Hurricane Holden and Ocean Isle Half

September 9th was the day that we were supposed to run the Holden Beach half.  However,  NC was under a state of emergency due to Hurricane Irma and Holden Beach had to cancel the race.

The race directors are so awesome and they gave many options to the runners so we could still get our shirts and medals.  Ron and I chose to run at home and we had a great run on the greenway.  It actually was a gorgeous day in our neck of the  woods and I heard it was gorgeous as well at the beach.  I understand the decision to cancel the race though because you can never be too careful when it comes to the weather.

Here Ron and I are after our half that day.

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Here I am weeks later after we got our medal and shirts when we ran the last race in the series, Ocean Isle.

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The last race in the series was Ocean Isle on October 7th.  We had a blast.  This time we rented an airB&B and although it was very close to the start and finish and very nice, if I run again, I’d try to get a room right down on the beach.

Here’s a couple of shots of our air B&B:

 

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I ran the race in my very first and only Sparkle Skirt!  I chose the Hiker Chic length and I love it so much.  I have even worn it hiking!  This length is awesome for wearing to the grocery store or to Wally World.  So very comfortable!

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It rained a little the day of the race and that is my only complaint of the skirt.  Since it was longer, it absorbed a good bit of rain and I found myself wringing it out a couple of times.

The series is so fun and in 2018 the medals are even better.  Be sure to go click this link to see them!  I don’t think Ron and I are doing the entire series next year but we may just have to go back to at least one of them.

Here Ron and I are at the beginning of Ocean Isle half.

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We both had great runs.  My official time was 2:32:10.

Here’s the last shirt and the medal:

 

 

And here are all the medals in a row!  So very cool.  I have donated mine already but Ron has all of his!

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Happy Running Friends!

Tobacco Road Half Marathon

It’s been a few weeks since we ran Tobacco Road and I ‘ve had plenty of time for reflection.  First let me start off and say what an awesome race this is!  Perfectly organized and a wonderful, flat course.  This is where I want to qualify for Boston someday.  Tobacco Road gives so much back to the community.  Truly top notch!

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I had made some great improvements last fall and was very proud of where running was taking me.  However, after Thunder Road and Skinny Turkey, I have to admit I was a little burnt out and I took much of December off.  Then January and February came and I missed a lot of runs due to ice and snow.  I should have hit the treadmill more.  I did some but not nearly enough.  For the 3 weeks leading up to Tobacco Road our granddaughter was born, I got very sick with a stomach bug, and then my mother passed away.  Running was not my top priority to say the very least.

Happily, I did make it to a lot of my Cross Fit classes.  Not all of those either but most of them.  I adore my coach and all the new friends I ‘ve made.  I am in awe of my friend “Animal” and how strong she is!  My goal for the year is to be able to do 10 full push-ups on my toes, a least one pull-up, and 10 Double Unders.

When Tobacco Road began, I knew in the first mile that things were not going to go well.  I had decided that I was going to run straight without any run/walk breaks.  That first mile was really tough.

Then things started to change and miles 2-6.5 were actually pretty good.  I started day dreaming and thinking of things I could report in this race recap.  I fantasized and dreamed of saying that only Cross Fit gave me the power to PR.

I love the trail part of the race.  When I stepped off the road and onto the trail it felt like I was stepping on a cloud.  The packed dirt is so much softer on these old bones than the pavement.

Coming to the turnaround, my ITB started talking to me.  Not really hurting, but foreshadowing of things to come.  Cross Fit is awesome but running consistently is the only thing that can give me the endurance I need in distance running.  I hadn’t walked at all up until this point but at mile 9 something in me said why not?  I thought I’d walk for a tenth of a mile or so.  A full mile later, I started to run again.  No luck.  I’ve tried this before and I know better.  I can’t stop in a race or walk too much or I’m in danger of not being able run again.  Then I started to think to myself that I’d just keep walking and wait until Ron caught up with me and then I’d run the rest of the way with him.

Well at mile 11 my smiling husband passed me, waved, and just.kept.trucking.  I tried to run with him but there was no doing.  An old lady marathon maniac passed me and mentioned that I looked like I was in pain.  She was right.  My ITB has never hurt more!  I figured right then and there I better just suck it up and walk it in.  I did manage to run across the finish line but that was it.  I walked 4 full miles of the 13.1 race.

Here’s my results:

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For a better breakdown, here’s my splits from my Garmin:

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Ron finished in 2:55 and was on top of the world all day.  He was a wee bit concerned with my injury but was beaming with pride that he beat me fair and square.

I’ve done much better this month and have gotten in 2 5 milers, a 7, a 9 and almost all of the Tuesday and Thursday 3-4 mile runs with my Centennial Running friends.  Today I’m shooting for an 11.  Next week’s Rock-n-Roll Raleigh Half should be rockin’!   I sure hope so.

Most importantly, I’ve done my ITB exercises.

Happy Easter!  Happy Running!

Thunder Road Marathon

When we began thinking about fall marathons, Ron and I were hoping Thunder Road in Charlotte would be a good match for us. My mother, sister and her husband, an my niece and her family all live just outside of Charlotte in the quaint town of Mt. Pleasant.

Marathons can get a little pricey so not having to spend the extra for the hotel was a big plus for us.  We were very excited.

Excited that is until we started telling people which marathon we were training for.   All we heard was either complete silence or something negative.  It got so bad, I just stopped telling people.  All the good marathons came and went (Medoc, City of Oaks, and OBX) and I was so sad that we had to run Thunder Road.

I decided that I might as well try to make the best of it and keep an open mind.  I’m so glad I did because Thunder Road ended up Rockin’!   It is an awesome marathon!

Thunder Road was really good about keeping their Facebook page up to date with important information and motivating posts.  I had printed out the directions on how to get to the Expo and all our parking options.  They had warned us that we’d have to pay to park but that some of the garages would offer discounts if we showed our race bibs upon exiting.  I’m not sure how we managed it but we didn’t have to pay at all in the parking garage that we found.  They just waved us out when we left and we didn’t have to show our bibs.  (I guess they could tell us country bumpkins had to be there for the race.)

We drove right to the Expo and parked only one block away.  The Charlotte Convention Center was so pretty!  Charlotte is known as “The Queen City” and for some reason I also think of them as the “Clean City”.  It felt so clean and modern.

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I loved all the beautiful buildings and the day was gorgeous!

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When we got inside the Convention Center, the way to the Expo was clearly marked.

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We were there in no time and were ready to Feel the Thunder!

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The Expo was sold out and was every bit as good at the Rock-n-Roll expo back in April.  It was one of the very best that I’ve ever attended.

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We had gotten there in the middle of the day and it wasn’t crowded at all. We walked right up and got our bibs and shirts and they were very nice about letting Ron switch to the half. He did have to pay $10 but we were expecting that. Since Ron has had to work so much overtime lately, he hasn’t had the time to train. Halfs are good for Ron. He’s happy with that distance.

We moseyed around and bought a few neat items. Ron got some socks and I got some new sweat headbands. These weren’t Bondi Bands but the were just like them and I found some cool new sayings.

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When we happened upon these neat new sweat towels, we both had to get one.

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Actually, Ron got 2 and I got 1. It is similar to the sweat headbands except that it has a soft face cloth attached to it. You wear it around your wrist so you never have to worry about dropping your sweat rag. Such a neat idea.

The coolest thing was that a reporter stopped us and asked us some questions about what we were buying. I had purchased some throwaway gloves and she was intrigued. I told her that I wasn’t too concerned with the cold but that I wanted something to keep me warm in the beginning until we had those first few miles out of the way. I had also stopped at Good Will the night before and got Ron and me some fleece jackets. We planned to shed those along the way once we got warmed up. We knew there would be volunteers that would be picking up the clothing and taking it right back to Good Will or other charities. Win – Win!

That evening my sister and her husband knew we wanted Italian so they suggested one of their favorite restaurants.  We went to Gianni’s Trattoria in downtown Concord.   It was a little pricey and they were very crowded so it took a while for us to be served.  But boy was it worth the wait.  So delicious!  I didn’t have my camera with me and I’m so bummed.  It would have been a great restaurant to review.  I’m definitely going back!

After we were adequately carbed up, it was straight to bed for us.  Thunder Road had a 7:45am start which was actually very nice.   With Mt. Pleasant being about 40-50 minute drive from Uptown Charlotte, we wanted to be on the road by around 6:00am.

It was a chilly 22 degree start.   However, with our layers and fleece jackets we were good to go.

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Right at the beginning of the race I said goodbye to Ron and shed my jacket right away.  I kept my throw-away gloves on for a long time.  It might have been around mile 18-20 that I finally shed those.  I was careful to throw them away at a water stop so I wouldn’t litter.

The race for me was very good.  I started out too fast and I knew it.  I was so excited and I felt wonderful.  My coach had told me to start out near the 11:00s and when I saw a 10:10 on mile 2 on my Garmin, I knew I was in trouble.  I really concentrated on trying to slow down and got mile 3 down to 10:25.

After that I just tried to keep it steady.  I ran the entire first half all by myself.  We ran through some beautiful neighborhoods and the crowd support was the best I’ve ever experienced in a race.

Coming up to the split as the half marathoners were turning for their finish line, I heard a huge group coming up behind me.  They were really having a party.  I knew instantly it must be a pace group.  It was was the 2:20/4:40 group.  When I had to make that turn for the next 13.1 miles, I felt so disheartened.  It became so quiet and the crowd thinned out so much.  I was happy but not sure about running another 2.5 hours.  That’s when I hooked up with what was left of the 4:40 pace group.  It was the pacer, Lee, and 2 other runners.  Lena was celebrating her 40th birthday and this was her 1st marathon.  Kiza had done several marathons.  Lee had done many marathons and I was so shocked to learn that she had just run the Savannah marathon the previous weekend.  Her marathon PR was 3:45 so this 4:40 pace was truly a recovery/fun run for her.

I stuck with Lee from mile 13 all the way to mile 23.  We ended up losing Lena and Kiza but we stayed together and had a blast.  The neighborhoods on the second half were so cool!  The residents of North Davidson ,”NoDa”, were the best!  They built a wall out of plywood and we ran through it.  Nothing like breaking through the wall with lots of cheers and encouragements!

Then it happened.  At mile 23 there was a hill and Lee kept getting farther and farther ahead of me.  It was like it was happening in slow motion.  I couldn’t move my legs any faster.  I wasn’t in pain at all and I still had a great attitude.  I was so confused.  Why wouldn’t my legs move and let me keep with her?

As she ran on she did look back one time and holler for me but before I knew it, she was out of sight.  When I couldn’t see her anymore, I started walking.  I bet I walked for almost 1/4 mile or so.

For those last 3 miles I ended up seeing Lena again.  She passed me and then Kiza passed as well.  Lena kept going but Kiza started walking on and off from that point on and we leap-frogged each other.  At one point when I was walking the 4:50 pacer came up behind me and shouted for me to come on.  She was really sweet and we ran together for a mile or so.  She was all by herself and she was about one minute behind schedule.  She ended up stopping to walk but I kept going.

Those 3 miles were the longest I’ve ever run.  I made it to the finish line and even though I was way off my 4:30 goal, a 4:55 was 70 minutes faster than my last marathon. It was also only 8 minutes slower than my marathon PR.  I ran my PR on a flat course so this 4:55 on the rolling hills of Thunder Road was something that I was very proud of.

I’ve talked a lot to my coach, Sarah, and she’s tried to explain to me that there is no way to bank time in the beginning of a marathon.  She said that I probably built up a lactic acid and that contributed to my slow down at mile 23.

Over this training session I’ve had lots of trouble with my ITB.  After both of my 20 milers I was in loads of pain for days and days afterwards. After my 2nd 20 miler, I couldn’t even sleep on my side it hurt so much.  I did try and do my foam rolling and ITB exercises but they really never brought the relief I needed.  Sarah has encouraged me to go to Physical Therapy and get this ITB taken care of.

Curiously enough, my ITB did hurt right after the marathon but I got a massage and it really didn’t hurt that much more.  Sure I felt it but by Tuesday I was pretty much back to normal.

If you’re still with me at this point let me go on to say that Ron did great.  He finished right at 3:00 and had a blast.  The finish line party was superb!  The medals and shirts were awesome.  The food and entertainment was great.  I couldn’t find any pizza though.  That would be my only complaint that I can think of.

Thunder Road is an awesome race and the hills aren’t really that bad at all.

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That night after I showered I visited with my mother and presented her with my medal.  She smiled from ear to ear and was so happy for me. I think she’s going to like having that medal on her dresser to show all her friends in the assisted living facility.

I’m not giving up on my goal to qualify for Boston.  I’m just going to take some time off for now and see how PT goes.  I’ve even thought of trying hot yoga.  Anyone want to go with me?

I hope to keep my weekly mileage near the 25-30 range and Sarah says to keep a weekly track workout of 4×800.

Thanks so much to Sarah and to my friends and family for all your support. I love you guys!

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Happy Running!

 

 

 

 

Fun Runs!

Last Wednesday night I went to Fleet Feet Sports in Raleigh and participated in a fun run and then got to listen to Matt Frazier from No Meat Athlete.  It was so much fun and he even autographed his book for me.

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Matt is a very inspiring person and I just love his blog.  I’ve been reading it for over 4 years and I take away a lot of ideas that he posts.  I love all the recipes but most of all, I love his tips.  Want to start a good habit?  Matt says to come up with a trigger.  For me I have always wanted to floss my teeth every night but I never could get disciplined enough to follow through for more than a week or so.  Now, my trigger is so ingrained in my head, I hardly ever miss.  Before I go to bed, I wash my face, take my vitamins, and brush and floss my teeth.  That’s my trigger.  I can’t take my vitamins without grabbing my floss too.

If you haven’t checked out nomeatathlete.com, please do.  Its so good!

Getting back to the fun run at Fleet Feet,  I was a nervous wreck beforehand.  Ron wasn’t able to go with me and a friend of mine ended up having another commitment.  I had to go alone.  I didn’t want to miss Matt so I forced myself to go.  I was so scared.  Yes I’m 48 years old and yes I know runners are very friendly.  However, I am horrible in social settings!  I was very close to giving up and going home.  It was bad.

However, once I got in the store, I met Mia.  She smiled and we started talking right away.  Then she introduced me to her friend Jill and before you knew it I felt like I was part of the gang.  On our run I even ran alongside Matt for a little while.  How cool was that!?

Before the night was over, Mia and Jill invited me to The Ugly Sweater fun run at Capital Run Walk.  That run was tonight and boy oh boy was it fun!  My friend, Jordan, who I met when I volunteered at the City of Oaks marathon was there and she was with another friend.  Her friend ended up being someone that I ran Medoc with last year.  I ran with them and loved catching up on on their running adventures.

After the run there were refreshments and the star of the night, a huge raffle!  You got 10 tickets just for coming and participating in the Ugly Sweater fun run.  I didn’t have a sweater but I snagged this cute t-shirt from Wally World.

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Not sure if was the lucky grandma shirt or my new running skirt that brought me luck but I won the raffle!

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Can you believe that!  Brooks are my very favorite shoes and I needed a new pair desperately.

Just as we were all getting ready to head home, Mia started telling me about a glow run at Fleet Feet coming up next week.  Then Jill smiled and said that I might better not come after all.  I was too lucky on only my 2nd fun run ever and my first fun run with Capital Run Walk.  Smile

So what did I learn from all of this?  There really is something to Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”  Look at all the happiness that has come my way just by sucking it up and walking in the door!

Happy Running Friends!

PS.  I forgot to mention that Whole Foods provided the refreshments at the No Meat Athlete run last week.  I hated almond butter!  I know it is so healthy and I have tried a couple of times to like it but I just couldn’t.  However, a very sweet Whole Foods person was serving us our choice of several different snacks.  One was some crackers and avocados, another were some nuts and something else, but the last one was dried apricots and almond butter.  I chose the latter and now I can report that I am a convert!  They are the bomb!  A perfect after run snack!

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Is 11:00 too late for a snack?!  Yeah I think so too but now I’ve got to have some.  Kitchen pantry here I come.  Yummo!

Bull City Race Fest Recap

Wowzer!  Bull City was a doosey!  The hills were KILLER!

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The hills are what I will probably remember the most but let me start at the beginning and try to give this sensational race a recap worthy of its awesomeness.

Yesterday was the expo.

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It was a good expo.  Not too big, not too little and very well organized.  I liked that you just walked up and gave them your race number and then they handed over your bib.  There were lots of vendors there and Ron and I spent our share of fun money.  Ron got some Bondi Bands and an ultra massager.  I got new socks.  Actually, they were buy 3 get one free so I got 4 pair.  One for Ron, Andie, Lydia, and me.

While I was in line waiting to pay for my socks another lady was buying a new running outfit.  She said any time she ran a race she treated herself.  Another lady said she was treating herself to a 13.1 sticker. Then the new outfit lady (a 5 miler) said if she ran a half marathon, she’d treat herself to a new car!  It was so funny!  I realized that as common as it is to me to run a half marathon, it really isn’t something to sneeze at.  Smile

These Hot Yoga people were at the expo and I was so close to signing up.  I really want to try Hot Yoga!

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The expo was held right outside the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, NC.  Ron and I had never been to the campus and had a lot of fun exploring.

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There are a number of restaurants in this area and they all looked really good.  We ended up at Tyler’s Taproom.

I loved the atmosphere!

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We had veggie nachos for starters.

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So yummy!

There really wasn’t a good vegan / vegetarian selection so Ron and I got fish.  Ron was wiser than me.  He got the salmon salad.

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I got fish and chips.

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It was scrumptious but with it being fried, I only ate about half.

So, I had plenty of room for my weakness!

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Ron was having micro brewed beer and didn’t want to share any sweets this time.  I just about ate this whole thing!

I didn’t but I could have.  Smile

Before bed, I snapped this Flat Melissa.

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Those purple socks are my new ones and boy were they comfy!  I love Balega Socks.  The shot blocks were given out at the expo so I tucked them in my fuel belt.  I took about half of them at mile 5 and the rest at around mile 7 or 8.  They were pretty good but I like gels better.  I can’t chew and run very well at the same time.  LOL.

Bull City Race Fest was a big race.  I think there were over 5000 runners in all.  I guess that’s not too big but it kind of felt crowded to me.

Here Ron and I are at the start.

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Andie ran the 5 miler but she wouldn’t let me take a picture.

I ended up going to the bathroom for a 2nd time just before the start so I split up from Ron and Andie and ended up way in the back.

There were plenty of port-a-johns and everything about the race was very well organized.

The Star Spangled Banner singer did a lovely job and after my silent prayer for fastness and everyone’s safety, we were off.

My first mile was right at 12:00 minutes and my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, were in the 11:00s.  This was one of the most crowded races I have run in a while and I never could find an open spot to get comfortable in.  After the 5 milers veered off,  it opened up and was smooth sailing.

The funny part at the 5 mile mark was they had this sign that said, “Decision Point,” and you could make up your mind to stop with the 5 milers or keep going.  I was feeling really good at 5 miles so it was just funny to me and not really something I was considering.

We ran on the Duke University campus and all over many pretty neighborhoods.  The only problem was there was one hill after another.  Up until mile 11, I was doing great and kept a good attitude about the hills.  But then my dreaded IT band started acting up.  The side of my knee was killing me.  And, with all those hills, my gluts were screaming at me.  Even running down hill started to hurt.

I texted Ron and Andie at mile 11 and let them know that I was ok but it was going to be a slow one for me.

I ran the whole way until at mile 12, I walked 2 huge hills.  The walk eased my knee pain just enough for me to finish pretty strong.

My Garmin said 2:32.  We haven’t gotten our official chip time yet but I’m thinking this is probably pretty accurate.

Andie did the 5 in around 56 minutes and Ron finished up right after me at around 2:42.

I love the race shirt and the Inaugural medal was cute.  Bull City was fun but definitely not an easy race.

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Since Andie had been waiting so long for Ron and me and since Ron doesn’t like crowds, we didn’t spend a lot of time at the after race party.  It was a nice one though.  Plenty of free food, beer, massages, and a huge selection of Food Trucks to get lunch from.

This may or may not be my last race for 2013.  I haven’t signed up for anything but I’m thinking a Turkey Trot or a Jingle Bell Run might be in the future.

Ron is napping and Andie, Jonathan, and Mason are painting pumpkins.  I think a nap is calling my name.

Here’s a recreation of my favorite sign of the day:

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Happy Racing to all you winners out there.  Smile

Smoky Mountain Memories

We’ve been home for exactly one week and my mind keeps drifting back to our wonderful little Smoky Mountain Vacation.

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Ron and I really had the time of our lives.

I’ve got so much to share and I really want to do good reviews of all the places we went so please bare with me if this post gets super long.  Just sit right back and let this boring old lady show you her vacation pictures.  LOL  Smile

Our vacation started on Saturday and first on the list was to spend a day with our Mountaineer.

Lydia had only been in college for one week and she already had a long list of things she needed.  After dropping off all her goodies in her dorm, we all went out for a quick bite to eat and then headed to Blowing Rock to the outlets!

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We had a lot of fun shopping!

I fell in love with this piece of art.  “On the Fence”  Isn’t that a great name for it?

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Lydia got some rain boots and I got these cool Skele-toes!

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I needed some shoes to wear rafting and Ron swears by these.  I think he is on his 3rd pair.  I’ve been wanting a pair every since I read Born to Run.  They are super comfy!

The day slipped away from us and it was dark before we knew it.  We had planned to head 2.5 hours north to my mother’s but we were so tired we started looking for a hotel room in Boone.

Unfortunately due to this little race, not a room was to be found.  And, since we were traveling towards Bristol, there was no chance of finding a hotel along the way.  We had a dark, winding, trip through Tennessee to Southwestern Virginia.  We were both so happy to make it Wise and slip into the comfortable bed Mother had waiting for us.

We spent Sunday with my mother and step-father and I cooked them a wonderful dinner.  We had lemon baked shrimp and baked sweet potatoes.  For dessert it was vanilla bean ice cream and fresh strawberries.

Mother and Sidney like to nap in the afternoons so Ron and I slipped away to one of our favorite places.

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Guest River Gorge is near the neighboring town of Coeburn.  It was once a railroad track but now they have made it into a wonderful place to run, walk, or ride your bike.  The trail follows the Guest River ever so slightly downhill to the Clinch River for 5.8 miles.  Ron and I only ran 2 in and then 2 out this time but we have done the whole trail before.  That last 5.8 miles back up the slight upgrade really is a hard run!

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After a good night’s rest, we headed out to go Flying!  Monday was our day at Navitat!

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I’ve already shared the pictures in my Flying post but now let me tell you a little about the adventure.

Well for starters, when I asked Ron if he wanted to do this he never really mentioned that he was deathly afraid of heights.  He’s a cable engineer and years ago when he first started, he climbed his share of poles and he even drove a bucket truck for years!  With all of that and after 25 years of marriage, I never knew of this phobia.

On Sunday night, he started Googling to see if anyone had died zip lining.  By the time we got to Bernardsville, I was getting so nervous.  He had me all worked up and I was getting terrified.

They start you off with some zips that are not too long and not too awfully high.  Our guides were super sweet, funny, informative, and great teachers.  I had a little hard time learning to brake and a few times when I came in for the landing, I was going way too fast!  They have a brake that they can use to help you but I really wished I had gotten more of the hang of it and could have come in gracefully.

The longest zip was 1100 feet and the highest was over 200 feet in the air.  It was breathtaking.

Ron told me later that after the 2nd zip, he was ready to call it quits.  He was really scared.

However, he stuck with it.  Never let on to anyone of his fears.  And in the end, he won the best hollering contest and had a lot of fun.  He was so proud that he conquered his fear of heights.

I would highly recommend Navitat.  The Smokies have some zip lines and we are both anxious to try them out next time.

After Navitat, we were starved and since we were so close to Asheville, this was our chance to try Plant.

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I’ll say goodnight now and save my review of the all vegan restaurant, Plant for tomorrow.

Happy Running Friends!

(Oh, and if you want to leave a comment, please leave it here and not on Facebook.  I’m taking a break from FB and I won’t see it if you post it there.)

City of Oaks Marathon

Well there you go!  Another marathon is in the books.  I cannot believe I’ve done 4 marathons.

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It’s inconceivable sometimes!  Ask any one of my friends and family.  They’ll tell you that I don’t seem like the running type.  They’ll tell you that it just doesn’t fit with my personality.  I don’t really look like a runner either.

The only problem with all of that is…..I definitely am a runner.

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Don’t ask me how it happened?  It kinda just slipped up on me.  November 2009 came and for some reason I kept getting on the treadmill.  January 2010 came and I got my very first pieces of running clothes.  February 2010 came and I ran my first race.  The Krispy Kreme Challenge.  My husband, my niece, and my nephew ran it with me and after that I was hooked!

I ran all of 2010 and then celebrated in November with the City of Oaks half marathon and then the Outer Banks full marathon.  Two weekends apart.  I couldn’t have been happier!

2011 brought another marathon and many other fun races.

In 2012, I lead a Run for God class at our church.  We had a blast running together and loved learning more about God and how to run our own race to His glory.  Next I found the Galloway program and changed up my training.  2012 has also been the year I set a goal to run a race a month.

For November’s entry, let me recap last Sunday’s City of Oaks Marathon.  It was a doosey!

Since I’ve done so many races now, Ron doesn’t always come with me anymore.  He’s still a big supporter.  He just doesn’t come to all of my races.  For some reason, I really wanted him to come to the City of Oaks.  When I asked him, he just sorta shrugged and asked me what he would do for 5 hours all by himself?  I jokingly said that he could run with me.  That’s all it took.  He thought that was an awesome idea and with only one day’s planning, he went to the expo with me and signed up for the half marathon.

Ron doesn’t really have a set training plan but he is always exercising.  He now has 2 Total Gyms.  One at home and his old one at work.  He works out on that thing all.the.time.

When he runs, he usually only does one loop around our neighborhood.  (2.1 miles)  When he gets on the treadmill, that 2.1 number is his favorite.  Rarely does he ever clock more that 3 or 4 miles tops.

Don’t ask me how he does it but even with that low mileage, he can always pull out an awesome half marathon.  I’ve been trying to get him to do just one full marathon but he won’t agree to it at all.  He says he’s just fine with halfs.  Smile

The City of Oaks is run on the first Sunday in November and that’s the day the time changes.  What luck!  The 7:00am start feels like 8:00 to your body.  Fun fact:  The day we Fall Back is the anniversary of our first date.  Happy 25th Honey!

Here’s a picture of Ron and me just before the start.  It was a cool 32 degrees.  A perfect day for a run.

Me before race     Ron before race

Take a look at my new Bondi Band.

frequent walk breaks.

In honor of the Galloway method, I just had to get it.

Ron and I didn’t get to the race with too much time to spare.  Luckily we picked the perfect line for the porta johns and breezed right through.  Here’s a race tip I bet you haven’t heard before.  When you get to the porta john line, pick one of the lines on the ends.  The johns are often lined up in a U or L shape and if you get the one on the end, you’ll get a larger number of them opening up.  Our line was moving so fast.  I really felt sorry for some of the runners in the lines in the middle.  I know they were getting so stressed.

The race began with a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.  I was tearing up right there on the spot.  No prayer though, so I quickly bowed my head and prayed for everyone’s safety.

Just like that we were off.

I started my 3 and 1 intervals right off the bat and really enjoyed the downtown Raleigh run.  I’ve done so many 5ks downtown, I’m learning all the hills pretty well.

My 10k time was 1:10.  I was feeling great.

Around mile 7 though, I started to get the feeling that I needed to use the bathroom.  I never have to go on my training runs but I always end up stopping at least once in every marathon.  Must be my nerves.

There were supposed to be porta johns at every water stop but I didn’t see one at mile 8 or at mile 10.  I was getting so frustrated.

Thankfully at mile 12 I spotted one and slipped in and out quickly as there was no line at all.

Next on my agenda was to make it to mile 14.  That was supposed to be the first aid station that had gels.  After getting so annoyed with my fuel belt in my trail marathon last month, I decided to just depend on the aid stations for my fuel.

Well mile 14 came and went and not a gel in sight.  This was already pushing it for me to go without fuel and I was starting to freak out.  I found a nice spectator and her daughter that were giving out Fig Newtons and reached my hand in the bowl and took one cookie.

Perfect.  One Fig Newton would do the trick.  I could make it to mile 15 now and that was the next station with gels.

Well, as you can guess, I passed mile 15 and no aid station in sight.

About this time I looked down and right there in the middle of the greenway was one lone Hammer Gel.  I hesitated for a second but quickly bent down and picked it up.  I looked at it closely and it seemed to be in perfect condition.  The seal had not been torn at all.  Crazy thoughts raced through my head about maybe someone injecting the pouch with a poison.  In the end, I tore it open and downed it.  I’m sure it must have just been inadvertently dropped by a fellow runner.  It was my favorite.  Chocolate!  Smile  It tasted just like a tube of Duncan Hines frosting.  Delicious.

I was good to go.

Then, only a few tenths of a mile down the trail, the most amazing aid station you could ever imagine appeared.  It was like a mirage appearing in the desert.  It was stocked with zillions of gels, orange slices, grapes, pretzels, water, and sports drink.  The even had a dj and were rockin’ out some awesome tunes.  I didn’t eat anything but I accepted another gel that a volunteer was handing out.  I held on to that gel for dear life.  It was like I was afraid I’d never see another gel again.

I didn’t need to be afraid.  From that point on, gels were abundant.

Around mile 19 my knee started to hurt like crazy.  I have had ITB issues in the past and I knew exactly what was happening.  I kept jogging but what I was figuring out was that the people that were waking near me were going just as fast as I was.

I met a very nice person that was having foot pain.  We ended up walking for quite some way together.  Her name was Jaime and as we talked we found out we had a friend in common.  Jaime was such an inspiration.  She’s going to go to Iceland next year and will be running what will amount to a marathon a day for 7 days.  (I think that’s right.  Jaime, correct me if I got it wrong.)

At the last aid station at mile 25, a volunteer commented on my OBX t-shirt  I was wearing.  She smiled and said that today’s race had a bit more hills than the Outer Banks.  We locked eyes on that comment and then after I smiled, we both started LAUGHING OUT LOUD.  She could tell how much pain I was in and knew that I needed to laugh rather than cry.  I guess you had to be there but it was the funniest thing in the world to me at that moment.

Just after that, I spotted Ron.  Turns out he was super worried about me and had even talked with the police and some of the race officials.  He never expected me to take that long to finish and knew I must have run into some kind of trouble.  I was so sorry that I worried him so.

My time was 6:05.

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Ron finished his half in 2:48.

Here we are after we got home with our medals.

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And here’s a close up of the medals.

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Pretty huh?!

We had a wonderful time.  The weather couldn’t have been more perfect.  The City of Oaks 2012 was amazing.

I will admit I was somewhat disappointed in my time right after the race.  But now that I’ve had a few days to take it all in, I’m better.  I’m thankful for my health and for God leading me to this awesome hobby of running.  I’ve foamed rolled a couple of times and even though it hurts like the dickens, I know it’s for my own good.

I want so much to be faster but I realize I did the very best I could considering the ITB trouble.

I found this quote my the 1972 Olympic Gold Medal marathoner, Frank Shorter:

“You can actually suffer a little bit more going slowly than when you’re going really fast. A faster marathon might even be easier than a slow one, in terms of what it takes out of you mentally.”

My 4:47 marathon took a lot out of me physically but this 6:05 marathon was one of the hardest mental challenges I’ve completed.

Next up is my last race of the year.  My good friend, Lisa, and I are running a 10 miler.  It’s called the Reindeer Dash for Cash and is sure to be a hoot.  I can’t wait.

Happy Running Y’all!

“But those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
– Isaiah 40:31

Motivation!

I’m always guilty as charged when it comes to slacking on the cross training.  I know I need to but most weeks it is all I can do to get my 3 days of running in let alone thinking about the other 3 or 4 days.

This week has been tough.  Tuesday got here and I didn’t get up early.  Then when I got home something came up and I ended up skipping.  Wednesday morning came and went and Wednesday night was out because Ron and I had planned a date night.  Thursday morning came and I chose sleep over running and promised myself I’d run after work.  I was starved after work and ended up getting something to eat on the way home.  (I had a 2 hour drive home on Thursday night.)  Then after eating, I just couldn’t muster up the motivation to run.  So….Friday is here.  As you can guess, I didn’t run this morning.  However, I did run tonight.

5 Glorious Miles!

It was about 7:15 before I started so I knew it would be pretty dark before I finished.  I didn’t let that stop me.  I put on my reflective shirt and headed out.  The weather was cool and I’m so glad I made it out there.  It really was a beautiful run.

One thing that keeps me motivated to keep running is the hope to be able to lose a few pounds.  I’d actually like to lose about 20 pounds but that’s a whole other blog post.  Another motivation is the fact that I know running is very healthy for me.  It helps to keep my cholesterol down and osteoporosis at bay.  I heard just the other night on the John Tesh radio show that running can add up to 6 years to your life span.

Running with friends is another huge motivation for me.  I love my Galloway group and I love running with friends.  Next month I’m co-leading a Half Marathon Small Group at out church.  That is going to be so awesome!  We’re going to run together for 16 weeks and then run the Myrtle Beach Half in February.  I’m sure our group is going to keep me motivated all winter long. (Yay Mt. Zion friends!)

The number one motivator to me though is most assuredly signing up for races.

You see that 44 and 22 app on my phone?

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The COO 44 is the countdown for the City of Oaks Marathon.  The Medoc 22 is the countdown for the Medoc Trail Marathon.  That my friends is what got me out there running tonight.

I have 3 weeks and 1 day until I’m going out for a little training run.  That’s what I’m telling myself.  Medoc is a full trail marathon but I’m just going out there to have fun and log some miles.  The cut off for Medoc is 7.5 hours.  Even though it is a trail marathon and will be harder than a normal marathon, I’m thinking that surely with my two sub 5 hours marathons under my belt, I should be able to make it before the cut off.  The course is 3 loops and they can pull you at the 2nd loop if they think you won’t make the last loop in time.  That’s my main goal.  I really don’t want to get pulled.  I’ve never had a DNF and I don’t want this one to be my first.

Now for the City of Oaks I have 6 weeks and 2 days to continue to get ready.  For this marathon I really want to give it my all and try to give a strong finish.

So there you go.  The countdown is on.

I, Melissa Cupit, do solemnly swear that I’m up to no good that I will faithfully cross train for the next 6 weeks as well as getting in my 3 weekly training runs.

Happy Cross Training Ya’ll!

Run the Valley…..and the Mountain

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most photos by Christy Crisco and used by permission

In my quest to run a race a month for all of 2012, I came across the little gem of a race called Run the Valley.

Since my training mileage is increasing every week, I knew I wanted to look for at least a half marathon. If I was going to miss my Galloway training run I knew I had to make it worth it. However, my stipulations were many. I wanted a race destination that was not too far away. I wanted a low entry fee. I wanted a medal. And, most importantly, I wanted a cool race shirt. Run the Valley met and far exceeded all my expectations.

Run the Valley begins in the town of Badin and runs to the top of Morrow Mountain and then back again. I had never heard of Badin but I knew Morrow Mountain. My niece got married there so I knew it was close to my sister’s home in Mt. Pleasant, NC. Total distance from the Raleigh area was only about 2.5 hours away. Perfect. I knew I could either drive early the morning of the race day or I could spend the night with my sister. No hotel costs for me. Huge Win!

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The entry fee was only $35.00. I could not believe it. At first I just knew that you’d never get a medal for that price and if you got a shirt, it would be a” rotten” cotton one.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. For the very low price of $35.00, somehow they provided us with the most amazing race you could imagine. Nice medal. Very cool shirt. A long sleeved technical one and you even had the choice of a man’s or woman’s fit.  And we even got a sweat towel.

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I was sold! I knew I wanted to do it but I knew that running a race alone (no matter how cool of a race it is) is never as much fun as when you share the adventure with a friend. My only problem was that Ron hasn’t been training as much lately and he isn’t prepared to run that far right now. I knew I’d have to drum up a buddy to run with from my Facebook friends. I posted on my FB page and I didn’t get any takers so I also posted on my Galloway pace group page. That’s where I met up with Dottie.

Dottie has been running for over 30 years and is an inaugural member of the Raleigh Galloway Program. She said there couldn’t have been more than 20 or 30 members when they began and now our Raleigh group is over 500 members strong. That makes us the largest Galloway program in the nation. Dottie has 10 full marathons under her belt and too many half marathons to remember. She saw my post and was also intrigued. She decided to register that day.

This year, Dottie mostly runs with the 11:00 pace group and I run with the 10:30’s. We kept missing each other on Saturday mornings and remained FB only friends for about a month. Early race day morning, we met for the first time face to face and became in person friends instantly. Isn’t it so cool how a common hobby such as running and racing can help you find a new friend!? One of the group leaders in the 10:30 group told me that all of her best friends now are people she met at Galloway.

I’ve thought about how I was going to put my thoughts into words all week and how in the world I would ever give you a glimpse of the beauty of the valley and the mountain.

I knew it was going to be hard. Especially hard because I had only one photo to share with you. My phone has officially bit the dust. It hasn’t really worked well at all since I ran with it in the rain back in March. I had charged it all night but before I could even snap one picture on race morning, it was dead. This photo of me and Dottie with our medals was taken by a nice person I met at the awards ceremony. Her name was Kara and when I told her my phone had died, she didn’t hesitate to snap a picture and email it to me. Thanks Kara!

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What I really needed were all the cool pictures that the race photographer took. So, I found her on FB and sent a message to her. I asked for permission to use her pictures and luckily she agreed. I’m not positive that she took every single one of these pictures but since she seemed like she was the head race photographer, I’m hoping that it will be ok. Please visit their FB page for a complete viewing of all the wonderful race day photographs. 

Early Saturday morning, I drove into Badin. It was still dark and when I approached the town limits and I could just make out the lake that Badin is famous for. Badin Lake is very popular and the boat dock was quite busy that morning as are most Saturday mornings I am sure. There was a slight mist rising from the lake and that mixed with all the lights from the trucks and boat trailers gave me a sense that I was in for quite the adventure.

Just around from the dock, my Garmin told me to turn and I found my way to an Elementary School that runners were supposed to park at. One foot out of my car and I knew something was different. It was Saturday. It was dark. But it was cold. I have been running all summer and every Saturday I faithfully apply sunscreen while it is still dark and try to find something to wear that will camouflage all the sweat that I will be swimming in moments after I begin running. Today was different. It was cold. I couldn’t believe it. Fall was actually here and the horrors of this challenging, humid, HOT, Summer were finally coming to a close. I was SO happy.

Dottie and I met up at the bib pick up area and quickly became friends. We then started planning our Mountain strategy. Dottie doesn’t normally run her Galloway intervals on race days anymore since she is so experienced. However, I really wanted to. She didn’t think twice and agreed to run them with me. I set my Garmin to the run 3 minutes – walk 1 minute interval and just like that we were off.

Note…that’s the one small suggestion I have for the race directors. It was fine to just say, “On your mark, get set, Go!”   I liked that part a lot. I didn’t miss the gun start at all. I did miss the singing of the national anthem. I did really miss the prayer. I’m sure there was someone in Stanley County that would have loved to showcase their voice with the singing of the national anthem. And, with all the Run for God t-shirts that I saw in the race, I’m sure others missed beginning the race with a prayer.

The race began very quickly and before I knew it I looked around and Dottie and I were dead last. Not a single person behind us. That has never happened to me in a race. I could not believe it and was sort of freaking out. Dottie wasn’t irritated in the least and just told me to stick with the intervals and that we’d catch up to some other runners soon enough. Her easy going attitude calmed me down and we settled into a good rhythm. The run down Valley Drive was so tranquil. Dottie kept pointing out different houses she liked and how nice the landscape was. It was a very pretty run.

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Not long after we started up Morrow Mountain Road, I spotted some runners in the distance. The mountain was tough but with the intervals it was doable.

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Here’s an elevation graph so you can get an idea of what we were facing.

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We kept chugging up the hills and then there was this huge hill and a sharp horseshoe curve. There was a race photographer right there in the curve so I told Dottie that we had to run and smile for the picture.

Here’s a shot of me in that curve.

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Here’s my very favorite picture of the entire race. Two runners giving each other a high five as they pass one another.

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And here’s another great mountain shot:

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We made it to the top before we knew it and then we began the descent.  We met up with a two other runners and chatted with one of them a bit.  It was his first half marathon and I told him that he really picked a hard one.

We trailed 2 other runners the entire way back into Badin.

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We finished up just behind them and when we met up with them at the food tent, they just smiled and smiled and told us that we were really challenging.  They said we were relentless.

This race was one of my very favorite that I’ve ever run.

Dottie won 1st in her age group and I won 3rd in mine.

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My very first trophy ever.  I am so proud of it but I promised myself that I’d come clean tonight and reveal that there must have only been 3 women in my age group.  LOL

85 total participants.  The smallest but most wonderful half marathon I’ve ever run.

Way to go Vac and Dash!  Next time I’m  in your next of the woods, I’ve got to visit your running store.  Well, running and vacuum cleaner store that is.  I’ve got nothing but the highest regards for you all!

Deep in the Meadow

What a wonderful day.  I skipped my Galloway run so I could take care of Mason this morning.  He is so smart and such a blessing and joy to me.

Here he is with his mower at his 1st birthday party.

Mason with mower

Here’s another good one.

bday cake

Around lunchtime, Andie and Jonathan came and took him to the pool.  Love this shot of Jonathan and Mason from last week’s pool outing.

Mason at pool

After that, Lydia and I had a lunch date at New Japan Express.  We shared a Hibachi Vegetable and an order of King Crab Rangoons.   Delicious!  Lydia spent a little of her BoJangles earnings and got the cutest Vera Bradley wristlet.  I’m so excited that she is enjoying working and appreciating learning how far a dollar goes.

Next on the agenda was a slow and easy 5 mile run with my good friend and best running partner ever.  Didn’t get a shot of us today but here’s a good picture of us in April when we ran the First Flight 5k at the Wright Brothers’ Memorial.

Lisa and me

Today, Lisa agreed to brave the heat with me and we covered 5 miles in 53 minutes.  We did the run-walk-run method and we really must have been bookin’ it during the running parts.  The Neuse Riverwalk and Buffalo Creek Greenway is pretty nice.  The part near the water treatment plant had a slightly unpleasant odor for a bit but other than that, I liked it a lot.  It is really secluded so if you decide to go, take a buddy.  We even saw a snake.  Thanks Lisa for pointing it out to me.  I would have run right over it if you hadn’t.

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Lisa and I reminisced about our 2 marathons each and many other half marathons.  Lisa talked to me about an interesting thing that can happen to runners:  distance disorientation.  Made a lot of sense to me because sometimes when you’re out there on a long run, nothing plays with your head more than not knowing exactly where you are in your mileage.  Even your Garmin can play with your head sometimes.

When I got home from the run, I whirled up a delicious green monster.  Earlier in the week I had made one with spinach / arugula mix and it was disgusting.  The arugula is not meant to be blended up.  Today’s version was all spinach, one banana, 1/2 cup of milk, ice, and one scoop of vanilla protein powder.  Just what I always want after a run.

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The last thing I needed to do was to water my neighbor’s garden and flowers.  She goes to Florida one time every summer and she asks me to do this chore for her.  She makes a big deal about it and goes on and on about how much she is grateful to me for helping her out.  I try and try to tell her that it’s no bother at all.  I love it!

I turned on her sprinkler and sat on her awesome deck and read.  I’m re-reading Hunger Games and tonight I was on the part about Rue.  So sad.  Now that I am reading it again, I can just see the little actress that played her in the movie and I was crying big fat tears as I read.

Here’s Rue’s song performed by none other than one of my favorite singers in the whole world – Sting.

After a bit, I got up and took the watering cans to the rest of my neighbors flowers.  Aren’t they all just gorgeous!

I’ll sign off with this cheesy shot of a hopeless romantic and loony runner.

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Wanna Race?