Coolest finisher’s medal ever for a beer run? Hudepohl 14k Brewery Run

The finisher’s medal is a bottle opener. Two free beer coupons attached to your racing bib. A free pint glass commemorating your achievement. Beer. Running amongst the Ghostbusters and Slimer. More beer. A somewhat challenging course through Cincinnati’s historic brewery district. Did I mention beer? This was a great beer run! The post-race festivities along the river were exciting and entertaining. The kick-off to Oktoberfest was an enjoyable event I would recommend to all runners.

The Course:

I should’ve studied the elevation map a little more. Thankfully, I have incorporated hills into my regular training routine. Colerain Avenue’s elevation surprised me, but what goes up must come down. The descend was a long welcomed relief that seemed to go against the gentle cool breeze to help make the race more comfortable. I ran my fastest average pace to date and of course a PR for the distance since this was my first 14k!

This is an event I will do again for many years to come! Other runners should consider this too!

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iPod tan lines are sexy

This summer has been cruel to runners. I love running in cold weather.  I’m faster and do not look like I personally dug the Grand Canyon when I finish.  Summer running is not for me, but I do it. Fall is my favorite season of the year and I try to fill my schedule with races or one big race. Training in the summer is a must for fall races.

Last year, I ran the Indianapolis Women’s Half Marathon and then the Cincinnati Half Marathon one month later. I hope as this running boom grows more races will be scheduled in late fall/early winter. I would totally run at least a half in December, January, and February!  Weather may be a problem, but that could be part of the lure of the race. Just a thought.

These thoughts generate from my horrible experiences with running in the heat this summer.  Off on a 10 mile trail run, the heat drained my energy at mile 3.  I hate mile 3 of any run or race. If I can survive mile 3, I am good to go any distance. This day, I could not survive mile 3. From 3.0 to 3.6, I developed a headache and insatiable thirst.  I wore a 2-bottle fuel belt that day, so I was prepared for thirst – but not to this extreme. I drank my water supply, plus a PowerBar gel. At some point after 3.6, my head began feeling as if it were crashed between cymbals with each step I took. After vomiting, I knew to stop. Usually 7pm runs on this trail are cake for me.

I called my husband and thankfully he was still in the area. We met at a point where the trail crosses a road and I was never so glad to sit in his vehicle with a big fat powerade. As I chugged powerade and rested my head on the seat, he asked, “Why didn’t you finish?”

I glared at him. He probably saw his life flash before his eyes as his expression shifted from curiosity to oh crap I shouldn’t have said that. He recovered with, “Your iPod tan lines are sexy.” Good recovery! Chicks are suckers for compliments, especially in a low moment like I was experiencing.

This shows how brutal Mother Nature can be despite all preparations. I wore light running clothes, sunglasses, and a fuel belt. I had hydrated well all day and the previous day. The temperature was 93. Mother Nature 1. Me 0.

It is important to know how to play it safe when running in heat. Gear, as in a hydration belt, may be necessary or timing. Many people run in the mornings. This is not an option for me. My morning begins at 5 am and my body rejects getting up earlier. I often run at night, on the dreadmill, or before the hottest point of the day comes.

Here are some tips:

http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-267-269-12772-0,00.html

Missing the Flying Pig

Back to bacon. My very favorite race thus far has been the Flying Pig in Cincinnati, Ohio. I love Cincinnati, so it isn’t surprising I love the Flying Pig. I’ve run another race in Cincinnati, but the appeal and excitement doesn’t compare to the Flying Pig.

The hills in Eden Park were rough. I was so proud I didn’t give in and walk. My plan was to run the entire race - regardless how much it hurt. The crowd support was so awesome, the race didn’t seem that awful. My urge to walk, which I usually begin fighting at mile 3 of every run, did not set in until mile 12. At that point, a Red Foreman attitude kicked in as I told myself to suck it up and finish strong.  I ran a PR on that course. How with those hills? Well it was my 3rd half marathon, so I think I am still improving.

Picture from Flying PIg Marathon Facebook page

I finished the race strong and loved it. I had such a crash a week or two after the race. The post race blues set in hard. What could compete with the Flying Pig?  What race is as fun, yet challenging?  During the Flying Pig, I saw a man juggling as he ran the marathon. A woman ran the race in a bacon costume. The crowd support lined the course entirely and were amazing. It was very fun.  Watching the sunrise as we ran across the bridge, that was an awesome moment as well. I cannot speak enough about that race. I also cannot find a race which draws as much excitement and motivation from me.

From the Flying Pig Marathon Facebook page

I have a half marathon in a couple of weeks, but do not feel the same passion and enthusiasm.  It is a small local race and I’m chalking up my lack of interest to the small race atmosphere. We’ll see. It may be the summer heat. I’ve learned my favorite temperatures for running are below 60 degrees.  This heat burns my motivation as much as my lawn. What helps you run through the summer? Some people take the winter off from running. I’m considering the opposite and taking the summer off from training.  Does anyone do this? The downside for me would be fall is my very favorite season for running…and well everything!

Is another race so fun and comparable to the Flying Pig? Do share!

Asics Gel Nimbus 14 – the best shoe not in stores

How hard is it for a woman to find a cute pair of great running shoes? Apparently tough. We went to Bob Ronker’s in Glendale, Ohio. The store sponsored the Flying Pig Marathon, so it’s good enough for my business. They carried a not-so-cute pair of Asics Gel Nimbus 14. The shoe fit much nicer than the Gel Nimbus 13s. I excitedly ask if they have the pink or purple in stock. No. Off to Dick’s Sporting Goods. A girl’s gotta have cute shoes!

I had traveled to Dick’s in June in search of the Gel NImbus 14s. The shoe dude mentioned they have the men’s shoe, but not the women’s.  The women’s should come in next week (from the day in June I shopped). We returned on July 29. The truck carrying the women’s shoe must be stranded in an Ohio snow storm. The shoe dude suggested they will likely be in on Tuesday. For entertainment, I called Tuesday and they are not in stock.  But…they may be on the truck next week. Right. Customer service award.

After checking Foot Locker and Finish Line, my husband decided he’s ordering the shoe online. I really like to try on the exact shoe I’m buying, but I can always return them. My toddler will be crushed now that I will have a pink shoe instead of purple. She loves that we have the same colors on our shoes!

My feet ache with my current shoes (Asics Gel Nimbus 13), but have loved all of the Gel Nimbus until this shoe. The 14s felt so much better, but if I find I do not like them…I may switch to Brooks. But I won’t be shopping at Dick’s it’s-on-the-next-truck Sporting Goods.

Shedding weight

The turning point for my weight hit when I became pregnant with my third daughter. I had a horrible pregnancy with my second daughter and had recently suffered a miscarriage. My experiences scared me onto the road to skinny, which is a road I’m still traveling. I sacraficed some items from my diet, such as pop/soda, and cut back on sugar. I knew my current weight and past challenging pregnancies would make this a high risk pregnancy. I also began walking at least a mile every day. Some days, I would walk three miles. I wanted this baby and I wanted my current daughters to grow up with one parent.  Their father died of Ewing’s Sarcoma when they were an infant and toddler. 

I lost weight during my pregnancy. When I delivered our baby, I weighted 9lbs less than when we discovered I was pregnant. I did not want my progress to stop there. I ran cross country during middle school and high school and loved it. For three years, I was the only female runner on the team. I did not care. I just wanted to run. The guys were fun and funny. My fondest memory occurred on my 18th birthday. We ran the conference meet and I learned I could run. I earned all-conference honors, to the surprise of my coach and teammates. Afterward, they sang happy birthday to me at McDonald’s. Cheesy, but awesome to me.

So why join a team if you’re going to be the only girl (although a couple did join later)? My parents battled addictions that challenged their ability to love, parent, and provide. That is all I really have to say about that topic at the moment. Some may completely understand and others will not. Most high school kids sneak out of the house to do the things my parents did. I snuck out of the house every morning at 5am to run 3-5 miles. I felt strong. I felt some control amongst a storm out of my control. After delivering my last daughter, I wanted to feel that again.

I added running into my walking routine. I knew I had to start slow to avoid injury and not burn out. Despite knowing to start slowly, I wanted fast results. Running 12-13 minute miles ranked unacceptable, yet I could not seem to build speed or run more than a mile or two. The push I needed to overcome my slump came when my grandmother died. She was my partner in crime. Don’t get the image of a cookie making, babysitting grandma. That was not mine. My grandma loved to gamble. She had a QVC habit that wouldn’t quit. She loved to be the center of attention to such a degree she tried to dance hiphop at my wedding reception. I spoke with her every day and visited often. Losing her left a huge void in my life that I had to fill. I pushed harder as a result of my grief and broke through the barriers.

I ran my first 8k with a 10 minute mile. I registered for a half marathon. My running passion reignited.

So the summary of this story is:

*If you want to lose weight, get pregnant! If you want to stay skinny, join an all-male team!  If you want to be missed greatly, shake your butt to any type of music and often!

Or, if you have to be serious, lose weight by getting active, giving up bad food/drinks, and letting your feet pound out stress on the pavement.

Because I loved bacon.

Because I loved bacon, I turned into a pig. Happy fat, office fat, too busy for exercise fat – I had it all. A picture from my wedding is included and although this is around 20lbs shy of my maximum weight, it provides a good starting point. If I find a better picture, I may post later. I loved bacon, steaks, and mashed potatoes. I drank pop/soda all day long. Drinking water was punishment. The ladies at work enjoyed showing off their best dishes during bi-monthly office pitch-ins. I had a permanent position as first in line and last in line to clean up any scraps. I ate for comfort, fun, and to pass time. One time, I accepted a challenge to eat 3 footlong subs from Subway. Psshh, it was hardly a challenge!  Image

Hello world!

A chick with an overactive sense of humor attempts to share experiences with all things running, bacon, and family.  That’s me. My supportive husband loves when I train for half or full marathons. He enjoys the weekend long run. He does not run. He enjoys my weekend long run. My children (3 girls) also support my love of running. I feel this support in their statements of concern such as, “Mom, you’re grumpy. You’re running today, right?”