Race Recap: DeForest, WI 4th of July 10k

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I’ve done 5ks.
I’ve done half marathons – lots of them.
I’ve done marathons.

But somehow, the 10k has alluded me these last two years of running. For some pretty silly reasons too.

First, they’re just not as common, so the opportunity hasn’t presented itself as readily as other, longer races. “Why do a 10k, when I can get a heavier, swankier half marathon finishers medal?”

Ok, if that sound like B.S. – you’re right. It is.

Here’s the real reason I was a 10k virgin until yesterday – I’m a BIG FAT WUSS.

See, with the 5k I know what I’m getting into. In the world of long distance running (it’s all about perspective here) the 5k is virtually a sprint. I run 3 miles all the time without stopping. I can handle that. Run it fast – got it.

With the half marathon, which is definitely a long race, I know how to approach that as well. My pacing strategy always comes down to 3 mile blocks, with water/walk breaks at those points. Run it steady – got it.

But the 10k – who knows with that one?! For me, the 10k is perplexing. Three miles is no problem to run, even five miles I can do without stopping. With that background, I feel like the six miles of a 10k should be no problem. Except there has always been a mental block for me. It’s JUUUST long enough to be intimidating to run my heart out for, but JUUUST short enough that I can’t simply zone out for a couple hours.

I decided to man up this week and at the last minute registered for this 10k in DeForest, WI. It wasn’t really motivated by anything other than I hadn’t done a race in awhile and since it is a holiday I figured this would be a pretty fun and lively one. I already needed to do a medium-length run for marathon training, and for $25 it delivered a new course, some comrades, a free t-shirt, and lunch. Not a bad deal.

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Being over enthusiastic, as per usual, I dawned my red, white and blue. Pigtails (yeah, it surprised me that I did that too) flag ribbons, and a blue star clapper completed my ensemble. I figured I would be the “Freedom Fairy” with my little star clapper along the course.

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I assumed I would fit in with the fine freedom-loving folks of DeForest, WI. Doesn’t everyone look for an excuse to get dressed up? Apparently not, because 98% of people were just there in their LuLu Lemon and Nike clothes. DID YOU MISS THE MEMO: It’s Independence Day. Hello! (I was a little disappointed I didn’t even see one person wearing a birthday hat for the occasion. Come on, that would be hilarious!)

I felt like Elle Woods from Legally Blonde showing up to the “costume” party in a bunny outfit, while all the Harvard YoPros (that’s young professionals for all you non-YoPros out there) wore their suit jackets and cardigans. After I recovered from my (very mild) embarrassment I was ready to run.

Let me tell you about 10ks. They’re not that much different from 5ks. Or half marathons. You run. And you do that for about 55 minutes. And then you’re done. I stopped for water, just like any other race, and I sprinted to the finish, just like any other race. Talk about building something up too much in my mind, again – as per usual.

I finished the 10k in 55:28, just south of the 9:00min/mi pace I have been striving for lately! I would have placed in my age group (W20-24) but being a small race the age group I fell into was W20-29. Either way, I walked away with a PR!

Bomb pops at the end - how perfect!

Bomb pops at the end – how perfect!

Having gotten my workout in for the day, I celebrated our nation’s birthday like I’m sure the founding fathers would have wanted us to – with a flag cake! (That’s what they envisioned when they wrote the Declaration of Independence, right?) And yes, I kept the red, white, and blue theme going all day – because I love America, that’s why.

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Race Report: Run the Bluegrass – Lexington, KY

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I am frequently asked if being on the road, traveling the country in the Wienermobile, has allowed me to check off a lot of states on my Race for 50 States. Sadly, the answer is no. While I get to run in quite a few cool places, because I typically work the weekends I am unable to actually make it to races.

(Of course, there was that one time that Abe met me at the finish line in the company car, I washed my hair out with a water bottle, and then we hauled buns straight to work!) 

I have gotten lucky and squeezed in races in Utah, Idaho, and New Mexico, and now I can add Kentucky to the list with the Run the Bluegrass half marathon in Lexington yesterday.

It worked out perfectly that I was able to make the race. I am actually on spring break right now in Louisville, KY. (That’s right, spring break – we get vacation time from our year long vacation!) Since I had a free place to stay I figured I should probably run Kentucky while I had the opportunity to do it on the cheap. Apparently Easter weekend isn’t a big weekend for races (which is strange considering the need to burn off all those Cadbury eggs) and Run the Bluegrass was the only race going on in the area. It touts being one of “America’s Prettiest Races” and I was sold on all the horse imagery and bourbon references. This is a true “Kentucky” race if there ever was one!

Naturally I tried to corral some friends along. Running pals Tim and Kathy both politely declined after informing me they both got their PWs (personal worsts) at the race the year before. “It’s gorgeous, but you will have just gotten to the top of one hill and not be able to see over the next one,” was all Tim had to say about it when I talked to him at the Mississippi Blues Marathon in January. I also tried to talk my friend David into doing it for his first half marathon. He was smart enough to read the reviews and passed on the opportunity to tackle one of the hardest half marathons in the country as his first.

You would think that at this point I would have realized it was going to be hilly. Somehow it still didn’t really register with me. “Oh all races have hills. It’ll be fiiiiinnnneee.” So I registered in January.

And then, I pretty much forgot about it. Well, I pretty much forgot about running altogether. I put on some treadmill miles here or there, got in a few long runs when I was feeling dedicated, but really only used the word marathon when referring to the massive quantities of time I spent watching The West Wing on Netflix Instant instead.

There was no shortage in youthful arrogance in my approach to this race, and “I’ll just wing it” was definitely my attitude.

I spent the two weeks leading up to the race sick at first and then using beer therapy to cure it the second week. It’s spring break – who needs sleep or exercise? By the time I made it to packet pickup on Friday I was already exhausted just thinking about having to run 13.1 miles on Saturday.

The expo was certainly energizing though. The drive to Keeneland was spectacular – sprawling horse fields with gorgeous barns and fences. It was like driving through a postcard. The claim of being one of America’s prettiest half marathons was definitely accurate.

Made a pun-filled sign for the Wienermobile to encourage runners for the race. What can I say, I'm kind of a corndog!

Made a pun-filled sign for the Wienermobile to encourage runners for the race. What can I say, I’m kind of a corndog!

The best part of the expo though was meeting Hal Higdon. I used his plans to train for both my half marathons and my full marathons, so I owed the guy a thank you. Not just on behalf of me, but all my running friends and family who also used him as a resource. I know he gets that all the time, but who doesn’t love hearing thank you? I wanted to show him an even bigger gesture of gratitude with a ride in the Wienermobile, but we never did get to “ketchup” for that!

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The next day, after less than quality Zzzzs, I headed back to Lexington. There was heavy fog and absolutely no traffic – it was eerie. I started to actually freak out when a mile away from the race there were still no cars in sight. Was the race actually at Keenland, where packet pickup was? Did it start at 8 a.m., not 9 a.m.? What’s the deal!? Turns out all the traffic was coming from the other direction. Apparently traffic (and the fog) was so bad they had to delay the start by 15 minutes. There was some sighs about that at the start line, but we got some motivational words from Hal Higdon that kept the enthusiasm up.

Spotted in the parking lot at the race start. I hear this guy runs half marathons.

Spotted in the parking lot at the race start. I hear this guy runs half marathons.

Weather for the race was spectacular! I was afraid I would be too cold and had actually switched from shorts to capris. That was a great idea while at the start, while I was shivering, but it was so sunny and bright out that during the race I almost could have gone back to the shorts! It was probably 50 degrees without a cloud in the sky.

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The weather is a lot more fun to talk about than the race though. Holy Hills! Why didn’t anyone tell me?!?! … Oh wait, they did! It wasn’t one or two big hills, it was hill, after hill, after hill, after hill, after hill. Get the point? The hills just kept coming!

This was the quietest race I have ever done. For 13.1 miles there was almost no talking or cheering. Everyone was so focused on tackling each hill that no one could spare any extra energy for pleasantries! At the end of the race I talked to one woman who said she counted 42 hills. I couldn’t believe she counted, but she said she literally had nothing else to focus on!

Had all my "peeps" cheering me on during the race. Too funny for an Easter race!

Had all my “peeps” cheering me on during the race. Too funny for an Easter weekend race!

I got exactly what I was looking for out of this race though – a true Kentucky experience. The scenery was beautiful. I had forgotten to start my watch and so I spent more time enjoying the scenery than looking at my Garmin, like I am occasionally criminal of. Horses were out frolicking in fields the entire race, clearly enjoying their flat pastures more than our hilly half marathon. Farmers had their tractors out hard at work. We inhaled the smell of horse manure as we climbed to the top of the hills. This was exactly what I wanted for the race, an experience I couldn’t get in another state … horse poop in the road and all!

(I wish I had pictures from the course, but I was worried if I stopped moving to take pictures I wouldn’t be able to get moving again!)

Uhh. Race photos - who really knows what is happening in them. I guess I was "wink wink - nudge nudgeing" the photographer. Credit to "Novice Photo Guy" who was just testing his camera. Great work!

Uhh. Race photos – who really knows what is happening in them. I guess I was “wink wink – nudge nudgeing” the photographer. Credit to “Novice Photo Guy” who was just testing his camera. Great work!

At mile 11 I did make one friend, a dentist from Nashville. I told him I had been pacing myself off of him the whole race. “If I can just keep up with the red shirt guy” I thought to myself over and over again. (You know that strategy.) Apparently the pacing was mutual. We pushed through the last two miles together. Of course, I had to ask if he had ever worked on any famous teeth, being a Nashville dentist and all. He said that yes, he had had several noteworthy mouths over the years! (Apparently he is not the kind of dentist who sells cavity stories to the tabloids and I didn’t get any juicy details of which country singers forget to floss!)

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The race ended and I felt a swell of pride having earned my membership to the Run The Bluegrass PW club. I didn’t bomb too badly and finished with a 2:07:37, a time remarkably close to my first half marathon. With all those hills and all that training I didn’t do, I walked away with my medal pretty darn pleased.

The only horse photo I have from the race, but trust me - there were plenty more!

The only horse photo I have from the race, but trust me – there were plenty more!

In addition to being a gorgeous race, the finishers food was equally eye-pleasing. Shot glasses filled with M&Ms (I’ll take three please!), cookies, and chocolate milk!

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The middle schooler in me was delighted with lunch that day!

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I had planned to stick around Lexington and see the city a bit, but was too wiped out from the day that I elected to head back to Louisville for a nice long shower. That turned into three hours just laying in bed. I wasn’t really doing anything – just laying there. Yeah, it turned out to be one of those days. Could have gone for a post-race massage, that’s for sure!

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With a proud Personal Worst and a great ass from all the hills, I have officially checked Kentucky off the Race for 50 States!

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Race Report: Mississippi Blues Marathon

(Warning: I know this is long, but so is a marathon.) 

Have I mentioned on here just how much I love running? Oh, I have? Ok, have I mentioned just how much I love marathon running?! This weekend I headed down to Jackson, MS to run the Mississippi Blues Marathon and had an absolutely unbelievable time. It was 1,700+ miles of driving, 26.2 miles of running, and one hell of a trip.

Now let’s get something straight. I signed up for this marathon back in October from fear of not having a “next goal” after the Marine Corps Marathon. I was pretty cavalier about it and can honestly say I didn’t do much research besides looking at the date and how far away it was.

So what has happened between October and now? Well not much running, I’ll tell you that. I took some pretty serious chunks of time off. 10 days over Thanksgiving, followed by a guilt-trip 50 mile week, which was then met with another week off. The two weeks leading up to the marathon I ran a total of 9 miles and then a big fat zero miles the whole week before.

With my iffy training I was feeling pretty worried. I hemmed and hawed, but concluded – yes, I would at least be able to FINISH the race. It might not be pretty, but if I went down to Jackson I would definitely pass the finish line. Even though I was resigned to at least completing the race, serious doubts began to creep up about the weekend as a whole.

  • “This is so expensive!”
  • “What the hell was I thinking with this 50 states goal. I can’t afford this!”
  • “What if something happens and my car breaks down. I can’t miss work again, especially since I missed three days after the Marine Corps Marathon with Hurricane Sandy.”
  • “I don’t want to half-ass a race. I’m not where I want to be so I should just scrap the whole thing.”

In fact, these thoughts of doubt plagued me so much that by Wednesday I decided I was going to completely bail on the race. I would save the gas and hotel money, hang out with my folks, and just take the second half of my vacation easy.

But let’s not kid ourselves here – this is me we are talking about. 9 a.m. on Thursday morning, midway through the shower, I thought, “Alright Kelly – no ifs, ands, or buts – you are running this marathon!” I knew that I was using the practical “I should focus on work and save money” excuse, but it was ultimately sugar-coating my fear of failing at the marathon.

I really wanted to start the New Year off right. I had signed up for a half marathon on New Year’s Day and ended up bailing on that race. (Ok – I don’t feel too bad about that. What dreamworld was I living in that I would be fit to run 13.1 miles at 7:30 a.m. that day? Honestly, I actually did get up and would have run, but I was still a little tipsy and rolled back into bed.) I knew how disappointed I would be in myself if I bailed on the Mississippi Blues Marathon as well. Two in one week?! Nope – no excuses, time to run!

While the pro list obviously seems to outweigh the cons, each of those cons were pretty heavy. I made the reasonable decision first, but since I am who I am, I changed my mind. “Carpe Diem and just keep Carping” as they like to say in the Wienermobile world! I thought about it a lot, so I knew if I ended up making the wrong decision, at least it was an informed decision. (And hey, my mom approved so that counts for something right. Now if I could only get her on board my decision to eat Fruit Loops for breakfast…. haha!)

So three hours behind schedule, at 11:00 a.m., I packed up the car and hit the road. I’ll be honest, this was my first Non-Wienermobile roadtrip since starting the job. I loved flying under the radar, but paying for gas sure was a disappointing surprise! I picked up Katie at her new house (shout out to her for her first job out of college and new digs!) and we were Nashville bound.

Of course, we had to get a little spirited along the way…

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Our evening in Nashville was filled with all the things you shouldn’t do two days before a marathon – booze, eat a bunch of fried foods, booze, and more booze. Things we didn’t do: sleep much. I think I got to bed around 3:30 a.m. and was up by 7:30 a.m. the following day. Whoops! Isn’t two nights out the day you’re supposed to log the most hours? (Don’t worry – this comes back to bite me!) On the plus side, we danced so much I think that made up for the lack of training I had been doing.

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It was a REALLY fun night in Nashville. We started out with some BBQ at Rippey’s and then went to the Honky Tonk and The Stage. I had visited Nasvhille almost one year prior exactly, and it was just as much heel-kickin’ hell-raisin’ as I remembered. And I managed to escape without the $75 parking ticket that I incurred last year.

With Eliot, my soon to be new partner in crime!

With Eliot, my soon to be new partner in crime!

Hungover, exhausted, but excited Katie and I set out for Jackson, Mississippi. On the ride I checked out The T-Rex Runner’s blog and she had posted her interview with the race director for the course. He mentioned the rolling hills we could expect on race day – sure wish I had thought more about those the last few weeks! That blog was perfect because it told me everything I needed to know but was too lazy to look up myself!

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We made it to Mississippi!

When we got in we headed straight to the expo, where there was live blues music playing to get you in the spirit.

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Although it was relatively small, it was easy to navigate to get you in and out. The swag was top-notch, a backpack, a shirt, and harmonicas plus a blues CD! How cool is that? It was when I opened the harmonica that I knew I made the right choice.

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After the expo it was obviously time for carbs and lots of them. Katie and I headed to Bravo, a local restaurant with a discount for runners (thanks!) and met up with Kathy, Tim, and their friend Bob. All 50-staters, pursuing the goal to do a marathon in all 50 states, it was a blast hearing about all the ones they have done. Since this was number three for me I kind of felt like that should have moved me out of the ‘novice runner’ category, but when you talk to people who have done 20-80 marathons you begin to question that.

Myself, Tim, Kathy, Bob & Katie

Myself, Tim, Kathy, Bob & Katie

It turns out that Bob, a police officer from Lenexa, Kansas, did all the same races as me last year. I told him he would have to send me his race schedule so I could keep picking ones he was at! He seems to have good taste in races! I also promised his kids a ride in the Wienermobile when I make it to Kansas City soon. Now speaking of kids, just when you think the adults at these events are impressive, you hear about their children. Bob has a 10 year old son who has not only done several sub 2:00 half marathons (AT TEN YEARS OLD!) but has also completed two marathons! I’m beginning to wonder if his son has a little Kenyan blood in him!

After dinner Katie and I headed to the hotel, anxiously awaiting to meet our roommates for the evening. Kathy knew Alicia, a fellow Marathon Maniac who was looking for a roommate, and put us in touch. Alicia is from Memphis, has done 80+ marathons, and is currently striving for a sub 3:00 – yeah, she is a running rockstar. At the Mississippi Blues Marathon she was pacing for the 3:20 group.

It was really fun to get to hear about the races she’s done, etc. and after rooming with her I can definitely see the perks of being a Marathon Maniac! You meet so many cool people.

The three of us after the race on Saturday. Two Maniacs + 1 Wanabee

The three of us after the race on Saturday. Two Maniacs + 1 Wanabee

Our other roommate, Peter, flew in and got to the hotel around 12:30 that night. Yep – the middle of the night. He was going to run in the morning and catch the first flight out of Jackson at 2:00 p.m. the next day. Talk about in and out for the marathon. This is his first of six straight weekends of marathons. As you can tell, he’s a Maniac and also a 50-stater. I don’t know that I could ever be a marathoner to that extent. I just love my sleep too much and since I can barely walk after a race I can’t envision myself running off to the airport terminal. He says you get used to it though.

That night, after a restless sleep I finally decided to wake up for good at 4:00 a.m. – three hours before race time. I even tried counting Wienermobiles to fall back asleep, but with my nerves, nothing was working! I would have to run on five hours of sleep.

At breakfast I got to check off one more goal for the weekend, meeting the T-Rex Runner Danielle. When I first started my own 50 states journey her blog was one of the first I stumbled upon. She is hilarious so I’ve been keeping up with her ever since. (I also like her because she dressed up in a T-Rex mascot for a race once and since I’ve done my share of mascoting I have a soft spot for dorks like us.)

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The race start was as well organized as the expo. Even for a smaller race the enthusiasm level was sky high and there was palpable excitement in the air. I decided at the start line to just go ahead and start with the 4:15:00 pace group. Realistically I envisioned myself coming in somewhere between my first and second marathon times, but was hoping I would be able to hack it with the 4:15:00 group for as long as possible.

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It turns out, the 4:15:00 pace group was comprised of some of the coolest and most supportive runners on the course. Our group was AWESOME. There were a couple unique things that I didn’t expect with our pace group. First, we stuck together pretty darn well. The group started out with 15-20 runners, and about 8 of us finished within a minute or so of each other. That was wonderful – we had a core group and pushed each other all 26.2 miles. Second, there were NO first-timers! This was something I really didn’t expect. If you couldn’t tell, this race seemed to be a mecca for 50-staters. There was only one other runner in our group who had done less than 10 marathons besides me – the rest were all on their umpteenth marathon in their umpteenth state!

I had never run with a pacer before and didn’t really know what to expect. It was such a rewarding experience. Serge did a tremendous job. It was his first time pacing, but he was a natural. He had this calm, motivating, and encouraging attitude. To be honest, there were so many points during the race that I just pushed through it because I loved running with this group so much and wanted to finish with them. I didn’t want to let the Serge down! Occasionally I would slip back a few yards, but not get too far where I thought I might not be able to catch up. Serge would always look back and pump me up to get me back on pace. I swear, if it wasn’t for him and our group I would have finished an hour later than I actually did!

Saw Elvis along the way and it's my personal rule that if I see Elvis on a race course that I always get my picture with him. That guy sure gets around for being dead!

Saw Elvis along the way and it’s my personal rule that if I see Elvis on a race course that I always get my picture with him. That guy sure gets around for being dead!

Our group had a great energy the whole race. I’m one of those “peppy” runners, and they were all about it too! We did a cheer when we passed the 10-mile mark – “DOUBLE DIGITS!” and when we hit mile 16 – “SINGLE DIGITS!”

Again and again I felt the compassion and encouragement of the running community. These people are just great! I run like some people play the show Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Occasionally I’ll poll the audience (fellow runners, crowds) for support or other times I’ll phone a friend (literally, I called my mom and dad along the course at this race!) In the end, that outside support always pays off.

Along one of the MANY hills of the course!

Along one of the MANY hills of the course!

There were a few other good moments along the race course. For example, and this may be TMI so skip ahead if you’re dainty, but around mile 15 I said to the group, “Alright guys, I’ll be honest, I’m running so hard I forgot how much I have to poop!” Not more than 100 yards down the road we run into this sign – how ironic!

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(For the record, the sign helped as a reminder and I did not poop myself!)

And while we’re already on some squeamish subjects, here’s another photo for ya!

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Miles 17-23 were absolutely killer. If it wasn’t for our group I don’t know how I would have made it. My two previous marathons had consisted of a smorgasbord of food along the route from spectators. Since the Blues is a smaller race that just wasn’t there. There was one house were two girls huddled in blankets handed out oranges, bananas, and M&Ms. They were at mile 3, which I loved then, and on the out-and-back course they reappeared at mile 17, right at the top of the hill, right when I needed them! I was still dying and called Katie for a sugar fix. There she was, with her bright pink sign, at mile 24 with a Snickers bar in hand. Nothing like chocolate and peanuts to get you through those last two miles.

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The race sign that kept me going the last two miles!

The end of this marathon was really special for me. Serge kicked my butt to the finish line. I finished ahead of him and there is nothing like that feeling when you realize, “I. AM. GOING. TO. MAKE. IT.” For me, that point is about half a mile before the end of the race. Anytime before that and finishing is still in question for me. Haha! At that point I Skyped my mom in Turkey with my new phone that has a self camera. It was was REALLY neat – she was able to actually cross the finish line WITH ME as a I ran! She was singing the Rocky theme song while I was running. I can’t even imagine what my race photo is going to look like, I’ll be crying, holding my phone up facing the finish line. Haha! Since my mom lives overseas it was really nice to be able to share that moment with her.

After we crossed the finish line most of our 4:15:00 pace group stuck around for a photo. I was so proud to have made it to the end with all these great people!

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We weren’t really sure what our chip times would be, but Serge expressed concern that he might have come in a few seconds slower than pace. I told him, “I couldn’t care if I came in at 4:15:01 – you were awesome!” I seriously mean it too – if it wasn’t for him I would have finished 10 minutes slower. When the results were posted it turns out I crossed at 4:15:09 – and you know what, I still meant it!

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Katie was there to greet me at the finish. As a Nurse, her face was absolutely horrified when she saw the post-marathon Kelly. You know, unable to walk, grimacing, etc. I think it was hard for her to separate the absolutely pure joy and pride of running 26.2 miles and the toll it takes on the body. It is funny to see a non-runner’s reaction to that type of thing!

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We hobbled over to the finishers festival, which had all the food I could have wanted. It was nice to be at a small race where they could provide hot food for the runners. (At the Marine Corps Marathon it was boxed, so things like protein bars, Gatorade, and nuts.)

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At the Blues there was Little Caesar’s Hot-n-Readys, red beans and rice, tomato soup, and peanut butter and banana sandwiches! Oh and three beers per runner!

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We caught up with Tim who had gone out and run exactly the race he wanted to and with Bob, who set a new PR on the course. That was absolutely incredible given how hilly the route was!

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Saturday night Katie and I had originally planned on doing the Blues Bar Crawl around Jackson. After a nap, we decided to grab dinner and get on our way. The drive to Kansas City would be 10 hours and we thought it would be best to break it up. Before we left town though we stopped at Sal & Mookie’s Pizza for some much deserved Pizza.

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At the restaurant I saw a guy doing the classic marathoner’s walk and we ended up sharing pizza and beer with Paul and Dustin, two other runners, and of course 50-staters. (It was Dustin’s first half-marathon, but let’s be honest, he will probably turn into a 50-stater soon enough. Paul is a decorated marathoning veteran.)

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Katie, Dustin, Paul, and Myself

We hit the road to Memphis and I think somewhere along the way I was hit by a bus. On the drive I knew I was getting sick. Was it the excessive drinking in Nashville, the 9 hours of sleep in two days, or the 26.2 mile run in the rain? It’s funny that at the beginning of the weekend I was concerned about my car breaking down, but it ended up my body was the thing to break down! I ended up with a pretty bad case of the flu. Oh well – it’s four days later and I’m feeling better. Looking back – it was worth every second!

The weekend, which I have coined the Cowgirl Boots and Running Shoes Weekend, was literally everything I had hoped it would be. I got to hang out with the Hotdoggers, catch up with college friends, make new running friends, and ran a really strong third marathon.

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Now after hanging out with all those marathoners all I can’t think about is which one is next AND how in the world am I going to become a Marathon Maniac, because that needs to happen in 2013!

Race Recap: Doggie Dash & Dawdle in Albuquerque, NM

Just a week after doing my second marathon in Washington D.C., I was across the country in Albuquerque, New Mexico checking another state off the Race for 50 States.

Now my goal is to do any type of race in each state, before my 25 birthday. Not all of these are serious. For example, I did the Freedom Trail Run, which was a touristy run in Boston, and the Dirty Dash in Boise counted for Idaho. While there are certainly races I would go back to New Mexico to do (like the Bataan Memorial Death March – definitely on the bucketlist) I was able to officially check of N.M with a fun-run 5k called the Doggie Dash & Dawdle.

Abe and I actually lucked out with this one! We were in Albuquerque with the Wienermobile and had the opportunity to plan some of our own events. Both being runners, the Doggie Dash & Dawdle was a great opportunity for the Wienermobile and us! The race was a fundraiser for the Albuquerque Humane Society, so it went to a great cause.

We arrived at Balloon Fiesta Park early to score prime parking for the Wienermobile. We lucked out with a spot right at the finish line. I’m glad we showed up early because it was great for dog and people watching!

The race was a total surprise. I honestly was expecting a small, community event. Wrong! There were 4,000+ people there with their dogs. The running community definitely has a certain ‘look’ to it, and generally there isn’t much diversity to it. That doesn’t apply to pets though! This race had everything from great danes to chi-wienies (Chihuahua and Dachshund mix) to everything in-between. There was even the option to rent a dog for $10/hour. Abe and I were going to do that, but they were all taken!

The race itself went great! It was my first time running since the marathon, so I was looking forward to stretching out my legs. I hadn’t followed proper recovery advice, so I hoped for the best! We ended up finishing in 28:37, which is a 9:10 pace.

Not bad. Not bad at all! (Especially considering I did the race in my “flight suit” which proved to be incredibly hot!) This was actually my first timed 5k since my first race ever last summer. That 5k I finished in about 35 minutes. Talk about a PR. I know I could easily break 27:00 minutes in a 5k I’m looking to race, so I might need to sign up for one soon just to see what I’m capable of.

11 States (+1 District) down, 39 to go!