Page Fifty Eight 2016

When I didn’t have a successful race in D.C. one of my RunBuds asked me “What’s Next?”  It didn’t really even occur to me to find another race to do.  Once the bug was planted, I went ahead and picked something reasonable.  I looked up all the upcoming marathons for the duration of the year and looked at transportation and whether or not I would be able to make the trip without having to take any time off from work.  Philadelphia was the weekend before Thanksgiving, but I could make it up and back with an inexpensive flight and could stay a bit out of the way and with the marathon happening on a Sunday, I could go up on Saturday and come back after the race.

I got to my gate on Saturday and offered to volunteer to be bumped to a later flight, they actually found a direct flight they could put me on that would get me in to Philadelphia earlier, but didn’t end up needing me to give up my current reservation.  I ended up getting upgraded to first class which was a nice treat.  Once arriving in Newark, I had to take a train into the city and the train ended up arriving very late, so that was a bit of a hiccup.

In the city, I headed over to the expo and got my race bib and goody bag.  I registered so late for the race that my name was not printed on the bib.  I did a not so fantastic job using the hotel pen to write it on there.  After the expo I headed over to Reading Market and bought myself a pretzel and a couple of cookies for later.  I was over the crowds so I took to the street walking around until I landed at a corner restaurant that had Philadelphia Cheesesteaks advertised on the window.

I highly recommend taking cash with you if you go to Philadelphia because none of the stations I went to for the remainder of the day had a way to purchase passes with a credit card and I ended up riding all the transportation for just the cost of a disgruntled look from the train and bus fare collectors.

I ate dinner at the hotel restaurant where I ran into a group of women heading out to their 25th reunion and everyone who talked to me was in awe of the fact that I would be running in the marathon the next day.  I guess its good for the ego to be at a hotel that isn’t on the list of recommended hotels for the marathon.

On race day, I took an Uber to the nearest hotel with a race day shuttle and rode into the center of the city.  Once I arrived, I quickly found a tent where a bunch of massage tables were filled with runners keeping themselves warm by huddling up.  I hung out there until about thirty minutes before the race start before grabbing my spot in the portalet line.

At the start of the race someone yelled out to the runners “at least it’s not raining,” and I am definitely glad it wasn’t, but it was still cold and windy, and I didn’t ditch my sweatshirt until around mile 2.  At about mile 7 or so, the Motigo app I was using started playing messages from my friends that they had pre-recorded for me to listen to while I was running.  The messages were really uplifting and encouraging.  I heard from Ginny, Ellie, Dana, Mendi, Sania, Heather, Shamieka, and at least four times from Scott and the boys.

Right at the half way point when you are running by the Rocky stairs at the Museum of Art, you see to your right the faster marathoners coming in for the finish.  Then you start to run along side them while you run away from the finish and they run towards it.  At this point the wind was at its worst.  I kept telling myself just to make it to the turn around and then I too would be headed to the finish.  Once I hit the turn around I definitely started to give myself little landmarks to run to, run to the third cone, run to the tree ahead, run to the sign, etc.  That worked all the way up to the finish.

I definitely felt like Philadelphia served as a redemption for my training season.  It meant I wouldn’t sign up for any November or December races, but it allowed me to put my training to good use and I could feel good about the time I got there.  Plus I got to tell everyone who asked that I was from State College, PA all weekend and they actually knew where that was.  Unfortunately, because my flight was delayed, I didn’t make it back in time to go to the Reading RunBuds book club session, but I did read the book, and I enjoyed seeing the pictures the girls posted from their cruise wear inspired session.

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Page Fifty Seven 2016

On November 8th, a group of us got together to go for a run to celebrate voting.  Afterwards I went to Shamieka’s watch party in downtown Durham.  I got to watch her results trickle in until about 11am when my curfew definitely hit.  The next day I was happy to see that the results were in with her winning over 60% of the vote.

For the 16th of the month, we were going to run for Tolerance, but about a week before I noticed that at Johnny’s Gone Fishing was holding a Luke’s Diner event on the same day.  So I arranged to run there and enjoy the festivities.runiversary-2016-057

Page Fifty Six 2016

Back in March, Kim announced that Lauren Fleshman would be coming out to the fall Ladies Night event at Bull City Running Company.  It was even more awesome than I expected.  Lauren was delightful, taking time to talk to everyone at the event.  Ellen asked Lesa and I to be two of the models during the fall fashion show and I was SO excited!  I had a blast participating in the event.  It is always so much fun to get a group of RunBuds together and any excuse to dress up is always a pleasure.  I was impressed that Lauren remembered signing my Runner’s World magazine a couple of years ago.  She stuck around til the next day long enough to teach us to use power poses and to take us on a community run.  I kept the group within my eye sight long enough to get to Renaissance Pkwy where I split off to join some other RunBuds in the Rise parking lot.

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Page Fifty Five 2016

I had the opportunity to attend a run, Q&A, and book signing with Shalane and Elyse at an event co-sponsored by Flyleaf Books and Fleet Feet Carrboro.  It was fantastic to go on a run through UNC with Shalane and Elyse who both ran for UNC when they attended college.  During the Q&A we got to hear a lot about their experience at Carolina and how they came up with the recipes for the book.

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Page Fifty Four 2016

The big weekend of the goal race arrived at the end of October.  It was exciting to be completing it after all the time thinking about it.  As much as I wanted to make my goal time, really any of my goals, the 60 degree start with temps reaching a high of 81 during the race were the exact opposite of what I needed in order to succeed.  By the time I made it to the bridge, I had nothing left to give.  Between getting to the race early to get checked in and having to wait in the dark and cold until the sun came up, and then standing in the corrals for over thirty minutes before getting to start the race, and the temperature, it was a recipe for disaster.  By mile 18, the famous “Beat the Bridge” marker in the marathon, I was ready to stop running all together.  I ended up walking the rest of the way.  It was a special challenge.  I started chatting with another participant, Janine, and she and I walked a couple of miles together towards the end.  At one of the aid stations they had run out of cups so I got a gallon jug that was about 1/4 full and carried it the rest of the way.

Regardless of how challenging I found the race to be, it was still amazing to be a part of it.  The blue mile was inspiring and sobering.  The race highlight for me was seeing one of the men who was paralyzed using an exoskeleton technology that helped him walk finishing the last 6.2 miles of the marathon.  It was truly humbling.

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Page Fifty Three 2016

I was lucky enough to have half of my race registration refunded for the Bull City Race Fest early in 2016, so it was definitely on my calendar for awhile.  In 2015, I had hoped to break 2:30 for the half, and came pretty close.  I had a fantastic time at the race.  I enjoyed hanging out with some of the other RunBuds who did the race afterwards and I remember getting a text from my husband who was checking in to make sure I was okay when I realized that he thought I had just gone on a long run and not to a race downtown.  Whoops!

The following weekend we celebrated the life of a RunBud who we lost way too soon to a rare form of leukemia, Kim Buff.  She was one of the women in my pace group for RunBuds in 2016 and it was definitely a shock to hear of her passing.  Christina organized a group of us to participate in the 5k Say Boo to Cancer to honor Kim.  It was Tracy’s first race back after her injury.  The next day, the Sunday Runners celebrated Crystal’s birthday with a run around East Campus.

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Page Fifty Two 2016

Run with Rhinehart became a reality on October 15th!  It was a long time in the making, but so much fun.  Our dear RunBud, Shamieka Rhinehart ran for District Court Judge in 2016 and WON!  As a fundraising and getting to know you event, I hosted a 5k for her at Solite Park in Durham.  We met at the park, went for a run on the trail, and celebrated with bagels and water at the finish.  It was a great time.

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Page Fifty One 2016

During the second weekend of the month, we had our exposure to Hurricane Matthew.  Some of the girls had come over for a House Party I was hosting featuring Russell Stover Everyday Chocolates.  We were just starting a game of Cards Against Humanity and then the power went out.  We went without power for 23 hours.  Lesa and I ended up postponing our long run to Sunday.

I had no idea what to expect when I had Scott drop me off at one end of the American Tobacco Trail at 5:30a to start.  The plan was that I would meet Lesa along the trail.  Right about where I thought we would meet up, I came across a huge tree sprawling across the trail that was above my head tall.  I meekly called out “Lesa” hoping that she might be on the other side and surprisingly she was!  That moment of relief is one I will never forget.  I was able to climb through the branches of the tree to get to her and we were on our way.  We ran into a bunch of RunBuds getting in a run from the store and were able to run with them all the way to the store.  Finally, just a few miles from the other end of the trail, Anne connected up with us and ran us in to the finish.  We went to Tyler’s to celebrate our accomplishment.

The only downside to bumping our long run to Sunday was that I had already registered for a 5k that afternoon, so I rested up and headed out for the 5k.  Luckily I ran into Cecilia and she let me tag along on the run with her.  At the end, our kick was so impressive that Anna thought we had both had a personal best.

 

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Page Fifty 2016

As a J&A Ambassador in 2015, I had registered for the Crawlin’ Crab.  A hurricane ended up causing the race to be postponed so I asked to defer my registration to 2016.  They were happy to accommodate my request.  I was so excited about getting to complete the Shell Yeah challenge, a 5k on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday.  The 5k went pretty well, I could tell right away I wasn’t going to PR, but held on to a pretty steady pace even as the rain started to pick up.  I finished in 32:17 and then a downpour occurred just as I was getting my dry bag from the tent.  The next day was hot and humid and I ended up finishing the half in 2:34:51.  The last four miles of the race were pretty miserable once the heat and humidity had really settled in.  Luckily the after-party was in full swing and I was able to enjoy it a bit before we had to head home in time for the Reading RunBuds book club.

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Page Forty Nine 2016

In September, marathon training was at its peak.  Lesa had a bit of trouble with her knee and I ended up running 18 miles with her on her bike one weekend and then running 18 miles with her a different weekend to make it up.  I spent a few days in Western North Carolina and had the opportunity to do some trail running while I was there.

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