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Thursday, October 08, 2015

Run Crazy Horse - My first half marathon

Yes, I said "first", but definitely not my last!

So first and most importantly, Mike made it terrific. He couldn't run it with me and I know he was bummed, but he did everything he could to make it special for me. He made signs and the kids decorated them. He hauled the kids around for the 3 hours I was busy running/waiting and tracked me by my phone on my iPad. They met me at mile 3, 7, 9 (almost, they waved from the car), and the finish line. I started to cry when I found them at mile 3, and again at the finish.

Yes, Tristan was there, but wasn't close enough for me to wait.

The weather was pretty wet. It rained all day Saturday (the day before) and I made Mike take me to Walmart for a cheap rain jacket because I couldn't imagine running 13 miles in the rain, but then it was just very heavy mist/fog and I didn't end up wearing it. You couldn't actually see Crazy Horse at all. It was about 40F so pretty cold, and around mile 7 it got super cold and we could all see our breath, but the really cold part was only for about 2 miles. The run is mostly on a maintained gravel path except for one bit at the beginning that was a largish down/up hill on pavement. That was pretty slick the first time we ran it (had to do it twice).

This hill is a lot steeper in person, I swear.

The route itself is about 3 miles on the grounds of the Crazy Horse Memorial- a big loop around mostly on gravel roads. It was a LOT of uphill right at the beginning. At three miles you come out of the park  and then turn onto the Mickelson Trail and run downhill for 10 miles into Hill City, SD. The trail is wide, fine sandy gravel, and exactly the surface I was used to for my long runs. This was a very gradual decline and never felt like running downhill. I was hoping this would give me a little extra speed so that I'd make my goal, but it didn't happen. I did maintain a good pace (for me, I'm a slow runner) on the uphill parts, but didn't gain any on the rest.

Crazy Horse! Isn't it majestic??

Somewhere between miles 8 and 9 I realized that I wasn't going to make my A or B goal and got pretty down on myself. I thought I'd still be able to make my C goal, but was still feeling pretty disappointed. Just after I realized this, Mike had to abandon a cheering station, and I only got to wave at them as they drove past instead of getting some in person encouragement, which didn't help. (He had to leave because Noah LOST A SHOE at the previous stop so they went back for it. That kid continues to amaze me.)
Me, being discouraged at mile 9.

Other random things, for the first 6 or so miles I kept passing and being passed by two girls dressed as My Little Ponies.
My little ponies. I think they beat me.

There was a cat at one of the water/volunteer stations- she was just hanging out with everyone. My cousin ran her first half marathon in Portland Oregon at the exact same time and every time I wanted to walk I'd think "I bet Lara is running right now" which really helped. By mile 11 it hurt more to walk than it did to run, so I kept running. I hurt a lot more overall than I expected.

I finished in 2:36:47. My average pace was 11:58, which is pretty much exactly where all my long runs in training were, except I never started any of those with 3 miles of hills. So in hindsight, I'm ok with that. My cousin finished in 2:34:47, so we really did run it together.

If you ever consider making a sign and cheering for a half marathon/marathon DO IT. It was SO great to have strangers cheering. Some signs I saw:
Go Random Stranger GO
Whine Now Wine Later
I've done smarter things drunk!
Dig deep, like a kid seeking a booger
Worst Parade Ever
Your feet hurt from kicking so much asphalt
Running is cheap therapy- and we're all insane
Tag here for a power boost (this one was a little kid, and the sign had a big red circle in the middle to tag.)
and a bunch of "Go Leah!" "Go Savannah!" type signs.
Plus my two, which are now hanging in my bed room- Run Mommy Run and Way to Go Mommy.

Mike said some other women said they were mommies too and could they have some cheering? Lauren gave out some high fives, but the boys couldn't be talked into it.

So was it worth training for 18 months to do this? Heck yes! I'm incredibly proud of myself. I feel like such a rock star for doing it. 13 miles is a REALLY LONG WAYS.  Mike and I are already talking about winter running and cross training and both of us being prepared for the River Rat Half Marathon next spring. I have a PR to beat now, so GAME ON.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

My Year of Running DangerouslyL A Dad, a Daughter and a Ridiculous Plan by Tom Foreman

I'm going to go ahead and admit that it's probably a good thing for our friendship that none of you actually see me in person or are on my frequent text list (Sorry, Trish, love you!) because it is embarrassing, even to me, how often I bring running up in a conversation.  I am slightly obsessed. I think about it nearly as much as I think about books. Which naturally means I must read books about it too, right?  I got this one (My Year of Running Dangerously) from NetGalley without even catching the part about the author being a CNN news anchor.

Here's the summary from Goodreads:

CNN correspondent Tom Foreman's remarkable journey from half-hearted couch potato to ultra-marathon runner, with four half-marathons, three marathons, and 2,000 miles of training in between; a poignant and warm-hearted tale of parenting, overcoming the challenges of age, and quiet triumph.

As a journalist whose career spans three decades, CNN correspondent Tom Foreman has reported from the heart of war zones, riots, and natural disasters. He has interviewed serial killers and been in the line of fire. But the most terrifying moment of his life didn't occur on the job--it occurred at home, when his 18-year old daughter asked, "How would you feel about running a marathon with me?"

At the time, Foreman was approaching 51 years old, and his last marathon was almost 30 years behind him. The race was just sixteen weeks away, but Foreman reluctantly agreed. Training with his daughter, who had just started college, would be a great bonding experience, albeit a long and painful one.

My Year of Running Dangerously is Foreman's journey through four half-marathons, three marathons, and one 55-mile race. What started as an innocent request from his daughter quickly turned into a rekindled passion for long-distance running--for the training, the camaraderie, the defeats, and the victories. Told with honesty and humor, Foreman's account captures the universal fears of aging and failure alongside the hard-won moments of triumph, tenacity, and going further than you ever thought possible.

Before Mike and I started running last year, I really had no idea that a marathon (26.2 miles) wasn't really the longest race for non-professional runners. I mean seriously, who would ever WANT to run more than that?? For that matter, who'd want to run 26.2? But the more I (we) run, the more into we get. I don't see myself ever considering a run longer than a marathon, and at a current long run record of 10 miles, 26.2 seems a long long ways off, but it was still incredibly interesting to see how Foreman handled the training.

The book opens with Foreman's college age daughter asking him to run a marathon with her. He goes from zero to marathon in 16 weeks and assume that was it. Training was hard and took up all of his spare time. (Sounds familiar!) But once that one was over, there was this other marathon that looked fun. And then a coworker mentioned ultra marathons, so he read up on them. He circles this decision for a while, and then ultimately commits to a 50 mile run.  The training for this is insane. Training runs for an ultra are longer than full marathons. His life became narrowed down to eat, sleep, work, run. He questions himself, repeatedly. This is crazy, what am I doing? What human would choose to run this far?? This training is at times dangerous to his heath. He's out in the dark, in the cold, and in remote places where injury is likely.

Foreman is not alone. Ultra running has become a big deal in running worlds. Scott Jurek recently broke the record for the Appalachian Trail and Mike and I followed it along daily on Facebook. Matthew McConaughey has signed on (requested even!) to play a role in a book to movie adaptation of the ultra running book Born to Run. (Mike and I both read it, but apparently it never occurred to me to blog about it.)  My Year of Running Dangerously fits neatly into this category. If you want to read a running account that is easily accessible to runners and non-runners, or you just enjoy this type of stunt memoir, I can easily recommend this one.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Five Things I'd like to have.

1. This running vest looks perfect for cool days. I don't love running in a jacket, but on rainy days like today it'd be nice to keep partially dry.

2. I kinda want these for my race. Slightly ridiculous, but fun. Too bad my race is TWO DAYS AWAY.

3. Hexagon Earrings!

4. Modern Mrs. Darcy posted again about her personal uniform. I have a ton of clothes but sometimes I dream of an all interchangeable wardrobe.  I'd start with one of these in every color and some slim black pants with a scarf or a long necklace. I'd have to buy all of that, but whatever.

5. Stadium/picnic blankets. Tristan is playing football this fall and it's freezing on the sidelines.  I'd like two or three of these water and wind resistant fleece blankets to wrap up in.

I'm a bit worried about myself, it took me all week to find five things. I wonder if I'm not getting enough sleep or something because seriously, how hard is it to find FIVE things I want?? (Tho if I'm honest, I could have easily listed five RUNNING things.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Hidden by Heather Graham

Guys, I can't stay away from these! They are terribly addicting and entertaining while I'm reading them, even if afterwards I just don't love them. Happily, this one is much better than the last couple and I'm off the fence on if I want to continue with the series, (I do, if that wasn't clear.)

Here's the summary, from Amazon:

Can the same killer strike again—a hundred and fifty years later?

Estes Park, Colorado, is a place of serenity. But it wasn't always so serene. Shortly after the Civil War, Nathan Kendall and his wife were murdered there, leaving behind a young son. The crime was never solved.

Now…historian Scarlet Barlow is working at a small museum attached to a B and B, the same building where that murder occurred. She recently came to Colorado, reeling after her divorce from FBI agent Diego McCullough. Diego—who's just been asked to join the Krewe of Hunters, a unit dealing with "unusual" situations…

When Scarlet unwittingly takes pictures of people who've been murdered—just like the Kendalls a hundred and fifty years before—the police look at her with suspicion. Then the museum's statues of historic people, including Nathan Kendall, begin to talk to her, and she knows it's time to call her ex-husband. Diego heads to Estes Park, determined to solve the bizarre case that threatens Scarlet's life—and to reunite with the woman he never stopped loving.

There were just so many enjoyable things about this one! First, the Estes Park, Colorado setting was terrific. I've only been to Colorado a handful of times, and then only in and near Denver. I'd really love to visit big mountains and this one made them sound beautiful. I would absolutely LOVE to stay at this B & B, minus the murders, of course.

I haven't read many reunion after a divorce books and this one made me want to rectify that. Scarlet blames herself completely for the failure of her marriage. Sure, at the time she thought it was Diego's fault-- and his job's, but now with hindsight, she realizes that she definitely could have stepped up more and avoided a lot of heartbreak. Diego is incredibly nervous about getting his heartbroken again, but when Scarlet needs him he does not hesitate to go to her. I had a hard time in the last book because I often forgot if Brett were the hero or if Diego was, but Diego completely redeems himself in this one. He's incredibly protective of Scarlet, who is in real danger, while also not treating her as a helpless female. He's also clearly completely and totally still in love with her.  I adored the romance here, and loved seeing them make their way back together.

The history of the area and the background of the murder didn't overwhelm the plot, as I felt it did in The Silenced, although I did (kinda) figure out the guilty party way before the FBI did. The Krewe of Hunters series is quickly becoming a series I can count on to break me out of a slump and it's predictable flow is comforting to me when I can't settle on anything else to read. This one really makes me want to go back and read the ones that I missed in the middle. If I had any complaint it would be that the titles are completely forgettable and interchangeable, but I feel that way about most series so you can't really hold it against this one. Is it 5 star book? No, but it's above average, highly readable and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Five on Friday- Slumping

1. Guys, I'm in a terrible weird reading slump.  It's not that I'm reading bad or uninteresting books, but I just don't want to actually read! I've been trying to just go with it, and listen to podcasts and play my crazy addicting phone game ("1010!") and not let it get to me. I'm annoyed that I don't want to read, and yet, I'm just not reading. I'm blaming it on this being a very busy time of year for me, both with back to school, and a giant annually recurring work project.

2. This is particularly bad because my fledgling book club starts again next week and I have not read our book choice- Orphan #8. I haven't even started it.

3. I'm also reading a really fun (and funny) ARC of a book called The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone. It's got all the popculture references as well as some gaming talk that makes me all kind of nostalgic. It's endlessly entertaining and I have no fault with the book, but I still don't want to read.

4. So I'm listening to podcast after podcast instead. In the interest of full disclosure, I listened to enough podcasts last Monday ("I can listen to as many as I want so long as I am also cleaning house") that I could have listened to my entire book club book. But I didn't. I completely caught up on Undisclosed, Crime Writers On, Serial Dynasty, Books on the Nightstand, Dear Hank & John and the Readers. I have a big dent into Magic Lessons, and tested out a handful of Science Vs. I still have 465 unplayed podcasts on my phone, no risk of my ever catching up completely.

5. Yesterday, as a last ditch effort, I checked out the ebook of JD Robb's Obsession in Death. Robb always pulls me out of a slump. Now I just have to pick it up and read it....

What tricks do you have to end  slump? Have you ever been in a position where you are reading good books but just didn't want to read?

Friday, September 04, 2015

Five (more) things about Running OR Dear God woman, enough about running already!

1. Jenny Rosenstrach, author of Dinner: A Love Story, which I loved, wrote this terrific post about why she runs. She talks about Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I have GOT to read that book!

2.  I ran 66.12 miles last month. I have no idea how that compares to most people training for a half marathon, but it feels far to me. I've run 120 miles since I got my Garmin on June 26th. That's just crazy. The Crazy Horse Half Marathon is one month from tomorrow. Lucky you, I probably will shut up about running for a while once it's over.

3. I've decided to start the 30 Day Yoga Challenge with Yoga with Adriene. If I start this evening I'll finish up the day before my half. Anyone want to sign up with me and be my accountability buddy? (Note: I'm starting Thursday evening, as I write this post.)  Most of the videos are under 20 minutes.

4. You may recall that last year I injured my knee after my 10 mile run. I'm pretty confident that I've trained carefully enough this year that I'm not going to injure myself. I've now done a 10.1 and two weeks after that an 11 mile run with no problems. I'm supposed to do 12 this weekend. Eek.

5. I've been listening to Cheryl Stray'd Wild on my runs for a while now. I'm maybe 2/3 of the way done. It's not that it's super long, but it takes a while when you only listen on runs. I'm enjoying it a lot, but I'm still waiting for all the scandalous s-e-x she supposedly has. Maybe I got the abridged version?  In any case, reviews seem to be at one extreme or the other, with very few people landing in the middle. I read a handful of good and bad reviews on Goodreads, and while I don't see myself praising it as a masterpiece, I can't actually recognize the book I'm listening to in some of the 1 star rants. (That is, I CAN, it's clearly this book, but it's like we're reading two totally different accounts of it.)

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Supper Club Planning and Two Southern Cookbooks

One of the things I really want to do this year is start a rotating supper club with some friends. I'd love to have a steady recurring themed evening of food and friendship. I've already roped one other family in on the fun, and would like to find a third. I think it would be interesting to pick a theme or a cookbook or a famous chef and use them as inspiration. I imagine an Italian night, a meal out of A Homemade Life, and riffing off the Chopped judges. I also imagine doing a full Southern meal for my decidedly Yankee friends. In addition to picking a few family favorites, I have two cookbooks from NetGalley that will help me find just the right dishes.

First is Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes. I love love love the blues and New Orleans, and I can't stop myself from requesting every book (fiction and non-fiction) set in New Orleans that I see, but I didn't think this through really well, as the majority of the recipes are, of course, seafood.  I am not a huge seafood fan and even if I were I live in South Dakota-- as far from the sea as you can get. That said, I did find a handful of potential candidates in the book, and the writing and reading is quite lovely, as is the photography.  I've bookmarked Bananas Foster, Mamma's Bread Pudding with Hot Buttered Rum Sauce, Sweet Corn Macque Choux, and Baked Cheesy Grits as potential dinner recipes. Besh Big Easy is released on September 29th.

The second book that I've requested is Nashville Eats: Hot Chicken, Buttermilk Biscuits, and 100 More Southern Recipes from Music City.  Mike and I love Nashville, and really Tennessee as a whole. When we first were together we visited Memphis several times, and I have family in Murfreesboro so this is right up our alley. Chess Pie is definitely on our list of recipes for Southern night and I was thrilled to see a recipe for that included (tho I do have a similar family version.) Nashville Eats is more than just recipes, it also includes beautiful descriptions of Nashville itself and the musical history. This one is a book you can just sit and read, much like A Homemade Life. If I had any complaint it would be that the Kindle formatting is awkward, but there's always the paper version to get around that problem. Nashville Eats will be released on October 6th.

I am really excited to get the Supper Club going and can't wait to kick it off with a meal from home.

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