Running and Running…

It’s been a while since I have written a race report. Almost a year! (After typing this and logging on to my blog…I did not even publish the last one I wrote!) Wow, how time goes by. This is mostly due to having to write so much for school, but I really should get back to writing these more regularly. We had our Columbia Running Club awards last week and Tracy asked for someone to write up the race, so I offered. Going to write this blog then modify a bit for the newsletter…. So here goes…

It has been so warm lately here in the south that it hasn’t felt like winter. Until the morning of the race. Fortunately, I did check the weather, so I knew not to head out there in a tank top and shorts. This race also has a fun element to it with being called Cupid’s chase. When you sign up, you have the opportunity to select an available (single) or unavailable (taken) shirt. The available shirts are white, and the others are red. I have done this race twice now and had a white shirt both times…well, this year I got a red shirt! 

When I got out of my car, the cold wind hit me. Oh boy, this is going to be a cold one! I went and got my packet, shirt, and bib and took it back to my car. They do a great job in getting sponsors and giving out some cool stuff. The swag bag was pretty heavy! This is one race that it is acceptable to wear your race shirt, in fact, it’s part of the race. This race is run in many places around the united states on the same day. In larger areas, I could see how it could be a good place to meet another single person. I did see more white shirts this year than I usually did though. Maybe someone was able to meet someone new. 

After braving the wind to get out the car, I met up with Colleen V. in the bathroom line. She has recently come back after several injuries. It was great to see her back. After getting through the very slow bathroom line, I did a half mile warmup run. It was supposed to be a mile but knew it would be race time by then.  While running, I saw Alex M., Alex P., Rocky, Henry, Geary and some other familiar faces. I’m complaining about the cold, but it was actually about 45 degrees. It was the wind that was making it feel really cold. 

As they call everyone to line up, my GPS decides to do an update…seriously??!?!?!?!. I pulled out my phone and got Strava set up just in case but that would mean I would not have my intervals. Thankfully it decided to finish loading and set up to run just before they started the race. Whew! I had decided to stick with my 1-minute run and 30 second walk that I used last week at the Not So Long Run 5K. At that race, I skipped 2 of the runs and had a time just short of 39 minutes. I decided to push it some and wanted under 37 minutes. I had surgery right after Thanksgiving and was not cleared to run until Cold Winters Day which I ran in about 42 minutes with Samantha (grandbaby) in the stroller. 

I started about halfway back. Before the race, they asked the walkers to start toward the back. I really appreciate that they did this. There were a lot of walkers who had most likely never done any races and they may not have known or even thought about that. I did have to skip my first walk due to so many people around me. I had planned that it was probably going to happen that way. 

This race is an out and back with a loop. It starts with a slight uphill mile. Which is good because that means the ending is a slight downhill! The first mile wasn’t too bad though. I stuck with my run/walk intervals. I had told myself I would not skip any runs this week. As I mentioned, I did skip the first walk, but I knew to be careful with that since I have not really run a lot lately. I am working on getting back to where I was. 

It is a nice course through the Five points area. Lots of interesting and pretty houses along the route. There was a good representation of police officers to keep us safe directing traffic through the big intersections. They are greatly appreciated! I try to thank them along the way when they are looking toward my direction. I heard several people doing this. The officers seemed to enjoy it. 

I finished the first mile in 12:23. Not exactly on track for under 37 minutes but I’m not giving up now. I was feeling pretty good. The second mile has some rolling hills, but none are that bad. I do not mind rolling hills. You know the ones you go up and go back down, not the ones that keep going up and up and up! I finished mile 2 at a 12:05 pace. Wow, negative splits. That is really rare for me.

As I’m doing my intervals, several around me are doing the same thing so we are constantly leap frogging each other. It does make it fun even if we are not talking. By now, it is getting warmer and I need to pull up the long sleeves of the race shirt. I’m glad they had long sleeves to cover up until I got warmed up. 

As mentioned, the 3rdmile is mostly a downhill slope. Not a strong downhill but you know you are going down. I love downhill running. I know some people do not like it so much. I guess because I’m short, I don’t feel like I am going to tip over! As I’m nearing the finish line, mile 3 completes and that mile was at 11:07. What? I know it is a little downhill but wow, negative split again. I’m usually dying out by now. I get around the last corner and see the clock. It’s at 36:43. Noooooo it can’t flip over to 37, I am too close! I try to sprint but there is not that much left in me. I try speeding up some and when I finished, my GPS said 36:59. I found out later my official time was 37:00. Darn! But still I can’t complain, it is much better than the week before on a slightly tougher course. 

This race gives out top 3 women, top 3 men, then 1 winner in each 5-year age division. Several CRC members placed! 

Link to results:

After the awards, they have a raffle using everyone’s bib numbers. Again, I did not win. I am almost never that lucky. Maybe next time…but it is fun seeing people enjoy winning gifts. I really enjoy this race and while I am not a fan of 10:00am starts, it is worth doing and plan to do it again next year if timing works out. 

I haven’t been doing these recaps since I started back to school. That has been enough writing! But, Tracy asked so here you go… ☺

As many of you know, I decided this year that I would make a challenge for myself to do 6 half marathons in 6 different states in 6 months. (The first 3 were in Louisiana, Georgia, and Alabama). Palmetto Half Marathon is #4 – of course, here in South Carolina. In the first two, I ran 2:45 and some seconds. In the 3rd, it’s hard to say because the course was short. The “official” time was 2:35 but adding in an average of the rest of the distance, I am saying 2:38. But, I don’t count it to be an official time.

17523553_10155289501702472_65101816286624007_nThe Palmetto Half Marathon has been going on for several years now and has really good numbers and strong competition. There are a 5K and a Half marathon. I usually run the 5K, in fact, it’s my 5K PR! Last year was the first time I did the half marathon. It was slow but it got done.

This year, a new race popped up at the same time and it split the field. In one case, I noticed a husband went to one race and the wife to the other. It even split families!

I was feeling really good going into this one and made a big goal of a half marathon PR. That would have been 2:29. I did this race last year with a time of 2:54 so I knew I could at least beat that one. My second goal was 2:39.

I got there an hour early as usual and it was cold! The sun hadn’t come out yet either so I knew that would help once it started getting light. I did some light stretching and caught up with some of my RWB team and other friends. This race has a good turnout so I know there were people there I just never saw. I found that out based on Facebook posts after the race!

Ok, on to the race. I planned to do this as a run/walk with a 2-minute run and 30-second walk. The first mile of the race is completely flat so I had to be really careful to not go out too fast. Right around mile 1, you have to run over an overpass. It’s a rough one but I just kept thinking about being able to run back down it – but – I definitely didn’t want to think about the fact that I was going to have to go back up that monster again to finish the race. More on that later.

I needed an 11:27 pace to make my big goal and as of mile 2, I was still on it. (first 2 miles – 11:36 & 11:14) After coming down the off-ramp, there is a section that goes down Two Notch road and has some slight inclines and declines before the hillfest begins. After turning left on Valhalla, the hills start. I kept going using my plan. As of mile 4, I wasn’t far off my big goal (next 2 miles – 11:31 & 11:44) but the mental breakdown started. I just couldn’t get focused, or possibly, need to get unfocused.

I kept it going doing the planned run/walk even though my mind was wanting me to walk more. I wasn’t going to give in. There were several around me doing the run/walk and we were going back and forth with each other. I think we were keeping each other going.17795855_10154381982546512_7735172309491015945_n

The hills don’t stop once they start, I finally got my mind going along with me and then my hip tries to give out, I almost fell but caught myself. I moved to the middle of the road hoping the more level ground would help, and it did, for a while.

Mile 8 was rough. I was close to a 14-minute mile. I haven’t done a mile that slow in a long time. My hip tried to give out again. Not sure what was going on, I’ve never had that happen. My guess is that I didn’t stretch good enough. Well, too late for that right now!

I picked myself back up for miles 9 and 10 getting back into the 12-minute pace but then around mile 11, my body was done. Of course, I made it keep going. Stopping was not an option. Here, my pace did go over 14… 14:05 to be exact. Wow. The volunteers were encouraging us on and I hope they know how much they helped! Thank you, volunteers!

The course is mostly an out and back with a run around a block around the middle of the race. As we turn back onto Two Notch road, the end is in sight. OK, well, not really in sight.
17799318_10155278107517472_8560574868929479943_nAnd here comes that overpass again. At this point, my run/walk ratio had gone out the window. I was walking the uphills as was almost everyone else around me. No one around me even attempted to run back up the overpass!

At this point, I knew I wasn’t even going to make my 2nd goal of 2:39 but I knew I definitely was within getting a course PR. I managed to get back into the 13s to finish the race off in a time of 2:45:11. Yeah, another 2:45 finish. That’s 3 out of the 4 races; I got within the same minute. That’s consistency. Very different courses too. Georgia and Alabama were hilly but Louisiana only had an overpass that had to be run over twice. Besides that, it was flat.

I’m ready for a flat race! Supposedly my next half in Tennessee is mostly flat but I’m skeptical! I think Myrtle Beach Mini marathon may be added to my schedule…

Here is a link to the results:

This race marks one year since my very first triathlon. I must say I never thought I would ever do one much less any more than one! This is the Tri the Swamp Rabbit race at Furman University in Greenville. My goal was to beat all my times from last year. I had no idea what I was doing last year so figured that would be a good goal. I also wanted to get under 2 hours. That was my second level goal. Last year total time was 2:11:17. I drove up the night before with Kara. At dinner, she got stared down by an old lady and we had to listen to a mom making sneezing sounds all through dinner because the baby thought it was funny. Must say, we were entertained!

Race day morning, we got up and started loading the truck. I was early and still dark out and a really drunk or high person tried to start conversation with us. We hurried back into the hotel. Then he tried to get in the hotel through the door that requires a room key. Whew. When we went back down, he was gone.13690926_705183612953556_7481802505250991085_o

Ok…now to the race… We got there a little over an hour before the race and started setting up. Being a slow swimmer, I’m in the back with the other newbies. I was helping some first timers set up their transition area. Scary that they were asking me for help! The race was to start at 7:30. We were set up to start based on the swim times we submitted. Needless to say, the back of the line took a while to actually start. Last time I looked at my watch, it was 8:22 so it was right around there when I started. But, while waiting, I did use that time to watch the other swimmers to see different techniques. The really fast ones were too fast to see anything. Once we start getting closer to my start time, you start seeing the pool walkers. I’m one of those pool walkers. I’m working on not relying on it. I’ll get there.

I started off and got a good half of a length down when my brain went crazy. I did different things to get through the pool. I did some backstroke but at this race, each lane is used to go different directions and I didn’t want to be head butting anyone. I tried not to stop at the turns but if someone was coming up fast on me, I let them go. I did make the mistake of letting one lady pass who was side swimming so she was kicking out not leaving much room to try to pass her. I ended up getting stuck behind her. Swim time 9:26 (Last year 8:54)

Transition from swim to bike went well, besides trying to put my helmet on with sunglasses still inside, all went well. Didn’t break like I did last year, just kept moving. T1 time 1:39 (Last year 2:13)

13680043_759684724133955_7359891301691487226_oNext was the bike. I knew the first half was hilier than the second part. The first hill wasn’t far into the ride but I tried to pick up as much speed as I could on the flat parts to make up for the hills. I felt like I was doing better than the year before. None of the hills were massive but make you push. I was feeling good the first 8 miles but then I started losing it. By mile 10, I was done. My body didn’t want to keep going but my mind wasn’t going to let me stop. We got on a main road for a while and it was pretty flat but I kept slowing down for no reason, like thinking it was time to turn when I knew it wasn’t. I pushed on. Then the big downhill. I remember that thing being scary last year. But nothing compared to this year. The road had deteriorated some and the road was uneven with a little gravel. I felt the bike move sideways once. I was going close to 30 mph. I just knew it was the end. I made it down the hill though. Right before getting back to transition there is a hill into the campus. It’s not really that much of an incline but being tired, it sure feels like it! Bike time 1:12:59 (Last year 1:14:50)

Transition from Bike to run also went pretty quickly. It was a little slower than I wanted but still faster than the year before. Time 2:13 (Last year 3:09 – I even checked messages on my phone last year!)13735622_759693934133034_2290672163540866109_o

Finally the run. The run course changed this year so I wasn’t sure what it would be like. I decided to do my long run strategy. Run 2-minutes/ walk 1 minute. It was actually going pretty good. Only thing was that the course changed to pretty much an out and back. The “out” was a slight uphill. I was really surprised at myself that I stuck with the plan. There was an oriental guy who was doing his first triathlon. I caught up with him on the run and he was doing a run walk also but then he just started walking. Toward the end, there’s a very short but steep incline. My left calf was not happy about it. But made it. I I believe this is the first time that my run portion was under 40 minutes. Time 39:26 (Last year 42:13)

That gave me a total time of 2:05:40. That’s 6 minutes faster than last year. And I see a lot of where I could have done better. So…training, training, training.


So, I’ve been slacking lately… yes, on doing these blogs, and well, doing races at all. Can you believe I have ZERO Columbia Running Club (CRC) points and it’s halfway through the year!

This is my 4th year to run the Peachtree 10K in Atlanta Ga. It is held on July 4th every year and has been for 36 years now. It’s the largest 10K in the world with approximately 60,000 runners. Cooper River is 3rd last I heard. I usually make a long weekend of it and this year I drove up on Sunday and stayed until Tuesday.

I stay at a hotel right at the start line so I don’t have to worry about any parking or train logistics in the morning. I got up and dressed and ate a small breakfast. As soon as I walked out the hotel door, the humidity hit me. I knew this might be an interesting race.BestMeSelfie

My goal was to run the first 3 miles then 2/1 run/walk the rest hoping to be under 1:07:00, which would give me a new course PR. I started to rethink that goal when I realized it was going to be a hot one. I decided to just go with it and see how I felt.

This race is extremely well run. Of the times I’ve run it, everything has run smoothly and on time. That’s got to be a difficult task with that many runners but they manage to pull it off. I also heard they had over 3,500 volunteers. That’s a lot of volunteers.

We slowly move up as each corral starts. I was in corral “K” this year. When you register, you have to put in a race time from the last 2 years and you are placed based on that. I had been up in G a few years ago. But nothing wrong with K. It went to Y or Z so I was still a good ways up.

As you can imagine with that many people, you are never alone! As we started, I had to dodge walkers. Yes, at the start. You really can’t go very fast. I was running around an 11 minute pace and was actually passing a lot of people.   The first 3 miles of the race are mostly flat and downhill so I just put it on cruise and ran. It was hot though! I was dripping sweat before I even finished the first mile. I hit mile 1 at an 11:06 pace. I needed a 10:47 average pace to hit my goal time so I was close. There are people lining the roads the entire way and some have funny signs, there are bands, and some even giving out beer! There is definitely not a shortage of things to get your mind off the run. Mile 2 was at 10:22 pace and mile 3 at 10:05 pace. Now, as I mentioned, the first 3 miles is mostly flat to downhill. At 3.1-ish miles is what they have deemed “cardiac hill”. Hmm…well, I had decided I would run the first 3 miles then run walk…sooooo. I walked the first minute of cardiac hill. I hit the 5K split at 33:34. That’s faster than my 5K times recently! (That included a 1 minute walk…the last .1)


Photo copied from Peachtree Facebook page

I stuck with the 2/1 run/walk. I was feeling pretty good mentally although it was extremely hot and humid. People were spraying the runners with water and I took advantage of that any time I could! People were stopping and saw a few needing/getting medical attention.   I hit mile 4 at 12:54 pace. Way off what I needed for the course PR but with that heat, I didn’t care. I just wanted to stick with my plan of the run/walk no matter what my time was. Mile 5 was at 12:59 pace. Hey…still under 13 minutes! HA! About that time I used a walk break to drink an entire cup of water. I don’t usually drink that much at a time but I could feel myself dehydrating and I surely did not want to be one of those falling out if I could help it.

Having people around the whole time really helps you keep going but being back in the corral I was in, there tend to be a lot of walkers. I didn’t let them get to me. I just kept my plan up. Mile 6 was at a 12:20 pace and I finished off the last .2 at a 10:27 pace. The last part is a slight downhill, which was very welcomed. I was ready to be done! Official finish time was 1:13:24. Not my slowest at this race, but close.

After finishing, you have to follow a path to get to water, snacks and your finishers shirt. You only get the shirt after you finish the race. I walked around a bit, drank some and got some food then headed back to the hotel.

This race is a point to point so the choices were to walk back or take the train back. I decided on the train. Although, the walk to the train felt pretty close to the distance back to the hotel!  The train was fully of stinky runners. I felt bad for anyone else who was on the train that morning.IMG_6205.JPG

I really enjoy doing this race. I plan to do it every year if possible. It is a lottery entry but Atlanta Track club members get guaranteed entry so I did that to be sure I got in. The previous 3 years, I got in through the lottery, I figured my luck had to run out soon.






And we make it back around to my very first race. Five years ago. I had just started running about 3 weeks before and I couldn’t run but for a few seconds before walking. But, I had heard the Jingle Bell 5K in Lugoff was good for beginners so I decided to sign up. I was hooked from then on. My time was 42:27 so my goal for the next year was to beat that time by 10 minutes. My time the next year? 32:46. So close that I count it as a success!

Over the years:

2010 – 42:27

2011 – 32:46

2012 – 30:23 – still my course PR

2013 – 38:09 – I had been hurt this year but wanted to keep up my string of doing this race

2014 –  32:38

I had planned to run to the race as my warm up then run home but I had to be in Columbia at 10:00 so that was not going to work out. I picked up my packet the day before so didn’t have to worry about that. But, I still got there pretty early since it’s a whole 3 minute drive.

First race of the season cold enough to wear my long pants and top. There were several other CRC races so I was curious to who would show up in Lugoff. Most of them. And this race, I have no delusions of placing. Evidently the women born in Lugoff and Camden around my age were given the fast running gene. Joking of course, these ladies work for their speed!

It was getting close to 8:00 which was race start time and I was chatting with Fiona and Kara. We were wondering when everyone would start walking over to the start. We thought if we would do it, they would follow. Nope. Selwyn finally got everyone set up. I believe the start was correct this year. Last year or maybe the year before, they had started it too far up.

There are a lot of walkers in this race and they usually line up toward the front so I was scoping everyone out to see where best to go. I’ve almost been tripped every time I’ve run this race. I was successful this year. No tripping or running into everyone.

12314717_10208422827831483_1045713140554478040_oI really didn’t have a goal for this race. I knew I wasn’t quite ready for a PR, but wanted to do what I could. I was open to walking. But I knew there would be no walking before the first mile. This course is mostly flat but it starts off with a really long very slight uphill. I hit mile 1 at  10:26. Not great but I’m still running. I had passed a lot of kids, several of the local schools have groups that do this race.  About ½ mile in, I saw a man carrying a child in a wagon pass me. Think that’s the first time I’ve been passed by a wagon.

The next mile is the “hilly” one. We make a right turn onto a side road to get over to Hwy 34. Several ups and downs on that road, the toughest being the last one.  I was still running… Mile 2 was at a 10:20 pace. Oh, negative split. Good!  I do not believe I’ve done this race yet without any walking. I’ll have to go back through to verify but I think I had. So, at mile 2, I decided I was not going to walk.  I had also decided not to run with headphones today. So, I had nothing to fall back on…had to listen to my thoughts.12299119_10205687726494302_5443893237556152150_n

Most of the people around me were softball players from Lugoff Elgin High school. They were doing run and walk intervals so it was really hard to keep my mind on not walking. But I made it through. I thought again about walking just before the finish since the finish is uphill. Don’t you just love uphill finishes? NOT! It’s not bad but when you’re tired it seems even worse.  I sucked it up and hit that hill. Jennifer Ward got a pic of me almost at the finish line. I looked rough! But…mile 3 was 10:13. Continued negative splits all the way through. Don’t see that often.

I finished in 32:30. Not what I was hoping for but is my second best time at this race AND I didn’t walk so I am good with it. Since I had go get a shower and get to Columbia, I wasn’t able to stay for awards but here is a quick rundown from the posted results: (CRC that and local friends that I recognize)12342371_714971288604028_279168215177436138_n.jpg


Overall winner, Heather Costello and 3rd, Sharon Cole

11-14, 2nd place: Gracie Holland

15-19, 1st place: Sophie Holland

30-34, 1st place: Fiona Martin

35-39, 1st place: Kara Clyburn, 2nd: Amanda Holland

45-49, 1st place: Barbara Brandenburg, 2nd: April McKay..and wait…what??? I got 3rd? I seriously didn’t know that until just now…and yes, it’s Thursday. Wooohooo!!!! And of course, I couldn’t stay for awards!

50-54, 2nd place: Tonya Edgerton


15-19, 3rd place: Matthew Mills

40-44 showdown, 1st: Darrel Brown, 2nd Angel Manuel (4 seconds behind), and 3rd: Tyler McGaha

45-49, 1st place: Jeff Brandenburg

55-59, 1st place: Geary McAlister

60-65, 1st place: Robbie Mclendon

70 up, 1st place: Arnold Floyd

Sorry if I missed anyone…trying to get this done since I’ve slacked all week!

Link to full results:







First…sorry this is so late!

This would be my 3rd time to run this race, 2011, 2014 and now 2015. I had signed up in 2012 but don’t remember why…I guess I just wanted to get home. It’s the morning of the day I leave to head back home. This race is only 15-20 minutes from my brother’s house so it’s pretty convenient even being in another state.

This race is on a NASA base so you have to go through security with your ID to get in. They check the ID against the race list. If you’re not on it, you don’t get in. So, obviously no race day registration. To be safe and to get the parking I wanted, I left so that I would arrive a full hour ahead. There were only 2 cars ahead of me to get in and I parked exactly where I wanted. Going well so far.

This race is put on by the Gulf Coast running club and they do a great job every year. If I would have to have a low point, I would say the small amount of toilets for the number of people who attend. I did a short warm up run. I was already pretty warm out again today. Upper 60’s. I really felt for the people doing the full marathon, it was supposed to be almost reaching 80 by the time they would be finished.

We all line up. The line is more like a mass grouping as there isn’t a very big start area and there is no chip timing. None. It’s pull tab timing. I had seen some girls fold the tab under and pin it in. The race people were telling everyone not to do that. Oh well.

The race started just a few minutes late to let everyone get back down the hill from the restroom. Yes, really. It was only a few minutes but just kind of funny. The marathon, half marathon and 5K all start at the same time. The announcer told only people who run 7 minute pace or faster to be in the front. I settled myself mid pack as usual.

With the road being narrow, you can’t really start off too fast in this race. I think I was at about a 12 minute pace, maybe 11 when I hear someone talking to me. It’s a fellow Eagle. He’s carrying the flag. We talked for a second and realized we are in the same chapter! That was too cool. We pullover, yes, during the race to get a selfie…had to! I didn’t catch his name but he knew about Maria coaching me in to the finish at the half a few weeks ago so I knew I could find him. He was doing the marathon so I knew I wouldn’t see him again during the day, as I would be on the road back home before he finished.


My goal for this race was to get a course PR. I knew this was very do-able since my PR was 34:47. But, it is hard doing two 5K’s with only one rest day between so I always know this race will be slower and I do it for fun.

It’s mostly flat too, a few slight hills but nothing bad. I hit mile 1 at a 10:16 pace. Not bad for stopping! According to moving time on my GPS, we stopped for about 8 seconds.

Oh…forgot to mention. After the race on Thanksgiving, I did make one Black Friday purchase. I got a Garmin Forerunner 15. It was on sale and I had a credit. Ended up getting it for $45. Score!

After mile 1, I went into run walk mode. I didn’t really need to but didn’t want to push too much then have to sit in a car for 10 hours letting my legs freeze up. That was my excuse anyway. I didn’t time it or anything, just went with the feel. I didn’t have anyone close to me in front or behind by now so it was really tough to keep focused too.

This course is an out and back. Turns around right about 1.5 miles. I hit mile 2 doing an average 10:53. Still under 11 with walking. Not bad. By now, I knew unless I walked the entire rest of the way, I had my course PR so that also gave me “reason” to walk.

12309836_10153753555541303_929315840014811200_oIn the last race, I had seen that girl with the undies you could see through her leggings. Well, in this race, there was a girl whose undies were longer than her shorts….yes, her underwear hung out the bottom of the shorts. I must say I do not believe I’ve seen that before.

I knew I would run the final part where people were watching. I did catch up to and even pass a few people going into the 3rd mile. One guy must have been listening for me because he would walk and every time I would get close, he would start running again.

I crossed finish line in 33:33. Course PR by over a minute! After finishing the race, you put your time on a board so if everyone put theirs on right, you could tell what place you got. Looking like I got 3rd again. I waited for awards to see and sure enough, I placed 3rd!


The after race fare here is beer, coke, water, pasta jambalaya, bananas and cookies. A definite wide variety of items! I picked up a beer to take back, it’s still in my fridge.

After finishing this, I’ve done this race 3 times, placed 3rd every time. Think I might be disappointed to get anything else now. Ha!

For the last several years I have gone down to Louisiana to visit my family and friends for Thanksgiving. This year was no different. Since I started running I have added 2 races to the trip. The Baton Rouge Turkey Trot: this was my 5th year in a row to run it. The Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon 5K, I also signed up for which would be my 3rd time to run it. More about that one in my next blog…

The last 2 years it had been in the 20’s or 30’s but this year it was in the 60’s. Big difference. Was nice not freezing with the wind coming off the river right by us. The course is mostly flat. I found out the night before that the course had been changed but know most of that area is flat so wasn’t really worried about any surprise hills.

The last 3 years, my Dad has run it with me; but this year he debated since he hadn’t been running much due to a hip issue. But he had done a few runs and was feeling better so we both went. He was expecting over 35 minutes and he did…but he got it done! We got there about an hour early and just chatted. It’s still weird going to out of town places for races and not knowing anyone. Just feels weird since I know half the runners in most races I do around here.

This is a really big race and has been growing each year. This year over 1,700 signed up. A lot are walkers but there are also some pretty competitive people in it too.

We lined up about middle pack on the right as I usually do. This race does not have a chip timed start. Since both of my GPS watches decided to die this week, I was going to use my phone app and start it from my apple watch. I had done that several times before with no issue. We start off and guess what… it doesn’t start the timer. I was about .10 mile in and had to wrestle my phone out of my belt to start the app. I really wanted to keep an eye on my pace so needed that to be running.

I really didn’t have a set goal. I did want to beat my best time which was 31:47, With the course change, we turned much earlier and much more often than the regular course. I found out after that the course was changed at the last minute due to construction around the State Capitol.

My times start about .10 to .20 into the race…. So at mile 1 by my phone, I had been running at a 9:59pace. Nice! Under 10…More turns and more turns. Those turns were slowing me down. At about a mile and a half, I did a short walk. I know, I know but I had been running faster than usual and it took it out of me. I hit mile 2 at 10:14 pace which still wasn’t bad being that I had walked twice I believe during it.

About mile 1, I really wanted to let a girl know that her running leggings plainly showed that her undies matched her shirt. I held back though.

For the 3rd mile, I just decided to do whatever, so I did. Running and walking. I still managed to hit mile 3 at a 10:22 pace. As I’m coming up to the finish line, I see the clock in the 32’s. Ok. Time warp. I know I started my watch late but that just didn’t seem right.

I finished in 33:01. That darn last walk cost me being in the 32’s…but if there had been chip time, I would have…. BUT…. Even with my app starting late, my app distance was 3.18 miles so at minimum, the race was 3.28 miles.

So…I’m going with my phone time. 31:37 since it was a full 5K timed (by my phone). I know, my official time is the 33:01…but I’m personally going with my timing. That gives me a race PR…not even course PR though since it was a different course. Oh well, there’s next year…

PS. Sorry for the lack of pictures…I am horrible about taking them and they haven’t posted them on the website yet.


This was my first time to run the Shandon Turkey Trot although it’s in its 33rd year .  I hadn’t planned to do it but when Cold Winter’s day had to cancel for this year, Blue Cross running club gave us this race in its place. I figured since I was planning to do CWD, I might as well do this one.

It’s a 2 loop 8K. I had heard it was a new course this year. Found it out it was being run backwards. Not sure if that had any affect since I had never run it the other way.  There is also a 4K option – one loop. But that race only had one place in 10 year age divisions, plus I really needed the miles. I do 2.5 miles all the time at my house. That’s the size of the outer loop of my neighborhood.

I got there my usual hour early and when I got out the car, I realized I hadn’t dressed well for this race.  Oh well, too late now. I did decide to go ahead and keep my CRC fleece on during the race. I figured if I got too hot while running, I could just take it off. Hate doing that but I was cold waiting.

Most people were staying inside the school to keep warm. I decided I needed to do at least some type of warmup so I ran a lap on the track as a bunch of others were doing. Yeah, ran a whole quarter mile warmup but I also did some stretches so I was feeling pretty good.

My plan as I was driving there was to start off at a PR pace and just see how long I could hold it. That would have been right at a 10 minute pace. Unfortunately, when I got there, I realized my watch was not charged. I know I had charged it.  Later found out that I had charged it but the watch was just no longer taking a charge. I will have to try to fix that. I just bought it a few months ago! Used, but still.

So much for holding a pace now. I am horrible at feeling pace so I put my phone to tell me my pace every 5 minutes.  Which, later I decided was also the wrong move when I realized I had put it to tell me current pace, not my average pace. So of course, that didn’t really help when the notification was up or down a hill. The course is pretty flat but does have some inclines and declines. I would call one  a hill though.  Better than nothing I guess!  I also put a good playlist on…more on that later….


Now to the start of the race.

I lined up about mid pack on the right as usual. Started off feeling pretty good. First 5 minute pace notification said 10:30. Ok. A little slower than I wanted but I was feeling good so just decided to stick with that felling. I really hadn’t made any goal on how long I would go without walking but at that point decided there would be no walking before I was done with the first loop.  Since I timed the race using the Runkeeper app on my phone, I got the data after. The first mile was 10:51. I suspect it was actually a few seconds faster since I had started the timer and put it in my belt using the auto pause so I wouldn’t be trying to get it back in the belt after starting it at the beginning of the race.  And yea, that was a bad sentence but it kinda represents trying to stick a phone back in a spibelt while also trying to run. Decided I’m going to buy myself a flip belt and see if that makes things any easier.

Alex McDonald is out taking pics and video. So, of course, I get the “no walksies” comment from him. Ha. I hit mile 2 at 10:26 pace. My fastest mile of the race. Right at mile 2 is the hill I mentioned earlier. I so wanted to walk it but I was not going to let myself. I had already agreed I would not walk before the first loop was over.

There were several people around me but many of them were doing some walking with the run. I didn’t want them to make my brain give in. I kept looking for Alex. I get around to the start and hit the 2.5 mile marker at an official time of 26:52. This race is gun time only.  But it would only be a few seconds different anyway.  At that point, I told myself to make it to 3 miles. I was feeling ok. There was no reason at all to walk. None. I hit Mile 3 at a 10:28 pace. Only 2 seconds slower than the previous mile. I’ll take that. Of course, I didn’t know what pace I was really doing since the app was only telling me what I was doing at that exact moment.  I was getting a bit warm but didn’t feel like struggling out of the long sleeve top I was wearing so I just dealt with it.

A little past hitting 3 miles, my playlist stopped. Um…dummy, you put on a 5K playlist. This is an 8K. I make my 5K playlists only that long to signal if the music stops, I should have already been finished.  I wasn’t going to struggle the phone back out of the belt so pulled the earphones out and just ran without. I do a lot of my shorter runs without music anyway so that’s no big deal really. Just the point.

Mile 4, 10:38 pace. Only 10 seconds slower than the previous mile. Not bad for staying consistent with little help.  Then that hill again. Part of me wanted to walk but I was only less than a mile from the end. I couldn’t walk now!! Just then I saw Eric and Sarah Allers. Sarah was telling me I was looking good…well, dang…definitely can’t walk now!!

The last about ½ mile is pretty flat. The girl next to me starts walking…nooo I will not give in! I get around  the corner and soon you can see the finish.  Chris Fawver is there yelling for me to sprint. Way too early dude…way too early. But, I did kick it in shortly after and finished in 53:31. My last mile had been at a 10:31 pace so must have slowed down a bit on that last hill but that’s ok.


I know that’s a small accomplishment for some but a big one for me. This is the first 8K I did not walk at all. I was my 3rd fastest 8K though as I got pretty good at run/walking.  Snowman is still my PR.

This race is very competitive so I was not even close to placing. Of course, wasn’t expecting to…but fun when I do!

Next week I have 2 races, Baton Rouge Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving day then Mississippi Gulf Coast 5K on that Saturday. Will update after those!

Link to results:



I had been planning to run Savannah half marathon for months. Got a hotel, caught up some friends who were going…just to find out about 2 weeks before that I would not be able to go. No injury or sickness, just some logistical issues. Since I had been sorta training for the half, I wanted to find another to do. And there it was…local. The Lexington half marathon.

After seeing the weather and doing my own training run in the hot and humid weather that Saturday of Savannah, I was very glad I backed out. Even though I lost about $100 cancelling, it also meant that I didn’t have to spend the money on travel, food and hotel so I guess it worked out ok.

12241489_1715748555321630_1554464638642163192_n.jpgMy longest run before the race was 8.5 miles which included walking so I knew not to expect to run it all but I wanted to run as much of it as I could. And the weather, besides being a bit windy, was perfect for a half marathon. Around 40 degrees and 50% humidity unlike the week before with 75 degrees and 100% humidity!

I had picked up my packet the day before but still wanted to get there early to get a good parking spot. I ended up arriving about an hour before the race, which is about normal for me. I went inside since it was pretty cold. Then went back out to my car to get all my stuff ready to go. I only did a dynamic stretching warm up since I knew I didn’t want to add any extra miles to my day.

I saw a few people I knew but not too many…although I know they were there. April Hutto, Pam Griffin, Rocky, Tyler McGaha to name a few. I also saw Jenn Covington but she did not see me and of course I wasn’t able to find her after! I was wearing my RWB shirt so found them and met a few. Several of them went up front with flags for pictures as we were starting to line up. Some of us slower people dropped back to the middle of the pack. I really didn’t have much of a game plan for this, just do as I could and finish. I wanted a PR but knew that was probably not going to happen.

12240408_10153732176605419_944031521667661206_oI figured I’d start out around an 11 minute pace. Looking back, my first mile was 10:30. I was feeling pretty good. The first mile is pretty flat. The next few miles have a few small inclines but nothing bad. I was running with April and Jen Hill for most of the first mile but either they sped up or I slowed down and they started pulling ahead of me.

Around mile 2, I caught up with two girls, one with an RWB shirt and carrying an American flag. I ran stealth behind them for a while then decided to let them know I was using them to pace. I joined in with them and we chatted a bit. I can’t talk a lot when I run, even when not trying to go fast. At this point, we were around mile 3, I was doing around an 11:30 pace and was feeling pretty good. The girl holding the flag was Maria Huff, she was using this as an easy run….being that it can’t be too easy holding the flag an entire 13 miles! Especially in the wind. The wind wasn’t too bad but when holding a large American flag…it makes it more difficult. I held the 11:30-ish pace through miles 2,3,4, and 5.

Miles 5 to 7 have the most hills as we get out on a main road. My pace for these miles was around 12:30, not bad with the hills. Maria was helping me and the other girl, G as she called her, to keep it going. If she weren’t there, I surely would have already been walking!


Finally around mile 7, my knee started locking up. That is pretty normal when I add miles that fast. I didn’t do any runs of 7 miles without walking so I had way surpassed what I had been doing while training. Finally around mile 7.5, I had to walk some to let my knee rest. I walked .10 mile and started running again. It was a little sore but the walk had helped it. I made it to mile 9 and this is when things were just trying to make me quit. I was not going to quit but my body was trying. I walked another .10 trying to keep track of how much I was walking. I walked again at around 9.5 and I knew the walking was going to get more and more. Miles 8, 9 and 10 were still in the mid 12’s.

My knee eased up but then my stomach, lower GI area, started cramping. That was new. I didn’t eat anything new so not sure what caused that. Maria stayed with me…even when I walked. I told her she didn’t have to but she was wanting to. G took off as she had energy and wanted to keep it going.

Then around mile 10, I started having breathing issues. I walked quite a bit trying to get my breathing back on track. At that time, Maria went ahead as I was doing a lot of walking, but I kept trying to keep the run going as much as I could. I was not going to stop. I was walking but kept moving forward.

Around mile 12, I see Maria coming back to get me! She stayed with me from then on keeping me going. I was really hurting by then. Basically everything on and in my body was hurting but I wasn’t going to stop. Mile 11 went into the 13 minute pace and mile 12 dropped to 14.01.

I was feeling like such a whiner but everything was taking turns trying to stop me. But, I didn’t stop…I walked but I did not stop.

I can’t say enough about Maria….I didn’t even know this girl until around mile 2 of the race and she stayed with me and helped me in. That is crazy awesome. I kept telling her it was ok…she could go ahead. But, she wanted to stay with me.

At the end of the race, she’s giving me last minute push to sprint it in. The photo taken is epic. It looks like she was a drill instructor yelling at me. But that is not what was really going on…she was working me up, telling me I could do it.


I finished in 2:41:51. Not the time I wanted but realized that it was my first half marathon with hills and of the four I had now completed, it was my second fastest. I can’t complain there!

After the race, my body did not want to move at all! We did get some awesome bling…the race medals were huge! I slowly worked my way back to my car and home.

This race also included a 5K and a 10K. I will post links to all the results so I do not miss anyone. But I do have to call attention to my age division in the half marathon… All Jennifer’s… too cool!


Results for Half marathon:

Results for 10K:

Results for 5K:


I know….I know. I’ve been slack on doing my recaps. I took a month off doing races and just lost my routine. So, I figure what better way to get started again (although late), but to write about my first triathlon! Yes, I finally did one.


I was trying to find a race to do for my birthday weekend. I knew Xterra was here in Columbia but I didn’t really want to do it because I had heard several got lost last year. I am happy to report that the course was very well marked this year from what I have heard from people who did run it.

I posted that on Facebook asking about races and Kara told me about Tri the Swamp Rabbit at Furman University in Greenville. Short swim. 250 meters. I figured I could make it across. The bike was 16.5 mile ride then a 5K run. Of course, I had to evaluate the times from the year before to guesstimate where I would come in. Based on my calculations, I would be about the last swimmer but could be about 10 minutes from the last person on the bike and swim. Of course, it depends on who shows.

I went ahead and signed up and did a crash course in swimming. With less than 2 weeks of prep, I wasn’t actually going to SWIM it but wanted to be comfortable enough that I could get through it.

So now, to the race. I drove up the day before so I wouldn’t feel rushed in the morning. At least not any more than having to get up early. I got my bib and t-shirt, went back to the hotel and pretty much crashed for the night.

I got up early and got there around 6:00, an hour and a half before the race. I was thinking I would be way early, no, there were quite a few people there already.

I get body marked and chatted with Kara Clyburn, Fiona Martin and Les Boan. Les had driven up that morning to find out he had a problem with his bike. He ended up spectating and taking pictures and videos. Being a triathlon crowd and being two hours away, I didn’t know many people so it was nice to have them there. I did finally meet several people I had “met” in Facebook groups: Karla Shreve and Amy Wise. The Brandenburg’s were there as well. 11692687_10207394595051363_7797964214759183509_n

This far in to my story and I haven’t even started the race yet!

They called everyone together to give some instructions then we started piling into the pool area. They seeded by a swim time you turned in at registration. I put a very slow time! When the race started off, the front runners were flying through the pool, as they started getting through the people, the swimmers were slowly getting slower and slower. I felt even better when I saw the first pool walker!

I was getting really nervous as it was getting closer to time. Most people were jumping in the pool and going. I realized I had never jumped in the pool like that and was afraid I would hurt something. Note to self, practice that! When it was my turn, I sat on edge of pool and slid in. My “strategy” was to swim what I could then pool walk between. Being that I had never done this before, the thought was much better than the actuality. When I practiced, I wasn’t getting water splashed everywhere from other swimmers so that messed me up fast. Each time I got to an end, I tried to recover and start swimming again. I will say, I did only stop twice on the ends, one to catch my breath and the other to let two people go by who were actually swimming.

After suffering through a few laps, I realized I was pool walking faster than my attem11722369_10207396790826256_4497901469223714497_opts to swim. I finally gave up on swimming and just kept walking it. I did pass two people in the pool. I won’t say their age though… lol Lastly, I did try a backstroke on the last lap but I was just to frazzled by then, I couldn’t do it. I got out of the pool and commented to a volunteer that I was sooo glad that was over!

Swim time: 8:54 – My estimate was 9 minutes…pretty darn close

After getting out the pool, you have to run through some grass, up a hill, into transition. Really, a hill? I ran till the hill then walked into transition. I knew I didn’t have things set up too well there but I knew I would need that time to recover from the swim. I wasn’t too worried about my transition mes. Of ctourse, I didn’t want to take forever either. I get my cycling gear on and head out the gate. I had no idea what to expect, I hadn’t even checked out the course. I had heard it was hilly and one big one around mile 4.

T1 time: 2:13

I get out on to the road and almost immediately pass someone on a mountain bike. Score! I’ll take what I can get. So far it’s not bad, fairly flat. Then we get out onto a main road, and I see this hill ahead. Wow. This is going to hurt. (These hills are probably not as bad as I’m making them, I’m still fairly new to cycling and any hill is big). I have to really push to get up the hill then we head around a corner. I’m near a few people so I know I’m going the right direction. As we continue, they get farther ahead of me so I’m all by myself. I’m not even going to talk about the mountain around mile 4. At one point, I wasn’t even sure if I was still on the course. With no one around and rarely ever going that distance on my bike, I think I was doing more of a nice ride rather than a race. I get around a corner and see people again. Whew! I tried to stay with them and did for quite a while. We got out onto another main road where I passed someone else. Yay! And not a mountain bike this time. I really had to slow on turns, will be working on that. Around mile 10, I was completely dehydrated and I haven’t mastered the drinking while riding so I pulled over and stopped for a quick drink. Of course, that let the people I was with get ahead more but I had to. I didn’t take long then got back going. The girl I passed, passed me while I was stopped and I passed her again.

Getting toward the end, there is a huge downhill. I was seriously scared! I know I had my brakes on the whole time. I made it through though. I get back around to the entrance to the school and I am completely sapped. I barely pushed myself up the last incline.

Bike time: 1:14:50 – was hoping closer to 1:00

I get off the bike and back into transition. And I sit, yes, I just sat. There was a dude next to me doing the same. I drank some water and changed shoes. I didn’t have much left in me. But I was going to get this done, quitting was not an option and actually did not cross my mind. I start heading out of transition…the wrong way, someone stopped me and headed me the right way. Whoever it was, thank you!

T2 time: 3:09 – yeah, really…

I knew the run would not be pretty. And it wasn’t. I know I ran less than half of it. The course was mostly flat besides one hill and a bridge. I again passed two people. Thankfully most of it was shaded and through Swamp rabbit trail so it was also pretty.

At the very end of the run there are two last inclines, not big but when you are sapped, they are big. I finally finished! I did it!

Run time: 42:13

Total time: 2:11:17.11693899_10152922968276516_4990312654754153374_n

A few stats, There were female 88 finishers: I was 90th place in the swim, 76th in T1, 86th in bike, 88th in T2, and 86th on the run. That’s how slow my swim was, I was behind even the number of people????

And I was not last overall, thanks to an 85 year old man. That was amazing. 85 years old and still competing in triathlons! And crazily…while I was doing the run, I was planning for how I would handle the “next one”…yes…next one.

And now looking at the times, I was 27 seconds from one lady and just over a minute behind another. Better transition times would have gotten me up a few spots….but ….there were several others over 2 hours so I didn’t do bad at all for my very first triathlon. The goal was to DO it and I DID it!

A few winners:

Jeff Brandenburg – Overall Masters

Fiona Martin – 3rd female 30-34

Barbara Brandenburg – 2nd female 45-49

Karla Shreve – 3rd Novice female

Link to Results:

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