Melissa Runs

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

Category: running (page 2 of 5)

15K Trail Run


I signed up for this race. I went to the running store and picked up my packet. I laid all of my running clothes and shoes in a nice little stack beside my entry packet. I even attached the timing chip on my shoe the night before. I set my alarm and went to bed. I woke up in enough time to have a leisurely, small breakfast suitable for running a 5K. I put on my clothes and pinned on my number. I picked up my purse and reached for my keys. MY KEYS? not in my purse.

I ended up frantically looking for my keys for almost 30 minutes — finally finding them 15 minutes after the race had started. They were under my bed. I still haven’t figured out how they got UNDER my bed. Point is that I missed the race entirely. SInce I am training for a half marathon in March. I did get in my car and go to a local trail and run a long run. I intended to run a 15k but the battery on my phone went out before I finished. I know that I completed at least 7.34 miles. How much more? I don’t know.

THe run itself was nice. I didn’t feel tired and I felt a had a good pace overall. I did start to feel a sharp pain in my left calf which compelled me to walk the last mile or two back. So there you go.

Trail RUN sucked ass. I got no points and no credit and no glory but I did have a nice run on Saturday.

Then I went to eat one of HOt Dog Mike’s last hot dogs.

Then I went to see Silver Linings Playbook.

Overall, it was a nice day.

One Hour Track Run

So this year I have decided to get my butt in gear and get serious about working out. In order to achieve that end and maybe have a little fun, I have signed up for the Arkansas Chapter of Road Runners Club of America Grand Prix. In order to be considered for Grand Prix, you have to be a member of an official Running Club and you agree to run six of the races listed on the Calendar over the course of the year. I signed up to be a member of Hot Legs Run for Fun Oh and you get points and the points count towards a personal total and a club total. There are prizes.

Rebecca convinced me to do this.

Oh and on top of this I have signed up for the Little Rock Half marathon.

The first race in the series was the One Hour Track Run which was held at Danville High School. It is exactly what it sounds like, one hour on a track. You get a chip on your shoe. You are told “Go” and you run/walk/move for an hour. The electronic mat is located at the finish time and measures each fourth of a mile (or 400 meters) for you. You stop and a person comes out with a whally walker to measure the distance past the finish line in order to tally your total distance for the race.

Finish Line

The weather was cloudy with the temperature hovering around 50 degrees. The threat of rain loomed on the horizon but it never rained. In fact, the sun came out near the end of the day. Danville High School has a nice track. The race people were nice enough to provide music so if you forgot your earbuds (I did) you didn’t have to shlep around in silence for an hour. It was “screamo” music.

I did my 10 mile long run for half marathon training the day before and one of my hamstrings was cranky. Cranky is a nice word for soreness with the threat of injury. I expected to walk most of this “race” and that is exactly what I did. I started off running the one hundred meter straight ways and walking the curves but that gave way pretty quickly. I walked it and my 3.33 mile per hour pace on the results confirms this.

Total stats:
3.33mph 3.224 58:01.92

And boring lap by lap stats.
Lap 1 4:13.26 3.53mph 0.248 4:13.26
Lap 2 4:25.95 3.37mph 0.496 8:39.21
Lap 3 4:34.06 3.26mph 0.744 13:13.27
Lap 4 4:07.24 3.61mph 0.992 17:20.51
Lap 5 4:18.97 3.46mph 1.240 21:39.48
Lap 6 4:39.56 3.20mph 1.488 26:19.04
Lap 7 4:40.11 3.19mph 1.736 30:59.15
Lap 8 4:23.64 3.39mph 1.984 35:22.79
Lap 9 4:53.84 3.05mph 2.232 40:16.63
Lap 10 4:47.06 3.11mph 2.480 45:03.69
Lap 11 4:41.95 3.18mph 2.728 49:45.64
Lap 12 4:15.08 3.50mph 2.976 54:00.72
Lap 13 4:01.20 3.70mph 3.224 58:01.92

See I told you I walked most of it. It felt good and Im glad I did it. Hopefully, next race I will actually attempt to run.

Elvis at the Old South

Elvis at the Old South

Afterwards, Rebecca, Debbie, and I went to Old South Restaurant in Russellville.. This place is a diner filled with Elvis paraphernalia. It has been around. It serves breakfast all day and has a menu full of cheap goodies. I had a grilled ham and cheese.

running tunes

As you know, I like to run. I like to run to music. Some running purists say that running with music is cheating but they can kiss my fat ass. I need to burn some calories and if “love shack” keeps me going just that much longer than I am going to put on them tunes and move my butt.

I’m not the only pro-running with music person out there and as a result, play lists are one of the items that runners trade with each other like baseball cards.

Some people go through the trouble of estimating what song will be playing at what mile and have a certain order. I tend to just pick songs and put them on shuffle.

Here are some songs I have used on running playlists.

1. “Love Shack” B-52s

Come on, it’s trippy dippy happy. I’m in a Chrysler as big as a whale and we’re about to set sail! A lot of fun.

2. “Firestarter” Prodigy

3. “Sinnerman” Nina Simone

4. “Right Here, Right Now” by Fatboy Slim

5. “Power” Kanye West

6. “The Distance” Cake

7. “O Saya” from Slumdog Millionaire

8. “Hot and Cold” Katy Perry

9. “Hey Ya” Outkast

Second Wind: One Woman’s Midlife Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents

I love running. It is on my bucket list to finish a marathon. I love traveling. It is on my bucket list to go back to Africa and to travel to a whole bunch of places. So I imagine my sense of anticipatory glee when I saw this book about a woman who runs seven marathons on all seven continents. IT has travel and running. Oh I will definitely LOVE THIS BOOK!

Except I didn’t love this book.

While the author believes that long distance can helpful spiritually and psychology as well as physically, she also uses phrases like “my inner divine,” “My inner warrior,” and “my inner bitch.” Something about this fragmentation of her soul in this language annoys me. I know that some of her language and description of her spiritual journey is from feminist spirituality writings. I am also very certain that she has read “Women Who Run With Wolves”

Something about her voice just bugs me. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it did lessen my overall enjoyment of this book.

Second Wind: One Woman’s Midlife Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents

2011 Little Half Marathon recap

Winner Winner Chicken dinner

Well I did it again. This is my third Little Rock half marathon finish. I knew what to expect out of this race as far as the route and the number of people. This year was different in that it was expected to be a lot colder than the previous two years. Also, I managed to procrastinate and didn’t get a hotel close to the race route. This put me in a position where I would have to either drive or use the hotel shuttle and hope it gets me there in a timely manner. Also this year, the race was four days after my father’s leg surgery and so my mother would not be attending with me. This put an end to what was becoming a family tradition. Who am I kidding? She’ll be back next year.

The expo seemed smaller than previous years. I’m not sure if there were less vendors or if the huge display at the front took up so much space. I did manage to get a new headband to keep my ears warm. It says “Will Run for Margaritas” I am a big believer in truth in advertising. I talked to my friends at Go Running!. Then I spend 5 dollars to spend seven minutes in the Aqua Massager.

The Aqua massager was interesting. You place yourself on a table face down with a whole to put your face through to breath. They put a top on top of you similar to a tanning bed but instead of light it squirts water. There is a plastic lining that is against your back. The water then shoots down on your back in a forceful spray similar to the type of “shower massage” you find on some of the fancier showerheads. Although you don’t get wet. The water shoots in a horizontal line that goes up and down your backside from your neck to your feet and back up to your neck again. It was relaxing but a little rough on my neck. Maybe I should have scooted up. I also could definitely tell how tight my quads were after getting off that thing.

I carboloaded with my friends Rebecca, John, and Sophie (aka the most awesome six year old in the world!) at Lily’s Dim Sum, Then Some. Cold Sesame Noodles are carbs. Yes they are. I also had the Dim Sum platter with all of the different Dim Sum that they offer: Chinese potstickers; Wasabi Pork Shaw Mai, Shrimp Dumplings, and Vegetable Goyoza. It’s meant for two people but I was eating it as dinner. GOOD!


I woke up at 4:30 with some weird soreness in my left glute. I was worried and PISSED. It’s four thirty in the fucking morning on race day. What the hell?! I finally went back to sleep but it wasn’t restful. I woke up with my alarm and I didn’t quite know where I was. I had a weird dream but I don’t remember enough of the details to recall it down. I just remember being very confused. I brushed my hair and put it into a ponytail. SNAP! It broke. Wait. I haven’t run without my hair in a ponytail. I am frantically searching through my bag. No ponytail holder. I am searching through the suitcase. I am searching through the little bag that had my toothpaste and other toiletries. Still no ponytail holder. Houston, we have a problem.

This was a big deal. Running is more mental than anything and that swinging hair was really going to mess with my concentration. I ate French Toast at the hotel and then drove myself to Walgreens. Then I drove myself to the race site. WEll to Heifer International which was semi-close to the race site.

My lower back was hurting. I had to use the restroom. I stood in line for what seemed like a thousand years to use a porta potty. Then I noticed the massage therapists. The line was short. Hell yeah, I took part in that perk. Whatever he did, the therapist got that kink in my back out just in time for me to make it to the “open corral” in the back. By that point, the race had already started and I started walking forward to the starting line.


I used Runkeeper to keep myself with intervals of 45 seconds of running and one minute thirty seconds of walking. The first four miles were faster than any of my training runs previously but I felt good so I didn’t even attempt to slow down. I could tell by the log that I was slowing down slightly but I still felt pretty good until about mile 7. Then I got tired. The incline towards the capitol wasn’t pleasant.

Mile 9 in front of the First United Methodist Church of Little Rock was my last hurrah. The steep elevation to the Governor’s Mansion was a killer. Then right after that, my cell phone that I was using for my background music (via Pandora) and my “running coach” died. Well, the battery was out. I knew that there was no way to beat my personal best and no way to do worse than my worst time unless I crawled so I just walked the rest. I didn’t pay attention to pace. I attempted to jog one last time near Vino’s at Mile 11 1/2 but my quad trembled and Isaid “Okay leg, you win.” I continued to walk the rest of the way.

My 10K time was 1:44:14 which was recorded as a pace of 16:47. My Run keeper stopped at distance 10:24 miles with a time 2:54:20 and a pace of 17:01. My finish time was 3:56:47 with a pace of 18:05. Not my best but not my worst. Overall, it was a fun race. No particular bad pain but a nice journey.

I got my medal. I didn’t see anyone I knew by this point. Most of them had finished earlier and were long gone. I started to wait for another massage but for whatever reason, this year, you had to stand in line to wait for one. Screw that. I went back to my hotel and went to bed for a nap.

Little Rock Half Marathon: what to expect

For some reason, I seem to know a lot of people who are running the Little Rock half marathon for the first time. This will be my third race. I do it for fun and I’m one of the slower in the back people. In fact, last year I got some weird back spasm around mile 3 and walked the rest of it slowly and ended up being the last person to finish. I still had so much fun that my cheeks hurt from smiling.

So for all my friends and whomever reads this. Here’s what to expect, the Penguin edition.


packet pick up

You have to print out your registration confirmation ticket from the website or your email box to bring to the expo to pick up your packet. They have it divided up between type of race and your race number so that part goes rather quickly. There’s a list at the front of the expo in alphabetical order that will tell you your race number. So you’ll get a manilla sized envelope with your goodies and then you’ll go and pick up your t-shirt. Then you go to another guy to get your chip swiped. This confirms that your chip will show up as you in the results. This is how the event tracks your time and confirms you finished. MAKE SURE YOU SWIPE THAT CHIP! All they do is swipe the entire envelope like they do at the grocery store. It’s fairly easy.


In the packet, you’ll find (1) your chip (2) your race number (3) the tag that says half that you put on your back (4) your entry bracelet for the post race party (5) your entry to the Hatcher Perks Pavillion if you paid for that. Then there is some reading material.

Since the packet pickup is in the back, you’ll pass the vendors who are there. This expo is pretty small and won’t wear you out like some of the larger race expos (for example: The Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC). The local running stores have spots and that is where I got the running gloves, headband to keep my ears warm in winter, and running socks. They’re usually on sale. They have shoes but I have never found my type. Also, there is a guy selling THE STICK. If you have never heard of this thing, it is a plastic stick that is slightly flexible with hands on both ends. You roll it over your sore muscles like a rolling pin over dough. It is amazing. Seriously, it will get those kinks out. Now, depending on how tied up those knots are, it will hurt a little but it is definitely worth the cost. Also, there are places selling refridgerator magnets, bumper stickers, Christmas ornaments and all sorts of other running paraphenalia.

Pasta party

Confession time. I have never gone to the pasta party. I usually have bready deep dish pizza but that’s just me. Do what you usually do and don’t be a hero or listen to me for pre-race eats. I do not want to have you vomiting on race day on my head. But I am familiar with the hotel and they usually have good food.

Hatcher Perks Pavillion

I have done this both years. They have porta potties really close to the starting line. They also have a space to leave post race change gear. They also have MASSAGE THERAPISTS!! oh sweet baby Jesus this makes the thirty something fee worth it.

The Race itself

If you’ve never run a longer race, you’ll notice there’s a lot more people than you’re used to seeing it a race.

IF I recall, one year the start was ON TIME!! and the other year was a little late.

Due to the chip, you don’t have to actually start “racing” until you cross the official starting line. So walk that sucker. Don’t worry everybody else will be walking and people are friendly so if you forget, someone will tell you to slow down until the line. It can be up to five minutes for you to even reach the starting line depending on how far back you are.

A. The First Five miles

Mile two and Mile five are on the Broadway bridge. The cool thing about this is that the elite athletes will becoming back on the bridge by the time you make it there. Remember, they actually started five minutes before you even crossed the starting line and they go a lot faster than you. The amazing thing is that they’re going really fast and yet they make it look so easy.

North Little Rock is really proud of their participation in the Little Rock Marathon. Usually, the mayor is at the end of the bridge to welcome you to North Little Rock. There’s a lot of entertainment on this side of the river: marching bands, country music, cheerleaders, people just cheering to be cheering. You’ll also pass your first water stations.

The downer to this part of the race is that there is a lot of passing of people. It’s still crowded and you will encounter the bane of my existence. The more than two group of people, usually women, who decide to just walk in a horizontal line. Now when it’s four people, it’s beginning for an impromptu game of Red Rover. Also, when it is that large of a group, they are just chatting and having a grand ole time and are OBLIVIOUS!!! to the people around them. Seriously, I’m glad that three or more of your besties are running and walking with you at the half but seriously, you make it impossible to pass and you take a significant chunk of road when you do this. For some reason, I think these groups split up because I don’t notice this phenomena near the end of the race as much as I do in the beginning. It harshes my running happy and turns me into an F-Bomb machine!!!!

Okay… now that rant is over. Seriously I hate those fuckers.

Okay now it is over.

The Second Five Miles

Once you get across the bridge, it’s pretty urban with office buildings until you get to the 10K marker. Then you’ll be approaching McArthur Park. You’ll run around half of the park on 9th and then Commerce. It’s fairly quiet around here. Then you will cross the overpass that cuts you across I-630. Just on the other side of I-630, you’ll get to the ENTHUSIASTIC water station. They are happy to see you and you are happy to see them. Then you’ll get back on Scott Street and pass Villa Marre aka the Designing Woman House

Mile 8 is up Capitol street to the Arkansas State Capitol. It’s pretty much one big upwards climb. It’s tiring.

Then you turn around and at mile 9, there is a Methodist Church that really does it out for the runners. They got balloons, music, and a big crowd of people cheering you on.

Then you’ll go down Center over another overpass over I-630 to the Governor’s mansion. That road is a steady incline too. By this point, I am tired. You’ll be tired too.

The last 3.1 miles

For some reason, these last 3.1 miles is sparse. There are three water stations and they are screaming and enthusiastic. There are people playing music from their porches but other than that it is pretty bare. Also, due to the fact that it is the end, you’ll be tired and your knee or back will act up if it is going to act up by this point. It’s the part of the race where you face the mental test of whether or not to stop or keep going. It’s the time where you are making deals with God and giving yourself the “okay three steps and then I’m walking and then two more steps” Once you get past the overpass on Chester, it’s all downhill and/or straight until you get to the turn at La Harpe. It’s pure adrenaline because you know you’re ALMOST DONE! There are people all lined up by this point. You get one last water break. If you’re a woman, you can stop for free lipstick.

Then you’ll see the crowds of people hanging out and then you’ll cross the line. There are bleachers at this point. Someone will come and take off your timing chip. Another people will wrap you up in mylar. Yet another volunteer will put the finisher’s medal around your neck. Another person will be handing out bananas. THen you’ll be in the Athlete’s village. Usually, there is someone handing out bananas, milk and chocolate milk, and hot dogs. ‘

And you’re done. yee haww.

Let’s do this

Okay I started weight watchers two weeks ago. I am currently on week three. I managed to lose a bunch of pounds and then gain some of it back. I’m using the new points plus system that they have and it’s this weird formula using protein, carbs, fiber, and fat. Also, fruit and veggies are mostly free. Of course, there is the caveat to not go crazy. I forget the actual terms. I have discovered a love of smoothies. Smoothies are the closest thing to chemistry I have experienced in a long time. I like it. There is the suspense of wondering “what color will this be once I press blend?” Usually, it’s a shade of purple since I have been using pomegranate juice as a base. Sometimes it’s more red. One day, it looked like bona fide mud from the back yard. I might have to start photoblogging these things.

I have also been getting back to a jogging routine. I can’t even call it running with a straight face. But I am out there and I am doing it. I am loosely following a half marathon training program schedule and did 9 1/2 miles this Sunday. The Little Rock half marathon is the first weekend in March so it is coming up SOON!. My pace is slow and I might have to do the get up super early start. blargh. Yeah, I am not looking forward to that. I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. But I will finish. It will be my third year.

I also got a subscription to Runner’s World and am contemplating the Women can run clinic. I will be attempting to do longer running stretches and increasing my speed. I think I am going to keep on doing a long run of at least 6 miles from now on during the weekends. I like the way my mind wanders while I’m going a longer distance. Somehow my mind manages to clean a lot of gunk out when I’m exhausted. I believe it would be what yogis call “moving meditation.”

Shoes shoes shoes

I said I would give workout updates and so here I am. I ran on the 4th and it was the first time I had done any running in 2011. I didn’t do much running in December due to some illness so it was hard. Then I went to get some new running shoes.

This time I went to Go! Running in Little Rock. The nice salesperson had me take off my shoes, roll up my socks, and walk back and forth in the store. If you go to a store for the first time to buy running shoes and you are not asked to do this, turn right around and leave the store. This is very important. They do this to check on pronation. When you walk or run, your foot hits the outer edge of the first and rolls in a little bit towards the arch. This is how you are able to walk with an arch. It is supposed to be slight but if you roll in a lot, you “overpronate.” Overpronation is common for people with flat arches. If your foot rolls outward, then you underpronate. Running shoes are designed to deal with these various types of ankle movements.

I overpronate quite a bit. For the past couple of years, I have been running in Brooks Ariel. It is has been a pretty good shoe for me. This time, the people at Go! Running gave me a pair of Ariels and then gave me a pair of Asics Gel Foundation 9 (see picture below). I tried both and jogged a little bit. The Asics were a little bouncier and tighter in the heel area. I always had to tie the ARiels pretty tight so that my ankle wouldn’t feel like they were slipping.

I have since went out with my new shoes twice. I also wore them with a new pair of running socks. The bounce definitely made a difference. I didn’t feel the slipping anymore. I did, however, get a blister on the ball of my foot the first time I went out in them. The second time I didn’t.

Both the times I ran on the side of the road and I seemed to notice the slope more than I have but I am not sure if that is the shoes or the fact that it had been over a month since I ran.

Given the big adjustment, I am going to keep my shoes.


My running shoes

Here’s a little video of Dr. Oz talking about weight loss.

Half Marathon

Since this was my second time to run/walk the Little Rock marathon, I wasn’t exactly what you could call nervous or excited. It seemed like a natural thing to do. I was, however, a little nervous about the fact that a back number was not in my packet. I read the fees and it had language about disqualification. So I was a little anxious about that. Then again I wasn’t going to win so what would disqualification get me anyway.

I woke up and my hotel had a complimentary (err included in room fee) breakfast. I ate a bagel and banana. There were a lot of fellow runners in the lobby. One guy had named himself “Sexy Canadian” on his name badge. I got some reassurance that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t receive a “back badge” saying half and others weren’t wearing them so I didn’t feel too bad about not having one.

Then it was time to go. There’s always this buzz right before a race where you feel more alive than you will ever feel in your entire life . . . . until the next race. It’s a mixture of pure adrenaline, anticipation, and nervousness.

AND we’re off.

And I was running… then walking.. then running… then… woah what’s that in my back.

I knew it was going to be a tough race because the combination of cold and constant rain made my training pretty much non-existent. I wasn’t expecting to make the decision to walk from mile 4. So I walked.

And what a walk it was. It was sunny and it was warm. The people were cheering. I wasn’t expecting to be last. Being last is funny because there is a jeep (or van or truck) following you to let the police officers and others know that they can open traffic back up after it passes. I felt like a dictator. A benevolent dictator holding traffic up while I go on my morning stroll.

And my morning stroll became an afternoon stroll as I came in around 12:22. I came in a whole hour later than I did the year before. That was a little embarrassing. But I got my medal and I was quite proud of myself.

Sometimes the best race isn’t the one you win. It’s the race you lose with a blaze of glory. There’s honor in not going gently into that good night.

Okay I’ll stop with the cliches.

Afterward, I ate some “Perks place” grub and got one of the complimentary massages. OH lord. Some women want to marry doctors and lawyers. Screw that I’m all about the massage therapist.

So I finished and managed to knock two things down off my bucket list.

Half Marathon Eve

Tomorrow morning is “race day” or the Little Rock Marathon Of course, I’m doing the half this year. My training was not what I had hoped. I let the rainy schedule mess with my schedule and I can’t do treadmills.

It should be interesting. So my goal is to finish it in the 4 hours alloted.

So yee haww.

I do get a big kick going to the Expo. There’s always other races with booths there. They have pamphlets outlining their race and they’ll have medals from years past. There’s all these running gear shops like One more mile and Run like a girl. They have the stickers with the “13.1” and the “26.2” There were several different slogans that i liked including “Yes I run like a girl . . . try to keep up” Another one is “You don’t have to go fast. You just have to go” (or something like that) There’s always the “will run for wine” and “Will run for beer.”

My number one favorite t-shirts are “13.1: I don’t go all the way” and it’s counterpart “26.2: I go all the way”

Yes, sex sells even in running gear.

There’s all the interesting people. There’s people from everywhere. There’s the 50 staters (people who try to run a marathon in each of the 50 states) and a bunch of other folks. The races are addictive. There’s something about them.

I’m typing this in the “business center” of a local hotel and so the pictures are just not here. This year is a little anticlimactic. Last year was my first race and there was all this pre race jitters and while I do have a sense of anxiety and excitement, it is nowhere near the level of frenzy of last year.

It’s surprisingly calm. My only source of angst is that I didn’t get a “back number” and I am scared I am going to get disqualified. I didn’t bother looking in my envelope of goodies to check to see if i had it. They opened it up to show my number and pulled a tag off to designate that I had gotten my t-shirt but no back number. I guess I need to go early. yikes.

My mother came up with me again this year. I’m guessing the Little Rock marathon is going to be a tradition where I bond with my Mom. We ate at Chi’s and let rice be our carbo loading. She’s got a lot of cheering to do tomorrow.

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