Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Jackpot Report

There's this race that I totally dig. So I keep signing up for it. I know many people who don't understand the appeal of running around in circles for hours. But I'm telling you, it's the shiz. The Jackpot Ultrarunning Festival gives you all the running in circles for hours that your little heart can stand.

I enjoy the chance to go down to sunny Las Vegas in the middle of the bleak Utah winter. Too bad this year Las Vegas was NOT sunny. It was washing away in the mighty tempest, Lucifer.
Kind of like this...
I came to my sesnses after last year's 48 hour debacle and only signed up for the 12 hour race this year. It's strange that chosing to run for 12 hours is a sensible act... My training for the 12 hour was mostly okay, actually. I did miss a couple of long runs. but I didn't have much of a goal for this race (besides surviving) so I didn't stress too much about it.

Scott was also signed up for the 12 hour. Below, you will see how absolutely thrilled he is to have agreed to this aforementioned sensible act.
He's never been more excited. 
As you can see, we're decked out in the fancy ponchos we picked up before heading to the race. Fun fact, and spoiler alert: if you run for 12 hours in a fancy poncho, you will smell like a swamp monster when you finally take it off in your hotel room that evening.
My actual face when I caught of whiff of myself.
But I digress. I should start at the beginning, and when I get to the end, I should stop. The race began at 8 a.m., allowing for a bit of sleeping in. The 48 hour runners had been on the go for 24 hours at this point. I don't think they were all that thrilled to see a group of fresh faced runners jumping on the course. Since there was nothing they could do to stop us, we joined in the fun.

The rain had caused actual flash flooding on the course, so the course was altered to include a nice long incline. But what goes up must go down on a loop course, so I didn't mind much. At this point, hills are just built in walk breaks. I'm still watching my heart rate like a hawk, so the ups were walked, the downs and flats were run, as much as my heart would allow.

The rain was relentless, but at least it wasn't too cold. I started with a long sleeve shirt on under my poncho, but after a couple of laps, I had to change to a tank top. The poncho held the heat in pretty well, hence the swamp monster effect.
Whee! This is fun. Isn't this fun?!
I have to say, that even with the imperfect training and the weather conditions, I managed to feel good for about 10 hours of this race. I didn't need to change shoes the entire race, which is a first in my timed race career. Scott wasn't so lucky. Multiple shoe changes and he still ended up with a blister under his big toenail. The amount of mini lemon cakes and bite sized brownies he ate during the race soothed his sorrows somewhat.

We didn't spend much time stopped, and I was pleased with my effort overall. I made it 38 miles in total, although my official distance was 37.5 miles. Those treks to the bathroom add mileage, y'all. I know this hasn't been a race report fraught with peril and overcoming obstacles. But really, this race just went well. I felt good, Scott hit his goal of 40 miles, we saw friends, we ate good food, we spent 12 hours running in the pouring rain together and we're still married.

Here's the thing about having a good race, it makes you think you should sign up for the 48 hour for the next year. And that's what I did, cats and kittens. I only have so much sensibility in my body and I used it all up. Present-self is always so sure that future-self will be ready for the things that present-self signs future-self up for. Maybe this time, it will acutally be true. Judging by the way I blew off my 16 mile run today in order to make macarons, I wouldn't hold out too much hope if I were you...
There's Nutella in them and I will never apologize for that. 
So stay tuned for exciting tales of base building and heart rate monitoring! Until next time, happy running!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Who Runs in the Winter? Crazy People, That's Who.

January: The bleakest month of the entire year. The holidays are over. (That's a relief, though, let's be honest. Bad example. Moving on.) January: Full of sadness, coldness, ice, and snow. And, surprise, races!
People who like winter are a special kind of crazy, and not a good kind of crazy.
It also takes a special kind of crazy to have a race the first weekend of January in Utah. This little event that I got peer pressured into running by my friends Jamie and Cevan, was the New Year's Half Marathon. And since misery loves company, I peer pressured my spousal unit into running it with me. Public service announcement: Peer pressure is an ugly thing that tends to snowball out of control and leaves you in situations you'd rather not be in.
C'mon, everybody's doing it.
The winter hadn't actually been too bad around here, for the most part. We had a couple decent winter storms, but we were able to dig out alright. So I thought maybe the race wouldn't be so bad. And then the cold snap came. Now I know it gets a lot colder in other places, but when the morning of the race rolled around and it was a balmy 5 degrees Fahrenheit, I knew my lungs were in for a treat. Utah has notoriously bad winter air already, so running outside at this time of year is generally advised against. Stepping out into the frigid, polluted air causes instant coughing fits.

Scott and I prepared the best we could, layers upon layers, while trying to avoid having TOO many layers, because then you sweat too much and freeze to death. Winter running can be a logistical nightmare. We stuffed heat packs into our shoes and between our layers of gloves and headed to the race.

They offered an early start for the slower runners and walkers, which I gladly took advantage of. They were having a chili lunch for us afterward, and I wanted there to be food left by the time I got there. With a field of 41 runners, I knew I would be very close to last, if not actually last.
Quick! Take the picture! If we stand still too long, we'll be frozen solid.
After we had been running for around an hour, we passed a sign that displayed the temperature. It said 7 degrees Fahrenheit. Oh good. Things are looking up. There was ice in my hair, ice in the water bottles, ice in the buff that I put up over my mouth and nose for a bit. Condensation is no fun.

I've been tracking my heart rate in a freakishly obsessive way, but I couldn't during this run. I had to have my Fitbit next to my skin, and that skin was under three layers, so I didn't get to check it once during the race. I tried to do it by feel. Guess what. Feel means nothing in that temperature. We were keeping an extremely moderate pace, 13-15 minute miles. But my lungs ached and I couldn't catch my breath. I could feel my heart racing more than it should have been for the effort we were putting out. The frigid temperatures had to have played a part in my difficulties.

When I was able to upload the data, I found that my heart rate had been at peak BPMs for over 2 hours of the run. No wonder I felt like death warmed over the last three miles. I would attempt to run and it would last maybe 30 seconds before my breathing was out of control and my heart was pounding. So we would walk. And shiver. And try to run again. It was such a relief to turn the final corner and reach the finish line. We immediately grabbed bowls of steaming chili and tried to warm up inside the building. The upside is that we learned that we had finally grasped proper layering. Our hands and feet stayed warm, and as long as we kept moving, we didn't turn into popsicles.
That snowman is WAY too happy.
After that race, my resting heart rate jumped up to 73 BPM. In October, I had it down to 55 BPM. Yikes. So I spent a careful week obsessively tracking my heart rate, getting in all my recovery workouts, and trying to get enough sleep. I wanted to be feeling better for the next week's race, the St. George Half Marathon.

The glorious thing about the St. George half, is that it's in St. George. January in St. George is quite pleasant, with temperatures in the 40s and 50s. Utah is an interesting place, climate-wise. Hop in the car for a few hours and all of the sudden there are palm trees and red rocks, and perfect running weather.
It truly was.
Race morning in St. George gave us a temperature in the lower 40s with an overcast sky. A race start time of 9:00 a.m. meant that we could get plenty of sleep. I was fairly certain that we were in heaven. Our hotel was only a couple of minutes from the start line. We found a good parking spot, had enough time to hit the port-a-potties, and line up to run. Easy breezy.

I was able to keep an eye on my heart rate the whole time this race as well. It jumped up a little too quickly in the first half mile of the race, forcing me to walk for a bit to bring it down. I think I just got caught up in the crowd of runners and was running just a tad too fast. After that, I kept it in check like a boss. It was not fast going, but we were making better time than we had at the New Year's race.
Loving every minute of the glorious sun and warmth.
I felt pretty darn good through the whole race. And starting around mile 8, we began passing people. We probably passed 15-20 people in the last few miles of the race. My breathing wasn't labored. My body was enjoying the easy pace, keeping the heart rate right where I wanted it. For the last half mile, I figured I wouldn't keep an eye on it anymore and just kick it into gear for a strong finish. It worked out splendidly. We cruised under the finish arch feeling great, and I knew that if I needed to, I could have kept up my easy pace for hours more.
I was so pleased with how it went. The data confirmed what my body was telling me. I nailed that LSD. I beat the New Year's half time by 15 minutes. But the best part is that I didn't feel wrecked for the rest of the weekend like the week before.
Half marathon #88, done and done well.
My resting heart rate has come down some, but it's still a bit higher than I'd like. But the heart rate training is really going pretty well. I have to say that it gets frustrating at times. I mean, I've always been a slow runner, but running as slow as it takes to keep my heart rate down actually hurts a little. My muscles are adapting to a different, slower stride, and it hasn't always felt very nice. But the longer that I do it, it's feeling better. Eventually, my cardiovascular system will be strong enough to keep a low heart rate with a faster pace. That's the goal, cats and kittens.

For the next month, I will try and dial in my training for the Jackpot 12 hour event. I've been getting in my multiple hours of running on the weekends, and it's been feeling pretty good. I've got weekends coming up with 5, 6, and 8 hour runs scheduled. Thank goodness for Netflix and the treadmill.
That's how it feels.
It takes an incredible amount of time to train for these things, but really, it's my only hobby, so I suppose it's as good of a use of my time as any. People love to give ultra runners a hard time about it. Other people spend that much time on their hobbies, or even just messing around on the interwebs or glued to their smart phones. How come no one ever asks those people to justify how they're spending their time? Okay, rant over.

I'll catch y'all on the flip side. Until then, happy running!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Baker's Dozen and Year in Review

Here we are, in the last hours on the last day of 2016. As per usual, I've put off blogging for as long as possible. Since it's basically zero hour for a year end report, I figured that I had better get on it.

So let's talk about some running, mmmkay? My final race for the year was my 86th half marathon, the Baker's Dozen. The Baker's Dozen is the ultimate in gluttony while running. The whole point of the race is to eat as many treats as you possibly can, all while trying to run a half marathon. What's not to love?
Scott had it in his head that he wanted to go for the win in the eating contest. I didn't want to watch him puke his guts out so I talked him out of it. I'm not sure if that makes me a good wife or a bad wife. I mean, I should be supporting his goals, but who wants to watch their spouse spew doughnut chunks all over the race course? The winner of the treat eating contest gets a gift card for $100, so I understand the temptation, but personally, I would need a LOT more money to go through that kind of agony.
I love you, baby. Please don't eat too much and throw it all up, at least not where I can see, okay?
The race isn't timed, so there's approximately zero pressure. Y'all know how I like that. So we started out at a nice easy pace, and just enjoyed all of the great outfits people were wearing. That's the other fun part about this race. People dress in either a Christmas motif, or in junk food accoutrements. I chose the latter.
He actually was at one time or another. 

Pants with pizza, doughnuts, soda, burgers, hotdogs, and ice cream cones? Check.
The race director also gives a prize for the best jump. I, obviously cannot time a jump to save my life, while Scott did a masterful leap of excellence and grace.
He jumped all the cones when he ran this race last year. We had to do one, for old time's sake. 
I ended up eating 6 treats, while Scott stuffed down about 15. His stomach wasn't thrilled with that amount, but at least it all stayed inside his belly. I believe the winner consumed 60+ treats over the course of the 13 miles, and threw up an undisclosed amount of times.
The dude in the orange head gear is the one who won the eating contest, as photo bombing luck would have it. 
This race not only has fun costumes, great food, and friendly volunteers, it also has some of the greatest swag of all time. 
Medal as big as my face? CHECK.
Who doesn't want a medal that also doubles as a blunt object in case of an attack? It's a glorious thing to see that happy doughnut frolicking upon a field of cupcakes. 
Plus another sweet hat for my growing collection. Get it? Sweet hat?! 
There you have it. The final race report of the year. It's a good thing I have a race each of the next two Saturdays so that 2017 can start with a bang. Let's be honest. It's got to go better than 2016 did, right? There shouldn't be any major life changes coming up, so my training may actually go back to normal! A gal can hope, anyway. 

2016 took me to a lot of new places and races. It gave me a new distance PR. It gave me a better understanding of just what it really takes to get where I want to be. (I've got an ENORMOUS amount of work to do if I'm ever going to make that 100 mile goal.) At this point, I'm going easy, tracking my heart rate obsessively during every run. That's made for some extremely slow running, with a fair bit of walking thrown in. But I have finally decided to do what it takes to get stronger and healthier as a runner.  Getting my heart rate under control will lead to more efficient running, and when you're heavier and slower like me, efficiency is a life saver. 

Here's to a happy and healthy 2017. Get out there and get shit done, cats and kittens. The only time you actually have is now, so do the most you can with it. Carpe the hell out of diem and keep on running. 

Much love,

Sunday, November 27, 2016

November Race Report

Perhaps the title to this episode of blogging should be "Running Ultras Without Proper Training" or something to that effect. But I would hate to advocate for that sort of nonsense.
Back on Memorial Day, Scott and I were waiting for the start of the 10K that we were running that morning when an email came in from Mad Moose Events, promoting their Dead Horse Ultra event in November. There was a 30K, 50K, and 50 mile option. I told Scott I would like to do the 30K. He was feeling much more ambitious that day and talked me into running the 50K instead. His reasoning was that he will already have run a marathon by that point, so why not just run an ultra? I've created a monster.

So life happened, as you've all read about in the blogs since May, and to make a long story short, we weren't quite ready to tackle 30ish miles through the desert. A couple of weeks before the race, I had attempted to do a back to back long run weekend with 10 miles on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. The 10 went fine, the 20 imploded just before 11 miles and I made Scott come pick me up and take me home. Then we had a 15 miler the week before the race where my body betrayed me and I had to spend an embarrassingly long time in a gas station bathroom. I wasn't feeling terribly optimistic about the 50K after all that.

We made it down to Moab and arrived at packet pick up with 5 minutes to spare before it ended for the night. They did have packet pick up available race morning, but I always feel better if I have my stuff the night before. After we checked into the hotel, we met up with Jamie for dinner at Zax. We had talked Jamie and our other friend, Polli, into running the 50K as well.

We arrived to a chilly start line, but there was a variety of hot beverages to be had while we waited for the starting gun.
It's c-c-c-cold. But gorgeous. Photo courtesy of Jamie Eckles. 
The race starts right off sending the runners straight up the Gemini Bridges road, so there was very little running on my part early on. I don't run straight up anything very well.
Making my way up, slowly. Very slowly. Photo credit Scott M. Stringham.
It took a few miles of climbing before things leveled out and we were able to start making up some time. After about an hour, it was time to fuel, but I was having a really hard time getting the Lara Bar to go down. It's not that my stomach was upset, but I wanted to gag every time I took a bite. So I gave up trying to eat it and waited for the aid station. I knew we were close, so I wasn't too worried about getting caught in too much of a calorie deficit. I was able to drink Coke and eat potato chips at the aid station without feeling like gagging, so that was a good sign. I grabbed some candy to take with me as we continued on and that went down fine as well.
Feeling good now that the trail is flatter and the sun is warming us up. Photo credit Scott M. Stringham.
We started knocking out some decently paced miles after that. The sun was up and making things much more pleasant, temperature wise. And then we got lost. Both of us missed a big yellow sign with an arrow on it and we kept heading down the double track dirt road instead of veering off onto the slick rock trail like we were supposed to. I stopped for a moment and looked around "There aren't any blue trail markers here.". To which Scott replied "But there's footprints.". So we kept going, all the while I'm lamenting the lack of trail markers. We finally spotted a group of runners up ahead. The only problem was that they were running towards us, and not away from us. As they ran past, they told us to turn around, that they were lost. I knew it. We had been seeing markers about every 50 feet and then to not see any for that long meant we were off track. So we headed back the way we came, found the turn, and continued on the proper way. We added just over half a mile extra to our race. I was just glad it wasn't more.
Back on track, enjoying nature's wonders. Photo credit Scott M. Stringham.
As we approached the second aid station, there were quite a few people spectating and cheering. One guy sure looked a lot like Scott Jurek. I didn't think much of it, besides thinking that he looked a lot like Scott Jurek. Then the lady at the aid station, who was cooking up delicious quesadillas, casually mentioned that it WAS Scott Jurek.  So then we all freaked out and fan-girled for a moment. "Scott Jurek said we were looking good! Eeeeeee!".
There was a man taking pictures. Thank you, man taking pictures.

Scott (my Scott, not Jurek) running along like it's no big deal.

I wolfed down quesadillas and potato chips with wonton abandon. I was still having difficulty with eating the bars I had brought, but the real food at the aid stations was going down fine. We headed back up the trail, slowly winding our way gradually up to the middle aid station. It was over 7 miles from the last aid station and I was starting to curse the distance. Aid stations are wonderful little oases and I always find myself wishing there were more of them in ultras.

We finally reached the aid station that marked the halfway point. We refilled our packs, applied more sunscreen, drank copious amounts of Coke, munched down more potato chips, and headed back out. We knew that we'd be going mostly downhill until the end, with the exception of a little steep uphill around mile 28. So we tried to take advantage of gravity helping us out, and we did pretty well, for a while.
Trail running heaven. Photo credit Scott M. Stringham.
We made it to the only cutoff with an hour and a half to spare. It's not that we were moving at a terrific pace or anything, the race just had generous cutoff times. Once we made it through the check point at mile 21, we knew we were going to make it just fine. Which was good, because at this point, the slick rock was starting to take its toll.
After a while, the slick rock makes you want to die. Photo credit Scott M. Stringham.

Slick rock is fun to run on, for a bit. But after, say 20 or so miles, it starts to make your feet and knees wish that you weren't running on slick rock. We were starting to long for the double track dirt road again. When we finally made it back to the road, we let out actual cheers of joy. We hit the last aid station and knew there was only 4.5 miles to go. Unfortunately, more of it was uphill than we had realized it was going to be, so it was slow going those last miles. We were both pretty wiped out at that point (probably from that whole lack of training thing). But we slogged along and eventually made it to the finish line.
And we weren't even last. Photo courtesy of Jamie Eckles. 
So basically what we can all learn from this is that you can train sporadically and half-assedly and still finish a 50K, provided the time limits are generous and you have a high pain tolerance. That's not really a good take away... maybe use this as a cautionary tale to inspire more training if an event is on the horizon?
Cautionary swag, from my 5th 50K.

If that's not cautionary enough, you can now imagine running a half marathon 4 days after a 50K that you weren't ready for. I'll give you a little insight on how that goes.

I run the Thankful 13 every year on Thanksgiving. I find it's a nice way to start the holiday and give me an excuse to eat ALL the food at Thanksgiving dinner. Because I always think I am going to be ready for the things that I sign up for, I didn't think much of it being a mere 4 days after my 50K. I should have really put more thought into this whole thing...

Scott was signed up for the 5K, so he could run really fast and win awards and stuff, which he did, placing third in his age group. Meanwhile, I was out trudging through 13.1 miles of cold, sore miles. It was pretty, though.
It was worth taking my gloves off once, to get this shot.
I felt okay for maybe 2 miles total of this race. The rest of it felt like I had run a 50K in the desert the Saturday before. My hamstrings were throwing a royal fit, my knees were crying, and my lungs kept trying to leave my body. It was good times. But I'm too stubborn to quit, so I crept towards the finish line at a snail's pace. Scott was waiting to run with me to the finish. I crossed the line in 3:04:54, which I think is my slowest finish on that course. All that matters is that I made it though. Medals matter.
Half marathon #85, wrapped up.
I've got one last race lined up for the year. Thank goodness it's all about eating and having a good time. Y'all should check out the Baker's Dozen half and get signed up if you can. It's the perfect way to wrap up the season.

Until then, happy running!

Monday, November 14, 2016

The rest of October race report!

It's time for the rest of the race reporting for October. After the St. George Marathon, I got a couple of weeks to try and recover/get ready to run a stupid hard race out at the Dugway Proving Grounds. This is a very unique race. You have to pass a background check before they'll even let you on the base to run.

Dugway is basically in the middle of nowhere. It took nearly two hours of driving to get there. But when we arrived, it was actually a very pretty place.
And the sunrise was stunning. 
Scott and I were in for the 30K. There was also a 5K, 10K, 20K, and 50K happening out there as well. Due to the difficulty of the courses, the father the distance, the less people were running. There was a grand total of 11 people in the 30K. ELEVEN whole people. So I knew that I was going to be last. And since Scott insisted on running with me, that meant he would also be last.
Back of the packin' in the sunrise. Photo courtesy of Scott M. Stringham
The course started off fairly easy, and I was feeling alright to start with. Until just after mile 4 when I tripped on a rock and took my first ever fall during a trail run. Whee!  I wasn't too badly hurt, it was mostly just a shock. I did just kind of lay there in the dirt for a minute, trying to decide if I was broken, but eventually I got up and dusted myself off.  I found out that running after taking a fall is kind of difficult for me. I was overly cautious for the next few miles. I kept stopping to walk even though the terrain wasn't bad because I was nervous about falling again.

I finally calmed down and got my act together just in time for the course to get stupid hard. So there was 4000 feet of climbing in the 30K. That's a lot of feet, you guys. And I was smack dab in the middle of the (insert swear word of choice here) Whole 30 program. I basically had no energy and wanted to die by the time we started climbing up Scorpion Tail and then the Widow Maker. The race director has a sense of humor and all the points of interest and climbs had names.
I want to believe. 
There we are in front of Dugway Stonehenge, with some other choice shots of the course. Photo courtesy of Scott M. Stringham. 
As we were slogging up the relentless climbs, the people from the shorter distances started passing us like we were standing still. I guess one can be pretty peppy when one is only running 3 or 6 miles. There was a colonel from the base running the 10K and he was giving everyone within shouting distance inspiring pep talks. "THIS IS YOUR COURSE OUT HERE TODAY! YOU ENJOY IT!"

I was trying to enjoy it, but being completely drained and malnutritioned, I instead started writing depressing songs in my head and gave myself a band name. Look for an album of melancholy running and hunger songs from Heather's Body and the Sadness coming out sometime when I actually learn to play an instrument.
This would make some sweet album art. Photo courtesy of Scott M. Stringham. 
After about four hours, we completed the first 11 miles of the course. Unfortunately, that meant we had made it back to the start/finish line and had to head out for another loop. It's so cruel to lead your runners to the end, just to make them head out for more. The people from the shorter distances were finishing up and receiving their medals. One of the volunteers asked if we were done, we said no. Then he asked if we wanted to be done. That's a dangerous question. OF COURSE I FRIGGING WANTED TO BE DONE. ARE YOU KIDDING ME I AM LITERALLY DYING.  We politely declined his offer to be done and refilled our packs to get ready for the last loop.

They had cold Gatorade at the start/finish aid station and even though it's not Whole 30 approved, I knew I needed some. My fingers were swollen and it was getting difficult to bend them. That's not a good thing, in case y'all were wondering. So I drank that Gatorade and felt no guilt because I'm fairly certain it's the only reason that I made it though the last 9 miles. I definitely had a boost in my mood after drinking it. We even managed the ri-friggin-diculous climbs up Scorpion Tail and Widow Maker faster than on our first loop. It was a running miracle.
Jabba the Rock endorses Gatorade. 
After the tough climbs, we got to slytherin down the other side of the mountain.
Side note and fun fact: see that burlap sack behind the sign there? That means there's an "unexploded ordinance" there. During the pre-race briefing, the race director told us to watch out for things that could blow you to smithereens, aka unexploded ordinances. He said that they had marked the ones that they had found with bags, and if we were to find any, we were supposed to build a cairn by them and move on. So not only did I need to worry about snakes and tripping and falling on my face, but also possibly getting blown sky high. And because my brain was so carb starved, I had the hardest time remembering what the "o"word the race director had used in naming them. So I kept making up new "o" words to call them. "Hey Scott, do you think that's a regular cairn, or one marking an unexploded origami? Unexploded orthodontist? Opthamologist? Organism? Oregano?", and so forth. It was an entertaining way to pass the time while remaining aware that we could die at any moment.

We made it to the finish line in just under 7 hours total. That's basically a 20 minute mile average... But we didn't get blown up, and to my surprise, I received an award for second in my age group. Make no mistake, Scott and I were dead last, but there were only two women in my age group. They had 6" shells that had been fired there on the base as the age group awards. Unfortunately for Scott, his age group was nearly half the field and he was fifth in his age group, so he didn't receive any military debris. He did win a pair of super sweet running socks in the raffle though, so we both came away with a little something extra.
Shell, medal with a UAV on it, and comfy shirt with course map. They had some nice swag.
We had just one week to recover from Dugway before we ran the Haunted Half. In my mind, I was thrilled to have a downhill half marathon coming up. Then race day arrived and it wasn't nearly as magical as my daydreaming had lead me to believe it would be. First of all, we had to sit in the very back seat of the bus. This is super fun when you're a little kid. It is not super fun when you're an adult and the bus is going up a winding canyon. The back of the bus gets a lot of extra swerve going on. Secondly, the bus driver got lost. So I got to spend nearly twice as long getting motion sick in the back of the bus.

When we finally made it to the start, I was ready to puke my guts out. Getting off the bus was the only thing I wanted in the world right then. So of course, they made us sit on the bus for approximately forever before they could pull up five feet to let us out. Once I was free of my bussy prison, we met up with Jamie, Tennille, and Teresa. Jamie and Tennille were dressed as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Teresa was decked out in exercising ghosts, Scott was a mideaval warrior, and I was in my muscle suit.
Photo courtesy of Jamie Eckles. 
The muscle suit made people yell things like "Go Titan!", which confused the crap out of me until later that day when I found about about this thing called "Attack on Titan".
So I guess I'm this dude now. 
There was one family that kept following their runner throughout the race. Their runner must have been just behind us, because we saw them probably six different times during the race. The little girl in the group lost her mind each time she saw me. "GO FEMALE TITAN! WOOOOOO!". At least I could bring her some joy as I slogged my way through that half marathon.

There was no joy for me, since I was 2/3rds of the way through the Whole 30 program and had yet to feel any benefit from it. I was a broken shell of a human being (well, a broken shell covered in muscle print fabric) by the end. We squeaked in just under three hours for a course that should have taken half an hour less. Scott enjoyed it though, because he could eat what he wanted and is super good at running anyway.
Trying not to die on my end, enjoying the lovely day on his end.
And thus I finished half marathon number 84. You'd think they'd start getting easier or something...
Great shirt and medal this year.

Close up of the medal detail.
So there you have it. October was a rough month. But I finished the Whole 30 program last week so maybe I can get back to feeling like myself again. I have the Dead Horse 50K this weekend, which of course I'm completely unprepared for. My training runs have been absolute crap thanks to cutting out nearly everything my body loves for 30 days. Maybe I can eat enough carbs between now and Saturday to fake my way through another ultra. Stay tuned to find out! Until then, happy running!