Melissa Runs

Sometimes, Melissa runs her legs. Sometimes, she runs her mouth.

Category: running (page 1 of 5)

Little Rock Marathon 5k

It’s been a while. Life got in the way of running and posting on this blog. I lost my way and I am making my way back. I intend to do more running and more writing about the running in 2017. Stay tuned.

I signed up for the 5K that is part of the Little Rock marathon on New Year’s Eve last year. I had received an email notice that the price was going up January 1st and realized that I hadn’t run any races in 2016. I was feeling rather sad about that and took the joie de livre spirit of the new year to sign up. The Little Rock half marathon was my first half marathon. It is a friendly race with lots of assistance along the race route. Also, it has enthusiastic crowd support along the route. I decided to start small with the shortest race offered. I figured I could finish this barring dismemberment.

My hunch proved to be prophetic. Not long after New Year’s Day 2017, I managed to get some sort of lung infection that sent me to the doctor on three separation occasions. I spent the next two months pretty much tired and wheezing. I was sick and tired and sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was the embodiment of that cliche. So was half the population in Arkansas in the beginning of 2017. I was working the minimum necessary to keep the office open while I rested and tried to heal. Finally, the third office visit to the doctor proved to be the charm and I was able to breathe deep breaths. It felt like forever since I had been able to do that.

On the day of the race, I took a big breath, took my last z-pac pill, and decided that if I could breathe, I could walk. I had no intention of running even one step. I picked up the packet the day before and got a very lovely lime green tech shirt. I was pleasantly surprised that the 5k offered a tech shirt and will be using it during future runs. I don’t think I have purchased a tech shirt from a store in years. I just use old race shirts. The expo seemed smaller than previous years but the beloved local running stores and Sparkle Skirts made an appearance so all was well.

The route itself was a scenic little jaunt from downtown Little Rock to Heifer International to the Arkansas Arts Center and then circled back around to a street downtown near the expo entrance. Heifer had their own fundraising drive for this race. As such, they had a large crowd cheering on the runners and had painted some inspirational messages on the street in front of their headquarters.

I arrived in Little Rock ten minutes until the race was to start so even though I didn’t intend to run, I think I ran a few steps in the attempt to make it to the starting line before the race began. I got there during the national anthem. It was a lovely sunny day with a temperature in the 50s (I think). It was perfect race weather. There was also a simultaneous 10k going on the same time and there were several thousand people out there. (according to race literature). Still, compared to the marathon, it is a small race and felt like a cozy gathering at the beginning.

BOOM!

The race begins. It felt hard. My muscle memory remembered going faster. My barely well lungs and not running for a whole year muscles were not having going faster. Even though I didn’t run, it felt like I was working harder than I thought a walk was going to be. It wasn’t unpleasant but it was harder than I thought it was going to be and that was emotionally taxing for me. It was the friends I saw along the route that made it for me. My friend Peggy, a fellow criminal defense lawyer, briskly walked by me first. She is raising money for MS and has been making great strides in that endeavor. I saw my friend Darlene from the Hot Legs. That’s my running club. I saw my friend Rebecca and her four-year-old son Alex. I had my turtle friend.

Alex’s and my experience with this race were surprisingly similar. We started out strong. We got tired in the middle and wanted to quit. Then we looped back to meet the 10k runners and were happy to be near the finish. Then we were happy as clams to get a shiny, sparkly medal.

Back in the saddle: 5 (or 4.75 because I can’t add) miles and other things

Life has been a little tough for me lately. If you are the praying time, please pray for me.

All this life kicking my ass distracted me from my running routine so today was my attempt to get back on track running wise. According to my training calendar, I was to run 5 miles today. I am currently housesitting Grandma manor and puppysitting Breezy the bitchingest Bichon.

Breezy the bitchin' bichon

Breezy the bitchin’ bichon

That is one cute dog. JoJo, while not friendly with the dog, has reached a point of tactfully ignoring her. I guess I should praise his manners. No blood shall be shed in the eternal dog vs. cat war over here.

The weather yesterday was perfect for running. The route I chose was up and down a straight road. I know from running here before that from my grandma’s house to the church down the road and back is two miles and from my grandma’s house to Sonny’s house is a mile. I inadvertently stopped my Runkeeper app during my run so I have t logged on twice for my one run. I didn’t realize until I got back and was relaxing that the amount of distance of the driveway made a big difference in the calculation of those one and two miles. Also, there were these beagles that were loose that were “helping” me “run.” My intervals were faster due to my new running form and cadence but that also got me tired quicker. I will build.

I have also been reading. I finally got around to reading Gone Girl. I was already partially spoiled by the time I picked it up but it just made me enjoy the ride a little more. The physical descriptions of the main character Nick Dunne show that Ben Affleck was born to play this role.

“I have a face you want to punch: I’m a working-class Irish kid trapped in the body of a total trust-fund douchebag. I smile a lot to make up for my face, but this only sometimes works.”

. . .

“He looks like the rich-boy villain in an ’80s teen movie – the one who bullies the sensitive misfit, the one who will end up with a pie in the puss, the whipped cream wilting his upturned collar as everyone in the cafeteria cheers.”

Seriously. Look at those quotes. I even said out loud in the house by myself, “holy shit that is a perfect descriptionn of Ben Affleck” The story itself is a wild ride with some crazy people that you would never want as friends.

Benton 2 Miler

Last Saturday was the Arkansas Runner 2 Mile. It is the 11th Grand Prix race and my fifth race of the year. Oooh I got my minimum to qualify for an award. WOO HOO! No America I am not expecting an award but my goal at the beginning of this year was to complete the minimum Grand Prix races so SCORE FOR COMPLETING A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION!Happy-New-Years-Eve-From-Paris-Frace-

Ahem…

For this race, I wore my trusty non slipping racing skirt. I, unfortunately, left my water bottle at home. I usually run with a water bottle in my hand. This got in my head.

This was a smaller race that had maybe 300 people registered. This race was a two mile loop that started and finished near the Saline County Courthouse in Benton. There were some rolling hills which weren’t necessarily steep but were plentiful enough to affect the time of someone who hadn’t completed hill training. The route went through parts of downtown and then meandered through a residential neighborhood until it looped back to the courthouse. There were no water stops during this race and the helper people/guides were spaced pretty far apart. I was expecting a water stop around mile 1. Many helpers weren’t needed because the race route was pretty self explanatory for the most part. Guides were at the proper places to help runners.

This race was okay for me. In light of last week, I didn’t use runkeeper and decided to run until I was tired and walk until I was bored. I did find myself slowing down when I realized there was no water stop since I didn’t have water with me. I didn’t want to pass out in the heat and the helpers were spaced far enough apart that the thought of falling down on the road and busting my head did enter my mind. They were just too far for me to feel 100 percent safe mentally to just “go for it.” When I turned the final curve, I realized that I could potentially finish in less than 32 minutes (or a 16 minute mile pace) and so I did go for it then. There was a crowd of people.

ANDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

16:02 pace 32:03.30 total

I didn’t make it. oops. But I did have the energy to actually run in.

My friend Katie was also helping with this race. She said I looked like I came back from a spa instead of running a race. That was probably true. While I got a workout, I can’t say that I “pushed” myself pace wise. With only two miles, the distance wasn’t enough to wear me out either.

It was a nice race and the fault of not bringing water was my own. Even though a water stop wasn’t required, I think they should have had one. Running in June in Arkansas is a dangerous thing.

I look forward to more races and seeing how I progress.

Go! Mile round up.

In my quest to run more, I have signed up for the 3 bridges marathon that will take place on December 27, 2014. Coincidentally, I found a 30 week training program while I was pondering whether or not to enter. I took this as a “SIGN”.

On my journey to complete Arkansas RRCA Grand Prix requirements for the Hot Legs running club, I “competed” (har har harrrr) in the GO MILE sponspored by Go! Running. Go! Running is an awesome running store filled with a staff of runners. They are knowledgeable about shoes and will make sure you buy the right type for your arch and pronation. The store also has other running gear such as moisture wicking shorts and shirts, sports bras, race nutrition (Gus, Honeystinger waffles, et. al), and Body Glide. The race itself is exactly what its title says. It’s a one mile loop. One mile as fast as you can. The race was divided into heats with a first timer race for people who had never run a race. The rest of the heats were Under 40 men, Under 40 women, 40 and over men, 40 and over women, Elite runners, and kids.

This was my race number. 666

YEAH!

So after spending the night thinking of all the Faustian jokes about trading souls for fast times, I trudged my way over to Burns Park. . I got there around 7:30 and I watched the first runners make their way to the finish line. I watched my friend Mindy come in with about an 8 minute mile and then she served as a guide for a blind person in the next heat.

I discovered during this race that my pants would fall down if I ran faster than a certain pace. This certainly put a damper on my “fast mile” I had thoughts of running out of my pants and just letting all the folks see my wondrous granny panties and then thought better of it. You’re welcome Arkansas. The other thing I learned is that I have a mental block about my speed. I use Runkeeper and it tells me my pace every five minutes. When it popped in with my page at minute 5, I distinctly remember thinking, “I don’t run that fast” and slowed down. I wasn’t feeling sick or anything. It was simply my own mental head game. Now the pants falling wasn’t in my head but I do wonder what my time would have been if I hadn’t gotten in my own way.

I was fortunate that my friend Katie was a “helper” person for this race and she ran with me the last little bit. We catched up a little bit before I made the last little “sprint” to the finish line. It was crazy hot and I am glad I bought my water with me.

 

14:07.42 14:07/M

 

Not a bad time. I look forward to cutting this down over the year during several “magic miles” over the course of the year.

After my race, I watched the elite runners. These people were running 5 minute miles. It was amazing to watch.

This was a well run, well staffed course with a flat course made for people who feel the need for speed. You can see the finish line from the beginning. I advise you join me next year.

River Run 8K

In my effort to get back into running, I have assumed my duties as the Hot Legs back of the pack girl who pads the team total for Grand Prix by running the River Run 8k. This is a race that takes place up and down the Little Rock side of the River Trial near the Big Dam Bridge. It raises funds for Easter Seals.

The race itself took place on May 24, 2014 and it could be considered the first “hot” race of the summer. It was sunny and warm, just like any other Arkansas summer. I hadn’t really trained for this but I knew that i could complete it due to my multiple marathons. 5 miles isn’t fatal. At worst, I would just be really sore. I also tend to be conservative when it comes to pushing myself.

The race course itself was fairly flat since you didn’t actually go over the bridge. I was hot. I realized I didn’t drink enough water pre race and my mouth felt like sand paper. I ended up going a lot slower than I originally planned and ended up walking the last three miles. I wasn’t dead last. WIN!

Melissa 1:33:16.40 18:46/M

The race itself posted photos on their facebook page.

Valentine’s Day 5K (rescheduled March 16th) recap

The Valentine’s Day 5K, which was originally scheduled on February 8, 2014 and postponed due to ice, was held on March 16, 2014 on the Bona Dea Trails near Russellville, Arkansas. This was two weeks after the EPIC Little Rock Marathon that was rerouted due to the cold and rain. Even though the weather was decidedly springlike in the the weeks prior to the race, we managed to run in the barely above freezing rain yet again. There were bits of sleet mixed in with the rain.

I carpooled up with some of the my running club buddies and the mantra was “anyone can do anything for 3 miles” We all packed an extra change of clothes. This was the first race in my new running shoes. This was the first time I had used this brand. I am usually a Brooks Ariel girl. I wore my usual jogging pants and put a trash bag on top of my shirt.

This race was much harder than the 10k two weeks earlier. My legs felt “heavy.” I am not sure why. Also, the shoe laces kept coming untied. The trail itself was beautiful and winding. This gave the feeling that I was running farther than I was. I also got distracted by the beauty of the trail during some of the walk breaks. Also, the first turn at a “V” in the road wasn’t apparent and I spent a couple of minutes questioning whether or not I made the right turn. I finally finished. That’s how I felt. I finally finished.

Then we changed into dry clothes, drank gas station hot chocolate, and went home.

My time: 50:45.8 16:22/M

Little Rock Marathon…er… 10K… 2014 Recap

My first “big race” was the Little Rock Half marathon in 2009. Out of a sense of tradition, I have run this race every year since. One year, I ran the 10k because the half was sold out by the time I signed up. This year, I signed up for the 10k due to the fact that I hadn’t run more than 3 miles since June of 2013. My performance at the One Hour Track Run indicated this would be a good idea. Theoretically, I could have finished the half. In fact, I finished the 2010 half with little training and a back spasm during the race. I was dead fucking last and I was incredibly sore for over a week. I didn’t want to put myself through that again. I signed up for Grand Prix this year. I have five more races to run.

The Little Rock Marathon is known for having a great route with some challenging hills, great support, and the biggest medal in racing. This year the theme was EPIC!

About a week before the race, the weather gurus on the television started murmuring about a “winter storm” and “sleet” that may come through on race day. This sounded almost magical since the temperature was sunny and in the sixties but this is Arkansas and I know better. All the runners sat glued to the TV and social media wondering “should I go?” “What should I wear?” “Is it going to sleet during the race? NO?”

This seemed to be the prevailing wisdom. Based on my calculations, I was running the 10k. The 10k starts at 8 a.m. I should be done before anything bad. It will be cold. It was cold last year. I can do this. I have gloves, ear warmers, and a trash bag. I am going.

It started raining as I was walking to my car from my apartment. It was cold. It continued to rain as I walked from my parking space to the starting spot. It may have stopped for a little while. I went to the “perks pavillon” and warmed up by one of the heaters. I saw a running friend who was doing the marathon. I saw many of my friends as I walked to my corral. Then it started raining again.

In an effort to control the crowd the race itself started in waves. I didn’t officially start until some 8:40. Standing outside for 45 minutes in that weather was one of the more miserable experiences in my life. I was questioning my sanity. Then I quit questioning my sanity and came to the realization that “yes Melissa, you are indeed crazy.” Then it was time to actually run.

My medal and my time. BOOM!

My medal and my time. BOOM!

As far as the race itself, I felt good. I had low expectations for my pace and “ran” it via the Galloway method with 1:05 splits. I didn’t feel tired and didn’t seem to be overexerting myself. I warmed up enough after I ran that I almost took off the trash bag. Then the wind started to blow and I was glad I kept it on. Due to the weather, there weren’t nearly as many volunteers and spectators cheering us on but we the runners were cheering each other on. My quads did cry uncle when I attempted to run up the Broadway bridge on the return trip to Little Rock (around mile 5) and so I walked it. Then when it came time to go back down, I started the running again. I slowed down to pick up my lip gloss and I finished. I felt good. I smiled a lot near the end. I was glad to finish and it felt surprisingly uneventful.

I got a printout of my “tentative finish time” and went to get my massage. I always get the “perks” and one of those perks is a massage. The other perk is that I have access to these outdoor heaters. Seriously, if you sign up for the Little Rock Marathon, pay for the perks. The perks are better finisher food, heaters, portapotties, and massages. You want this folks.

It wasn’t until I got home and had time to think that I realized that my pace for this race was a good 2 minutes per mile faster than the One hour track run and 30 seconds faster than anything I had “run” in months. Considering that I hadn’t run more than 3 miles in a long ass time, I think this is one of my better races.

But seriously, that is the limit of the bad weather I am willing to take to win a medal. That was horrible: wet AND cold.

In fact, the weather was so bad that about an hour after I finished, the race directors rerouted the race and cut it short. People were picked up on busses and taken to the finish line. A storm was coming complete with lightning. We ended up having sleet and schools were closed the next day. It was indeed an EPIC experience. Thanks Little Rock marathon for an experience I will never forget.

Valentine’s Day 5K

This was supposed to be in Russellville on Saturday February 8, 2014.

Arkansas is never ready for this "jelly"

Arkansas is never ready for this “jelly”

Valentine’s Day 5k is postponed till March 16. First heat at 2:00 pm.

Please help spread the word.

Race review: One Hour Track Run

Yes it is that time of year. The Arkansas Chapter of the Road Runners Clubs of America has launched its Arkansas Grand Prix Race Series with the One Hour Track Run at Danville High School in Danville, Arkansas. The Grand Prix Race Series is a good-natured competition and motivational program that gives runners a year’s worth of races to run and a point system to encourage performance and good sportsmanship. Participants must be a member of a Road Runners Clubs of America Running Club and sign up for Grand Prix as a member of said club. Participants are separated into age groups and gender and points are rewarded for various achievements including finishing the race, winning the race, fastest times per age group, etc. If you live in Arkansas and want more information, check the link right here. It can get rather confusing and the website explains it better than I can.

The one hour track run is a unique race in that it is literally what its name suggests: participants run for an hour around a track and the distance is measured as opposed to time. In order to control crowds, there are two separate races with participants running faster than an 8:30 mile running at a different time than the slower folks.

I did this race last year with a sore calf and managed to squeak out 3. I managed to “fall off the wagon” on my running the second half of last year. My runs were sporadic and none of them were more than two miles. I use the runkeeper app that tracks my runs on my cell phone. I have documentation, folks. As a result, my only goal at the start of the race was to finish faster than I did the previous year. I figured that sore-free legs would ensure a faster time.

I had car trouble and the President of Hot Legs, the running club that has the MOST FUN! in Arkansas and running club of yours truly, picked me up to take me to the “meeting place” where six of us got into a big ole SUV to ride to Danville. It was a complete gabfest on the way.

This year was significantly warmer than last year. Also, this warm weather was an extreme change of pace from the polar vortex chill that we had earlier in the month. In fact, the temperature was significantly warmer than what we were experiencing earlier in the week. Each season has its own challenges when it comes to running and there is always an adjustment period when the seasons change. These wonky temperature changes really mess with me.

The race itself was fine but challenging. I set up my app for one minute intervals alternating running with walking. I managed to complete the entire race with this system. I started out fast and felling great. I ended up running the first mile a good minute and thirty seconds faster than my usual pace. Of course, this caught up with me for the rest of the race with my mouth feeling very dry and my head had a slight dizzy feeling which is consistent with slight dehydration. (oops) I took a walking break for two laps and then got back to the “slow and low that is the tempo” business. The last twenty minutes, I was tired. I finished. According to my app, I completed 3.4 miles.

My official Results
98 Melissa Sawyer 12 973 3.1669 18:56.8

After the race, the Hot Legs had cookies and cupcakes because BIRTHDAY! We posed for pictures. I forgot to actually take any. (oops) Then we piled into the SUV and stopped by Feltner’s Whattaburger for burgers. No, this is not part of the chain. This is a local legend that has been around forEVER! According to urban legend (or what I’ve heard but am too lazy to actually look up), the Whataburger chain attempted to sue the Russellville Arkansas burger joint but realized that the local place was there first. The result was both parties agreed to leave things be. AH America. The last time I ate at Whattaburger was when I was in college on a road trip to the Buffalo River so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the burgers and fries were just a good as I remember them.

Overall, I had a blast. The race itself was a wake up call in terms of my fitness level but it is nothing that I can’t fix. I look forward to the rest of the year.

2013 Little Rock Half Marathon

So on Sunday, March 3, 2013, I “ran” by fourth Little Rock half marathon. The weather forecast predicted it was going to be cold and I had a cranky left calf that was tight and getting sore so I was a little apprehensive about this race. My sole goal this time was to finish without hurting myself. That’s called “setting the bar low,” folks.

This was also the first year that I did the race without my Mom here. I have since moved to the central Arkansas area and so there was no need to rent a hotel room and as a result, no need for my Mom to come up here and make it a mother/daughter event.

I picked up my packet after work on Friday. The expo seemed smaller than it was in previous years with fewer total vendors. I was short on case this year but I did buy this t-shirt That says “Keep Calm and Run On” Yeah I am loving it.

Keep Calm and Run On. Best shirt ever.

Keep Calm and Run On. Best shirt ever.

I also got my official half marathon shirt, which is a tech shirt.

Turquoise and emerald green. ODD CHOICE

Turquoise and emerald green. ODD CHOICE

Yes it was emerald green, which is the official Pantone shade this year, with turquoise letters. It is as odd as you think it would be. But hey I got my shirt in my size. Good times. Also, I stopped by the GO Running space and got a special “VIP” ticket (because I shop there so much) which meant I had pomegranate margaritas. See Go Running! is the store for you! Or it should be because you didn’t get pomegranate margarita at your expo, did you? I also met the woman who wore the cool Wonder Woman socks at the Bowen 5K. I also took advantage of the volunteer massage therapists and got a nice little rub down. Then I went home and ate pasta.

Saturday. I don’t even remember what I did that Saturday except to read Rebecca’s recount of her 5K experience which mentioned that she got snowed on and promptly exclaimed several curse words. I don’t mind cold but cold falling wet stuff is my limit. I am just not that hard core. Needless to say, I was very apprehensive. I had received an email that the “Hot Legs” (My running club was going to meet in front of the library at 7:30 for a group picture.
Saturday. I don’t even remember what I did that Saturday except to read Rebecca’s recount of her 5K experience which mentioned that she got snowed on and promptly exclaimed several curse words. I don’t mind cold but cold falling wet stuff is my limit. I am just not that hard core. Needless to say, I was very apprehensive. I had received an email that the “Hot Legs” (My running club was going to meet in front of the library at 7:30 for a group picture.

So I ended up carbo loading at my house and went to sleep in my own bed which is 30 miles away from the race site. This is a new development. Usually, I stay at the Comfort Inn near the starting line. I woke up and put on my clothes that I had laid out the night before and “OH GOD” it was cold. I had put on gloves and a headband to cover my ears but I didn’t bring a jacket. I figured it would warm up as soon as I started running. When I finally walked outside, I noticed that there was a light layer of ice/frost on my car that I had to scrape off with my Panera card.

MY MY.

I drove in to Little ROck and traffic was a little more difficult than I had anticipated. everyone was trying to get to the same place. I finally found a place to park but missed the 7:30 picture. I also managed to get to the perks pavillion just in time to pee and get to the starting line. IN fact, I heard the national anthem while I was in line. I got to the race line just in time for the elites to go. This year they did the start in waves with the elites going and then A and B having an official go time a couple of minutes later. This is a completely new development. In the years before, the announcer said go and everybody started walking and then once you passed the line, you started running.

I don’t think the open corral even got to the starting line until 12 minutes later.

So I was off. I didn’t think my phone battery would last so I decided not to listen to music until I got back from North Little Rock. This also means I didn’t have my run keeper pace timer. There are usually a lot of people cheering in North Little Rock there is enough to sustain me. I just ran from one street line to the other. It was a little odd but overall, it seemed close to the same. I knew i wasn’t going to get any PR’s due to cranky calf so I had it in my head to take it easy. That’s what I did.

I don’t remember being tired and so I would run. Friends kept passing me. I saw Brian who is a prosecutor. I saw my friend Rebecca. I saw Eric. And then I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in person since High school but thanks to the beauty of social media, had been chatting it up with him for quite a while. I finally made it across the bridge. I was feeling good. It was slow. Occasionally, I could feel my calf but it wasn’t overwhelming in its tightness or pain. I did, as a result of the first bridge, come to the decision to not even try hills. I walked all the hills.

By this point, I had my music and was trucking along. I was using Stinger waffles as my fuel of choice. I discovered during the second half that maybe they are a little too sweet. Near mile 10, I started to feel a little nauseous.

I managed to run and walk the entire way. I even made a little spring near the end.

Good times. I got my medal.

The Yee Haw cowboy hip hip hooray half marathon finisher's medal.

The Yee Haw cowboy hip hip hooray half marathon finisher’s medal.

BOO YAA!

I felt good. I did wait for a message therapist near the end and that was fun. I think it helps a lot. It gets the main kinks out that ruin your day. I then went home and took a nap.

When I got back, I checked my time. It ended up being

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