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Monday, February 29, 2016

The Things You Overhear While Running

Last Saturday was the inaugural Winter Trail Frosty Quarter & Half Marathon.  I almost wish I'd done the half instead of the quarter, but it's winter in Indiana so you never know what you will get.  It turned out to be a perfect day weather-wise, and the course was extremely muddy, which was kind of fun.  All those plank workouts paid off, as I used my core a lot to stay upright sliding through the mud.  But I DID stay upright, and I got a course PR of 1:34:54.

This race uses the same course as the Winter Night and Summer Night Trail races, and also the Indiana Women's Trail race, so it was my sixth time running this course, although only the second time in daylight.  I was five minutes faster than the Indiana Women's Trail race last May and it's the first time I've run this course without falling.  I guess I'm finally getting the hang of it.

My only regret is that I didn't stick around very long after the race.  I just wasn't thinking.  Most of my friends were running the half, and if I'd stayed I could've cheered them in.  I'm so used to being last that when I didn't see anyone I thought they'd all finished and left already, instead of realizing they were still out on their second loop.

I generally don't wear headphones or listen to anything when I do trail runs.  I don't really need the distraction since I don't get bored on trails.  And if I'm engrossed in a podcast, I might miss that moment that I love: that moment where the pack thins out and I can't see anyone else on the trails and I feel like a kid running through the woods again.  I'm ten years old, pig tails flying, pockets full of cool rocks to bring home to add to my collection.  That's why I love trail running.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Being Fabulous is the Best Revenge

Last Saturday I had planned on running the Circle City 5K Donut Dash.  I had been offered a comp entry to each of the four races for promoting the entire series, and I was really looking forward to this first race in the series this year.  I found out Friday after work that the comp list had not made it to the right people, and since the race was now sold out, I would not be getting that entry.

I will admit I pouted for a couple of hours.  I saw Kathy at packet pickup after I'd found out, and I whined to her.  Then I called my mom and whined to her too.  I joked about just staying home on the couch all weekend and eating my feelings.  But if you've been reading our blog for any length of time you know that I am not the kind of person who can sit around feeling sorry for myself for very long.

Do Epic Shit Every Damn Day, Badass!  Right?  Watching the Hallmark Channel and stuffing my face isn't very epic.  What would be epic?  My own donut run, at twice the distance of the race I was missing.  I already had my outfit planned and the morning was free.  I already knew that it is just a little over 3 miles from my house to Dunkin' Donuts.  (That's not weird, right?  Everyone knows how close or far they are from Dunkin'.)  So, I decided, not only would I run there and back, but I would post it online and invite friends to run with me.

And Teresa's Epic Donut Run was fabulous!  Saturday's weather was ideal: 50s and sunny to start, up in the 70s later that day.  I had to change my planned outfit since it was a little warmer than I'd originally expected.  Flo and her fiance Derek had a 6 mile run on their training schedule that day, so they joined me and we ran the ~3.4 miles to Dunkin, I enjoyed a donut that matched my outfit, and then we ran back.  Epic.

Orange Leaf also happens to be about 3 miles from my house, so stay tuned for Teresa's Epic FroYo Run, date and time TBD.  Also coming up:
You can save $5 on the Shamrock Beer Run and donate $5 to the John Boner Neighborhood Centers at the same time.  Just use discount code JBNC when you register at  Unlimited uses so share and tell all your friends!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day

I've told this story in GriefShare a couple of times, and I told the ladies at my table at last weekend's IF:Gathering, and I've told my mom.  I haven't shared it here yet, because it's my blog and I get to pick what I share, and this story shows a little of my ugly side.  But it shows a little bit of how awesome God is, so I'm going to tell you now:

Last year I returned to work two weeks after Kevin died.  A couple of weeks after that, I came home from work one day and no one else was here, and I just lost it.  I screamed at God for close to an hour: "Why did you kill my husband?" and "How could you do this to me?" and on and on.  Just raging and pitching a big old tantrum.

When I had worn myself out and thoroughly scared the dog into hiding in his crate, I found myself lying in the kitchen floor completely drained.  And then....

I felt surrounded by the most amazing love and peace I've ever experienced.  There really are not words.  When the Bible talks about peace that surpasses understanding, I've always read that & just thought it just means something bigger than what we as humans can understand, but now I know what it means, I just can't put it into words.

And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7

It occurred to me later as I thought about this that as wonderful as he was, Kevin would not have responded with love and peace if I had screamed at him like that for five minutes, much less an hour.  And my Daddy would certainly set me in my place if I had the nerve to pitch a fit like that at him.  But God in His grace and compassion just wrapped me up in love.

There's a song called Good, Good Father.  Every time I hear or sing that song, it brings back to me the love and peace God wrapped me in that day.  (Yes, Kathy & Jen, even the Chris Tomlin version works for me.)  I hope you know that song, and more importantly I hope you also know that love.

God loves you too just as much.  If you don't know it, just ask Him and He will show you.  Happy Valentines Day.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Raced 100 miles in 37 Days

I don't blog as much as my older sister so I'll catch you up.  Last January I ran my first ultra race, and then spent the rest of the year logging those ultra miles.  It's become my passion.  I love all running, road and trail, but I've to the conclusion that for right now the ultra is my favorite.  I love the challenge, both mental and physical.  Pushing myself when I want to stop...not wanting to stop even when your legs scream NO, the feeling of strength, accomplishment, but most of all, happiness with what I'm doing.
My low point last year was the injury and then the Black Flag at my first 50 mile ultra attempt.  I took the time then to regroup, reevaluate, and get my head back on straight.  I had gotten to where I was so worried about time cutoffs and my speed that I was no longer having fun leading up to the race.  What good is it if its not fun?  I took a three month approach to my next 50 with two ultra races spaced out during to continue my training.  I tried my best to not obsess about the race itself, just concentrate on my training and to try and stay calm.  The approach worked.  At the Tortoise and the Hare 50k I placed in my age for the first time ever in an ultra, at Battle for Black Rock, I bumped down to the 24 mile from 36 to save myself from agravating my past injury (this is an extremely hard race.... over 12,000 elevation change in 24 miles with some serious steep work, yes!)  I won first place female in this race...overall.
January 9th rolled around and it was time to tackle 50 miles again.  Starting at 5am with 2.5 hours run in the dark, my goal was 13 hours (cutoff was 14) but I was hoping for a little under.  I already knew the last 12 miles of the race were going to be the hardest technically and in elevation too, so I knew I needed to get a cushion at the beginning, but to not overdo it and bonk out later.  The dark part was easier to do this with...I'm not coordinated enough to run in the dark and press the light on my watch
and look at it without falling, so I didn't look at my watch at all during this time.  We did get lost once, missed a flag, figure we added about a mile.  At the 14.5 mile stop it began getting light, and that's when I realized I was running my shorter trail race speed.  I felt great though...strong, free, so I decided to keep it going.  Besides a nagging stiff hip flexor I was good to go (it worked out at about 20 miles thankfully)
21 miles I was at 4 hours, cut off was 6.  Yes! was I going too fast? Next stop was is five miles so I kept it going. 26 miles right in 5 hours.  cutoff 7.  I'm halfway, no reason to stop now. Feeling a little fatigued but still great.  At 32.5 I was at about 7 hours...wait, I just PR'd my 50k.  Back at the start line 38 miles in 8 hours 4 min, cutoff was 10.  Time for the hard stuff, but I had 6 hours to do it. After A a long 3 miles on road we were back to trail.  Seriously technical, lots of roots right on the edge of the canyon.  A little scary, then 600 steps down and tons of running.  At this point I knew unless I got
hurt I would finish.  My watch had stopped so no idea of time.  My new goal was to finish in the daylight.  Got back to the top of the 600 steps, and someone said a little more than a mile to go.  That gave me what I needed to push to the end (really...uphill???).  I was shocked when I saw the time.  11 hours 41 minutes! Not fast by winning ultra standings, but fast for me.  2 hours and 20 minutes before the cutoff and 1 hour 20 minutes faster than my goal. I think I was on a high for a week.
Now my 100 miles comes from a 4 mile track club race on Jan 1, Cloudland Canyon 50 mile, Hot Chocolate 10k, and last Saturday I did a last minute 40 mile race (don't do a last minute 40 mile race. haha).  Very hard physically because I'm not 100% yet, but I still PR'd my 40 mile (my other was even road and this was trail) and I pr'd my 30k during the race too.  I ended with my fastest mph of any ultra.  Great results, but I'm paying for it .
So,,regroup again, reevaluate, and plan out my next goal.  Hope this post wasn't too long and boring.  I'm not quite the writer my sister is.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

It's Time to Get Uncomfortable Again

I meant to write this post yesterday, but the day just got away from me.  Yesterday I ran the 500 Festival 3 Miler, but yesterday was also Declare It Day, and I was going to declare to you my goal of running a sub-30 minute 5K by the end of the year.

I've talked about doing this before, but I have never really worked on it.  At first, I just kind of hoped I would gradually get faster as I kept running.  And then I decided I was happy running my comfortable pace and I didn't care if I ever got faster.  And then, with my mind wandering during a run a couple of weeks ago, I started thinking....

There's nothing wrong with the comfortable pace I run, but once upon a time even this was uncomfortable.  Not so long ago, in fact.  I started running on June 7, 2012.  I didn't run my first 5K without walking until December of that year.  I didn't do it again until April of the following year.  It was still really hard for me to even run at all.  But then it became easy, and so I added miles and ran half marathons until I'm no longer intimidated by that distance.  I ran a full marathon, and registered for another, and while that is still somewhat daunting, I have no doubt I can complete the distance even if it takes a long time.

I do all these runs at my easy pace.  I don't really have a race pace, I just run what feels comfortable to me all the time.  But what if I didn't?  What if I pushed myself so it was uncomfortable again, like it was in the beginning just to run at all?  Then I remembered my friend Trena (check out her blog at

I first met Trena last summer when she was coaching our Indy Women's training group.  She's fast, and wins or places in a lot of races.  I assumed she'd always been a fast runner and had been running all her life, until I read her blog.  She was an 11 minute miler who didn't actually like running not all that long ago.  Well, if Trena can go from there to where she is now, then what could I do if I pushed myself?  I've already got a head start, since I'm an 11 minute miler who really loves running.

The #FBG make running fun at any pace!
So, back to yesterday. I ran the 3 Miler in 33:23, which is an 11:07 pace.  (My watch shows I did 3:09 with a 10:50 pace, but whatever.)  That's where I'm starting.  So it's time for me to get uncomfortable, to push some of my runs into the yellow zone where it feels hard again instead of easy.

And yesterday's race?  Super fun.  I've never done these Miler Series races leading up to the Mini before.  I really liked it - great course starting at the NCAA Hall of Champions, looping around the Zoo and back, with beautiful views of downtown.  We could wait inside until the race started, which was much appreciated since it was so cold yesterday.  And so many of my friends were there, which just made it awesome.  I felt great and I ran well.  I'm probably due for a bad run soon because really all my runs this year have just been those amazing runs where I feel like I could go all day if someone would just bring me some pancakes after a couple of hours.  Remind me of that feeling in a couple of months when it's hard and doesn't always feel like that?

Lastly, just a reminder that if you like my Glitter Skirt and want your own, go to and use discount code HAZEL for 20% off any purchase.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

February Focus, & Finally Back To Racing

I'm having a hard time so far this month.  It's a lot like early December was for me: full of memories and also full of dread for the special days coming up.  Valentine's Day, of course.  VD candy has been in the stores since December 26th, but now it's not just candy and it's everywhere.  Even some of my favorite SyFy shows are sponsored by Kay Jewelers.

It's not just VD that's going to be hard, though.  It's all those other days that seem small until the person you shared them with is gone.  Super Bowl Sunday.  I probably won't even watch it.  By now we'd already be planning our menu of snacks.  It won't be any fun by myself.  Same thing in a couple of weeks with the Daytona 500.  I didn't watch any NASCAR last year after Kevin died.  I don't even know who won the Sprint Cup.

And then after February comes March, and Kevin's birthday.  Then April, and the anniversary of his death.  I try not to think about it all, but sometimes I can't help it.  Normally I would of course be planning something for VD, but I would have also already started planning something for his birthday too.  Remember what I said last week about living in the moment hurting a lot less?  I'm having a little bit harder time with that this week.

I came across the verse in that picture above in my Bible reading last week.  I would leap for joy, no matter how great my pain.  I know that God is Holy.  Job 6:10.  It's on my desk at work now.  It's on my phone.  I used it as Verse of the Day at LF Bootcamp this week, to go along with a jump rope workout.  It really resonates with me, and there's a lot of power in just saying those words.  And when my head starts hurting and my stomach starts knotting up with dread over the next few weeks, this verse is where I go.  Yes, I'm going to hurt, but God is still Holy and in control, and I WILL leap for joy in the midst of my pain.

February's not going to be all bad, though.  I've got three races that I'm looking forward to.  I haven't raced since New Year's Day, so it will be nice to get back to it.  This Saturday is the 500 Festival 3 Miler; then February 20 is the Circle City Donut Dash - part of the Indy East Race Series; and February 27 is the inaugural Winter Trail Frosty Quarter Marathon.  (WTF!  I'm going to have to update the Cussword Trifecta.  Cussword Quadruple Play?)

The Donut Dash actually has a Donut Challenge option where runners must eat a dozen donuts at the midpoint of the race.  I don't think I could eat a dozen donuts in a week, much less in the middle of a race, so I'm just doing the normal 5K with a donut at the end. They've posted the race t-shirt and it's super cute!  You can still sign up for $30, or sign up for all four races in the Indy East Race Series for just $65.  It's a bargain you can't beat: great local racing benefitting great local organizations.  Go HERE to register, and HERE to see my previous blog post for more details on these races.

If you're in Indy, I hope to see you at some or all of these races.  And no matter where you are, Do Epic Shit Every Damn Day, Badass!