Friday, July 31, 2009

July Summary

July 2009
14 runs
76.3 miles

January 1 - July 31, 2009
96 runs
391.3 miles
12:19 average pace

My goal for the year was 200 runs, 800 miles, less than 12 min/mile average pace. I'm behind schedule, but I know that the miles are going to increase drastically during the next few months of marathon training so I'm not too worried. Just ran the math. To meet the goal, I'll need to average 20.8 runs and 81.8 miles per month for August - December. Time to step it up...

a little bit further with the pups

The dogs were still going strong at 1 mile yesterday so I decided to add a few cul-de-sacs with them this morning for a total of 1.44 miles. They started slowing down around the 1-mile mark, but only to the point of not dragging me down the street. At about the 1-mile mark the leash began to slacken but they kept going strong. I dropped them off at home and then intended to go back out for a few more miles, but after a short distance I realized what time it was and thought that a program I liked was on now. So I went inside and jumped on the treadmill. But a half-mile into it, I needed to use the bathroom. Upset stomach. So I called it quits. So much for my 4-mile goal...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

running in the rain

Riley seems to be feeling a little better so I took him and Tasha out for the first mile of my run this morning. They still seemed energetic at the end of the one mile loop around my neighborhood block so maybe we'll go a little farther tomorrow. It sprinkled rain on us as we ran and I totally loved it! It was so refreshing to jog in the cool morning rain as the sky was beginning to brighten with the sun rising. Now this is why I run. After the mile, I came inside and did 4 more miles on the treadmill while the pups rested. I feel so much better after getting sleep last night and a good run in this morning!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Getting back on track (sort of)

My training plan called for 5 miles today, but I don't want to overdo it since I didn't run much last week. I started about 10 minutes later than I had hoped, so I only did 4 miles on the treadmill. It felt great! While running I was trying to decide if I should take Riley to the vet before or after work. After my shower, I looked at him lying on the couch with a giant glob of thick greenish snot hanging out of his nostril. That was the deciding factor. I took him to the vet right away since he hadn't eaten breakfast, was coughing worse, and now the snot. They x-rayed him to make sure he didn't have anything stuck in his throat and thank goodness the results were clear. They suspect he caught a respiratory infection while he was boarded during our vacation. The cure? Two weeks on antibiotics. Poor puppy! Hope he feels better soon!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Week 6 of 17 Chicago Marathon Training

Well, this week I ran much less than I had planned. Vacation in the early part of the week, then a cold and Riley being sick cut my mileage the last part of the week.

Thursday: 2.71 miles
Saturday: 3.64 miles

Days run this week: 2
Miles run this week: 6.35
Highlight of the week: vacation + trail run/walk/hike with dogs
Goal for next week: Get back on training schedule

Skipped the Trail Race to take care of sick puppy

(This photo was taken of Riley on his first birthday, two days ago.) I had registered to run the XTERRA Pig Trail 10K race this morning in Macon. I set out my clothes, water bottle, gels, shoes, etc. last night and set my alarm clock for 4:30 a.m. I would need to leave home by 5 a.m. to give me plenty of time to make it to the race location before it began, even if I made a wrong turn. I fell asleep on the couch with Riley last night. He was cuddling between coughs and I didn't have the heart to move. I set my cell phone alarm in case I couldn't hear the alarm clock in the bedroom. Riley slept restlessly and each time he woke, his cough sounded worse. Through the night I wondered if I should stay home with him instead of going to the race. What if he coughs up whatever is stuck and it causes more damage? When I got up at 4:30 a.m., completely exhausted from not sleeping well with Riley, his cough was even worse. I decided a 10K race located two hours away, meaning I'd be gone all morning, was just not worth the risk since he's not feeling well. So I turned off the alarm clocks and laid back down. Although I was really looking forward to that trail race, I was just too worried about him for it to have been enjoyable. There are plenty of other trail races in the future; taking care of our puppy is my top priority for the day.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Trail run with pups

I had planned to run the trails at Stone Mountain last night with the pups, but when I arrived home from work, Riley (golden retriever) was lethargic and wasn't interested in eating. Something's wrong, so I stayed home instead. He seemed okay this morning, eating a little, so I put on my brand new Patagonia Release trail shoes, grabbed water bottles and a dog bowl, put the harnesses on the dogs and we loaded up in the car. We went to Stone Mountain Park. We ran along the "Cherokee Trail" starting at Stonewall Jackson Drive and headed east. I didn't care how far or how fast we went. It was hot, so at points where the trail met the lake I stopped to see if the dogs would drink. Riley's never been near water and Tasha has in the past shied away from it. I honestly epected that Riley would want to swim since he's a retriever, but he just tip-toed in. Tasha loved the water, but Riley was cautious. As we were running I passed a guy that works in my building. I said hello, but nothing more as I was trying to keep the pups away from people (Tasha likes to jump up to say hello). Next time I see him at the office I'll have to say hello. The next set of people that I encountered said Tasha (Husky) looks like one of those sled dogs. I said she was as she was pulling me down the trail. I jogged in the less rooty areas and we walked in the rooty/rocky areas. I didn't care about time or pace and rarely looked at my Garmin. I decided to turn around shortly after the "covered bridge" where the path became a marble bridge across a lake. We went part-way across the marble bridge, but the water looked deep and the bridge/footpath was narrow. I was worried that Tasha would want to jump into the lake and drag us in. Since I had my iPhone in my pouch, that wasn't a good option for me. So we turned around there and headed back to the parking lot. I had the leash straps on my left arm beside my Garmin. I'm guessing they touched a sensor on the Garmin because as we were returning, it started beeping at me. I looked at it and it said "approaching turn" and had a compass with a mileage distance in the middle. I'm guessing this is the mode that I've never used, that will guide you back to your starting point. How did we enter this mode? I'd like to find out so I can use it in the future. Our mostly hike/some run/some walk ended up being 3.64 miles in slightly over an hour (I didn't stop the clock during water play). My goal of the run was to try out these new shoes and get in some fun exercise with the pups. That goal was accomplished. The shoes aren't as cushiony as my road running shoes, but I enjoyed feeling the trail beneath my feet. I wore cheap thin socks and think I developed blisters. So the lesson learned is to were thicker running socks. I enjoyed the time on the trail with the pups and look forward to tomorrow's trail race.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

30-minute lunch run

My original plan was to get back in town in time on Tuesday to run with GUTS at Kennesaw Mountain, but that wasn't possible. After dropping Colleen off and then taking Kyra to her dad's house, it was too late to make it to Kennesaw in time. Plus I was exhausted and had been sneezing most of the drive so I just went home instead. Wednesday I woke with a sore throat and runny nose so used that as an excuse. I didn't feel better today but knew I needed to get in a few miles. I worked from home today and decided to run 30 minutes during my lunch break. This equaled 2.71 miles. It felt good; no shin pain! Hopefully the rest days did my shins some good!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Week 5 of 17 Chicago Marathon Training

Monday: 5.14 miles
Wednesday: 12 miles
Saturday: 2 miles

Days run this week: 3
Miles run this week: 19.14
Highlight of the week: vacation
Goal for next week: enjoy XTERRA Pig Trail 10K race!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

2 miles at the beach

I had packed 3 sets of running outfits for our beach trip with the intention of running on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It didn't happen yesterday and it won't happen again tomorrow. My daughter's friend came with us to the beach. I asked the girls if it would be okay with them for me to go for a 30-minute run before breakfast and told them they could watch TV or play their Nintendo DS's in the room. They were okay with this and so I changed into running clothes. I told them I would have my phone with me if they needed to contact me. I was eager to run on the beach. But the sand was very soft. I couldn't find any hard-packed sand like I've found in Wilmington, NC. I ran along the sand for a little while, but realized it just wasn't working for me. So at a public beach entrance, I left the beach for the sidewalk. My shins were hurting already and the sidewalk didn't help. So at 1 mile I turned around and headed back towards the hotel. When I got back to the public beach entrance, I returned to the beach and mostly walked back to the hotel. I sent a text message to my daughter, after she didn't answer her cell phone, to let her know I would be 10 minutes later than planned. As I said, my shins are still hurting. So I think I'm just going to take a few more days off running, enjoy my vacation, and hopefully come back refreshed next week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

12 miles on Silver Comet Trail

Earlier this week I tried to figure out how I could possible get my 12-mile long run in when I was going to be at the beach. So I decided to move it up to today and leave work after my 9 a.m. meeting to get it done. So that's what I did. I left the office around 11 a.m. and drove to the Silver Comet Trail. I wore my Trinity Camelbak with 100-ounces of water and carried my Hammer gel flask with 5 servings of raspberry gel. I also carried Endurolytes. It was hot and humid. It was 81 degrees when I started at 11:30 a.m. and 87 degrees when I finished at 2:15 p.m. I went slow with more walk breaks during the last 2 miles, and walked last half-mile completely. In the beginning, I took 1-minute walk breaks after each mile of jogging. I listened to the Veganrunningmom Podcast Episode 11 during the first hour. After that first hour I realized I hadn't been fueling as much as I should have so I stopped listening to my iPhone and focused on running. From that point on, at every 10 minute mark I walked 1 minute and sipped more water. At every 20 minute mark I walked 2 minutes, took an Endurolyte, drank 2/3 serving Hammer gel, and drank water. This worked great for me until the last mile when I started taking more walking breaks. I felt good during this run although it was hot and humid. When I finished, I sat on a shaded bench beside the parking lot and ate strawberries and boiled eggs while attempting to cool down. Surprisingly, I still had plenty of energy to go shopping with my daughter for our beach trip and then go out to eat. But my plans to pack this evening were thwarted as I fought to not fall asleep while driving home for dinner. When we arrived home around 7:30 p.m., I took a shower and headed to bed.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Losing Motivation

5.14 miles total. I slept late so put off my run until this evening. I ran 1.04 miles with the dogs around the neighborhood and then 4.1 miles on the treadmill. The training scheduled called for 6 easy miles, but at 9 p.m., I was tired of my shins hurting and just not into it so stopped. Losing motivation to keep up this higher-than-I'm-used-to mileage.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Week 4 of 17 Chicago marathon training

Monday: 5 miles at Stone Mountain
Tuesday: 6.25 miles with 5x400m pick-ups
Wednesday: Rest Day
Thursday: 4 mile trail run/walk/hike
Friday: Rest Day (bought new Adidas Supernova shoes)
Saturday: 8.27 miles at Powers Island, Cochran Shoals, Sope Creek
Sunday: Rest Day

Days run this week: 4
Miles run this week: 23.52
Highlight of the week: Trail running
Goal for next week: get in a 12 mile long run and enjoy vacation!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Powers Island, Cochran Shoals, Sope Creek Trails

After test-running at the shoe store last night my shins/knee were hurting again. I decided that my long run scheduled for today should be on as soft a surface as possible. So I decided to go to Cochran Shoals and extend into Sope Creek trails since the Cochran Shoals loop is only 2.5 miles and I didn't want to run it three times. There are 16 areas that are part of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. When I got there, the CS parking lot was full. So I went next door to the Powers Island parking lot. I saw runners exiting the parking lot and heading into the woods so I figured there must be a trail here too. I had printed out trail maps before I left home and looked at it in the parking lot. There is a trail. So I decided I might as well explore this trail first, after liberally applying insect repellant. The main trail was a few feet wide and well traveled. I noticed the runners exiting about 5-10 minutes after they entered so I doubted it was very long. At one point, a more narrow, but marked trail went off to the right and up a hill. After looking at the map/marker to make sure I wouldn't get lost, I headed up the hill. I cleared a lot of cobwebs as apparently this trail isn't used much. It was a hilly and narrow; I hope I didn't contact any poison ivy! I stopped a few times and took photos, not bothering to stop my watch while doing so. I really enjoyed this scenic natural path! But the trail maps were a bit misleading. It looked as though there was a trail/parking lot access point on the trail that was closest to the water. But as I got to the end of that trail, it was a dead-end with thick vegetation growth all around. So I turned around and went back up to the connecting point and made my way back to the parking lot. My run at Powers Island was about 2 miles. Then I jogged across the Chattahoochee river on the road/bridge to Cochran Shoals. I ran there until I got to the "bike trail" that leads up to the Sope Creek Area. I started up that trail at about 4 miles into my run. it was a steep climb. I alternated walking with jogging. There were a lot of people on bikes zipping past me too. I wound my way through this clay, hilly trail until I looked at my Garmin 405 and thought I should head back to keep my total distance to about 8 miles.

On my way back down the "bike path" from Sope Creek to Chochran Shoals, I hit a root and twisted my ankle and in turn my knee. I heard/felt a light popping in my knee (like cracking your finger knuckles). I've been having knee pain for the past few days but it magically disappeared immediately after this incident. Guess it just needed to relieve pressure through the "pop". My ankle was a little tender afterwards, but I kept going.

I love my new Adidas Supernova shoes! They are so cushiony!!! Trail shoes would have been preferred on the more hilly/rooty areas, but since I'm waiting on my first pair to be delivered, I was pleased with these street shoes.

I hit 8.27 miles very close to the end of the Cochran Shoals trail as it approached the parking lot. I stopped my Garmin and walked back to the car for my cool down period. Although this run took much longer than I could have done 8.27 miles on the street, it was a lot more scenic and refreshing. What a great run!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Adidas Supernova

This morning while driving to work I listened to a Runners Roundtable Podcast. In this episode they were talking about running shoes and how important it is to wear a shoe that is the best for your foot type. I remember when I recently picked up a pair of Zoom Elite's from Big Peach Running Company that the sales guy suggested that I come in at another time and be fitted for a more durable shoe for marathon training. He said the Zoom Elite is great, but it's light-weight and meant more for speed work or shorter distances. So after listening to this podcast and having my shins/knee still feel sore (but better after the ice bath), I decided to go to Big Peach Running Company in Decatur after work. They video taped me running on the treadmill in a neutral shoe (Asics Cumulus) and he showed me how I slightly overpronate. I told him before I put the shoe on that I have a pair of those same shoes at home and they're not working for me. And the video showed me why... So he brought out four different pairs of shoes in my size. I first tried on an Adidas Supernova Sequence. It fit my foot like a glove and felt very comfy. Loved it. Next I tried on Nike Zoom Structure Triax 12, which also fit my feet perfectly and felt very comfy. Loved them too. Third was a pair of Brooks which felt too stiff. Lastly was a pair of Asics Gel Keyano, which were okay, but not nearly as comfy as the first two pair I had tried on. So then came the hard part... which shoe to buy? We realized that I really needed a half-size larger shoe than what I had been trying on. He brought out a 9 in the Adidas, but didn't have a 9 in the Nike. I ran with Adidas on one foot and Nike on the other. The Adidas slipped on my left heel a little, but the Nike felt a little heavier. He showed me a different way of lacing the shoe to prevent the heel slip and it worked. It was a tough decision, but I went with the Adidas in the end because it was a little lighter and they had the right size in stock. I'll probably buy a pair of Triax in the near future to use in rotation with the Adidas since I've heard it prolongs the shoes life if you rotate pairs. I've never owned/run in Adidas running shoes, but here's hoping they're as comfortable on long runs as they were in the store.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Stone Mountain Trail + Ice Bath

My shins and right knee were still sore this morning so I decided to run this evening instead of early. I went to Stone Mountain and decided to run on trails instead of the roads in hopes it would be easier on my sore legs/knee. When I arrived at the parking lot near a trail entrance, I was greeted by these seven lovely ducks. How cool! Too bad I didn't have any food to share with them :-( After saying hello to the duckies, I explored a trail around Venable Lake. The orange connecting trail had lots of roots and rocks so I had to be slow and careful. The white"Confederate" trail was better, but hilly. I enjoyed running around the lake and seeing the cool little waterfalls. It was fun manuevering over the small creeks on stepping stones so my shoes didn't get wet. I passed several people walking or running with their dogs and wished I had brought Riley and/or Tasha with me. I definitely will next time! My training schedule called for 5 miles, but it took me longer to cover 4 miles on the trails than it would have to cover 5 miles on the road, so I called it quits when I made it back to the parking lot. My shins/knee still hurt afterwards so I went home and was ready for my first ever ice bath. I've heard ice baths are great after long runs and speed the recovery. I didn't do a long run, by my shins/knee have been hurting for over a week and seem to be getting worse. I'm desperate for the pain to end so I don't have to sacrifice my training too much. So, I filled the tub with cold water, brought the ice container from the freezer into the bathroom, got in the tub still in my running skirt, then added the ice slowly at first and then just dumped the last half in all at once. I sat in the icy cold water for 20 minutes. It was breathtaking at first, but it worked! My legs felt so much better afterwards.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rest Day

My shins and right knee are still sore and I didn't get home from the office until late so I'm taking today as a rest day instead of cross training. I fed the animals, grabbed my Runner's World magazine, and went out for a late Mexican dinner. Remember I wrote yesterday that I would wear running shoes to work today instead of heels? Well, I did, and as I was waiting on my meal to arrive at the table, I read a page in RW that compared different types of shoes and how they affect your feet/legs. So, it turns out it was a very smart move to wear my running shoes to work instead of heels. I can't do it everyday, but luckily we have a fairly casual dress code and I can get away with it some days of the week.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Trail Shoes are coming!!!

I received an email from Vibram today about winning the trail shoe contest. I responded with my shoe size and address. If the shoes arrive in time, I'll register for the XTERRA Pig Trail 10K race in Macon, GA on July 26th. I can't believe I won a pair of $110 trail shoes! I'm still a bit scared to run in the woods, but will liberally apply insect repellant and check my entire body for ticks afterwards.

My original plan was to go to the High School track to do my run tonight. But when I got there it was full of the track team doing work outs. So I went back home to hop on the treadmill. When I arrived back home I found Riley removing the stuffing from the couch pillow, AGAIN!!! BAD DOG! The dogs laid on the basement floor beside me. The training plan called for 6.25 miles with 5x400m pick-ups. This is something that I wanted to do on flat land (track or treadmill) rather than on the hilly neighborhood because my shins are sore. I started out at 5 mph and took a few 1-minute walk/drink breaks about 20 minutes apart. When I got to 4 miles I began the quarter mile pick-ups. The first one I simply ran at 6 mph, followed by a 5 mph quarter mile. The second one I did the same. Then I thought, "these are supposed to be 'pickups'". So at the third one, I started at 6 mph and increased by 0.1 mph for every .025 mile ending at 7 mph then returning to 5 mph for the recovery quarter mile. I struggled through the first 4 miles (shins hurting), but the last 2.25 miles were better because of the constantly changing pace. My shins were killing me but I pushed through it. Afterwards, I did lots of stretching and massaging my shins. I think I'll wear running shoes tomorrow instead of high-heels to help my shins recover. I'm glad tomorrow is a cross-training day.

Monday, July 6, 2009

5-mile loop at Stone Mountain

My original plan was to get up early and run 5 miles, but I didn't feel so good when I woke up so I reset the alarm clock and decided that I would run later in the day instead. After talking to Ty, I went to Stone Mountain to run my scheduled 5 miles. I was feeling better in the afternoon, but I totally bonked at mile 3. Unfortunately, I hadn't brought any fuel along, only water. I ended up walking a good bit of the last mile. I convinced myself that I had had two great runs prior to this one, so it was okay to have a bad run. I soothed my soul by having pizza at Bambinelli's afterwards. At least I brought home most of it! At bed time, I took the dogs out for one last potty break. And while standing there at the basement door waiting on them, I looked out into the yard and saw one of the couch pillows in the yard. RILEY!!! BAD DOG!!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I WON! (plus week 3 of Chicago marathon training)

Well, this week didn't start out as good as the first two but I'm pleased with how it ended! My shins HURT in the beginning of my week and I decided to listen to my body and give it a rest rather than forcing down the miles that the Chicago marathon training plan called for. I only ran 3 days this week, and the last two were my best runs in a long time... AND.... I won a pair of Vibram soled Patagonia Release Trail Shoes!

Monday: (No, this isn't the shoe that I won, but is my favorite road running shoe.) The plan called for 5 miles but my shins HURT!!! I ran 1.15 miles with the dogs and then 1.35 miles on the treadmill. Did I mention my shins HURT?!? So I decided to give them a break and not go planned distance. During the day I saw a tweet from the Big Peach Running Company showing off their new technical t-shirt design. This reminded me that Fleet Feet didn't have the shoe I need in stock a few days ago. So I sent a message through twitter to PeachyRuns and they did indeed have the shoe I'm looking for. I stopped by their Decatur store on my way home from work and picked up a new pair of Nike Zoom Elite +4. And while I was there I picked up two packets of Accelerade (since the only Hammer Perpetuem they had was a giant container and I just placed an order with Hammer yesterday.) I've never shopped here before, but was impressed! They had a 5-gallon water cooler and cups set up outside the door providing water to area runners. The service was excellent and the store was well organized. It was a very positive shopping experience!

Tuesday: My shins still hurt, but not quite as bad as yesterday. I decided to listen to my body and take a rest day this morning instead in hopes of quick healing. Tonight was the last swim meet of the season for our neighborhood swim team. My daughter is away at a 2-week camp in Pennsylvania, but being the dedicated person that I am, I drove to Grayson (about 30 minutes from my house) and served my duty as our team's Head Timer. It just wasn't the same without her there... Unfortunately, our team lost by 38 points, but the kids still seemed to have fun.

Wednesday: Lately I've been craving to swim laps so that's what I did for my scheduled cross training today. I went to Mountain Park Aquatic Center and swam for 35 minutes before going to work. I think I swam 1000 meters but I may have lost track somewhere along the way and double counted a lap or two. It was at least 1000 meters but may have been a little more. Good swim! I had planned to go to the Group Power class at the gym this evening, but thanks to worse traffic than I predicted, I arrived home from work at the same time the class started. Maybe I'll do push-ups, crunches, and lunges at home instead. or not...

Thursday: I mixed the plan up a bit so I could still get in my long run (10 miles) and be able to run the Peachtree Road Race on Saturday (10K). The plan called for 5 miles today and 10 on Saturday so I'm doing/did 10 miles today and will do the 10K on Saturday. I went to Stone Mountain Park early this morning and did two loops around the base on the roads. I filled half my amphipod belt bottles with water and the other half with Accelerade. (I like Hammer Nutrition products much better than the Accelerade, but I'm still waiting on their shipment.) After doing a little research, I decided to not focus on pace, but to try to keep my heart rate in the 70-80% range. In the past I would walk up the hills when I was breathing too heavy/tired, and would be push for an 11.5 minute/mile average pace, but today my first reaction was to slow down going up the hill and only walk when I hit 81%. Normally I would be counting down the last few miles til the end (including walking more than running), but today I felt like I could have kept going long past 10 miles. I felt so good that I picked up the pace in the last half mile, forgetting about my heart rate, for a strong finish. I also ran without my iPod, listening only to the sounds of nature and truly focusing more on the run. It was awesome to listen to the birds chirping, frogs croaking, ducks quacking, etc. and feel strong to the end. What a great run!

Saturday: See separate blog post (July 4th) for Peachtree Road Race...

Sunday: I'm sticking to the plan's "Rest Day" so I can hopefully complete all of next week's scheduled runs. And while I'm resting, I listened to episode 76 of Chris Russell's most excellent Run Run Live podcast. And to my huge surprise, I was one of five people selected to win the contest for a free pair of Patagonia Release Trail shoes! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU: Chris, Buddy the Wonder Dog, Vibram and the rest of the selection committee! In the Run Run Live episode 74, Chris announced the contest and on a whim, since I never win anything anyway, I decided to enter. Contestants simply had to post why they should be the recipients. So I wrote about my Lyme disease experience (see blog posts in March 2009) and how I loved that first trail race, but the Lyme disease had put the fear into me to not want to venture out into the woods again. I wrote that new gadgets often give me incentive so if I had a pair of trail running shoes, it would motivate me to overcome my fear and get back on a trail again. I'm so excited!!! If I receive the shoes in time, I'll register for the July 26th XTERRA Pig Trail - 10K Trail Run. (And yes, ever since the tick incident, my most frequent perfume is insect repellant.)

Days run this week: 3
Miles run this week: 18.71
Highlight of the week: Awesome 10-mile run, Terrific Peachtree Road Race, and I WON TRAIL SHOES!
Goal for next week: follow Week 4 of Chicago Marathon Intermediate Plan

Saturday, July 4, 2009

40th Peachtree Road Race 10K

Knowing I would have to get up early this morning, I prepared ahead by getting all of my gear together the night before. My Friday night consisted of picking out the perfect outfit (black running skirt, blue tank top, blue sports bra, balega socks, Nike Zoom Elite +4 shoes), pinning my race bib (#22144) in just the perfect position, attaching my timing chip to my shoe, packing my running belt (drivers license, MARTA card, cash, clif shots, car key), and most importantly, painting my nails glittery red. I think I finally turning my lamp off at 10 p.m.

I didn't sleep well, as usually happens the night before a race. I woke up at 2 a.m. and it took me at least an hour before I fell back asleep. When my alarm clock woke me at 4:27 a.m., I was tempted to just turn it off and go back to sleep. But our darling golden retriever puppy, Riley, said 'NO WAY!!! You're gonna get up NOW because I'm going to LICK you and WIGGLE around on the bed until you get up to take me outside.' Okay, okay... So now I'm up. I took a quick shower, ate a bagel, packed a clif bar and water for later and left the house at 5:30. Why did it take me so long to get out the door? Oh yeah, I had to feed the animals too...

I arrived at the Doraville MARTA station and easily found a parking spot. The crowd wasn't too heavy yet and I was able to have a seat on the train instead of have to stand. Yay! When the train arrived at Lenox station, I exited and walked towards the starting location. I got in line at the first set of porta-potties an hour before the race was to start. I was behind a chatty older man who was holding his race bib in his hand. He said he forgot to bring safety pins. Doubting that there would be a safty pin give-away station, I did my first good deed of the day and gave him the two that I had pinned to the bottom of my race bib. I can get through the race with just the top two. I finally make it through the porta potty and was glad to see there was enough tissue for me and possibly the next person.

Then I made my way to my starting corral. This year I got lucky and was in time group 2, near the front of the race. I got to the corral early enough to stand near the front of it. I sat for a while like some of the other runners and thought about what wonderful weather it was. The temperature was in the low 70s with 63% humidity, which is mild for HOT-Lanta. The race began at 7:30 and then they walked Time Group 2 up to near the start line. At 7:36 a.m., as posted, they opened the gate for my time group to begin. And we took off running. In years past I've been in the back time groups and not able to start out running. Today was a great day! I was able to run my pace the entire route. I walked through the water stations but ran the rest of the time. It seemed to fly by with all of the entertainment. There were numerous bands and just as you got out of earshot of one, there would be another band or radio station playing music. I pushed hard the last 1.2 miles. My ideal goal was to finish in less than 1 hour and 8 minutes. As I headed towards the finish I knew I would beat that, and finished in 1 hour, 4 minutes and 57 seconds (chip time)! I was so happy! This run was so much easier than I thought it would be. I was so proud that I beat my ideal goal!

And since I started/finished early, I was able to get the right size t-shirt. I was very happy that the t-shirt this year is white instead of yellow or peach. After getting my t-shirt and water and continued walking through Piedmont park and headed back to the MARTA station. And luck was still with me, the train station wasn't too crowded yet and I was able to sit instead of stand on the train. This was an amazing race day!

My only regret is that in hindsight, I wish I had looked up my personal best 10K time during the past two years before the race (instead of afterwards) and pushed a little harder. After entering my time into Buckeye Outdoors, I logged into GoWagon and saw that the best 10K that I have logged since January 2008 (Lake Hartwell Dam 10K) was 33 seconds faster than my time this morning. Now I wish I had pushed just a little harder to beat that... Oh well, there will be other 10K's in the future...

I'm still very happy with how great of a run I had today. I finished 17,770 place out of 50,009 finishers overall; 6,164 out of 23,838 female finishers; and 2,294 out of 10,856 people in my age division. At least in this race, I'm not as far towards the "back of the pack" as I typically think of myself. Great run!