Friday, January 24, 2020

2019, 04-06 Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon

I hadn't really planned on doing this half marathon again but then...I saw the medal! Celebrating their 55th year, it was going to be a 5 dollar bill and 5 pennies. It looked amazing and naturally I needed that for my collection and couldn't pass it up. I think I was able to register prior to a rate increase. Where I had some initial difficulty was with the hotel. Springfield, IL doesn't have too many options and I wanted to stay at the host hotel - where I had stayed before - since it was super close to the start / finish lines. But the group rate was full and if I still wanted to stay there, they had rooms available but I had to book at two night stay. Ummm....NO! I did go ahead and reserve a room there because I could cancel it and I was hoping that I could call back closer to race date and something else would be available. I then also book a room at the other hotel as well.

I got lucky and I was able to get into the preferred hotel and didn't have to have the two night minimum. I didn't get the group rate but I felt like I got a win out of the situation so I was pleased. Later I learned that the other hotel wasn't in a very nice section of town so I'm glad I didn't have to stay there.

I worked half day on Friday and then left from downtown Indy to Springfield. They are an hour behind us so that helps. I arrived at the hotel around 3:00 PM local time and was able to pull up right in the front and go check in. If I remember correctly, I somehow got upgrade to a suite. It was nice!

I had some time to kill before packet pickup opened so I went and checked out the Old State Capitol. It was closed when I was here for the race the first time. So much history in this building!
Went back to the room and unpacked a little before heading down to get my bib. Packet Pickup = what a cluster. People were standing around kind of nilly willy and it was tough to determine where the true beginning of the line was. And it only got worse as more people showed up before they opened.

Later in the evening I met some of the 50 Staters at a restaurant near by for dinner. It is always super fun getting to know club members that I'm meeting for the first time. J and her husband were the only people I knew but really enjoyed all the folks from Springfield. (And I have now been to several other races with these ladies and they are awesome!)
We gathered pre-race for the 50 States Half Marathon Club photo.
Since this was only my 2nd half marathon of 2019 and I'm still not doing ANY training or other races longer than a 5K, I was pretty sure that my finish time would be over 3 hours but I got it in at 2:56. I'm pleased with that because this course has some hills. I got my post-race picture with Abe and Mary Todd and then hurried back over to the hotel to shower and load everything back in to the car to head home. I'd be losing an hour going back to Indiana.
Across the street from where I had parked was this cute popcorn shop so I got a treat for the ride home.
But one last stop at Lincoln's tomb for the medal photo shoot.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Saddest Day in March

But with all of the fun that was had in the month of March, it also was full of heartache.   

Our oldest dog Wrigley started having some health issues in January. Then in February he developed Vestibular Disease - also know as Old Dog Disease - which is a disturbance in their balance. His little head was cocked to the side and he was wobbly. It looked like he'd had a stroke. It was very scary. We were so concerned that Daddy put a blanket in his fancy car and took him to the vet. The dogs ONLY get to ride in his car if there is an emergency.  
Eventually it mostly disappeared after a few days but then the poor guy fell while going outside and landed on the side where his shoulder was fractured. I've never heard a dog make that type of noise before. It sounded like he was screaming. It was awful and made me sick to my stomach. I seriously thought he was completely broken.
And then later we received the dreaded diagnosis: Cancer. He even eventually lost his appetite. He was always our "eater" and I don't think we had found a food that he didn't like. But suddenly he was turning his nose up at everything. We tried a lot of different things but nothing was helping. We'd get to a point where he would only eat tuna but that would only last a few days. Then it was scrambled eggs, then rotisserie  chicken, then shrimp, then canned food, etc.

Eventually we had to make the difficult decision to say goodbye.  This is the 3rd dog that my husband and I have had to help cross over the rainbow bridge and it never gets any easier. There is great comfort though in the fact that our amazing vet comes to our house to do it.
 
 
This was a precious gift from one of my coworkers

There will never be another Wriggle dog (and his Woobie). 
He was my shadow and my protector.

2019, March - REWIND

On March 4th we had our RUN(317) Launch Party. This was my first official event as an Ambassador. Although they don't track if people signed up for any of the races via your recommendation, I'm quite confident that I had at least 5 people from work register because of me!

On March 10th I was in New Orleans to do the NOLA Women's Half Marathon. You can read about that here: NOLA Half Marathon

Then on March 17th, I did the No Luck Irish Run 5K. I've always done the half marathon portion of this race but just wasn't sure that I could pull off another half marathon after the one in New Orleans. Oh how the times have changed! 😭 The weather was snowy which made me even more thankful that I was merely doing the 5K. But is was great that most of the girls from the NOLA trip were at this race too so we got to have a mini reunion. It is also always good to see my Terre Haute girls.

Because I live so close, I quickly drove home and showered and then went back to cheer on those that were coming in from the half marathon.
Above is our mini reunion photo. Just missing two of the girls and K's husband.

Fast forward to this year (2020) and a group shot of us is being used in the email blast about the race.  FUN! 
Other than having to say goodbye to our dog Wrigley (that will get its own blog post), March was a pretty good month.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

2019, 03-10 NOLA Women's Half Marathon

I'm not sure where to start with this post but I can guarantee that it is going to be LENGTHY and full of pictures! 
At some point on Facebook a running friend mentioned that she wanted to do this race in Louisiana. Some other female runners from our area were going as well. She didn't have the funds to fly; airfare was crazy expensive so the idea of driving down there started being tossed around. Yep you read that correctly, I said driving to Louisiana - from Indiana - and that folks, is 13+ hours!

My husband gave me the green light to do this and so I registered and then paid half of what was needed for the Airbnb and had another month to come up with the remainder. 

This was definitely going to be a whirlwind trip. We would leave early on Friday and arrive around 8:00 PM. Saturday the group would explore NOLA and go to packet pickup. The race was Sunday morning and although everyone else was staying a little bit longer, I would hit the road in the afternoon. I'd stop in Grenada, Mississippi for the night - about a 5 hour drive and then drive the remaining 8 hours Monday morning. It was about as exhausting as it sounds. But I met some of the most amazing women on this trip and we are all still friends.

Staging was in full force on March 4th. This little guy travels with me whenever I'm headed out of town. Since I can't take my actual dog, I take this one. 🐕

ES arrived at my house, we loaded her stuff in my SUV and we were on the road. We weren't gone 5 minutes (THANKFULLY!) when I realized that I left my cell phone at my house. Well at least we hadn't gotten too far along on our trip.
We made pretty good time and stopped when we needed to but usually it was only for gas and that was our bathroom break as well.
The best thing to see on a trip to a new state is the "Welcome To" sign.

The house that we were staying at was changed into a duplex. 4 of us girls were staying on one side and the 2 couples were staying on the other side. 2 other girls were down there as well but they were in a hotel elsewhere in NOLA. After ES and I got mostly settled in, we called an Uber and headed out to find food and drinks. This would be a tough weekend for me with regard to food but I would at least venture out with everyone to have fun.
The next day after enjoying some coffee on the porch, we walked to the trolley stopped and headed to the French Market for brunch and sightseeing. 


Then we headed to the Louisiana Running Company for packet pickup.
After dropping our stuff off back at the house, we decided to drive over to the New Orleans Museum of Art. That is where the race was starting and finishing. 
We wanted to get beignets while we were there but the place closed early because they were catering a wedding. The race was still in the beginning stages of setting up once we found the correct area. 
It was getting later in the day and we needed to start thinking about finding supper/dinner. I don't like to eat anything that my system isn't familiar with the night before a half marathon so once the other girls found a place they wanted to go, I drove them there (in Downtown New Orleans) and then looked for one of my tried and true favorites - Applebee's. It wasn't super close but I eventually found one. 
As my husband's cousin would say, "Respect the streak."
An interesting twist to race morning was it was also the day of Daylight Savings time change. I was so worried that I was setting my alarm incorrectly and I'd over sleep. We had to plan the morning carefully since there were four women and one bathroom...but it worked out.
It sure was dark when we left and we had a little difficulty finding where we should be dropped off but Al did a great job. Obviously it was so much warmer here than it was in Indiana and HUMID!
This race had 3 substantial bridges/overpasses that we had to cross and they sucked! Not the most scenic course but there were some enormous & gorgeous homes that we could see on the other side of the water (not sure if it was a river or what). We ran up to the University of New Orleans - UNO 🤣 - and then headed back to the New Orleans Museum of Art. 
This was my first half marathon of 2019 and since January & February were packed with dealing with moving my Mom and her first month in LTC, I had zero training under my belt. But I finished. 
After the race we walked back over to Cafe Du Monde and finally had those beignets! I'll be honest...I was not impressed with them.
Then it was back to the house to shower and rest. We all put on our race shirts and took a group photo on the balcony.
I was pretty tired after the race and since I knew I had a 5 hour drive ahead of me, I stayed back and took a nap while everyone else went out to lunch. Luckily they all arrive back at the house as I was loading up my car so I got to say goodbye and give everyone a hug before leaving. 
It is interesting how when you're going somewhere new, the hours in a vehicle are so much more tolerable. While the 5 hours to Grenada, MS weren't too bad...the 8 hours back to Indiana seemed to take forever.
Looking back I'm EXTREMELY grateful to have done this half marathon. The friendship that I made here mean the world to me. But I wouldn't necessarily recommend this race to someone as a destination race to cross Louisiana off their list. There are better races out there.
Until some other time Louisiana. 💛💜💚