Sunday, March 2, 2014

< S >uperstar

This is more like it! Freezing temperatures, snow, this is racing weather! Last year Superman showed up and pushed me to my fastest half marathon time. Would he show again this year? I felt it would only help my case if I wore something to honor him. Yeah, I'm sure that will work.

The winter has been brutal and I haven't been putting anywhere near the miles I should.  It's been a combination of things, the weather makes a nice excuse, but we all know I actually enjoy running in the worst, so that's not it.  CT being injured, work, or maybe it's as easy as me being lazy. Whatever the case, the total number of miles per week I've been putting in are far fewer and I'm sure it's not going to help my case when it comes to race time.

Walking to the starting line of the race, it actually started. Boy, I am getting lazy. Long gone are the days of nervously waiting at the starting line with butterflies. Is this the new way, just come strolling up whenever, without a care in the world? This may be the new way, but I still have expectations and today I want some redemption for the slower time I posted in Florida.  My goal is hidden just like my Superman shirt, nobody knows, but I don't want a 1:4x:00 on the clock, it should be a 1:3x:00.  I may have been slacking, but I still should be able to pull off this time.

By now, I'm used to the ribbing and teasing both before and after races. Two miles in, I get greeted to "Oh, great, now we are going to have to listen to did you see the guy wearing shorts for the next few miles". It's now common place to give me grief during the races. As if running isn't hard enough, then attempting to be fast, now the added difficulty to getting razzed while do it, this keeps getting worse and worse. Why do I keep doing this?

The conditions weren't great, the roads and trails were full of soft mush and hard packed icy spots.  I'm glad I used my trail shoes for the extra traction, I thought it would be overkill, but even with them I found myself being very cautious as I lost footing numerous times.  At around mile five or six I caught up to my teammate. While not feeling like any doors were getting blown off, things felt fast, until the 1:40:00 pace group went charging by. Up until this point, I let my body pick the pace and told myself that I wasn't going to be concerned with my watch. The shock of the pace group practically trampling me, had me checking my watch, they HAD to be running faster than they were suppose to be.  Uggh, nope.

This is about the same spot in the course where last year I had to decide how badly I wanted my PR. While I already knew today didn't have that as a possibility, as I watched the 1:40:00 pace group disappear in the distance, it was decision time. Could Superman save me? Three miles to go, lots of slacking in the training, but not ready to give up.

Each mile, the distance shrunk, ever closer.  It wasn't easy and Superman sure as hell didn't make it obvious that he was helping me, but with about a half mile to go I had them reeled back in. In the home stretch, I was finally able to surge past them.  Whether Superman helped me or not (I'm siding on he didn't), I still felt obligated to unveil my surprise, unzipped my jacket and let the "S" show crossing the line. The clock still read 1:40:08, technically missing my goal, but because I showboated down the stretch I'm giving myself a little extra grace.  Not a great time, we'll say Super-average, but then again the "S" on my chest doesn't stand for Superman, but Superstar and we run with a different set of standards.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

For the Booty

Up until this point, travel for a race has always been a long car ride.  The streak, has ended.  Two plane rides and twelve hundred miles I find myself in Florida for not one race, but four.  If a plane is involved, it's best to make sure it's worthwhile, and the Gasparilla Challenge intrigued me enough to part with the $'s in hopes I'd return with some booty. Two days, four races, thirty miles, four medals, and if still standing at the end, one more medal for good measure.

Since starting running, I've noticed I check the weather forecast a ridiculous amount the close it gets to race day.  The winter has been brutal this year!  One would think I'd be pumped to enjoy the Florida sun, instead it's quite the opposite.  Insert wavy dream lines, I have this fantasy where I'm treated to sub forty degree days where all the Floridians are shivering, fearful of frostbite, at the starting line and here I step up confidently in my shorts and shirt. Remove wavy dream lines, wait those aren't dream lines, those are the heat lines seen off in the distance of a desert road getting scorched! My fantasy wasn't too far off looking at the forecasts, leading up to race weekend though the temps steadily increased, Murphy's Law.

The day prior to the first race day, 7 am for a practice run. We'll call this an experiment to first get a feel for what conditions will be like the next day and a test how much my body complains changing from zero temps to 70 degrees with no transition.  Log this run as one of the most miserable runs in recent memory.  Two miles weren't bad, four I had enough, and by the time we got to six, I was so ready to be done.  My shirt weighed eight pounds after that run, which brings me to my next life lesson, putting two guys in the Florida heat, running, and letting them stay together in the same hotel room...probably not smart.  The whole rest of the vacation, (is it a vacation when you are running ?) the room reeked worse than a gym in a swamp.  

I've been pampered at little in the past, not elite level pampered, but the small taste I got was pretty damn delicious.  This series of races draws a huge number of people and the reward of cash money only adds to it. Not many people do the challenge portion of the races, but by doing so gets not only a special bib, but special access to the starting corral.  This was something new to me.  Instead of being being smash shoulder to shoulder with gross, disgusting, stinky runners like sardines, just stroll right up, flash your bib, and get allowed entrance to this gated community.  I could get used to this too.

The first race is a 15K, a hair over nine miles.  7 am, 70 degrees, 100% humidity and I had to smirk when the announcer repeats "we are racing under yellow flag conditions". I didn't need to be told this.  The first six miles felt comfortable, but once mile seven hit, the fun was over and the heat started to get to me. Somewhere around here is when this stopped being a vacation. Crossing the finish line felt like a blessing to cool down, but in the back of my head was the reminder that there was still another three miles to go in a about forty-five minutes. More time for the temps to climb even more.

The runner's chute was amazing. Strange thing to get excited for, huh?  The design of the thing is perfect. First, it gave space to chill out, slow down, walk, recover, without being on top of each other.  From there, people handed out the medals, little further water and cold wash clothes (the greatest thing ever invented after a race). The whole time still walking, now crossing over a bridge where they had pirate beauties posing for post race photos.  Next, came the post race food. At this point, you are now looping back under the bridge heading back to the main conference center.  Plenty of benches to sit, relax, recover, and for me to cool down.  Once it was time to start heading for the next race, enter the conference center, walk through that, but making a quick pit stop at the bag drop to leave my medal and my shirt! At this point vanity is gone, survival is all that counts, besides nobody here knows me or will ever see me again, tough they are going to have deal with my bare chest and back hair.

By the time the 5K was getting ready to start, I was feeling much better than when I crossed the 15K line. Was I going to PR this 5K? Not a chance, I figured it was going to be slowest 5K almost since I started running.  While not great, it wasn't as horrible as the final few miles of the 15K were.  Repeat the recovery loop and call it a day.  Day one is in the books, time to get some breakfast and relax the rest of the day.

The half marathon had me a little nervous, mainly because I made it to about mile seven for the heat started to get to me and knowing that this would only put me about at the half way point, that would be potentially lots of miserable miles.  Turns out mile ten turned out to be the questioning point.  Once ten hit, I had to have the mental discussion of should I visit a pit stop or suck it up and finish this damn thing.  While having this discussion with myself, I ended up running past the bathrooms before I had made the decision, so that made it easy to keep going.  While not what I'd call a great time, I think I finished with a respectable time considering jumping climates and it blew the doors off the time of what I'd call my worst half marathon. This was my statement race. It was hot, totally out of my element, and I held my pace for the whole thing.

The last race was the 8K.  Two miles in, felt good, tired, but good.  Then something clicked and my body told me you've done enough and it's time to take it easy.  Combination of the temps and running multiple races in back to back days caught up with me.  It was time to finish with a walk run.  Not exactly how I wanted to finish up, but survive and race another day.  Not here to prove anything, just the booty.

Turned out to be a very fun trip. On one hand, it was nice to get away in the middle of winter for some warmer weather.  On the other hand, I missed having CT with me and that made it seem empty.  Had we pulled this trip off with the whole Superstar crew, it could have been EPIC.  For now, this pirate adventure is over without any missing limbs and a suitcase full of booty.            

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Saving the Best for Last

That's the way to do it, right?  When doing a half marathon every month for the year, it doesn't make sense to do the scenic races early. On paper, that seems like the way to do it, but I'll this is the real world and it doesn't work out that way.  Today, is a trail race where I've maybe logged six miles total in the summer and today is winter. Lets see what happens.

Not only did my cheering section accompany me, but she also chauffeured. As we sat in the car, trying to keep warm before the start, I thought back to why I signed up for this run. Oh, how much difference a year makes. Looking at the pictures from the previous year, there wasn't more than a dusting of snow. Heck, that looks easy, I can do that! Staring out the window, not the same! I think I should be skiing, not running.  Did I really sign up for this? Did I miss the "no snowdrifts" option when filled out the form?

Scraaaape, goes the shovel to start the race. The first mile was on a two track that had been driven on, so it was almost like running on snow covered roads.  The traction of the new shoes felt good. While it wasn't prefect, it wasn't bad and only added a little extra effort.  Then mile two started the trail. Conditions quickly changed, to a single path of footprints in probably six to eight inches of powder.  At this point I quickly decided there wasn't any point wasting energy trying to pass people. At times, it felt very frustrating not to go faster, but I kept telling myself it's okay and it's better to save energy for the end because it's still very early in this race and even though it seems to be going alright, never know what's to come.

At the first water stop, I got the typical question of "where are you from, Alaska"? Somewhere after this stop, I noticed that my calves were starting to hurt. It would be one thing it were because it was super hilly, but I know this pain, I've felt it before.  This is the tell tail sign where my shoes are brushing my calves as I struggle to keep my footing. While it's still early, this is going to be a problem, maybe this is why people wear pants.  About this same time, the guy behind me says "woah dude, your leg is bleeding, that last stick got you".  My response was no, it's just my calves starting to get raw from the scraping of my shoes, don't worry about it.  Fast forward to the end, sure enough I had two puncture wounds from that stick. It looked like a cool battle wound, but the sad reality is the rubbing from my shoes totally masked getting stabbed by a stick.

Mile eight is where the "saving the best for last", stopped.  This is a damn nightmare, crazy, what was I thinking, my ankles hurt so bad from all the excess twisting, my calves are on fire, lord I'm only halfway through this.  Being fast, attempting to place thoughts were gone. Survival mode is here, and I know that because I'm walking up this hill while texting CT how awful I feel and how hard this is.

Mile ten, more of the same. This is the first race where I've had three different text conversations, with three different people, all going on the middle of a race before. I had the time, each mile seemed like it was taking forever. Before you say, you should have been running harder, maybe you'd be right, but my legs were done and fear of injuring my legs anymore than they already were telling me didn't make sense.  At the last water stop, again I did something I've never done before, I grabbed a chair and sat down.  My secret weapon for this race was going to be running with a spare pair of socks, figuring my feet would be soaking wet from the snow, switching them out would be a nice backup.  While sitting, it was a challenge to even change my socks, my legs were cramping and even had my abs locking up in kind of a charlie horse. One would think this would be a nice break to regroup and finish this thing, but instead every second felt like torture.

The final miles were spent reflecting. I've had some very tough runs, the one that I thought would live in infamy forever as the most horrid one...just got passed by this one.  I can't think of a race where I've been more excited to see the finish line. Crossed the line, can't even remember if I gave CT a hug, got my post race snow globe finisher medal, and practically fell into the car and let my chauffeur drive me home.

My injury report goes like this, two calves that burned something awful for two days post race from the slashing they endured trying to stay upright.  Right calf, two pencil sized holes from a stick. Didn't even notice this until the following day because the pain from everything else, but a good sized blood blister on my right little toe.  Then finally, the sore muscles that lasted all week.  But hey, it was a pretty run. Think I'm going to pass on this one next year and will really save this race for never.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One One Fun/Fame

That didn't take long, less than 24 hours to be exact! I haven't even had my new shoes long enough to name them and they already got me in the local paper. That's impressive. Talk about pressure to aptly name them.

The Article

If you took the time to read the article, then you've probably figured out that it really wasn't my shoes that got me noticed, but my shorts, again. Lets face it, giving my shorts credit is hardly fun at all! People sure love to make a big deal of it, though CT's favorite story of the day was passing a couple of women who made it a point to say "it didn't impress them much" under their breaths. Meanwhile my mind drifts of Shania singing that to me...oh back to reality.

This run certainly wasn't meant to get noticed for wearing shorts on a cold winter day.  The goal of the day was testing out my new shoes!  With my trail run this weekend, I've been nervous about the conditions playing much more of a factor than I had anticipated. Of course, it was silly of me to expect the mild winter conditions we had last year to repeat this year, but I fully expected to be running the trails with not much more than a dusting of snow. When the race director sends out an email a week before asking for volunteers with chainsaws to help clear the course, things might be a little dicey.  I love my Green Mambas, but I've been slipping and sliding in the snow like crazy.  Even short runs have seemed like a chore with all the extra effort needed to keep going and upright.  The time has come for something with a little more traction, enter the unnamed.

I've looked for a while, but nothing jumped out said "buy me", plus I feel loyalty to the Green Mambas. It's not like I'd replace them, but it would be good to have a good trail shoe. After another attempt of surveying all the shoes, I was almost set to leave again empty handed when one of my Gazelle buddies got excited to show me a shoe on the clearance rack.  First impression, that's "flashy", upon opening box. Not sure if bright red is the statement I'm going for, but then again I'm the guy who wears shorts in the winter. One shoe on, this feels so good, much better than I expected.  Hmm, let me try them both on. A short test sprint in the store, sold! Jiminy Christmas these feel fast. Maybe, it's simply trying new shoes after years of wearing the same style. This running thing is so mental, I don't care if it's pure BS, psychologically it felt like I could chase down a cheetah in these things. Quickest sales job ever.

A twenty foot test run and a sixteen mile trail run in the middle of a blizzard are two different things. Now, it becomes do I bend the cardinal rule of never racing in new gear. I say bend, not break, because I obviously used the unnamed for the One One run. How did they do? Completely different ride. While not a trail run, the conditions were horrible, a good four inches of snow with all kinds of foot prints all over in it.  The start was fairly flat and I could already tell the immediate improvement in traction, but the game changer was on the first hill, people were sliding all over the place and had to really slow down, I could actually increase my speed going up. This is where the sky opens up and the awwwwwwww sound comes with the light shining down, but this is Michigan where we are getting blasted with a storm, so just pretend. I'm calling this a very successful first test. It only would have been better had the unnamed melted the snow behind me.

What does the future hold for the unnamed, I'm not sure, but it's a New Year!  


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year End

2013 started off with a goal, running at least a half marathon every month for the whole year. Well, I did it*! Pause. Why the asterisk? Well, I need a couple more days to pull it off. It's hard to find runs in some months and December happens to be one of those months, so I need to spill over into 2014 by four days to accomplish my goal.  Even though I have to do that, I'm still calling my goal good!  Here are the totals for the year:

6 Half Marathons
4 Marathons
2 soon to be 3 25K's
and my hometown 5K that I'll include just because it's a race

For a grand total of 1,550.1 miles run this year!  That's damn impressive if you ask me. It's so impressive, I decided to treat myself to a new pair of shoes.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Night in the Castle, errr Dungeon?

Tis the season for some romance! I'm the real deal, the complete package. I know it doesn't seem that way, running all over town with my shirt off and shorts to impress the ladies like a typical jock.  Oh, there's so much more to me than the hot bod. To prove this, I figured taking my special lady out for not only a fine dinner, but also a night at a castle would only solidify (at least in my own mind) what a great guy I am. How do you think this fairy tale is going to end?

Before I blur the lines too much with my misty haze of the truth, I'll admit it was CT's idea to simply have dinner at the Castle and not my own. There, I said it, so I need to work on this romance thing.  While researching, I decided it would be my surprise to turn our dinner date to a full evening. Why not? We hadn't done anything like this before, why not go for the full experience and treat ourselves to something neither of us had ever done. Thirty seconds after clicking "buy", I got hit with a feeling that I rushed into my decision. Nah, everything will be fine, it feels a little drafty here. Thirty minutes later, curiosity got the better of me and that strange feeling after clicking buy got the better of me and I found myself checking some of the reviews.  Knight and Day (like what I did with that?), ugh! For every positive, there was at least one scalding awful review, what had I gotten us into?

Our stay at the Castle remained a secret until the day of, which I was proud of. The beans (not magic ones) were spilled only because I didn't want to be responsible for trying to pack everything we'd need for an overnight stay and thought it would be best to tell CT the plan. She seemed surprised, so either she's a good liar or it kind of worked.

Standing waiting to be checked in, that feeling came back. That same one that I felt purchasing this adventure, something just felt odd. This is an old Castle, ghosts maybe? Our room was nice, not four star hotel big city nice, but it had character.  Don't want to overuse odd, so I'll say strange to open the outside door and be in the bathroom, but hey, there are times when bathroom is the first room you want to hit, coming from a runner.

We took in the atmosphere of our room at first. I wouldn't say it felt like a room in a castle, I'd probably say more of a Victorian feel. Do I even know what that is? Who is writing this? The novelty wore off soon enough and we wanted to explore the rest of the castle.  We we able to peak in a couple of the rooms that were still left unoccupied. Each had their own them and nitch. Occupied rooms had their doors closed, yet one of the staff opened one of the rooms for us.  It smelled weird and both CT and I discovered at the same time this room really was occupied, her by seeing a curling iron in the bathroom and me by seeing a cell phone charging. As if two mice, we scurried out of the room before being discovered, whoops!

This whole time, the staff were busy setting up dinner tables on our level and even the landing of the stairwell, hmmm. With our exploring ending with slight embarrassment, we figured might as well eat dinner.  Here is where our first real sign of trouble started. "Oh, we have two Christmas parties we are hosting tonight, so you won't be eating in the dinning room." The Princess and Prince were now banished to eating dinner on the landing of the stairwell. We can "roll" with the punches pretty well and it wasn't a big deal.  Many of the reviews were critical of one of the courses of the meal being a roll. That's just kind of funny to us, again only adds to the overall story.  It turned out to be a private dinner (in the stairwell), while I'd want to say it was completely reserved for us, I think it may have to do with that latter, more on this in a minute. Either way, it felt odd that nobody else ate dinner.

After dinner, we retired back to our suite. Wanting to relax, this is when we tried the TV only to find it wasn't functioning.  This might have been CT's breaking point.  She wanted to call the front desk and have it fixed. I explained, we are in a castle, they didn't have TV back then, we can survive without it (meanwhile playing on my tablet). There is another funny story here, but this blog has a rating system and I have to leave out some details to keep the readers guessing.

Anyway, fast forward about an hour and the Christmas parties are in full swing because the noise is a constant cocktail party bantering. Romantic! One of the things I really wanted to experience was the hot tub on the roof overlooking the city. I thought at night, in the winter, it would be something to remember for sure. The thought of walking out the room, through what essentially is dinner tables to get to the roof seemed like bad taste, even for me. Good thing I booked a room with a Jacuzzi tub! CT started the tub and came back to bed and at this point began to feel ill.  Remember the latter, well this is it and it is food poising.  There went dinner. On her return trip to bed, she reported that the tub was filling very slowly.  Hoping she'd feel better after a little nap, I continued to let the tub fill as I continued to play on my tablet, damn castles without TV! About fifteen minutes later, I decided to check the tub, two inches! That's it! At this rate, it will be another hundred years before this thing fills! This may have been by breaking point, but now it was simply a quest to see how long would it take to fill this tub, since my Princess had now fallen into a deep sleep.  You ready for this?  One and a half hours to fill!  At this point, I'd almost call it despair. Room problems, dinner problems, how did it come to this? Here I sit in a Jacuzzi tub, by myself, listening to the commotion of a party, watching my sick wife sleep.  Do I know how to have a good time or what?

The story isn't over yet, one last thing.  We had made early plans for the next day prior to booking this fiasco. Even though we had those plans, I still felt like we could get breakfast in at the Castle when I saw when the kitchen started. On the dot, we arrive downstairs to hopefully end this adventure on a positive. What did we find? Not even the ghosts were up, the Castle was dead.  Figuring we might as well pack the car, then come back and by then there would be activity, nope.  At this point, we simply shrugged our shoulders and left the key at the vacant front desk.

If this is how Kings and Queens live, they can have it.  We could have ordered pizza and stayed at local hotel and had a much more romantic, quiet, experience. Prior to staying CT had been worried that ghosts might be living in this Castle, but after our experience, I'm convinced any ghosts that had been living there have long since left for better living conditions.                      

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Like a Turtle

Speed, it's what every runner wants. Few are gifted enough to have it naturally and even those who do are required to put ridiculous amounts of time and effort to keep it. It seems like I run crazy amounts, to make minimal gains, and I know it doesn't even scratch the surface of what real runners do.  It's kind of sickening, but at the same time, I have a whole new level of respect to them. Where do I fall between the Tortoise and the Hare? I'd like to think closer to the hare, but today I'm a turtle.

This is the last scheduled race before the end of the year. The last race should be special, right?  Well, special enough to get us out of town for a mini vacation.  Say hello, to Mackinac Island!  Who schedules a summer time island for the tail end of fall? Well, runners of course!  It's a chilly, dreary, day to start with as we wait for the ferry.  The line waiting for the boat looks much longer than the boat could hold. Who knew there were this many hardcore, boarder line psychotic people.  As it turns out, standing room only for our group of Superstars, but at least we were inside.  Oh, those poor suckers outside dealing with the wind and splashing water.  See, should have got to the dock sooner!  Speed is good, again.

This race has three options, the half marathon, a 5.7 mile run, and get this a 5.7 mile walk. Why would I even mention this?  Wait for it, suspense is best for story telling, the one time speed isn't best. I signed us up for this race before CT got injured. The race powers wouldn't let her defer to next year, but they would let her switch to the walk. Now, don't get me wrong, CT is happy to be doing anything, and although it's not running, it's something. You'd think that simply being able to participate and not having to only watch would be the icing on the cake for her. No, the icing on cake with the cherry on top, better make that a TURTLE sundae, was when she found out they also give awards for walking! Her eyes started sparkling like only hers can. Oh boy, competitive CT is back.

Once on the island, we all get settled. As you know, to me there is no such thing as a race that is too cold. That being said, it was damn cold with the wind.  Luckily, we could hide in the building prior to the start. To say CT was antsy, is an understatement, stressing over if she'd place in her age group, wanting first. She finally had to go line up early.  The shorter run and walk started earlier than my race, but I couldn't stand outside in the elements long enough to see her off. My plan was to stay in the warmth until about five minutes before her start, then see her off. Just as I was about to do that, sis Downhill, told me let her go, she's in her zone, she's starting to get snippy! That was enough for me, to heed the advice of Downhill. I know all about that zone, best to stay clear!

Holy crowded!  Lining up, it was a mob of people in a little space. I suppose it helped to keep warm, but it was almost impossible to even see where the start was. I had a vague idea of how the course would go. The first two miles were along the shore, then the next nine were over and around the interior or the island on "trails" and the final two were back on the same road we started on. This wouldn't be a flat course and I knew the biggest climb would be from about mile two to five. I figured I'd have an advantage here, but also didn't want to push too hard to burn too much energy, but based on this cattle heard of people, I was now worried about how big these trails were. This would go against all my race strategies, but told myself to go out fast to avoid getting stuck behind people if the trails were tight. Speed.

Splish, splash, goes the starting gun. Is this a triathlon? Two steps past crossing the starting line, two huge pools of water laid in wait. There is NO WAY I'm running thirteen miles in soaking shoes. I did my best impression of a basilisk (Look it up), again speed! Past the water, the challenge became dodging people and horse poop for the first mile. Going fast, trying not to spend too much energy making unnecessary moves, I felt pretty good, until some young kid blew by me. Speed. Things are thinning out and now it's just a matter of finding the grove. As I caught and passed small pockets of people, I couldn't help but notice how poor people race. Granted, running along the curves of the shoreline was scenic, but I was amazed at how many people stuck to the edge of the curve that they were running, without at least trying to being on the inside, let alone adjusting in an attempt to run the tangents. I caught and passed so many people when I really didn't feel like I was running faster than them, simply by cutting the angles. Hell, maybe I don't need speed, if everybody wants to add distance to their run.

Mile two is where the trail started.  Trail turned out to be an exaggeration. Dirt road is more like it.  Maybe starting out fast wasn't the best idea, because I clearly didn't have to worry about getting stuck behind people on a narrow trail. Before I could second guess my strategy, there was a huge mud puddle, bog, swamp thing spanning the entire width of the trail. Skirting the edge as best as possible seemed to work, but it was also very slippery. Now, I was glad I started out fast because the people were now thinned out enough were it became easier to plan and navigate around the water hazards.

Somewhere in this section the hill definitely started.  Passing a volunteer, she cheerfully announced to the woman in front of me she was woman number ten. As I pass, nothing. Does that mean I'm so far back I don't count for the guys? Or is it because I'm a guy, that I don't matter?  What a bunch of bullshit, or on this run I suppose it should be horseshit! Either way, it annoyed me. Sorry number ten, the hill is here and this (meaning being a head of me), isn't going down. There goes number ten, then nine, and eight females.

The middle miles leveled out. Figuring the worse was over, I felt pretty good, besides almost drinking part of a tree that had fallen into my water cup at a water station.  While not exactly on PR pace, I was doing much better than I thought I would considering I had just ran a marathon six days earlier.  But, then the rollers started.  Up and down, up and down, over and over. Scouting the course on the web, this caught me completely off guard.  Brutal. This is where Karma caught up with me for making it a game passing those women, starting too fast, and probably not falling in one of those many puddles. My hip started bothering me and all I could do was wish for the trail portion to end and road back to the finish to start.

Nine guys passed me and I swear they all looked like they were in my age group in this section. Even though I had slowed, I still was clocking some great miles. It frustrated me that these guys were catching me, but at the same time I knew my time was going to end up being pretty darn good. Damn hares, maybe they'll need a nap before the end.

Crossing the finish line, I somehow managed to run my third fastest half marathon time on what was a damn hilly course. I gave CT a hug, she was all smiles with her medal for her race. Then it was hobbling to the building to change and attempt to warm up. Inside, we checked the results. For me? Fourth in my group. Not fast enough to be the hare, but I guess I still have my hair, so those nine guys who passed me must have just looked old. Sure enough, CT the walker, placed first in her age group! Can you believe that? It shouldn't surprise, but she she is coming off surgery, and she still gets an award. Figures, the "injured" turtle of the group, is really the hare.