8:42
Mile 12 10:26, best 8:52
Mile 13 10:40, best 9:11
Mile 14 11:07, best 8:57
Mile 15 10:19, best 8:43
Mile 16 10:11, best 9:01
Mile 17 10:27, best 9:34
Mile 18 11:00, best 8:02
Mile 19 10:55, best 8:25
Mile 20 10:41, best 8:29
Mile 21 10:43, best 8:59
Mile 22 10:20, best 8:39
Mile 23 10:03, best 8:14
Mile 24 10:03, best 8:31
Mile 25 10:22, best 7:58
Mile 26 10:05, best 8:59
Last 0.2 9:55, best 8:59

As you can see, I had a few energy spurts!

I got a bottled water and stood at the finish, so I could watch the girls come in. Josh had texted them telling them I was already done. About 20 minutes later, I saw them running towards the finish together. As they crossed the finish line, they hugged each other and Cheryl started to tear up too! They got their medals and finisher's hats and we took some of our stuff to Josh's car, so we could go get some FOOD! I grabbed a Diet Coke (yum!), some eggs and a biscuit...mmmm..Kim and Josh had to leave pretty quickly, because they had to check out of the hotel by 1pm and Kim still needed to shower and change. We thought we might see them at the hotel, but we ended up staying for the awards ceremony and door prize giveaway. They had some pretty good stuff for the winners ...the overall winners got awesome plaques, money, and a free pair of New Balance Shoes. The winners of the age groups got artist posters, with signatures by Jeff Galloway and other running guru's..door prizes included some New Balance merchandise and overnight stays at Big Cedar Lodge.. Cheryl and I did not win, however...booo... (see medal above right..our are similar to last year's medal).

We headed back to the hotel to shower and change...we had one thing on the brain...MEXICAN FOOD! We asked the clerk at our hotel which restaurant she recommended, I can't remember the name of it now, but it was AWESOME! We ordered guacamole with our chips and salsa and fajitas for 2...which included beef, pork, shrimp, and chicken with all the was heaven! After we fully stuffed ourselves, we went back to the hotel for a night of relaxation..I think we were both asleep by 8:30pm! Monday morning I couldn't sleep past 5:45, so I decided to go downstairs to meet Cheryl...she had been awake since 4:45 and had gone downstairs around 5:15 to read her book by the fireplace. By the time I got there, the breakfast buffet was getting into full swing, with tons of old people and military folks gobbling up the deliciousness. I got an egg, cheese and veggie omelet and some fruit and coffee..We sat for a bit reading the paper and "people watching"...One old man was making trip after trip, grabbing TONS of oatmeal, raisin bran and bagels..he had a whole tray of food and we could see "cereal-box like" shapes in the pockets of his pants too! It was hilarious! We went back upstairs and finished packing and were out of there! We stopped a couple of times on the way home, our main goal to go through Harrison and go back to the Mennonite bakery, but they were closed! Bummer!! Other stops included Target, Sonic, and I had bought a table on Friday and Cheryl helped me pick it up and take it home. What a great weekend, but I was ready to get home!

Thank you to all who encouraged me, specifically.....Cheryl (aka Skipper and My Yoda), Kim (aka Kimbo), Annette, Brenda, Coach Dennis, Jeff,Brian, Morgan of Redhead Running, 26.2 Princess, Gabby of Gabsatrucker, Sara, Sabrina, Jade...and so many more! I've had a lot of real breakthroughs in "running my own race"...allowing myself to be challenged by my friends and peers,but at the same time, learning to do what is best for ME in my running. I'm sure I'll have many more running experiences to learn from! Love you all!!