Join me as I travel around the country to fulfill my goal of running a marathon or half marathon in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Race #9: State to State Half Marathon - September 25th - Oxford, OH and Bath, IN - Finish Time: 2:18:22

There's nothing like the smell of horse manure at 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday. A lot of people might think my idea of a weekend getaway is a little twisted. On Friday after work I flew out to visit some extended family and a close friend in Cincinnati.

I'm really not known for having the best pre-race nutrition regimens. In the past I've ate fried oreos, drank beer, and inhaled massive amounts of barbeque in the days leading up to races. Yet again, I've chosen to inflict pain on my stomach during 13.1 miles. This time by downing some infamous Skyline Chili:

There was a good chance of thunderstorms on Sunday morning, but thankfully it held off long enough for us to have perfect running weather. Lindsey (who ran Race #4 with me) and I woke up at the butt crack of dawn to run:
With my jacket and her laces there's no way we are getting lost!

We had gone out to the area the day before to scope out the race course. It was a whole lotta this:

You kind of just had to pretend that the massive fields of corn and soy beans were big crowds cheering for you.  We crossed into Indiana at mile 5, but honestly, without the "Welcome to Indiana" banner you wouldn't have known.
We had to be extra happy and excited to make up for the grumpy lady next to us. Maybe she was just super focused. She probably finished an hour before us. haha

Since I've was a total slacker when it came to training for this race, my goal was just to walk no more than twice. I only walked once, so I'm glad I hit that goal, but not exactly happy with my time. It was nice to cross the finish line together at 2:18:22, but Lindsey and I both wanted to PR this mostly flat, perfect weather, out and back course. Fortunately for us we each have more fall races to accomplish that. 
That face says "this is when I regret eating those 14 cream puffs"

Some cruel race course designer put a massive hill in with .2 miles left to go in the race, but we finished strong and promptly ate massive Jimmy John sandwiches...yumm!

Aside from the race we also got to visit a pumpkin patch, a farmer's market, and a small Oktoberfest event:
I swear I looked between the Okra and the Peppers and I did not find any half marathon runners.
I seriously contemplated bringing this back on the plane with me. Pumpkin guts aren't considered liquid are they? Either way that is definitely less than 3 oz.
Too bad this was the night before the race and we couldn't actually drink those beers.

And obviously races wouldn't be races without fro-yo:
My topping to fro-yo ratio might be a little unbalanced.
Was I smoking something when I signed up for back to back races? I'll be checking Virginia off my list this weekend!

Happy Running,

Friday, September 16, 2011

BIG Changes

I would first like to apologize for my blogging hiatus. I wanted to tell you all why I had been so aloof, but due to employment reasons I couldn't post anything online about it until yesterday when I made a BIG change in my life. Are you ready for this? I swear it is going to come out of nowhere like a Chuck Norris round house:

I enlisted in the U.S. Navy

Told ya it was big. Instead of writing new posts and commenting on all of your wonderful blogs I have been re-learning math from 6 years ago that I never fully comprehended in the first place. Filling out mountains of paperwork and studying for the standardized test that determines which military jobs you qualify for took precedence over blogging - I know, how rude. I promise I will be back on track now. 

Are you thinking what everyone else has been asking me? "But, Sam...WHY? Why are you joining the Navy? You are a college graduate. You have a well-paying job. We are involved in major conflicts overseas. What are you thinking?" Well alright, here comes my "Why I Decided to Join the Navy" story:

I have always been a traveler at heart. Last year, instead of taking a relaxing summer vacation on a beach, I explored as much of Ethiopia as I could. I place an extremely high value on my vacation days so when I was flying back from Africa I literally went straight from the airport to my office with all my luggage in tow. That's just how I roll. My current job is based in DC and doesn't ever require me to travel. I want to explore a little more, but unfortunately flying half way around the world costs quite the pretty penny. An aircraft carrier will take me there for free :)

I have an opportunity to do something I love (and get paid for it). All of my life, photography has been a hobby. In college I had several friends who were majoring in graphic design. They often suggested political science might not be my ideal fit and that I should join them amongst the creative folks. Photography never crossed my mind as a potential career field because I am a person who depends on stability and certainty. I couldn't handle the risk of a ridiculously expensive education and such an unreliable job market. With any luck I'll soon be a Mass Communications Specialist in the Navy. My days will consist of journalism, photography, and public affairs events. I will be responsible for telling the Navy's story. I'm not saying I don't like the job I have now in the civilian world (because I really do), but I honestly don't think I could be more excited about this new opportunity. I promise to keep you posted on when I officially get the job.

My family is supportive of everything I do. I am blessed with wonderful parents. In fact, my dad is the one who encouraged me to look into military service. Since I have a college degree, he had originally suggested officer school for me, but the program I wanted (Public Affairs Officer) is extremely competitive and only takes 2 or 3 civilians every year who are experts in the field. Enlisting isn't the end of the world. I figure if I get in there and decide this is what I want to make my career, then I can always try for Officer later. I have time. Also, just a side note - my dad is extremely excited that he has another college football team to root for. He spent all of yesterday online shopping for Navy Midshipmen t-shirts and hats for the family. Gotta love him.
Fear the goat?? Ummm, not sure how I feel about that. ha.  source

I feel the need to serve my country. Of course, I had to save the best reason for last. I love the United States of America. We might be going through some tough times right now, and we might not all agree on politics, religion, or values, but there is a sense of camaraderie and patriotism in this nation that could never be diminished. America provides opportunity and freedom to people of all colors, sexes, and religions. I'm proud to be a part of something that defends those liberties.

Well, there you have it. Now I'm back to focusing on running races until I ship out on May 1st, 2012 (tentative date). I have a half marathon next weekend that I am so not ready for.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lazy Running

No, that's not an oxymoron. Don't roll your eyes - I know you know what I'm talking about. I haven't used my Nike tracking app in a month. I haven't even looked at my training plan in weeks. Lately I've been going on runs without a set distance or pace. I could blame my lack of running frequency and intensity on earthquakes or hurricanes, both of which happened in DC lately, but let's just be honest: I've been a lazy runner.

I've resolved to do twice-a-day workouts until I'm back to my normal training state of mind. I suppose a few general lazy days won't be devastating, but a few lazy running days can set you back pretty far. Ordering Chinese food instead of cooking dinner won't kill anyone. Watching a movie instead of doing the laundry isn't the end of the world. But, running 26.2 miles without serious training? Now that's something I'm sure you'll regret.
Eating at Waffle House instead of cooking dinner might actually kill someone. I wouldn't advise testing that theory.

I have way too many races coming up to be acting like this. I suppose some other life events came up and I just put serious running (and blogging) on the backburner. Shame on me. Don't I know that running is like the icing on your gingerbread house? It keeps the rest of life from sliding off the roof (I apologize for the cheeziness of that analogy - colder weather must have me in a Christmas mood).

Oh! I forgot to tell you guys! I bought a shirt from Kylee over at Daily Vitamin F. Pretty rad, huh?
Cancer totally sucks.
1. What do you guys do when you're in a running rut?
2. I don't usually wear graphic tee's but Kylee's is awesome. What does your favorite graphic tee say on it?