To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Monday, March 19, 2018

Shamrock 15K aka My Return To Racing

All that training finally came to an end and paid off, and I had a really good time running the 40th anniversary of the Shamrock 15K in Portland this weekend. But like any true race recap blog, we first have to back up ... to the expo!

Saturday morning started early as my mom, daughter and I loaded up the mom Jeep and went north to Portland. We did have a stop in Woodburn to hit the Disney store, because why not? The baby made out like a bandit! Soon we were arriving at the expo area to find the parking was closed off and full. That was the first driving challenge for me... trying to find the overflow lot with no sort of idea where that was. We did park and happily set off on our feet to the expo. Right way I spotted my friends, and it was so rad to reunite, especially in the element that caused us to be friends. It was this race in 2011 that we all first met in person! Wow, 2011, that is so long ago. For the record, this would be my 4th running of this race... and every time I do it I say "Never again." I held to that for a few years, but Jenn easily swayed me to do it again this year! So the expo had a new thing to it that I haven't experienced. I had to show them a confirmation email, they scanned the little code in it, and then that created my bib number. Usually they are already assigned, so to get it assigned when I grab it was certainly different, although quite easy! There was no form of swag bag. Just my bib. We also had a shirt, which apparently is running large this year... normally they are super tiny, so I ordered bigger than I needed to compensate, and now I'm swimming in it. Que sera sera. We did a zig zag through the expo, scoring some free swag along the way, and some snacks! 

The next pre-race requirement... FOOD!!! I live with a toddler. I eat most meals standing up, or busy trying to get her to cooperate and have her food. So to go out to a restaurant is rare, challenging, but enjoyable. And so to get to go to Old Spaghetti Factory for my favorite spaghetti with browned butter and mizithra cheese was a real treat! Clearly my child is my clone, as she had the same thing and really only wanted to color and have ice cream. Meanwhile my mom had an adult beverage. Not fair! It was delicious, as always, but I was ready to be done and go crash. We checked into our hotel and before 9pm I was the only one in the room NOT snoring. But I did actually get to sleep, and was up way before my alarm... thank you to pre-race nightmares of missing my start time!

The 5K was already going on, with 8,000 runners, which made for a couple games of Frogger to get to my friends and start line. But it was pretty easy to find each other, which is impressive because this race is enormous... 25,000 runners type of enormous! Before we could get in the corral, we naturally had to do some photos (and good bye kisses with my baby).

Jenn and I were both doing the 15K, and for the first time ever we lined up together!! So awesome, and a great excuse to force her to get a start line selfie with me. Say Cheese!! *Those of you that watched my wedding on YouTube or in person, you'll remember Jenn as the rad bridesmaid that pulled money out of her bra while dancing down the isle. Yeah, baby!!

It seemed like we were hardly in the corral at all and it was time to start. I had my playlist ready to go - Britney was starting me off. She is great to run to, FYI! I told Jenn I'd do my best to stay with her as long as I could, and I think I've even joked about lasting a mile.... Well... We started running and I realized I forgot to have my yummy Clif chew blocks. And then I realized I had basically NO water yet that morning, and I didn't have my bottle with me. It was in the stroller! Uh oh.

But off we were, starting out on 9.3 difficult miles. Anyone that says this race isn't hard is flat out lying to you! Of course I was dying of thirst because I realized I hadn't had any yet. Dang it. I did get lucky in that the first water stop was about 1.2 miles in ... so I told Jenn to keep going, I was going to grab some and maybe I'd see her again, maybe I wouldn't. So look at that, I lasted with her for 1.2 miles. .2 more than predicted! Go me! I got extra lucky because they had mini Power Crunch bars at the water stations. I had meant to have mine with breakfast but also forgot those. So I was saved on both accounts, and never needed to grab the gels from my belt! Clearly I'm out of race practice if I'm forgetting all these things. Hey, I did remember to charge and wear my Garmin! And yes, I've been racing, but to me 10K and shorter are just kind of a fun-run and I don't really do the same prep work. So let's get to the race itself!

One word is needed to describe this course.  


Scared yet? Rightfully so! The incline begins in that first mile, and it only gets worse. If you look at the photo above I tried to show where I was heading and then immediately behind me, where I had come from. There was a part with kind of a switchback and as you climb that steepest part of the hill you can see the runners going up yet another one and realizing that's about to me you doing the same thing, whether you want to or not. I used my typical Shamrock strategy where I run until it gets a little too steep, then save my legs and quickly walk up the hill. I can pass runners with my walking pace, so I don't feel bad at all about giving my legs and mind a break. It keeps them going to the end. It has worked every time, so I keep sticking with it!

When we hit mile 4 we were nearing the peak of our hills, and at an elevation of 500 feet. We did have to keep going before we went down. At the very top is the sweet relieve of bagpipes! Oh how I love that sound, especially during this race. It always signals that you have finished the hardest part and the fun will begin when you go down, down, down...

My legs were loving it. I was pretty much hauling ass and having a total blast. It felt great to just relax and run! But it was around mile 6.5 that Meniere's Disease was having its way with me and trying to make me dizzy. I used a walk break to text my mom so I could distract myself. My brain was starting to check out and I was done. It felt like 6.5 to 8 was longer than the whole race itself. I mean we were heading the opposite way from the finish line at that point!! My mom replied to turn around and come back, which was a perfect thing to say because when I got it I had just done the final turn around and was on my way back. And so there I went. I kicked it into gear and run my ass off to the end! I saw my mom and baby as I was starting my finishing sprint. I was able to get in a wave and then fly through the finish line.  And I didn't even throw up!!! 

Afterward we got to enjoy the fact that for the first time it wasn't raining during this race! There was an Irish band playing near the beer garden, and some shopping to be done. I'm sure Jenn and I will always hang out together in our new matching sweatshirts?? As we were trying to find Julie's finish line for the 8K I heard someone excitedly say my name... it was Emily! We always bump into each other in different states and different races without even trying, and it happened yet again. Too cool!

Post-post race I went to the Adidas campus to do some shopping with the employee store discount pass I managed to snag at the expo. I LOVE being able to buy my favorite running shoes 50% off!!

Overall I think I probably hated it the least this year. I never did say I won't do again this time, so that's a first! This certainly wasn't my fasted time, but also not my slowest. But I don't care. I did it. I had fun!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Shamrock Training: Week 10

This is it! The LAST week of prep for the Shamrock 15K is officially done!

Since this is the taper week it was nice and easy... for the most part anyway. The first run was just three miles. No problem, or so I thought. I started this run at my mom's house and it was dry. How many run photos have you seen me in wearing a hat? A ton! Because I like a hat when it rains. This time it was appearing to be dry and I knew I wouldn't be gone long, so I left with the freedom of no hat on. I guess I'm always learning...

The first mile was awesome! And it was half way through that mile that it started raining. Fine. No big deal. During the second mile it started coming down more and more, and my glasses were in need of windshield wipers. I had no idea that all of this was going to trigger a Meniere's attack. I've had Meniere's Disease since 2003. I've been running since 2009. And yet I'm still learning new things with how these two things merge together. I was just finishing the second mile and my legs went mushy. I couldn't see. I was struggling hard. I should note that not being able to see wasn't because of the wet glasses, it was because the vertigo came so fast and hard that I just couldn't actually see straight. In the photo below I tried to show how things look to me, versus how they are in reality. 

It was during that final mile that I realized I could call my step-dad and have him come get me. But I also told myself if this happens during the race (which it has before) I can't call anyone for help. So I cancelled that idea. I had to laugh when a ways down the road I saw my step-dad driving toward me.... to see if I wanted a ride! Did I take it? Nope! I was determined to finish, and I did!

As I sit here writing this I am still not completely back to my "normal" since that run. My "normal" IS dizzy, by the way. But even with the extra dizzy status I was determined to finish out my training plan with today's run. Happily this was just a 2 miler. Out and back, also at my mom's house. And this time it was raining from the start, so I tossed on a hat and went for it. That one simple thing kept my glasses dry and I didn't have to deal with any vertigo beyond my norm. This was what felt like a simple fun run. No stress, just something to let me keep my legs moving and get me thinking about the race!

And what are my thoughts on the race? I'm cautiously optimistic. I haven't followed a training plan in so long, and I've been loving it, feeling more and more confident with each week. I'm also cautiously scared. Oregonians familiar with Portland know Terwilliger and OHSU. We freaking run up that insane, curvy hill to the top and back down. I'm also kind of excited to be near OHSU again since that is where we created my adorable little baby. I'm super excited to get to run with my friend for the first time. I just hope I can keep up! The expo looks like it is getting bigger every year, so I'm looking forward to checking that out on Saturday. Weather wise, I'm curious to see what we get. The first year I ran it I was at the top of the hill, using my hat to block the rain, sleet and snow that was coming sideways at me and stinging when it hit my skin. That's pretty much normal. If it doesn't rain I'm gonna be shocked!

So that's it! Training is over... but next week I will start half marathon training, which will have me running 4 days a week instead of 3. This was kind of the practice training. Next time we meet on this blog I'll be sharing all the good, bad and ugly of the race... but let's try to keep it more good and pretty, less bad and ugly!

Race countdown: 2 days 17 hours 26 minutes

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Shamrock Training: Week 9

Wow! Oh what a week this was! Odds are you have seen hints of the first run on Facebook and/or Instagram. It was certainly a memorable one. So let's get to it!

It all happened on a whim I suppose. I enjoyed last week's long run where I didn't have a set route, so for this 5 miler I thought I'd stick with that plan. I had taken some clothes and a high chair to turn in for trade at a store, and one of our parks is just beyond that parking lot. So why not start at the park and save myself some driving? Besides, I had to go pick up my baby after the run, so I figured the faster I just get to running, the faster I can save my mom from a busy little girl. And so I parked my car, did some stretching and began my run. At the very beginning a man was kind of lingering with his dog, and I almost aborted this plan and went the other way. But then he sat at a bench and I convinced myself I could continue on this path I never run. I wasn't even .3 miles in when I thought it looked like the setting of a scary serial killer movie. But this is the Pacific Northwest. We ARE the setting of real life serial killers. Was I making the best move here? I, of course, pulled off the path to snap a quick photo of the river and how creepy it looked. My friend totally saw what I saw when taking it -- this looks like where they fished Frederica Bimmel's body out of the river in Silence of the Lambs. I continue on my way and realize I'm running right by creepy train tracks ... um, is Buffalo Bill's house going to appear next?? Am I IN my favorite movie? I'm not a size 14, so maybe I'm safe? (If you don't understand these references that get busy and watch that movie. It is the BEST!) I was on edge. People that live here know that this area is a major setting for many police reports. Why did I choose this?? Why? Because I was guessing how long this would be distance wise, and sort of plotting out where all I could go in the allotted distance I had to run that day. Ugh. So I continue on, trying to calm my nerves but then it got even more unnerving. It wasn't as creepy feeling, but it started to feel more like I didn't belong. I came upon a group of 12 people hanging out in an open grass area, apparently living there. And here I am, this solo female... so they all had to pause what they were doing to watch me run. My legs instinctively started going even faster. I kept coming up individuals that didn't look to nice. I could see our Public Safety Center in the distance and I kept it in my eye-sight and made sure I would always have enough energy to get there ASAP if needed. Heck, I have plans for if I do get attacked but I don't really want to have to put those plans in motion! When I finally get I was back to safety I paused at my old high school to get my head straight and catch my breath. One of my favorite people was busy at work in the police station and I knew he'd have an answer for me, so I sent my question: I just ran through Gaddis Park toward downtown. How close was I to being a mission person and then found dead along the river? The answer I got back did confirm my suspicions... You were close. Please don't repeat that mistake and run in that section again. Later that night I would tell another person what I did and got a similar reply to NOT do that again, that it is definitely not safe for a woman to run alone. Happily I avoided becoming a woman in a well being forced to run lotion on my skin - or else I'd get the hose again. 

The rest of the run was downright uneventful, and I am happy about that. Performance wise - it was a great run! I've decided that being scared for your own safety causes me to run even better! My run finished only a few steps away from my car, which was perfect because I wanted the heck out of that park. I didn't dilly dally at all!! I took my post-run photo and got out of there!

The rest of this will be boring compared to that long entry!

Run #2 was one of nostalgia. I parked across the street from the house I grew up in and lived in until just a few years ago. I thought it would be nice to do one of my old runs from back in the day. My first fun place to see was my old grade school. It looks the same, yet a little different. I turned and went down Grandpa's street and paused for this run's photo - which is under "Ronda's Tree When She Was Three." I hope the new owner of my tree takes good care of it! Another nice thing about this run was that I encountered 5 other runners. I haven't been seeing any other people during my runs, so it was just a pleasant change. Happily this was another run where I finished with a huge smile on my face. It is like I am back in my groove, hip-hip-hooray!

And finally, here we are, the long run! Last Saturday's run was so great that I carried the high from it all the way until this run... so I thought to sort of repeat my plan, which was NO PLAN!! I started again across the street from my old house, repeating the warm up run by the school and Grandpa's house. From there I was just going! I had my first weird realization during the first mile. Earbuds. They are so small and if you don't have them in your ear you hear nothing. But put them in and it's like this crazy sound happening right in the center of your head. How do they send the sound right to the middle?? Why am I fascinated at this thought for an entire mile? I ended up heading to the park and then dipping under the freeway, heading to my old high school. Those of you not from here, that upper right photo in the collage is the creepy-ish path under the freeway. I should feel unsafe there, but I don't - but I DO make sure I run fast, so maybe I do feel a sense of unease sometimes in there. Anyway, I couldn't go through RHS without saying Hello to OUR Main building. I believe it is named something else now, but it will always be the Main building to me! From there I ran out to our fairgrounds where a custom classic car show was going on. I didn't go into the show but I saw the cars on their way in, so that was good enough for me! And then I pulled a Forrest Gump and decided I'd turn around and run back home. It was on the way back I had my out of body experience. I then realized I was not telling my legs to run. They were just doing it. It's like my body was just doing all of this stuff on autopilot and I was along for the ride listening to some good music. It was so odd. The whole way home I kept having these moments where I was fascinated at the face that I was just going without telling myself to do it. Maybe you had to be there...

This week was an absolute success!! And now that it is done, the hard work is over. Next week is the taper week, and on Sunday I will be racing up and down crazy hills. Will it be rainy like usual? Will I encounter snow like I have in prior years? Will we have sun? Will Jenn and I run fast on the search for men in kilts?? Stay tuned to find out!

Countdown to Race Day: 7 days 11 hours 26 minutes

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Shamrock Training: Week 8

Who ran some great runs this week?? That would be ME!!

Last week I was running in snow, so when my first run happened and I didn't even wear a hat I was pretty darn happy! I pretty much just wear a hat to keep rain off my face, not for fashion or any other purpose. So I wanted a break from that - and I had it one time. This first run wasn't so bad. I did a couple out and backs from my house, but this time mixed up the distances so it was just a 50/50 split. I had to do something to keep it slightly interesting? At this point I could run these routes without even thinking. I've done this road too much! But it was a nice, sunny and dry run. As usual, the first mile was nice, the second was hard, and then the miles after that just got easier as I was finally in my zone. It is almost always this way on any run!

For the second run of the week I did it at my mom's house... in the rain. The whole time. The rain, rain, rain came down, down, down.... This was the mid-week easy run of just 3 miles, so really the rain wasn't awful since it was short. However, as usual, nice first mile, hard second, easy third. I have no idea why I am this way, but at least this means that when I do have the long runs I know they do get easier as I go! Nothing to report on this one really. I can report it was nice to finish a run and have a view of the river and baby swings!

And then came the long run! After this I pretty much feel like the greatest runner in the history of the world! Is that factual? Well, obviously no, but I did feel damn awesome!  I parked at an elementary school that I often will use as my base point, but this time I didn't have a stroller. It was just me and my music! I began this run as I always do when I'm in this neighborhood, and immediately hit the hills. This time I made it well over half way up the ridiculously steep hill before I walked the rest. No shame in my game, I totally let myself have a walk break if I feel like it. Why not? After I finished that monster hill I was floating down the next street and then realizing I have NO set plan of where to go next, and I loved it! I had seven miles to play around with. I ended up leaving the neighborhood and hitting our local park area. Some even seemed to have been going on, and groups of people were clustered, walking on the path. It was one of those situations where a group of 4 could take up the space of 10 people. So I diverted around a few times, hitting areas I haven't covered in years!

Wait, a small town like this and it has been YEARS since I've been in some of these places? Yes. Three years ago today my dear Grandpa left me. My running came to a halt because of that and the addition of IVF. I would try to run but I would just cry and go back home. Once I was able to run again I had a stroller and my options had to be adjusted. So now it was all free territory. I ran thinking about Grandpa the entire time, and I guess that is how I ended up taking a very sharp right, going down the steep hill, under the freeway, and then heading to the cemetery. It was nice to have a mid-run visit with my grandparents, although I was frustrated I had nothing with me to clean up the messy mole hill that is causing dirt to take over their stone. I'll go fix that soon!

I was well over half way done by the time I finished that detour, so it was time to make my way back to the original neighborhood I started at. I actually got to run on a lot of sidewalk I have never once run on. It was awesome! And my legs felt weightless. I was in the zone and flying along. Seeing as it was one of the major roads in town and tons of traffic, well that probably helped me keep going and not even think of slowing down or walking. Thanks, traffic! In no time at all I was back and passing my car. That did suck, I fully admit. I had .3 left to go when I was seeing my car and running right on by. It's like the Eugene Half Marathon where you pass the finish line at mile 9 and have to continue to go another 4.1 miles until you cross it!

Anyway, that was a lot about a long run, but it was just the best run I have had in a long time. My body is so happy to be back up at those longer distances. My mind is happy too, and super excited for race day to finally get here!

Countdown to Race Day: 14 days, 12 hours, 33 minutes

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Shamrock Training: Week 7

I said at the start not all weeks would be winners ... this was the opposite of a winner. Let's get to business, or lack thereof!

Run #1 was a cold one. VERY cold. Pants. Ear covers. Gloves. TWO long sleeve shirts. This is unheard of for me. Sure I got warm, but that is a given with a run, but I never felt too warm. With two long sleeved shirts on??!!! Apparently Winter decided to arrive in Oregon for a couple of days. I did this run at my mom's house and actually this run was a pretty good one. The one downside was that I left my Garmin at home. If you know me, you know I can't function without my Garmin. So I ended up download some app on my phone to use for this one run, and then had to quickly import that data into Garmin Connect so I could feel "normal" again.

Run number two for this week will be covered with this adorable photo of a little girl. How does that work? Well, run number two didn't happen, thanks to snow and slippery roads. And also my lower retainer coming un-glued on one side and an unexpected trip to the dentist to bond it back down. My opening for a run just never really happened. It was only a 3 mile one, so I'm not worried in the least about missing it. I'd rather miss it than try to run and slip on ice in the shady spots of my route.

Finally, as if missing a run wasn't a fail, this final run of the week really made sure this wasn't a successful week - at least on paper. It was soooo cold and the rain was coming down harder than it has in a long time. But once it paused I was quickly out the door - again in two long sleeved shirts, knee socks this time, the ear warmers and gloves, and then this time a hat in case it rained again. My first loop out and back was pretty alright! The weather was gorgeous, and warmed up nearly to my favorite temperature of 43 degrees. I actually ended up too hot. At the turn around I had to shed the gloves, hat and top shirt. Back out I went, but then I had to pause. I was not feeling well. I started up again, and before I got too far I realized I HAD to turn and get home. I pretty much lost feeling of my body and couldn't focus enough to be sure I wouldn't fall and get hurt. Thank you, Meniere's Disease. So this was my scheduled "easy" rest week, and this run was only supposed to be 4 miles. I got in 2.5. I'm not at all worried about it in the long run. While I could run I was doing awesome, so I'm confident I will pick right back up with this next week of increasing distances. 

With regard to the race, I am so excited that my friend and I have decided to race it together. Years of friendship and doing the same races, but we have never even started one together. She might leave me in the dust, or she might have to hold me upright, who knows!?! But I am so excited and it is helping me keep my outlook positive when I have hard runs like the one I had today. Also, I have most of my race outfit ready. One piece is coming in the mail soon, and then I will find the last one - hopefully - before I get to Portland. Things are coming together!

Countdown to Race Day: 21 days 14 hours 12 minutes 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Shamrock Training: Week 6

With one month to go until the race, training is going pretty alright! But not all runs are great...

The first run was delayed. I was at work when a Meniere's attack hit me hard without any warning at all. My mom had to come pick me up because I couldn't even drive. This wasn't exactly how I planned to start my day when I was supposed to have the first run of the week. Still, I wasn't going to let myself get off track. So the next day, Valentine's Day, I was determined to get in my miles. Naturally, when I got home I was still all wobbly, but I didn't let it stop me. I did two out and back loops from my house, thinking that if something did happen or I needed to stop, at least I'd be close to home. This run was so hard!! Keeping steady was the easy part, it was my calves that were screaming in pain. I walked way more than I wanted to. But as usual, after the first 3 miles I loosened up and was in my groove. So I did have a good finish. Now if only I could get those first 3 to be easy, too! The foam roller was my friend at the end, ugh.

The second run of this week was the next day. I'd swear these legs that run this one were not the same that did the prior. I was on fire!! I have no idea what got into me, but I was flying through the whole thing. It was great. I finished with a big smile!

And lastly, the long run. Let's do a little refresher for anyone that doesn't know every tiny aspect of my life. In 2015 I was essentially told by all the doctors I worked with at OHSU that I was not allowed to run anymore. I could walk, and maybe add in a light jog and now and then, but no more running. Any races I had I either had to cancel or drop the distance down to a 5K or 10K. All of that led to being pregnant, and then having a baby and life being all switched up. All that goes to say that I am finally back to building up to my standard long distance runs. And this particular run was the longest training run I've had since before IVF started! And how was it? Pretty darn good! I got to run in SNOW!! I called it my "Lightspeed to Endor" run because the snow mixed with strong winds - well, it was like Star Wars was happening right in front of me! This was a run that required bundling. I had gloves, my warmest running skirt/pants combo, knee high compression socks, an ear warmer, hat and TWO long sleeved shirts. TWO!! Sometimes I'll do a short and long, or a tank top under a long, but two long? This is unheard of for me!

So anyway, that was a fun end to the week. Things got all shifted around on my schedule, but they all got done and I'm super happy about that!

Countdown to Race Day:  26 days 18 hours 58 minutes

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Shamrock Training: Week 5

This was quite a different week. I ran double the miles this week than I did last, and I loved it! So let's get down to business and wrap this up quickly.

Run #1 was up in Washington of all places. We were staying at the Great Wolf Lodge between Portland and Seattle. I had no idea what to expect for terrain and weather, so I was prepared for everything. And everything was perfect! I was up very early so I could run before it was time to start our day. It was flat as can be, which resulted in a very fast run. School kids were out waiting for the bus to pick them up, so that was something new for me to experience. I'd say it was probably 43 degree out, which is my favorite for running. So all in all I was a pretty happy camper!

The next run was back in our normal home town, but I wasn't running at home. I had to push the stroller, so I went in to a close by neighborhood that had sidewalks ... and streetlights. As soon as I started running it started getting dark. I had no headlamp, so there were times it was a touch tricky - but I was always safe around cars since I was on the sidewalk and paying very close attention to all of my surroundings. It was kind of fun to do a night run again - haven't done that since Ragnar I don't think. 

And finally the "long" run of the week. I would normally do this on Saturday, but hosting our little girl's 2nd birthday party was far more important, so I had to shift the long run back again. Okay you guys, if you don't listen to Jo Koy's podcast the Koy Pond - you are missing out! It is so dang funny, and this particular episode really cracked me up. I couldn't even start running right away because I was nearly on the ground laughing. Once I did start I was still laughing out loud over it! But that all came to an end when I was grumbling about why on earth did I decide to do two out and back loops in my hilly neighborhood for my long run. Holy cow it was hard at times. I kept crossing paths with another runner which proved to be some inspiration and keep me going!

And now I am supposed to be running again today to start of week 6, but a sudden and mean Meniere's attack hit me at work and sent me home. So I'm down for the count tomorrow. I'm set to run tomorrow and do some tweaking so I won't get off my schedule!

Countdown to Race Day:  1 month 4 days 14 hours 51 minutes

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Shamrock Training - Week 4

As predicted, this was an easy week. This was the calm week between the weeks where mileage really increases. Easy weeks mean nothing much to report on!

The first run was another lucky one where I left when the rain paused, and it never started up while I was running. Go me! Although I DO love to run in the rain, so this lucky streak I have is kind of taking away some of the fun. Oh well, nothing to complain about. That first run was at my house, my usual run from my house down to the horses and back. 

I had to take Katura with me on the second run, so we went to a different area where I don't have as many blind spots. In my area I can't push a stroller because there is no shoulder, and some places the visibility at the corners is pretty weak, which wouldn't give me or cars time to adjust enough for a stroller... or so this worrying mom thinks. So we go to a different place where there still isn't a shoulder, but there also isn't much traffic. On this one there is plenty of visibility except for on some of the smaller rolling hills - which I then try to do quickly to minimize time to encounter cars. So far everyone has been great and moved way over to allow us plenty of room. This is another route where we run to some different horses, turn and run back. Katura LOVES this route and pointing out all of the animals she sees as we go. That makes it even more fun for me!

Finally, the last run of this easy week. We did the same path with all of the animals, and this time go to see a lot of dogs, as well as those horses she likes to watch. On this one I learned I'm not the only one that uses a church as the parking spot for exercise. I encountered to women walking, and when I had view of the church on my return I saw them getting into the cars I had parked by. At least I'm not the only one borrowing the lot for fitness! 

That concludes week 4. Next week things really ramp up and I'll be running twice as many miles as I did this week. So excited!!

Countdown to Race Day:  1 month 14 days 15 hours 33 minutes