More races completed — 57.9 miles down, 62.1 to go! PLUS, marathon training has started!

Sorry for not posting much the last couple of months.  It’s been a busy few weeks — lots of traveling, work & running!

Bright Night 5K (3.1 miles) was on the evening of Saturday May 18th, in the pouring rain.  It was delayed a few minutes, but the rain kept coming so they finally went ahead.  I wasn’t expecting a great race; was there with friends to support 2 great causes:  Ovarian cancer research (the benefit of the race) & Parkinson’s research (as part of my 120 miles).  The whole family came out to support me!Image

I started out a little faster than I should have, especially with the heavy rain.  My first mile was my fastest (low 8’s) & I fought hard the other 2 miles to maintain that pace.  I kept it under 9 though & finished with some VERY heavy, rain-soaked shoes in 26:53.  You can’t see it in the picture above, but the back of my Diva’s shirt says “12 months ~ 120 miles ~ $12,000 for Parkinson’s ~ IN HONOR OF MY MOM.”  I have 2 shirts with this printed on the back (paid for out of my own pocket, not with your donations) that I try to wear to each race.  I want people to know what I’m running for!

My next race was Lookout Capital half marathon (13.1 miles) on a very sunny, warm & dreadfully humid Saturday, June 1st with my running friend Heather.  I went into this race prepared & hoping for a new PR under 2:10.  The humidity worried me though — strike one to my psyche.  Start was at North Hills in Raleigh — great area for a race, plenty of parking.  The first couple of miles were a lot of downhills in a nice residential area, which meant the finish would be a torturous uphill battle — strike two to my psyche.  We turned onto paved trails shortly after mile 2, I believe, & had a very flat out & back for a few miles.  Heather started to struggle a bit into mile 5 & told me to go on ahead.  I was feeling great & was keeping a great pace to meet my goal, low 9s.

Then the “ut-oh, I might have to pee” urge hit me.  This was during mile 8.  I didn’t want to stop, but worried about what might happen if I didn’t.  So I stopped at the mile 8 water station.  At a portapotty.  Sitting out the blazing sun.  With temps in the 80s & humidity so high I looked like I had taken a shower.  Not to mention I had just run over 7 miles, so my body was very hot.  I step in the portapotty & have never felt so hot in my life.  Seriously — like EVER!  The longer I squatted there, the hotter I got.  What felt like 10 minutes was really less than 1, but the damage had already been done.  I was VERY hot & never could get my pace under 10:00 after that.  Curse you portapotty!  I will take my chances next time. 😉

Back into the neighborhood for mile 10, then onto another paved trail for 2.5 miles.  Shortly after turning onto this trail, I felt the first twinge of calf cramping.  Oh no — not again!  Then I started thinking about the uphill climb to the finish line I have yet to face & the fact that to still meet my goal I could NOT stop & walk.  But I had to.  Sometime into mile 12 I walked & ate a mustard pack.  Yes, you read that right.  I ate a pack of mustard.  It’s rumored to help stop cramping & you know what — it actually worked!  I walked for maybe 4-5 minutes after that but was then able to start running again without cramping.  Woo hoo!  Made a mental note: always run 13.1 miles or longer with mustard packs BUT try to figure out how to keep the cramps from happening in the first place (I am working on it).

Kept running into mile 13 & the final half mile, 123′ climb to the finish line.  It was brutal.  After all I had been through during the race, I HAD to run the entire uphill to even come close to meeting my goal.  But I just couldn’t.  I didn’t have it in me mentally.  I walked most of the hill, but ran the last couple hundred yards to the finish line in 2:13:29.  3 minutes & 30 seconds past my goal, but all things considered I was pretty proud of myself.  Wish I had kicked my mental butt into gear that last mile, but proud anyway.  It was smoking hot by this time — whew!


Next race was the Flat Out 5K (3.1 miles) on Saturday, June 22nd.  This race also served 2 purposes for me: wrapped up the Run for God class I lead (this was their 1st 5K) & as part of my 120 miles for Parkinson’s research.  Had planned to take it easy, but started out fast — too fast again & finished in 26:39.

Monday of this week, June 24th, was the beginning of my 18 week marathon training to get me across the finish line after 26.2 miles at the Marine Corps Marathon on October 27th in Washington, DC.  I am so very excited to finally begin my training.  I hope to have updates often so stay tuned!

Please don’t forget donations are greatly needed.  All funds go directly to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, where eighty-eight cents of every dollar are spent on research for a cure!  I receive absolutely none of your donated funds & all race expenses are paid out of my pocket.  You can donate online here.

Thank you for your support & your prayers!

Divas North Myrtle Beach half marathon

Yesterday, April 28th, marked my 3rd half marathon (2nd on this 120 mile journey).  It was a great weekend with 19+/- other fabulous Diva women.  We had so many laughs!  For at least 4 of the women with us, this was their 1st half marathon; including my great friend Crissy.  I promised her I would stay with her & we’d cross the finish line together.

Divas group

Our group arrived in plenty of time to make it to the starting line, but the port-a-potty stop proved to be problematic.  Note to all runners –  keep stopping at the first port-a-potty you see.  Please.  It keeps the line I get in at the furthest port-a-potty even shorter.  ;)  We’re waiting & waiting for everyone to get out of the potty & it’s like 3 minutes until the start of the race.  The National Anthem is being sung (yikes!), so we dash to the starting line & get in the first place we can….the sub 6:00 minute corral.  Ha!  As if!!  I couldn’t run sub-6 if a bear was chasing me.  Gun goes off & off we go.  Like any big race, the course was very full the entire route & crowded for those 1st couple of miles.  Since I wasn’t running for time (was hanging with my friend Crissy), I wasn’t as annoyed because I didn’t have to constantly pass people.    That’s a good thing.  I think it made the entire race that much more enjoyable.

The first mile or 2 was in the commercial area of North Myrtle Beach, but after that it was all residential until around 11.5 miles.  The residential areas varied & some of the houses were beautiful to look at & dream of owning.  We ran through a beautiful new neighborhood around mile 9 or 10 & a nice golf course area shortly after.  The DJs kept the music pumping, well except for this one guy who was playing some mellow TLC music.  The race seriously needed some music & enthusiasm at the end of mile 12.  Mile 13 was tough: on a 4-lane divided road (we had 1 lane) during a transition from residential to commercial & there really wasn’t much to look at or listen to.  That was the most disappointing mile, IMO.  Made the finish line seem so far away!  But once we rounded the corner onto Main Street & saw the finish about .2 miles away, it was on like Donkey Kong.  Checked my watch & it was just barely 2:39, so I told Crissy we could make it under 2:40 — LET’S GO!  We did!!  I am so very proud of her for running her first half marathon & doing so in 2:39.  Glad I could be there to run it with her.

Les & Crissy at finish

The best part about the race, however, was all the support I received from other runners when they passed us.  While I was wearing our group “Run like a Diva” shirt, I paid extra to have the 120 miles logo put on the back.  So everyone who was behind me knew why I was running — for Parkinson’s & in honor of my Mom.  So touching to receive all that support.  The running community rocks!

So I’ve now completed another 13.1 miles on this 120 mile journey — 38.6 done.  It is going by so quickly & I honestly want to savor every moment!  Donations are still needed.  Visit my Team Fox fundraising page to give directly to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.  Eighty-eight cents of every dollar you give goes directly to Parkinson’s research & is greatly appreciated!

Eastern Run/Walk for Autism (5K) & Pirate Alumni Road Race (5K) completed! 25.5 miles done, 94.5 left to go.

I’ve recently completed 2 more 5K’s.  On Saturday, April 7th I ran the 5th annual Eastern Run/Walk for Autism with my 7 year old son, Sean, in honor of his good friend Tanner.  Sean hadn’t done any training, but this was his 3rd 5K running with me.  I stayed with him the entire race & we crossed the finish line in just over 36 minutes.  Super proud of him.  I hope he sticks with this running thing! 🙂

On Saturday, April 20th I ran the Pirate Alumni Road Race & finally obtained a new PR at 25:35.  Placed 2nd my age group too.  I wore my 120 miles race shirt & had a couple people stop & ask me about what I was doing — pretty cool to be a part of putting PD out there for people to learn about.

Up next is Divas half marathon in North Myrtle Beach on April 28th!

Don’t forget, donations are still needed to reach my goal of $12,000 & NO amount is too small!  You can donate to The Michael J. Fox Foundation by visiting here.

Registered for MCM!

I did it!  I somehow got through the fumbling registration system on Wednesday, March 27th.  Took me over an hour, due to massive server & system failures with; but I did it!  I am registered for the 37th annual Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) in Washington, DC on Sunday, October 27th.  I am both honored & excited to run this particular marathon.  No, make that ecstatic!  Every now & then I’ll have a “What am I thinking?” thought, but it is quickly replaced with “I can totally do this!”  And it’s all to raise awareness of & funds for Parkinson’s research.  So very honored!

I’ve researched training plans & I will most likely go with Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 program.  Any of you seasoned marathoners have suggestions?  Fire away!  Training start date is the week of June 23rd.  I’m so excited!!

Tobacco Road Half Marathon

I had a nice, long post typed up about this race but I went to post it, got an error message & it’s gone.  POOF!  So I’m taking that as a sign that nothing needs to be said about this race.  I didn’t meet my under 2:10 time goal due to muscle cramps, but I’ll get it next time.

19.3 out of 120 miles completed!

The crew from Greenville at Tobacco Raod

The crew from Greenville at Tobacco Raod

Cupid’s Crawl & another 3.1 miles completed!

On the brisk Saturday morning of February 9th, I drove to Elm Street near the start of Cupid’s Crawl 5K.  This was my 2nd race in my quest to run 120 race miles in 12 months to raise funds for PD research.  I was a little nervous, however — always seem to be no matter if I’m running 3.2 miles or 13.  What made this even more nerve racking was a photographer with The Daily Reflector was meeting me so pictures could be taken for an article that’ll run later (post to follow).  I had a special 120 miles shirt made, but I completely blundered in ordering it.  It’s a DO NOT TUMBLE DRY type of shirt.  Anyone who knows me well, knows if it can’t go in the dryer it will likely only be worn once.  Ha!  So needless to say, I washed AND dried the shirt & what happened?  It shrunk.  But I knew this guy was gonna be at this race to photograph me specifically for 120 miles, so I knew I had to put it on.  I stretched it out as best I could, but it was still a little too tight for my liking.  I wore it anyway.  I am now regretting that decision (see Article post to come later — ugh).

Anyway, after having a few pics snapped of me, I ran into Emily Wynn who I’ve chatted with  numerous times but had yet to meet in person.  So excited to finally meet her.  This was her very first 5K — super proud of her & her son for running.  :)  We lined up together at the starting line…ok, the BACK of the starting line.  I started in the front 1 time & I will NEVER do that again.  All those people passing me totally killed my mental game.  I’d rather pass than be passed.  Sorry.

Soon the race was off.  I started out slow, staying with Emily for about half a mile, when all of a sudden that really good “this is awesome” feeling kicked in & I just took off.  I wasn’t setting out to win anything or set a PR (personal record), as the course is a little tough with 2 good hills one of which is in the last mile.  I just kept pushing with the iPod going full blast.  Don’t ask me what type of music I listen to because my answers will likely have you dying with laughter.  Maybe I’ll save that for another post.

So I get to the last mile & I look at my Garmin & notice I’m doing rather well — better than expected.  I round out of Ragsdale neighborhood onto 14th street & see my parents waving at me from Peppermint Park.  That gives me the boost I need for the last mile….because I HATE that last mile.  Any last mile.  I don’t care where it is, if it’s mile 4 or mile 13, flat, hilly, cold, hot, rainy or dry…I hate it with a deep passion.  I’m very resentful of that last mile & wish it had come a mile sooner.

I hit the last hill & I’m giving all I can.  Keep checking the Garmin — close to a PR.  I push & turn onto Elm & the home stretch.  I cross the finish line at 27:44 chip time.  I think this is a new PR (I recently found out it isn’t — my PR is 27:40 at Bright Night 5K last May).  I’m ecstatic with my time.  Placed 5th in my age group too.  :)  No award, but it’s a big improvement for me.

So I’ve now completed 6.2 miles of my 120 mile journey.  Still training for the Tobacco Road Half Marathon on March 17th & it looks like I should have no problem meeting my time goal of 2:10.  Training is going really well.  Had a short set back of 6 days due to the flu, but I bounced back just fine.

Please don’t forget your donations are desperately needed.  Help fund Parkinson’s research through the Michael J. Fox Foundation by visiting my fundraising page here.  I receive none of these funds & all of my race expenses are paid for by myself.

Full marathon chosen, now let’s hope I can get registered before it fills

After weeks of agonizing which full marathon to pick as my 1st (& maybe only), I have finally picked the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) in Washington, DC on October 27th.  Why?  First, it’s a tremendous honor to run in a race dedicated to the USMC.  After all they do for us & what they go through for us, how could I not feel more than enough inspiration to run 26.2 miles?  Second, the course has to be unbelievably beautiful.  Check it out here.  Third, MCM has a reputation for outstanding crowd/spectator support.  I feel this is something I will desperately need, especially if I run this marathon alone.

Registration opens on Wednesday, March 27th at noon.  Last year, the race filled up in less than 3 hours.  Needless to say, these time constraints have me a little anxious.  I have nightmares already that my computer crashes at 11:59am on March 27th.  Stay tuned for updates regarding a successful registration!

Please, please consider donating to PD research by way of Team Fox here.  Thank you!

2013 race schedule

Working diligently on my race schedule.  I am registered for races listed in bold.

1/1/13: Resolution Run 5K (Rocky Mount, NC) 3.1 miles, results  HERE.  Chip time – 28:29, placed 2nd in my age group.  My 1st time ever placing!

2/9/13: Cupids Crawl 5K (Greenville, NC)  3.1 miles, results HERE

3/17/13: Tobacco Road Half Marathon (Cary, NC)  13.1 miles, results HERE

4/13/13:  4th Annual Eastern Run/Walk for Autism  5K (Greenville, NC)  Register HERE

4/20/13: Pirate Alumni 5K (downtown Greenville, NC)  Register HERE

4/28/13:  Divas Half Marathon (North Myrtle Beach, SC)  Register HERE

5/18/13:  Bright Night 5K (Greenville, NC)  Register HERE

6/1/13:  Lookout Capital Half Marathon (Raleigh, NC)  Register HERE

6/22/13:  Flat Out 5K (Greenville, NC)  Information HERE

7/20/13: Historic Beaufort Road Race 10K (Beaufort, NC)  Information HERE


9/6&7/13:  Blue Ridge Relay (NC mountains)  as part of a team of 12 with Greenville Running Group.  Information HERE

10/5/13: Good Samaritan 5K (Greenville, NC)  Information HERE

10/27/13:  Marine Corps Marathon (Washington, DC)  Information HERE

12/7/13: Reindeer Dash for Cash 10 Miler (Greenville, NC)  Register HERE

3.1 miles down, 116.9 to go

January 1, 2013 started off slow since the kids decided to sleep in past 8am.  YIPPEE!  It was a peaceful, playful morning with the kids & hubby; but once noon rolled around I was feeling a little anxious.  My 1st 5k of this journey, the Resolution Run, was to begin at 2pm in Rocky Mount, about a 45 minute drive away.  It was overcast, cold & misty at the house, so we decided it would be best for me to go to the race alone.  I was bummed about this.  There is something about having those you love there at the finish line & since this was the kick-off to 12 months ~ 120 miles ~ $12,000 for Parkinson’s research I kinda wanted them there.  Oh well — 12:30 popped up & out the door I went headed to Stith Park in Rocky Mount on my own.  The drive gave me plenty of time for reflection, as I tried to not to think about the possibility of my ITBs acting up again.  This race would set the tone for the next few races.

I get to Stith Park & there are my parents to watch me.  Very happy!  :)  I get checked in, bib #41.  The race began on the grass, about 50 yards worth.  I like to start near the back.  This one race I started near the front & all these people passed me.  I was like “gosh, I suck” & it sucked the mental life right out of my run.  From then on I vowed NEVER AGAIN — I now start near the back.  I’d rather pass a few than be passed by many!

After the short run through the grass, the route picked up the greenway.  Next up a really cool wooden bridge over the Tar River, that bounced up & down with all those runners on it (uh, slight yikes here).  The greenway continued adjacent to the river — under a main road, under railroad tracks, & under another main road up to the Battle Park area where we ran on a regular road, this was at about the end of mile 1.  This is where I started to kick it, started to realize I was feeling pretty darn good.  Maybe it helped that Taylor Swift’s “we^eeeeeeeeeeee are never, ever, ever….getting back together…” came on & I started to jam out.  I even caught myself singing out loud & I’m pretty sure the 2 or 3 I passed during this song heard me as well.  hee hee  Once we got to the other end of Battle Park we picked the greenway back up & headed back to the start/finish area using the same route.

By the end of mile 2 I was still feeling pretty good, but could tell that maybe I kicked it a little too hard back there at the end of mile 1.  So I slowed myself down a little & decided to just enjoy the last 1.2 miles.  There were 2 ladies in front of me & I was terrified they were in my age group.  I wanted desperately to pass them, but they knew I was on their heels & picked up the pace.  I just couldn’t.  Bummer, because 1 of those 2 ladies placed 1st in my age group.  UGH!  Anyway, we get back to Stith Park — finish line is in sight.  Oh, I forgot to tell you guys about my Garmin.  This was the 3rd time I’d used it (got it for Christmas from the parents — oh yeah) & almost forgot to get it ready at the starting line!  I somehow managed to get it going right before I crossed the starting line but then it got stuck on some funky screen that I had NO idea what it was telling me.  I just kept hoping it was recording my run!  So by the time I can see the finish line I really want to know how in the world I’m doing, but my stupid (due to human error) Garmin is still stuck in that funky display.  Frustrating!  About 200 yards away from the finish I kick it into another gear, but get passed by 2 guys & I can’t catch those 2 ladies in front of me. Total bum fest!  Until the timer comes into view & I see 28 minutes.  Forget the seconds — 28 minutes?  My PR is 28:00 flat, from Bright Night 5k in May 2012.  After 2 injuries & recently taking 30 days off to rehab my ITBs, how on earth was I finishing with the clock saying 28:something?  28:40 I think it said when I crossed.  Wow.  I was in disbelief!  I went to find my parents, some water & view the results.

Me & my Mom after I finished the race.

My name came up & I read my chip time was 28:29 & I finished 2nd in my age group.  Double wow!  I’ll take that as confirmation that God is blessing what I’m doing.  This is about raising awareness of & funds for Parkinson’s Disease, not about me & how fast or far I can run; running faster &/or further is just gravy!  I still have a long way to go on this journey & I plan to send out letters this month to obtain corporate/business sponsors.  Please continue to pray for me, they are most important!

If you’d like to donate, please visit my Team Fox fundraising page.

Posted in 5Ks

Training starts 12/23 — TOMORROW!

The day I’ve been waiting for, for more than a month, is finally here.  Time to lace up the brand new running shoes I won at Rock ‘n Roll Savannah’s Expo from Brooks.  Gonna feel so good!

I haven’t run since Thursday, November 22nd — Thanksgiving Day — when I ran the Turkey Trot for Tots with my boys & suffered through it the entire time with ilitotibial band (ITB) problems.  *sigh*  The last 30 days have consisted of many nights of rehab workouts & stretching, along with some irritability & just down right frustration.  I probably took this out on my husband, Jason, & the kids.  My attitude can really stink when I’m not running.  I think I took it out on the laundry though, because I’ve miraculously stayed caught up with no more than 2 loads to do on any given day during this time.  Really odd way to channel my energy, but I’ll take it!

So why am I starting back running tomorrow?  Two reasons:

  1. I wanted to take a month off to let my ITBs rest & focus on stretching them out.  Today actually makes day 30.
  2. Tobacco Road half marathon training is scheduled to start on 12/23!

Tobacco Road will by my 2nd half marathon & is on Sunday, March 17th.  My 1st half marathon was at the beginning of my ITB issues & by the time the race arrived all I cared about was crossing the finish line.  I did, in 2:33.  Decent time, all things considered.  This time though, I’m shooting for 2:10.  I’m using Hal Higdon’s half marathon novice 2 training program.  The first couple of weeks I’m modifying it slightly so that I do not run back-to-back days.  I will slowly work back into back-to-back runs like I was doing this summer & early fall.

I’m nervous & anxious to hit the pavement tomorrow.  A huge part of me can barely wait, but a small part of me is worried the pain will set in again, that nothing has changed & my 30 days off were a waste.  If that’s the case, I’m really not sure what my next step will be.  I guess I’ll figure that out.  Praying & hoping for a GREAT 3 mile run in the morning!

Don’t forget to visit my fundraising page if you feel led to donate.  Thanks to everyone who’s donated to date.  Many more dollars to go though.  Remember, I receive zero funds from this.  All donations go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.