Race Recap: Cove Lake 5k

When it comes to races, I am all about the bling.  I will gladly travel outside of my area code for a smaller race if it means some kind of special prize or perk.  Last year, my best friend Ashley and I did the Cove Lake 5k.  We knew it was a smaller race and every finisher got a medal.  This year we decided to do it once again for my June race.  The fact that they had watermelon as post race food last year may or may not have been a factor in our registration decision.

It was a bit of a drive to get up to the race, but traffic was good and I enjoyed catching up with Ashley since I have not seen her since my graduation.  After getting to the race, my race packet wasn’t there.  I was able to talk to the timing lady and race director to get things smoothed out and was able to still get a big and t-shirt.  We were there a little early so we took shelter behind a big mulch pile so I could get my “warm-up” in.  Before I run I like to do a lot of dynamic stretching that ends up making me look like an idiot but it works for me so there better be no side eyes from faster runners.  Ashley and I chatted about our goals for the race.  I really didn’t have any other than beating my time from my last 5k but her goal was to run the entire race.  Easy enough, huh?

the goods.

the goods.

We lined up and with a quick gun blast we were off.  The race starts on a slight downhill then makes a sharp turn for a gentle uphill climb.  We had to bob and weave a lot but we weren’t in a major hurry so I really didn’t mind.  After about a half mile the course went onto a paved path in the woods.  It was nice since it shaded us from the sun but the ground was quite slick and the air was muggy.  I was thankful this wasn’t a big race because it definitely could have been congested in this area.  Around the 1 mile mark I told Ashley that I was going to stop but that she had to go on.  She took off and I took a walk break (the first of many).  The course wasn’t hilly but it wasn’t flat either.  I tried to make up time by running faster on the downhill but I don’t think it did me much good.

After coming out of the woods we had to run around Cove Lake then make an ascent up a long hill.  Since the lake is so spread out, I was able to see Ashley way up in front of me so the goal was to catch back up with her.  I ended up using this time to take walk breaks but run fast when I did run.  Right before the hill I finally caught Ashley and I yelled “KEEP GOING”.  She had ran the entire race so far and was crushing her goal.  As soon as I yelled I took another walk break.  It was pretty discouraging having such slow split times and having to take so many walk breaks after working so hard on the track last week.  But I know that a race time isn’t a reflection of who I am and some days you just don’t have it.

We look awesome!

We look awesome!

The hill was brutal but I knew that once I hit the top of it then all I had was a left turn through a tunnel and a right turn to the finish.  I ran as soon as I saw the tunnel and passed a lady who was walking.  I gave her a gentle nudge on the back and said “You gotta run; we are almost there”.  She took off and the competitive side of me said OH HECK NO so I took off too.  We were neck and neck in a full sprint to the finish line and I think I barely beat her.  Ashley ended up finishing 15 seconds ahead of me and ran the entire race!!  So proud of her.  We got our medals and I just laid down flat in the grass.  Who knew a 5k could be so difficult.  After spending a good five minutes breathing we headed over to the pool area to get our share of watermelon.  I swear there isn’t anything that tastes better after a hot race than watermelon.  Hint hint to all race directors.

Got what I came for.

Got what I came for.

Our bibs had one of those smart phone scanners on them where you could see your results instantly.  I was so thankful for this because usually I stick around for the awards just to hear how fast the girls in my division ran it.  Thankfully the scanner was able to tell me my place, pace, and everything.  This saved a lot of time.  On the way home we stopped at Chick-fil-a for ice cream.  Because that is what summer is all about.

get in my belly.

get in my belly.

While I may not be pleased with my time, I am relatively pleased with my effort and SO PROUD of my best friend for not only doing this race but for running the entire time.  That is something to be proud of!!   I have my medal and that’s all I need.

Also…go congratulate my favorite running buddy Brittney who placed in her age group at her half marathon this weekend.  She did that on three hours of sleep and a two week long trip to Alaska.  What a beast!

Race Recap: Be a Factor 5k

Knoxville has a huge racing community.  Most local 5ks usually have upwards of at least 500 people per race.  It is so great to know that so many people are dedicated enough to wake up on a Saturday and pay to run some miles to better themselves.  But sometimes, a smaller race can be good, too.  My goal for the year is to run one race per month.  I had already had a May race picked out but a few days ago I found out that the race fell on a Saturday that I would be at the beach.  The search was on for a great 5k to fill my Saturday.  The greater Knoxville area had at least four races going on this past Saturday so it was tough to narrow it down.  I stalked last year’s results for the Be a Factor 5k and decided that since it was a very small race, I might as well run it and try to maybe get an age group placement.

Race morning came early and I woke up feeling energized, but very untrained.  I have never fully trained for any race, but I’ve spent the last two weeks working my way back into running and still get excited if I am able to run more than three minutes without a walk break.  A 5k was a big feat for Saturday.  Nonetheless, I still managed to get ready and be out the door on time.  It started to rain on the way to the race and I began to get nervous.  Rain running just ain’t my thing.  We arrived at the race site and from the amount of cars, you would have thought it was cancelled.  Nope, just a super small race and only ended up having 103 runners.

The race benefited a local little boy who had hemophilia and the race was very community oriented.  It started on a track at the high school and went out and around town.  After leaving the track, we headed onto a road and up a hill.  The hill wasn’t steep, but it was definitely long.  I was able to run the first .75 miles without stopping which made me so proud.  I was trying to look around and get a feel for who all was close to my age and tried to gauge if I would have to “pick off” anyone to have a chance at placing in my age group.  After the first mile, I took another walk break and just tried to not freeze to death.  From there, it was off and on running and walking, but I managed to run harder than I thought I would be able to.  There were several slight grades out on the course, but not really any serious hills.  There were two huge downhills that I just let loose on and tried to make up for lost time by flying down them.  Probably a dumb move, but I was able to pass a few people and didn’t feel any tightness in my legs.

start and finish on the track

start and finish on the track

Around the 2.5 mile mark, I came upon a young kid who was walking and I decided to take one more walk break.  He said “man, we are making AWESOME time, aren’t we??”.  Bless his heart.  I told him yes we were and he went into a funny story about how he took a Zumba class the previous night.  Such a sweet kid.  I decided to leave him and continue running and after that point, I did not stop.  I knew we had to make a final lap around the track to finish so I was looking forward to being able to get a glimpse of the finish line.  I’ve never done a race where we got to run around a track so it was pretty cool and made me feel like an Olympian.  I didn’t go all out at the finish line or even sprint but I definitely finished strong.  Another great thing about small races is the crowd support.  The announcer made it a point to yell out every person’s name and number and encourage the crowd to cheer.  The finish line was really exhilarating.

almost there!

almost there!

I didn’t really have a goal for the race, but it was important to me to finish faster than any of my other three 5ks I’ve ran this year.  In order to do that, I would have had to run a 35:49.  Not even remotely close to a PR, but still faster than I was earlier this year.  I ended up clocking in at 34:10.  It was a great feeling to knock over 1:30 off my previous time and I’m confident that next month’s race will be even faster.  Walking down that time to get to where I used to be.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The post-race refreshments included some amazing homemade cupcakes.  Of course I had to have one, but it was a little sweet so I only ended up eating about a fourth of it.  We took shelter under the football stadium and waited for the results to be called.  When my division was announced I held my breath.  I knew my time wasn’t amazing or anything but it was a small race so I still hoped to walk away with something.  The third place got called and it wasn’t me so I figured I had blew my chance.  But just when I had lost hope, they called my name for first place.  I let a slight squeal and ran up to get my flashy medal.  It is pretty sad that I ran a 34:10 and still placed first but I am so so soooo excited that I placed top of my age group.  First time that has ever happened with there actually being someone else in my age category.  Pretty exciting day for me.

umbrella and a medal make for a happy runner.

umbrella and a medal make for a happy runner.

Overall I’m glad I picked this race and proud that I stuck it out in the rain and was able to knock 1:30 off my last time.  It makes me excited to run some more this week and work harder on getting fast(er).  Happy day after Cinco de Mayo!!

Race Recap: Run for the Schools 5k

A few weeks ago, my good friend Robyn asked if I would be up for a 5k the first weekend of March.  Initially I had said no but when she responded as to how much her sweet little Jake wanted to do it, my arm was twisted.  I was fortunate enough to have Robyn sign up for us, making this race free for me.  The race got added to my calendar and I didn’t think much more about it.  Thursday night Robyn came by my apartment to bring me my race packet.  This made race morning so much easier because I got to snooze just a tiny bit longer.

The night before the race, one of my roommates sprung me with free tickets for me and my boyfriend to go see George Strait!  He was on tour in Knoxville.  We willingly agreed but I knew we would be out late resulting in a not so great night of sleep.



Race morning came way too early as my alarm started buzzing at 6:30.  After a quick breakfast and a check of the weather, we were out the door.  It was snowing and bitterly cold, but I made the most of it and thought that maybe it would be a smaller race as a result.  Robyn ended up staying home and staying warm instead of racing which was totally fine since she had a long trip to Nashville later that afternoon.  After getting to the race and sitting in the car for twenty minutes, I realized that we were supposed to pick up chips before the start.  The race was supposed to start in less than five minutes so panic set in.  Luckily there were tons of people in line still waiting for their chips so the race got delayed.

my number one fan.

my number one fan.

After milling my way to the back to wait for the race start, I found a nice group of young kids to talk to.  There were so many kids there since this race was mostly one for children.  All the proceeds went to local elementary schools.  The start gun went off with no warning and we were off.  The course ran around a huge parking lot then ended up down an open road in Knoxville.  I was very entertained at all the young kids who would run back and forth and all over the place to talk to different friends.  Too bad I didn’t have their energy.

I could tell from the beginning that this race was going to suck.  I wasn’t prepared, I hadn’t ran, I didn’t sleep, I hate the cold, and it was horrible.  Complaining is definitely NOT something I do, so it was hard to feel defeated at such an early stage in the race.  About half a mile in, I just decided to take it easy and walk most of the way, talking to kids and parents and making the most of what seemed to be an unenjoyable experience.  We went up so many hills in the race.  Hills is actually an understatement.  These hills were beyond steep and straight up torture.  So steep in fact, that power walking up them wasn’t even an option.  With every hill came more and more negative thoughts.  My Garmin seemed to be broken because the tenths of miles crept by.

Then, there it was…the finish line.  I have never been more happy to see a finish line.  I scanned the crowd looking for my biggest fan who was on photo duty but couldn’t spot him.  I finished in 40:20.  Almost a personal worst.  Part of me felt defeated that the race got the best of me and that I am so incredibly out of shape.  But the other part of me was incredibly glad that I crawled out of bed for 3.1 miles.  Even though they were slow, miserable, and painful, they were still miles and I have another race under my belt.

thankful that I had someone to get my big frown at the finish line.

thankful that I had someone to get my big frown at the finish line.

I finally saw TJ and he gave me a big sweet and sweaty kiss.  Bless his heart.  We got me some water and a big ole cinnamon bagel.  There was no reason to endure the cold any longer so we left as soon as we got refreshments.  Thank God it was over.  Yes it was a bad race.  Yes I seem negative.  But overall I’m just happy that I did it and got my March race in.  There’s always next year.

bagel me.

bagel me.

Strawberry Plains 10k: Race Recap

When I set out to do one race per month this year, I had trouble coming up with a February race.  There isn’t a Valentine’s themed race in my area, so I was at a loss for which one to pick.  Luckily our local track club puts together a 10k/half marathon race in a neighboring town.  After convincing my friend Robyn to do the 5k with me, I signed up and added it to the calendar.  I’ve only ever done one 10k and it only had 6o people running it so I was up for a  new experience outside of my comfort zone.

We were lucky enough to pick up our race packets the night before at a sporting goods store.  I was grateful for this because it meant sleeping in a little longer than usual.  Our shirts had donkeys on the front which made me giggle a little bit even though they definitely were not my style.  Fortunately I was able to get a great night’s rest the night before so I woke up fairly easy on race morning feeling very Olympic.  (if you don’t get the Cool Runnings quote then we can’t be friends)

On race day we met up with Robyn and basically just hung out until the race started.  Robyn and I milled in towards the back and waited for the gun to go off.  I knew that I wasn’t going to have a stellar race since I haven’t been running very much, but I did know that anything faster than my first (and only) 10k would be totally acceptable to me. The course was an out and back so I was able to gauge where I was at by the number of runners passing me on the opposite side.  The first mile or so was torture.  My legs were tight, my lungs were on fire, and I just couldn’t find a groove.  Sometime around mile 2 I found my happy place and ran strong when I could but still took walk breaks.  Everyone who ran past me headed back to the finish line looked strong and I made sure to tell them good job.

I felt proud and strong until I hit the 5 mile mark.  The man standing by the mile marker had a stopwatch and was calling out times as people reached him.  I passed him at 60 minutes on the dot.  That was okay with me and I was pleased with my effort.  At that point, it was a sure PR for me and that made me happy.  My legs didn’t feel as great as they had earlier, but I was trucking right along and walked until I could see the finish line.  I was able to kick it in and look strong for the finish.

I finished with a solid time of 1:13:13.  Over an 11 minute PR for me from my first 10k.  I”ll take it.  I thought having two 13s in my time was a sign that good things were headed my way for 2013.   strawplains

After finishing and getting a big hug from a former track club president, I found my man and got a big old sweaty kiss.  Cheesy, right?  My main focus was to get water and to sit down.  We were able to chill for a quick bit before heading back out to watch Robyn kill it and meet her goal time by over 3 minutes!  So proud of her and everyone else who met their goals at the race.

It was a great race and I was so thankful to have done it, to have my friends do it, and to have someone cheering for me at the finish line.  It wasn’t my best effort and I was not trained for it, but I’ll take an 11 minute PR any day.

Race Recap: Race Against Racism 5k

To celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, my friend Brittney and I decided to do a local race to raise awareness to combat racism.  I’ve done this race before and love how low key it is.  The day started off on the wrong foot when Brittney called to say she was at the race site but that no one was there.  There is no greater panic that goes through you when you think you may have missed a race or looked at a date or time wrong.  But we drove around for a bit and realized we had just gone to the wrong location.  Whew, no worries.

Packet pick up was a breeze.  I decided to register on the day of the event in case something was to come up and I would be out 15 bucks.  Only downside was no race shirt.  Such a bummer.  We ran into a few people we know from our community and chatted and just relaxed until the race start.  There was also some snow left on the ground, so we took turns writing white messages.  I was loving the laid back feel to what we were about to do.

Snow what?

Snow what?

Before race day, I had stopped walking/running due to some knee and shin pain.  I didn’t want to cause an injury so I just let my body rest from my exercise streak and took time to let it work itself out.  My shins were slightly hurting on race day, but nothing to be incredibly worried about.  We lined up towards the back and decided that we would each run our own pace and not be concerned with staying together.  Running with someone is great, but I’m just as much of a fan as running my own race.  There were no pre-race announcements, no national anthem, and no gun shot.  People just started running.  Weird, but at least there were no jitters.

We were off and up the hill that we started on.  Brittney and I ran together for maybe half a mile then I let her go on and do her thing.  I would definitely classify this course as hilly and the hills brought me to a walk more often than not.  I tried to keep a consistent running effort and took walk breaks when I needed to.  The entire time after Brittney left me I could see her in the distance so maintaining contact on a point to point course helped me run more than I walked.  On almost every corner there were mobs (like groups of 30) people standing with signs and noisemakers and were doing anything they could to get us motivated.  Some folks made arches for us to run through with their hands, others offered high fives.  Greatest crowd support I’ve ever witnessed at a race, let alone a 5k.

As I began the third mile, I just decided to put my best foot forward and make it up the last big hill.  It was brutal and long.  But once I got to the top, my Garmin clocked me at about 2.5 miles so I made the goal of running the rest of the way to the finish line.  And that I did.  Although my finish time isn’t anywhere near my current PR, I knocked about 1:30 off my 5k time from NYD and that was on a flat and fast course.  Overall I was happy with the effort of the day.  We could have been lying in bed like everyone else who had the holiday off.  takeone

Muddy Buddy Nashville Race Recap

When it comes to races, I prefer to stick to the road…getting dirty isn’t completely my style.  But then I got an email from Nuun asking if I wanted to participate in Muddy Buddy Nashville.  Sponsored by one of my favorite companies, a three hour drive, plus a race with my best friend?  Sign me up.

We opted for a later start time since we would be driving to Nashville the morning of the race.  Note to self:  listen when the race website says DO NOT trust your GPS directions.  We got insanely lost on backroads and stopped to ask for directions four separate times.  Eventually we ended up at a fire department to ask for help on how to get there.  Mr. Mike the handsome firefighter was so kind and even gave us their (his) phone number in case we got lost again.  

After finally making it to the race we started seeing runners come down the long gravel road!  Yeehaw it is race time.  We were able to pick up our packets and drop off our bags before our wave started.  Little did I know that we were the very last wave of the whole day.  No pressure.  Ashley and I decided on the drive that this was purely for fun and that even if we walked the whole way then it would still be exciting.  Glad we made that pact since it was about 92 degrees when we started.  

The course was basically a series of random obstacles-rope climbs, balance beams, climbing over walls and elbowing your way under nets.  I couldn’t imagine doing the obstacles in addition to actually racing. Ashley zoomed right through every obstacle and often had to coach me on where to place my feet/hands so having her support was really beneficial and encouraging. Eventually we made it withing hearing distance of the finish line which only meant one thing: mud pit.  This is what we looked forward to the most.   

We took no prisoners in that mud pit and just dove straight in.  I was surprised to how liquidy the most was instead of being a semi solid texture.  But we made it through and crossed the finish line with a smile on our face and mud in our teeth.  By the time we made it to the shower section they were out of water so Ashley used what little water was left while I jumped in the “swimming pool”.  

Overall it was a great race.  This is probably something I won’t ever do again because I personally would not get my money’s worth due to the non competitive nature of it but it was so much fun to do a race with my best friend, get a little dirty, and have some cool pictures to show from it.  Thanks again to Nuun for allowing us the opportunity!  

Running with the Cows Half Marathon: Race Recap

Continuing on from my last post, here is “the rest of the story” about my trip to Kansas. (I went there to run a half, after all).

After a glorious night of sweet slumber we woke up on the call of our first alarm the next morning.  I’m a morning shower kinda gal so while I got all cleaned up, Kelsey fixed her morning breakfast.  That shower gave me a lot of time to think about the race I had ahead of me, but unbelievably I had no nerves.  Shocker!  We hit the road as soon as we got ready and cruised down the highway singing some country jams with a side of PitBull.  Unfortunately for us traffic was super backed up!  Small roads and lots of people don’t mesh super well, but thank goodness the race directors took this into account and delayed the race.

sad that we are missing pre-race festivities.

After a quick trip to the port-a-potty, K1 and I hopped in line near the 2:20 pacers and wished each other luck.  Since I hadn’t exactly “trained” going into this I repeatedly told her to go on without me as soon as she was able.  Not soon after we crossed the start, K1 took off and I was left to chat it up with the pace group.  It was my first time running with a group like this but listening to the conversations sure did help time go by a lot faster.  Since the course was an out and back, I was super surprised at how much camaraderie there was among the front of the packers.  Typically those close to the front are quiet and don’t say anything–but this time they were clapping, high fiving, and yelling words of encouragement at those of us near the back.  Seeing that was a proud moment for me as a runner.

Going into this race, I thought Kansas was nothing but wide open fields and flat farmland.  Boy was I wrong.  Kansas gave Knoxville a run for her money with all the hills we “ran” into.  I made it to the four mile mark with the pace group then decided that I could not hold that pace for the rest of the race and the hills so I quietly backed off and let them pass.  There were multiple aid stations on the course–some even offering chocolate!  My kinda race!  The sun beating down on me seemingly made my thirst levels rise so I took way too many waters and Gatorades.  Around mile 9 my “pace chart” that I had Sharpied to my forearm had been sweated off and I was feeling the pain that comes with any long distance race event.  After the 2:35 pace group passed me I knew that this race wouldn’t even come close to my PR that I had just set one month ago.

schaweeeeet medal. not stopping until i get it!

Promptly passing the ten mile marker my stomach got the past of me and I stopped to throw up.  Luckily it was just pure liquid and nothing to make me feel even more sick.  That was the point I decided to just walk the 3 miles back to the finish line.  I walk three miles with my Momma all the time back home so I knew I had it in me.  Seeing the finish line and hearing my sweet new friend Kelsey proudly ringing her cowbell and screaming “GO GIRL” at me made the finish so entirely worth it.

straight up after finishing.

Every finisher got a great medal and a cowbell!  Mine was Tennessee orange–coincidence, obviously.   The post race part was to die for.  They had so many different things to drink (I opted for chocolate milk) in addition to fares like hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, and LOTS of baked goods made by local moms.  Did I eat any of it?  Heck no, my stomach would have murdered me.  We did however collect our free t-shirts since we had painted our nails with cows on them.  K1 was also able to cash in on a sweet medal she got for completing the Heartland Series 39.3- a three half marathon race series.  Way to go, Kelsey!

showing some Kelsey love.

Mooooove over Manicures

After a relaxing drive home and some MUCH needed showers, we were off to get some frozen yogurt and enjoy shopping.  The locals didn’t much approve of my Norts combined with compression sleeves.  Shortly following my comment that I was craving pizza, Kelsey’s parents called to invite us to a pizza buffet for her little brother’s birthday.  They must have ESPN or something…but we caved.  I gladly piled my plate full of every pizza offered including macaroni/cheese pizza (perfect carbo load, right?) and Kelsey ate her weight in salad.

post run fro-yo. an obvious given.

see anything wrong with this photo?

Overall the Running with the Cows Half Marathon was a fantastic race!  The shirts and medals were flawlessly designed, the packet pick up was a breeze, the course support and aid stations were well stocked and had ridiculously awesome volunteers, and the post race food was something to be rivaled.  Not to mention they realized the traffic incident and delayed the race to accommodate everyone.  Everyone was so nice and really made a Southern girl feel welcome.  Although this wasn’t my best race, the race itself was phenomenal and hopefully I can return sometime and do it again!  Huge thanks to my girl/twin/sister Kelsey for hosting me and showing me a great time!  Definitely a weekend to remember!

Spring Sprint 5k: Race Recap

Last year on my birthday I chose to run a 5k to celebrate.  But this year has been a lot busier and in an effort to be financially responsible I decided to sit this year out and just celebrate some other way…until my friend Michelle was all like “oh let’s do this race for your birthday and I’ll pay for you as your present”.  Umm, let me think about that….YES.  So we signed up for the Spring Sprint 5k, a super low key race near our town that is part of a triple crown series.

Race morning was super easy and we couldn’t have prayed for better weather.  The registration site was bustling but I noticed that most people at this race were a lot younger than I’m used to seeing.  A few elementary schools had their run clubs there and a lot of families were there to run the race.  We met up with Michelle and our good family friends, The Walkers. 

bunch of champs.

The race was not chip timed but we lined up closer to the back anyway.  In lieu of a gun, the announcer had an air horn that he blew to signal our start.  We were off!  I haven’t been feeling entirely too great this week and Michelle is still coming off her injury so we were expecting probably upwards of 32 minutes finish time.  Definitely not a PR for us like Greenways 5k.  But right after crossing the start line I busted tail to try and bank time.  We passed quite a few people and I was feeling pretty great.  We got to the first hill and people started to slow down so this was ample opportunity to pass.  I will say there were quite a few hills in this race, but also some downhills so it was easier to make up for lost time. 

I left Michelle then right after the one mile mark she caught back up and blazed past me!  See ya, keep running! After hitting 2 miles and checking Garmin I knew that I would for sure break 30 minutes again, but just couldn’t tell if it was a PR.  Our friend Kayla was right in front of me the entire race and I spent a good portion of the race chasing her.  On the last turn with .35 miles left and the finish line staring us down, I finally caught her.  At this point breathing was a luxury and I was on the verge of my grave.  And what did she do?  Looked at me all cheery and breathing normally “oh hey girl”.  I muttered a grumble of DO NOT TALK TO ME.  Then I told her we should pick it up to the finish line and of course she rocket boosts past me and bolts in to a strong finish.  I was able to pick it up too for the most part and had a strong finish. 

c'mon kelsey. work on that form for your finish.

Clock time/Garmin Time:  28:36    A new PR and another wall broken down.  Could not have been more proud at that moment but after stopping so abruptly I felt nothing but ill.  After inhaling gatorade and canned water (what a novel idea), I felt a lot better.  We decided to stick around for the awards ceremony to see how our times compared to our age group’s.  Although Michelle and I both got whooped, Kayla and her cousin both won in their ages which was a big HOORAH.  And I won a 25 dollar gas gift card.  That was better than any trophy. 

attempting to finger spell PR.

This race was a huge confidence boost for me after having a bit of a crappy run this week and having some shin and knee pain.  I can’t thank Michelle enough for being there and for paying for my entry.  Such a blessing!  It was a great way to celebrate my birthday and setting a new PR was just the icing on my birthday cake.  Right before we left Michelle gave me part 2 of my birthday present.  I think she knows me too well.

birthday present of the year award.

Ever got a PR after a bad week of training?  How do you celebrate your birthdays?  Would you ever run a race as a way of celebrating?  What is a cool birthday present you have received?