#GeauxRunLA…Louisiana Marathon Recap

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Voted one of the best NEW  Marathons by Runners World Magazine…The Louisiana Marathon will not disappoint. Baton Rouge, the state capital, and home to Louisiana State University is a great host city. The Marathon offers numerous running options and family themed events. There is a distance for everyone. You can certainly make an entire weekend of it!  Laura and I left our husbands and kids behind so we missed out on all of the pre- marathon activities by choice.

We flew into New Orleans Friday afternoon and drove over to Baton Rouge (1.25hr drive).  You can easily fly into Baton Rouge, but we decide while in the area we would spend some post marathon time in New Orleans.

All the marathon activities were hosted downtown so we booked the Downtown Hampton Inn. Great choice as it was only 3.5 blocks from the start! Great location, free breakfast, and late check out option.  We were thrilled to secured the last available room.  Don’t delay as rooms book fast!

imageDowntown Baton Rouge, was a little sleepy. Clearly catering to the Mon-Friday business crowd, there was limited evening dinning and shopping options.  Don’t get me wrong there were options, just not as many as I was expecting in a city. Clearly, this is a city in transition and new options are on the horizon. The city itself was very clean and we always felt safe while walking around.  We did struggle to find a grocery store in close proximity to pick up some amenities so we opted for a Walmart.  When in doubt, seems you can always find a Walmart.  Luckily, we had a car.

The expo hosted at the Baton Rouge River Center was walking distance from the hotel.  We chose to drive since we planned to drive the course later in the day. Packet pick up was a breeze and they gave us a nice reusable drawstring bag with pictures of Louisiana. While I am not personally an “expo person” they seem to have a lots of vendors, LA marathon themed gear, and some really cool limited prints.  The expo certainly met my needs.

Traditional Expo picture

Traditional Expo picture

We attempted our traditional pre-race drive of the course.  We did not quite drive the entire course due to a very small map but we got the general idea.  Flat and nice!  We enjoyed a WONDERFUL carb load dinner a few blocks from our hotel at The Little Village. Definitely a hot spot and one of a few dinning options.  We did not have reservations but were able to squeeze into two spots at the bar. If you go you must order the Village Bread.  Get a whole loaf!  Yummy!  I could have feasted on just that alone!

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Lined up and ready to go!

Race Day! We hit breakfast in the hotel and walked to the start. We were so close to the starting line we were able to utilize our nice and clean private bathroom verses the Porta Potties. BONUS!  The starting line up was packed into the small street but manageable.  The race was capped at 2,000 marathoners and 3,600 half marathoners.  After the waved start, we were off and running.  The course best described by the race organizers was spot on!

Friends, family and curious spectators will line up for Race Day Tailgating along the 26.2 miles of roadways filled with inspiring sights and sounds to cheer on the many that chose to run. The Louisiana Marathon course features a fast, flat, runner-friendly path through the lakes, along the river, around downtown, on the university campus and in historic neighborhoods. Runners and spectators will enjoy local music & entertainment along the course.

The locals were out in force turning the race into a reason to have tailgate parties in their front yards.  Perhaps it was their warm up to festival season ( pre- mardi gras) It was fantastic! They were so welcoming and you could really get a feel for the spirit of Louisiana.  To date,  I have never seen so much beer, champagne, and bloody Marys on course( spectator provided).  Oh and doughnuts, and of course King Cake! If you chose to you could have partaken almost every mile.  I cannot say enough good things about the course. I love it! Here are some sights and scenes from the course.

Loved the Trees

Loved the Trees. Pictures does them no justice

 

As seen on course..these guys cracked me up!

As seen on course..these guys cracked me up! Note…no time for cooler they were drinking beer right from the 12 pack.

Even the Pet Chicken got to partake in the race day fun!

Even the Pet Chicken got to partake in the race day fun!

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Beautiful run around the lake.

By far the funniest thing I captured on course was a fellow race participant taking advantage of a tree swing in someones yard. He was singing and swinging.  Hilarious! Perhaps, he was enjoying the on course libations? Runners high? Really, it does not matter he was having a blast!

Swinging Runner!

Happy Swinging Singing Runner! Yes this was on the marathon course. Exactly the reason I run with my phone. Somethings you just have to capture!

The finish shoot runs right up to the capital.  A great way to finish!

Done! Congrats to Laura and her !st marathon post baby!

Done! Congrats to Laura and her 1st marathon post baby! She is still lightning fast!

The post race festival was hopping!  It was open to the public for purchase. Music and lots of different regional foods and Beer.  Laura’s stomach was off so we did not stay and sample all the offering. I did enjoy some yummy red beans and rice and a cold Abita!

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I typically don’t linger too long at post race activities but this certainly looked like one worth staying for.  Unfortunately, we did not have much time as we were pushing our late check out and needed to shower and hit the road to New Orleans.  Luckily, our shower was only 3.5 blocks away!

Overall, great experience.  I give Louisiana Marathon 2 thumbs up! Great regional race with local flair!  Much better alternative to Rock n’ Roll New Orleans.#Runlocal

12th State checked off the list!

 #GeauxRunLA you will be glad you did!  

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Mentoring to the finish…Kiawah Island, SC Marathon Recap

I get so excited whenever anyone shares with me their desires start running. Running  has given me so much over the past five years.  Running gave me a fresh perspective on my  life in a time when I needed it most.  As a result, I am eager to share my love and experience of the sport with anyone willing to give it a try or listen.

Kayla, 21 years my junior, whom I once would kindly refer to as a co-worker, through running I now can confidently call my friend 🙂 would drop in my office occasionally and  talk about her desires to run. When she was ready,  I ensured she had the right gear and equipped her with a signed copy of  Train Like a Mother!  The wisdom between the pages of the orange covers benefits any female, no kids required.  TLAMcover2-796x10241-415x533Kayla set her goals high and planned to run a half marathon.  We had many conversations around her training ups and downs, and I encouraged her along the way.  It was exciting to watch her interest in running move from something she was simply curious about to something she came to love.

Our first run together, June 2014!  My Facebook post- Shout out to Kate for her longest run! Kayla for best dressed! Great run with running buddies OLD and NEW literally. With Rex (woof),

Our first run together, June 2014! My Facebook post- Shout out to Kate for her longest run! Kayla for best dressed! Great run with running buddies OLD and NEW literally. With Rex (woof),

I was giddy with excitement when she crossed the finish line of her first half marathon. I was even more excited when she said she could not wait for the next one!  We all know in running you either love it or hate it! So naturally when Kayla said she thought she  was ready to conquer a marathon, but was scared to death.  I told her I would happily run by her side and get her across the finish line.  I never second guessed my offer  to get her across the finish line but I also don’t think I fully thought out how challenging a task this might be. Failure was not an option she was to become a marathoner if I had to carry her! Which I had knew was possible, since I carried her the month before at Tough Mudder.

kiawahMap

We decided on Kiawah Island Marathon in South Carolina.  I needed the check off the state of South Carolina so this was perfect.  My only goal was to get Kayla across the finish line…this was all about Kayla!

imageRace Day! We were ready.  We walked .6 miles to the start from our adorable cottage. Fortunately the forecast of rain held off and temps were mild in the 50’s. A little warm for my liking but no rain. We were thrilled to be joined by running buddy KMac who registered last minute for the half.  We were off!.

The course was fantastic!  The course provided you with  beautiful views of the South Carolina low county (water& marshlands), and some of the biggest houses I have ever seen. Huge!  There was always something to look at.  The aid stations were excellent and very organized. The volunteers handing out Gatorade wore yellow jerseys.  So smart!  There was musical entertainment in several places along the course which was nice touch but for the most part the course was quiet and serine.  Absolutely my favorite!

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KMac, back from injury, was having a great day and she took off. Despite the warmth and humidity I was feeling good.  Kayla, was quietly struggling, not verbalizing how she felt.  I knew she was not 100% and was careful not to pester her about how she was doing.  I threw out my attempt at distractions, casual encouragement, and we keep moving forward.  Unfortunately, Kayla started feeling worse having to utilize her inhaler several times.  She was feeling like crap,  so I need to move to plan B and fast!

one of the many motivational quotes at expo...this was our mantra

one of the many motivational quotes at expo…this was our mantra

We moved to a run walk segment and that is when things starting to turn around. She finally started to talk a little, and honestly just looked better in general.  It was a relief for me but we still had 13.1 more miles ahead of us.

The blessing in disguise was Kayla’s mental fortitude. Despite feeling like crap, she was determined to cross the finish line. She told me ” I will finish this marathon.  It may take me longer than I intended but I will finish”.  Music to my ears! Her strong mental state made her goal of finishing achievable.  She was mentally strong and nothing was going to stop her.

Our gentleman friend whom we shared many of the latter marathon miles with

Our gentleman friend whom we shared many of the latter marathon miles with

I looked hard but never say any Alligators

I looked hard but never say any Alligators

Kayla is smiling!

Kayla is smiling!

Around mile 17-18 feeling happy!

Around mile 17-18 feeling happy! My Favorite Picture

Bike path segment to the finish!

Bike path segment to the finish!

Getting closer...

Getting closer…

At mile 25.5, I tripped on the bike path and hit the asphalt.  Stunned, scrapped, and little bloody Kayla extended her hand and pulled me off the ground.  I brushed off the asphalt and we kept going.  It was a little slow and with a limp but we literally were almost there.

We were thrilled to see our friends Mary Anne and Kmac with their kids waiting for us before the finish chute.  Always great seeing familiar faces.  The kids joined us for the final run to the finish.

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Fabulous Finish!  Kayla is a Marathoner!

Fabulous Finish! Kayla is a Marathoner!

I am so incredibly proud of Kayla for overcoming her adversities and pushing through!  I was honored to cross that finish line with you!  Welcome to the Marathon Club Kayla!

Read Kayla’s marathon re-cap

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Kiawah is an amazing regional Marathon! The after party provided local brews and a full buffet of AWESOME food. Not your standard bagel and bananna. Real yummy food! Amazing considering registration is only $70. Excellent destination marathon that won’t disappoint.  In my quest to run a marathon in every state,  I have vowed not to repeat any marathons but if I were to repeat Kiawah is on top of my list!

Low Country Boil Dinner to celebrate!

Low Country Boil Dinner to celebrate!

So excited to me college buddy Tracy at the expo and later on the course!

So excited to me college buddy Tracy at the expo and later on the course!

Down and Dirty… Tough Mudder, Charlotte, NC Recap

I can honestly say I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I registered for the Charlotte, NC Tough Mudder as part of deal with my buddy Kathryn.

KMac & JMart Save the Light Half Marathon 2013 Folly Beach, SC

KMac & JMart Save the Light Half Marathon 2013 Folly Beach, SC

She agreed to run the Twin Cities Marathon with me if I would do Tough Mudder.  DEAL! I registered and then read and watched the obstacle videos! Artic enemia, electric eel, electric shock therapy… what had I gotten myself into? I did not fret to long as I was excited about a new challenge and a running buddy for my fall marathon.

Team #BAMR Bad Ass MUDA Runners was officially formed and the recruiting for additional team members began. We recruited 12 team members but lost 3 prior to the event.  We were 9 members strong on race day!

Team #BAMR

Team #BAMR

crossfitHaving never participated in a mud run I had no idea what I was getting myself into or how to train.  The running was a no brainer for me it was the sheer lack of muscular strength that was of concern.   Luckily Kathryn had that figured out for us and talked me into a trying out Raleigh Crossfit. I had heard of Crossfit, seen numerous tweets about it but honestly had no idea what it was.  I went into my trial class not knowing what to expect (or what to wear) and left KNOWING I would schedule my foundations training ( to learn the 9 fundamental Crossfit movements) and add Crossfit to my weekly training routine.  I was hooked from day 1. I maintained my marathon training and incorporated in 3 Crossfit training days.  I love CF so much I have actually dropped a running day ( 3 post CF marathons completed and no regrets). The addition of CF to my training regimen has been  very beneficial to me.              ( perhaps a future post)

Obstacle recap, of the ones I can remember, from the Charlotte, NC event. Weather was overcast, chilly upper 40’s.

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  • To get to the starting line you must scale a small wall.  Don’t let the size fool you! I had a friend fall, crack a rib, and tear her intercostal muscle on this very wall. In complete BEAST mode she completed the course with the help of her team.  You go Sarah S! The day of our race, the medics were tending to a fellow mudder whom had injured themselves attempting the wall.  Be careful!
  • Running- the running between the  obstacles was similar to single track trail running.  Uneven surfaces, roots, rocks, holes, you name it.  Luckily, I had spent many miles on the trails during training. Tip: Leave the asphalt when you can and train on single track trail
  • Kiss of Mud– surprisingly I was able to  to do on my hands and knees based on height of the wire

    Mama Bean loving Mud Mile!

    Mama Bean loving Mud Mile!

  • Glory Blades– no issues with a foot boost, from team mate,  to pull myself to the top and and slide down the other side.
  • Arctic Enema– mentally and physically HORRIBLE! The freezing water completely stunned me, I could not catch my breath.  I pulled myself together, went under the wooden plank only to be welcomed by huge ice cubes on the other side. When I made it out I had an full body ice cream headache.  Torture! Thankfully they had Mylar sheets to help warm you up.  All I could think about was those poor people on the Titanic. Tip: close your mouth,  jump out far, to get to as close to the plank wall as possible.  
  • Cliffhanger– must have been a none event.  I don’t even remember it.
  • Warrior Carry– no problem, got practice with this in crossfit. I proudly carried Kayla whom is 2 inches taller than me! Tip: have team wait to distribute carry based on size and weight.
  • Balls to the Wall– no problem, due to notches in the wall for foot placement.  I was actually surprised they were there.  Would be much harder without.
  • Hold you Wood– no problem, the name of this obstacle brought many laughs and crude comments from our co-ed team with only 2 male members.  
  • Mud Mile– FAVORITE!  I found slugging through, and sliding into  the cold mud fun.  There were plenty of fellow mudders available to pull you up the dirt mound as needed.  
  • Berlin Walls– this one takes team work to hoist team mates up high enough to pull themselves over the wall. The drop from the top to the other side can be intimidating thankfully the landing is softened by a think layer of mulch.  Tip: don’t rush your drop from top of the wall.  Attempt to execute a safe landing.
  • Boa Constrictor– no issues other than being in a confined space. The pipe was so small I could not crawl on my forearms.  I had to side crawl.
  • Just the Tip– I did not make it past the first section and dropped into the cold green water.  Possibly easier without gloves.  Our 1 team mate who made it the entire way was glove free! Way to go LIZARD!

    Lizard!

    Lizard!

  • Electric Eel- UGG! Dive in FAST, low,crawl, shimmy, whatever it takes as low and fast as you can to get out.  It sucked! It was worse for some than others.  It was not as bad as I thought. I feel like having on two shirts help insulate me from the shocks. Tip: wear two shirts, keep you mouth closed and head down. 
  • King of the Mountain– Fun! team work is needed to boost each other up some of the bales.  Tip: use the twine to help pull yourself up.
  • Cage Crawl- I am very comfortable in the water so I had no issues with this obstacle.  Due to my layers of clothing I felt like I was floating.  For those not comfortable being on their back in water this could be tough.
  • Walk the Plank– Close your mouth, exhale from you nose ( or hold it) and JUMP! I forgot to exhale and got muddy water up my nose YUK! No fear of moderate heights no issues.  
  • Unknown Cargo Net Obstacle- Jump across water to a cargo net. If you miss you go in the water.  I caught the cargo net but lost my grip and fell into the water.  My left shoulder has hurt ever since:(   Way to go Sundrop and J-Wow for mastering this one!
  • Funky Monkey– HARD! After teammate slipped off first rung and fell onto her back on the metal platform (Thankfully she was fine) I decided it was not worth the risk.  I jumped into the cold water and swam across. The bars are slick and placed 1.5 feet apart. Way to go J-Wow who effortlessly tackled this obstacle!
  • Everest– I made it on 1st attempt! Thankful for the strong volunteers at the top who caught me and pulled me up.  Tip: seek out the group of volunteers that look strong enough to hoist you up. 
  • Electroshock TherapySUPER HORRIBLE! I swear they “juiced” up the shock on this one.  They hurt!  To make it worse the ground was thick, slick mud.  I kept falling and had trouble getting up (envision the person in the horror movie running away and they keep falling…that was me) . To increase the fun they placed  a huge hay bale, that had to be scaled right in the middle of the shock torture.  Scaling a hay bale while getting shocked non stop was ridiculous.  I finally make it over the bale only to face plant into thick mud. At this point, I was laughing out of fear I would never make it out.  Finally, I made it.  We were all so disoriented, we did not realize Mama Bean was stuck not able to get over the bale.  Fortunately, she decided to go around.  Sorry Mama Bean:( Tip: attempt to go as fast as you can.  Find mental strength in knowing this is the last obstacle
DONE!

DONE!

Enjoying the warmth of the finishers tent

Enjoying the warmth of the finishers tent

My random tips:

  • My only injury...random

    My only injury…random

    CLOTHES-Wear old clothes and shoes they will be NASTY! I wore long sleeve compression shirt under my team shirt.  It kept me warm and was a great barrier against the mud and shocks.  Capri pants and high socks! Its not the best look going but it provided a great protective barrier from scrapes and scratches.  We had BadAss Socks 🙂

  • GLOVES- I wore them and was glad I had them.  Half the team had them half did not.  Really no advantage just preference.
  • HAIR-If you hair it long wear it up or braided.  If you hair is short like mine…brace yourself for a seriously bad,muddy, hair day.
  • SHOES-We did not duck tape shoes.  Just tie tight and double knot.  Nobody lost their shoes.  The trails were littered with duck tape that fell of peoples shoes.
  • DROP BAG- Bring flip flops to wear after you toss your shoes, towel to dry off with after the COLD rinse down, change of clothes. Qtips to get a jump on your ear cleaning. $ if you want more beer or food. Phone so you can take post race photos ( we did not take on course..too risky)

    @Dunkyourkicks for pediatric cancer!  Great cause!

    @Dunkyourkicks for pediatric cancer! Great cause!

Overall thoughts– For me Tough Mudder is a “One and Done”.  It was fun, a good experience, new challenge,  but I did not finish with a strong desire to do another one.  It was a great team effort and I am most grateful for the friendships I enhanced and developed with my awesome team mates. I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard in my life. Tough Mudder is truly is a TEAM event.  Recruit as many “like minded” people as you can and stick together!  No team? No problem, there are plenty of volunteers and mudders at the obstacles helping each other out. The support is amazing!

Was it the toughest most physically and mentally demanding thing I have ever done? For me no. Ultra/marathon running and some Crossfit WODs(work out of the day) are far more physically and mentally challenging…FOR ME. The experience is so personal based on an individuals physical condition, experiences, and fears. For someone with fear or heights or water I think Tough Mudder would be mental torture.

Tough Mudder is a a quality event that will not disappoint! Give it a try! Getty Muddy! You really don’t know what you are capable of until you give it a try.

Thanks Tay Tay for the great collage!

Thanks Tay Tay for the great collage!

J-Wow (advid Mudder) surprised Southern B by showing up the the morning of the event...

J-Wow (advid Mudder) surprised Southern B by showing up the the morning of the event…

 

The SURPRISE got even better as J-WOW revealed he was not only their to support her on her 1st TM but he was part of the TEAM!

The SURPRISE got even better as J-WOW revealed he was not only there to support her on her 1st TM but he was part of the TEAM! We were so glad to have him! Especially SunDrop whom was the lone male team mate!

Finish & Enjoy…Big Sur Marathon Plan

8th State, 13th Marathon, and my #1 all time favorite!

Big Sur International Marathon, April 28, 2013!

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Wow, is all I can say.  Everything about the Big Sur Marathon weekend exceeded my expectations.  Big Sur, is sitting pretty in my number #1 best overall marathon in every category.  I have often pondered keeping a running ranking of my marathon adventures and this just might inspire me to do that.

For anyone who asked about my experience I explained that Big Sur is the only marathon I have ever run that I enjoyed almost every single mile. If it weren’t for the uphill on mile 25, I would say I enjoyed EVERY mile. The pain of mile 25 was brief, just generally not appreciated so late in the race.

2, 765 miles!

2, 765 miles!

So what made the Big Sur miles so much more enjoyable than the previous 316.4? (12 x 26.2 + extra two miles on my ultra attempt) .  I am not exactly sure, but I will attribute it to  having just one single goal – Finish & Enjoy!

MY BIG SUR MARATHON PLAN! 

( taken directly from pre-race communication)

This is a difficult course and you should plan on adding extra minutes to your usual marathon time. Walk if necessary, Enjoy the spectacular music and scenery along the course and don’t worry about your time!

 I took the pre-race communications to heart and put them to action. The last thing I wanted to do was travel 2,765 miles and beat myself up over a missed PR. A mere 13 days after the attacks on Boston, just being able to run, in honor of those who cannot was a gift in itself.  

Despite Big Sur being my all time favorite marathon, I have struggled to feel inspired to put it into words.  (Hence,the delay of the race recap).  So I thought I would let my pictures tell the story

View from terrace

View from terrace

Lodging– Hotel Pacific, located right next to the expo, and block away from marathon transportation was fabulous.  Our room was huge and full of amenities.  It included a sitting area with gas fireplace, small dinning area with fridge, bathroom perfect for sharing with two showers etc  We loved it and felt like we were in a honeymoon suite.

http://www.hotelpacific.com/

courtyard view from room

Pre Marathon Relaxation

Pre Marathon Relaxation, while listening to Big Sur “Grand Piano Man” Michael Martinez

Our Bibs! Way to go Laura on Boston 2 Big Sur!

Our Bibs! Way to go Laura on Boston 2 Big Sur!

Race Expo- Monterey Conference Center. Was easy to navigate, staffed with super friendly volunteers, and hosted lots of great vendors.  We typically breeze through the expos(you’ve seen one you have seen them all) but this one we took our time to enjoy! My highlight was officially meeting Runners World, Chief Running Officer, Bart Yasso! I was giddy with excitement and was able to contain myself! The previous November, Bart gave me a “fist bump” during the Richmond, VA Marathon when I spotted him on the sidelines.  I am a huge fan!  His book My Life On The Run, is a great running read.

Bart Man!

Me and Bart Man!

Expo continued…the support for Boston was everywhere!

Runners signed banners in support of Boston and were able to contribute to The One Fund

Runners signed banners in support of Boston and were able to contribute to The One Fund

We met Michael Martinez, Big Sur “Grand Piano Man” who famously sits at mile 13.1 and plays his  Grand Piano. We purchased his CD.

Laura and i with David

Laura and I with Michael

No pictures of the expo massages but they were awesome and well worth $1 a minute!

Our weekend wheels! Fiat

Our weekend wheels! Fiat

Saturdays Highway 1 adventures – We drove through Monterrey Cannery Row. Although fabulous, and the best aquarium I have ever seen, we skipped visiting the  Monterrey Bay Aquarium in an effort to stay off our feet. Instead, we drove the 17-mile drive,  lunched in Carmel-by-the-Sea, and then headed down Highway 1 to Big Sur.

The Lone Cypress, one of the sights on the 17 mile drive

Lone Cypress- Americas most photographed Tree

Lone Cypress- Americas most photographed Tree

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Lunch at Hogs Breath Inn!

Total tourist shot after lunch at Hogs Breath Inn. Thanks Uncle Zeke for recommendation...your hat is on its way!

Total tourist shot after lunch at Hogs Breath Inn. Thanks Uncle Zeke for recommendation…your hat is on its way!

Laura at Big Sur Bakery...too full to partake

Laura at Big Sur Bakery…too full to partake

ahhh...the view.  Gotta love Big Sur

ahhh…the view. Gotta love Big Sur

Bixby Bridge mile 13.1

Bixby Bridge mile 13.1

amazing coastal  views....

amazing coastal views….

starting line coffee

starting line coffee

Marathon Day- Early start as we loaded the buses to Big Sur at 4:15am.  Luckily, we only had to walk a block from our hotel. Its an early start, but its a major effort on the event organizers to transport runners 26.2 miles down two laned Highway 1.  In addition to the marathon Big Sur offers a Relay, 21, 10.6, 9, and 5k mile option.

1st race I have even participated in that offered water, coffee and food at the start!  Super bonus points for that!

Huddled to stay warm with fellow runners!

Huddled to stay warm with fellow runners!

Starting line

Starting line

Two Thumbs up from Bart Yasso prior to the start!

Pre-start Bart Sighting

Pre-start Bart Sighting

6:45am and we were off and running!  As part of my Finish & Enjoy Marathon Plan, I brought my phone to take pictures along the way.  The official description describes Big Sur Marathon  as a Point to point, moderately difficult, with live entertainment on the course. Featuring rolling hills, Big Sur is the largest rural marathon in the world, winding through redwoods, paralleling ranches, and offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

BigsurElevation

I often stopped to catch a glace of where I had come from.  The view looking back is just as good as the views ahead.  It is 360 degrees of sheer beauty.

Mile 5 9 guess, looking back

Mile 5 (best guess), looking back

Just when I thought we might escape the famous headwinds, the course opened up and so did the wind. It was wicked but manageable.  Even the cows ran for cover….I was not as fortunate

Cows retreating from the winds

Cows retreating from the winds

If the winds were not enough , we soon caught the first glimpses of Hurricane Point (550 foot climb over 2 miles) starting at mile 10. I am proud to say I slayed Hurricane Point by running the entire way.  I was determined not to stop!

1st views of Hurricane Point

1st views of Hurricane Point

Way before you could see the Bixby Bridge, which famously signifies the halfway point on the marathon course, you could hear the the tones  from the Grand Piano.  It was absolutely surreal and uplifting. One of my favorite memories.  As  I approached the Bixby Bridge,  I found myself overcome with emotion and fought back unexpected tears. My best guess is they were tears of shear joy as i was having an awesome run! I attempted a short video that really does it no justice at all

The mile markers, each 7 foot tall, where the BEST, I have ever seen. They ranged from completely stupid, funny, to inspiring.  They had a unique way of telling a story and really personalizing the marathon to the region, local runners,  and area. Take a look for yourself- Big Sur Mile Marker Project.

13.1 Mile Marker

13.1 Mile Marker

attempt at picture with Michael Martinez...this makes me laugh

attempt at picture with Michael Martinez…this makes me laugh

Windy shot taken by a fellow runner.  My skirt looks like I was about to take flight.

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The end was in view, first glimpses of CarmelIMG-20130428-00192

Fresh strawberries at mile 24! Yummy!

Mile 24 treat!

Mile 24 treat!

The description for mile marker 25 says it all, about my only UNenjoyable mile of the entire course.  This “Doomsayer” needs to lighten up! You may be feeling a bit down at this point, but with the finish just over a mile away, the end to your race is just over the next hill. 

Doom uphill Mile!

Doom uphill Mile!

Finally, 26.2! The race Directors and organizers, donned in their BSIM Blue blazers, shook the hands of participants as they cross the finish!  Total class act! This years finish line included  the Boston Marathon Executive Director who personally shook the hands of EVERY Boston 2 Big Sur participant. It was amazing to watch as . Emotions were still very raw and many were moved to tears.

My bonus was a congratulations hug from Bart Yasso! Promise I am a fan and not a stalker!

With Laura, being a Boston 2 Big Sur participant, we enjoyed the awesome finishers tent that overlooked the finish line. I only joined her after I partook in the free 10 minute massage.

We did it!

We did it!

Laura’s Medals

Boston 2 Big Sur Bling

Boston 2 Big Sur Bling

It was amazing! Pleased with my 4:54:47 finish, which included 2 pit stops, and numerous video and  photo ops. It was not my fastest, nor my slowest but was my STRONGEST physical and mental FINISH.  My Finish & Enjoy Marathon Plan carried me through.  My only expectation was to enjoy and take it all in.  I accomplished that an much more!

I do have to credit Raleigh CrossFit, which I included in the last month of my training plan. I feel a new addiction brewing! #RaleighStrong!

Traditional post marathon margarita, overlooking Monterey Bay!

Traditional post marathon margarita, overlooking Monterey Bay!

035One and done in California! Big Sur International  Marathon was an excellent choice! This race should be on every Marathon bucket list!

Mark you calendars registration for 2014 opens July 15th.  It typically sells out in a matter of days so don’t delay. Register, train, and Finish & Enjoy!

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Quitters Don’t Run. #Runners Don’t Quit! Boston Strong!

Richmond, VA Marathon Fall 2012

Richmond, VA Marathon Fall 2012

I spend the hours prior to the Boston Marathon attack trying to view the live web stream, follow the Twitter feed, track my BRF(best running friend), and work(my paid job). It was multi tasking at its best.

I was giddy with excitement for all the runners but especially for my BRF, Laura, running her 1st Boston. I had butterflies in my stomach as I tracked her progress, I compared waiting for her to cross the finish line like waiting for the arrival of a baby! I was just that excited and anxious. She rocked it and I proudly shared her accomplishments with all my “tweeps”.

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There was not much time to celebrate her accomplishment as my next tweet was a tweet regarding the bombings.

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It was unfathomable. How and why did this happen? These things don’t happen in the US. My excitement quickly faded to sheer grief, shock, and sadness.  So many things were lost that day or simply “undone” (best reflected by Sarah Bowen Shea) Boston Marathon: Undone « another mother runner.

Many difficult days lie ahead for those mourning the loss of loved ones or simply healing from their sustained injuries. Despite the losses, we as a nation, city, state, and individual(s) must respond and carry on!

Virtual Memorial Run Bib

Virtual Memorial Run Bib

Although I was not physically in Boston on the day of the attacks, the assault is personal in that is targeted my loved sport and fellow running community. Its hard not to take that personally! Runners are committed, determined, and perhaps a little hard headed. We push through physical limitations in quest of the next best thing. We carry on! We suffer set backs and  limp every once in a while but the determination to get back out there and do it again is always there. No deranged terrorist will keep us from the love of our support! We don’t quit!

In time, the freshness and sting of the Boston attacks will fade. However, the memories will remain. I pledge to honor those whose lives were forever changed every time I “toe the line” at a running event!  Cheers to running free! Carry on!  #BostongStrong

Boston Memorial Run, Raleigh, NC- 3,000 strong!

Raleigh Boston Memorial Run

Raleigh Boston Memorial Run

Me with BRF's Katherine and Mary Anne!

Me with BRF’s Katherine and Mary Anne!

 

3,000 runners strong! Raleigh runners respond

3,000 runners strong! Raleigh runners respond

 

New Beginnings....

New Beginnings….

Please consider supporting The One Fund

one-fund

 

Umstead trail run Misadventure..

I gave full disclosure to my running buddies that I have yet to run through Umstead State Park without getting LOST a.k.a temporarily misplaced. So why would this run be any different?

I carefully planned out our 13 mile route, via mapmyrun.com,  all within the beautiful 5,579 acre park (it is so hard to believe it is nestled between Raleigh and Cary). I emailed the ladies the plan and gave them full warning of what we were getting ourselves into.

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email text- Whoo hooo ladies this won’t be easy but DANG we can accomplish anything after this. I am sickly looking forward to the challenge. I will print directions, I get lost in umstead so keeping us on track will be a joint effort

In an effort to break my temporarily misplaced streak, I jotted down the names of the trail heads, turns etc onto an index card.  I sealed the index card into a “snack bag” to keep it dry.  We were not going get lost! YES, I could have used the  mapmyrun.com app for my smartphone. Call me old school, I am kind of partial to my index cards.

It was a crisp morning with temperatures hovering in the low 30’s.  Great running weather. We were off!  Caught up in jibber jabber we missed the first trail head. Ooops not off to a good start.  Only 3/10 of a mile off course we circled back and jumped onto Lobllolly single track trail. It was awesome.  Becky, our clumsy running friend, inquired if we would have to cross any streams.  I quickly respond No 🙂  Wrong, we crossed two streams and all remained dry!  The trail was beautiful and we all stayed upright.  This was a major accomplishment given Becky’s tripping history on flat roads, and the frost covered wooden bridges.  We were loving it.  We transitioned to Company Mill trail which was just as wonderful.  Why have I never run these trails that are practically in my backyard.

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We were in our groove taking in serenity of the trail and were “on track” or “on trail” of where we needed to be.  After a VERY long down hill, 10 miles in,  we hit our first unplanned obstacle. The trail was completely covered with water.

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We were perplexed, dumbfounded, and in utter disbelief.  We just laughed wondering how this happened.  This was not just a little high water this was a freak-in river.   If it was the middle of summer perhaps we would have sloshed through but it was hovering around freezing.  Knowing we just came down a VERY long downhill we pondered our options.

Katherine surveying our options

Katherine surveying our options

Determined, to cross the creek/river Katherine spotted a crossing via two fallen trees.  Katherine, crossed the slippery moss covered tree to the opposing bank and went to investigate the second crossing.  Upon inspection, what we thought was a second tree crossing was just a “forest mirage” that upon a closer look was just river sludge that looked like a log.  She successfully trans-versed the slippery log back to where Becky and I were watching in amazement.  Katherine is “BADASS”, and she has the nerve to call ME crazy!

Katherine's unplanned high adventure

Katherine’s unplanned high adventure

Katherine investigating the second crossing which ended up being a "forest mirage"

Katherine investigating the second crossing which ended up being a “forest mirage”

With Katherine safely back, there was only one way out…up the VERY long hill! At the top of the hill, we spotted, a little too late, the trail washout sign. Duh!

Duh!..spotted a little too late.Trail wash out warning sign!

Duh!..spotted a little too late.Trail wash out warning sign!

048We laughed at ourselves!  What else can you do?  What an adventure!  I could hardly contain my giggles. We were having so much fun.

Surprisingly, without a trail guide/map,but some input from a few friendly runners we found our way back to our cars!  Our planned 13 miles turned into 14.25 miles! Not too bad!

Great adventure girls! I can hardly wait for our next adventure!

Happy Trails!

Reversal of the “Disney Curse” & Running REDEMPTION in 2013!

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613 miles from Orlando, I shared in the joy and excitement of my sister Laury’s REDEMPTION RUN at the Disney Half Marathon!  She finally got it done! Whoo Hooo!

Her quest started with the 2011 Disney Half Marathon, which she missed due to being extremely anemic. It was to be a family event, between all of us, we would cover participation the 5k, half and full marathons.  Unfortunately, I, registered for the marathon,  feel ill to a HORRIBLE upper respiratory infection and could not even make the trip.  The 2011 Disney running weekend did not happen for either of us!  Laury recovered enough to make the trip as a spectator and cheered on the rest of the family (Sister Amy’s 1st Marathon)

Dinner Animal Kingdom Rain Forest Cafe after 2012 Disney Half Marathon/Goofy Challenge

Back with  vengeance, we registered for 2012 determined to make it happen. I registered for the Goofy Challenge ( half and full marathons) and Laury for her first marathon!  We were going to make it happen in 2012! Even if it meant wearing rubber gloves and surgical mask to fend  off germs.  Fortunately, it never came to that.  But Unfortunately, Laury fell victim to the dreaded IT BAND aggravation.  UGGGGG! Once again, Laury traveled to Orlando as a spectator…two years in a row! The good news in all of this is she was able to speak with a wonderful Run Disney representative who after hearing her story and clearly feeling sorry for her deferred her 2012 marathon entry to 2013!  This was so awesome considering the deferral period was long gone. She was not giving up!

My Fav picture!

My Fav picture 2012 Disney Marathon/Goofy Challenge!

Bummed not able to pace my sister in her first marathon, I was thrilled to take on the challenge of pacing my brother-in-law Jon in his 1st 26.2.  We had a great run and Laury…once again  a spectator happily greeted us at the finish line!

2013 was to be Laury’s year!  She was not going to miss this race again!  She was feeling great, injury free and then…the fever, raspy voice, labored breathing, tightness in the chest started 6 days before her THIRD attempt at a Disney race.  Monday, she called me and delivered the news she was not well.  Of all things chest congestion a runners nightmare…you need your lung capacity.  Having just run/attempted (whatever you want to call it) the PineMountain40 (My PineMountain BEATDOWN)  with compromised lung capacity I URGED her to go to the Dr and NOT make the same mistake I had.  She heeded my advise (major win for me since those whom work in the medical profession love to self diagnose and think they are fine) and went to the Dr. The Doc diagnosed an upper respiratory infection and prescribed meds  that in turn got her TO and ACROSS the finish line.  FINALLY! SHE DID IT! A Disney Half Marathoner Finisher. Third time is a charm:)

Disney Curse BROKEN! REDEMPTION run complete!

Disney Curse BROKEN! REDEMPTION run complete! 2013

She was elated and so was I… many miles away! I only wish I could have been there for her, as she has been for me,  to hug her sweaty neck! Way to go Laury!  You did it!

For me, one of the greatest joys of running is sharing in others milestones and  victories!  I  glean energy and motivation from others conquest and successes.  Today was no different, my excitement was such you would have thought I had completed the race myself.

Laury’s REDEMPTION run was DONE!  The irony in it all, is that just this morning (while Laury was making her way to the 5:30am start) “I” received notification at 4:46am that I had been “un-wait listed” and moved to a participant in my own personal REDEMPTION run ..The North Carolina Fat ASS 50K. (Thanks Nathan @SocialShark for telling me about #FatASS50k)    Wow! Irony, coincidence, Divine intervention…I am not exactly sure. I will take this as a sign that my quest for a personally satisfying ultra distance was meant to be!

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Cheers to you Laury, for a long overdue, job well done and well wishes to those seeking REDEMPTION in 2013!

Sargeant Laury!

Sargeant Laury!

She had me at “Wineglass”……Wineglass Marathon Weekend

She had me at “wineglass” and “girls weekend“…

Wineglass girls weekend….

NO BRAINER, it had my name all over it!

“She” being my BRF (best running friend) Rebecca had her sights on an awesome girls running weekend to re-ignite her running.  This would be Rebecca’s “Come Back” / “Post Baby 26.2!”  I was so excited to have my BRF back I would go anywhere with her!  I was mentally signed up  hearing “wine” and “girls weekend” The fact the weekend entailed running a marathon was merely a bonus!

It was a no brainer without much discussion The Wineglass Marathon weekend was etched on our calendars, flights were booked,  and reservations made. Corning, NY here we come!  Our fellow BRF Becky gladly joined along with BRF Laura my college buddy, 50 states partner. Laura  in the past 18 months had drug me to ( DC, TN, AZ, FL) for marathons and convinced me to run a 40 miler with her in December. I knew she would be all in. She is like “Mikey” she will do anything!  I guess she probably says the same about me.:)

Please pardon this interruption for a              

  PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:

Super BIG shout out to my loving, extremely goofy, and super supportive husband, of 17 years,  DAN who has supported my running efforts from day one!  I am forever grateful of your support !  You are my motivation! 🙂

Me and Dan after my 1st 1/2 Marathon 2/2009

Another bonus of this already fabulous girls running weekend was the fact it gave Laura and I the opportunity to check off the state of New York. When we decided  to run a marathon/or ultra (ultra was not part of the original deal) in every state we decided there could only be one marathon per state and no repeats. It is the only way we will get them all done….before we die/or die trying 🙂  So we passed on the option to enter the NYC Marathon Lottery.  The Wineglass Marathon was our New York Marathon. While the NYC marathon remains on my top 5 must run bucket list it will just have to wait.

September finally arrived and the “Southern Invasion” crossed the Mason-Dixon Line and landed in Corning, NY!  Whoo Hooo!  With all ALL my BRF’s in tow it was going to be an amazing weekend……and that is was!

Southern Invasion!

Rebecca (yankee transplant to NC), Me, Laura, Becky!

We arrived Saturday am and were immediately blow away by the beauty of the area. The air was crisp, the sun was shinning, and the leaves were just starting to turn.  It was amazing!  We left upper 70’s in NC to 50’s in NY.  It was GORGEOUS!  The Marathon is a huge event for this area.  There were welcome banners in the airport and even a welcoming station for the runners.  Wow!  These people really rolled out the red carpet and we had not even gotten out of the airport.  We knew we were in for an amazing weekend in the finger lakes region of NY. It is a must see and do!

Becky checks out the course map as Rebecca, superstitious, REFUSES to even glance at it. (check out awesome cinch sacks we got…great quality)

We hit the expo to start collecting all the amazing schwag the WGM has become known for.  The regional marathon gets high marks on being a fast course, BQ qualifier, and an AWESOME unique glass finishers medal, and a spectacular finish line “spread” of just about anything your heart desires.  They must add hospitality to this list.  Everyone we met was so excited we were visiting and were just so friendly.  I am typically the dead give away anytime I leave the south “You are not from around here, where are you from?” My southern accent, which I will still argue is not that strong 🙂 is always a dead giveaway.  So we got to meet lots of people from the area.  You know southerns we will talk to anyone.

Back to the expo.  The WGM organizers and travel and tourism folks were well coordinated.  We picked up our bag, shirt, and bib at the YMCA which happened to be beside the Corning Museum of Glass, which as a marathon participant we got reduced admission.  Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to visit….we needed more time.

Becky and Rebecca headed to the Heart of Corning for swag!

Next, we were instructed to take a short walk across the bridge into the heart of Corning to  pick up our WGM wineglass and bottle of champagne made specifically for the weekend.  Wow!  We also got a sample of Poppletons  Harvest Wine Cake the official WGM Cake which was amazing…we bought 2! They ship!

We were totally in love with the area and had not been there but a few hours.  Next we hit Market Street Brewing Company for super yummy appetizers and liquid carb loading!

Her 2nd round next to our 1st! Clearly she was seeking carbs!

No names will be mentioned but if one of my BRF’s would hydrate while running like she does at the bar her performance just might soar!  hehe   While we were carb loading, my Corning “admirer”  paid us a visit.  We met Jimmy earlier on Market Street after he remarked on my cowgirl boots..  Jimmy professed is love for me and wanted me to move to Corning.

Me and Jimmy my new friend!

Jimmy  is know by all the locals as he spends his days cruising Market Street on his mountain bike with his  police scanner.  If you are in Corning make sure you speak to Jimmy he is so kind and has a HEART of GOLD!  Watch out Dan!

Looking down Market Street

Market Street was so beautiful and full of unique shops, glass galleries, eateries etc. You can spend an entire day window shopping, eating, and drinking!  We hit Sorges, a local Italian eatery for homemade pasta to continue the carb load.  It was AMAZING!  We got there just in time.  As we left there were hoards of people waiting for tables.  Next we hit Wegmans for food and water.  Wegmans was huge and smelled so good!  It smelled like thanksgiving! I had fall on my mind.

Thirsty?

I purchased my typical “big gulps” that everyone makes fun of me for.  I consume a lot of water carefully enhanced by my favorite electrolyte tabs NUUN!  Which is officially pronounced “Noon” but Rebecca calls them  “Nuns”  We find them to be rather “heavenly” so the divine reference works for us!  We need all the help we can get!

Just as Laura and I we were settling in for an attempt at a good nights rest, Rebecca visited to inquire if either of us had extra running skirt or shorts. WHY?   Becky, bless her heart, forgot her running shorts.  Can we say CRISIS!  We were in small town America which is void of Starbucks on every corner, Target, or a sporting goods/running store open past 5:00pm.  So off to Walmart they went.  Becky returned with some Danskin Capris one size too big that she swore fit her.  She thoroughly entertained us for the next half hour modeling all versions of her race day apparel. Underwear, no underwear, underwear over the pants etc…..Just when we thought her apparell could not get any worse she pulled out her “toss sweater” she was going to wear to stay warm pre-race.  Dear God! A time machine must have been involved!

Becky’s time machine

Becky clearly took a trip to the late 80’s early 90’s to resurrect this golden beauty. We rolled in laughter at the fact she still had this sweater and worse yet she allowed it to take up space in her luggage. Our laughter just fueled her love affair with the sweater….so Becky being the REBEL that she is wore it pre- race then CHECKED IT!  Please someone call Stacy and Clinton we need an intervention!  No time for that we had a race to run!

Classic! Becky’s Time Machine Sweater and her TUB of vaseline. What is wrong with Body Glide? xoxo

We took the bus to the starting line and were able to hang out in a garage with heaters and chairs.  This was luxury (minus the porta potties!)  It was cold outside, perfect running weather.  We were excited and ready!  The course was beautiful!  It was flat with two hills, which I would argue don’t even qualify as hills.  I would call them slight inclines.  The rural route was beautiful, peaceful and generally serine with impressive crowd support for such a small regional marathon.  I enjoyed almost every mile…some more than others.  I had told myself early on that finishing was my objective.  I traveled too far to be bummed out by missing a time goal.  I was running for the shear enjoyment of it!  Stress free with a little pain here and there.

At mile 26 the run down Market Street to the finish was amazing.  It was a straight .2 shot to the finish.  The trees lining the street were beautiful…almost as beautiful as the finish line!  Whoo Hoo Marathon #9 done and it was AWESOME!  Check out the bling!

By far the coolest most unique finishers medal I have ever received. Made locally in Corning.

The spread of food and drink was amazing chocolate milk, soda, hot chocolate, fruit, bagels, cookies, hot soup, etc. They even had a pizza oven on the street pulling out HOT Pizza!  I had to take a picture cause I figured nobody would believe it!  Not even the Disney Marathon Weekend can top this spread!

We got our grub on then headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up….we had wineries to visit and the clock was ticking!

Beckys “golden beauty” is OLDER than the young ladies who took our picture.

We cleaned up fast and headed to some local winerys. 1st stop Castel Grisch, Watkins Glen, NY.  We were looking super sassy in our Its all Good We Ran Today Tees from AnotherMotherRunner.com !

Castle Grisch

Lakewood Vineyards

2nd stop was Lakewood Vineyards.  Tammy took awesome care of us!  We tasted some fabulous wine (purchases were made) and  ate some chesse curds (1st for me).  Tammy sent us across the lake to  local eatery The Stonecat Cafe.  Our meal, all supplied locally, was amazing! If you are in the area its a don’t miss!  We headed back to our hotel where we ate our Harvest Wine Cake and toasted to a job well done! 1 Boston Qualifier, 1 recent Personal Best, 1 Post Baby Marathon, and 1 running for the sheer joy of it!

We wrapped up our weekend with quiche and coffee at Poppletons Pastries (YUMMY).  Jimmy spotted as he rode by on his bike and and came in to say hello!

We  had some time to kill before our flight so we headed down the street to Vitix Hot Glass Studio.   They were busy working on new pieces.  I finally, got my glass pumpkin!  Everywhere we went in Corning were these beautiful glass pumpkins. I had tons of fragile stuff in my suit case already (medal, wine glass) what was another breakable item.

Unfortunately our weekend had to come to and end.  We did not want to leave.  There was so much to do and see but not enough time.  Our families and job were waiting for us back in NC!

The Wineglass Marathon is a topnotch event! Add it to your running bucket list….I promise it will not disappoint!

“Space Goats” Strike Again….Adventures along the Blue Ridge Relay 2012

Last weekend I participated in my first running relay!  What an adventure living in a van for 37 hours with 5 fellow runners.  The Blue Ridge Relay relay starts in Grayson Highlands State Park,VA (near the base of Mount Rogers- VA hightest peak) and ends 212 miles later in  Asheville, NC! (the mileage varies year to year due to course adjustments)

I joined the 12 persons Designated Drinkers Team, an established relay team who have run the BRR year after year.  Last year, The Legend of the Space Goat was formed. The history of the Space Goat is cloudy at best…the only thing we know for sure is the name morphed out of the description of two of the hardest running legs that are famously deemed “Mountain Goat Hard“.    In 2012 we kept the legend alive with our “alter ego” The Space Goats.  Like Superman, the Space Goats appear out of nowhere perform good deeds, BAAAA, and usually leave without a trace.  Most never knew they encountered The Space Goats….while others only  knew by the “Space Goat Tag” on their van.

Meet the Space Goats of Van 2

Here is my pictorial recap of an awesome running adventure

Sara (van 1) kicked off the relay for us  at 10am Friday at Grayson Highlands State Park  in VA.  Sara also earned accolades for assisting  fellow space goats with various aliments. Melinda’s GI stress and Dave’s two dog bite attack. Thanks Sara for keeping Melinda and Dave in the mix. (update…the wonderful BRR Directors were able to locate the dogs and confirm they were current on their rabies shots.  No Rabies shots for Dave!)

Sara kick’in off the 1st leg for Designated Drinkers!

As Van 1 ran the first 6 legs of our relay we (Van 2) headed to exchange area 6 Bald Mountain Baptist Church, West Jefferson , NC.  On the way TheSpace Goats were called to action when fellow runners of  TEAM 621 Ninga were in need.  The Ninga’s van was stuck in the culvert along a winding mountain dirt road.  While our goat strength was not enough to free the van, luckily they were assisted by a very kind local resident ( ”  people of the woods encounter 1″) who attempted to pull them out.  Unfortunately, they had to go to plan C and call a tow truck. The Space Goats, transported Team 621 Ninga’s next two runners to the  next exchange.  Apparently, this was most helpful since Team 621 Ninga came in 9th out of 141 teams!  Way to go Ninga’s.

SAVED! 2 runners from TEAM 621 Ninga- Columbia, SC being transported Space Goat style. I am sure they will never forget….

11:00am with one save under our belt and time to kill we  took the opportunity to find some food. Our Male van mates ensured we never missed an eating opportunity, THANKS.  We enjoyed some really yummy pizza in Jefferson, NC at Pizza Plus the home of .30 cent Pizza! Not only was the pizza good but we were thoroughly entertained by “People of the woods encounter 2”  Tommy and Chelsea.  They were the nicest, simplest people who were very excited to share the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains with a bunch of  running city slickers!  Tommy talked our ears off.  We found a fast friend in Tommy and a “moonshine” hook-up.  While we passed on the moonshine, we were sure glad to have Tommy on our side.

John Loaf”in with Tommy & Chelsea

Pizza Plus, in true Space Goat fashion, offered a much needed electrical outlet, for our very own lactating BAD ASS MOTHER RUNNER  Melissa “MAAA MAAA Goat”.  Deamed Bad Ass for just signing up to live in a van, run while lactating, a sheer 7 months after giving birth to her second child.  Simply Amazing!  Did I mention she forgot her battery pack for her breast-pump and remained completely calm (hence the need for the electrical outlet). Luckily, a fellow space goat from the Ultra Team- Where the Hell is Van 2, continuing the Space Goat saves theme,  just happened to have an extra ac/dc adapter so now she could pump while we rolled down the road.  No pumping and dumping here!  She was able to store the ‘liquid gold” in our cooler.  Had Lance Armstrong been with us I am sure he might have partook (cheap shot…but I hear he ate breast milk ice cream as part of his performance enhancing rituals)  Melissa was my 1st recruit to the Another Mother Run club!

Maaa Maaaa Goat happily models her breast pump!

When we finally arrived at exchange area 6, with hours to kill, we tagged a few vans,

got tagged, “doubled it down”,  and played a mind expanding time killer game we learned from Laura “Most Talkative Goat” called F*#k, Save, Kill. (did I mention we were in a parking lot of a Baptist Church)

In deep thought…Laura introduces us to our “mind expanding” game

Laura claims its a well know bar game, but none of us had heard of it.  It was very entertaining and we certainly entertained the teams around us.

Finally it was time for Van 2 to Run!  Mark Cox, our amazing Team Captain, ran it in

Mark Cox..passing the band to Van 2

and passed along the  BRR arm band to Van 2 runner # 7 Melissa “Maaaa Maaaa Goat”.

The early afternoon brought temperatures in the 80’s along with the famous humidity of NC.  While temps in the 80’s were not ideal we were fortunate it was not as hot as it had been the week prior with temps in the 90’s.  The Space Goats were prepared with lots of cold water, gatoraide, Nuun tablets, Rusty’s stash, and ice cold disposable towels. In true Space Goat fashion we shared our water and  towels with fellow runners struggling along the course.  All were appreciative and we are confident we got one struggling girl, in tears, safely to the next exchange.

“MAAA MAA Goat” rocked her run!

I am pretty sure I looked like MAAA MAAAA goat 7 months after I gave birth (My Space Goat Dream)

Melissa despite the heat had a great run and passed off the BRR band to  runner #8 Laura “Most Talkative Goat”.  Laura in an Olympic frame of mind smoked her run and blamed her faster than planned pace on “getting caught up in the Gold or Silver moment”

Laura our Talking and Caring Space Goat!

Humble “Quiet Killer Goat” kicked major ass on the road!

Next up was runner #9! Melinda “Quiet Killer Goat”  survived 37 hours with her VERY obnoxious and loud van mates, fought off stomach issues, and quietly slayed all of her runs.  One of which was Mountain Goat Hard! She was our secret weapon…quiet yet deadly.  She even claimed a kill (no animals were harmed) on her last leg and adorned a feather as her prize!  Melinda, Bad Ass Mother Runner, and  my second recruit to the Another Mother Runner Club!

“Quiet Killer Goats” prize from her run

Testosterone time, as runner #10 John “Life Saving Goat” finally hit the street.  We are so proud of our fellow Space Goat John who assisted a fellow runner who collapsed from heat related issues a mile from the next exchange.  John  quickly came to his aid, flagged down passerby for help ( who happened to have ice in their car), iced his wrist, neck and elevated his feet.  John stayed with the unresponsive runner until medical assistance arrived.  John you are amazing!  We are so proud of you!  “Space Goats Save Lives”

Eagle Scout and “Life Saving Space Goat”

Patiently waiting at exchange 11, we got word from a fellow runner that John was delayed due to assisting a runner. Next up was  Runner #11 (me) Jenn “2nd Most Talkative Goat”.

6.2 miles, Hard, but Beautiful!

I was setting off for the first official leg on the beautiful, historic Blue Ridge Parkway.  Fortunately for me, temperatures dropped rapidly and cooled off nicely….I was set up for an awesome run!

Holy Hills& Mountains, I did it! with Laura and Melinda upon my finish

Runner #11, Rusty “Beer Goat” , whose favorite carbs come from a can, was fired up and  donned in his run kilt ready for action!  Not only do Space Goats save lives but we ” never sacrifice fashion”

“Beer Goat” always planning his liquid carb loading “I don’t run for another 7-8 hours”

Rusty finished strong  and transitioned us into and extended break where we gassed up the van and grabbed some FOOD.  Next on the agenda was SLEEP!  I am unsure if anyone slept but we did get 2 hours of REST at Newland, NC Post Office exchange.  1:00 am arrived faster than we desired but the Space Goats were ready for our night runs!

Jenn and Melissa!

John and Laura with her famous $6 headlamp. We are unsure if we could really call it a headlamp.

2:00am ish illuminated Space Goats Rusty and Melinda

Our night runs were peaceful and quiet. Continuing the supportive nature of being a Space Goat we voluntarily accompanied our night runners so nobody had to run alone.  “MAA MAA goat” ran 3 accompanying night legs displaying true Space Goat Spirt and badassness (ok it is not a word but you get it).   Our goat calls “BAAAAAAAAA” were most helpful at night to identify our runners approaching exchange zones.  Near dawn John “Life Saving Goat” had a not so pleasant “people of the woods encounter 3”.  This poor resident was not very happy with the noise the relay participants that had kept her up during the night.  John, a gracious southern gentleman, apologized on behalf of the participants of the   Blue Ridge Relay.  Courteous Space Goats!

7:00am ish- Night legs done we headed to the final team exhange zone at a Baptist

FOOD

Church in  Barnardsville, NC.  These church members rolled out the red carpet and welcomed runners with a hot pancake breakfast, real bathrooms, tent for sleeping, or better yet  a padded church pew for sleeping.  These people were simply amazing and hospitable!  THANK YOU!  We fueled up, and got some rest.  Some got sleep, I got 2 hrs of REST. Most Space Goats chose the padded church pew, one lone goat, skipped the food and went straight to the tent for sleep. She  had the tent all to herself.  Clearly, the quietest she had been in 24 hrs.

Laura “Most Talkative Goat” in her private sleeping quarters

Space Goats, Rested, fueled, ready to run it home to Asheville!

Saturday morning brought drizzle, sporadic down pours, and cooler temps.  Awesome running weather.  Van 1, had endured much excitement during the night assisting the Ultra Team- Where the Hell is Van 2? with locked keys in their van, and Dave’s dog attack.  Two dogs attacked and bite Dave.  Fueled with Space Goat awesomeness…..he outran them.  Way to go Dave!  Feeling giddy, our van mates pranked incoming runner and Team Captain, Mark Cox, by lifting the hood of the van faking a breakdown.  If only I had captured, Marks expression as he ran by. 🙂

Van 2 was off, as Melissa ran the hardest leg of all a Mountain Goat hard 6.5 mile climb!  Delirious The Space Goats cheered and entertained all runners on the mountain goat leg.  We were thrilled to have fellow Ultra Team runner Hazel to cheer!  Things got a little crazy as we entertained!  We are sure that we made a difference for all the runners out there.  We certainly had fun doing it. Scenes from Mountain Goat leg….

Beautiful running man!

hmmmm…strip tease?

Sleep deprivation causes odd behavior or was this a modeling post for Athleta Sportswear

The finish of Mountain Goat

Melissa “MAA MAA Goat” slayed her run and passed 4 runners!  Amazing! Way to go to MAA MAAA!  Next we sent Laura “Most Talkative Goat” off on her dream run…9 miles down hill where she maintained a 7:30 pace!  Melinda “Quite Killer Goat” ran strong on the 2nd Mountain Goat leg and finished strong with a super huge smile of accomplishment and a prize!

Thrilled to be DONE!

John was off and endured torrential rain and cold temps.  Luckily it was his shortest run of the relay and he was able to burn it out!

Holy Hill……

I was off for my last leg once again on the Blue Ridge Parkway, only 4.2 miles but the first 2 were all uphill! I endured, with the finsh line on my mind and burned it out and passed the BRR band to Rusty for the 6.6 mile Glory leg!

We quickly made out way to the finish line to greet Rusty!  Rusty brought us in strong in the pouring rain and cold!  Designated Drinkers a.k.a Space Goats  finished  Saturday 5:56pm with the official time of 31hours and 56 minutes! Average pace per mile 9:05, 95th of 141 teams!

Running in the Glory Leg with Rusty! Where are our fellow Designated Drinkers Team mates…..Mellow Mushroom bar?

While we did not capture an official title, we are ALL WINNERS for SURVIVING!

Space Goats (minus Melinda) at the finish. Poor Melinda was seeking sanity was searching for her family!

Our Men and family welcomed us at the Finish!

My 1st Relay experience was over the top! As my 9 year old would say “Epic”.  I had a blast!  My team was awesome and most importantly my van mates made the experience memorable and highly entertaining!  I gained 4 new nutty running  friends! ( I knew Laura and Rusty prior to our adventure)

While the hours were long, the miles hard, the comradery shared among fellow runners was priceless!  Thanks to all for an amazing relay!

The Asheville night life was not spared from the Legend of the Space Goat. Great job MAA MAA!

Now  as Tommy would say……time for some much deserved “loaf’in” BAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

My runs were dedicated to a dear friend Graham Edward Beacham, whom was called home after a tragic car accident Wednesday prior to the relay. An avid outdoors man, I know Graham would  appreciate the beautiful scenery and quiet of the mountains just as I did.  I cannot think of a better way to reflect and pay respects.  I know I made him proud!  Love and miss you dear friend!

Second Wind Toast for Graham and a job well done!

Rest In Peace Dear Friend……

10 Running-Related Personal Questions « another mother runner

I am always up for a challenge so naturally when I got “tagged” by my “fav” ladies at AnotherMotherRunner.com to respond to  10 Running-Related Personal Questions « another mother runner.  It is a no brainer!

So here is goes….join in the fun and share your running response! Tag another running blogger in your post:) This is much funner than forward your favorite recipe and you will receive 10 etc.

1. Best run ever: My first 26.2.  It has nothing to do with my finishing time and all to do with how much I enjoyed the run.  I enjoyed every mile, some more than others.  Around mile 20 I told myself ” This is fun, I cannot wait to do another.”  Its a good thing it was  a positive experience since I had signed up for my second marathon prior to completing my first.  Adding to the awesomeness, my immediate family was there to support my efforts!  It was amazing! OBX,(Outer banks Marathon, NC)

2. Three words that describe my running: calming, freeing, NEEDED

3. My go-to running outfit is: Any Athleta run skirt with Under Armour compression shorts ( extra chub rub protection) Any shirt will do…my drawers are overflowing with race tech tees.  I have to have my Enell sports jacket..I mean bra a.k.a The Terminator.  Its not pretty but it contains “the girls.”

4. Quirky habit while running: I will not under any circumstances press stop on my Garmin unless I am at the target number I set out to run.  i.e. 10 mile run and I am back to my car at 9.88 miles……guess what…….laps around the parking lot until the garmin registers 10:00 miles.

5. Morning, midday, evening: Always the morning!

6. I won’t run outside when it’s: I live in NC where it is really hot and humid…so 78-80 degrees before the sun is up sends me to the dreadmill everytime.

7. Worst injury—and how I got over it: IT Band issues. ICE, ICE, Baby! Foam roller.

8. I felt most like a badass mother runner when: Oh this is easy!  My Accidental Barefoot debut! It earned me a feature on Another Mother Runner.com…What would a mother runner do.

9. Next race is: Wine Glass Marathon with my BRF’s Rebecca, Becky, and Laura!

10. Potential running goal for 2013: Slow down the quantity. 5 marathons in 2012…INSANITY!  Registered for  Big Sur and cannot wait.

Join in the fun!  Respond via your blog and tag a fellow blogger.  Kristen, Jill, Robin, Erin! I met these awesome ladies face to face in January at the WDW Marathon after we shared many tweets about the upcoming weekend.  Also check out fellow Run Disney lover Melinda.