- ALL THE THINGS. I am not one to buy a lot of crap at the race expo because I believe it’s bad luck. Worse luck than wearing the race shirt during the race. What if you don’t finish? It’s a lot of pressure. But things got a little crazy on Friday and I found myself at the register with a t-shirt, pint glass, and bottle opener. I feel like that’s conservative, no?
Because I felt it was necessary to have a Grandma’s Marathon-related item to wear every single day of the week, Saturday night at the Rock the Big Top party I purchased another hoodie. Sure, maybe I can only wear it 4 days a year where I live on the surface of the sun in Texas, but whatever.
- That 5k. In addition to not buying crap, I also don’t believe in shakeout runs prior to a marathon. As in, I’ve never done one. Ever. Registering for the Great Grandma’s Challenge meant we were in for a 5k at 6:00pm at Friday night.
Our game plan was to take it suuuuuper slow and just have fun. While this was a great plan, I’m pretty sure everyone in our general vicinity HATED us as we casually threw down a few miles and chatted/laughed the entire way. Our finish line video was comical. Casually strolling through 3.1 miles is not something most people do twelve hours before a marathon. But when you’ve lost your mind as a runner, it’s completely normal.
- Our hotel. The only reason I’m telling you about this is because we’ve already secured our spot for 2018. Call me selfish, but that’s fine. The Hampton Inn Duluth was less than a ten minute walk from the shuttle to the start and even closer to the finish. Parking was free. The views were incredible. But my favorite part? Coffee all day, every day. And free breakfast served at 4am on race morning. Even though that morning I wasn’t super hungry, it was great to know I had options only a few steps from our room. I’ll never forget when the hotel we stayed at for Marine Corps said they’d have coffee out at 5am and there was none to be found. I will starve before a race, but no coffee? Deal breaker.
- Sunday was an excellent day. We slept in a bit and took our time before heading back to Minneapolis. Then we hit up Target Field for the Twins/Indians game at 1pm, followed by an afternoon of brewery hopping which may or may not have went late into the evening. Didn’t hate it.
- Post-Race Recovery. Monday the DOMS set in and my right leg was a little janky, causing me to drag it behind like a peg leg. Thankfully that subsided on Tuesday but Monday was pretty rough. We had a delightful patio lunch at Psycho Suzi’s where we had a couple beers and a lot of cheese curds + pizza. This meal may have been my favorite of the entire weekend. Immediately following this, we proceeded to sit real freaking hard on the couch and put a sizable dent into season 9 of Friends. Maybe I was on vacation and should have been exploring, but this was exactly what I needed after the busy weekend we had.
I didn’t grow up an athlete. Running was a sport I took up in 2010 for a one-and-done half marathon. At the seven year mark, I’ve now run four marathons, twenty-four half marathons, and more 5ks + 10ks than I can count on both hands. This past weekend I finished my fourth marathon with a 40-minute PR, and while it wasn’t the time I was hoping for, Grandma’s Marathon is hands-down my favorite race to date.
I’ve always struggled with eating breakfast in the morning before a race. I’m generally not hungry in the morning ever, so that coupled with minor race nerves usually results in me trying to eat something I have zero interest in. This has been completely fine for half marathons as of late, but I worried a couple bites of eggs and potatoes just weren’t going to cut it on Saturday.
Lora and I left our hotel in Canal Park just before 6am to catch the bus to the starting line in Two Harbors. We were both a little concerned with how calm we felt and the fact it didn’t feel like we were about to run 26.2 miles, but figured we should probably run (quite literally) with it. We arrived at the start around 7am leaving us with 45 minutes to kill. We immediately hopped in line for the portapotties which were super long but didn’t matter because, 45 minutes.
My main (C) goal for this race was to PR. It wouldn’t be hard, considering I was in much better shape than I was for my previous three, but the A goal was 4:45 and B goal was 4:59. The weather was not ideal, with temps creeping into the seventies and humidity at 95% from the minute we woke up. It was going to be a tough day, but these are variables you cannot control so you have to make the decision to either manage the conditions or let them ruin you. Running is a lot more mental than any of us care to admit.
Miles 1 – 8
10:38, 10:50, 10:57, 10:48, 10:42, 12:21, 10:55, 11:23
I wanted to start out slow, but thoughts of banking time filled my mind. I knew once the sun came out it was going to be a game changer. Unsurprisingly, the first mile was my fastest of the entire race but was still in the realm of where I wanted to be. I felt pretty solid through mile 8, taking my first Gu at the hour mark and a salt pill shortly after.
Miles 9 – 16
12:37, 10:38, 12:29, 11:42, 14:34, 13:12, 16:17, 11:31
Grandma’s will go down as the most sporadic splits in my racing history. At Mile 13, my body decided it was not interested in handling Gu. Apparently the sugar and my stomach were not getting along. Best news EVER with 13 miles to go and a mediocre breakfast under my belt. I took bathroom breaks at miles 13 and 15, and immediately felt better. Runners around me though? They were not doing so well. Everyone was walking and I watched so many struggle with cramps and nausea, some eventually dropping out. I could barely stomach my second Gu, but relied on salt pills (six total) through the rest of the race.
Miles 17 – 26.2
13:39, 12:30, 11:38, 14:13, 13:12, 15:07, 14:27, 12:14, 11:40, 11:27
These splits still make me laugh. I knew it was warm so I tried to be smart by walking when I needed to based on current heart rate and keeping the pace around 9:30/10:00 while running between breaks. My stomach was still a bit uneasy but it was manageable. I ate an orange at one point because I thought it was a good idea to consume some calories, but my stomach said NOPE. Legs still felt great, which is a complete 180 from every other marathon I’ve run. They didn’t need the walk breaks, but the last thing I wanted was to end up in a med tent because I pushed too hard.
Mile 22 is where Lemon Drop lives. Under normal circumstances, it’s a hill you’ll probably cruise up and then crush the downhill on the other side. But at mile 22 of a marathon, it’s the goddamn devil. The downhill afterwards still felt amazing and I passed a ton of a people.
We had arrived in downtown Duluth and the spectators were out in full force. It’s exactly what we needed at the end of the race. I was STARVING at this point which was the worst, but there was nothing I could do about it. Just before mile 25, I started to feel the rain and within seconds it was a torrential downpour. My sunglasses were covered in large raindrops but taking them off wasn’t an option. I figured the faster I finished, the faster I’d be out of the rain. So I kept the legs moving.
Official Finish :: 5:26:04
Of course disappointment sets in when we set out with a lofty goal and don’t achieve it, but all things considered I’m incredibly happy with my finish time. I ran a smart race for once and my legs appreciate it. Two days after the race I was almost completely back to normal and could probably even run today (but won’t).
I always thought I’d be someone who needed a large marathon, with the camaraderie of fellow runners around me and spectators three rows deep. While Grandma’s doesn’t have the smallest field (roughly 9,000 full marathoners), crowd support through mile 20 was pretty sparse. HOWEVER! Those who made their way out to cheer along Highway 61? Super enthusiastic. Many cities loathe races shutting down their roads, but from Twin Harbors to Duluth, residents appeared to be overjoyed to support the insane runners who chose to run 26.2 miles for fun on a Saturday morning in June.
The course was gorgeous! I was worried running almost 19 miles along Lake Superior was going to be incredibly boring. It actually was very peaceful and the slight breeze coming off the lake was perfect. The left side of the course was a little more shaded, but it also made running the tangents pretty difficult. You have to pick your battle there. I loved finishing the end of the race in downtown Duluth, although could have done without the 4 turns in mile 25.
Lora and I ran the Great Grandma’s Challenge, which is a 5k on Friday night and the full marathon on Saturday morning. While this may seem delusional to 97% of the population, I LOVED it. We received a finisher’s shirt + medal for both the 5k + marathon, a hoodie for completing the challenge, a pair of Grandma’s Marathon socks, and a 1/4 zip tech shirt for registering early. From the start through mile 20, there were aid stations every 2 miles with water, Powerade, ice, and sponges soaked in cold water. After mile 20 the stations switched to every mile. I’ve never run a race with an ice station but good lord, I think dumping a cup of ice into my sports bra every couple miles saved me. I really wish warmer races (ahem, Houston) would do something similar because it would make all the difference. I don’t know how they kept it from melting, but the fact I could still grab it at mile 24 made me unbelievably grateful.
It’s really hard for me to fault Grandma’s Marathon for anything. The execution of everything was flawless from the moment we arrived at the expo on Friday afternoon to when we left the post-race Rock the Big Top party Saturday night. Honestly, I cannot wait to come back in 2018. Oh and yes, that’s happening – we already booked our hotel room.
Over the past few months, I’ve had some of the highest mileage weeks since starting running seven years ago. My primary focus was to build a solid base for Grandma’s Marathon in June and there wasn’t a single speed or tempo workout on the plan. Despite not working on pace I was still determined to make a PR (<2:13) happen in New Jersey. My goals were:
The plan was to see my family at the start, mile 3 or 4, mile 10, and the finish. We arrived at Monmouth Park by 7 and the race kicked off at 7:30 with Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” blaring from the corral speakers.
Miles 1 – 4 (9:37, 9:34, 9:47, 9:35)
For the past two weeks I had been trying to come up with a pace plan but aside from ‘run 10s for miles 1-4’ the rest was basically ‘just don’t fly and die’. My legs wanted to run 9:05/9:10 and every time I saw that on my watch, I slowed down to a 10. The result was four miles NOT at a 10min pace. My bad. Road closures (& my faster pace) were giving my family some difficulty, so they headed to a later mile to wait for me.
Miles 5 – 9 (9:41, 9:46, 9:44, 9:46, 9:41)
My sister texted to let me know they were at roughly mile 9 so I put my head down and counted down the miles until I would see those familiar faces. Mile 8 is where things have been unraveling in previous halves so I was conscious of this and didn’t let myself fall apart / give up on the possibility of a PR.
Miles 10 – 13.1 (10:11, 9:49, 9:41, 9:31)
This happens in EVERY.DAMN.RACE so I’m not even surprised, but getting a salt pill out of my FlipBelt was impossible while running. I knew I needed it so I forced myself to slow to a walk during mile 10 and sadly clocked my ONLY 10+ minute split of the entire race. So sad, could have been some beautiful splits. My legs were starting to feel the mileage at this point but with only a 5k to go, it was not the time to slow down. I saw my parents just before the finish which gave me the final boost I needed.
Official Finish Time – 2:08
My splits were oddly consistent, with the last mile being the fastest. Not sure how I executed this (honestly, still in shock) but I’m so incredibly happy with that five-minute PR.
This race is not my favorite.
Honestly, it’s not even a medium-like. It’s crowded as hell, hilly, it’s downright miserable. I was 99.9% sure I’d be avoiding this year until a strange turn of events fell in my favor and on Sunday morning found myself pinning a bib to my shirt.
It was probably a poor choice to “race” a 10k only one week out from a half marathon I have been training to PR at, but if you’ve been reading here for even six months – you know there’s zero self control when it comes to PR attempts. I wanted to use this 10k as a way to practice my pacing strategy for next weekend and I’m here to tell you: that was a massive fail.
The Cap 10k includes a few hills in the first three miles which can pretty much destroy you if not prepared. I was ready; I had run this course countless times. My goal was to run the first three miles at 10:00/mi and then drop the pace in the back half.
Miles 1 – 3 (9:25, 9:40, 9:58)
My grand plan for 10s was ruined by fresh legs and fast competitors around me. I felt good and as if I wasn’t “pushing” so continued to coast through each mile. And every time my Garmin beeped I cursed myself. I knew this was too fast and today wasn’t about running a PR (it was about PACING) but couldn’t help myself.
Miles 4 – 6.2 (9:05, 8:41, 9:14)
Because I’m no stranger to this course from hell, I knew after we were done on Enfield the hard work was behind us. So I started to drop the pace a bit. Mile 4 included a walk break to catch my breath from hill climbing. Don’t judge. Mile 5? Well Mile 5 stemmed from a conversation with a close friend earlier in the week where she told me, in so many words, I was being too safe in my running. I had more speed in me than I gave myself credit for. So when my Garmin clicked over to 5, I let my legs fly – determined to see what I truly could throw down. Maybe this was too early for such an experiment but I went hard, and ran the fastest mile I’ve ever had in any race.
And then I paid for it in Mile 6. I struggled to hold onto 9:25 for most of the stretch on Cesar Chavez and the S 1st bridge. I. Was. DYING. But desperately held on because at this point I knew another PR was in reach and I wasn’t about to let that slip through my fingers.
Official Finish Time: 58:31
I said this in my Boneshaker recap and still without a doubt believe have a faster 10k time in me on a more favorable course. Eventually I’d like to test out this theory but it’s not going to be on a course in Austin anytime soon.
I’ve lost count of exactly how many relays I’ve run (6? 7?) but my favorite one is hands down the Texas Independence Relay. It begins in Gonzales where the Texas Revolution took place and ends at the San Jacinto Monument in Houston where Texas Independence was won. While most other relays have 36 legs, TIR has 40. Each team is made up of twelve runners, 8 of which run 3 legs and 4 who tackle 4 legs.
Ladies and gentleman, I present you with the certifiably insane members of Blood, Sweat & Beers:
We packed up the vans Friday night and left Austin around 5pm. We stopped in Moulton for dinner at Kloesel’s Steakhouse, hit up the Texas Independence Party and then headed to our hotel for a final night of sleep before the craziness would begin.
Leg 4 – 5.38 miles
Before the first leg of every prior relay, my anxiety was always an all-time high. I have no idea why this happened but it was different this weekend. I was READY to run my ass off.
The 1pm handoff made for an extremely sunny run. It was almost entirely on dirt roads with rolling hills that just wouldn’t quit and annoying gravel which made you wonder at what point you’d twist an ankle.
After my first leg, I knew my next one wouldn’t be for awhile since it was Leg 24. Or so I thought. Steph quickly informed me that my next leg was actually 15. My bad.
Leg 15 – 3.7 miles
This leg was pretty forgettable. It was 8:30pm, the sun finally had gone down and we were in the middle of BFE Texas. My Garmin even forgot about the run; when I finished it said I ran 0.01 miles. Nailed it.
Leg 24 – 4.75 miles
By far my FAVORITE (and fastest!) leg. It was a straight shot from Simonton to Fulshear so I was able to zone out and just run. It’s always a little creepy running in the middle of the night with only red blinky lights marking other runners in the distance. But night legs will always be my favorite! How my third leg was my fastest – I will never know. But I’m going to assume it had something to do with the Whataburger I had at 1am.
Leg 39 – 4.66 miles
I went into the weekend with only three legs, but after finishing my third I volunteered to pick up an additional one from anyone feeling not up to running their last leg. This seemed like a great idea at 4am, but once the sun came up I began second-guessing this decision. I think this photo displays exactly how pleased I was to be running on the surface of the sun that afternoon:
The only reason I survived this leg was because my badass vanmates stopped frequently to give me water to drink and dump on my head. It was SO hot, and the fact I was already so sunburned didn’t help my body temperature. Thankfully the last two miles had a killer breeze so that made me happy. Well, as happy as I could be coming up on almost 20 miles for the weekend.
And that’s a wrap on TIR 2017!
Relays are a different kind of beast. They test your endurance, your patience, and your ability to run (literally) on little to no sleep. You never want to stop pushing harder because this race isn’t about you – it’s about your team. Day 2 is a sufferfest (runners love pain, apparently) but everyone sucks it up and powers through. The encouragement and support you get from your teammates (and even other teams) is unrivaled. I always come out of relays incredibly inspired and this weekend was no different. Our team was made up of badass rockstar runners and I’m so glad they let me be a part of it. And also let me drink their beer 🙂
Our team captain Tony and Steph took care of every detail imaginable (and some we may never have thought of). As an extremely Type A person and one who usually takes control during relays, it was amazing to know we had absolutely nothing to worry about. I know how much work and planning goes into races of this magnitude – it’s no joke. So THANK YOU to Stony (celeb nickname FTW!) for making sure we were so well taken care of and set up for success during TIR!
And an immeasurable amount of gratitude goes out to Kalynn’s mom, Ginnie, for being the best race sherpa in all the land. She followed us around basically the entire weekend, snapping amazing photos (90% of the ones above), delivering Whataburger in the middle of the night, going on a much-needed beer run, and making Starbucks + kolaches magically appear Sunday morning when we were all in desperate need of a pick-me-up. She is pretty much our hero.
Hope to see everyone in 2018!
Back when switching the name of my blog from Melissa Runs to So These Are My Thirties, I fully intended on writing more about real life. And I did for awhile, but once running reappeared as a priority in my life the content started to shift back in that direction. Can’t necessarily say I’m mad about it but fully intend to get back to those real life posts soon.
But for now? Let’s talk training.
Oh, training. Something I haven’t done in many, many years. The last time I seriously followed a training plan was for my first marathon in 2011. Almost six freakin’ years ago. It’s honestly amazing I’ve completed as many races in that span of time with next to zero training. The last marathon I ran was in Houston in January 2015 and for some reason never wrote a recap. My longest training “run” was 18 miles and despite the fact I “PR’ed” – it’s still not what I’m capable of.
Training for Grandma’s Marathon officially kicks off next Monday and I’ve chosen a [tweaked version] Pfitzinger plan. This is somewhat aggressive given what I’m used to but if I want to hit my goals, things need to get aggressive.
I alter this spreadsheet weekly depending on when I can make it to spin and also how my legs are feeling overall. I’m not registered for either the Austin 10/20 (zero desire to run this race) or the Cap 10K (already nailed my 10k PR + this particular course is SO ridiculously crowded), so I may end up scratching one or both races. Not really worried about it.
I’ll extend this plan out at some point considering the Golden Ultra is less than 200 days away and also due to the fact I registered for a second marathon in a moment of insanity. What I’m currently really excited about is the Texas Independence Relay next weekend. This is the first relay I’ve gone into with any semblance of serious training and I’m pumped to run hard for my badass teammates.
Let the training begin!
We can add REI to the ever growing list of places I cannot go unchaperoned. Yesterday at lunch I headed there to pick up a replacement headlamp (haven’t seen my current one since Ragnar Austin + with a relay coming up in two weeks, necessary purchase) and well… it was a disaster. While wandering around looking for the headlamp section, I picked a up: a new HydroFlask, a pair of polarized sunglasses small enough to wear with a hat, and a TP Massage Ball. Goddamnit.
It happened again. While I’m still in my full-blown love affair with running, I decided it would likely be in my best interest to commit to second marathon to stay motivated throughout the rest of the year. So yesterday I registered for marathon number 5: Indy Monumental. The most terrifying part was absolutely entering 4:10 as my projected finish time. I’m still not 100% convinced this time is attainable but someone seems to think it may not even be aggressive enough. She is crazy, but I will still be her friend. And with that, I will be in training mode pretty much for the rest of year. YIKES.
I’m on a quest for the perfect pair of bluetooth headphones. I used to run with an iPod Shuffle and a carefully curated playlist full of purchased songs. Now that Spotify Premium is a staple in my life, I’ve become even more obsessed with music and building epic playlists. The downside to this is having to run with phone which is much larger than the tiny 1″ x 1″ iPod. This is a FWP to discuss another day. Anyway, there are way too many options out there for BT headphones and I’m not interested in spending $100 on a pair that may not survive a hot and humid summer in Texas. Yurbuds are my current go-to for wired headphones but the BT ones don’t have the best reviews. The first pair I bought are these -we’ll see how they do. Recommendations at welcome! Give ’em to me.
The running shoe saga continues! For the past several years I’ve been running happily in Saucony Guide (long runs) + Saucony Mirage (almost everything else). After Marine Corps Marathon, I picked up the Guide 9 and ran Rock n Roll Las Vegas in them. The updates they made since the 8 were incredibly underwhelming and felt completely different. I ended up sending them back to Running Warehouse (best return policy, behind Nordstrom of course). The 10 has since come out and they look very similar to the 9s, so obviously I’m not excited about them. Thankfully my 8s still have 100ish miles left on them but after that I’ll be SOL. Now I’m on a hunt for a long-distance shoe with an 8mm drop or less, which is proving to be harder than expected. As for the Mirage, Saucony decided to discontinue the shoe entirely. MAJOR SADNESS. It doesn’t look like they plan on replacing them with a comparable model, so again – SOL. I ordered a pair on Amazon at a deep discount and also picked up a pair of Kinvaras which will *hopefully* end up working out. But not holding my breath.
I’ve embraced hermit life. With the return of training, I’ve also made the return to becoming one with my couch and Netflix. Currently? Rewatching Grey’s Anatomy. I forgot about so many things in this show so a lot of seems new. I’m halfway through season 8 (please don’t ask how long this took) and up next will likely be Private Practice. By the time I wrap that up, House of Cards and Bloodlines should be available for streaming. Social life? Who needs that?
As is the case with a majority of my PRs, the 10k one has been collecting dust for six years. I can run a 5k any given weekend of the year but for some reason races of this distance are few and far between. So on Saturday I made the hour drive out to Spicewood to run some rolling hills around Lake Travis. Not entirely sure why I willingly keep running all of these hilly races but whatever, it is what it is.
This was the inaugural year for the Pace Bend 10k and it drew roughly 100 runners. Small crowd for sure but likely due to the fact it’s pretty far from Austin city limits. There was plenty of parking and from start to finish everything was really well organized.
Miles 1 (9:33) and 2 (9:50) were relatively uneventful. There were definitely rolling hills but they weren’t horrible. There also was a bit of a headwind which sucked but I tried to tuck in behind a tall guy pushing a stroller. Really, I enjoy being slower than people pushing their children. It’s great for the ego. Anyway, I was happy with these paces given the course I was working with.
And then mile 3 happened.
Oh, mile 3. You were a bitch. There was an extremely long gradual climb that wound around corners so just when you thought your quads were done burning, you were surprised with another hill to climb. Everyone around me was walking which was (1) motivation to keep moving + pass them but also (2) made me consider taking a short walk break. I gave myself a quick profanity-laced pep talk and decided to keep running. This unfortunately was still my slowest mile at 10:19.
It took a few minutes for my legs and lungs to recover from mile 3, but once I did? It was time to drop the pace. Miles 4 (9:24) and 5 (9:37) were much kinder to us, with a sweet downhill and several long flat stretches.
Mile 6 by some miracle was my fastest at 9:09. The finish was UPHILL and so goddamn rude. My previous PR was 1:01 so obviously anything under that I would have been okay with. HOWEVER. My 10k goal for 2017 was 59:xx. My pace felt so slow coming up that last hill and I knew it was going to be really freaking close.
Official Finish Time: 59:51
And with that, I can check another PR off of my list for the year! All I could think on the ride home was “what if I had been on an easier course?” and wondered if I could chip away at that PR a little bit more. Not even 30 minutes after crossing the finish line and I was already wanting more. Runners are a crazy breed.
- Official Confirmation – I was Delusional
- 2017 Mercedes Half Marathon Race Recap
Yes, I was a little overzealous in assuming I could pull out a PR on tough course in less than ideal conditions. I knew halfway through mile 1 when my 9:30 pace felt like an all-out sprint that, today? Was not a PR day. It was a “Please God let me survive this” day.
Rachel and I were 110% not interested in running this race when the alarm went off at 4:15. We were completely on board with going back to sleep but by some miracle we got out of bed. MIRACLE. We made it downtown around 6:45, which gave us the perfect amount of time to stroll to the start, jump in our corral and not have to wait around for too long before the race kicked off at 7:03.
As mentioned above, mile 1 was when the 93% humidity smacked me in the face and brought me back down to reality. Rachel, Erin, and I all started together but I dropped back during the first mile because I knew I needed to slow down. I made the decision early on to walk through every water stop to both drink and dump a cup of water on myself to stay cool.
I came up on Rachel around mile 6 and she did NOT look happy. We ran together for about a mile and then parted ways again. The hills in this race were no joke but to be honest, they weren’t as bad as expected. They were long and gradual, but had a beautiful downhill on the other side. My legs welcomed the changed in elevation since it gave me a chance to vary muscle groups. Side note: if you had told me two years ago I’d be happy about rolling freaking hills during a half marathon, I’d laugh in your face.
I didn’t have anything concrete in ways of goals but basically it was (A) PR (B) 2:15 (C) 2:20 (D) 2:25. Aside from the PR at 3M, my second fastest time in recent years was 2:25 so I just wanted to come in under that. This race FLEW by (why can’t they all be like that?!) and I cruised into the finish at 2:22. Incredibly happy with this time considering how warm, windy, and hilly the course was. The course support was great and it was fun to race somewhere new!
I felt stronger in the final 3 miles of Mercedes than the final 3 of 3M. Likely because of not pushing the pace as hard, but 3M is a MUCH easier course than Mercedes and I should have been dying.
The post-race party was pretty awesome. You had your choice of a BBQ pork or turkey sandwich from a local BBQ restaurant, Jim ‘n Nick’s, with coleslaw, chips and a fruit cup. I could have done without the slaw/fruit, but those salty chips hit the spot. Local brewery Good People set up shop in the auditorium, serving complimentary Bearded Lady + Urban Farmer beers. We didn’t hate it. Nick Saban made an appearance on stage before the overall + AG awards were given out.
We got back to the house around noon and broke out the champagne for celebratory mimosas. Rachel napped while Erin + I crushed an entire pizza in record time.
Thoughts on Running
I talked about this a bit in previous posts, but over the past year my running has taken a turn in an extremely positive direction. From 2012-2015, running was a chore. It went from something I did for myself, to something I did with my significant other. Don’t get me wrong; it was nice for awhile. But having to share a hobby with someone else who didn’t enjoy it as much as I did took a lot of the appeal away. I’m glad I’ve come full circle and it’s become something I truly enjoy again. So much so that I may be running two full marathons this year. More on that later once I pull the trigger on registration.
While Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness” was a song I’d play endlessly on repeat while running in 2016, this year it’s Aviccii’s “Wake Me Up”. It reminds me how far I’ve come in the past couple years, which makes me really happy.
“So wake me up when it’s all over, when I’m wiser and I’m older. All this time I was finding myself, and I didn’t know I was lost.”
ONE. Two weeks ago I headed up to one of my favorite cities [Boston] for a reunion with my college roommate and a night at TD Garden for Eric Church’s “Holdin’ My Own” tour. I cannot put into words how epic this concert was. He performed for over three hours with zero openers and only a twenty minute intermission. He played the Mr. Misunderstood album in its entirety and a majority of tracks from his older albums – almost forty [!!] songs. This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen him in concert and won’t be the last, but this definitely ranks up in the top 3 concerts I’ve attended.
TWO. I’m 90% sure I’ve decided on my spring 13.1: the Long Branch Half Marathon. It’s flat and fast, with favorable weather most years. Now that I’ve jinxed myself… I was hoping to run a half in the fall but couldn’t figure out where to do it and to be honest, I don’t really want to wait that long to attempt another PR. Long Branch is the last weekend in April and I’ll already be a month into training for Grandma’s so this seems like the best way to go. AND! I’ll get to visit with friends + family that weekend as well. It’s a no brainer.
THREE. Sunday night I almost had a heart attack at the young age of 33. The Patriots trailed the Falcons for three quarters and I was MISERABLE. I was cursing all of my friends for adamantly declaring it was “going to be a blowout” and assuring me I had nothing to worry about. I changed shirts and hats several times in true superstitious fashion, but nothing changed the score for the better. So I headed home and promptly stopped watching. AND THEN SHIT GOT REAL. The Patriots pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in Super Bowl history. I’m still in shock but so, so happy.
FOUR. Speaking of happy, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Belichick smile this much. And if Julian doesn’t run with this “Edelman’s Catch” restaurant idea, he’s an idiot.
FIVE. This weekend I’m headed out of town to visit my Hood to Coast teammate, Rachel, and run the Mercedes Half Marathon in Birmingham! I haven’t seen her in over two year so this is long overdue. I may be slightly delusional in thinking I could pull out another PR on a hilly course with warm weather. This should truly be my final “fun run” of 2017 before putting in hard work for the remainder of the year. But we’ll see how Sunday goes.