Friday, February 17, 2017

Florida, gulf side, beautiful and shell-y Food/travel

I delayed writing this, thinking my photos on the phone can be saved. The Mike is working on that for me.  (thankful I have a techy in house).  I don't have all those photos yet, but I do have ones I shared with people  while I was on the trip :-) Thus, I hope I'm forgiven for not having posted this in January!)

During the middle of January I went to Florida with a friend and child. She had reasons to 'get out of Dodge' for the weekend and had thought of Sanibel Island.  Let me google that, I said. WOW, count me in!  

As with any flights from 'fly over land' midwest, it essentially takes all day to fly somewhere.  My flight departed home at 6:15am Central and I landed in Ft Myers FL at 6:30pm Eastern.  I tried to get on a direct/earlier flight from Ohare to Ft Myers and no, I couldn't, unless I wanted to pay a couple hundred dollars for a flight that wasn't even an option when I booked.  On the plus side, I can say I've been to Charlotte NC airport and it is expensive ;-)  
Cotton Candy skies.
As with all flying/travel, I packed food for travel.  I had my Tanka bars, homemade 'granola' mix of sunflower/pumpkin seeds, Guittard chocolate chips, Trader Joes coconut flakes and dried cranberries. I also had cheese, some yogurt tubes (Siggis brand) and since it was early in the morning, I packed some hard boiled egg whites as well (which I ate at the airport, not on the plane).
Gorgeous dinner plate hibiscus at the hotel
After landing, I met up with my friend right at the airport. The car rental agency is right out the door (love airports like this).  We hit up Outback Steakhouse for dinner (they're great for being gluten free/celiac and soy intolerant (soy oil/protein/flour), then Target for some small groceries, before heading over to the Island ($6 toll/fee for a trip on/off the island--only pay going in).  We checked into the HolidayInn which is undergoing a restaurant rehab, and we knew ahead of time we'd get to dine out more for this, and which turned out to be an outdoor walk-up hotel--seems appropriate for an island. Seemed weird to not have a deck.  FYI:  Sprint does not have much cell service on this island.  I had phone service at the hotel, but not out on the steps which were concrete--dropped a call to The Mike when I tried to walk up the stairs while talking to him.   

Our first day on Sanibel we got up and had some stuff in room we'd gotten at Target (Milk, yogurt, and my granola), as well as OJ from the hotel.  They had some prepackaged danishes, but no UDIs. For whatever reason, Holiday Inn Express has UDIs available. Holiday Inn does not.  
Bowman Beach
We headed over to the beach recommended by the hotel staff for shell collecting. The hotel also gave us a 'shell bag' which was a sling/backpack made mostly of mesh for the sand.   Bowman's Beach was our first beach. Seashell galore at 11am. I can only imagine what it looks like at 5am after the tide goes back out.  I slathered on SPF 30 several times, including before we left the hotel.  (SPF 30 because I had a lot of travel bottles that size and I was flying with carry on luggage only!).  I also had a couple of the Athleta SPF swim shirts to wear over swim wear, which I thought was great as a cool breeze came off the water sometimes. As I said, Bowman's Beach had a lot of seashells. We were good with picking up ones that had been broken and worn smooth by the water, but I know others may want whole shells. I think getting there earlier in the day would be good if that's your goal.
Angel Wings
I have no idea what this bivalve is aside from being called 'angel wings'.  I did find one that was closed and still intact, and sent it back to the water :-)  
More shells 
We had lunch at Cheeburger Cheeburger. I've never even heard of this place before, but it looked good.  We checked out the menu posted to the front window.  Both of the adults were *so* concerned if they could do gluten free (and excited when we saw GF buns on the menu) that we *both* completely missed seeing the "we cook in peanut oil" on the menu.  Thankfully my friend's child is not reactive to peanut oil in the air. My understanding is that very few peanut allergy people are allergic to it in the air.  I had a wonderful hamburger with egg on top and the bun I couldn't tell was GF when eating the bottom portion with the hamburger.  The place had a fun decor, with cutouts of Hollywood people, and photos on the wall of people who ate the monster burger and fries. 
My phone died while we were inside. No food photo.
Off we went to the hotel to charge our phones (and I remembered to put mine on airplane mode while we were away from the room).  Later, we headed to the hotel beach. It was a nice with the afternoon sun on the beach. The water was a little chilly in and fairly level. It took a while wading out until the water was up to my armpits and chin.  

The hotel section of the beach also had recliner chairs, and there are specific beach towels provided by the hotel for use out in the sand.

I was wondering when I'd see warning signs, and this was the first one I saw. It was past the hotel buildings and on the way to the beach.  The hotel has a little lagoon area where the sign is posted. Somehow I saw the sign and missed the water rinse off are right next to it.  
This sign pretty much screamed to me:  do not go for a daybreak run 
I went back to the hotel before my friend, so I could call The Mike. While I was sitting on the concrete curb talking to him--hey, I was enjoying the sun and cell reception--two ladies came riding up on bikes. I noticed the one had an awesome calf/ankle tattoo of the USA outline with 26.2 inside.  We made eye contact and I mimed that I loved her tattoo.  I couldn't talk since I was on the phone with The Mike, but she asked and I answered I had done five.  Runners--we are everywhere :-) 

We went to Island Cow for dinner. A little bit of a wait, but I thought the place was awesome.
1. I grew up a dairyman's daughter and granddaughter, and niece. This place has Holstein dairy cow decor everywhere :-)  
2.  Our waitress was very knowledgeable about the gluten free menu and confirmed that soy oil (and definitely not soy protein/flour) would not be used in cooking. 
3. This place had *real* butter on the table. Not butter spread, not margarine, but real butter.
I had the Paella. It was delicious.  After having a clam and mussel, I gave the others of those items to my dining partner.  She likes them more than I do. Shrimp and fish and chicken. Tasty.  
Island Cow Paella 

 The next day we went to the Lighthouse Beach.  The parking was a bit larger and we were lucky to get a spot.  We were there earlier too, at 10am.  Someone leaving gave us their parking pass, which was for an hour.  We were going to use it, but then someone else came along and they said they were only going to be there for a little bit, so we gave them the hour permit.  Each beach has parking, but you have to pay $4 an hour to park (and can do half hours), with the receipt displayed in your car window.   Lighthouse beach wraps around the edge of the island. It does have an old lighthouse on the island which is roped off.  It's a good beach for sand castle building. As we stayed there, the tide was getting to low tide, which made it a little easier to find seashells out in the water. Where we were on the island/water, the ground went out for about two feet and then had a drop down of a foot or so. This is where I found a lot of shells that looked old, had holes in them, and a small handful of ones that were completely intact.
Since my phone is old, I was brave and went out in the water with it.  This far out and the ground was still flat, no drop offs.  We saw some dolphins out further and I wondered at what point the land dropped off. It doesn't. The dolphins were basically swimming in 4 feet of water.  

Another view of being out in the water.  Looking at Sanibel:

 The south side of the Lighthouse beach, where we first came from the parking lot, had some shells (below), but not as many as Bowman's. As we went around the corner by the Lighthouse, there were fewer and fewer of these shells.  
 After the beach, we went to the Lighthouse Cafe which was in a strip of buildings/businesses nearby. Handy, and a nice variety of food. They even had real maple syrup for sale, from Vermont.  We laughed, because there aren't Maple trees on the island ;-)  I had a burger, no bun, and a side salad,  along with part of the cantaloupe my friend ordered (which comes as half a cantaloupe!).  Cool place, with the walls lined with lighthouses from the world over.  I've been to two that were posted on the walls.  We went to a store nearby where I found a sand dollar locally made into a Christmas ornament.  The store owner told us about sea shell collecting, when the best time is, how to tell if a sand dollar is still alive, and more.  Very nice place.

Then we went back to the hotel for some downtime, organize our luggage, sort through out shells.

Did I gather too many?

We stayed in Saturday evening and had restaurant left overs (for my friend and her child) and I had some Annies Mac and Cheese microwave bowl I had picked up at Target. Being out in the water for hours wore us out, apparently. We were tired!  

Sunday morning it was my turn to go down to the hotel beach for dawn to break the sky.  It was windy, as a storm was definitely moving in, and I found several more shells, several of the bivalve ones which were quite large (one almost the size of my hand).  
Dawn, the sun arises.  

On the beach at dawn. Surprised this photo is so washed out, as it was darker than the sunrise photo. 
We didn't have to leave the island for some time on Sunday, so we went to the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Bring your national park passport book for the stamp. A nice museum with a good sized gift shop. This might be the first place to visit, as they had reef friendly sunblock for sale, at a fairly reasonable price too.  For just a few dollars per car, you can drive the road through the preserve, as well as take a few jaunts if you're so inclined-in areas where the alligator sign is displayed.   FYI: When you drive through the preserve, make sure everyone is seatbelted in the car!  Someone was pulled over by national park police just after the pay kiosk.  Later, we encountered a woman and child who was venting about having a $150 ticket for not having the children seatbelted in the car. She said her daughter stayed with the baby in the car when we had our encounter with her---especially if you have a job/career that would highly frown upon such a ticket.    
Barely in the park and we saw this guy at the side of the road. There were several others in the trees as well.
There are a couple areas where you can get out of the car for better viewing and photos.  
 When I asked one of the volunteers, I was told s the birds were laying low because it was windy for them.  I was a bit in disbelief, since the wind seemed to be maybe 5mph, but there were calls for bad winds in the afternoon. The volunteer said the fish fed earlier in the day and then lay low during storms.  
Always on guard around wildlife
Before we left, we had lunch at Sanibel Fish House. I figured, Gulf of Mexico, seaside, fresh fish made gluten and soy free would be easy to have. . .and I thought wrong. It was like an Applebees. The hostess said the wait staff would help me. The wait staff seemed clueless, but picked up the menu towards him and proceeded to browse through reading things off I could have, which I couldn't see on the menu because I didn't have it.  The manager came over and told me about a handful of entrees I could have, and she really suggested the spaghetti squash.  I was told no fresh fish for me.  No Salmon, no Mahi Mahi. The manager said not even the appetizer of steamed shrimp.  I ended up with the spaghetti squash served with side of julienne squash and zucchini--and a handful of steamed shrimp (um, what? shrimp? I thought the manager said the shrimp wasn't possible!).  Plus, they used "butter". The manager kept saying butter, but she really meant margarine/butter spread.  

That was Sanibel/Florida. It was gorgeous compared to winter in the Midwest. 

Two hour delay in Ft Myers due to weather.  I thought it was the strong winds at 4pm (like 30mph with 50mph gusts), instead there were bad storms between Chicago and Fl which delayed the flight. There was also an emergency on board of some sort as there were about ten paramedics and a stretcher at the gate for the plane.  

No running while on the trip, unless you count running through Ohare when the flight attendants told me I could make my connecting flight home (I didn't and my low back was angry with me for having run).  An overnight in a hotel and I was home by 1pm the next day.  I got to the airport for the two hours ahead of time, even though I didn't have checked luggage, as I didn't know what Chicago TSA would look like. I  got through fairly quickly,  and ended up walking laps in the airport. My flight departed down one of the staircases as well, and boarding wasn't happening, so I also did steps, up the stairs, down the stairs, up the stairs, down the stairs. I provided some entertainment for gawking men who were skeeving me out, so I stopped for a period until they moved on.  Over 11,000 steps by the time I got on the plane :-)  

Next adventure?  Little Rock half marathon--I'll be one of the walkers! One day I hope to be healed from this car collision and able to run again.   Do you know how big those medals are???

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 Conclusion--Money Jar totals!

What a year!   Downs and Ups, emotions and the scale. ;-)  

A few years ago I started adding a dollar to a jar, technically a race glass,  every exercise I do.  If I ride my bike, $1. If I run, $1. If I do yoga, $1.  Driving to the gym and doing weights, $1.  If I worked up a good sweat doing housework or yardwork, $1.  No money goes in for spending the day picking grapes and making jam or jelly--but that's a workout indeed.  

This year I tried to keep up some exercise in the spring, but my low back hurt so much from the car collision I eventually just threw in the towel on that. It was frustrating to hear the doctor say "just give it more time, give it more time" and I was saying "It hurts to even walk".  I don't think she was hearing me, which is frustrating for a doctor I've seen for over a decade.   After my June epidural I started walking again and trying to run, but the pain--while diminished--was still niggling there.  I can say my gumption was gone.  I couldn't bike or do yoga because of the pain in my right wrist. When a friend suggested Tulsa Route 66, I thought 'this is the motivation I need' and it was. At least it got me out doing something, even if it wasn't as much as it normally would have been.  
My exercise jar was a bit light this year. It came in at $83.  I exercised 22% of the days in 2016.  That's excellent, as I hurt for over six months of the year!  

My races/events:   
Eight events in 2016. It's actually one more than in 2015 with my  acral lentiginous Melanoma toe surgery!  Fools 5K, which was postponed one day due to horribly dangerous winds (and I think rain). Like 30-50mph winds.  Who wants to run in that?  Plenty of people complained because they couldn't participate on Sunday.  I think the race director made an excellent call, and he actually rescheduled the race for the next day!  So many other races would have just canceled and that would have been that.   Run 4 UNI was a four mile race starting near UNI and ending in the dome on the football field.  Highlights included everyone singing the national anthem as the recording wasn't working!  Unifying us at the start.  I pushed through on that, in extreme pain, because I didn't want to be dropped to the end.  I wanted to hurl as I was in so much pain. This is actually the event where I just threw in the towel afterwards and said to myself, 'why even bother if I'm not getting better as the doc says I will.'.  After my epidural, I started walking again but the pain doctor warned against running right away ---as if one could after a eight month hiatus from doing so!    One of the 'races' I saw and wanted to do was the National Park virtual race through the Virtual Running Club.  Who wouldn't want a medal in the shape of a park ranger hat?   The next race I actually did was the Park to Park 5k.  I was so excited to run/walk this race again.  I was fifteen minutes faster than the April race :-)   With the calendar looming for November Tulsa, and not having done much after Park to Park, I signed up for a 5k in early October and a 10K in early November.  That was pretty much all my training. I didn't do a lot between there.  Not the best, but that's the truth.  Tulsa was a 5k one day and a half the next day, both mostly walked.  

Marathon Maniac/Half Fanatic photo from Williams Route 66 2017.  I have permission to use the photo as is:  

I'm in this!!!

83.  I was able to exercise 83 days this year, when I wasn't able to do much without pain for half this year!  What an accomplishment!  Focus on the positive!

New years eve we stayed in.  We were planning to go to the Twin Cities for a few days, but decided to stay home.  New Years Eve was so rockin'  ;-)  I did laundry. During the last dry cycle, The Mike went back to the laundry room and smelled burning hair---like when hair gets caught in the hair dryer vent.  We turned off the dryer and waited back there for something. Eventually the smell went away.  Sunday morning, The Mike took the top and front off the dryer and we found the mess.  Turns out a seal that was suppose to be a circle to prevent lint leakage wasn't sealed.  Lint had been coating the bottom of the dryer for who knows how long.  Wires had burned sheathing.  We were LUCKY!  So we spent New Years Day looking for new dryers.  Forgot how expensive those are!

New years eve we had snacks. Shrimp and homemade cocktail sauce, cheese dip, apples, grapes, carrots, cheese, black olives and, of course, chips.   We topped it off with Pina Coladas. :-)  

If you like Pina Coladas. . . and getting caught in the rain. . .(Jimmy Buffett)

We ran out of room.  NYDay we broke open the Daiya cheesecake.  Small, good portion size with a quarter being a serving.  Twenty three grams of fat.  Can you say it's not that bad since it's made with pea protein? That's good, right?   
This was really good!  
May you have a wonderful 2017 and may your past be your past.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Tulsa! Route 66 because I'm only half a maniac

A friend managed to talk me into doing the Route 66 half marathon in Tulsa, Nov 2016.  I dragged my feet on this because this is a race I want to do the full marathon.  Also, because of the car collision of November 2015, I hadn't run until August, and even then it is uncomfortable and thus I have not been training.  I went into this knowing I'd be essentially walking a half marathon. That is still mentally hard for me to accept.  

First thing, Google maps told me online that it would be an eight hour drive. I was like 'OKAY! Let's do this!'   I knew it was a five hour drive to KC, MO and thought 'I can do another three on the flip side'.  It was a WINDY day and driving into it all day was hard on the injured wrist holding the wheel against the wind, and on the hearing, as the wind was hitting the vehicle such that it was very noisy inside.  I stopped in KC MO to see a family member, and then stopped off at Barnes n Nobles to buy a book on CD, because one can only listen to news radio or the same songs over and over ;-)   It was a good thing I did.  The drive from KC MO to Tulsa was another five hours, not three.  #GoogleFail

Friday morning I did some tourist things and checked out an estate sale at a gorgeous 1920s craftsman house--which actually ended up being on the race course! An ode to my mom to head to estate sales. This one had things I have *never* seen at any other sale: Indoor bicycle trainer, bike road shoes, and (eww) bicycling shorts. So many great books, but I said no to those and picked up some 1950s "Shiny Brite" Christmas ornaments instead.  :-)   

Friday I went to the expo to pick up my numbers, and my friend's, as she was flying in late.  It felt great to be at one again with all the energy and excitement in there!  I wore my RaygunShirts "This is my fighting cancer shirt".  I may need to get one that says "this is my body post vehicle collision"  

The expo was a good size. Not too big, not too small. There were lines for the half/full, and then other lines for the 5k.  Since my friend convinced me to do both the half and the 5k because 'we got something special' I did it.  ---Side note:  We both forgot about that and we didn't wind up with the special glass that said we did the back to back challenge. 

This pretty much summed it up. The energy of the expo was great, but the reality was that I had not done much walking/training other than every day.  I had done a 5k about a month before, I did a 10K a couple weeks later, but I hadn't done anything over a 10k.  I was fine with being a "much more than back of packer" because this was a large enough race  that there'd be a lot of people on the course with me!  Perspective is everything!    
At the expo, I scored a $5 Whole Foods coupon, so I headed over to one to find something for food. Mac and cheese and a packet of tuna fish.  So nutritious, right?  Easy to heat up in the microwave.   Later I picked up my friend at the airport and we headed to Outback---a go to staple in a large city. They do gluten free right. They also do well when I'm with my siblings/families who have peanut, nut, soy, dairy, gluten restrictions :-)  The one things we've found out is that the sweet potatoes are "covered in foil and then in oil" but they apparently aren't deep fried. If you have a soy oil intolerance, you'll want to avoid the sweet potatoes!  

The drawback to this weekend is that it takes place in November!  Brrr.  The day I drove into town it was unseasonably hot, like the rest of this 2016 Autumn, 70 degrees. I wore my skort. Friday, it was still nice, but a bit breezy, wore a skort.  5k race morning was in the mid30s. What the heck?   I did come prepared!  I also got a hotel near the *start* line of the Sunday races, but not Saturday's 5k, which meant we had to walk about a mile to the start line ---ooops on realizing that!  
Prepared for the cold air

Near the start area is the Woodie Guthrie museum. I didn't get a chance to go in it this time, but when I'm back in this town I'll head in.  The mural is neat.  It was obstructed at the bottom by some race course metal.    

Volunteers setting out the warm blankets. How I wanted one on this morning!   
The start of the 5k race was a long corral that was sparsely filled, so there were plenty of 'holes' in the groupings of people letting in the wind ;-)   I was able to run, slowly, with plenty of walking for the first half mile, then there was a big hill over the train tracks, and I pretty much walked with some running.  Coming up to the last turn area, we saw this retro Tulsa sign: 

Turning the corner, there was this road sign just screaming "take a selfie here".  
We are a special event for sure!

Crossing the finish line felt good. Obviously my time is slow, but it was under 45 minutes, so that was a good thing for this collision recovering body. This spring my 5k was almost an hour in extreme pain.  After the finish line I spied one of the mascots.  I don't recall who the dragon belonged to, but I thought it was great.  (There is a mascot race at some point on Saturday).   
 Walking back to the hotel, we tried to take a short cut 'straight ahead'. We passed the "center of the universe" area which is a side detour on the marathon course for a 'special' medal.  I didn't look it up ahead of time, but the echo part sounds neat--and not something we noticed as we walked past.  
My friend and I went back to the expo, so she could experience it and buy race day energy.  While there, we checked out the Brooks display which I had skipped on Friday. She wanted a new pair of shoes, and we did the random entry on their table.  Fill out info on a tablet, win something. My friend won a shirt.  As I was filling out the final screen and hitting 'enter', I said "free shoes, free shoes". The Brooks worker scanned the code and I WON A FREE PAIR OF SHOES!   I had to laugh: last year at the Marine Corps Marathon I won a banner bag which had a free pair of Brooks shoes in it.   I didn't wear those until after my epidural in June this year, and I guess it was time for a new pair ;-)     The Brooks worker insisted I do the treadmill fit test even though I wear Brooks and my local store does a fit. Oh My Goodness. My back was hurting doing the test (barefoot) and then she told me I had to kick higher for the reading.  Pain, 8. OW.

In 2014 I did back to back half marathons in order to become a half fanatic.  Hartford CT and Newport RI halves (Followed up with the Tufts 10K on the Monday--mistake with my foot having a twing in it that day. Then I ran a 10K the next weekend in NH).  Four states that trip, but the important thing was that I earned my entry into the Half Fanatics club.  
Half Marathon Maniac and the Route 66 was the first one where I could partake in any 'mania'.   Got my entry bracelet at the expo and had to keep it on until after the race on Sunday.  Road ID is always on.  Last race with my MotoActv as well---hubby got me a new Garmin vivoactiv HR for Christmas.  
Driving around Saturday afternoon we were hungry and couldn't find the restaurant we had googled. We passed by My Fit Foods and thought 'this sounds like a place we can find gluten and soy free food'.  We were expecting a regular restaurant. Instead, it is a already prepared food, take and reheat establishment. You can reheat and dine in, or take with you home.  Portions are available in regular and large.  Plenty of choices and beverages as well. My limitation was not being able to have soy as well, so I went with the Cilantro Lime Turkey. This was tasty, flavorful, filling.  

---Insert Marathon Maniacs/Half Fanatics group photo---
Just pretend it's here ;-)   
I didn't ask for permission to publicly share it on the blog and 
I don't feel right doing it without the permission.  
I still couldn't believe I was going to do a half marathon. This year has been hard. I can lament the fitness I've lost, but the reality is going forward from this point isn't as much fun as it was when I could run without pain and enjoy training.   Race day morning was cold, again, but the bright side was that the starting line was basically right outside our room---or so we thought.  Basically, the road sides were blocked off and the only openings to the corrals, each of which is one block long, were at the intersections.  My block/starting corral was at the end of the line, so I would have been better of staying at the Hyatt, HA!   The Maniac corner at the start area, was guarded, we actually did have to show our bracelets to get in!  We went back to our hotel for the warm lobby.  I thought I heard some loudspeaker talk, so we went outside. The national anthem was being played. Several people were walking in front of us and randomly happened to look back. I stopped and stood at attention, my friend did the same.  Someone ahead of us looked over their shoulder, saw us stopped at attention and then they did the same and it repeated for the next four people who had been walking to the start. That was pretty cool.

We then had to go the length of the starting corrals to get to ours. The bad thing about the intersections was that they had gates out into the side street for a bit so we had to swerve around those. Security at those intersections too, so no one could dash into a corral that wasn't theirs.  (Really liked the set up of this race).

It was so nice to be in the corral with everyone around us (i.e I was warm with the surrounding body heat).  Hills, hills, hills. I never would have thought Tulsa or Oklahoma would have been hilly.  I grew up in Iowa with the Loess Hills; however, I live near a river now, so I'm a flat lander, and one who is happy we drove part of the route the prior day.  Once we got out of downtown/business areas and entered into the residential areas it was flatter.  We went down a hill and at the little spot before the rise started, there were runners and a race person helping a man who appeared to have performed a face plant. OUCH.  He wanted to continue. I wonder if they let him.  I had been doing a walk, with a little running up to this point. Pretty much after I turned the corner, I just started walking completely.  My lower back was aching and I had many more miles to go.

One of the roads we ran on was near a private school. The road was lined with a water stop, and with speed bumps. Lots of speed bumps.  It made me wonder what kind of speedsters those high schoolers and parents much be ;-)

We wound our way up to a pretty park at the top of a climb. There was great country/banjo music at the area. I think that was about mile 4 or 5.  
Who was I to argue, especially when they repeated it three times!  
Also, does this photo scream "no longer a twenty something"?

There are many gorgeous homes in this town.   It was a great route to just 'walk' because of this.  One area of the roadway was torn up and patched with gravel, then we turned off the road. A volunteer was telling us that we were running on earthquake damaged land, from the fracking/drilling massive earthquake in September.

Soon we were on a road paralleling a river that reminded me of the great wide Nebraska Platt River. One that didn't look very deep, but it was quite wide and probably scared pioneers in days gone by.  The Arkansas River I've seen before near Leadville CO as the east fork of the Arkansas River, where it's very tiny.  I've seen it in Salida, Colorado as a stream/brook with lots of rocks. Something about as wide as an eighteen wheeler.   This crossing in Tulsa was quite wide.  It was also where we turned off the street, took a left to do a U turn on the bridge/Route 66. Alongside it was an old bridge that was cut off from traffic. I believe it was an original 66 crossing.  
Arkansas River  
Route 66 ba-by!   Woot!   

The last couple of miles were really hard for me. My back was really hurting and I was trying to keep my mind off of it.  Plenty of people were around me at this point, which was nice and reassuring (I wasn't the last one out).  Then I spied it, money on the course!  Yes, I stopped for a quarter on the roadway.  Why not? It just made my registration a little less ;-)  

I was soooo happy to see the finish line :-)  and I did the dumbest thing possible.  I ran the last ten paces. Oh my back. Why did I do that?   Habit. I always take off faster at the last of a race, and I got caught up in the energy of the crowd/finish. Made me wonder what the heck I was doing and then beat myself up for it from the pain that took a while to diminish.

Finish area.
Heat blanket: check  
Medal: check   
Photos: check
Food: check
Results page: check   Maniac Corner: CHECK
Inking that we were suppose to get something special for doing the 5k and half was there ---OOPS
I'd show you the inside, but you have to earn you way :-D 

I exchanged my 'regular' half marathon medal for the Fanatics one.  The original was blue and the Maniac one is yellow. This race is truly amazing with the medals. Special for your first marathon, first half marathon, special for maniac members. I think there are like a couple of handfuls of different types of medals they offer.  

Done, for the glory of cool medals. 
When we got back to the hotel we had the same thought: thankful we had the rest of the day to relax and did not have to travel right away.  We leisurely soaked in the hot tub for about an hour after we were back at the hotel, cleaned up and then I said "we need to get out and stretch, let's go to Target". We found a superTarget so we were able to get gluten free (soy free) food for dinner and breakfast, did some slow strolling and headed back. The microwave in the lobby was on the wimpy side, 180ยบ from mine at home, but there were good chairs to relax in while we waited for our dinner to heat. They even had silverware for us!

We headed out in the morning, dropped my friend off at the airport and I settled in for the ten hour drive home.  Google was off, the car GPS was spot on with that. 

Definitely recommend Route 66 marathon/half/5k weekend.  


Friday, November 11, 2016

10K ---it had to be done!

Earlier this year I finally was able to put on my shoes I won in a 'banner bag' at the Marine Corps Marathon expo last year.  It was a long time from November 17 to the beginning of August 2016 when I was able to actually run more than five feet with out pain.  
Who wouldn't be excited to put on these colorful kicks?  

With a couple 5ks in the books, and a half marathon looming in mid November--what was I thinking--I decided I needed to find a 10k to do!   The November 13.1 is more of get to the finish line than race for me, and it'll be interesting to see how the body handles it.  

I found a 10K that was in honor of the five brothers from Iowa who mandated they serve together in WWII.  Unfortunately, I was on my feet for four hours the night before and had a Tanka bar, water, and some chocolate for dinner/snack, followed a few hours later with scrambled eggs before bed. Probably not the best 'night before' a race.  

Before the event started, I stayed a little warm in the museum named for them.  This trunk surprised me in that I have only known on synagogue in the vicinity, and this trunk shows that there was one closer to the "church row" neighborhood at one time.  
After WW2, several families were sponsored by the local synagogue and relocated here after surviving the holocaust/camps. Bravery and amazing perseverance. 

The five brothers home on leave are shown in this photo that is inside the museum. I don't know if I've ever seen such a photo. A long time ago, I had come across a tv station playing the old movie The Sullivans. It was created during the war for publicity, selling bonds, and raising country pride. 

I ran this race a few other times when the granddaughter of the only married Sullivan brother opened the ceremony. From that experience I knew the wind blows quite coldly across the Cedar River. Today would be different. It was in the high 40s when we started the race, sunny, and not even a slight wind. Even so, I was skeptical that it would hold.   
Racers line up in the alley, to get the heat the sunshine allows. 

I started the race with my hydration pack carrying one bottle of water, and the other holder with my cellphone for MapMyRun. I had on Athleta capris, injinji  toe socks (the only kind I run distances in), and then my 'fighting cancer' tank, overlayed with my Detroit 'marathon in training' shirt, and an looser adidas shirt. I haven't done a lot of outdoor training lately, and definitely none in November Iowa weather that would suggest expect relatively hot temperatures. Before the race, I had a Mama Chia packet for some nutrition and sugar. I had one Huma gel with me in case I needed it.

I started off in the midpack of the crowd and worked my way through some walkers.  I got up the road to where someone was saying "5kers to the right" and I was like "where do the 10Ks go".  The guy seemed shocked there were still 10ks behind in the pack.  Someone else told me to aim for the lady at the bridge in pink :-)    
The Cedar River, almost back to normal river levels.

In years before, this river scene has come at the final stretch. This year, due to putting the race more on trails, less on roads (read: fewer intersections = fewer paid emergency personnel at intersections=lower cost and more money in the pocket of the military museum), the sun was shining fully and there was no wind, which meant it was easy to get heated quickly.  At the end of this stretch of trail was the 5k spot, and then we crossed the river, had the only water break, and continued on the trail system to get back to downtown. I was so thankful I ran the event with my hydration pack. I had my chocolate Huma gel just before the 5K point and washed it with the water I carried, wondering if I'd see a water stop.  I recalled why I still had that chocolate Huma left at the house, it's not my favorite next to the strawberry or apple!   

It was slow going for me--thinking back to even last fall after recovering from acral lentiginous melanoma toe surgery in the spring, and it was slow going compared to my last 10k two years ago.  In any event, around mile 1 I had passed another person, then walked, then got passed, then ran, then walked and we leap frogged for a few minutes, but then she started walking more and I kept up the run/walk pattern I had settled into.  Around mile 4 my low back started aching. This is one of my injuries from the vehicle collision last fall.  I had an epidural in July which allowed me to run again, but I hadn't really gone any father than 4 miles in training--again, with the 'you have a 13.1 in a few weeks, what were you thinking??' thoughts.  

On the other side of the river we entered into some trails I've never seen before, let alone run along. They actually were inside the green space from where the race use to go (past the baseball field and a cemetery).  I had shed my other long sleeve shirt, was in the purple cancer fighting tank and I was not chilly at all.  It was a HOT fall day.  The brain and body had a disconnect in this area. I'd say "run to the second tree" and my body would start walking at the first tree.  

I started noticing glistening lines on the trail as well.  In earlier places there were one or two or four or five.  By the time I came to this section, the slugs were all over the trail and I felt compelled to take a photo of the slug trails. Unfortunately, I don't think the photo did the trails justice.  Up ahead of this part was a curve where there was a race volunteer. He saw me take the photo and asked if I really needed to take a selfie at that part of the event.  I said it wasn't a selfie, it was a slug trail photo that was a beautiful nature shot. Heck, I didn't even know if it turned out. I squatted, pointed, shot the photo, and started running again.  

All those little black things on the concrete trail are actually slugs, leaving a glistening moist trail in their wake.  
 I ran further on the trail and closer to downtown.  I'd never been on this side of the river via the trail system and I found it was a nice view of the buildings and of downtown.  We climbed out of the river trail and onto the pedestrian crossing of the river.  At one time, it use to be completely enclosed, but now the side pieces of glass are missing. It's a beautiful tunneling work of art.
Pedestrian river crossing 
 Just on the other end of the bridge we turned right, then left and then two blocks to the finish.  I walked that block between the right and left turn. The guy at the left turn corner said, "Only two more blocks".  To which I replied, "Thanks, that's why I'm walking now!"  I didn't want to walk in the final stretch, so I did it in the little bit before the finish line area.  ---Pride, it'll get you.

I crossed the finish in a time a few minutes slower than what I was aiming for. However, with the unexpected heat and not being use to running in that, I think the time was spot on.  It was a good run and good training for the Williams Route 66 in a few weeks. 

I was proud to have finished this race.  It was my first 10K in a couple years, and my longest event since the vehicle collision last fall. My time wasn't the best, but it was a finish time. The finish line is always better than a DNF for whatever reason, and even a DNF trumps a "stayed on the couch" any day. The funds went to a great cause.  I didn't get a shirt this year because I registered late, which is the way it goes. I don't expect a race to have extra shirts.  That said,  I was disappointed in my lack of shirt because 1. it was purple, 2. it was long sleeve. 3. it was a technical shirt!  When was the last time you got a lightweight technical shirt???