Monday, May 28, 2012

Magic City Mudder

Running in the mud and conquering obstacles with my friends may be my new favorite kind of running. 

This weekend, I joined a group of my running girlfriends at the Magic City Mudder in Springville, Alabama.  We had an absolute blast!  It was a different kind of running challange.  One that focuses on enjoying the experience and finishing together.  No one cared about the time it took to finish.  I actually have no idea how long it took us to get to the finish line.

This was a 5K Mud Run that included 20 obstacles in 3 miles.  Throughout the 5K, we trekked through several mud pits, jumped through tires, climbed over hay bales, scaled a wall, army crawled through sand, ran over hills, bear crawled through culverts, and crawled under muddy rope obstacles. 

The 5K was over before I knew it and we have talking about it nonstop since it ended.  Our group has already signed up for our next challenge coming up in a few weeks.  We are eager to chart more experiences together while being active at the same time.  I am so lucky to be surrounded by friends who value friendships, a healthy lifestyle, and a good dose of dirt.

And of course, I was still a Mommy during this race.  I carried my 3 little guys with me.  They were happily my race photographers. My two little ones were able to play in the Kids Mud Pit and Tucker is now itching for next year when he will be old enough to participate with me.  My goal is to model a healthy lifestyle for my boys and I get all giddy when they want to participate with me.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Snot Rockets and Loogie Spitters

  Before I was a runner, I had no idea what a Snot Rocket was.  And I had no idea that there was socially acceptable occassion in which loogie spitting was embraced.  I now consider myself well versed in the execution of the Snot Rocket and the expulsion of the loogie.

  Now, let me clarify....

 I, myself, am not a loogie spitter or a snot rocket blower.  I suppose that my body just doesn't produce an excess amount of these type fluids for me to feel the urge to expel them from my body during a run.  Although I am not a Snot Rocketeer or a Loogie Spitter, I realize than some people must take part in this exercise.....and I am not looking down on them for that.  Nay, nay.....we all have our issues to overcome while running. 

Throughout the last few years of running, I have learned that there are certain unwritten rules that runners follow when expelling the Snot Rocket or the Loogie.

1.  Check over your shoulder for a nearby runner before blasting
2.  Administer with force so that the remains aren't left on your face
3. Never lose stride
4.  Pretend you didn't do it. 

During my most recent half marathon...I was witness to all matter of Snot Rockets and loogie spittings.  It was going on ALL AROUND me.  At one point, I was even feeling like a bit of an underachiever since I had nothing to blast.  Oh, the joys of the distance run.

Yesterday, my email inbox pinged. The download link to the Nashville Half Marathon photos from the official race photographers had arrived.  I was giddy with excitement as I scrolled through the photos.

 I was happy to see this shot of me grinning like a possum and covered in sweat just across the finish line......

I loved this shot that shows my determination to power through those darned hills.

I loved this thumbs up one.  I was obviously thrilled here because I was finally running downhill.

And then in this one, I was looking a bit more weary, but still had the energy for a wave. 
But... wait a minute....what's that?

Upon closer inspection.....
I realized that the race photographer had successfully recorded a loogie spitter in the photo.....


Now.....if only I had a photo of a Snot Rocket....
my life would be complete.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rave Runs

  Back before I did all of my running and fitness reading on the web, I subscribed to Runner's World magazine.  It's a great magazine, but I no longer subscribe because I do so much reading on my Kindle these days.  My most favorite page in Runner's World was the page called Rave Run.  I miss that page.

  The Rave Run page wasn't an article, it was just a photograph.... with a caption.  The caption simply stated where the location was that the photograph was taken.  Each time my magazine came in the mail, I always flipped straight to that page.  The Rave Run was always some fabulously amazing destination in which a runner was running.  Real places and a real runner.   I dream of those places.

(I walked on this boardwalk, but didn't run there.)

  In the years that I have been running, when I see some breathtaking place, I imagine myself there as a Rave Runner.  Just getting out and going for a run in my usual neighborhood is always rejuvenating and is a great way to de-stress, but running somewhere new is always an even bigger treat.

This weekend, our family went camping.....not too far away from home, because we had to drive back and forth to baseball games.  During our camping trip, the boys were thrilled to get to spend time right outside our camper fishing with their Daddy.

And I was ecstatic to squeeze in a 6 mile run while they did so.

It was such a refreshing run to be able to run the entire 6 miles alongside the river.....with my little exercise buddy tagging along behind me on his bicycle.  Getting to complete a run in a new place with a change of scenery is the icing on the cake for a vacation.

Although the run wasn't in a magazine worthy location, it was my own version of a Rave Run.

Hopefully, I will be able to share more lovely running locations here on Mommy Miles as I encounter them.

Where are some of your favorite places to run?

I'd love to hear about them!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Nashville Country Music Half-Marathon Recap

  This half-marathon was only my second one I wouldn't say that I am a very good judge of what makes a marathon a "good marathon" or a "bad one".  That being said....I would say that this one was a positive experience.

From my perspective, here is the good, the bad and the ugly....

The negatives of the race would have to be the HILLS and the running crowd.  Although I did some training on hills, I wasn't quite prepared for the entire race to be up and down hill.  I don't think there was a quarter mile stretch at any point during the race that was flat.  It was rolling hills the entire way.

 And having a huge hill from mile 12 to 13 was almost my undoing.   I had to have a serious talk with myself to keep from walking part of mile 12. 

I thought the course was quite difficult.

The crowd of racers was also a bit of an interference.  People kept stopping to walk right in front of me causing me to have to slam on my brakes or dart around. 

The course was so packed with racers that running my own pace was difficult.  I felt like I kept just having to run the pace of whoever was in front of me because I kept getting jammed up.

The UGLY part of the race was that I am a Mommy of 3 boys who weighed in the 10 pound range at birth.  My bladder doesn't always cooperate and I had some peeing issues.  No one knew....I was sweaty all over anyway.  It was my little secret.  Except now I told you, so now it's our little secret.

Still....none of these things were terrible and none of them would cause me to avoid the race in the future.

Some of the perks of the race were the great organization, the technical shirt, the music, the spectators, and the friends that traveled with me. 

I was baffled by the thought of organizing 32,ooo runners and countless spectators into the racing area on race day.  I thought it was very well organized from Expo to finish line.  Shuttles were waiting at our hotel to transport runners, the course was well marked, and aid station were easily accessible.  The organization of the race was fabulous for such a large number of runners.

I liked the Brooks techical shirt.  I didn't fall in love with the design or color of it, but it's a very nice technical shirt.  Brooks makes great gear.

Having music along the course was a great distraction!  I loved hearing all the music blaring from the bands and the stereos.  I especially loved the block at Belmont Church!  The church here was belting out the praise and worship music and the spectators here were very encouraging!

The spectators on the course are always my favorite part of a race.  I am hesitant to ever even register for a smaller marathon because I get so much encouragment and distraction from reading the specators' signs.  Some of the best signs were:

"Worst Parade Ever"
"Hey, Where are all Ya'll Going?"
"You are NOT almost there"
"This is your distraction"
"The hard part is enjoy the race."
"It's Not Sweat...It's Your Fat Cells Crying"
"Run Like An Angry Kenyan"
"Toenails Are For Sissies"

Sometimes, I think I signed up for the half marathon just so I could be cheered on, to people watch and to read the signs.

The biggest perk of the race was that I got to experience it with some of my buddies.  I really enjoyed getting to talk about our fears prerace and discuss our joys and difficulties post race.  It made the entire event very fulfilling. 

It would have been even more epic if my guys could've traveled with me.  They wanted to join me so bad, but were all tied down to baseball games.  I ran with my phone and I got lots of encouraging texts from them all from home.  The sent me these texts and more....
"Keep it up, Mom!  We know you can do it!"
"You're almost there.  You've got this!"

It was almost as good as them being there with me, but not quite.

Overall, I give this race an exhausted 2 thumbs up!