Wednesday, September 26, 2012


A few days ago, I was really nervous about the marathon.  Yes, it's my 3rd one.  People say I shouldn't be nervous because I know what to expect.  But the reality of it is...both of my marathons have been completely different.  You can't really "expect" anything on marathon day and things always seem to go...not wrong but, in another direction.  I've actually gone from really nervous to really excited.  I can't wait for it to be here (and be over)!

I'm really good at expecting the unexpected.  I'm really good and not freaking out during the event when something unexpected happens to me.  Those are definitely positives.  Now my main concern is what pace I'll be running.


Granted, I should have this figured out by now.  The reason why I don't?  There are a few.  First of all, my pace has changed this training season.  With all my physical injuries and the anemia that I was diagnosed with in May, my running pace really suffered.  I was incredibly frustrated too because I was much faster in 2010.

But after not having any lower body injuries this time around and getting my iron somewhat under control, my running pace has gotten a little better.  I'm about 45 seconds to 1 minute faster per mile for my shorter runs and at least 30 seconds or more faster for long runs than I was the first half of the year.  I'm sure running in 100 degree days, although miserable, helped my pace a little for these cooler temps too.

So after thinking about this for a while, these are my options right now for pace:

1.  Start with the 4:30 pace group. (I did this for the IL marathon and felt like I was chasing them until I dropped back.  However, I'm in better condition this time, so this might be an ok option).

2.  Start with a pace of 10:30.  I came up with this pace after thinking I couldn't handle the 4:30 pace group.

I'm planning on starting with my friend Shelby.  And depending on the run, we will just hang together until we can't anymore.  So I emailed Shelby to find out her thoughts.  She was having hip problems the last few weeks but took a week off and is a little better.  Depending on her hip, we may or may not start together.

The other thing I'm pretty good at is running by feel.  I'm very good and knowing what pace feels good to me at the time.  So if I just listen to my body, I should be ok.


My goals have been pretty simple this time around.  For the first do you pick a goal?  Usually you just want to finish.  For the second marathon, with all my injuries and missed training...I was worried about even finishing the marathon!

For my third marathon, these are my goals.

1. Minimally I would like to beat my best marathon time of 4:53.  It should be totally doable. I still have doubts sometimes but all-in-all, I think I can definitely do that.

2. Ultimate goal for this marathon is 4:35.  Why 4:35?  I picked that goal back in June when I was asked to write it down (prior to training).  I wasn't sure I could get to 4:30.  A 4:35 time is a 10:30 pace.  Sure, it may be challenging to keep that average pace, but I think I can do it, if it's a good run day!  Or at least get close.

3.  HAVE FUN!  What is the point of running, training, doing these races if you aren't having any fun??  I want to enjoy myself.  Sure there will be a few miles that may not be the most fun, but look around at the spectators!  Slap some hands!  Enjoy the scenery a little bit, you are in Chicago after all!  If there are friends or family down there, find out where some will be so you can say hi while passing by or give a few hugs.  All of this mentally helps you get through the run.
What helped me last year was knowing where people would be.  I knew my parents were going to be at certain mile markers.  So at mile 15, if I wanted to walk, I decided to wait because I knew my parents and friends would be around mile 16.  "Just get to mile...."  It really helps me keep going.

Also, know what side of the street they are planning on being on.  Some parts of the course are crowded.  It will be easier if you know what side of the street to look for someone on so you can be on that side.  Of course, if you are directionally challenged like my dad, he might tell you he is on the north side of the which then you find out, the street goes N/S and people are on the E/W sides.  Ugh...then you have to wing it!


The marathon is now 1.5 weeks away.  All season we have been wondering about the temps for the marathon!  The summer at times was far hotter than last year with many days in the 100's!  But come August and temps sometimes didn't make it out of the 60's!  Even this month, we have had 80 degree days (near 90) and 60 degree days (even 50's) a week later!  It has been very difficult to predict the temps for the marathon!  I didn't even try!  I just ran whether it was cold, hot, rainy, sunny...

Now it's looking like the temps are going up a little bit each day for the next week or so.  69, 70,  It's like what happened last year for the marathon.  Right now my prediction is 50's to start and low 70's to finish.  Maybe a few degrees cooler than last year.  Still a little warmer than we would have liked, but I'm ok with this.  I guess I will see as the week goes on.  Stay tuned...  My thought sense in freaking out about something you have NO control over.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Suck It Up

I want to apologize for my last post and my "whining".  I'm trying to tell myself to suck it up.  I'm the one that signed up for the marathon and I'm the one running it.  I did the training.  I've done two marathons already.  My training has been going well (minus the shoulder mishap). 

I just get a little stressed around marathon time.  In fact, I'm pretty stressed over just about every aspect of my life right now (work, personal relationships, family).  If it's not one thing, it's another.  But that's life, right?  Suck it up Amanda!

I'm trying to figure out my marathon strategy for this time around and I can't.  Sometimes I think maybe one thing will work and then I nix that idea.  Should I start with someone (I probably will)?  Should I start with a pace group?  I don't know about the pace group thing.  It hasn't worked for me so far...ever.  I haven't figured out marathon morning yet (time, transportation, etc).  Not even sure what clothes to wear exactly because I'm not sure what the temps will be like.  If they are anything like this will be PERFECT!

I keep encouraging everyone I know that seems worried about the marathon.  They ask me for some tips or advice and I'm more than happy to let them know what works for me.  Some are worried about marathon day (not only Chicago, but others too)...and I know exactly what to say to them. 

I really didn't plan a post today but after stressing about work, sometimes writing or talking about it helps calm me down and put things into perspective. At least a little bit.  I'm just breathing.  I can't change certain things.  I'm not going to try.  I'm just going to work on making my life better and continue to work on my reactions to things.  Hopefully everything will work out.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Big Girl Panties

It's been tough blogging lately.  It's really busy at work and today was my attorney's last day.  I've also been slightly under the weather with a sinus infection all week.  I'm starting to feel a little better but had a momentary freak out thinking it could linger until the marathon and I'd be all weak and frail while having to run 26.2 miles!  (Yes, I can be dramatic at times).

 Last weekend was a weekend full of 20-milers!  It seemed almost everyone I knew had a 20-miler to run, whether it was with me on Sunday along the lake, on Saturday at a local trail, or in another location (Fox Valley 20-miler).  I was able to help out some of my friends and plenty of other runners last Saturday during their 20 miles on Old Plank Trail.  This 20 mile run was hosted by my FNRC group and we even had a local grocery store sponsor it and supply us with water, gatorade and fruit.  I positioned myself near the aid station located around mile 9 and 11 (it was an out and back course).  It was fun seeing my friends run past but it was especially fun chatting with some strangers as they were doing their 20 mile run!

(L-R) Maggie, Julie and Kelly

Manning the aid stations (L-R): Kathy, Kim, Me
I am really glad I went.  Watching all of my friends and all of these strangers in such good spirits running 20 miles really gave me some inspiration for my 20 miler (which was the next day).  I will say though...when I was watching everyone finish, I was really jealous they were done and I still had to run 20 miles!

Last Sunday was my 20 miler.  Since I am a part of CARA, I'm automatically registered for the Newton Ready To Run 20-Miler which goes almost the entire way down the lake (point to point course).  I ran this run last year (read about my misery here) and it was definitely one of my most miserable runs of the training season.  So I was a little nervous going into it this time.  Last time it was cold and rainy (and I was not dressed properly since all summer it had been 90 degrees).  This year it was about 65 for the start but full sun and probably in the 70's when finished.  I thought I might do a little better in these temps than last year's temps.

I have come to the conclusion that this run (and maybe this distance) is just not my favorite.  I don't know if it's the course.  I don't know if the fact that I'm running 20 miles...I feel like I should just add the 6 more and do a marathon.  I don't really know what it is about this particular run.  It's just not my favorite.  My pace leader is one from our normal run group that leads the 7:00 start for our long runs.  I typically don't run with her and from what I remember, I feel she starts too fast.  I'm spoiled by my normal pace leader, who I love! But the 7:00 a.m. leader was the one leading our group at this 20-miler.  And needless to say, she was just running fast.  Myself and a few friends dropped back around mile 5.  I ran the first 12 miles with Megan and Bob from my normal Saturday runs.  Megan was sick and not doing well and Bob said he had a cramp in his calf and side.  They decided to drop back from me around 12.  I was unsure what to do at this point.  Do I keep running alone or stick with Megan and Bob?  I knew they had each other so I didn't feel that I should stay because they needed someone.  My wonder was...did I need someone?  I decided to just go along and try to finish it out "alone" (with the other hundreds of people there).  And around mile 15-16, I just started struggling mentally a bit.  I was tired and just wanted it to be over.  Physically I felt ok.  But I started walking frequently after mile 16 since this run is not chip timed and I just didn't care to push myself AT ALL!  I ended up coming in around 3:40 (my garmin was screwed up so I looked at my phone time when finished).  That wasn't too bad considering it includes all water stops, the stop when my friend Megan fell and we stopped with her, the bathroom break, the vaseline break....At the marathon, time stops for no one!

Yankee Runners: Bob (in red), Megan (in Yellow), my friend Curtis (in the Green)...and me
(and a few others I keep forgetting their names!) to the title of the blog post...Big Girl Panties.  First, can I just say I actually hate the word "panties"!  Seriously, I wear underwear!  Ok.  That's another story.

My marathon is coming case you didn't know.  In fact, it's two weeks away (October 7).  The first two marathons I relied on a lot of support to help me through it.  Actually, for the first one, most of my support decided they weren't coming!  So I didn't think I was going to have much.  I knew my parents would be there at various miles and that really helped me.  I knew my friends from Ohio, Jodi and Dave, would be there somewhere to cheer me on as I ran past.  And I knew I was going to start with Kelly, whoc was running her first marathon as well. So as much as I was freaking out that I would have NO support...I ended up having quite a bit.  Kelly ran the first 10 miles with me (which I'm confident was a huge help mentally), Dave and Jodi ran with me around miles 16.5-18, which was a surprise to me and really gave me a mental boost (until I started walking at 18.5), and my parents jumped all over the course via the EL to provide hugs, water, and photos.

For my second marathon (the IL marathon), Kelly helped me out by jumping in around mile 14.5 and running (and walking) with me all the way until about mile 25.  And since I was miserable that whole time, I really relied on her being there and helping me through that.  BIG THANKS KELLY!  I was grumpy and even cried at mile 24.  But Kelly was all smiles and encouragement (and even sang throughout since my headphones weren't working).

For this 3rd marathon, I thought it was time to "man-up".  It's time I put my big girl panties on.  I really didn't try to get anyone to come out.  I haven't been asking anyone to come out.  I know Kelly said she would be there and wanted to run a little with various people throughout, and people from my run group (F'N Runners) that weren't running the marathon are coming out to provide a cheering squad.  But my thought was...I can't rely on anyone this time.  It's going to be chaotic so I can't "bank" on Kelly being there.  I can't assume I will have someone because if it doesn't happen, I don't want to mentally get defeated during the run.  In my mind, I'm running this marathon "alone".  My parents might not be there this time either (for various and very good reasons).

I may start with my friend Shelby but she is having some hip problems.  I know others starting around me but I don't want them to run me up.   And I don't know why...but now I'm starting to freak out a little.  Sometimes I mentally lose it near the end of my long runs if I'm alone from my group and can't push myself.  I don't want that to happen to me at the marathon.  It's the last 5-6 miles I'm really worried about.  More than anything, I want to beat my best time of 4:53.  And even though sometimes I feel that should be no problem, sometimes I doubt myself and am not so sure I can do it.

The truth is, I think I may have more support than I know.  And after speaking with my boss (that is leaving today)...he is showing interest in jumping in with me for a mile (he lives right by there and does a little running).  But I definitely am not relying on him.  He wanted to go last year and didn't.  But I will provide him with the necessary info and if he shows...bonus support for me.  And I know my F'N Runner group is amazing.  And Kelly is amazing...and if she isn't there for me, it's because she is providing necessary support to someone else (totally understandable).  Actually, I did just remember my friend Becky threw out there that she wanted to come...So maybe I'm just totally making myself crazy here for no reason.

Thanks for listening to my little rant.  I just wanted to get it out there now and maybe hear some words of encouragement from all of you, and then I could put it behind me.  It's my 3rd marathon. I should know what to expect.  I shouldn't be worried.  I know I can do it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

River Run Half Marathon Race Recap

It's taken a while to get this race recap in order because I've been swamped at work. And with my boss leaving and our office trying to find a replacement, it's just insane.  However, the beginning will be the race recap, but the end will be some upcoming run information, so please stick around...

As I previously mentioned, I had signed up to do the River Run Half Marathon in Cleveland, Ohio on 9/9/12.  I have a few friends that live there and I had heard they would be doing it.  My friend Susan decided she would do it to and therefore, we could car pool and split the costs (and have a nice girls weekend).  We were going to leave early that day so we could get down there and possibly do a little sightseeing, however, nothing ever goes as planned.  Susan had baby sitter troubles and ended up picking me up 2 hours late (which I knew there was a chance she was going to be late, so it wasn't a huge surprise).  It didn't bother me at all and I just waited around until she got there.  We ended up leaving about 9:00 a.m.  I was just really excited to get out of town.

Initially I was going to joke around with Susan to pay attention to the directions while driving because when I drove with her in May to Rockford, we just chatted on and on until at one point, we realized we had actually gotten OFF the expressway accidentally and was not heading in the right direction anymore!!  I didn't say anything to her so it was pretty ironic when, about an hour into the trip, Susan said to me, "Should we be in Michigan?" and pointed to the sign that said "Welcome to Michigan."  Now from a previous experience taking my nephew to South Bend, Indiana once to see a Notre Dame hockey game, the same thing had happened to me!  I knew we were on the wrong expressway but that the two expressways run parallel (I found that out the last time when I stopped into the Welcome Center.  I told her to pull into the same Welcome Center until I could get the directions back up on my GPS.  When we pulled back out... I was able to snap this shot...
"Michigan Welcome Center"
Note to self: while driving with Susan, don't chat and chat and attention to the directions and signs!  The problem was, I had turned the GPS off before that because we were going to be on I-80 for almost 300 miles!  I figured I didn't need it!  I was wrong....

It really only took us 20 minutes to get back on course.  We were at least heading in the right direction the whole time!  And when we finally saw this sign, we were happy!
Anyway, we got to our destination later than we had originally anticipated and decided to go straight to packet pickup to get our bibs.  After that, we went to our hotel which was near the airport and checked in.  We only had about an hour or so left before we had to meet my friends for dinner so we just vegged out in our hotel for a while, checked phone messages and called family to let them know we arrived safely.

My friends had arranged dinner at an Italian place called "Peppers" in Lakewood.  I met up with my friends Jodi and Missi and met some of their friends.  And for those that don't know...I met Jodi last year from her blog Run, Jodi, Run.  I had a ginormous portion of pasta and chicken since I was super hungry at this point.  The Jimmy Johns sandwich I had for lunch did not hold me over very well!!  lol.  Then it was time for a group photo (obviously)...

Top (L to R): Susan, Me, Michelle, Bick
Bottom (L to R): Jodi, Missi, Kim

After eating far too much at dinner (and seeing a waitress walk out of the bathroom with two slices of cake...??????  Haha, long story), we said our goodbyes and planned to meet up before the run.

Susan and I went back to the hotel and I wanted to get into the pool and hot tub.  Susan had other plans because she's crazy.  Susan was stressed all day because she hadn't run for 2 days and wanted to hop on the treadmill and get an easy 2 miles in to loosen her legs.  I however, do not need to loosen anything and cherish a solid 2 days off of running!

When I went into the pool, I wanted to see how my shoulder felt if I tried to swim and do that movement in general.  I "practice" that movement at home in the air... "air swimming" (like air guitar) but you don't get the right angle and how it would feel with the water resistance.  So I did a few small strokes in the pool (our pool was small and laps were not possible).  My shoulder felt a little sore just from the overhead part of the stroke but I think it's just because I typically don't raise it up in the air (because it hurts).  I have since started trying to stretch it up or hold up it for a while to try to get the natural range of motion back in that shoulder (or so it would not hurt anymore).  So, yes, a general swim stroke would be possible for me, however, definitely no back stroke.  I would be afraid to try that!  Afterwards, I hopped in the hot tub with some complete strangers (always fun to talk to complete strangers in the hot tub).

Haha!  Gotta love Don!  I had Susan snap a photo of me using my foam roller to send to Don...
I texted this photo to Don...

Don returned the text with this photo (that's a pillow from the bed!!) Hahaha!!!!!
I gotta love Don!!  Don was in a hotel room with his BW (Bar Wife)...a friend of his that was going to be running her first half and Don was going to run with her.  So he was cheating on me with her and I was cheating on him with Susan.  It worked out.

The next morning, Susan and I got up at the butt crack of dawn (well, it was in Chicago!...not necessarily in Ohio)....and got ourselves down to the shuttles at the half marathon.  The course was a point to point course and we were getting shuttled to the start line.  The elevation chart showed an overall decline during the course and I was excited for that.  It was raining before the start but luckily stopped while we were in line for the bathrooms.  Photos were of course snapped in the bathroom line...
Pre-race bathroom line photo
Susan and I pre-race
 After some chaos, we headed to the start line (chaos included gear check).  Susan took off and the rest of my friends were all gone (although Jodi ran into me for about 30 seconds).  My garmin didn't register any signal for almost a mile in.  I turned it on before mile 2, but lapped it at mile 2, so I can see how much mile paces were going.

What was my strategy for this race??  Well, I'm at the tail end of my marathon training.  But it's still a heavy time in training.  What I told everyone was that as I would like to PR this race, I wasn't going to try for it.  I just wanted to run strong as my half marathons this year have been awful (due to many different circumstances).  That was my goal, run strong and feel good.  After my garmin registered the 2nd mile, I saw it was a 9:15 pace.  For me, that is way too fast!  I train for the marathon at a 10:00 pace.  My PR would have been under a 10:08 pace.  Plus, during this training season, I've struggled with the last few miles of almost every long run (I think it's starting to be a mental issue).  So I didn't want to run too fast and fall apart at the end.  My 3rd mile was a 9:26.  That was better but still too fast in my opinion.  I just kept repeating "This is just a training run!  This is just a training run!"  over and over to try to get myself to slow down (I clearly have a real problem pacing myself at the start).  Most of the middle miles were about a 9:43-9:48 and I felt better about that pace.  I was still nervous about bombing at the end but I felt ok running this pace.

The course was in a really pretty area of a forest preserve. We were running on the street of this area instead of on the path.  At times the path was slanted to the right or left and is not necessarily the best to run on.  I tried to stay in the center as I was told the previous night that with all the turns in the course, you typically run long (especially if you are on the outer edges).  When I get tired though, I generally find myself weaving all over the place.  All in all, I really liked this area for a half and since it was a smaller half than what I'm used to, it wasn't overly crowded to run.

Around the halfway point (between miles 6-7)....I have a tendency to struggle a bit mentally. Something about already running for over an hour and having over an hour left...seems like a long time.  I starting talking to myself to clear my head and get through my mental hump and this is what ended up coming out, "It's just a normal Saturday run. And I'm running with Shelby and Curtis and Bob and Julie and Jeanne!"  Over an over I just kept repeating this.  I was mentally placing myself on my normal Saturday long runs with my marathon training friends.  It seemed to work but I thought after that it was pretty funny!

Also, even though the elevation chart showed an overall decline from start to finish, there were some up hills....not terribly steep but sometimes kind of long.  Around mile 8 there was a hill that was long and I ran up part of it but finally decided to take a quick walk break.  I quickly started running again though because I actually was on pace to PR.  And my next goal for a half was to come under 2:10 (my PR was 2:13:31 from the Rock N' Roll Chicago 2011 half marathon).  I was actually still on pace to come under 2:10 as well but it was pretty close so I decided to keep running.  At about mile 10, I bargained with myself to keep running until mile 11.5, then I could take a quick walk break.  But at mile 11, I realized I actually was still on pace to possible break 2:10 and I told myself there was absolutely NO WAY I was going to walk if it meant not breaking that mark.  Kind of funny that I was able to push myself through that because the few days before, I came to the realization that I actually have a really hard time pushing myself during the end of a run when I'm tired.  So, I just kept running.  The last two miles fell about a 9:48 pace (my garmin was a little off, so the paces I'm listing might not be 100% accurate).

There were a few cameras right before the finish.  I think I had some crazy half smile on my pace because I knew my PR was in the bag.  Then I tried to sprint to the finish (I'm not a sprinter)...and I'm pretty sure I have a pained expression on my face for the finisher photos!  Haha!  I almost can't wait to see that.

And how did I do???  Yes, I of course got the PR....and I got my second goal too!  I beat the 2:10 mark and came in at 2:09:29!!  A 9:53 pace and a PR by 4 minutes!  Definitely happy with that result!  I found my friends and a good number of us PR'd!  We were all pretty happy with our runs and that was nice.  Of course my friend Susan came in at 1:48:01 (totally hate her)....   The half marathon was also giving out ice cream.... um...yes please!!  We all posed for some photos and here are a few of mine...

Missi, Jodi, Kim, Me, Susan, Bick (L-R)
My boss told me I looked like a little kid
Susan, Me and Jodi
Me and Susan

Jodi was kind enough to let Susan and I shower at her house.  It was nice to meet her husband and kids.  Then we all went out to lunch ( really, I was so hungry!!) was great to hang out a little more with Jodi because I hadn't gotten a chance to talk to her much.  Seemed as though she got along great with Susan (they are a similar age and both have a 10 year old).  Susan and I ended up jumping in the car and decided to just go home.  We were both pretty tired.  Since Susan drove the whole way down, I ended up driving the whole way back.  I don't mind driving at all so it was not a problem.  I had a great weekend and glad I got to see Jodi and Missi again and meet some of their friends.  Had a fabulous time that included a PR.  I actually haven't been PR'ing anything this year and had decided I probably wouldn't.  I was just focusing on the marathon and possibly PR'in that.  So a PR for my half was a nice surprise.


I have my 20 miler this weekend.  THE LAST LONG RUN!!!!!  I am actually pretty nervous because it's the Newton Ready to Run 20 miler and I had a rough time last year with the same run.  I keep telling myself I've done 20 miles twice now and 26.2 twice, so I can definitely do it.  But it's all mental and last years pain came back in full force.  You can read about last year's run here.

I will keep you updated on how that goes this weekend!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Weekend Half Marathon Plans

This weekend is the Chicago Half Marathon.  I've actually never done this half marathon.  And I'm not going to start now!  :-P

I'm taking my half to the road.  I love road trips!  And last year I decided that I should make it a rough goal to do a half (or full) marathon in every state.  So far, I'm down 2 states!  Way to go Amanda!  I've done Illinois (8 times) and I've done a half in Ohio last year (Capital City Half Marathon, read recap here).  So where am I taking my half to this weekend to check another state off the list???  Ohio!!!

Um...Houston we have a problem.  I've done this state already!  I'm pathetically bad at this "every state" goal.  Here's why.  I first did Ohio (Columbus) because my nephew lives there.  So it was an easy weekend trip and free room and board!  And I got to see my favorite person, my nephew Tony.  I also usually don't have any travel buddies.  So I'm flying solo.  And even though I like road trips...the cost to stay somewhere alone and pay for gas and all that, it's just too much for me right now!

So why did I pick Ohio again?  Because clearly there are only two states in this country!  Actually, my geography is a little rough but it's not that bad.  A few running friends that live in the Cleveland area posted on facebook about doing this upcoming half (the River Run Half Marathon).  I looked at my marathon training schedule and realized it was a "14 mile week" and so a half fit in perfectly.  And I love road trips!  And I love running friends.  And I love half marathons (um....).  And I love love!  Ok, I've lost my mind.  Anyway....

A friend posted she was doing this half marathon and since it fit in perfectly and was relatively inexpensive for a half marathon, I put this on the "maybe" list.  Then I posted on my running group's facebook page to see if anyone wanted to do it with me (and therefore carpool...split gas costs and hotel costs).  And it would make the trip double the fun!

My friend Susan said she would be interested.  Susan was the run friend I met earlier this year while I was training for the IL Marathon and she was training for the Rockford Marathon.  I ended up spectating that marathon, ended up helping an aid station, and helping Susan at the marathon (which was a miserable 90 degrees).  You can read my version of her race here.

So that sums up the story of doing a second half marathon in Ohio.  And actually, I'm probably going to do one again there at some point.  Although my nephew may move back here for then maybe not. friend Curtis is thinking of doing the Columbus Marathon next year (he is originally from do I know so many Ohioans??)...and my running trips in Columbus may not be over yet...(although I said I'm not doing a full marathon next year...I'm not doing a full marathon next year....I'm not doing a full marathon next year....repeat for 12 months).

The weather from what I've read should be nice and cool (high of 69) and lower humidity.  From the elevation's downhill.  Ok, so it may not be "downhill" but there is an overall decline in elevation from start to finish, which I like!

My weekend plans are as follows:  We are leaving SUPER early on Saturday (she's leaving about 6:30 a.m. and picking me up around 7:00 a.m.), driving approximately 5.5 hours, hitting Cleveland to do something, packet-pickup, hotel check in, possibly dinner with my Cleveland friends, not sure what else after (our hotel has an indoor maybe?).  Sunday morning will be the half marathon.  We have no plans yet for the rest of the day.  I'm sure there will be some food and some hanging out somewhere doing something.  And then leaving somewhere late afternoon is my guess.

Look for a race recap next week!

I had my 18 mile run last weekend.  All in all, I've always had a "decent" 18 mile run.  Last weekend was no exception.  That made me feel better because I started crying during my 16 mile run.  Sure my legs were sore and I was tired, but mentally I felt good.  Maybe it's because I'm always helping others mentally with their 18 mile run, which was the case last weekend when I tried helping my friend Bob out during his longest run to date, and he was struggling a bit.

The bad news about the run?  A mosquito bit my back shoulder blade on the left side.  I tried to swat it and scratch the area with my right hand...but my right shoulder was the dislocated one and I don't have the reach, therefore, couldn't reach said mosquito (or scratch the area).  I didn't ask anyone to scratch my shoulder blade for me because I was all sweaty and gross.  I tried reaching with my water bottle but that was a huge fail.  Later when I got home...I noticed the mosquito bit me 5 times all in a row.  I have 5 small mosquito bites all lined up together!  I wish a horrible death to that mosquito.