Monday, November 13, 2017

Getting colder

In Atlanta we seem to have gone from summer running temps to winter. Fall seems to have passed us by!
At least that is how it felt Saturday for the DAV 5K race in Piedmont Park.
My friend Angela and I ran the race together. This is a race that benefits disabled American veterans and this year it was on Veterans Day. The announcer put the cold weather start in perspective, however. He mentioned that this is a national race in several other cities. The Boston race was also Saturday morning, where the starting temps were 4 degrees. Yikes! I'm not so sure I would have ponied up to the start line in 4 degree temps!
Ready to race
This race goes around Piedmont Park along the roads and it is surprisingly hilly. There were hand-crank bike racers as well. I felt for the one who had to take a little break along the route. Of course, I had to take my walk breaks too!
In all, it was a good race, despite the chill in the air.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Being Monumental in Indy

State No. 29 was certainly monumental.
I ran the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon last weekend. A nice FLAT course on a cool morning. After struggling the first few miles with what felt like lead legs, a quick porto-potty break and some energy gels finally got me into gear. I finished the race with my fastest half marathon time all year, and I would have come in at least 5 minutes faster if I hadn't had to take that break!
Note to self: take care of business BEFORE the start. ha ha.
This was a quick up and back trip, with a half marathon thrown in for good measure, so I didn't get to sight see as much as I usually do. However, I got to catch up with three friends, so it was a rich weekend.
I had lunch the Friday I arrived with my friend April. She works downtown so we could easily get together, since I stayed downtown near the convention center. We walked around a bit after lunch and she showed me the canal that runs behind the state capital. It's a nice area to walk and exercise.
Ducks enjoying the canal
Next, my running friend Tricia arrived from Cincinnati for the race. She and I had never met in person, but knew each other through an exercise/running group on Facebook. It was nice to finally meet her. She was running the full marathon, as was her friend Paula, whom I also met.
Paula, Tricia and me at the race expo

Tricia and me

Ready to #BeMonumental

At the expo
It was an early start for the race, but since my hotel was just a block from the start, I didn't have a hard time getting up and getting lined up.
Setting up the start

Soldiers and Sailors Monument by night

State Capitol at night

Good morning, start line!

Here we go
The half marathon ran almost entirely downtown, but did go out into some of the nearby neighborhoods. It was a nice, flat course and really nice. It was chilly that morning, and not a ton of crowd support, but not the worst I've ever experienced.
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument

Along the route

Some running humor
Race images
 As I got closer to the finish line, probably three to four miles out, I began "targeting" runners. I'd find a runner ahead of me and run to catch up to him or her, take a walk break, then find another one ahead of me, and so on. I think that is why I finished so well. I had good energy at the end.
Finisher's cap and medal

How every half marathon should end
I had dinner Saturday night after the race with my friend Rosie and her boyfriend, Lynn, and we had a great dinner at a Scottish restaurant in the Mass Ave neighborhood. We had run through that area earlier that day and it was a cool, funky area.
I was up and out the next morning, so it really was a quick trip -- barely 48 hours in Indianapolis. I wish I could have seen a little more of the city. There were two museums I had wanted to check out.
It just means I'll have to return and have another monumental time.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Running Uptown

Another fun race in metro Atlanta is the Uptown Rhodes Race 5K, which is now held around Halloween and includes a fun costume contest, including one for dogs.
Last year my friend Angela's dog Lucy won the contest. This year, with the threat of rain, Lucy stayed home, and, of course, it didn't rain much!
Well, we had fun anyway. If Lucy had joined us, she was going to be Goldilocks again and Angela and I were going to to be two of the three bears. Without Lucy and with threatened rain, we ditched the costume idea.
Pre-race, in a bit of drizzle
 But certainly plenty of other runners got into the spirit, including the dog owner below. She was a police woman and her puppy was the felon on the lam.
Cute costumes!
 We run through the Ansley Park neighborhood and some home owners really get into the Halloween spirit. I loved this yard with it's ship and sea monster theme.
Bet you get good candy at this house!
Along the course

All smiles!
It was a good final 5K before my half marathon in Indianapolis. State No. 29 coming up!

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Perfect 10

For the first time in a couple of years, I managed to run a half marathon two weeks before the PNC Atlanta 10 Miler, but I still had pretty heavy legs near the finish.
This race is sponsored by Atlanta Track Club. It started several years ago when the track club still sponsored a fall marathon and added this race as part of it. Alas, the fall marathon fell to the way side, but, thankfully, the "perfect 10," as it has been nicknamed, has continued.
It was a near perfect morning. Not too warm, but not cold as in years past. The race started just before sunrise.

Getting ready
I was in the last start wave. With a 2 1/2 hour course limit, I was darn near the sweep time at the finish! But finish I did.
All done
 I walked around a bit at the finish, if only to make sure my legs wanted to keep working. I felt good during most of the race, but started to feel very tired by about mile 7. That walking around paid off as I ran into my friend Dixie.
Dixie and me, post race
I'm glad I ran the PNC Atlanta 10 Miler again this year. I have a half marathon coming up in two weeks in Indiana, and I feel very ready for it. Let's just hope it will be a perfect 13.1.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Time to Run Like Hell

I returned to one of my favorite fall 5Ks this past weekend with the Run Like Hell 5K in Historic Oakland Cemetery.
This is one I had run for years, then it switched to the spring, then it disappeared, then it reappeared last year, but I was running in Denver. The stars aligned and I was in town again to enjoy it.
I got there pretty early to park and wandered the cemetery before my friend Angela and her dog Lucy Liu showed up.
I've blogged about the cemetery before, but thought I'd share again some "famous" grave sites.
Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell's grave site

Golfer Bobby Jone's grave site, complete with golf balls

A sad reminder of the frailty of infants
 I also took notice this time of the small headstones, those of infants and children. I found one where it was clear the mother died in childbirth, and then the infant died a few months later.
The artistry of grave markers

The tomb of the unknown confederate soldier
 The race started not too far from Lion's Square, which is near the tomb of the unknown confederate soldier.
Anthony and Ja'Den of Brown Boys Lemonade. 
 I meet these two handsome (and super wonderful) entrepreneurs at the venders area. Anthony and Ja'Den are owners of Brown Boys Lemonade. They were so much fun to talk to.
Grave site of Martha Lumpkin Compton, for whom Atlanta AKA Marthasville, was named.

Former Mayor Maynard Jackson's grave site

Pretty dove stained glass
This stained glass was inside one of the vaults, but I neglected to get a photo of whose it was!
I couldn't find one of my favorite grave markers, the sundial one. Couldn't remember where it was in the cemetery. But here are photos from when I found it before:
Count None But Sunny Hours
Berman memorial
Angela got there and then it was all about getting ready to run.
Miss Lucy Liu and Angela
 Lucy Liu was dressed as Goldilocks, but also got mistaken for Elsa, Rapunzel and other Disney princesses. Didn't matter, she looked fab.
Me and Angela, ready to Run Like Hell

Along the course, near the Georgia State Capitol building
So, it wasn't our best time for a 5K. My legs felt worn out from the half earlier in the week and Lucy is still  recovery from some surgery. We all walked quite a bit.
Lucy came in second in the dog costume contest, and I think we all agree she was robbed.
Next year, we'll be sure to run the Run Like Hell.

Getting crazy in South Dakota

I've completed a race in my 28th state with the Run Crazy Horse half marathon in Crazy Horse, South Dakota.
It was a great trip that included lots of sight seeing in the Black Hills of South Dakota, as well as lots of farm land as I drove across the state to get to the race.
I flew into Omaha, Nebr., where my aunt lives and she and I drove across South Dakota to get to where the race was being held. Don't try this at home, kids!
What a long, dull drive, punctuated by billboards hawking Wall Drugs in Wall, S.D., and the Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D. We did stop in Wall for a break from driving. We did not stop in Mitchell, even though I kind of wanted to see the cheezy Corn Palace. Oh well. Gotta save something for the next trip, right?
We stayed at the Lodge at Palmer Gulch and found out the wifi was really weak and there was no cell service in the gulch where the hotel was located. So, another trip where I was off the grid for the most part.
In trouble before lunch
The closest town to where we stayed was Hill City, and we wandered there for breakfast the first full day, then shopped a little bit. We were there after the "season" had ended and a lot of restaurants and shops were already closed for the season, not to reopen until May. Did find this little touristy "jail." Since we were practically the only ones along the sidewalks, I could take my picture in it right away. I imagine in July and August folks line up for this fun photo.
We headed to Crazy Horse Memorial later that morning and afternoon.
Crazy Horse Memorial

Scale replica

Me with the scale replica


Bronze statue of the finished carving
My parents have been to the memorial twice now and my mother talks about the progress being made, but you can certainly see it will be years before it is finished. It is being privately funded, which I'm sure slows the process. Not sure that I will see it complete in my lifetime!
You are allowed to take some of the blast rock from the site and Rose found a really pretty, small rock that I took. There were much larger ones you could take but warned the TSA would not let you carry them in a carry on. Rose promises to bring me my Crazy Horse rock when she visits early next year.
Saturday morning we went back to Hill City for packet pick up, then headed to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. It was a glorious day there, topping out at 70 degrees!
Mount Rushmore

Aunt Rose and me

Me and the presidents

Look at that blue sky! 

Selfie with the presidents

Aspen adding color

View from between some boulders 

Along the Presidential Walk

Still along the walk 

Me and Rose

Along the walk

Final view from along the walk
The presidential walk is a circular trail that goes in front of the visitor's center. Certainly there were lots of rocks from the blast zone there, too, but I was done collecting rocks. ha ha.
We had a late lunch in Custer and then found ourselves boxed in by the homecoming parade. It was a true taste of Midwest Americana. Floats with high school kids going by, throwing candy to the little kids lined up along Main Street (where we were parked and so boxed in). It was fun to see and experience. We did a little shopping in Custer as well.
We headed up to Deadwood after lunch just to see what we could see. We toured the Historic Adams House and then the Adams Museum. The house was OK, but I'd say if you were going to do one or the other, choose the museum. A lot more history of the Deadwood area there.
The next morning was race morning! And it was COLD and SNOWING.
At the start with flurries
 This was a point-to-point marathon and half marathon. The marathoners went toward Custer after we left the Crazy Horse area. The half marathoners turned left and headed for Hill City, where the finish for both races was.
Along the gravel road toward the memorial

Getting closer

Better view of the face

Selfie with Crazy Horse

Never Forget Your Dreams

Near the entrance

Along the George S. Mickelson Trail
 Most of this race was along the George S. Mickelson Trail, named for a former South Dakota governor. Where we were, it borders a national forest and the aspen trees were aglow with their fall colors.
Aspens in fall

A little stream through the trail

Along the Mickelson Trail

Getting close to Hill City
 I saw these horses near the end of the race, probably around mile 11 or 12. The trail cut through fenced pasture land on either side. These two horses were to my right, and a third horse was in a fenced pasture to the left. The white horse on the left really wanted to be with his friends on the right and began to run and whinny and then the other two ran, so I was running right along with them. The white horse on the left (not shown) clearly wanted to jump the fence and I thought it was going to. Would have been a little crazy if it had and jumped the fence with the runners around!
 Not my best time. But I had a great time. I can honestly say it's the first half marathon I've ever run in the snow. The flurries were off and on, but back on at the end, when it was changing to sleet. The marathon winners passed me as I was coming toward the finish. That was exciting. I think both the male and female finishers set new course records. That's what cold temps will do for you!
How every half marathon should end
Snow coming down
 The snow really got heavier later in the day.
Selfie in the snow

View from the balcony at the hotel
 I never did get any photos of all  the deer we saw on the property of the hotel and campground. The accommodations had a lot of land because of the campground area and we'd see lots of deer in the early morning and at dusk. We'd see them out in the fields in the evening as we drove to dinner as well. Made me nervous since I didn't want one to jump in front of the car!
Leaving the Black Hills
 When we left the Black Hills Monday morning, the roads had no snow on them, since it was 70 degrees on Saturday, but the trees and mountains had a beautiful dusting.
Snow in the hills

I had such a fun trip with my Aunt Rose. We hadn't vacationed together since Ireland in 2008 and before that in 1986 in Santa Cruz, Calif. I'm already talking to her about a race in Iowa. I'd like to fly into Omaha again and have a short vacation with her while getting a race complete in Iowa.
There's nothing crazy about that.