My Dad’s first 1/2 Marathon! {Frederick Half Recap 2015} #runbaltimore #runchat

This past Sunday, I had the honor and privilege to run my 4th Half Marathon with My Dad.  My Dad started running last year on Fathers Day when I asked him to run a 5K with me. We finished that 5k in a little under 40 minutes.  Now, my Dad is running sub 29 minute 5k’s like it’s his job.  🙂 You give this man a challenge, he stares it in the face and kicks it in the balls. He’s run countless 5ks, a 10 miler, but said he’d never run a half.  Until I mentioned the King Crab Challenge.  He seemed excited.  “I’m in”. Of course, I’m giddy like a freaking school girl!! My Dad’s going to run with me!!!! OMG!!!!  Training starts, he keeps me posted with texts and pictures, he ROCKS his 10 mile race, and send me a message about a 12 mile training run and he also BEASTS!!! Then, I get a message that breaks my heart.  My Dad hurt himself… “we’re going to have to run/walk the Frederick Half”.  Of course, I don’t care… all I want to do is be with my Dad, but I know he’s disappointed. I told him straight up. “This race isn’t about pace… it’s about you and me crossing the finish line, together.”  I drove up to Frederick from Baltimore and coincidently met my Dad at the Expo! He was coming in from another part of Maryland. (A good sign I think)  🙂 packetpick

We drove to his house in Hagerstown (40 minutes away – a lot cheaper than a hotel!) and settled in. Had some pre race grub at TGIFridays with my Mom, and went to bed pretty early.  I of course laid out Flat Stacey before bed… I knew we’d have an EARLY morning and I didn’t want to forget anything…

flatstacey

We got up a little after 4am, left a bit before 5 and got to the Frederick Fair Grounds.  Because of out early departure, we got ROCK STAR parking!! (so glad we left early!!!) We were ON the grounds instead of last year when it felt like I had to walk half a mile just to find the car post race!! WINNING!!

parking

Also an early riser, Marsden (@RunningLonely on Twitter) was also there!! Finally got to meet him in person (and the infamous pig!) w00t!! My Dad was more than willing to take the “pictures or it never happened” shot for us. 🙂 He ended up kicking some serious tail on the course, setting a PR! WTG 🙂

runninglonely

It was a bit chilly, to be expected at 6 (something) in the morning, so my Dad and I jumped into the bag check area, where we could hide from the wind.  We stretched a bit, and chatted.  I think I was more nervous than he was at this point… I was nervous pacing, tried to play it off as being cold, not sure if that worked, but he’s my Dad, he didn’t prod. 😉  We took our obligatory pre race selfie and headed to the start line before the National Anthem.

preraceselfie

They chose a recording this year for the Anthem… maybe because of the mishap with the words last year?? Maybe not. Either way, it was beautiful.  Also, during the National Anthem, a BEAUTIFUL hot air balloon flew over us.  I definitely didn’t expect that! Everyone start looking up, so I (obviously) did also, and I’m glad I did! Check this beauty out…

hotairballoon

We noticed that we were next to two Army guys, full battle gear from head to toe.  Cover to boots… I was really impressed. More impressive, throughout the race, they were keeping a 12:30-13:00 pace.   My Dad and I passed them at one point, to which I yelled out “thank you for what you do, you guys are AWESOME!” and they waved at me. Pretty sure words weren’t happening for them.  So.Much.Sweat.  Seriously though, utmost respect.  To run a 1/2 marathon in little clothing is difficult… to do it in what THEY had on??  That’s BAD ASS!!

soldiers

Annnnnd off we went!! Slow and steady, as planned.  I looked at my Garmin and we were keeping a 12:30 pace, which was actually A LOT faster then I thought we would be able to do considering my Fathers injury.  We kept chugging. Talking to each other, making comments about how beautiful Frederick is.  We passed the School Board office. (My father is an administrator for the Washington County School district – so stuff like that is important, lol).  We passed landmarks I remembered from the race last year and I told my Dad how great he was doing.  We hit the 5K mark at under 36 minutes! (Injury or not, thats not too shabby!)  We passed the elementary school, and the beautiful dog park.  What stuck out for me this year that didn’t happen last year, we passed a church on our left, and the two Ministers were outside blessing the runners!!! It was so amazing! They were making the sign of the cross and telling us we were doing great!  Perfect for a Sunday morning!! I smiled at my Dad and told him to “Make sure Mom knows we were blessed today”, he chuckled. 🙂 Around mile 7, my Dad told me he felt a weird pain in his knee.  Not a new pain, but a pain that was new for today.  I immediately slowed down and ran in place as we tried to figure out what was going on.  His ITBS was acting out something fierce.  We thought we’d solved the first injury problem, only for another one to be thrown at us half way through a race!! OK… no problem, we’ve got this.  I talked to him, we made a plan.  “We’re going to finish.”  Speed didn’t matter, time, didn’t matter, we were going to finish, and we were going to cross the line together.  Around this point, I say this sign…

awesomesauce

…coincidence? I think not.  My dad? He is the definition of “Awesome sauce”.  🙂 We kept going, run/walk. (however, I was amped up and couldn’t walk, so I ran in place, or ran backwards constantly talking to my Dad keeping his spirits high), there was NO way I was going to let his first BIG race experience be a crappy one. NO WAY!  He told me to go on ahead of him, I looked him square in the eyes and said “nope. not the point today.  today is about us.” I saw a HUGE flag coming up. I remembered from last year that if was an older firetruck parked in someone’s driveway! I told my Dad and I don’t think he believed me… 😉

americanflag

I was right… 🙂  Nothing inspires you more than Old Glory (apparently!) So my Dad picked up the pace a little!! He got a good quarter of a mile in before the pain was just too much and we had to slow down again.  However, he was happy with the pace he kept for the 1/4 of a mile. Seeing him happy made me happy. 🙂  We kept running, talking, people watching, spending time together.  we paced a BUNCH of hilarious Runtelligence race signs, some of which were so funny I had to stop I was laughing so hard.  I snapped a picture of this one because my Father and I are both oenophiles. 🙂  He told me to go on ahead of him, I looked him square in the eyes and said “nope. not the point today.  today is about us.”

winestation

I could tell the pain was getting close to unbearable for my Dad so, I started to tell him how much we had LEFT to go instead of how far we’d gone.  We were really close actually, and I think it helped. He told me I could leave him again, yea… no. Not happening.  I made a comment; “the end is near!” which afterwards made the people around me laugh. He says “That could be taken the wrong way…” 😉 “THE FINISH LINE!!! Geeze, the finish line is near!!” Eh, comedy is always good right?? 🙂  Then I saw it… The hill at mile 12.5 that kicked my ass in 2014. I also saw a sign (like an ACTUAL paper sign) that said “Eat this hill for breakfast”  I told my Dad, “Dad, I’m taking this hill, I’ll wait for you at the top ok?”  He nodded and I took off.  I think I would have made my friends at NP Baltimore pretty proud… I ATE that hill for breakfast.  I turned around and my Dad was right there… I was trucking up that hill!!  Apparently, he also wanted hills for breakfast, 😉

hillsforbreakfast

We saw the race track… I told him, “Dad, this is it.  You get on this track and you’re done ok?? The finish line is ON THIS TRACK!!” He started to run again. I got pumped so I ran too.  We saw the finish line, I pointed… “Look Dad!! The finish line!! Look!!”  We heard the announcer say our names “Anastasia Miles, Stephen Miles… thats a whole lot of Miles!!”  Yea, I laughed.  And Bam!! Just like that, my Dad is a half marathoner!!  At that moment my heart swelled with pride!!  His smile when he got his medal was like a kid getting a toy on christmas morning!  He earned that thing!!!

   dadfinisher     mefinisher

meanddad

While looking through the race pictures, I cried… hard.  I had no idea ho much physical pain my Dad was in until I saw those picture.  For him to push through that, to finish and to be smiling as much as he was through the entire ordeal makes him that much more of a hero to me.  He inspires me to do great things.  I can’t wait for him to get well so we can run together again!! 🙂

Thank you Frederick RUnning Festival for putting on an AMAZING event, and for helping make my Dsd’s first half an unforgettable experience. 🙂

@RagnarRelay DC Recap 1 of 3!! #ragnarDC #peerpressured209 #trailrun #runchat

Well hello there!  As promised, here is the 1st of 3 Ragnar DC race recaps.  (Yea, I have THAT MUCH to write about.)   Let me start at the beginning of what was to become a very fun, very interesting, a bit painful, unforgettable experience.

12 friends, 200 miles, 33 hours 49 minutes (our actual completion time) and a LIFETIME of memories.  Trite, yea a little… but true.  It’s over a week after the race and I’m still flashing back to moments, waiting to have a bracelet slapped onto my wrist, waiting for someone to yell out “209!!!”, waiting to pass one of my teammates in the van so we can SCREAM encouragement out the drivers window for a brief second.

But wait… I’m ALREADY jumped ahead… This journey started at midnight (12:01am) on Friday September 12th, when my boyfriend and I sluggishly dragged out half asleep bodies and all of our gear to the car, to make the 90 minute drive to the rendezvous point to meet our team.  Our team captain made the decision to meet at a park and ride 15 minutes from the FINISH LINE, so we wouldn’t have to drive a long way after running for 33 hours. (Good call btw!)  So, we get to the park and ride, early… 🙂 We wait… and wait… and wait some more.  At about 10 of (1:50am) 2am was our meeting time… we texted the captain thinking Oh shit, is this the wrong place?! But all was well, people started showing up. 🙂 Some (most) of the runners we’re new faces to me. I’d only met person to person 4 people on my team (including the boyfriend), however though facebook and twitter, some of the faces looked familiar.  Everyone did brief introductions, and went to the vans.

our home for the next day and a half

Once we all packed into the vans, we headed to the START!! (another 2.5 hours away) The finish line was in DC, the start was in Cumberland, MD.  Luckily, I was able to get a bit of sleep during this trip… which was VERY beneficial, because I was RUNNER 1.  Without the sleep, I, well… yea, it wouldn’t have been good.  However, before I dozed off, I took a quick shot of my “vanmates”

Definitely not paying attention, lol

And we were off.  I slept until we pulled into the site… waving lights would probably wake anyone up.  The starting point was VERY organized.  (as a stickler for organization, I was impressed!! – I’ll post later about how I packed, lol)  We went to team sign in (both captain and co captain), got our shirts (AWESOME), and then proceeded to the safety briefing.  Having sat through my fair share of safety briefings in the military, and having read through the Ragnar Bible like it was my JOB, I figured I already know everything this woman in BRIGHT orange was going to tell me.  Nope.  What she said made me laugh and made me cringe at the same time… “We encourage tattle tailing At Ragnar” – oh lord… you’re kidding me… Now, don’t get me wrong… if someone is being unsafe, yea, let someone know… but making a blanket statement telling EVERYONE that tattle tailing is ENCOURAGED?!  Not smart.  And, it bit my team in the ass later on.  Another team didn’t appreciate that we were driving on the side of the road OPPOSITE the runners, and away from the dust in order to NOT spit dust and rocks in the runners faces… this apparently (to them) looked like we wanted to pass them.  No… we wanted to be safe.  However when they stopped the van and put their flashers on, we proceeded to cautiously drive around them. So what happens?? Within 20 minutes, we get a text from Ragnar stating we have a strike (3 strikes you’re out) because we’re driving recklessly.  /facepalm Ok!!  Sorry!!  I put no blame on Ragnar EXCEPT the blanket tattle tail statement.  The other team just wanted to whine.  *hops off soap box*  Austin (the BF) and I took our mandatory pre-race “runfie” and then parted ways.

before

As I walked to the start line (like I mentioned, I was the first runner) I get this overwhelming sense of fear, excitement, and ohmygod, its fucking dark!!! I had my head light, my ass light (yea, its funnier that way), and my reflective gear, however, it was VERY VERY dark.  So dark, I couldn’t see my shoes unless I pushed my lamp DOWN on them.  Yep, I’m gonna bust my ass on this trail… That’s a GREAT thought to have before I even start running right??  Well, I wasn’t wrong.

Start - Ragnar DC

There was a countdown, ya know building suspense (like I needed to hear my heartbeat any louder in my head!!!) and we were off!! I could hear my team cheering for me and i had a HUGE smile on my face.  (After reading a few other recaps, it looks like Van 2 from other teams just kind of left their first Van and went to exchange 6… My team watched me take off.  It was inspiring, and made me love them just a bit more. <3) I ran, and ran, BAM!!! Got my first kill. (In Ragnar, when you pass someone, it’s considered a kill – don’t ask me why because I can’t answer you.)  Felt pretty damn good about myself!!  And then I took my first turn… Oh shit… WHAT AM I RUNNING ON RIGHT NOW?!!!! NO SERIOUSLY WHERE DID THE GROUND GO!!!  All of my confidence went the way of the dodo, and I went right back to fear.  The terrain was treacherous.  I’ve run on trails before, and I’ve almost fallen, MANY times.  However, I’ve NEVER done a trail run, on a bitch of a trail, IN THE MOTHER F’IN BITCH DARK!!!  Oh my goodness…  I could hear footsteps behind me, but they weren’t getting closer, Ok, no worries, they’re going slower too… and then I hear a thud… Oh good lord, what the hell?! I turned around only to be face-to face with another head lamp.  Not afraid to admit, I almost crapped my pants.  Both of us screamed (which was hilarious, because HE was a large man), laughed, and kept moving… still don’t know what the thud was.  Kept running for (what my nike tracker said was a mile) and BAM, fall #1.  well shit… that hurt!   Checked for blood, nope, good… kept going.  Made it another .36 miles… BAM fall #2 Jesus mother of … ok, now I’m bleeding… OK, time to slow the pace a bit.  By this point, I’d lost sight of “screamer man” anyway, so it was me, the dark, and the trail… grrrrrrrreat.  Of course, my mind goes to THE WORST PLACE POSSIBLE I’m all alone out here, bleeding from both knees… I’m going to get eaten by a bear. I’m laughing at myself typing this… Really Stace?? A Bear?? But in retrospect, I was petrified.  I was indeed alone, and it was DARK!!! The adrenaline started to kick in and the pain started to ease up in the knees, so I picked up the pace a bit again… Ok, awesome!! Did Nike just say 3?? HELL YEA!!! BAM fall #3… FUCK!!!! This fall was hard… I fell and slid… hands got messed up, knees torn more… just… Ouch. I stood up slowly and started to cry… very softly, at the same time muttering ever terrible word I could think of.  I texted my boyfriend something about how awful the terrain was, so he wasn’t surprised when I came out of the shoot bleeding.  He texts me back “You’ve got this, keep going babe!”  But do I?? Do I have this?! The Leg map said 4.88 miles…  At this point I was at 4.2 and I didn’t see ANY sign of the finish.  I was starting think I’d gotten lost somewhere… and then I saw this beaut…

ragnarsign

THANK YOU LORD!!!  I’m not lost!! And then, wait… could it be?!!  It’s another runner!!  HA!!! Ok, I’m good, I can do this!! PIcked up the pace (you’re seeing a pattern here right?? Well you should be because…) BAM!! Fall #4 you have GOT to be kidding me. This is just ridiculous.  Fuck it, I’m walking the rest.  I walked for a good 10 minutes.  almost falling 6-7 more time over random vines and roots, a stump here and there.  They best part, however, I was maintaining the same speed as the runner ahead of me.  Apparently she was JUST as apprehensive about the terrain as I was!!  Maybe she’d gone ass over tea kettle a few times??? I dunno, but at least I wasn’t alone out there anymore.  Nike tracker said 5 miles.  Ummm… Ok? Since I Was walking I decided to take a picture of the lake that my “leg” was around.  Even in the darkness (the sun was just atarting to peak its little head up), the lake was beautiful.

Lake Habeeb - Leg 1, Ragnar DC

Kept on trucking it… I figured, I’ve gone 5 miles already, it can’t be much further, the map said 4.88! Yea well, I was trucking for a bit.  I came to a clearing and the sun had come up.  I was able to run again (b/c the terrain was better, not because my knees were better)

almostdone

I’M ALMOST DONE!!!

And then I heard it… the music… THE EXCHANGE IS COMING!!!! I was so excited I almost forgot to have the slap bracelet ready to give to runner two (Kristen) who was about to start her first leg.   I came running through the shoot, slapped Kristens wrist the bracelet and went (slowly) to my team.  I was immediately embrace with hugs and then “Oh my goodness!!!” (when they saw my knees) To which, I started to cry again.  They of course thought it was because I was in pain.  I quickly told them I was angry. I felt like I’d let everyone down.  The terrain was AWFUL and because of it my pace was abysmal.  Of course, because (I do’t know how I got this lucky) I was on a team with THE NICEST, more sincere people to have ever walked the planet.  They were rushing about trying to clean off my knees, getting me water (even after I told them I was fine), offering me food, telling me this was a relay, not a race, assuring me that all that mattered was that I was ok.

About half way through my leg I wanted to throw in the towel, just go home.  After the amazing camaraderie (which was epic considering some of us had JUST met that morning), and kindness shown by my teammates, I knew I was in this for the long haul… regardless of my silly knees.

Leg 1

That’s what I ran, however, the distance I covered, was 5.61 miles.  When they said “VERY RUGGED”… THEY AREN’T KIDDING!!! Here are my knees an hour after my leg was complete…

knee2 knee1

Over a week later, I’m still bruised, and the scabs from the scrapes are JUST falling off.  IMHO, leg one should be upgraded to HARD, not moderate… especially having run to other moderate legs.  That trail, no matter the time of day, is NOT moderate.  It’s quick difficult.  Having met up with another “Runner 1” in a medic tent latter on in the day, I found out that I was one of MANY that were injured on that first leg.  The girl I was speaking with was seated having her knees bandaged, looked right at me and says “Leg 1?!” I just nodded.  She informed me that another runner had injured themselves so badly, the required stitched on both hands, and both knees wrapped.  After my conversation with the other “Runner 1” I was thankful I came out with ONLY what I did!!

Hope you guys enjoyed part 1 of 3!!! MUCH MUCH MORE to come!!! 🙂

#Chuck12 race recap – sponsoredby @BioSkin!! @CharmCityRun #runbaltimore #runchat #sweatpink

The Charles Street 12 or  “Chuck12” (ya know, because we’re bros) is an amazing race that I was able to participate in this past Saturday.  I came into the race a bit unprepared and with a few injuries, but I did it!!  Also, and more importantly, this race I had the honor of being sponsored by BioSkin!! Looking at the race photos, I look like a poster child for BioSkin, lol. I’m rocking their amazing Calf Sleeves, and amazing new product they have out called the Ten-7, and a BioSkin t-shirt! 🙂 (More about that at the bottom of the post!!!)

chuck12

Charles Street is a historic road (like… really, it was laid out in 1730!) that runs through Baltimore.  It starts near where I live in Towson, and runs all the way into Baltimore City. (No, we didn’t run the ENTIRE length of the road… only 12 miles – yea, I giggled after I typed that.. only 12 miles.)  I was really excited to run this course because it’s a baby race!  Let me explain… it’s younger than my son.  This race is 2 years old, and I was pumped to be getting in on the action early in its “career”!!  Also, what excited me about the “Chuck12” was the elevation and course map.   I love my city.  Yea, we have some issues… but Baltimore is beautiful.  So, the idea of running passed monuments like the Baltimore Basilica, Loyola University, Towson University, The Walters Art Gallery, The Peabody institute, only to end at power plant? Yea… I was sold. (and yes, I did run past all of those places. All as beautiful as I remember. 🙂 I also got to run through Harbor place!! 🙂 Gorgeous!! Really.  So anyway, back to elevation… this was a bit misleading… the elevation chart posted on the website makes the course look like a piece of cake!! Look…

Chuck 12 Elevation Chart

                                      Chuck 12 Elevation Chart

Yea… No.  Well, at least not for me.  Like I mentioned, I was coming in a bit unprepared, and a bit injured.  However, I had a small army of compression, thanks to BioSkin, that (for real) saved me during this race.  The “bumps” as they’re lovingly called on the Charles St 12 website kicked my ass!!  No joke.  I was feeling a serious burn at mile 4.  Luckily because of my “army”, I kept trucking.  I inadvertently passed myself with a group of runner from Fleet feet Running.  They were keeping a decent clip that wasn’t making me feel like death, and wasn’t hurting my ankle too terribly… so I kept pace with them.  (I recognized the shirts they had on because my office is 3 miles from Fleet Feet’s Baltimore location.)  Around mile 8 I picked up some speed and lost them.  I started thinking to myself, “Ok, 1/3 to go, you’ve got this… just don’t stop”.  Yea, I tend to divide my races up mathematically to make me feel better about the distance I’ve “traveled” or the distance I have yet to travel. Weird, but effective.  (I never said I was normal, lol).  Little did I know there was a KILLER hill right ahead of me… *sigh*. Eh, Embrace the suck.  I trucked… slowly up the hill and on the way down noticed something… well… interestingly dressed people.  I thought “shit, did I run to hard? Am I going to pass out?? I’m seeing things!!” Then I remembered by supervisor talking about her oldest son going to an anime convention this weekend in the Harbor… *lightbulb* Otakon (sp?) HUGE sigh of relief that I wasn’t about to fall out in front of all these people!!  Best part?? This was the first time during the whole race where people were cheering!   It was actually a nice change from the IRATE drivers that we’d been dealing with throughout the rest of the race. Seriously though… these people were driving through the runners, almost hitting them, beeping at us, and yelling at the very polite Baltimore City Police officers that were trying to protect us.  What the actual f?  I’m sorry, but what part of a few thousand runner are you missing here bud?!! Eh well, Obviously I survived without getting pummeled by a ridiculous driver.  I saw the photographers on Harbor place and had to dodge a few tourists in order to not have them block the shot (Ludacris – “Move bitch”… yea… JUST LIKE THAT!)  Luckily, I had shades on… otherwise the eye rolls may have been offensive.  Once again though… you see A TON OF RUNNERS COMING AT YOU… at least to me, that would mean, GET OUT OF THE WAY!!! But then again… maybe that’s runner logic?  I don’t know.  Again, didn’t get taken out by a rouge tourist either!  Yay!! *small victories!!*  I ran past the World Trade Center in Baltimore and started to see other runners with medals.. “w00t!! my slow ass is almost done this thing!!” (yes I have an inner monologue while running)  Turned the corner towards Power plant and BAM!! There she was… THE FINISH ARCH!!! 🙂 Gorgeous as ever!! 🙂 I got my BANGING medal… 

Epic Bling!!

Epic Bling!!

And then searched for water… yea… that wasn’t really cool, but I found it eventually.  What WAS cool was the boxed lunch offered.  Little turkey sandwich, chips (which I gave to Alex) and a Green Apple… which I also gave to Alex… Eh… Mom problems. lol. At least I got the sandwich.  I didn’t partake in the beer because I knew I still had a TON of moving left to do that day, and alcohol + injury + dehydration + moving = NOT GOOD!!! So, I drank my water said good bye to my buddies, and peaced out!! 

This picture is from the Charm City Run IG page, and guess who is RIGHT behind me (in O’s orange) and I didn’t know until AFTER this picture was posted… SALT (Lauren)!! lol. Yay for me being oblivious! 🙂 Also, yay for Baltimore blogger pictures! 🙂

photo of the Towson/Lutherville/Cockeysville Charm City Run runners before the race!

photo of the Towson/Lutherville/Cockeysville Charm City Run runners before the race!

Pros –

  • Amazing Under Armour Premium
  • Epic Bling
  • Tasty post race food
  • Beautiful course
  • Very well prepared overall
  • (not like this was in anyone’s control) PERFECT WEATHER
  • live post race entertainment

Cons –

  • Crazy drivers trying to out run the cops
  • misleading elevation chart
  • hard to find water at the finish line
  • tourists blocking race photographers
  • (person preference) no banana/fruit at the finish line

Will I do this race again next year? You bet your ass I will!! Also, I wont miss out on the B3 series by an hour, so I’ll hopefully get the epic swag that a lot of my friends were able to partake in this year!! (B3 was a 5k, 10k, and this race “series”… you run all three, got an extra medal and an Under Armour backpack… I ran the 10K and this race… the 5K sold out an hour before I could sign up, so I couldn’t partake… soooo, NEXT YEAR!!!)  

Now, let me take a moment to tell you about my “Army“… The Ten-7 is what BioSkin sent me upon sponsorship.  This thing is amazing!!  I told Jake (my contact) that I was having some knee pain while biking, and when I planted my foot in certain ways.  This “Brace” took away ALL of the pain in my knee… for the whole 12 miles! (don’t believe me? Look at the videos on their website and hear from other people).  This thing is awesome because it’s a knee brace, but it doesn’t touch your knee… look… 

ten7

                Ten-7

Pull it on, tighten, go! Of course, I’m also a HUGE fan of the calf sleeves from BioSkin.  Pretty much any race I run 10 miles or over, they’re on my legs.  I have SERIOUS shin splints, and these bad boys keep me able to run. I’m a firm believer in proof… So, I can jabber at you all day, but you can look at my race photos as proof.  ALL OF THEM, I’m wearing BioSkin calf sleeves. I’m telling you right now… I.will.not.run.long.distances.without.them.  Nope, sorry not sorry.  

not the best picture of me personally, but you can see the calf sleeves, and the ten-7.

not the best picture of ME personally, but you can see the calf sleeves, and the ten-7.

I hope you enjoyed reading both my race recap, and my product review!! As always, stay happy and healthy!! ❤

Warrior Dash MD race recap {5/10/14} #runchat #OCR #sweatpink

Let me begin again with a HUGE I’m sorry… This is WAY over due!!! 😒 This was my second Warrior Dash and I was super pumped. I wasn’t even supposed to run the race last year… It was a complete fluke! My ex husbands cousin (another runner) decided she wanted to run a half marathon that day and knew I had started running. She offered to let me buy her entry. I’m glad I did!! It was awesome! Anyway… Back to 2014, lol.

So, Austin (who I re-met at the Dash last year after not really talking to for a few years ❤️) and I prepare for the hefty drive from Baltimore county to Mechanicsville MD. A little over an hour as far as I can remember (this is why I shouldn’t wait so long to recap!!!) and we were still early for our wave time – 0915. Parking was amazingly easy… (Easier then last year, but my wave was 6 hours earlier, which I think played a huge part in this…) and only cost $10. We get inside and pick up our packets and head to the St Jude’s tent.

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Both Austin and I decided to raise money for the St Jude’s children’s hospital this year, and thanks to my a few amazing donors I raised over $350!! This gave 3 kids each a chemotherapy treatment!! ❤️😄 selfishly, it gave me the opportunity to have access to a tent with a separate bag check. The other stuff it “gave me” I’ll talk about later. So, we dropped off our stuff, took a pre-race selfie and headed to the start. (See tent in background)

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The start line was kind of disorganized… But that was ok!!! I actually really appreciated the fact that we didn’t have to wait 15 minutes for the people in front of us to go. We just sort of ran through! It was a muddy mess!!! Fun, muddy, and challenging. I remember slipping a few times and thinking “I’m going ass over tea kettle and all these people are going to run right over me…” But Austin didn’t let me fall. Lol. He and another REALLY tall guy actually “saved me” at one point when I was pretty sure my 5’3″ body was going to be stuck in a pool of muddy water until my demise… Thank goodness for tall people!! I remember telling my sister later that day “I saw a hand come down from the heavens and someone said ‘grab my hand! I’ve got you!'” Lol she thought I’d lost it. It was very helpful though. That’s what I love about OCR’s… No runner left behind. It’s not about PR’s, it’s not about beating your buddy, or the chick next to you… It’s about helping everyone finish!!! I LOVE THAT!!! I was exhausted towards the middle when we got to a rope type thing that you had to work crawl through… And of course (wouldn’t you know it) THATS where the photographer was… 😜 so I got this gem…

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Real sexy right?! Lol. Eh well, I look focused. And at that point I was! 😄 the course was laid out over 5k of the Wicomico race track… So when I tell you it was hilly… That’s an understatement. I saw and smelled fire… This is good I thought… Were almost done!!! BEER! Lol. And great, lol another photographer… So I of course do something stupid for this one and get this amazing photo…

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Yea, I have no words… So then we went down a slide into a nice cool pool of muddy water which surprisingly cleaned me off!! Nice right?! No… Because in order to cross the finish line, you had to army crawl under wires in thick, yucky mud! Lol. Eh well, I came to get dirty and baby I got DIRTY!!! They gave us the medals and we headed towards the St Jude’s tent.

Upon arrival at the tent, we find out they don’t have any water for the showers that were supposed to be able to use for raising money… Grrrrrreat. Ok… Well, let’s just use this hose in the meantime!! We start hosing off with FREEZING COLD water and then the water returns… I jump in a shower… Only for the water to last 45 seconds… 😠 I was VERY unhappy. (Gonna be a bit descriptive here…) I’m standing in this tiny little “stall” type thing… naked as the day my mother birthed me, mud still in places where the hose didn’t get (because I was clothes outside… Obviously) staring at the shower head with such rage… Like that was going to help… Lol. So, I used the tiny little WHITE towel I was provided to get as much mud off of me as possible and get dressed. Softly muttering profanities under my breath. Eh well. At least there’s food and beer waiting for me.

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We stuck around for about an hour, hour and a half eating, drinking, watching the rain, and laughing hysterically at a family that had a HUGE personality (pictures below). Here are some more pictures from that day.

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Great race, great food and beer, excellent company, better obstacles then last year, and MUCH better bling!!! I’m coming back for you in 2015 warrior dash!!! 😊 ❤️ hope you enjoyed my recap and that you enjoy the rest of your Tuesday!!

Linking up for #FridayFive with @maramaone1 @eatprayrunDC and @Yousignedup; New post – {LIFE LATELY!!}

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First off, Happy Friday to you all!!! Hope everyone had an amazing week and that you’re looking forward to your weekend as much as I am!! OK… So… My life lately… This may get a little deep in sections, so if you don’t want to “get deep” on a Friday Morning, I suggest jumping ship now… *free out!! free out!!*

1. As some of you (very very few) know… I’m going through a Divorce…  I was married to my Best Friend in the world for 8 years.  He was my confidant, my life line, and (I thought) my soul mate.  But… the stars weren’t in line for us.  At the beginning of our separation it was extremely difficult… because we have a BEAUTIFUL 3 year old son together, Alex.   Him you know, lol. (I can’t stop talking about my kid, lol)  Figuring out where Alex was going to stay and making it most convenient for him was the highest priority for both of us. However, EVERYTHING was an argument.  It was miserable.  Another reason I took up running… It was a way for me to escape the tears, the anger, the resentment and feelings of failure.  Running??  Running doesn’t judge you… Running doesn’t tear you down.  Being a runner is embracing, being a runner makes you love yourself… sometimes without even knowing it.  I actually developed a confidence that I hadn’t had in… well… 8 years after I began running.  I realized I was going to be OK.  If I could do this incredible thing (I never thought I could finish a mile and now I’m running half marathons… not a big deal to some, but a HUGE deal to me) then I can make it though.  There was a brief time (very brief) when my ex and I were almost back to the Best Friend stage… we talked about everything.  I mean, I still love him.  I always will.  He is my sons father.  He knows more about me then I think I know about myself… But like I said… brief.  As of late, there has been a LOT more fighting, mostly about stupid things, almost like we WANT to argue with each other.  (that’s not uncommon… he’s German, I’m Greek… both a feisty group of people)  I don’t know if it’s because we both know the divorce is finalized in less than a month and it scaring both of us a little?? Neither of us like change… But yea, any of my “emo-esque” tweet you may read… they’re usually after a TERRIBLE fight when I’m in the car crying like an idiot, or curled up in a ball somewhere snuggling my son because I just want to run away (with Alex of course!!). (I warned you it was going to get deep).  Have any of you gone through a divorce with a child?? I know A LOT of divorcees… but they don’t have children.  Having my (amazing) son has made this entire process 10x harder.  I can’t just pick up and leave when things get rough because Alex is asleep… or Alex is playing or eating or whatever… My son comes first in every aspect of my life… I just want to know how anyone else has “coped” (maybe not the right word) with Divorce with a young child.  OK!!! New topic… 

2. I’m TERRIBLY behind on my race recaps!!! I need to do the Warrior Dash and the Zooma Annapolis!! Oy!! I promise I’ll get on it… really I will.  Both were extremely fun and extremely different races that I want to “relive” through blogging so I give you my “written” word that when I get a minute (lol) I will get on this!!! PROMISE!!!! 🙂

3.  This FREAKING BLISTER!!!! If you’ve been reading my tweets you know I’ve been suffering since the Zooma Half marathon with a WICKED blister about the size of a quarter.  Well, the sucker popped (on its own) on Wednesday night.  (During my runstreak with abruptly came to a halt). And now it’s infected!!! *SOBS*  The whole area around the blister is hard and tender and it’s leaking little bits of yellow… stuff… yea, appetizing right?  so now I have to call my Dermatologist and get this MF-er fixed before the Baltimore 10-Miler NEXT WEEKEND!!! 😦 What the heck am I doing to myself.  Seriously.  I wore the right socks, I taped up my feet!?!! I don’t get it… any home remedies for blisters before I haul off to the derm?? I’ll do about anything right now to ease this discomfort… I’m actually tripping a bit when I walk, because I can barely put pressure on the top of my left foot.  I’m not a baby when it comes to pain either… this is OBSCENE!  Any helpful hints would be GREATLY appreciated!!! ❤

4.  This weekend is the Greek Festival at one of the local churches in my area (so excited!!) even if I can’t dance much (f-ing blister) I LOVE being around my culture!!! Being Greek is something that has defined me since I was a little girl.  I love it!!! The Music, the food, the dance, the language, the booze (yea… we drink… get over it), the love and laughter… it’s just AMAZING!!!! If you EVER have a Greek cultural festival in your area, PLEASE check it out.  I’m not exaggerating.  I’ve brought MANY american friends to these and they LOVE THEM!!!! #gogreek (and no I don’t mean sorority… I mean REAL Greek) So yea, EXCITED!!!

5.  I still have a $5 off coupon for the 5K Foam Fest that ANYONE can use at ANY LOCATION!!! IT doesn’t expire… It looks ridiculously awesome and I can’t wait to do it so I’m speading my #sweatpink love on to you!!! If you are interested in the code, let me know!! Either email me… amiles8 at gmail dot com or DM me @ Twitter @RunToBeFree10.  I really want to hook you guys up with this.  (and no, I’m not getting paid… I just like the fact that I got a code, lol. I think that’s pretty sweet.)

Hope you guys liked my Friday Five!! Have a WICKED AWESOME FRIDAY and enjoy this (hopefully) beautiful weekend!!! Stay healthy and happy!! ❤