Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Chicago BOUND!

It's official, marathon training, here I come!  I received the news yesterday afternoon that my application had been accepted through the lottery system.  For those of you who are not runners, some of the really big marathons have to have a lottery system because of the sheer number of entries they receive.  Chicago and New York are two (Boston is a qualify by time marathon).  I was one of the last waves I think to get an email (some people I am friends with told me minutes  after I got accepted, they got denied).    Let's just say yesterday was all about hitting the refresh button oh a million times LOL!  One of my friends had noticed on one of her FB groups that many were seeing that they had been accepted quicker in the athlete's village profiles than in their email so I just had that screen up and kept hitting refresh.

Then it hit me, HOTEL rooms!  One of my good running friends had told me to make sure and book a room when I had entered the lottery just in case.  I had totally forgot so I quickly started looking for a room.  Wow, 350 bucks a night seemed to be the cheapest!  Well, since the hubby and I don't really do a vacation per se, I just decided to go for it and book a nice room for a couple of nights.  While it would be nice to stay for longer, two nights at that price is really all we could logically afford.  I also today booked us flights.  We could get relatively cheap flights right out of manhattan directly to chicago and take the train into the city.  While it might be cheaper driving, the time spent traveling would be much less and we can do a little sight seeing friday  and part of saturday.  I don't want to wear my legs out but Tony hasn't been to chicago ever (i did for a band trip), so I want him to see some of the sights.
I broke the news to stella that training would start in June.  She was pretty stoked to say the least.   Unfortunately, training in Kansas in the summer will be tricky for both of us, so I forsee some super early morning long runs for both of us to avoid the heat and humidity.  I also see us doing a ton of playing around with hydration, electrolytes and with our fueling. I am trying not to stress to much about that now as i have Coach Jenny there to help me.  I am just ready to start!  One more half marathon, a little recovery time and poof, it will be training time!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hunting for Shrooms!

 We did something new today.  My hubby has always wanted to go morel hunting.  Morels are mushrooms that are very delicious (although not to me) and are fun to go hunting for in Kansas in the spring.  Since we don't own land, or know anyone who does, we have to hit up local state park areas.  Tony knew about this little known trail over at Tuttle Creek, so we headed over to check it out.

At the trail head there was a really fun play ground that we spent quite a bit of time at before and after the hunt.   I may or may not have slid down the tube slide a few times.  

We didn't see any mushrooms although we found TONS of poison ivy.  I am so hoping we didn't actually touch any of it.  I guess we will find out shortly.  We looked in every ravine and ditch and dead tree pile, but didn't find any morels.  We did find some awesome wild life and lots and lots of snails and sticks.  We stopped for burgers on our way home and ice cream, and shortly later, little red passed out .  I had fun and am looking forward to going back to that trail for maybe some running. It is only a mile long loop but the scenery is nice enough that multiple loops wouldn't be boring.  The trail is mostly dirt/crush limestone/grass so it would be a nice respite for all of the road running we do.  Leashed dogs were allowed although ticks would probably be an issue and would have to be delt with.  

Have a happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

10 K PR! Heck YEAH! Dog and Jog 2015

I use to do this race every year, until I got really into dog agility.  Then for years i had a big dog show that weekend and had to miss out.  I even ran it before I was really runner.    I have all of my old shirts from this race because they always do long sleeved shirts,  and I never seem to wear out long sleeved t-shirts.  This year they had a long sleeved tech tee, BONUS!  This race was going to be a game time call as we had predicted rain all night before and all morning.  I really wanted to go at least get my packet because they always have unique shirts.  This is a race put on by I think the sophomore class at the vet school and it benefits not only their class but KSDS which raises and trains service dogs.  Many of my former agility students are puppy raisers and have taken classes from me over the years.  I knew they would all be there too so I really wanted to see everyone.  I really, really miss my agility friends but more than that I MISS my agility students!  They had been with me for a long time as I learned how to teach and how to manage a business and stuck with me as I was preggers and a new mom (and very scatterbrained:).  They even stuck with me as I moved my classes to the weekend to have more time with my kiddo.  Most of them take from Joc who has Deep Creek Agility and I am very glad they have a great indoor facility to continue their agility training and a wealth of knowledge in Joc.

Anyway, back to the race:)  I woke up to very cloudy skies but no rain.  The radar had us all in the green, yet nothing was happening.  In wamego, it was warm, so I chose my dog paw skirt from Gypsy runner, my hospital hill tech tee, my brooks run happy hat and my nike compression shorts.  I really was dressed for running but not waiting around an hour in the cold wind.  Because they had moved the packet pick up to later friday night, I had not gotten my packet so had to be there early to get my packet and number.  Well, I probably didn't have to be there an hour early but I always get so freaked out when I don't do things like you are suppose to i.e. pick up your packet the day before the race.  I guess I am learning to be a rebel as this is the second time I have picked up my packet day of LOL!
Stella and I decided to hide in the car because the wind was making it very cold and I was very uncomfortable.  I added my arm warmers and my compression socks to try and get warm but was still pretty cold, even in the van.  I seriously considered putting on the event t-shirt which this year was a very cute tech t.  I knew once I ran I would warm up but just waiting around was COLD!
It was a pretty small crowd of people, which made me happy.  I was kind of worried about having crowded side walks, as this race was pretty much all on side walks.  Crowded with a dog can be very tricky.  Most all the people running had dogs, so that made me feel a little better.  No one seemed to be taking this racer super duper serious, and hopefully there wouldn't be hard feelings if a dog blocked a path (ehem, side walk hog stella).  Stella tends to range back and forth out in front of me.  I had to hold her pretty close at our first half race together, so she didn't block any racers.  Anyway, I started pretty near the front and as they started us with an air horn  we all took off at a fairly fast pace.  I saw 7s on my watch, whoopsie, but Stella was pulling HARD!  The first mile or so was up a gradual hill.  I felt strong and tough (and had a sled dog pulling me pretty steadily), but also a little nervous as my first mile clocked in at 8:43!!!!!  My next two miles were a little better, with more of it being down hill to flat and more consistent.   My goal for this race was 9 minute miles and my second mile was at 9:15 and 9:07.  Better, still not what i ultimately wanted, but it was a little hard to not try and put the breaks on going down North Manhattan hill.  Mile 3 hit some congestion as most of the 5 K people were putting on the jets to finish.  I was a little sad to see the finish line and not get to cross it just yet.  

My legs were feeling the effect of my first fast mile going back up that gradual, long hill, so my next mile was a bit slow at 9:59.  I was hoping I could pick up once I hit the down hill and the leveling off, but I honestly wasn't sure.  I tried to not let any of the negative thoughts creep in that like to creep.  I concentrated on the word STRONG and SPEED.  Mile 5 was still not great at 9:40, but was able to get a little speed in on mile 6  in 9:37.  I finished in 56:37.  I think without a loop course with the same hill twice and the same bad down hill twice, I could be more consistent.  While I LOVE running with Stella, I think I need to run a 10 K without her and see if I can PR.  She did help me at the end as we had been running by ourselves from a while and someone passed us at mile 5.  Stella had decided that was unacceptable and pulled like a mule to the end.  I had hoped for a big PR and crossed the finish at 56:37!!!!!  I think my last 10 K was 58:31!  WAHOO!  I like being more consistent and not positive splitting, but this time I got lucky and it worked LOL!  Stella and I lingered a bit afterwards, but after looking at the computer by the timing mat, I was in 12th or something like that, so we left to get warm!  Much to my surprise, I had someone send me a FB message saying they called my name to the podium for a 2nd place age group award!  Darn it!  I was already in Wamego by that time and eating brunch.  Oh well, maybe some day soon I can repeat this performance and do even better (or at least more consistent!).  

Thanks Dog and Jog for a small and fun race and thanks weather for holding out. I still have this stupid cold which now includes coughing (NOOOO) so will see how i feel about a shake out run tomorrow.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A quiet recovery week

This is the face of someone who has caught yet another viral mess, probably from my kiddo.  Yes, I am sick yet again.  Yes, I just want to go home and curl up in bed and die.  My nose either drips like a facet or clogs up so I can't breath at all.  My normal go to  OTC cold meds aren't even touching this crap, which is  not a good sign.  I may over dose on cough drops.  My hubby and son are hacking their guts up but so far, I just have a dry cough from a tickling in my throat.  The good news is my son only had it for a week and he is already tons better so here is to hoping I will be the same way.  

There was this!  I along with every other runner not in Boston celebrated the running of the Boston Marathon.  I was tracking several runners, including several of my favorite bloggers and my coach just to name a few.  I saw one of the bloggers and my coach cross the finish line.  I am thinking I will get Coach Jenny to recap Boston once she gets back and gets recovered.  I will probably never get to run Boston, as I have heard even charity bibs are super hard to get (and then you have to raise a minimum of 5 K dollars), so I would love to live in the moment with her words.  Most of the bloggers are back and recapping the race and it has been a fun week to read all of their triumphs and tribulations.

Since I have been sick, I have been taking it pretty easy all week running and cross training wise.  I took sunday-tuesday completely off.  I did a 3 mile, walk/run yesterday where for every mile I ran, I walked 1 minute.  Stella was super glad to be out again and Deuce was super sad we left him.  I am hoping to get one more run in tonight and then rest up for the Dog and Jog on Saturday.  That use to be an annual race for me, and then they started having it the same weekend as one of my favorite dog shows.  Since I am not doing any dog shows right now (sad face), I can run it again.  It also has a 1.5 K kids run and I am going to see if Andrew wants to do it.  That may still be way to much for him so we may wait till next year, but if he wants to try it, we can walk/run it together.  He told me last night as I was leaving that he wanted to run with me.  It really does rip my heart out when he begs me not to go.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Stats and tired

me trying to get whatever blew into my mouth out LOL!
I love looking at stats from races.  I am a middle of the pack kind of gal, so any time I am a little slightly better than average, it delights me!  For this race  out of 1886 runners overall, I came in 750. Out of 1159 women overall, I came in 327. Out of 229 women in my age group, i came in 72!!! I am so blown away by my progress! I keep asking myself what in the heck has changed this training cycle versus last cycle. Sydney was an awesome coach, so what is so different about being coached by Jenny? The workouts by both ladies has been equally as hard. I really think what has changed is the mental aspect and I totally blame Jenny:). I have always been puzzled by the fact that in training, I could hit some good paces but in races I couldn't. I was so wrapped up in all the rules, don't go out to fast, stay with the pace group, don't, don't, don't. I have found through doing speedwork during my long run and by letting my body really dictate the pace (and not harping on some of the rules), I have been able to hit those same paces during my races. It feels so good!!!!! I really feel like I can push it even faster and plan on doing just that thing in the Running with the Cows half in three weeks. Of course as always, I need the perfect storm of weather/health/fuel to reach this goal. Mom is coming back up (bless her heart) to be with me Friday and cheer me on that Saturday. I am really stoked to try once again for my 2:05! I am also ready for some hard training again. I didn't realize how much I loved it till I had to go without for a couple of months. I am also really excited to start marathon training. Crazy that not even a year ago, just saying the word marathon made me scared, and now I am super duper excited! The mileage no longer scares me. The training runs, heck even the long runs during the week, as well as weekends no longer scares me. I am ready for the next challenge! I should hear back about Chicago in the next couple of weeks. Then I will better know when my training starts. I am still thinking about Wichita, as well as St. Jude in Memphis.

Heading up the yellow brick road!
My poor mom headed back today to deliver van keys to the boys, so they can come back tomorrow. It's so funny, I think about how nice it will be to have some time by myself, and all I have done today is miss tony and Andrew. I have absent mindedly cleaned and organized all day. I even had dinner with my BRF, just so I could be around people and not be by myself! My poor mom got stuck in the aftermath of two wrecks today, but by the time I am writting this, she is finally home. One wreck added 2 hours onto her trip! I am going to owe her one hell of a mother's day present. I am ready to have everything back to normal!!!! Now if I can just get sleepy and go to bed. Figures that when andrew isn't here or goes to bed early that I can't go to sleep for love nor money!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Garmin Half marathon recap Part Two

Race day started bright and early at 5 am.  Up to fuel and go get my packet since we missed packet pick up.  Thank goodness for day of race pick up!  God bless mom, she was up when my alarm went off and headed to the race with me.  Our hotel was only 1.5 miles away so it was a quick trip over.  Unfortunately, it hit me that I had left my shotblocks at the hotel so mom headed back to get them for me.  That is what I get for not laying out a flat michelle but at 1 am, i just wanted to pass out.  Mom got back and got parked and went ahead and walked back to the hotel to shower and drink her coffee.  I hung out with other runners I knew from manhattan.  It was really nice to not have any goals and just enjoy the race.  I had 0 amount of nerves so only had to hit up the porta potties once:)
I have a love hate relationship with this race.  While the course is nice and scenic,  we almost always have bad weather at some point on the course.  Also, there are NO corrals or wave starts and over 2 K runners, so the beginning is kind of a cluster.  I had NO time goals, so tried to load up in the start area near the 2:20 pace group.  We didn't even hear a national anthem or anything, just go and we ALL started.  The first mile or so was spent dodging slower people who had mistakenly loaded in too far ahead.  Even though I had NO time goals, I some how caught up to the 2:10 pacer really quickly. I thought I would hang out, but it just felt too slow (weird right?).  I then saw the 2:05 pacer.  I never caught up to them, but kept them in my sights till about mile 8 when we headed into the forest.  I was able to enjoy the course signs, say thank you to many volunteers ,and enjoy the mostly rain free race.  That only lasted until mile 10 or so.  We started feeling a few rain drops here and there.  I just hoped we could get done before the bottom dropped out.  I almost got my wish.  The rain started in earnest around mile 11 and the wind around mile 12.  I think we had some small hail from mile 12 till the end, and the wind started whipping like crazy as I crossed the finish line!!!!  Something went into my mouth as we were approaching the finish line.  I have no clue what it was, but I pray, they didn't get pictures of me frantically trying to spit it out/get it out of my mouth!
I finished in 2:08:18.  That is almost 5 minutes off of my previous course time!  I will take it!  We didn't linger thanks to the monsoon, but headed back to the car and back to the hotel.  Got to love early start races and close hotel rooms!!!  Was able to take a shower and eat before hitting the road.  
Mom and I made a few pit stops for coffee and a little shopping.  Unfortunately for me, I took the van keys with me back to KS so mom is heading back to TN tomorrow to deliver, keys so the boys can come back.  We are going to eat early, have a drink, and pass out shortly:)  I would love at least 12 hours of sleep at this point and she is going to need it for her trip back.  More thoughts when I am a bit more lucid!  To all of those running Boston monday RLH and have fun!

Garmin Half Marathon Recap and a quick trip to Tennessee part one

Wow, what a crazy few days.  Let me start with the death of Grandma Coleman.  She passed Wednesday night and the funeral was planned for Friday.  We hurriedly packed for leaving on Thursday to make the long trip.  With Andrew, trips take a bit longer now,  and things like finding fast food with play places is mighty important (Thanks McDonald's app).
The trip for the most part was good.  We had a mix of sleeping, playing at an awesome McDonald's play place in Columbia MO, watching of Thomas on our new portable DVD player, and some netflix videos on my cell phone.
We were fine till about an hour from home.  Andrew decided he was DONE.  We had to get out and walk around at a local Walgreens, and of course Easter candy was still on sale.  A little chocolate makes everything better, right?
The two littles came with us and my awesome dog sitter took care of the reds.  Bless her.  Seriously.  We contemplated taking stella, and I am glad we decided against it.  They were fine in Becky's capable hands.  
I even got a nice quick 3 miles in after we unloaded.  I ran on a route we use to walk on, when I was in college in Martin.  I even ran past the old trailer park I lived in as a student.  That is where I initially met Tony, just as friends at that time:)
It was slightly hot and humid, and of course it got dark quicker than I am use to in Kansas, but it was good to stretch out my legs.  The funeral and visitation was Friday and it was very well done.  The flowers were beautiful, the service was short and sweet, and my mom took andrew, so I didn't have to chase him all over the funeral home.  After the funeral and grave side services, mom and I loaded up and headed to Kansas.  Yes, at 5 pm we headed out for a 7 and a half hour trip.   Yes, we have lost our minds.
We stopped at Lambert's for the throwed rolls  carbs.  I had the carbiest meal I could find on their menu.  Mom had the BIGGEST cup of coffee I have ever seen.  She was going to need it though.  She is a warrior queen.  She drove the entire way back to Kansas, while I slept.  Warrior Queen!
Since I am running long, going to split this post:)  We arrived in Olathe KS at 1:30 am and promptly passed out.  Part two: the actual race!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Free race pics and goals!

You have to love free race pictures.  While my feet are out more than I would like, I do surely love this picture.  I think I was at the end of the race because of the spectators present.  I was catching a second wind at this point and trying to finish strong.

I am still really excited from this race.  I felt like everything lined up for the perfect storm, exactly what I had been hoping for.  I felt like my training was spot on, even with the little blips of sickness and nagging injuries that flared up and here and there.  All of this makes me SO excited to start marathon training.  I have set a goal, I have met it and I am ready for the next one!  This is why I 
 absolutely love running, the goal setting.  I love that I can put in the hard work and see the fruits of my labor.  I know there still will be the potential for failure and I am mentally set up to handle those things.  If there is anything that doing dog agility for 13 years and countless nationals has taught me, it is how to deal with failure and move on.

This weekend is going to be very interesting.  We have known about my hubby's grandma's failing health for a while now.  Hospice has been taking care of her for a few weeks in her home, but today has been the worse.  I am trying to figure out scenarios in my head and not seem like the most selfish person ever.  I don't want to miss my race, but I do want to be supportive of my hubby and be there for family.  Since she hasn't passed yet, nothing is set, so not knowing how to even start to plan is worrying me.  I really like plans, Type A here ya know.  I did call the Heartland Series people today and if I miss this race, yes I forfeit this year, but I don't have to start over the whole series as it doesn't have to be consecutive years.  I was worried that if I didn't finish this year that I would have to start back over at year one.  That makes me feel better for sure, but still conflicted on what to do.  My biggest concern is if I leave tomorrow with the rest of the family and she doesn't pass, that I may have to make two trip which will be super costly.  My gut reaction is to stay here for now and possibly fly out tomorrow if they are going to get the funeral ready by friday.  The not knowing is the hardest part.

This is a quilt Grandma Coleman made for Andrew at his birth. I will always love and cherish it for ever and ever.  Rest in peace Grandma Coleman.  You have lived a very long and wondeful life.  Your legacy lives on in your children and grand children.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hello Recovery week and GASP Half marathon #2

I fully expected to be way more sore.  Maybe I shouldn't type that LOL!  I was fine yesterday other than being a little tired overall, but figured today would be rough.  I am so shocked that I am not really sore at all!!!!  I made sure to drink tons of water saturday afternoon and yesterday, and I used my stick to roll out.  I didn't do any recovery running, but did walk all over the Tulip Festival grounds.
The tulips were absolutely stunning this year.  Way to go city of Wamego and mother nature!!!!  
Thanks to the model train exhibit, we spent most of our time in this part of the park.  I guess I will take this over the bouncy houses.  They mysteriously (and thankfully) were torn down over night.  Little red got to bounce in them Saturday morning while I was racing, but couldn't go in the houses with the bigger kids, and he was sad (apparently they were way cooler than the toddler bounce house).  They had told us to come really early Sunday morning so that he could bounce in the bigger houses.  Oh well, there is always the next festival!
I absolutely love the smoothie truck that comes to our local festivals.  I could have a strawberry/banana smoothie every day for breakfast!
As always, I manage to find a gem to add to our house.  This is a local photographer who loves taking pictures of the prairie.  Her framed, matted prints were very, very reasonably priced, so we purchased this one.  It just looks like a place I would like to run.
Of course you can't beat festival food.  I was still in recovery mode, so little red and I shared some chicken and waffles.  They were the perfect mix of carbs and protein!
Little red also got to drink his first fresh root beer.  He LOVED it!  Glad he likes all of these foods and drinks that I don't.  Root beer tastes like black licorice to me, bleh!
We also found some super cute aprons.  Little red loves helping daddy cook, so he had to have this one!  They were closing out their booth so sold it to us for 5 bucks.  Love craft fairs!  

All and all, we had a great time and I was able to stretch out my legs, and apparently ward off any soreness.  I am back to my PT exercises and easy runs this week.  So far, knock on wood, my ankle has been very cooperative.  No pain really, more just a little tight, but still icing when needed, and taking some advil at night just in case.  This coming weekend will be interesting.  I have NO time goals and just want to have fun.  Bring it Heartland Series!  Garmin Half Marathon, I am coming for ya!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Rock the Parkway Recap Part 2

Okay race morning, I was up at 5:30 to fuel and caffeinate.  I was starting to get nervous but I kept telling myself that even I got 2:08, that would be a PR and a PB from last year.  It wasn't as warm as last year, but it promised to heat up quickly according to the weather reports.  I had elected to wear shorts with compression socks and a tech T with arm warmers.
We got to the start line and parked early and the sunrise was beautiful.  I didn't take any pics during the race, because I didn't want to mess with my phone.  That is probably the only downside to sticking to a plan, you have to concentrate on what you are doing 100%.  I also didn't do much high fiving of crowds, and I missed that as well.  Oh well, a PR is a great feeling too, so I will dwell on that instead:)  I had signed up for this race last year, when my PR was still pretty close to 2:10, so when I signed up for this race, I put that down as my finish time (I was still rehabbing an injury at sign up time as well).  Unfortunately,  that put me a wave behind the 2:05 pacers.  Waves were let go at 2 minute intervals, so I did believe i could catch up, and I did have a pace band as well for 2:05.  On the insistence of a few running friends, I moved up to Wave C corral (and felt super guilty for breaking the rules), but stayed at the back of that wave.  I could see the pacer's signs and made it my goal to catch up with them, but not kill myself in the process.

Mile 1-3 went very well (9:54, 9:42, and 9:35).  I was following the pace band paces, and they had us going out conservatively.  The hills started almost immediately, but I was able to stay strong.  Around mile 3, I caught up with the 2:05 pacers and put myself in the middle of the pace group.  I took my chomps at mile 4 and was able to hold with the pace group till almost mile 10.  Splits for 4-9 were 9:04, 9:25, 9:25, 9:18, 9:54, and 9:31.  Not sure why mile 8 was so slow, possibly because I did walk through the water station and did gel, which slowed me down a little.  Mile 8 on the pace band had us at a 9:43 anyway, probably due to the hills in that section.  This course was hillier than it looks on the chart for sure, BUT i will take the last few miles down hill any day as compensation:)
Around mile 10 or so, I hit a hill that just kicked my butt.  I started doubting myself and started negative talking in my head.  I had to repeat over and over, strong, strong, strong.  I was tired, it was getting hot out, and I was sweating salty.  More and more people were walking and I saw my first runner down being worked on by paramedics.  It was from then on that I took in water at each water stop, and also poured the remainder of the water over my head and down my shirt.  I think that helped me stay cool and finish strong.  I got my mental mojo back, and even though the 2:05 pacer was ahead of me at that point and my miles were getting slower, I was able to finish strong (9:41, 10:06, 10:01, 9:25).  When I started seeing 10s on my watch, I just reassured  myself that I would still get a big PR and that I was going to be super close to 2:05 something.
Official time was 2:06:00.  I WILL TAKE IT!  Huge PB since my last try was 2:15 something and another PR from my last half two weeks ago down from a 2:09:10.  I was SO excited to almost hit my goal.  I am not disappointed at all.  I gave it my all, every mile.  203 out of 564 in my age group, and 2173 out of 7 K overall.  YIPEEE!

I love this girl! We had so much fun shopping and eating and talking (and going to bed kidless, ah)  I am going to miss her so much as she is moving to the DC area this summer.  She is so supportive and so wonderful.  She did my first heartland series with me, and even though she couldn't do the half today(she is preggers), still came, walked the 5 K and cheered me on at the finish!  I met Amanda on FB through the I Run For program as she runs for a kiddo too.  Her son is a little older than my little red and super cute.  They live in manhattan, so we don't get together as much as we should but we try to do lunch and races together as much as possible.  

It will be interesting how next weekend will go.  While I would like to do better than I did last year at the Garmin Half, I do have to be smart about recovery.  I would like to try for a good time at Running With the Cows in may, so the smart thing to do is probably take it easy.  Well, here is to another week of recovery!!  Slow easy runs and a trip yet again to KC on friday for expo and race on saturday.  

Rock the Parkway 2015 Recap Part One

Sometimes running races is like childbirth, you kind of forget details about said race, because they were painful and uncomfortable and it's a good thing. You sign up and do it again and then remember the pain you forgot.  Let me back up a little and lead into the race (which ended up giving me a big PR, however painful it may have been).  I am going to break this into two parts by the way cause i have tons of pictures!

I took friday off again this week to get some work done on my van. I dropped it off at a local shop and headed to our local coffee shop to get a homemade muffin and delicious coffee.  All are down town which is only a few blocks from my house so I could walk around and didn't need my van.
Our little town is so cute this time of year.   They import these tulip bulbs from Holland every year and plant them.  The old bulbs from the previous year are dug up and sold for charity.  This weekend is the tulip festival and the tulips this year did not disappoint.  Our little city park was also lovely and ready for all of the craft and food vendors.  
I was riding with my good friend Amanda and she had to work friday morning, so we got on the road to KC around lunch time.  
Neither one of these guys wanted me to leave.  I kind of didn't tell little red I was leaving so he wouldn't get upset.  

The expo was small again this year.  Most of the cool stuff belonged to the KC running company that puts on the race.  I am once again regretting not getting a cool t shirt that they had.   I did pick up some cool shirts for my BRF and my coach.
Picked up my Heartland Series T and drooled over the giagantic medal I hope to be having post these three marathons.  It comes with the years engraved on it that you do the series.  PUMPED!

Also picked up my bib and my pace band.  Since I was in the wrong wave (totally my fault, never dreamed I would be running this fast), I figured I'd better have one so I could pace myself.  
After checking into our hotel (that had a suite, yippeeee), we headed over to the nearest Italian place for some yummy pasta.  Don't worry, I only ate half of this plate but I did eat a TON of bread and dipping sauce.  Holy yum.  I went over my calorie count for the day by 1000.  Whoops.  It was all in the name of carbs.  We also did some shopping and i got a new sports bra made by Victoria Secret.  I have heard good things about them (they have underwire which hopefully means good support).  I also found some Thomas stuff for little red.  

Got all of my stuff laid out and prayed for good weather.  I had decided even though it has been cooler than predicted temps to brave it out and go with compression shorts and a tech T along with my compression socks.  I kept trying to get nervous and was doing a great job of keeping the butterflies from fluttering.  I kept remembering how I had plenty of gas left at Wicked and how this course was flatter (HA, bad memory).  I slept really well and woke up at 5:30 on the dot to fuel and prepare.

Okay enough for now!  Part two coming soon.