Monday, May 26, 2014

Race Weekend! Pt. 1 - The Color Run!

Friday was a rest day before my big big weekend! My wonderful and all around amazing boyfriend had the day off so he came down, had lunch with me, then took my car in to get the oil changed while I was at work. He's a keeper!
We played cards and I kinda packed a little bit for my adventures then it was off to bed at an early hour.
Saturday started at 5:30 in the morning. Yuck.  I do not think I will ever be a morning person! Luckily I had my very favorite Clif bar flavor to look forward to and my friends had put together a very upbeat playlist for the drive. Plus it was The Color Run! So that is automatic motivation.  Poor boy rode his motorcycle to meet us at the race start and totally froze while we jammed out.
Two of our four person team (myself included) totally forgot to grab our headphones before getting in the car. Luckily we got to the race start way super early and had time to run to the drug store. I found some pretty marvelous shiny gold headphones that work and stay in my ears surprisingly well.  I think the poor cashier was finishing up the overnight shift and was not particularly amused with our high energy levels.
Despite buying supplies the day previous, we were not having any particularly genius shirt ideas...until we were nearly at the race!  So we were "those girls" drawing on our shirts in the parking lot.  Good thing we were plenty early.  I didn't get good pictures of the front and back before getting a bunch of color thrown at me so you will have to take my word on the shirt's words.  On the front it says "#IRunFor..." and the back said "Wine and Cupcakes."  I have to admit this is fairly accurate; although it is actually sometimes beer and pizza.

Race Evaluation: 100% recommend!
Disclaimer: This was my first 5k, first novelty run, and only second race ever so my experience upon which I base my opinions is limited.  That said, I thought the race was very well organized.  Parking was a bit of a fiasco, but they had sent man emails telling you to expect that.  We got there early (as recommended) and had no trouble at all. We wandered around the expo part for a while but decided to go to the start area early to be towards the front of the line.  Thank goodness for that!  They turned on some bubble machines which were cool for a few minutes, but after 15 minutes it got a little old.  

But the kids were having a blast so that's a plus! They sang the national anthem, counted down, and sent out the first wave.  We did not make it in that group but it was nice to be a little closer so we could hear all the hype up stuff the dj was saying.  Before too long we were counting down and off with wave two! 

Despite the announcement for runners to stay left and walkers to stay right, there seemed to be packs or walkers all across the road.  I spent most of the time on the yellow line or the grass on the shoulder of the road.  It was frustrating at first, but then I went through the first color station and it totally didn't matter any more! The volunteers were amazing and very thorough in getting the color flying!  I came out alright, but my friend was a mess after just one station. You just couldn't help but smile.  The course was great and well marked/manned so there was no confusion at all.  The crowd as you got towards the finish was also awesome!  I zig-zagged around a stroller at some point around mile 2.5 and lost my friends.  The race was pretty packed so once you lost sight of your people (especially once we were all colored) it was almost impossible to find them again!  I hurried up a bit since I could see the finish and figured I would meet them after.  I finished in about 35 minutes according to my Nike+ app, but that also included some standing in the corral.  The boy found me right at the finish...he said he spotted my hot pink shorts haha. 

 My friends all finished not too long after me so we wandered around and got some water and Kind bar samples.  And we took a lot of pictures.  There were so many cool signs to do our own pictures with and a couple options for the photographers to do our pictures.  I am so excited to see how those turned out! 

One of the best parts of the whole day was the color throw at the end.  It's like a giant dance party then you all throw your color packets in the air at the same time. I opened my eyes during it but you couldn't even see the sun. And of course you got covered in color!  We stuck around long enough to watch it again and it's really neat from a distance as well.  Once you are done, there is even a tent where you can get the color blown off yourself (at least most of it) with something that looked a lot like a leaf blower.  we opted to go back to the car and just use our towels.  It actually came off very well and later washed out of my hair without a problem.
As we were leaving, they were just starting the last wave of runners.  So this was a very long event!  It was easily the most fun I have ever had running and the entire event was organized so well and set up to make an absolutely unforgettable experience!  If you need a race that reminds you to smile while running, this is it!

Tomorrow I will post about the rest of the weekend, for now it's time to crash!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Running with friends and dogs

I wasn't going to run today. I was going to take my car in to get the oil changed before I drive to Atlanta this weekend. But my friend texted me and suggested getting in some miles after work so I said yes.  I hurried home and changed my headlight bulb (ALL BY MYSELF! booyah) before changing to my running clothes.  Technically it is too hot outside already for the dog to go with me, but he was so upset that I was going to leave so soon after coming home that I decided he could come along.  We run around the college campus and there is a big lake in the middle so he can always splash around if he gets too hot. And splash we did.

For a part lab he really has a fear of getting all the way in the water. Today we learned to compromise and stick our front feet all the way in while sitting so our whole belly hangs in the water.

Having the dog slowed me down quite a bit and I didn't go as far as I would have liked, but he just makes running so much more fun...and I love to see him happy

I will admit, however, that I am still not sure how I feel about running with friends (of the two-legged variety). The girls I am doing The Color Run with on Saturday are amazing and I have the best time running with them.  I am so impressed with how dedicated they have been to training for this! I also really really really hope they keep running and want to do more because my runs with them just go so much faster!
On the other hand is my friend I will be running a 10k with on Monday.  She has had a very stressful few weeks now and her training has suffered.  This will be her first race and I want to be right next to her the whole time supporting her and cheering her on...dragging her along if necessary. But I will admit I have an ego.  This is my first 10k and I would love to have a respectable time.  I feel like I have to choose between the two.  Of course supporting my friend will win out, but it is still a source of stress for me!

To clear my mind (and to return my books that are almost due!) I finally dusted off my bike and pedaled to the local library.  It's not even two miles round-trip but it reminded me why I love to bike.  It just feels so free!

To end with a little brag, I finally hit 100 miles yesterday!  I am off to a much slower start than I would like, but seeing triple digits makes me smile :)

Help me out: How do you balance running with friends and your personal goals?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

If you want to know who I am

 Me in a nutshell:
My name is Jessica and I am 25 years old. I used to hate running with a passion; now I am still not so sure how I feel about it but I do it a lot.  I have run a ten mile trail race, but I will be doing my first 5k and 10k this weekend.
I am a Washington state transplant living in sunny North Carolina, so the improved weather makes running much more enjoyable. I will never stop hating humidity though.
I have an awesome dog named Hank. He is the very best running buddy I could ever ask for...most days. Some days we have to bark at every squirrel and pee on every tree/bush/rock/dirt clod/etc. and I would like to tie him to a tree and come back for him later.  But I like to focus on the good days.  Besides, he is super cute :)

I am currently in the process of building up my mileage.  In August I have decided to start the Hal Higdon Intermediate Marathon training plan so I need to be ready.  I will be running (walking/crawling) my first marathon in November!  If anyone else is doing the Space Coast Marathon (or half!) in Cocoa, FL hit me up! I would love to make some new friends.
Today I ran four miles...which put me at a total of 12 miles for the week.  Not where I need to be, but better than where I started!