Hellbender Half Marathon 2016

2016-08-20 13.08.58 HDR2016-08-05 15.19.39A new Run Pennsyltucky podcast, perfect for a short run. I recap the 8th annual Hellbander Half Marathon this past weekend and my first distance race in well over a year! Jim and I are recovering well and hope you will give my quick unedited podcast a listen and hear what race we have on our radar next!

Nittany Valley Half Marathon 2014

NVH_panJimmyNVH_2014Jim set another PR yesterday at our local half marathon. He shaved off about 5 minutes from when he ran it 2 years ago and 4 minutes from his PR he set about a month ago! I interview him at the beginning of the December 2014 recording of Run Pennsyltucky podcast then jump right into talking to runners who were tackling their first half marathon. Their enthusiasm was inspiring!

My running has taken a back seat as I have been catching up on so many things I had put off while marathon training. I look forward to catching the running bug again soon but am still not quite back to it. I decided not to run the local half when I was resenting the training, not a good thing.

Hellbender Half Marathon

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Week 41/52 recap

6.6 EZ – 4 strides – 13.1 race 2:16:47

Congratulations to Jimmy-the-Eye for setting a PR at the Hellbender Half Marathon! I did an audio recording, interviewing Jim and reviewing the race. Check out this link on Run Pennsyltucky that leads to the podcast style race review.

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Focus on Overall Progress

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Week 23/52 recap

3.58 trail – 1 warm up – 3.1 Juniata Valley BPW 5k

My back started the week with a minor back slide. I am realizing carrying heavy bags (or helping family move) all around the NYC is part of what has been the problem every time it acts up. On and off cross town buses, down and up steps to the subway and always embracing that need to hurry in the city. Arron was very kind in lugging my bag to my departure bus on Monday but I wasn’t feeling like running Tuesday.

Wednesday I wanted to start working in my cross training and got the ol’ bike out for it’s first go of the season. I decided to bike to the base of Nittany Mountain then “run” up and around and down on the white loop. My back wasn’t even happy with biking, especially the 400′ elevation gain to the trail head. I followed that with 600′ gain over 1/2 mile up Nittany and I thought I would change my plans and come right back down.

After stretching out I decided to keep going and turned to the right and did the rocky 2.5 mile loop on top of the mountain. That and the rest went ok but it may have all been too much after my trip. Some long poses on the modeling stand added into the mix have been making my back a bit crabby this week.DadRelease

I did a hard core workout on Friday before going to help my parents move Dad back into his home. He has come a long way since his stroke and hadn’t been home for almost 2 months. From a life flight transport to Danville, a surgical procedure for complications after a kidney stone removal and the stroke that happened at the same time; Dad has battled back and is as witty as ever. He still has a lot of work to do and isn’t what he was months ago but his progress has been amazing. They had a small ceremony for his release from Health South. I will miss running there to have breakfast with him in the morning.TerriAG

The move went pretty well, even in the rain. He is settling into re-learning how to navigate the home he was born in. I am realizing that is what we have to do ever day, reinvent what is right for the given moment. I wasn’t pleased with coming in 38 second slower in the same Juniata Valley BPW 5k I ran last year but need to remember that I am actually running again. Set backs can be disappointing and when compared to years prior can be disappointing. “Unrealistically disappointing” is a better way to describe it.JimmyAG

Jimmy-the-eye and I both came in second in our age groups. Jim ran a 5k PR 24:02 and I ran 27:47. It was a nice run, everyone was as friendly as always and Tracy stopped by to cheer us at the finish line. We both came away without injury and my back feels really good today. I am run down with some kind of upper respiratory issue that could be related to pollen or maybe a slight cold but I can’t blame my race time on that. I am a different person each day, a child of the universe being born each moment, and I need to focus on overall progress.

2014 Capital 10-Miler

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Week 21/52 Recap
4.2 – 4.2 – 10 race

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Another busy week has delayed this post but the best thing to follow up with is that we both came off the race this past Sunday with no injuries!

The photos above are mostly from Bill Bonney Photography because there was no getting our camera wet for even a quick photo outside of the car.

The weather was about as bad as it possibly could be other than heat. Harsh winds, driving rain and even some sleet hit us hard as we ran the 2014 Capital 10-miler. Jim and I laughed and stayed together for the first half of the race.

After 4 miles, we turned back into the wind and I ditched the trash bag I was wearing because the wind was whipping it so hard. Jimmy the Eye kept his on the whole way. We both got pretty cold on the Harvey Taylor Bridge, Jim couldn’t feel his feet after about mile 8.

The second half of the course was changed this year because there was still ice on the lower river walk. I felt the changes were well thought out and didn’t cause me any confusion. The volunteers were very helpful in knowing which way to go. Kudos to Mary Lou Harris for putting together such a wonderful race!

We kept pushing hard and crossed the finish line about 3 minutes apart. Although it wasn’t a PR for me I still came in under 1:40:00 and beat the first time I ran in 2011. I was thrilled to do so well after building back from hardly being able to walk in November.

We piled into the car, cranked the heat and got changed as fast as we could. Neither of us felt worse than sore muscles and are pretty proud of our medals and shirts. I left my medal with Dad at his rehab hospital until he gets out (next week?).

The Capital 10-miler, a run for the arts, what a race. We will never forget the first year we ran it together, the year it rained!

Streaking

I have a LOT of photos to share this time so make sure to enjoy the ones in the slide show on the bottom of this post if your subscription via email isn’t displaying them properly. Some of them are of a local 5k but don’t be mislead by the title of this post, they aren’t in the nude. Nor are the ones that represent all of the places I have been streaking around the east coast and midwest lately.

This is our third year to participate in the Juniata County Business and Professional Women’s 5k. We started with its first year and are pleased to have not missed a race since it debuted in 2011. I had also been streaking the Capital 10-miler in Harrisburg but had important family business in Ann Arbor this year and chose to miss it.

2012 Juniata County BPW

2012 Juniata County BPW

The Juniata Co. BPW 5k has a history, for me, of being a pretty challenging race. The course is very nice and the volunteers are the best but I seem to have an annual habit of making it harder for myself than I need too. The first year (see the race photo here) was pouring buckets of ice-cold rain. I was not responsible for the weather but I was not being wise to the fact that I was creating a terrible heal spur with untreated plantar fasciitis. I was in terrible pain in 2011. Last year, I had been up very late to stay with my sister, Tracy, after a late concert she wanted to attend then have a driving buddy to our parents house. It made for a very jolly run in 2012, seeing Tracy across the finish line of her very first 5k but I was quite tired from the lack of sleep.

Here is Jimmy the Eye’s race recap:
The Juniata County Business and Professional Women’s 3rd annual Wellness 5K on April 13, 2013.

Began and ended at Cedar Grove Church in Mifflintown.

We knew we would be doing this race on very little sleep, and since this is one that we are both streaking, we wanted to keep the tradition going. In fact, we joked that the tradition is starting to look like doing this 5K on little sleep, as last year Terri did it with only a few hours rest as well.

After seeing our son perform at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, we made it back to my in-law’s home in Lewistown in Saturday’s early hours. Soon after 3 a.m. we both agreed to what time to set the alarms to get up. At 6:30 a.m., we both questioned why we needed to get up so early. Stiff from a full day of traveling, we got freshened up and got dressed for the 5K. It was a brisk temperature outside as we enjoyed our coffee and looked at the clock.

As it was going on 8 a.m., we decided to head out and let everyone else sleep. We made early it to where race registration would take place, and agreed to drive the race route just to refresh our memories. We both think that this is a great little 5k route, typical of the terrain of the region — including the “road-apples.” Mentally we noted when the up hills started, where the mile markers were, and where the half-way point/water station would be located. When we can, we find that driving a race route to get familiar with its course really helps us to mentally prepare for the run ahead of us.

Parking is ample at the church, and we chose our spot. The next hour and a half went quickly. Made up of short warm-up jogs and stretches, picking up our race packets, fueling, and deciding what to finally end up wearing. The race packets had our shirts (great teal color this year!), wrist band, coupons, and sponsor’s flyers and we had good time looking through everything. We watched other runners arrive, and tried to determine if they were in our age category. It was nice recognizing folks from either this race or the other regional races. Most importantly, we agreed upon that this run was to be about no injuries, running our own race, and no PRs.

I never feel confident deciding where to be in the pack before the race start. As crowd of around 60 gathered at the line, I looked around and settled behind a gentleman who I thought might have similar if not slightly faster pace. He is in the 60+ group, and is an inspiration to see running. I saw Terri was just a few few feet back from me. I felt pretty good overall, nicely warmed-up, and ready. There was another gentleman ahead of me, and I remembered him from last year’s run. I could just read on his bib that he was 53 years old and so was in my age category. I figured his strategy was to start off quickly, get some distance, and then settle in to his pace. So at this point I tried to only think of my run, keep in a good form and stay in tune with what my body was saying at any given time.

I like playing the mental game of “shark and remora” so as the race began, I staying tucked just a couple of steps off of the 60+ man’s left. I noticed that the 53 year old was just that distance away from his right side. The pace might have been a little quicker that I would have started out at, but I reassured myself that I was warmed up, and my body agreed. I really do not remember much about passing folks or being passed during the first mile — I just was keeping within striking distance with the two other guys as long as it felt right. Ideally, I thought that I would make any move after 2 miles, and to see how they both handled hills and straight aways.

The first hill started its climb, and the older of the two started to slow his pace just a bit. The younger was steady the three of us probably looked like part of a line of geese flying in formation. As the first turn approached and the hill kept climbing, I decided to make my first move. I knew the course and I was in a great spot for taking the tangents and the first half of the course. I kept tight to the turn and eased past the older fellow. Now it was the 53 y.o. and me. I kept off of his left a couple of steps as the hill climbed and turned again. With uphills there are downhills, so I was interested in seeing how he handled this one, which is gentle. We crested the hill, and as we neared the 1 mile mark, he started to back off his pace and coast the hill. Terri is my running inspiration, and her training tips are always insightful. My shins and feet felt great, my form felt good, and I was ready to use this hill to my advantage. I looked at my watch — 10:10 . “Wow, this run is certainly feeling a lot different than a 10:10 pace, but every run is different. ” I tried to efficiently use the downhill and moved on ahead of my shark. Now, the remora becomes the shark, and I had a feeling that he was going to stay right behind me. I did not look around, and really could not hear if anyone was there since I choose not to run with my hearing aids in. When I looked at my watch again I realized that I was looking at the time of day, not my running time. Oh well, I wasn’t going to get hung up on that. I kept up the pace to the halfway point and decided not to slow to take water. I cheered on the folks that had made the turn already, trying to note their age and gender. As I made the turn, I could see my remora my some distance back, but not knowing his style, felt he could still catch up on the next hill. I looked for Terri, and spotted her. We both moved toward to center line and slapped hands as we passed by each other. What a highlight!

I found another shark ahead in the distance. She had a pace similar to mine and we gradually climbed the hill and the 2 mile mark. The next leg is a bit of a blur, but I kept what felt was a steady pace and tried to think of good form. Near the 3 mile mark a younger boy and I jockeyed back and forth for a bit, and I am sure that he didn’t want to be “pappied” and made his kick. I thought about it for a split second, but decided to wait until closer to the finish line. The finish is at the bottom of a small hill in the church parking lot. I turned into the lot, saw the clock, and mentally saw that I could probably make it in just under 25 minutes.

I kicked into high gear, crossed the line, and then just kept walking to the water station. I know from Terri’s and my own experience how important it is to not stop immediately after a run. I looked down the course to see Terri on the final stretch. I grabbed a water and hustled over to cheer her on as she crossed the line.

Tired after the 2013 Juniata Co. BPW 5k

Tired after the 2013 Juniata Co. BPW 5k

We spent some time cheering on other runners and cooling down together until the race awards were handed out. We went back to the finish line to see the finishing times and age groups and saw that we were most likely first in our categories.

Terri picked out a spot good for taking photos, and we clapped for the winners in the younger age groups. As it became time for the 50-59 groups, the announcer said that there was a delay and she talked to another woman or two. We joked that they needed to double-check if there was any doping, and a fellow near us said it was from the poppy seed muffin I had eaten.

Terri was awarded first place in her group and I snapped a photo of her and her group holding their awards. They handed out the wards in the final two categories before wrapping back to the men’s 50-59 group. There were only three runners in the race in that category and we all got awards! Next year it looks like there could be some serious speedy new 50year olds though.

Overall, this is a great little 5K. Not too many people, and a fair share of walk/runners with plenty of crowd support at the end. Its terrain is just what we typically train on, and so feels good to us. The group raises money for a good cause, and I hope this race continues for many years to come. I do hope that in the future, we do get more sleep the night before, but until then, it makes for some good tales as we streak this race.

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Warm Smiles on Cold Miles

bike_trailFeeling a bit under the weather after my exciting NYC audition adventure, Happily Cast into the Unknown, I rallied to join Jimmy the Eye on his run this morning. We drove to the park to have an easy 4+ miles on the bike trail. We may have gone farther but it was not clear and pretty treacherous when we got to where the one road crosses over it. Neither of us had shoes with snow studs so we opted to turn around and just add a side trail on near the end.

It was good luck that we took the side spur to Millbrook Marsh Nature center because there was a heat shield lying in the middle of the road! That will sound immensely silly to many folks but since before July 2007 we have been collecting found heat shields for our Heat Shield Sculpture Garden.heatshield1

We cheered out loud when we saw it and collected it on our way back. Jim was a real trooper to carry it back and we were glad it was not super cold nor too far to the parking lot. Unlike the 5 miles he carried the doll-baby head he found, it was only 1/2 mile back to the car.heatshield3

My throat is kind of scratchy and I am super low energy today but the heat shield find gave us both a big smile this morning. We can’t wait to take it over and add it to the dozens in the existing garden.

I added this photo after Double Bluebird joined the 100 others on Sunday. We took time to stand them upright and count them. Since 2007, they have now reached 100 heat shields. Most have names.
heatshields2013

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Upon returning home, I realized I was still not feeling 100% and decided to take Jim’s advice and get settled in to do what I normally do when I am ill, watch the 1995 BBC/A&E Pride and Prejudice all day. It was as I was wrapping up this blog, Jim pointed out a year long challenge that he suggested we take on. The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013 is celebrating the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s second published novel, Pride and Prejudice. We plan to take on the Aficionada level of challenge by enjoying something every month.pride-prejudice-bicentenary-challenge-2013-x-200

Here’s the plan:
January – Pride and Prejudice A&E/BBC miniseries (1995)
February – Mr. Darcy’s Daughters, by Elizabeth Aston (2003)
March – Darcy’s Story, by Janet Alymer (1996)
April – Mr Darcy’s Diary, by Amanda Grange (2006)
May – Pride and Prejudice BBC/PBS miniseries (1980)
June – Presumption: An Entertainment: A Sequel to Pride and Prejudice, by Julia Barrett (1995)
July – Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma, by Diana Birchall (2004)
August – Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (1813)
September – Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, by Linda Berdoll (2004)
October – Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World, by Abigail Reynolds (2010)
November – Pride & Prejudice Universal Studios film (2005)
December – Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart, by Beth Pattillo (2010)