2017: April Running

April, I’m glad you’re over! I ran 52 miles in April, which is my lowest mileage for the year. In fact, it’s my lowest mileage since January 2016! You can check out my recaps for JanuaryFebruary, and March if you need to catch up!

I really have no good reason why my mileage was so low. I just wasn’t feeling running in April.  The month started off with the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon. That race kind of led me into a downward spiral, with lots of emotions in many different aspects of my life bubbling up.  I’m fine, nobody needs to worry, but my running has definitely been slacking.  On top of the emotional issues I’ve been dealing with, I’ve been super swamped with wedding planning, moving prep, and work.  None of these things are good excuses, and I’m not trying to write them off, it’s just what happened in April.

I’m glad for May, a clean slate, a fresh start, a new month.

Back to April.  Rock the Parkway was the second Saturday of the month.  I didn’t write a race recap, but basically it was the slowest half I’ve ever run. I walked more than I’ve ever walked, and Chris stayed by my side for every single step. Emotionally, I went through happiness, sadness, frustration, hope, disgust, thankfulness, gratitude, rage, envy, hopelessness, shame, joy, love… the list goes on and on and on…  The race is over, I’ve dealt with a lot of my emotions, and still dealing with a lot more, but I’m in a much better place than I was at the finish line of that race.

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I only ran 11 times in April, the lowest in a long time.  Running is always there for me, and will always be there for me, whether or not I take a break.  I’m ready to get back on the horse and start putting in the mileage again.  I got a nice fun run in St. Joseph while Chris had band practice one Saturday, which was a fun way to explore a bit.

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Chris and I had some good runs too, the weather was really nice for part of the month, really hot and windy for part, and then at the end of the month, got cold and rainy.   I didn’t cycle at all in April. I need to work on that for May, and plan to go to cycle tonight.  I’ve added in some Group X classes, mainly a strength class during lunch once a week, and hope to add in a second day per week soon, and also get back to lifting on my own once a week or so.  Baby steps!

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I finished out the month with the Trolley Run, which is one of my very favorite KC races.  It was Chris’ first time doing the Trolley Run, and my third.  It was cold and drizzly, but we had a great run. I’ll be writing a recap this week.

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Looking forward to May: I have no races, but hope to get in some solid runs. My goal for the month is 75 miles for the month, and at least 1 strength session per week at the gym, and at least 3 cycle classes for the month.  How was your April? What does your May look like?

April stats:
Running:  11 runs, totaling 52 miles
Longest Run: 6 miles, April 23rd.
Races: Rock the Parkway Half Marathon and the Trolley Run

Rock the Parkway 2016

Last Saturday, I ran the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon for the second time.  Rock the Parkway, in it’s 7th year, is one of the largest and best run races in the Midwest.  There was a half marathon and a 5k option.  I felt like I had a little something to make up, after a personally frustrating Rock the Parkway experience last year, due to a head cold that was plaguing me during the race weekend.

Friday, after work, we checked out the expo, picked up our packets and some fun KC run local shirts.  Amy and I had a quite delicious spaghetti dinner, complete wth garlic bread and wine.  Then, it was time for bed.  I laid out Flat Runner Renee, and headed to bed.

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5:30 came very early on Saturday morning, and I got ready to go, and Amy and I headed out to the race.  Parking was no problem, and we had about 40 minutes before the race to use the bathrooms, check our bags, and try to keep warm.  It was a bit chilly, around 35 degrees, but it was sunny.  The cooler than expected weather, and the promise of warmer temps at the finish made me second guess my outfit a bit, but after adding throw-away gloves and an ear warmer, I was set.  After one last bathroom trip, we made our way to the corrals, and a few minutes later, the race started!

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If only a half marathon was 8 miles, this race would have been the best ever.  The first half of the race, for me, was picture perfect.  Miles 1-2, I stayed slow and steady, got into a good groove, and ended up tossing my gloves and taking off my ear warmer.  Miles 3-5, again, were great.  My splits had picked up a little bit, but I felt comfortable, I was enjoying the scenery; I was taking water/gatorade while running through every aid station, and had downed my first gu with no problems.  There are a few rolling hills, nothing too terrible, during the first 5 miles.

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Photo courtesy Backprint Photography and KC Running Company.

After mile 5, we turned to head toward Loose Park, the hills were still rolling at this point, but were a bit steeper.  There was a beer aid station around mile 5.5, which made me chuckle, as it did last year.  The spectators were great, and the signs were funny.  The race was going splendidly.  Miles 6-8 were good, though I was starting to have the itch to walk. I expected this, because my longest training run has only been 8 miles.

 

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Photo courtesy Backprint Photography and KC Running Company.

Near the end of mile 7, I began to get a bit dizzy.  Nothing like the KC Half Marathon last fall – that was a very dizzy feeling.  When a bit of dizziness came on Saturday, I slowed, and then walked.  I still don’t know what is causing the dizziness, as it only comes during long long runs, but I’m going to experiment with taking salt/electrolyte pills, as I think I may be sweating out too much sodium (I am a very salty sweater, and I begin sweating very quickly).

Once I walked, I feel like the drive fizzled out of me.  I continued with a run/walk/run through the last 4-5 miles, becoming frustrated with myself for not pushing through.  Mentally, I have a lot of work to do to improve my half marathons.  Physically, I know I am in better running shape than I was last fall, and better yet than I was last year when I ran Rock the Parkway, and even better yet, I’m in much better shape than when I did my first half marathon 2 years ago… but mentally, I have a long way to go.  I am confident that if I am not dizzy, I can physically complete a half marathon with no or minimal walking.  However, mentally, I struggle, and once I let myself walk that first time, it feels like it’s all over.

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Photo courtesy Backprint Photography and KC Running Company.

Mental rant aside, I finished the last 4-5 miles as strongly as I could, for me, on that day, during that race.  I finished the race with my second fastest half marathon time overall, which makes me happy, and shows my progress, considering I walked at least 3-4 times more than I did in October, when I finished the KC Half Marathon a mere 4 minutes faster.

I met up with Amy, and several other running friends, after the race.  Lots of my friends had huge PR’s; I’m so proud of all of you!  We got changed into some dry, warm clothes, enjoyed our chocolate milk, and celebrated our half marathons!

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Compared with last year’s Rock the Parkway, I finished about 15 minutes faster, I felt stronger, and I definitely feel like I ran smoother.  I didn’t have a head cold this year, which probably helped some!  Last year, Mom and Dad came down, and Mom ran, too.  I’m looking forward to having that experience with my parents again next month, at Running with the Cows.

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The rest of the weekend consisted of having some post-chafing issues, watching baseball, eating pizza, and getting pedicures after a shakeout run on Sunday with Amy.

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Did you run Rock the Parkway, or another race? Let me know how you did! What’s your next race coming up?

Monday Mentionings: April 11

Another Monday, another post! Last week was a great week, let’s jump right in!

On Monday, I met up with Thayne for dinner; he was in KC for opening day on Sunday, then flew out Tuesday for a work meeting.  It was nice to see him, it’s been since Christmas! Thayne, did you give Kristen her hug from me? We went to Joe’s KC BBQ, and it was delicious, as always.

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Jazzy has been leaving Michelle toys several times per week.  So precious, that little kitty, and his love for Michelle.  She’s moving to her new place this weekend; Jasper and I will both miss her like crazy, but I know we will see her often!

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We finished off the Amaretto Slushies last week, so tasty!  The weather has been warmer, which means Jasper hasn’t been snuggling as much lately – he likes to snuggle when it’s cold out.  I soaked up every minute of snuggle time I had last week.

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This is what I see every morning while I’m getting ready for work.  He sits patiently while I get ready, then about 5 minutes before I’m ready to go, he starts crying, to make sure I don’t forget to give him his morning treats.  So spoiled, this one.

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This tweet exchange cracked me up so much.  Kristen wrote about hedgehogs in the wild, and our Granddad’s response is just too funny.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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There were hot dog races at work last Friday, which cracked me up.  Some of the guys from the building next to us had the races, and we stood by the window in our building to watch them.  I love love love the place I work!  We work hard, but play hard too!

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This may be a dangerous search.  I’m contemplating trying a duathlon this summer/fall! Have you ever done a duathlon or triathlon? Should I go for it??  I’m also looking at trail races for this summer/fall!

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Saturday morning, bright and early (and cold), was Rock the Parkway, my first half marathon of the year.  I will have a race recap up later this week, once the race pictures are posted, but I wanted to share a couple pictures with you – pre and post race.  It wasn’t a PR for me, but it was for Amy, and for several of my friends, which was so great, and I finished with my second best half marathon time!

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Then, several hours and a painful shower later, this happened…

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I think Jasper’s most favorite thing ever is sitting in/on all the places he isn’t supposed to be.  He has probably sat on everything possible in Michelle’s room.  I think he’s just trying to make sure all of his extra fur goes with her to her new apartment.

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Last night, after yummy fajitas and quesadillas, Michelle and I decided we needed some good old fashioned TCBY.  We made the trip to Prairie Village, and had a very strange TCBY experience, but the ice cream was yummy, and that made up for it!  What’s your favorite froyo flavor?

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Have a great week friends!