Melissa Runs

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

Tag: 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.


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.

I moustache you some questions


So I found this via Running and Reading and thought I would play along.

1. Four names that people call me, other than my real name:


2. Four jobs I have had:

Hostess at the old school Brownings
Criminal Investigator
Music Department Clerk

3. Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

The Shawshank Redemption (hell I’ve probably watched it once a month for years)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?
Splendor in the Grass
Dead Poet’s Society

4. Two books I recommend:

Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov

On Writing by Stephen King

5. Four places I have lived:

My parents house
Washington DC
New York
Couch Hall

6. Four places I have been:

The White House
Cummins Prison
Samburu National Game Park
Katz’s Delicatessen

7. Four places I would rather be right now

Bed (I am sleepy)
Waffle House (yet i am hungry and craving some scattered and covered hash browns)
Washington DC

8. Four things I don’t eat:

Deer (venison)
Boiled okra
Iceberg lettuce
Green peppers

9. Four of my favorite foods:

Chicken tikka masala
Black bean quesadillas
cheese dip
Chocolate cupcakes

10. Four TV shows I watch:

Assuming this is shows that are currently on the air

House of Cards
American Horror Story
Big Bang Theory

11. Four things I’m looking forward to next year:

Little Rock half marathon
Finish a marathon
Getting AGS Alumni off the ground

12. Four things I am always saying:

That sucks donkey balls
Where are my keys?


Ten books that have stuck with me.

This is a meme on Facebook that has been going around the “interwebs.” I am choosing to answer it here so I can fully explain my answers. ALso, I just love talking about books. The actual challenge was listed as such:

” list 10 books that have stayed with me in some way and to tag 10 friends to do the same. [Don’t try to think too hard. They do not have to be great works of literature or the “right” books. They just need to have affected you in some way.] ”

MY Books

1. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

I first read this book as a junior in high school. It had the distinction of being a book that was so “difficult” that the Cliff notes were also part of the lesson plan. It was the first first person stream of consciousness story I had ever read. For people who haven’t read it, this book tells the story of Candance Compson as told from the view point of four different people. It shows how a person’s personality and intellect affect the way they view the world and hence, their own reality. It brings up the issue of whether there is an objective reality can even be observed by human beings. I also remember the slut shaming inherent in the book itself as well as the slut shaming by my high school English teacher. Caddy is just a whore. Yep, that is exactly what she said over and over again. Then she would read critiques by others of the story which gave a more nuanced view of the story.

2. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

The language in this book is beautiful. I contemplated composing music so that the opening paragraphs could be sung. (I composed my first piano piece when I was 10 and started college as a music major). The story is told by an unreliable narrator. It’s a tale of how childhood actions can affect adulthood. Delores Haze’s behavior is consistent with the behavior or a sexually abused child, which makes the whole thing even creepier. I discover something new in it every time I read it.

3. Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

I suffer from depression. My first depressive episode started in college. This book spoke to me personally. I was not alone.

4. Making Faces by Kevin Aucoin

This book showed me the transformative power of makeup and also showed me how to apply the stuff. Aucoin has a tone that says “you are beautiful but play with this and be even more fabulous than you already are.” It has before and after pictures of every makeover.

5. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

I love epic family sagas ad this is one of the best. It’s a tale of two brothers: one is “good” and one isn’t. It’s a cautionary tale about labeling people. It’s about imperfect people. Oh I can’t talk about it without spoiling it but WOW. It’s a classic but it’s as titilating as any soap opera.

6. Marathon by Jeff Galloway

This book introduced me to the Galloway method: the practice of including walk breaks in your long dHilistance runs. It taught me that I didn’t have to run the entire distance. This gave me the confidence to sign up for a half marathon. I have since finished 4 half marathons, a couple of 10ks, and a bunch of 5ks. I wouldn’t have gotten into running hardcore without this book. Through running, I have met a lot of wonderful people.

7. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

This nonfiction book about a murder case in Savannah, Georgia, might be the most accurate depiction of the modern day South as anything I have ever read. Not a false note anywhere. It’s also a rip roaring tale that is simultaneously funny and drop dead serious.

8. Promiscuity by Naomi Wolf

This discusses the idiosyncratic way that American society treats the sexuality of girls and young women. The entire damned if they do, damned if they don’t scenario. Wolf also talks with friends and associates to have them tell their own stories about their sexuality.

9. The complete stories of Flannery O’Connor

Hilarious, sassy, religious overtones, Southern. I still chuckle every time I think about them.

10. The Harry Potter series

Okay everyone and their Mama has read these books. Rowling’s world building ability is unparallelled. There are so many life lessons hidden in this book and yet it doesn’t preach.

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.

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


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.

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.

Grand Prix run run

The Arkansas chapter of the Road Runners Club of America has announced its Grand Prix calendar for 2014.

January 26, One Hour Track Run, Danville, championship race
February 1, River Trail 15k, North Little Rock, championship race
February 8, Valentine’s Day 5k, Russellville
February 16, Run the Line Half Marathon, Texarkana
March 8, Chase Race 2 Mile, Conway, championship race
March 22, Spring Fling 5k, Cabot
April 5, Capital City Classic 10k, Little Rock, championship race
May 3, Toad Suck Daze 10k, Conway
May 24, Rock Run 8k, Little Rock
June 14, Go! Mile, championship race, also national RRCA 1 mile championship
June 21, Arkansas Runner 2 Mile, Benton
August 2, White River 4 Mile, Batesville, championship race
August 9, Watermelon 5k, Hope
August 30, ARK 5k, North Little Rock, championship race
September 20, Arkansas 20k, Benton, championship race
October 4, Chile Pepper XC 10k, Fayetteville, championship race
October 18, Survivors’ Challenge 10k, Fort Smith
November 1, Midsouth Marathon, Wynne, championship race
November 22, Spa 10k, Hot Springs
December 13, CASA Half Marathon, Pine Bluff

It’s a great way to meet people and run races. Also, you get the opportunity to see the four corners of Arkansas. I had a lot of fun starting this out but then cranky calf and other life things got in the way. I am starting over with my mileage and doing the Little Rock half training program with the small miles (I am at the build up stage) with yoga and weights as cross training.

So for now, I am just working up on building up mileage and figuring out how to not make my calves cranky. Those are my two goals, which ultimately are subgoals to my 101 in 1001 goal of completing a Grand Prix.

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