Tuesday’s on the Run: A Marathon Runs Through It

It’s Tuesday (okay, I know in reality it is Wednesday and I am a day late), so it’s time to link for Tuesday’s on the Run

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This past weekend, I crossed another state off my quest to “someday” complete a half marathon in every state with the Missoula (Half) Marathon. Why the Missoula Marathon?

brad2Maybe I was hoping to find a young Brad Pitt (circa 1992) waiting for me at the end with nothing but his waders on, after all “A River Does Run Through It” or should a say a marathon runs through it…

Seriously, If you are going to finish an event in every state is seems pretty clear that you pick the best one the state has to offer, and in this case the United States has to offer…

The Missoula Marathon has twice been named as the Best Marathon in the US (2010 by Runner’s World Magazine and in 2017 by BibRAVE).  It has also been named the 2017 Top Marathon for runners like me, Back-of-the-Packers, as well as a Top 10 Bucket List Marathon.

Missoula Marathon YOUTUBE VIDEO  

Now I know that I only completed the half (cause I am lazy that way), but for 10 miles of both events we shared the course…

The Missoula Marathon makes it look easy to be NUMBER 1…

The volunteers and Run Missoula Wild put on an event with EXCEPTIONAL RACE MANAGEMENT. From the moment I submitted my race registration in April, the Missoula Marathon provided weekly communication about the event via email newsletter.  Each week I looked forward to reading about Missoula as well as the race.  It was also nice to get a PRINTED race program at bib pick up, a keepsake. Bib pick up was easy and in a central location that also gave you insight into the finish set up, as well as a chip check for your bib (just in case you are one of those who are running for time).  Parking was easy, buses ran efficiently to the starting line.  The bag check as the best I have ever seen conducted, with a fleet of UPS trucks and men in brown and bags sorted according to bib number waiting on marked trucks as you made your way to the exit chute. The race start, with fireworks, went off smoothly and ON TIME. The finish was a well-oiled machine of stops (medal, bag, time tape, and food) before meeting back up with your own personal cheering squad.

It’s Montana! I knew going to be beautiful and being a fan of the movie (and book) “A River Runs Through it”, I already had my vision of the race course set in my head long before I completed the registration.  Missoula delivers on the promise of one of the most beautiful places to run (and I have completed mountain half marathons in both Colorado and New Mexico) with its 360-degree panoramic view of the mountains during sunrise, run along the river, charming homes on tree lined streets and the dramatic finish over the bridge and across the river into downtown Missoula.

But you want to know the real reason why Missoula is number 1…

The People of Missoula!  It felt like the entire town somehow came out on race weekend. From the countless volunteers who made sure not only did the race go off with out glitches but runners felt safe and welcomed, to the townsfolk who literally lined the sidewalks of the race course and offered their personalized spin on course entertainment…signs, cowbells, cowboys on horseback, a man playing a baby grand on his front lawn in tails, a string quartet, banjos, cowbells, unofficial course treats (including whiskey shots and popsicles) and just shouts of encouragement as you went past. There wasn’t any stretch of the race where there wasn’t someone cheering you on or a water sprinkler set up purposefully to keep you cooled off!

My experience with the Missoula Marathon demonstrated why in the movie that Brad Pitt’s character, Paul, would reply to his brother Norman “Oh, I’ll never leave Montana.” The Missoula Marathon makes you feel like you are part of the community, and who wants to leave a place where you are treated so well?

Oh yes and then there is the bling…

which is just about the size of the Big Montana Sky!

 

 

Tuesday’s on the Run:  June Run Recap

It’s Tuesday, so it is time for Tuesday’s on the Run with Patty, Erika and Marsha

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Where has June gone? I really thought I would be farther along in my training to complete a full marathon in January 2019, but just like my current mental state my body seems to be having its’ own midlife crisis…

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Last month I started having some serious hip issues (to the point it was difficult to walk) and decided it was time to implement the R and I in RICE…Rest & Ice and scale back my training (both my core fitness classes and running).  I gave it 4 VERY LONG weeks and with no improvement, I decided to cry “uncle” and go for the MRI that the chiropractor was encouraging me to do. Can you say sticker shock? At the same time, I just happen to come across a Facebook Ad…

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Airrosti Link

Intrigued, I did some research and made the decision (my insurance would cover all but the co-pay) to schedule a consultation with our local Airrosti provider, Dr. Ramos.  After all, what had I to lose at this point (other than more training time) and maybe if this worked I would save $1200 on that MRI. At my consultation, Dr. Ramos spent a good while just asking questions and then did a little probing of the muscle structures around my hip. I was completely impressed with the depth of the assessment, his verdict…over taxed IT-band at the hip cause my weak rear end muscles, yep my  almost 50 year old butt is out of shape.  He then went over a treatment plan and felt that he could get me to pain free in about 4-5 visits. Seriously, that seemed to good to be true, but left with me with enough optimism to postpone the MRI and this…

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Lovely!  The Airrosti method delivers very specific treatment to the soft tissues (the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue throughout the body and around the joints) by manually repairing the tissue through basically what I would describe as a deep tissue massage, but at very specific points (as you can tell on my legs).  Then after 30 minutes of tissue work, it is on to Physical Therapy for another 30 minutes to teach me exercises and stretches to build up strength in the muscles to improve and prevent future issues. After the first 3 visits, I was very discouraged because I was not feeling like there was much improvement (and a lot more pain in other places), but I was determined to last the 5 treatments out.  Something magical happened between visits 4 and 5…

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And no I do not mean Half Marathon #18, the Slacker Half. Yes, that is right I completed a half marathon at a pace that would keep me ahead of those runDisney balloon ladies.  A few days after treatment #4, I started noticing less and less pain and then suddenly, NO PAIN. Almost in total disbelief, I decided that I would give the hip the ultimate test, 13.1 miles, since the half marathon that I had scheduled for the weekend was walker friendly (don’t worry, I was in contact with Dr. Ramos and he knew what I was doing).  During the race I had hip pain but surprisingly the day after, there was no pain (other than thighs who were REALLY sore from 13.1 miles downhill). A few days later, still hobbling from the downhill distance (but no hip pain), I returned excited for appointment #5 to report that I was still pain free in the hip despite my stubborness to complete a downhill half with little training and have Dr. Ramos repair any damage that my stubbornness may have caused.  I gingerly got on the table (did I mention how sore my thighs were) and I swear Dr. Ramos performed a miracle during that 30 minutes on the table because my thighs had found relief from the soreness and I could move a lot easier. More importantly though, he closed out the case on my hip as promised 4-5 visits to be pain free. I do have another appointment scheduled before my next half to go over taping of the IT band around the hip and then do a follow up treatment after the half.  I also have plans for him to do some treatments around the Achilles and shin, just for safe measure. As long as the insurance keeps paying, I will be scheduling a treatment before and after each long distance run of over 13 miles.

Slacker Half Marathon Link

Like I mentioned, I completed half #18, the Slacker Half Marathon, this past weekend.  I picked this half specifically back in March to get in distance training for my goal of a full marathon in January and because of its “walker friendly atmosphere.”  I knew by picking this event that if I had to, I could walk and it would be perfectly acceptable to do so, no rolling up the time mats and everyone leaving before I crossed the finish line (yes, that has happened to me).

The Slacker Half is 13.1 miles downhill from an elevation of over 10,500 feet at the start to about 8,500 feet at the finish from the Loveland Ski Basin to Georgetown, Colorado.  It has to be to the most beautiful half marathon I have completed, plus it was a great excuse to go home to Colorado for a long weekend. Kudos to the race organizers for a VERY WELL run event, super race atmosphere, great course, and fun bling.  

I was very happy with how I finished, just between you and me I ran (intervals) the first 6 miles near the 13 minute mile pacer (which had I continued the last half of the race would have been a huge PR for me), but as the hip started flaring and my body giving out due to lack of training (and yes the altitude), I had to walk the last 7 miles.

Now with my first major distance behind me in over 18 months, I am looking ahead (and crossing my fingers) with #midlifecrisisinprocess to continuing down the #roadtomyfirstmarathon.  Next up a special run on Friday…

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Tuesdays on the Run: Shhh, I am in love with another man…

It’s Tuesday, so that means I am linking up with Patty, Erika & Marsha for Tuesday’s on the Run. This week’s topic is “Running Valentine”…

Don’t tell my husband, but I am in LOVE with another man…

For over 5 years,  we secretly meet up hidden by the darkness before dawn.  His voice whispering in my ear my favorite 4 letter word and then a few seconds later the three letter word that strikes fear to my fluffy body.  He and I go round and round, longer and farther than the time before. And as a gift I for my faithfulness, I am rewarded beautiful things to wear around my neck…

When I tell people that “run” half marathons, I almost feel like a fraud…

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Look at me I am certainly not the image of what many people envision a runner to look like and the way that I “run” my half marathons (or any distance) would have my middle school track coach kicking me off the team.

Thank goodness I am way beyond those middle school track days and Coach Carlson.  Although sadly though not beyond the harsh judgments (even if they are all in my head) of other people,  but I do “run” half marathons it is just a matter that my running looks different than many runners and non-runners think running looks likes.  I LOVE the fact this fluffy, middle aged woman can hold up the bling and say “Yep, I did 13.1 miles and finished the race!”  Thanks to my love affair with a man named Jeff Galloway.

While Jeff Galloway may not have been the first to run-walk, his method of interval running allows many people, myself included, to be “runners.” Basically for me a run is a short period of running followed by a longer period of walking repeated over and over until I finish the distance.  In a normal week, my training plan is 2 miles 2 x a week and 1 long run (determined by whatever my distance is that I am building to).

I love that Jeff constantly reminds me that “I am the captain of my own ship” and it is me that determines how far, how fast and how much I will walk or run.  Here are some other reasons that I love the Jeff and the Galloway method.

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  • I don’t have to do speed workouts, but I do keep track of my minute/mile pace for each run so I can compare how I am doing against where I need to be to not be swept from a race.
  • I don’t have to cross train, although occasionally I do in the pool and recently thought about getting a personal l trainer and work on some strength training.
  • If I am just not feeling my long run, then I can walk it…after all it is all about practicing the time on my feet and getting my body used to a distance, aka endurance.
  • The distance for my long runs seems more manageable because it is broken up into, “30 seconds till I can walk again.” I also find it easier to push past the wall.
  • I feel good after a run, not fatigued because I have had control over the fatigue the entire run.

If I can learn to love running, anyone can, I guarantee Jeff will make you fall in love too!  After all life should be about the things we love…

Check Out Run Walk Run with Jeff Galloway…

http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/run-walk/

Tuesdays on the Run:  Time to Face the Facts

Running injuries, or should I say trying to recover from one SUCKS.

Long story short, I partially tore my Achilles tendon and developed one of the worst cases of Achilles tendonitis that my podiatrist had ever seen while training for and completing runDisney’s 2 Course Wine & Dine Challenge last November. This injury landed me in a boot for 6 months and 3 additional months of physical therapy, translation NO running or walking for 9 months. Finally healed (or cleared to start walking again), I did some funny Disney math, played with the calendar and decided that I could participate in my 19th half marathon, the 2017 runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, since I was going to be at Walt Disney World at that time anyway.

The race is now 5 days from taking place and it is time to face the facts…

Despite my best efforts to get back to running/walking, 3 months is not long enough to go from 0 to 13.1 miles. My attempt to do so has landed me with yet another injury that will take some time to recover from, bursitis in the hip that was under used during the time in the boot.

Looking at my corral placement and the pacers, I could probably make it to where I think the last hard sweep will take place at the maximum pace of a 16-minute mile. However, based on how I feel physically after long training runs, Sunday and the rest of the week would be miserable and who wants to be miserable at Walt Disney World?  I would probably end up injuring my hip further and need A LOT more healing time, which would put a damper on  my training efforts to complete my first (and last) full marathon by the time I turn 50 next year, as well as be devastating mentally. With all of this in mind, I have decided to pull myself from runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. I am not even going to start and let myself be swept, because I know how stubborn I am and how much I would push myself to stay away from the dreaded latex and bicycle spokes. I am also not sure that being swept would be a good thing mentally for my recovery efforts, along with a medal that I really did not earn.

It’s going to be difficult Sunday morning to ignore the 2 am runDisney alarm and visualizing myself running that amazing 3 park course.  It’s going to hurt seeing and hearing the clanking of those medals throughout the day. But, I will put on my big girl panties and remind myself that in 14 months I will be running through all 4 parks and a different medal will be around my neck, because after all…

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To all my runDisney friends, have a magical run. I will be cheering for you and celebrating your run  Sunday night  in Epcot during the postrace party!

Tuesdays on the Run: What do you need to know about a runDisney race?

It’s Tuesday, so that mean’s I am linking up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for

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Recently, I crossed paths with an old friend, as we proceeded to catch each other up on major events in our lives she mentioned seeing my endless FB posts about runDisney and was thinking about giving it try.  Well, Cindy as promised here what you need to know…

1. All Magic Comes at Price

runDisney events are not cheap.  While a local half marathon registration will cost you $50-100, a runDisney half marathon registration will be in the range of $200.  That is a lot of money for a t-shirt, medal and bandana.  Then when you factor in the cost of making it a run-cation the expenses go up significantly.  But trust me after you finish your first race, you will never have sticker shock again and somehow your eyes will never even gaze at the price, your finger will just click on that registration link.

2. Lots of Runners Want in on the Magic

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runDisney events have gained significant popularity the last years and many of the event weekends and distances are likely to sell out VERY quickly, some within minutes.  You need to make sure you are aware of registration dates & times, as well as be familiar with the registration process.  runDisney races are also huge events in the terms of participants, in 2016 almost a 250K runners took part in a runDisney race. The 2016 Princess Half Marathon had 37.000 registered runners.

3. Races are not Sleeping Beauty Friendly

Most runDisney events have a start time between 5-6 am, which means a 2:30 am walk up call is in order so that you can get dressed, make it to the bus on time, take care of your personal needs and get in your race corral ready to start by race time, all in the dark.  Most runners compete in the challenges (multiple races over the course of the weekend) and will repeat the early mornings 3-4 days in a row.  Princesses are off to bed early and have to limit times enjoying the parks.  You have to get in the mindset of you are here for “work” first and play afterwards.

4. Hi-Ho Hi-Ho, It’s Off to Train I must Go

Pixie Dust will not get you through a runDisney race.  You must take your training seriously and put the time into it to have a successful and enjoyable race. There is no room for excuses, only commitment. A great motivation for training is to pull out your registration and remind yourself of how much you are paying for this experience.

5. Magical Race Experience for Everyone

Whether you are a serious or causal runner, runDisney races can be magical for both skill levels and everyone in between.  With Jeff Galloway (leading running mousekeeter of the run/walk method) as the official race trainer, expect there to be a lot of run/walkers out on the course making a runDisney event a race that most everyone can be successful in.  Also, it is perfectly acceptable to stop occasionally and take in all the magic around you, including running through the castle or underneath Spaceship Earth. If you are brave enough, riding Expedition Everest in the middle of your full marathon, my personal goal. For those really wanting to celebrate the finish line, cross with a margarita in hand from the Mexico pavilion.  Also, make sure you take pictures and selfies along the way, documenting the magic you are having.  runDisney uses Disney Photopass photographers to capture the magic as you are running, but don’t be afraid to hand your camera off to a Cast Member too to help you capture the magic.  As long as you keep a 16-minute mile pace and are ahead of the “balloon ladies” you will finish the race.

6. Red or Blue?

While costumes are entirely optional, you will want to get in the spirit of a runDisney race after you see everyone else around you.  It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, but it does need to be runner friendly so make sure you try it out during a run BEFORE you wear it for a race…chaffing is not fun.

7. Like Chocolate to Elsa & Anna, an Addition

Okay running is not fun or most people, me included.  But something happens when you compete in your first runDisney race and that medal is around your neck…. you suddenly forget about the training runs in the middle of summer (or winter), the blisters, the sweating, mile 9 when you are ready to die…all the bad stuff is erased and you begin thinking about the experience of running through the castle and only hear the clinking of your next medal.

So Cindy, are you ready to runDisney with me…

 

 

 

 

Tuesdays on the Run: Scenes from My Runs

It’s Tuesday, so that mean’s I am linking up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for

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I refuse to whine, but I am on the verge of giving up the thoughts of ever getting back to walking let alone running again.  Last Wednesday I had my latest check up with the podiatrist, one that I hoped would finally clear me to at least start building walking miles again in with hopes of returning to running in the fall…

Let’s just say the appointment did not goes as I had dreamed.  I am STILL not cleared to begin walking for exercise for another 3 months and physical therapy is going to get a little more aggressive with less stretching and more machine…meaning more ultra-sound and electrical current treatments to the ankle.  And the only miles I am going to be doing will continue to be in the pool.  Worst of all while the boot may be on the sidelines, it needs to be put into the game to relieve some stress on the ankle at times…

Honestly, I am not sure how much more of this I am going to be able to take before I finally just give up.  At this point I WANT TO AND NEED TO RUN/WALK for my own mental health…

Since this week is all about scenes from my run, I thought I would take a look back at some of my favorite views I have had during a run in the hopes of reminding me (or depressing me further)…

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Estes Park Half Marathon (Estes Park, Colorado)

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Rock & Roll Half Marathon (Dallas, Texas)

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Angel Fire Half Marathon (Angel Fire, New Mexico)

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Piazza Novena (Rome, Italy)

Epcot’s World Showcase (really any place at Walt Disney World, lol)

I have run in some pretty amazing places, but there is no place like home with canyon trail runs and morning sunrises that will take your breath away (the view that I miss the most). Patience…

I have so many more places that I see while running…inspire me with your favorite places and add to my running bucket list!