Womans Half Marathon Recap

I can’t believe it’s Friday already – woooohoooo!! Tomorrow I’m running a Christmas 10k where I’ll be rocking a slightly tacky festive Christmas outfit.  I was sick earlier this week but I feel 100% better and ready to tackle this weekend.  Y’all know that we only have 11 days until Christmas, right?  I hate to admit this, but I haven’t really started shopping… whoops.  I think I do my best under pressure.

This past Sunday I ran my final 1/2 marathon of 2012; the Womans Half Marathon in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which I ran in memory of my Aunt Kathy.  Even with feeling horrible during the race, this was one of my favorite 1/2’s to date!

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Those little white lines on the sign are actually the runners’ names.

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Let me start from the beginning.  Saturday, my friend Lorena and I drove to Baton Rouge, LA, which is typically a 2 1/2 hour drive.  We hit some major road work and then I missed a couple exits once in Baton Rogue, so almost 4 hours later  hours later we finally made it to the expo right before it closed.  We picked up our bibs and freebies – this race had a ton – and then went in search of food.

Swaaaag! Awesome shirt, super cute gym bag, pink headband and FREE race pictures!

Swaaaag! Awesome shirt, super cute gym bag, pink headband and FREE race pictures!

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We ended up at a local place called Sammy’s Grill which looked super cute.  I ordered an avocado BLT on wheat and a side of onion rings completely oblivious to the fact that hose darn onion rings would come back to haunt me.  Unfortunately what I ordered wasn’t really good but it got the job done.

A few hours later I started not feeling great and vowed to the onion ring God that I would never eat another one if I just felt better.  Apparently I’m masochistic; I know my body can’t handle food like that any more.  I laid out my stuff for the next morning and just kind of vegged out for the rest of the night.

Bright and early the next morning my alarm went off.  I love race mornings, there’s just something magical about them; I feed off of the excitement and anticipation.  I was not, however, in love with this race morning.  I woke up feeling even worse than I did the night before.  I tried to eat my usual pre-race Kashi cereal but only got 1/2 way through the bowl before I couldn’t eat anymore.  Strike one.

My RBFs (running best friends) and I hopped in the car to drive to the start and luckily Lorena had some Pepto Bismal tablets; I took two.  They didn’t kick in immediately so by the time we got to the race, I had to make a mad dash to the portopotties.  Bleh.  Fortunately, the Pepto kicked in before we had to start running.

Yikes!

Yikes!

Love you Aunt Kathy!

Love you Aunt Kathy!

The starting area was downtown Baton Rouge and had some really awesome sights.  I snapped some pictures but the pictures from the race photographers are so much better so I’m sharing those instead.109141-245-002f109141-245-003f109141-245-001f

A few minutes after 7am we crossed the starting line and embarked on the 13.1 mile journey ahead of us.  To add to the fun, it was 96% humidity and almost 70*s at the start.

Can you spot me? Hint - bottom, left.

Can you spot me? Hint – bottom, left.

I planned to give this race my best but wasn’t really looking for a PR since I hadn’t trained for it at all.  Prior to the race, 10 miles was the furthest distance I’d run since the Marine Corps Marathon in October.  The first few miles snaked through downtown Baton Rogue; this portion of the race was just ok.  We were treated to some lovely (please note the sarcasm) odors along the route.  Hey, it was downtown, what do you expect….  I looked down at my Garmin and noticed my pace was right around 9:15 which made me happy because it felt effortless.

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Taken in the first mile.

Somewhere around mile 3 I noticed some stiffness in my knee and foot.  Strike 2….I decided my body hated me.  I panicked a bit thinking that I was going to be in some horrible pain by the end of the race, but fortunately that didn’t happen.

After another few miles the course took us out of downtown Baton Rouge and looped us around the LSU campus.  Seriously, this was the most beautiful, scenic race course I’ve ever run.  It was gorgeous! We ran by huge, historic houses that lined a lake where countless large white birds,  geese maybe??, were enjoying a leisurely float.  That scenery lasted for several lovely miles.  I noticed around mile 7ish that my blood sugar was getting low so at I decided to risk my stomach issues and take the Honey Stingers gel.  It went down without a problem – whew.

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Strike 3 came after mile 9.  At this point in the race I felt like crud again, the Pepto had worn off but I still had 4 miles to go.  I walked through a water stop, grabbed some water and started running again.  A few short strides later I ended up doing something I’ve never done during a race…..I threw up. UGH!  Luckily I didn’t really have anything in my body other than water and Honey Stingers gel so it wasn’t a huge, ‘look at her, she’s throwing up’ type deal.  I don’t think anyone except the two girls in the closest proximity to me even realized what happened.  (Sorry ladies…) It was still embarrassing nonetheless.  And the worst part was that I had already passed the water station so I had to wait until the next one to get the taste out of my mouth.  (Sorry, TMI, I know…)

After that bit, all I wanted to do was finish.  I didn’t have enough energy to pick up the pace so I did my best to just maintain.  I remember coming into the finisher’s chute and the announcer saying something about “smile, don’t look so serious” over the loudspeaker and all I could think to myself was, “lady, I’m going to puke all over you if you don’t shut it”.  I got my medal & finisher’s picture, grabbed a bottle of water & 1/2 a bagel and promptly found a patch of grass to die on.

Bleh.  Please take this picture fast so I can die.

Bleh. Please take this picture fast so I can die.

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Bllllllliiiiiing

Yep, that's me being a bit dramatic. To justify it, I did get the chills really bad after I finished.  I blame the fever.

Yep, that’s me being a bit dramatic. To justify it, I did get the chills really bad after I finished.  I blame my actions on the fever.

My final chip time was 2:04:29; almost a 3 minute PR.  All things considered, not too shabby.  Stacey and Lorena both  got stellar PRs of their own!!

Ok, I know I did a great job of making this race sound miserable but the actual event itself was phenomenal.  It was so much fun running an almost all woman’s race (there were handful of men) and you can tell that this event was put together with lots of thought and care for the runners.  However, all the great swag, the awesome course,  and shiny new bling can’t compare to the feeling that I got from running in memory of my aunt Kathy.  It makes my heart happy knowing that at least a small portion of the race proceeds go to help cancer patients and survivors. I think this would have made Kathy incredibly proud and I can’t wait to run it again next year! (Sans flu symptoms.)

Question:  Have you ever run a race sick? Or gotten sick on the race course?

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My Next 1/2 Marathon and Ovarian Cancer Awareness

Wednesday night I met with the Irish Coast Running Team and had a blast. I’m definitely looking forward to more runs with everyone.  There were about 30(ish) of us and we started / finished at the Irish Coast Pub.  The course is only 4.4 miles but it’s a great run and there were people of all shapes and sizes running and walking.  After the run you can hang out, grab some drinks and appetizers and stay for a trivia game.

This Sunday, you can find me in Louisiana running my 4th, and final, 1/2 marathon of 2012.

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I’m really excited about this 1/2 not only because of the great swag you get for running but because the proceeds go to benefit a myriad of women’s health organizations from cancer research to services for rape victims.

Another reason this race is very special is because I’ll be running it in memory of my aunt Kathy who died in 2003 from ovarian cancer.

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Kathy died when I was a teenager; she was only 51 years old.  I have many memories of her but what I remember most was her wicked sense of humor!  To fit in with my Deeds family, you have to have pretty thick skin and be able to roll with the punches.  And let me tell you, Kathy knew how to dish it just as much as it was given to her.  I remember her always laughing and heckling someone.  But that’s my family for you.  If you’re not being harassed, you need to worry.  Kathy left a big imprint in all of our lives.  She was such a positive spirit and we all miss her terribly; especially her children.

Cancer sucks. I know we all know to “Save the Ta-tas” (super important!) but I really think other forms of cancer get overshadowed by those, ummmmm, ta-tas.  So today, I want to share some of the eye-opening facts about ovarian cancer and encourage all my female readers to get more involved with your wellness.  Talk to your doctor, people; ovarian cancer is a fast killer.

Facts:

  • A woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer is 1 in 67.
  • 20,000 women will die from ovarian cancer this year alone.
  • Ovarian cancer is the 5th leading cause of cancer death in women.
  • Only 25% of cases are diagnosed early before the cancer has spread to the pelvic region. For these women, the 5-year survival rate is 90%.
  • A PAP TEST DETECTS CERVICAL CANCER BUT NOT OVARIAN

Currently, there are no effective means of early detection, which is why you should go to your doctor immediately if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed below.

(Source #1) (Source #2)

Signs and Symptoms:

  • General abdominal discomfort and/or pain (gas, indigestion, pressure, bloating, cramps).
  • Nausea, diarrhea, constipation and frequent urination.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Feeling of fullness even after a light meal.
  • Weight gain or loss with no known reason.
  • Abnormal bleeding from the vagina may occur as a late symptom.

(Source #1) (Source #2)

Risk factors:

  • Family history — first-degree relatives (mother, daughter, sister), especially if two or more have had the disease.
  • Age — most ovarian cancers occur in women 50 years of age or older, with the highest risk in women older than 60.
  • Non-childbearing — women who have never had children. In fact, the more children a woman has had, the less likely she is to develop ovarian cancer.
  • Personal history — women who have had breast or colon cancer may be at greater risk.
  • Obesity – women who are obese have a higher rate of death from ovarian cancer.
  • Fertility drugs — drugs that cause women to ovulate may slightly increase a woman’s risk.
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) — some evidence suggests that women who use HRT after menopause may have a slightly increased risk of developing this disease.

(Source #1) (Source #2)

Teal-ribbon-bigI know that was a LOT of information, but it really is something incredibly important for you to know.  If you think you may have some of those risk factors, PLEASE talk to your doctor.  Communication is absolutely critical in catching it in the early stages.  Teal is the color for ovarian cancer awareness so this weekend I’ll be rocking the teal for my aunt Kathy.  To learn more about ovarian cancer awareness, please visit http://ovariancancerawareness.org/ or any of the sources I have linked above.

In loving memory of Kathy Deeds 3/31/52 – 9/24/03

Question:  Have you ever lost a loved one to cancer?  What is your favorite memory of them? I would love to hear it!

Catching Up

Whew! Is it really Monday, already?? Who else wants a do-over of the weekend?  I got back Saturday afternoon from a work trip to Washington, DC, and I still haven’t really caught up on every thing that went on while I was gone.  For those of you that are new to my blog, in real life I work with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.  It’s a job that I love and one where I really feel I’m contributing to the greater good of others.   One of the things I have to do to stay in compliance with various grants is attending conferences periodically; so off to DC I went.

Greetings from the White House.Or in my case.  From outside the White House like every other tourist.

Greetings from the White House.
Or in my case. From outside the White House like every other tourist.

It was a good conference, not great (it was entirely bureaucratic), but it’s always nice to be around others who are driven by the same passion. We did have at least one really interesting day, but it wasn’t because of the conference.  It was because of a bomb threat at the Dept. of Justice building.  The entire city block -hotels, restaurants, businesses- were evacuated for 2 1/2 hours until they determined it was just a hoax.  I think I would have found some humor in it if I had at least been able to grab a jacket.  DC in November without a jacket is COLD!

This was as close as I could get to the action. What you don't see is the million and one unmarked cars that showed up.

This was as close as I could get to the action. What you don’t see is the million and one unmarked cars that showed up.

I have a 1/2 marathon next week so I made sure to get some running in; not as much as I wanted but that’s ok.  I wasn’t comfortable running outside at night in DC so that meant treadmill miles….And I learned the hard way that the hotel treadmills are set to shut down after 60 minutes of use.  I was in a really good groove on the ‘mill when all the sudden it shut down.  Has this ever happened to you? I was pretty irritated but started it back up and finished my run.

It's not what I'm used to, but it got the job done just fine.

It’s not what I’m used to, but it got the job done just fine.

Does anyone else have trouble taking self portraits? I HATE doing this.

Post 7 mile treadmill run.
Does anyone else have trouble taking self portraits? I HATE doing this.

I also ate waaaaay too much in DC; mostly healthy, but still too much.

Ok, now for the catching up part….

The 100 Pushup Challenge.  Oy!! This is going to be the death of me! I just finished week 3 (out of 6) and man, oh, man it is challenging. No pun intended.  I really am not happy with this challenge and don’t see much improvement, visually at least.  I’m going to stick it out but I don’t think I’d recommend it.

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The #Holidayaday Instagram Challenge.  This challenge started Saturday and has taken off better then we (the girls that created it and myself) could have ever anticipated!  By Saturday night, we already had over 600 photos with Day 1’s theme #festive.  If you haven’t joined the challenge, what are you waiting for? It’s just a fun way to get more involved with social media.

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The 1/2 marathon this weekend.  I’m running the inaugural Woman’s Half Marathon this Sunday and I don’t feel prepared for it at all.  Between the foot pain I’ve been having and the reduced mileage, I know that this will not be a PR race.  But that’s ok, not every race has to be a PR.  I’m going to run it in memory of my Aunt Kathy who died from ovarian cancer in 2003.

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Marathon #2 training.  Today marks the 5th week of training for the Rock-n-Roll marathon in February.  I’ve been kind of silent on the training updates but that’s because there really have been any worth talking about.  The first month’s mileage was really low which was great; it gave me time to recover after the Marine Corps Marathon.  I’m looking forward to it intensifying soon; I’m really missing my long (15+ miles) runs.  On the downside, I’m really worried that this dang foot pain is going to interfere with my marathon plans.  I’ve made promises to my husband and running girls to get it checked out after the 1/2 if it doesn’t go away.  I think I’m going to try a chiropractor first to see if it’s an alignment issue and if that doesn’t work, off to the doctor.  I’m pretty worried about hearing the words ‘stress fracture’ and ‘no running’.

Ok, that’s all I have.  I know that was a lot of info but do you feel caught up? Sorry I crammed everything into one post.  I won’t do that again. Hopefully.

Question:  How was your weekend? Any fun races, holiday events? Or did you just relax and unwind?

Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash & My Next 1/2 Marathon

This has been the lowest amount of midweek miles in almost two months.  I had 7 miles of speed work last night and spent the first 4 feeling like I had to throw up.  Y’all, please pray that I’m not getting sick.  I’ve only run 14 miles this week (7 of them last night) and have an easy 10 mile long run tomorrow.  It’s strange to have dropped from 40 miles two weeks ago down to 24 (and next week I’ll only log 10 miles before marathon).  So much extra time in my week…  I figure if I keep myself busy, maybe I won’t notice the “taper madness”.

How exactly have I been filling my time?

If you ever check out my races tab, you might have noticed a new addition.  I might have registered for another ½ marathon. *Hangs head sheepishly*  “Hi, my name is Gina and I’m a compulsive race register(er).”  To my credit, I had a discount code for 50% off.  How could I pass up a deal like that?  It’s a women’s only race and for finishing you get a necklace instead of a medal.  Saaahweet!

I’ve been working on getting things ready for the Marine Corps Marathon.  I met with the artist at the print shop that’s making my race shirt which I’m super excited to show y’all when I get it next week.  And I’ve also been releasing my inner crafty self working on the hubster’s poster for the race.  He’s less then thrilled to have to carry a poster but I’m going to love seeing him with it.

And finally, I’ve been pretty June Cleaverish this week.  My house is spic and span.  The laundry’s done. And for the first time in a long time I was able to get into my kitchen and make something other than a 5 minute, I’m starving, must have food immediately, GET IN MY BELLY type meal.

My friend Stacey went out of town last weekend and brought me back a spaghetti squash (she really knows the way to my heart).  I’ve been wanting one of these squashes for awhile but I haven’t found them down here yet.

Can you spot the photo bomber??

I may have gone a bit overboard with my excitement.
I wasn’t so in love with it after trying to cut it open.

I was feeling in a Greek/Mediterranean type mood so I stopped at the store at and picked up some staples – kalamata olives and feta.  Then I proceed to murder open the squash.  Hooooooly cow was this sucker hard to get into.  I seriously thought I might lose a finger in some tragic knife accident.  However, I was finally able to get into it.  (Mental note: STOP procrastinating with the upper body training!)

I cooked the squash according to directions and then tossed it together with the other ingredients.  For not having a recipe, the Mediterranean spaghetti squash turned out pretty tasty! I’d give it a 1 ½ thumbs up; not two (it was good; not great).   I will say that it was surprisingly sweet which confused my taste buds a bit.  I’m used to spaghetti squash having a milder taste.  I think the sauteed onions added to the sweetness so next time I’m going to leave them out.

{Click on recipe card for larger view}

Question:  What do you like to do when you find yourself with extra time?