Monday, October 6, 2014

Fox Cities Half Marathon race recap

I guess I should write something about my sixth attempt at the Fox Cities Half Marathon. After all, it is my favorite race.

The race was on Sept. 21 and even though I had told myself earlier that month that I was going to get a long run or two in between the Lake Michigan Trail Half and Fox Cities, I didn't. So it was another race that I was super under trained for. Oh well. At least I knew it wasn't going to be fast.

The forecast for race day wasn't all that ideal, with rain chances in the morning. When I woke up at 5 a.m. I could hear the rain falling. Great. Thirteen miles in the rain and slightly chilly temperatures. Wonderful.

My Mom, who was playing photographer and chauffeur, and I headed out at 5:30 to pick up my brother and sister-in-law and two of my nephews. My brother was going to be running his first full marathon that day.

We did the typical pre-race stuff. Port-a-potties, stretching, photos. The rain had died down a bit, but it was sill kind of windy and chilly and misting, making it hard to decide what to run in. Long-sleeves? Arm sleeves? Just my tank top? I ended up going with my arm sleeves, but tossed those to my mom when I went past her at the starting line.

Like I said, I had no expectations for time since I wasn't prepared for this. So there was no pressure. I planned on walking the aide stations and whenever I needed to. I just wanted to run, finish the race, collect my medal, have a good time and cheer on my brother to his first marathon finish.

Thoughts from the course:

Mile 1: Running feels hard. This is going got be a long day.
Mile 6ish: Oh, great. The first race walker just passed me. Usually that happens around Mile 7.
Mile 6-7: This is the worst stretch of the course. I hate it.
Mile 7.5: "Eye of the Tiger" comes on my playlist. Reminds me of Lake Michigan Trail Half Eve with my friend Erica. Alabama Week! 

Mile 8: I see my mom and two nephews. This is the first time I've seen my family since the start and makes me happy. Also get an update that my brother's through Mile 10 and doing well. Then I get told that I need to beat him to the finish.
Mile 8.3: Oh. It's starting to rain harder.
Mile 8.5: Menasha is a freaking long city. That, or I'm running really slow.
Mile 9: Still raining. The drips off the brim of my hat are coming faster.
Mile 10: There's Mom and the Rugrats again. Three miles to go.
Mile 11.5: There goes the marathon pace car. Kind of thought the leader would have passed me sooner.
Mile 12.25: Oh, it's the Capt. America-clad Rugrats again. I wasn't expecting to see them, but then I glance left. There's the finish line and I've still got to run around the park. Sigh.
Mile 13.1: Finish!

Overall, I never really felt bad during the race. Sure, I got into a few mental dark spots, but they were short lived. My legs? I think I did a good job of mixing in the walk breaks with my runs to keep them somewhat feeling fresh given the lack of training.

It was my fastest half of the year (OK, OK, so I only ran two of them), but the finish time (2:47) gave me hope that if I just buckle down and actually, you know, train next spring, I can maybe be "fast" again next spring/fall.

After I finished, it was time to get some food, change into some dry (although not much warmer) clothes and wait for my brother to come in. And the wind? Let's just say I was glad I finished when I did, because holy windy.

Soon my brother came across the finish line, crossing it in around 4:15, looking great for his first marathon finish. After pictures it was time to head home, shower and then over to his house for some pizza and Packers. It was a good day.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

September reading recap

Another month, another recap of what I read. Which, let's be honest. That seems to be the only blog posts I actually write anymore. That may change someday, but for now. Let's talk about books.

I finished eight books in September for a total of 2,051 pages. That brings the yearly numbers to 69 books and 22,910 pages. I'd say I'm well on my way towards hitting the yearly goal of 77 books. Heck, at this point, there's a little piece of me that kin of wants to try for triple digits, but at this point it might turn into a "read as many books as you can" kind of goal.

What'd I read? Take a look:

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Until Fountain Bridge by Samantha Young
Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich
Castle Hill by Samantha Young
So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Going Somewhere: A Bicycle Journey Across America by Brian Benson
Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich

And now for the brief reviews, complete with number of stars given out on GoodReads. Follow me here if you’d like a more timely update on what I’m reading, what I think and what’s been added to my to-read list.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell   ****
I didn't even leave a review on GoodReads about this book. While I gave it four stars, I think it was more of a 3.5 and I rounded up. It was decent, but definitely not my favorite book by this author.

Until Fountain Bridge by Samantha Young  ***
Castle Hill by Samantha Young ***
As general rule, I don't read those "in-between" numbered books when it comes to series. I kind of think if it isn't an important enough storyline to include in the main books of the series, why bother? That being said, I did read these. Filler. Eh.

Notorious Nineteen *** Takedown Twenty *** by Janet Evanovich
Good, light, mindless reading. That being said, I'm glad I'm nearing the end of what's been published in this series.

So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffmann ***
This is been on my "to read" list forever and I'm not sure how it got there. It was really, really hard to get into. The last 80 pages or so were pretty good, but I'm not sure they were worth the struggle it took to get into this book. Probably wouldn't recommend it.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway  ****
This counts as my classic this year. I decided to read it since you hear the title tossed around a lot and I was in Key West and walked by Hemingway's house earlier this year.

Going Somewhere: A Bicycle Journey Across America by Brian Benson ****
I stumbled across this one as a giveaway on GoodReads. I didn't win the giveaway, but I still put in the request at the library. It was decent, probably a 3.5 but I was feeling generous. Let's just say reading this left me thinking I'd probably NEVER ride my bike across North Dakota, but some areas sounded pretty gorgeous.

So that was September. Spoiler alert. It's five days into October and I've already finished the last Stephanie Plum book. Well, the last one that's been published. I'm sure there will be more since there's been no nice, wrapped up conclusion to the series.

What's on your to read pile for October?