Sunday, July 28, 2013

30 weeks of Training and weekly wrap-up

Yesterday I spent the better part of my morning, after my run, working on my training plan.  April @ Run The Great Wide Somewhere is to blame, she posted the training plan she had worked up and I decided I just needed to bite the bullet and get it done too.  For months I have been lamenting over what training plan to use for my first Half Marathon.  It seems that some are for people just hoping to finish, I find they don't have enough running; and some are for people hoping to best their PR from a previous half...which obviously I don't have!  I seem to fall somewhere in the middle.  Even the ones that came close to what I wanted, didn't have the correct days.  So, I decided to mash them all up and make my own!  I honestly cannot believe that all 30 weeks fit so easily onto a page and when I get to the bottom it will be time! Floored by that.

So who wants to look it over and tell me if it looks ok?  The blue spaces are races, I adjusted a few things for those and also moved a couple runs around because of prior engagements and times I know petsitting will be crazy, like Thanksgiving morning. Obviously I have a couple months before the mileage really goes up, so I just tried to focus on the 4-7 mile long runs up to my next10K and then started going up from there.  

It also looks like some of the plans just go straight up in mileage and others (like Galloway) have a week with a shorter run after a week or two with long runs.  I tried to do that as well, I thought it would keep me from injuring myself.  I also don't want to run the full 13.1 until the actual race, so I did 12 two weeks out and then a taper week.  What do you think?  I know running 4x a week might be a bit much, but I rarely run 3x a week anymore, I'm just compelled to run more. (this morning I sit here actually forcing myself to have a rest day when I want to run yet again!)

As for my weekly wrap-up, I ran 17 miles this week. I actually wanted to run more, yesterday I got home at 4 miles and had to talk myself out of going for another 4! It was a gorgeous morning and I ran at a comfortable pace and just felt like I could go and go. 

Monday- rest
Tuesday- 4 miles
Wednesday- 6.2 miles (virtual 10K Summer race)
Thursday- rest
Friday- 3.1 tempo miles on the treadmill
Saturday- 4 miles
Sunday- bike ride with Dallas this afternoon (no running!

Another week with very little to no cross training.  I thought about putting cross-training on my training calendar, but I honestly don't want to feel like I've failed every time I look at it and I intend to mark off nearly ALL those training runs as I go so I can see my progress!  I hope to add cross training into some of those blank days, but my running is top on my list and what I'm focused on right now.

Hope everyone had a good week, any glaring errors in my training plan?  Suggestions?  Did you use a plan or make up your own the first time you trained for a big race? 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wide-angle Wednesday

Today is my BFF's birthday!  In honor of that, I figured I had to post a photo of something she loves.  Since I have no Dr. WHO photos, these will have to do...

and since I am forever a Mouse-pusher and converted her, she loves slushies at Epcot as well! (you knew I had to add some Disney in here, right?)  LOL

Happy Birthday Hope! I don't know what I would do without you!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Meramec Vineyards Wine into Water 5K Race recap!

Get ready for loads of photos!  At this point, this should not be surprising to you at all.

This was an inaugural 5K race, in Saint James, MO.  Meramec Vineyards partnered up with the Engineers Without Borders Chapter of Missouri University of Science and Technology for  and their project to bring water to communities in Guatemala, Honduras and Bolivia.

My friend Lora, who I ran the Glow Run with, drove the 3 hours to run with me in my home town this time.  Her husband Darrin came to run as well, his first race ever!  We had plenty of time for photos.

Dallas ran too!

We had tons of time before the race started, I got there early since I didn't know how many people were registered, and we sat for quite a while.  Luckily we sat inside the winery where it was cool.

The race was to start at 6:30PM at the Winery in town and ran out a hilly country road to the Vineyard. It was hot and humid, but luckily the clouds rolling in right around race time.  There ended up being 50 people registered and 49 finishers.  My friend Lori was also there!  This was also her first race back, she used to run in college. 

I was the ONLY person in a tutu, in fact, I was the only person dressed up at all, except a guy in a sombrero with his dog.   

I was fully expecting the costume award, you'll have to keep reading to see if I won it!

 We lined up and headed out right at 6:30pm.  Dallas and I took off pretty fast.  It really does not matter how much self-talking we do about it, we always bolt out of the start.  He told me later that we were running around an 8 minute pace at first (we normally run at 10-10:30)  I had a little mishap not too far out of the start.  I got the Nike app going but it said there was a weak signal, so it started late.  Then I went to put my phone in my spibelt and missed the pocket, dropping it on the ground!  I nearly collided with someone trying to pick it up.   I caught up with Dallas and had a few issues adjusting my tutu, but then I settled into it.  We slowed down a bit but I knew I was running faster than normal, I tried to push but not so much that I couldn't keep going.  I KNEW what was to come...

This was a hilly race!  I knew it was hilly, I ran part of it on a training run to see how it was, so I was pretty prepared.  It was gorgeous though, even with the hills.  Here's a shot I took on my training run. 

I ran that whole bad boy!  At some point I pulled ahead of Dallas, I think on one of the hills.  I felt strong and I slowed up a bit going up the hills, but down I would try to speed up to make up for it.  It was a gorgeous route, this was also taken on my training run (I did not take a single picture during the race, no time when I was chasing a PR!) 

 There was a water station at 2 miles and they gave us full ice cold bottles of water!  Fantastic.  I ran through the water station because it was on a downhill, opened my bottle, slowed down to a walk to take a drink and douse myself and then ran on.  I felt bad throwing a whole bottle of water on the ground, but I wasn't going to hold it for another mile.  

We turned off the main road onto the side road to the vineyard and it was nearly all uphill.  I kept running, I knew I was close now and I did start to get a little nauseous, but pushed it back and told myself I was nearly there.  We turned onto a gravel road and headed uphill.  This hill was the worst for me, I walked for about 30 seconds and then pushed through it.  We then turned left onto a "road" in the vineyard.  Basically it was gravel in a field and with a bit of grass occasionally.  It was hairy!  When you see the finish below, you can see what we had to run on.  BUT, as I turned onto it, I saw a beautiful sight!  The finish!  I gave everything I had left and started to sprint to the finish, which was farther than it looked.  I had to keep watching my feet b/c I was terrified I would roll an ankle on the gravel/rocks.  Crossed the finish and had no clue what my time was. LOL.  I was using the Nike app, which had started late, I fumbled around trying to get my phone out of my pocket and stop it but it was off b/c it had not been able to get a signal.  Then all I could think of was water.  

Rey, Dylan, Savannah, and Aurora (my friend Lora's daughter) were at the finish and Rey said "didn't you get a water down there?" pointing back to where I had turned onto the hairy finish.  They were handing out water back there, but WHO takes a water in the last .10/.20 of a race??  They told me I could walk up to where the tents/music was but when I looked around the corner, it was a long walk, you couldn't even see where it was.  It ended up being probably almost another .25 mile to get to that area!  So, I was annoyed, but I wasn't willing to leave the finish when I knew Dallas would be coming as well as Lora and her husband.  Sure enough, Dallas finally headed into the finish.  Look all the way back, that's where the water was.  You can't really tell, but there was a lady in a pink shirt walking back to get water.  A few people did that...I just stood there griping.  LOL.
 Dallas finished strong but was not happy.  He had nearly thrown up a couple times and the hills were hard on him.  He didn't PR and I think that frustrated him more than anything.  
A few minutes later Lora and Darrin finished!  I loved that they got to hold hands and cross the finish. <3 

 We finally got to head for water (although by the time I got there I was ready for beer! Maybe they did that on purpose!) ;) I went over to ask the timing people what my official time was first, I just had to know and didn't want to wait until I got home.  When they told me, I thought it had to be a mistake!  I actually checked the Garmin Dallas used to make sure they had measured the race properly.  I knew I would PR from my last official 5K but with the hills, I didn't think I would PR my best 5K time even in training!  I smashed my PB with a 31:01 time!  I was over the moon.

It was a lovely walk through the vineyard, even if I was dripping with sweat and dying of thirst.

They had a 2-man-band set up in a field next to the vineyard and a couple tents with food, beer, and wine. 

 I opted for a beer and it hit the spot!  I was dripping with sweat but I PR'd!  Totally worth it! 

 We spent some time there listening to music and having a couple beers, waiting for the awards ceremony.  The last couple races, I left early and Dallas had placed, so he wanted to stay this time.  He placed again this time as well!  First in his age division.  

 Darrin, Lora's husband, placed 3rd in his division!  I actually thought I might have placed, but I didn't.   I came in 6th in my age division and 16th overall out of 49 finishers and I'm really proud of that, better than I expected.

I was waiting for my costume award, and naturally they left it for last.  Turns out they couldn't decide between me and sombrero-man, so they gave us both an award!  A bottle of wine!  Now, I'm not being a brat, I swear, but I thought I would get a medal.  This race didn't have medals for finishing, just placing, so I was slightly disappointed with the wine.  I tried to hint to the lady that I would rather have a medal, but she didn't get it and I didn't want to be rude.  I was wearing a shirt that said I RUN for WINE after all. LOL.  Here we are with our medals/wine awards!

 Lora got a cute picture of me & Rey.  He even smiled! 

 After the awards, we were ready to head out.  We all went back to the house for lasagna.  Overall, it was a fabulous race.  I think there were a couple things they could have done differently, but it was an inaugural race and I was pleased with almost everything.  I have a shiny new PR and feel fantastic that I was able to do that in 85 degree weather on brutal hills!  

Thanks for reading, I know it was long!

I had to come back and add a picture of Sombrero-man that Lora sent me this morning!  I went up to him before the race and said that he looked like my only competition...his response was..."Are you in my age group?!?!?"  LOL. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

One Year

Today is my one year anniversary of taking my health into my hands.  I joined MyFitnessPal,  trying to lose some weight to alleviate the plantar fasciitis that I had developed in hopes of being able to run again.  I actually don't feel anything special about today.  In fact, I didn't really want to post about it, but I think looking back I would like to know what was going through my head.  

So what's going through my head?  I'm on a journey, 1 year really isn't much of a milestone when you feel like you have changed your life and lifestyle and it will always be this way.  It feels natural and right, like I am on the path I should be on.  I took "before" and "after" pictures in a swimsuit but they don't feel like before and after.  They feel like last year when I couldn't run and this year when I'm a runner.  I can see the changes and strength in my body, but don't feel the need to share them.  I've lost some pounds and inches, but more important than any of that, I feel fantastic, I feel driven and alive and I can run!  

So, instead of stats about weightloss and measurement changes, here are a few pictures of how running has transformed my life.  I wasn't actually able to run until August 3rd, but a year ago I started taking steps to making it happen and I am glad for that.  That's what I feel the most joy about, the fact that a year ago I desperately wanted to be able to run...and now I AM RUNNING! 

 I'm proud of myself for taking my health to a place it's never been.  Looking at a photo of myself at 24, I'm overwhelmed and happy that at 40 I look nearly as young as I did then! 

The bottom line is that running has transformed me from the inside out.  I feel like how I've always been on the inside shines on the outside now.  This picture is my favorite recently because this is how I feel...colorful, strong, fun, happy, and sweaty! ;) 

 It's been a fantastic year with many more to come!  
Bring on the mileage!!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wide-angle Wednesday!

Today's photo was a no-brainer. For those of you that don't know, my husband, Rey just recently went back to work after being home 11 months with a ruptured disc in his back.  He's an over-the-road truck driver, so having him home was a wonderful, magical time and it was hard to adjust back to him being gone.  Regardless, he's headed home today after 4 weeks and after 22 years, I still get giddy when he's on his way!  So, in honor of that, one of my favorite pictures of him in my favorite place to be! 

Wide-angle Wednesday Reminder:  Please contact me if you want to use any of my photos.  I do not mind if people share/use them (love it, actually!)  but please ask first. Thanks! ~Karen

Monday, July 15, 2013

ABC's of me

I need a little perk me up, lost an old friend yesterday.  I thought about blogging about it, but honestly, I just want to think happy thoughts and enjoy life.  It's just too short!  So, there's been this questionnaire going around the blogiverse and I thought it would be fun to do.  

 A. Attached or Single?
 Attached for 22 years and counting to a guy that loves Germany and chicken hats amongst other things.

B. Best Friend?
 Other than my above-beloved, that would be my Hope...I call her metwo.  ;)

C. Cake or pie?  Cake, hands down.
D. Day of choice? This would be MONDAY, believe it or not.  Usually is my "Saturday" since my clients all come home on Sunday.  
E. Essential Item?
 Hmmm, there are many.  How about my glasses so I can SEE!
F. Favorite color? Green and Purple tie.  I can't choose, you can't make me.
G. Gummy bears or worms? Neither.  Ick!  Hate how they stick in your teeth and don't really like the taste.
H. Home town?
 Saint Louis, Missouri burbs.
I. Favorite Indulgence?(Going the non-food direction with this one) Pretty Little Liars or any reality show that Savannah & I can snuggle up on the couch and watch/pick apart together.
J. January or July? July.  Seasonal issues in the winter and July has stuff we can shoot off, swimming, and everything is green.

The only thing good about January is that I'm usually headed to Disney World that time of year! 

K. Kids? Can't imagine life without em! They grow too fast.

L. Life isn’t complete without?
 Guess I won't put my family since I just said that! How about self-reflection. (trying hard not to put running for everything. LOL)

M. Marriage date? Which date?  We go by a few.  Long story! ;) October usually.

N. Number of brothers/sisters?
 2 older sisters, I'm the baby.
O. Oranges or Apples? Apples only b/c I'm lazy and oranges are a pain to peel.
P. Phobias?
 I have a little bit of social anxiety and some fear of heights but they don't usually slow me down much.
Q. Quotes? So hard to choose! (I probably would have gone Disney but didn't want to copy Lauren! LOL)  "Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Love truly, Kiss slowly, Laugh uncontrollably, and Never regret anything that made you smile." -Unknown (yep, I just edited this b/c it's perfect for me today!)

R. Reasons to smile?
 I could write a book, I have so many things to smile about. Life is short, I plan on smiling until I can't smile anymore and the laugh lines are permanently etched in my face. I should be so lucky.
S. Season of choice? Fall!

T. Tag 5 People. Anyone who reads this and hasn’t done this post yet, you are tagged!
U. Unknown fact about me? This is hard, I'm an open book usually.  When I was younger, I wanted to be a Forest Ranger. 
V. Vegetable? Parmesan.
W. Worst habit? Interrupting people. Yep. 
X. Xray or Ultrasound? Uh...guess it was hard to find an X question.  LOL.
Y. Your favorite food? Right now, Fage yogurt.  I could eat it by the gallon...and sometimes do. ;)
Z. Zodiac sign? Pisces

Haha!  I made it through the whole thing without posting a Disney photo.  It's some sort of miracle!  No worries, I'm sure I'll have one of those on Wide-angle Wednesday.  (oh wait...that's a lie!  The picture of Rey with the chicken hat is from Disney! So close!)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Wrapping up the week

I figured I would do a wrap-up to force myself to be DONE for the week.  I have either run or biked every single day this week and I'm sore.  I must rest tomorrow, so this is my attempt at stating that I will be resting on Sunday and somebody knock me over the head if I don't! I know my limits and I am going to injure myself if I don't take a day off!  

Hold me to it.  Seriously.  Somebody may have to come over to my house and tie me down.  LOL.  

So this week: (Dallas did all these with me as well) 

Monday: started off the week with some speedwork on the treadmill.  3.1 in 30:50, which is a 9:57 average mile.  I was happy with that. 

Tuesday:  Dallas & I went biking and decided to hit some trails.  WOW hills!  10.15 miles but it took us an hour and 6 minutes b/c there were so many hills.  My legs were burnin!  (and we got swarmed by bugs.)  I kept telling him this just made us hardcore.  He didn't buy it.  LOL.  It was pretty though! 

Wednesday: We headed back to the gym on Wednesday, wanting to avoid the bugs and humidity after the previous ride and I did 4 miles on the TM.  My pace has picked up a bit for 4 miles, I did it in 41:48/10:27 mile pace. 

Thursday: Thought for sure I would rest on thursday but Dallas wanted to run again.  Who am I to say no???  We wanted to run outside, so we ran in the bigger town next to us, on the paved Acorn Trail.  3.1 in 34:00 but we walked nearly the last half mile b/c Dallas needed to.

Friday:  By Friday I had decided I might as well just go for it and we biked again.  This time we stuck to the roads, even if they are hilly, less bugs!  9.25 miles in 49:29

Saturday: Finally today, I was going to do a long run (10K) but I realized that after doing so much this week I might injure myself if I continued on like this.  The gym in our town does not open until 8am on Saturday (WAH?!?!?) so we decided to try a park in town we haven't run at before that has a nice .6 mile path around a lake.  5+ laps around was 3.1, so that's what we did.  

Fantastic run, we both wanted to push our 5K times a little b/c we have a race next Saturday.  We did it in 32:08 (10:21 pace) and I was really pleased with this b/c I could have pushed a bit more at the end.  Not sure if I'll do this well for the 5K because it's all hills, but I'm gonna PR!

I know, pretty boring stuff for the blog, but it is what it is!  That's what I have it for, to document what's going on.  I think sometime next week I'll do some kind of fun game/questionnaire.  That will perk things up around here!  Repeat after me:  TOMORROW.REST.  No riding, no working out!  Stretching only...and I'm going to need to do a lot of stretching because my muscles are super sore. 

How was your training this week?  Do you ever have weeks where you do so much you have to stop yourself from overdoing it or am I just crazy??

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wide-Angle Wednesday and BOOKED!

Whooohoooo!  It's official as of this morning!  My Princess 1/2 room & tickets are booked for 2014!!!  In honor of that, the wide-angle Wednesday shot MUST be one of my Disney shots! 

and you know I cannot just do ONE shot for such an occasion!  So, a shot to commemorate the resort we chose!  Can you guess where we will be staying?  This will be the first thing I eat when we arrive.  It's tradition.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but this will be a Princess-only trip, we decided because of finances that it would just be me, Savannah, & her friend Eleanor (who has never been to WDW before!) I'm so excited that it's official! 

Anybody else book for 2014 this morning?  Do you have a special treat at WDW that you always have to get?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Who was that girl?

I'm sorry  I have been scarce, I'm slammed with work because of the 4th of July weekend, lots of clients out of town and people's furry kids to play with!  How could you resist this face?!?!?

 These pups LOVE Savannah, especially when she has treats.

 I've been sitting on this post for a while and I don't usually do that.  I usually just vomit whatever words are in my head, all over the page and I'm done.  Lately I have been running through the past in my head while I'm out doing my run.  I wrote a little about this and the memory I had of a book I read and wanting to run (to lose weight) in my post Getting Personal a while back.  This seems to be some sort of healing process I'm going through...I guess running really is like therapy!  In any case, you get to read all about it as I psychoanalyze myself.  ;) 
I think part of it also has to do with the 80s music I've had on Pandora while running lately.  Songs I haven't heard in a long time keep popping up and reminding me of who I used to be and who I am now.  My BFF actually just blogged about something similar on her blog about finding freedom in yourself .   I happened to be thinking about this very's funny how we do that, we always find ourselves saying "ME TOO!"  (those are our nicknames for each other)
When I was reading it, this paragraph stuck out as exactly what I couldn't seem to put into words. 

"There’s no symbolic, grand moment of walking into the sun when liberating yourself from a self imposed prison. It happens gradually, without much notice until one day you look around and realize that only a few shackles remain. This small moment is bittersweet as you wonder who that person was from so long ago. The one walking around in your body. The one whose memories are still rattling around in your head."
This is how I feel.  WHO was that person??  I know she was me, but I think lately I'm in awe of just how far I have come.  In order to not write a whole book, I have to condense this a bit.  When I was a teen, I was in a group for teens.  It's where I met Rey and I consider that the only good thing that ever happened in the group.   Just think of it as a cult b/c that's basically what it was...masked in the name of being "healthy" and good for teens.  Well, I don't know about you, but being an overweight teen and being given the name BUBBA doesn't sound very healthy to me, what do you think?  Yep.  They called me Bubba.  One of the "counselors" came up with it.  I put that in quotes b/c you didn't need much to be a counselor and these were 20 year old kids, with no formal training.  I think I was 18 here. 
 I was miserable and who wouldn't be when your nickname was Bubba??  I was in a group that was supposed to be about love and acceptance, but still my FAT was what defined me, not just for everyone else, but for myself.  Especially for myself.  This isn't really about them or what they called me, it's about me and looking back to see myself and it feels like another person completely. 
 Lately as I'm running, I think about my life and how different it is from what this girl at 18 was experiencing.  I also think about why she didn't stand up for herself.  What caused me to allow such treatment?  I don't know, but looking back, I'm blown away by the person I am now and the life I live.  I'm so very blessed with an amazing husband, fabulous children, a thriving business, friends and so much bliss.   I think what I feel is regret for this girl.  I regret allowing myself to be treated the way I was.  I regret wasted time and years on not loving myself the way I do now.

Regret is an interesting emotion, however.  I know that what I experienced in my life has brought me to where I am now.  I know I may not have found this place had I not gone through what I did, so it makes it all the more confusing to wish you hadn't experience things when they possibly brought you to where you are!  

I don't look back often because I'm not sure it's really helpful in the end. (and who really has time when they are enjoying their current life?)   I thought about going back and "showing them!" but in the end what exactly does that change or prove?  It was never about them anyway, it was about me.  Forgiving myself for not standing up, for not making different choices.  Acknowledge that I made the choices that I did and they are done.  I'm not that girl anymore, I'm not really a girl at all anymore and if it took 40 years to figure it out, then so be it.  What matters is who I am now and that I live each moment and enjoy it, which is exactly what I'm doing!  

I appreciate you allowing me to ramble, it really is quite amazing the things that pop into my head while running.  I think I'm just so very proud of myself and realized how very foreign that feeling was to me when I was 18.  

What about you?  Do you feel like a completely different person from when you were younger?  Has running helped you work though anything from the past? 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wide-angle Wednesday

We had so much fun a couple weeks ago with wide-angle Wednesday, when I stumped all of you with one of my Disney photos, I thought we would try again.  This one should be much easier!  (Meg, if you don't get this, you are in trouble. LOL) 

 If you need a hint, here are a few of the libations I acquired there...

Do you have a favorite drink at Disney World?  How about a favorite drink in general?  
I just had my first mojito this last weekend, it was fabulous! 

Wide-angle Wednesday Reminder:  Please contact me if you want to use any of my photos.  I do not mind if people share/use them (love it, actually!)  but please ask first. Thanks ~Karen

Monday, July 1, 2013

Glow Run 5K Recap!

Hello Monday!  I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend, I know I did!  This is going to be terribly long and jam-packed full of photos.  I know, totally unlike me! ;)  I won't hate you if you just scroll through them.  

 This was a special race as it was the first official 5K for my friend Lora.  She lives in Kansas City, MO. and we had not seen each other for nine years!  Lora is running the Princess 1/2 with me next February and I wanted to join her for her first race in KC.  I had a crazy morning, trying to finish up petsits before leaving town but enjoyed the lovely 3 1/2 hour drive to KC through rural Missouri.  There were puffy clouds, wildflowers, and sunshine.  It was so pretty! 

You would think after 9 years that I would be taking pictures of Lora immediately, but no, I made a B-line for THIS FACE.  The most adorablist puppy in the land.  Siri.  She's a whole pound of tiny fluffy puppy energy.  I couldn't get enough of her! 

I don't think I had been in the door 10 minutes when Lora offered me a mojito.  I thought I should pass since we were running a 5K in mere hours, but that thought was pretty brief! LOL.  Mojitos outside on the deck, poolside!  Sounds like a plan to me. 

 Lora's fabulous husband grilled up a million veggies for me and I think I ate half this tray.  

and for dessert?  Grilled pineapple!  Oh and not JUST pineapple, she soaked it in brown sugar and some sort of butterscotch alcohol?!?!?  I don't know, I didn't pay attention, I was too busy stuffing my face.

 After dinner, it was time to get ready!  The tshirts were awesome, but we had other plans for our outfits. 

 I think I look a little like Rainbow Bright. 

 We decided to head out early, they had all kinds of stuff going on at the race beforehand like a DJ and face painting.  We get in the car and literally as we pull out of the driveway, the sky opens up and it POURS.  

 The sun was still trying to peek out though and we talked about how there might be a rainbow.  We made a pitstop at the gas station for a drink, that was fun in tutus! The rain stopped, but we could see more small clusters of rain clouds in the area.  As we pulled up to the Stadiums, where the race was being held, another downpour began and we spotted our rainbow!  DIRECTLY ABOVE the stadium?!?!  A DOUBLE rainbow, even!  I thought it was pretty amazing, considering my matching rainbow attire for the night. ;) 

 It was gone so fast, if we hadn't gone early, we would have never seen it.  We also wouldn't have gotten such a fantastic parking spot.  LOL.

When we got there, the line for pickup was HUGE!!!! I am SO relieved that Lora picked up our packets the previous day, there were something like 4000 people that did not.  We jumped in the line for face painting though and even though it was long, there were no lines at all for the porta-potties.   It was fun to see the people arriving and seeing all the different costumes!

 I had to get a shot of this guy...he had Superman underwear on and a white mohawk!

 We never did get through the face painting line.  It never really moved and many people gave up. 


 We decided to do some jumping shots, they turned out so funny, I cannot look at them without laughing...I look like a total dork! 

 The sun started to set and the people started to arrive by the thousands.  TEN THOUSAND people!  This was not my first 5K, but definitely the largest race I have been to.  I thought it would be good practice for the Princess! ;

 They announced that the race was going to start around 9:20, but around 8:50 I saw some people heading to the corrals and told Lora we should head over there.  That was the best decision we would have made!  In the packet instructions, they had said people should line up starting with runners, followed by run/walkers, and then walkers.  This did not happen, and with the number of people in attendance, I'm very glad we headed over to the corrals early.  As we stood there for the next 30 minutes, the people just kept coming.  It was crazy!  

 We were not right up front, we had purposely stayed back a bit since we knew there would be other runners who were faster, and when they started the race. We were in the second wave but in comparison to how many people kept coming and lining up behind us (we couldn't even see how far back it went) we were pretty close to the front.  that row of black lights up there is the start.   

 My feet were actually starting to hurt from standing.  I hadn't really thought about that.  Stretching in this crowd wasn't very easy, but I still made it look cute.  LOL

It was about time!  Since this was Lora's first 5K, I just wanted her to run at her pace and I was there to be her cheerleader.  She decided that finishing under 40 minutes was her goal and that she would do better without an app telling her how far she had gone and decided to just start a stopwatch on her phone to time herself.  I thought it was a great idea.  

They let the first group go and Lora's husband Darrin caught a few shots of the start for me.

Didn't those come out COOL?!?  Everyone had so much glow stuff on, it made for a wicked picture.  The next one you can actually see us in, if you look really hard!  

The start was slow, as expected, but what I did not expect was how many people had completely ignored the suggestion that walkers start in the back.  Some people were walking right out of the start!  They were also walking in large groups abreast and blocking everything.  It was frustrating to me, and I told Lora this is why the 10K time to submit for corrals is so important at the Princess.

It took about a half a mile for things to spread out a bit and Lora to be able to get in her groove.  I was just trying to pace her and make sure I wasn't going to fast or slow.  I also was trying to adjust to running in the dark and I think I bumped into her about 20 times, I thought she might start to regret inviting me along! LOL

They had tents to run through that were lit up with black lights and although I thought it was a nice touch, with the number of people it made it difficult.  People would just DEAD STOP right in front of you to take pictures of each other. People also were losing their glow-sticks naturally but some people thought it would be a good idea to collect them all and they would just stop right in front of you to bend over and pick them up.  We eventually bypassed the tents that we could, just to avoid those issues.

Lora was doing really well, I could tell she was going faster than her normal pace, I  actually told her that at one point and she quickly told me her favorite song was on.  I couldn't tell if I was annoying her or she was out of breath, so I decided I better keep my mouth shut!  LOL.  It turns out she wasn't annoyed with me at all!  

We were about halfway when she needed to walk for a minute.  We talked about how it was hard to settle into it with only one ear piece in.  We had both thought we would run with just one so we could hear each other but I think we both need our music to really get into our runs.  I was happy that she wanted to put her other earbud in and I think it took about 30-60 seconds to make that decision and she was off running again.  Full music=much better!  I LOVED feeling part of the crowd of all these runners, but don't need to hear them, it was way better with my music.  

We ran the rest of the way, I had to laugh at the sheer number of  cups on the ground at the water stations.  I was kicking them by accident and laughing at just how many there were...and we were not even at the back of the pack.  I cannot imagine how many there were by the end.  

Since the route was around both the stadiums, we could see where the finish was at some point. I really loved that.  It was also really great to see all the runners in front and behind us.   

As we headed into the finish, I knew she was going to have the time she wanted and the BEST part of the night for me was right after we crossed the line and she looked down at her timer.  Her face lit up in an expression I won't ever forget, just surprise and pure JOY.  She beat her goal by 3 minutes and that was with all the weaving and congestion for the first half mile! 

We finally found her husband and cheer squad in the masses and took a few more pictures before heading out.  

They had a dance party and I thought I would want to stay for a drink and to hang out a bit, but there were just so many people and we had drinks back at Lora's house, so we decided to head out. 

 It was a great race and I was impressed with how well they handled that many people.  I'm actually not sure how they handled it!   I would have preferred a better corral system, but with it being a fun run that wasn't timed, I'm not sure what the point would be.  

I was annoyed with the walking groups that blocked everyone, but other than that, I realized that it was a fun run and whatever gets people moving, right?  I did observe my "runner self" having to let go of the fact that people were not "taking it seriously", but then I realized that I was dressed in a tutu and who am I do talk?!?! LOL

We headed back to Lora's for one more mojito and a soak in the hot tub before turning in for the night.  I had to get up early and drive home to more petsitting but we had time to stop at Starbucks for a quick coffee and breakfast before saying our goodbyes.  

I'm so excited to have Lora to run with, we are going to have a BLAST at the Princess Half next February! I may even head back to KC for a 10K in October as well.