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Left Over 4 Miler Race Recap

21 May

Today I ran the Left Over 4 Miler race back in my home town, this race fit perfectly in my marathon training (I was scheduled for 4 this Sat anyways).  Before we get down how the race actually went let me explain how this unique race works.

The Left Over Run essentially is as it’s name implies, the bibs,  t-shirts, medals, and age group awards were all left over from previous races that were put on.  As a runner you don’t know what you are going to get!  Even the mile markers were left over from a previous race (Gulf Coast Half)

I ended up with a Cobia 5k shirt, Cobia 5k bib, Gulf Coast Half-Marathon medal (initially I had a tri medal but this guy asked if I would switch with him as he already had that medal) and a Crawfish 5k age group award ( more on that in a bit!).


Cobia Bib & Shirt, Gulf Coast 1/2 Medal, Crawfish 5k award, and my new favorite pair of shorts

I thought that this idea was really unique and a great way for organizers to “offload” some of their surplus without wasting it.

Starting with packet pickup, I’ve determined 2 things, either I shouldn’t be allowed to pick up my packet (most of the local ones I’ve had to get someone else to grab it for me as I was out of town, but now that I’ve moved back its a different story), OR these packet pickups shouldn’t be at the local running store (granted I could have done race day pickup).  I went in with the sole intention of ONLY getting my bib and t-shirt. What did I walk out with? A new pair of shoes and a pair of Donna Jo fitwear shorts (which I absolutely love might I add), and I had to stop myself from getting more gear.  Now I was going to be on the hunt for a new pair of shoes soon as I’m ramping into marathon training and my old pair definitely weren’t going to last the rest of the season, however with some recent medical expenses it wasn’t really the best time to be purchasing a pair.    That being said I’m excited to rotating these babies into my training!

Flash forward to this morning: I got up fed the pup, ate a banana, strapped on my gear and drove over to the beach for the run.  99.9% of the time I never wear the race day shirt to the actual race but given the uniqueness of the race I felt it appropriate.  I decided to run the race sans music partially because I just wanted to try and enjoy the race and partially because somehow my latest pump me up running music (Andy Mineo, Lecrae, KB, & Trip Lee currently) somehow was removed from my phone between my house and the beach (how in the world???).

Since I was only scheduled for 4 miles I thought that I would push myself, run hard and up my intervals so that when I cut back to my normal pace/intervals for longer runs I would be a little more conditioned (plus race day running always brings out a little more). Lately I’ve been oscillating between a 3/1 run/walk interval to a 5/1 interval, but today I upped it to a 6:30/1.  I had tried on a training run the other day to do an 8/1 but the heat was too much so I figured 6:30 would be a good compromise.

The start was neat as the starting arch had the logo’s of all the previous races/future races in the season (they even had someone walking around in a turkey suit from the turkey trot and crawfish from the crawfish 5k, unfortunately I didn’t snag a picture), and we had a 1 minute delay called the iHate(can’t remember his name but it was a local lawyer who had sponsored the race) delay. After the delay there was what sounded like a mini cannon and then we were off!


All of the logos for the past/future races, how am I so close to the start?


It was interesting for me because I’ve never really considered myself a fast runner, lately though I have been making great strides and PR’ing in my last few races and running at a pace I couldn’t image in the past.  At the start of the race it was surreal as I managed to keep the front of the packers in my sight until the first curve in the road.  Prior to my first walk break I somehow found myself as the 4th female in the race (2nd and 3rd were literally just steps in front of me), this was a position that I have never been in so it spurred me on, as was seen with my first mile which was a sub 8 minute mile!

The benefit to this race was that since it was on the beach it made for a fast and flat course, the negative it was hot!!! I think I was sweating just standing there before the start of the race. It was also an out and back (with a block turnaround) which was also helpful for shorter races as I could more easily tell where I was/how much I had left to go (yes I had my Garmin but seeing it there vs mentally/actually seeing the course is a bit different). I think being so close to the front of the pack (and my one of my fastest runs ever) spurred me on because with the exception of the first one I cut about 10-15 seconds from my walk breaks and went ahead and ran.

Throughout the race I started fishing, picking out a runner in front of me and would slowly reel them in and telling myself that I had to pass them before my next walk break came up, one by one I started picking off runners.  Coming down to the last 1/2-1/3 mile there were 2 girls up ahead of me, not quite in grasp but not terribly far, when I reached about 1/4 of a mile left in the race thats when I kicked it in to gear. I’ve been working on speed work lately and by golly I think it has begun to pay off as boy do I have a kick.  Literally one second before crossing the finish line I managed to catch up and pass one of the girls.

I thankfully grabbed my medal and quickly guzzled down a bottle of water and then 2 more glasses at the post race party.  The end result? My average pace ended up being 8:07! I was the 20th finisher overall, 4th female (only 5 seconds behind 3rd) and ultimately placed 1st in my age group!!!!!!! What? How did that even happen?

Technically I was 2nd in my age group but the overall female winner happened to be in my age group so I got bumped up 🙂 , ironically her name was also Holly (no e) and has the same last initial as me, so looking at the results you have Holly K & Holley K.IMG_1897

The post race party was great (can you really beat anything on the beach?) with live music, jambalaya, bananas and bagels, employees where it was held were also walking around with glasses of water and passing out jambalaya to runners.

Overall I really enjoyed the race (I always love running locally run ones), from the boy scouts at the water stop to the mystery of what swag you would get.  The only complaint I have about the race is that it was hot, it the race was bumped up even just an hour (it started at 8) it would have been much better.

I know this was probably a bit of a bore and long, and an obnoxious amount of () but I’m working to get back into the groove of things. Another PR is officially in the books (not hard when its your first 4 mile race) on to the next one!

My name is Holley and I by some miracle placed 1st in my age group today.


Braids, Shades,  &  Race Days (did I mention I love these shorts?!)



Santa Hustle Race Recap: When Plan B should have been Plan A.

30 Dec

Hey There!

Well once again its been awhile…. Obviously my resolution to be more consistent in blogging backfired in the reverse and I haven’t done a new in literally a year.  But there is always next year right? Time to focus get on point and finally say enough enough.  More on that another day today is time for another race recap.

Earlier in December I ran the Santa Hustle 1/2 Marathon in Sevierville, TN with one of my best friends. As I mentioned on facebook:

“When plan B is a road trip to Tennessee with one of your best friends to run a 1/2 marathon where they give you a Santa beard/hat and candy on the run (and helping said friend set a new PR) you wonder why it wasn’t plan A to begin with!”

So lets get this first part of out of the way. Why was this totally awesome race plan B? Well Plan A was actually to go to my companies Christmas cocktail party with dinner, dancing and the like with my boyfriend.  Can you guess what happened next? We broke up. While I could have easily gone to the Christmas on my own, I knew that I would have so much more fun road tripping with my bestie on a semi-last minute decision to run a 1/2 marathon (1/2 #6 for me!).

And boy was I not dissapointed. The weekend started with me driving to Auburn watching my friend graduate with her Masters in Math. She is actually going for her phD but officially received her masters (1/2 way there!!!).  After eating lunch with her family and fiance we were on the 5hr drive to Tennessee!

Filled with talking, laughter, and music we rolled into Olive Garden in Knoxville for some Carbs before finally making it to Sevierville (which I still can’t pronounce at all) for the night.

Our hotel was only about 1/2 mile from the race which was perfect and easy to get to as we had to wait for packet pickup in the morning.

Originally we were worried that it was going to be hot for the race (according to the weather) especially for a “Christmas” themed race. Thankfully it was actually pretty foggy and cool for the race (and the fogged cleared in time for our drive back!).

Sunday morning I throw on some KT Tape, chomp down on my trusty Luna bar and I am ready to go.

We get there early to pick up our packets which was a relatively easy process, they scanned your confirmation ticket with an Ipad, scan a bib and then you go to another table to pick up your shirt, beard and hat.

I was pleasantly surprised with the long sleeve 1/2 zip tech shirt. It was super comfortable, and as a plus it was unisex drifit and fit great. Sometimes when races have women’s dri-fit the shirts are waaaaaay too small, and sometimes when it is unisex its waaaaay to big, but this one just like goldilocks fit just right!

We took a quick pic with our santa beard and hat and then quickly shed them for the race.

At the start line they had an inflatable snowman and santa and alot of runners decked out in holiday gear. (This race was a goldmine if you participated in #RunChatHunt this year).

I won’t get into the gritty details of the race itself (as I am obviously out of blogging practice) but I will give you some of the highlights:

  • The race itself was one big out and back down the main road in Sevierville, going just into Pigeon Forge before turning back in. It wasn’t the most terribly scenic of routes but the fog lifted near the turn around so you could see some of the mountains.
  • The police/traffic personal for the race were great. All were friendly and generally seemed happy to be there.
  • There were a few slight hills but as Elizabeth and I decided from the start to run the race together I think our constant talking and cracking up defintely distracted from them as I hardly felt them at all.
  • For a Christmas themed race with promise of “Candy” and “Christmas music” there was a little lacking on both.  Both the candy stations (cookies and mini-m&ms) were fairly close together within the first 1.5-2 miles of the race. While I know some of this was probably for the 5k runners I think some of it should have been spread out for through the rest of the 1/2 marathon so you didn’t get it right at the front and at the end.
    • Same for Christmas music there wasn’t really as much Christmas music as I was expecting along the race.


      Candy! I think we were the only ones to grab any the first go round. Pardon our random faces it was while running.

  • The medals were fun! A 3-D spinning snowflake definitely added a little sparkle to the end of the race.


    Our fun medals!

  • While this was my slowest 1/2 yet it was defintely the most fun I’ve had on a run.  Elizabeth and I ran together the entire way and she had about a 10 minute PR on her 2nd 1/2!!!

Post race we ran back to the hotel to shower and then drove back to Auburn. I immediately had to drive another 1.5 hours back home and went straight to my Sunday Schools game night.  I think they may stop inviting me because I’ve won every game night we have had so far… 😉

Looking back I don’t even know why this race was plan B to begin with. It most definitely should have been my plan A++. It was a blast and I can’t wait for the next one.

My name is Holley and I am getting back into the swing of things (for real this time).

Rock N Roll NOLA Recap: Part 2

6 Feb

Well here it is what you have all been waiting for. My recap of race day and the day I completed my goal of running a marathon. For part 1 of my recap which covered the expo you can click here.

So this post will covered everything (well as much as I can remember or can put into words ) that happened just a few short days ago on Feb. 2.

Sunday Feb 2.

After signing up for the FMRMC challenge (You can see my post on my declaration of my marathon goal here) in May it was hard to believe that I was about to run a marathon.  The night before I told my mom and brother that we had to be in the car and on the way to drop me off (the start line was about 3 miles from the finish where their parking space was so that would have to drop me off in the designated runner drop-off area) that we had to be out of the hotel and in the car by 5:45 at the latest.

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So Close to race time!!

I woke up aroung 4:30/4:45 and started getting ready. I ate my handy dandy, always eat before a run Luna bar, put on some body glide (which ended up being a life saver let me tell you!) put on my race day outfit and took a couple of pics with my mom. Somehow my outfit was completly orange and purple (orange shirt, orange socks, orange hairtie, orange flipBelt, attempted orange nails with stupid nailpolish that wouldnt dry right, purple sports bra, purple pants, purple race bib, purple headband).

Finally we left the hotel (After my mom and brother were moving a little slow) and were on the way to the start line, albiet later than planned. Perhaps I should mention that I stress out if I’m running late and like to be extremely early to things, so naturally running late I started to stress out.

My mom dropped me off at the runner dropoff area and they went to the finish line ot find their parking spot.  I went and had to walk a few blocks with runners as far as I could see to the starting park whichc had gear check (with rows and rows of UPS trucks), port-a-potties (with lines as far as the eye could see) and a few light refreshments (like bananas).  Since I wasn’t able to meet up with my running group the night before (hotel far away and I was ready for dinner at 4:30)  I wanted to be able to meet up with them before the start, so I immediately jumped in the bathroom line. Slowly but surely it I finally was able to use the restroom and I heard that one unfortunate sole did not have a zipper on their pocket and their phone dropped into the port-a-potty!!! Bye Bye phone!

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After this I went straight to my corral as it was getting close to race time.

Unfortunately I did not even realize how far away my corral was. I was in corral 15 and instead of finding a road intersection to skip the first few corrals I started from the Elite and corral 1 and had to walk what seemed like forever and a day to make it to my corral. When I got there I found my running group! I found John who was running the half, Beth who was running the full and Tess (our leaders adult daughter) who had signed up for the full but was just going to run the half.

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From my corral looking forward

Did I mention there was a butload of people running this race? I just checked and it looks like it was just shy of 12,500 who finished the race (of those approximately 2,700 completed the marathon).  It took about 27 minutes from the official start of the race until I got to cross the start line.  They had the waves spread out about 2 minutes apart in order to help with crowd control and to get runners at least some sort of space.

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Finally made it to the starting line!

We got to the start line and then the let our corral lose on the city of New Orleans. Almost immediately I split off from my running group as I was doing a 2:30/1:00 interval for the race and they were doing other intervals. Before I go into the actual race here is a pic of the route:



How did I not see this crazy elevation map (the last 6 miles) until now?

The first 1/2 of the race (shown in purple) wasn’t too bad. It was pretty crowded because it consisted of both the marathoners and the halfers but with the waved start there was still plenty of room to maneuver around people. Unfortunately New Orleans doesn’t have the best roads and it was filled potholes so that didn’t help too much and with having an interval plan I was kinda forced to stick to the sides on the crappier parts of the road so that I wouldn’t get in everyone’s way during my walking portions.  I actually saw a good amount of people and heard a good amount of beepers that indicated that people were doing some sort of run/walk interval technique for this race and it made me feel more at home.

The long out and back portion during this first part has some really pretty scenary. We ran by old historic houses and were huge and I’d say classic NOLA. There were some sections that had beautiful oak trees (at least I think oak) that lined the path and some of the trees even had mardi gras beads in them.  I took a few pictures during walk breaks some ended up kinda blurry and continued on.  Because it was near homes and some businesses there were plenty of spectators around (many with dogs) watching runners go by. Many had signs, and a few were giving out beer and the cheer sections were very enthusiastic.  A few people were dressed up as the characters from Monster Inc and had a sign that said “Nobody got time for Christopher Walken”.  Apparently someone had a sign (that I unfortunately misssed) that said something like “Run like the Tardis is waiting for you”. I got several high-fives and did a “touch here for power” on a sign and tried to enjoy the music both around me and coming from my ipod.

The first few water stops were extremely congested (especially being in the 15th corral) with cups and people everywhere.  Personally I think they should have had the water stops on both sides (they did for some of the later ones) so that people were not all forced to one side causing a bottleneck and slowing down.

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It didn’t take too long before I passed the 5:30 pace group for the marathon and I was feeling pretty good and excited at my potential finish time.

Anyways, before too long I could hear some cheering ahead and looking across the street you could see the race leaders and the pace bikes as they had long ago made the turn around and were heading back in. One thing that is great about the running community is that everyone is so supportive of everyone else.  I crossed the 5k mark in about 34:00 minutes and then the 10k mark at 1 hr 10 which was right on pace for my targeted time and a good pace to stay at, not too fast and not too slow.  Right around the 10k is when things started to change a bit.  The forecast for the race was rain and thunderstorms and up until this point there hadnt been any actual rain.  Around the 10k mark it started to rain some and then proceeded to get pretty humid and foggy.  Even though I had on some dry-wick socks I stepped in a puddle and got my shoe wet and ended up running in wet socks for about 20 miles (no fun). At one point around the French Quarter it got so foggy you could harldy see in front of you. Some spectators at this point even had pieces of donuts they were passing out to runners, but I (wisely) passed and continued on with my run.

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See how foggy and wet! You can hardly see the rocker dude, it was worse at other parts

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Why couldn’t I stop at Cafe Du Monde right then and there?

We run through the lower portion of the French Quarter and continue along at are between miles 12 and 13 when one of the first really hard things happened: the split from the halfers.

I wish I had taken a picture but it was during my running portion so I couldn’t but picture this: your reaching the split, you can hear the finish line music and celebration but you know that you still have 13 miles to go. They tell the fulls to keep to the left and the halfers to the right. What it looks like at this point is a packed can of sardines (not really but in comparison) on the right and an empty can with only 1.5 sardines on the left. It was here that you could really tell that there were 8,000 more people running the half than the full and you begin to wonder “what in the world gave me the idea to run a full?”

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So I continued along with the straggle of marathoners it it was here that I basically had open road. There was plenty of space around me and water stops from here on out were never a croud issue.  Just pass the 1/2 marathon spot I spotted my mom and brother (who I later found out got a little lost trying to find the parking lot and were afraid that they would get lost again so stayed near the finish the entire time so that they wouldn’t miss me, instead of exploring NOLA for a bit). I had slow down a little bit at this point (but still at a fairly good and regular pace, some of the slow downs attributed to the crowded water stops) and had passed the 1/2 point at 2:34 which put me on pace for a 5:10ish marathon (which I was estatic about). Back to the family. I spotted my family and my mom had the camera and a sign that said “GO Holley, Go Holley, Go Holley and Charlie” (I think she ment to say love Charlie, my dog, because he most certainly wasn’t running this race).  They gave me a bottle of water and my brother jogged with me for a short bit, which I thought was pretty sweet considering he was wearing jeans. He asked how I was doing and if I was going to make it, (and if I was near a walk break which unfortunately I wasn’t) took the bottle back and then I was off again.  Around here you could see the super speedy runners who were close to mile 25 (seriously how do people run that fast?) and spectators were genuinely cheering for both those at 25 and myself near mile 14.

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Now this 1/2 of the race was honestly pretty boring. There was literally nothing out there. There was much fewer spectators as there wasn’t many houses and towards the end of the out and back it basically just cement and Lake Ponchatrain (did I spell that right?) as far as the eye can see. Unfortunately it was not too long after that things started to go downhill for me. I’ve done a 24 mile run for training and a couple of other 20+ milers but this one just seemed to be much more difficult. For one thing my socks were wet and running in wet socks is no fun at all. For another somehow at mile 13 I did something to my ipod shuffle (I normally use my phone) and had it repeating on the same 3-4 songs for who know how long and then at another point somehow had it off (I guess a song didn’t play right or something) and didn’t notice for awhile. For another my stomach had started to bother me, perhaps it was the nerves, or the humidity combination but it was just not feeling right. As a result I took far fewer energy chews than I normally do because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep them down (and it seemed rather hard to chew for some reason at this point).  And then finally we had the bridges. Bridges that I did not really even expect to be coming up.

Now driving over a bridge is no big deal but running over 3-4 (two times on the out and back) is just torture, I ended up walking up most of them to try and save energy.  In all this uck my legs were getting tired and I began to negotiate with myself adding in another walk break here and there (which I know was a bad idea and I should have pushed through because this messed up my entire rhythm).

Everything seemed to go on in slow motion. It was around mile 18 that the 5:30 pace group surpassed me and I knew that I was in trouble (time wise) and that my awesome time wasn’t going to be so hot.

Meanwhile this stretch seems to go on forever and you almost begin to give up hope that the turnaround will ever come. Finally you hear several runners (who are ahead of you running in the opposite direction as they have made the turnaround) encourage you and those nearby you that it is indeed coming up soon. Sure enough just past mile 19 half way up yet another bridge was the turnaround.  Now someone please tell me, why would you have a turnaround half way up a bridge? That is just torture.   I crossed the 20 mile mark at 4:17 still slowing down (if I had fresh legs I could have finished the last 6 in just over an hr but that was definitely not the case).


Mile 23ish? I was exausted but still able to cheeze for the camera

I reach about mile 22 when I see Beth coming from the opposite way. I say hello and cheer her on, she is almost to the turnaround. I’ve really slowed down now and ended up switching my intervals to the opposite. What I should have done was stop my watch and then change the intervals to a 2:00/1:00 or a 1:30/1:00 but of course I didn’t.  At some point along the course I yelled “War Eagle” to another runner and at another point a spectator with martini glasses and a bullhorn had on a Florida outfit. I “ran” by doing the Seminole Tomahawk Chop in which she replied with some witty banter, it helped to put a little bit more pep in my step.

This point in the race was were you have to be mentally prepared. Most of the faster runners have already completed the race and there is some distance between yourself and others at some points. I would keep talking to myself saying “only X more miles to go, you can do this, your almost there…” etc. And if I haven’t mentioned it before my cognitive and math skills go far out the window when it comes to long runs so some of this, if spoken out loud, would have been extremely amusing to hear I’m sure.  At one point my watch died which is another indicator that the second half of my race was going much slower than anticipated. Of course it would have died unless I was under a 5 hr marathon but thats besides the point. Mentally it is a devasting blow. Originally I had borrowed my mom’s interval time and I was going to use it becasue I knew that my watch would die before the end but unfortunately hadn’t had time to learn how to use it so I decided against it.  Thankfully though I had brought my phone in my flipbelt and had an interval app on it. That ment no more music and random beeps in my ears for however many miles I had left to go, but it was far better then nothing.

I finally make it to mile 25 and the last water stop where I am practically dragging my feet. My entire upper body and head are like “yeah lets do this” while my legs are screaming “please stop!”. I get to the water stop and who do I see but my wonder running group leader Tammy. She walks with me for short bit and asks how I am doing (honestly I’m kind of surprised that I’m coherant at this point).  I’ll be honest (and kind of mad at myself) I walked the majority of the last mile because it feels like there was no end in sight. On top of that at about 25.5 there was a steep (extremely steep if you had just be running for hours on end) footbridge, or maybe cars went over it too couldn’t tell you at this point with photographers at the bottom. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment.  I finally wind around this loop and here people telling me “your almost there”, which I was hesitant to believe but sure why not.

I see Tammy again and some white barriers and she tells me to smile when I cross the finish line for a good picture (I tried honestly but looking back at the pic, which I will post in a bit, in my head I looked alot better than what I actually did, lol). And then another guy tells me that there is only .2 mile left to go. Then kick it into gear and pass by some people walking near me.  I can hear the music and finally I can see the finish line and the people lining up near the shute. I’m so close I am determined as ever to finish this race. There was never a doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t finish the race, although for a brief second or two during the tougher parts you almost want to think about it before you tell yourself to snap out of it.


Eye on that Finish Line Prize!


Now where was I? I’m closing in on the finish line maybe 150 feet out and I reach the edge of the crowd that is lining the finish line and they cheer for me when the unthinkable happens. MY IPOD FALLS OFF OF MY SHIRT AND ONTO THE GROUND!!!! I then had to waste precious time to turn around, bend down (ugggh) and get the ipod. Seriously of all times for it to do it it is at the very end of the race?  I grab my ipod at start running to the finish line (once again), I seriously am almost crying at this point and was probably seconds from tears. I can’t believe that I have done this and come this far on my running journey in such a short period of time. I lift my hand up in the air Rocky style (and no I haven’t seen the movies) and I have officially finished a marathon!

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Sweet race bling on a strand of mardi gras beads!

My official time was 6 hours 0 minutes and 20 seconds. While I know it didn’t take 20 seconds to get my ipod, if it hadn’t of dropped and I had done one extra running instead of walking interval I would have been in the 5 hr range.  While extremely excited I quickly became a little dissapointed at myself. I went from the chance of running a 5:10ish marathon to running one in 6 hrs. What can I say it is the competitive spirit within me pushing myself to do better that I know that I could have done much better.  I keep reminding myself however, how far that I have gone in terms of running in the past 9 months. That certain things couldn’t be controlled with the race such as weather, my stomach, etc that probably effected how I did, and that I have never run a full fledged marathon before. I accomplished something that the majority of the world would never even dream to accomplish.  I ran 26.2 miles (over 138,000 feet). I went to bed early on a Friday night when most of my peers were staying up late partying,etc so that I could get up early on Sat morning and run. I woke up at 4:30 am on some occasions (ended up having to run most of the mid week runs on my own because even that was too early for me) to make it to a 5 am group run in the middle of the week.  And if I have to I will continue to tell myself this over and over and over again any time some seed of doubt or some thought of judgement or comparison starts to creep into my mind.  Everyone is on a different journey. Sure some people finished the marathon in under 3 hrs, and to some people this was this 18th millionth marathon.


I did it! I ran a marathon!!

But I have to remember that :

My name is Holley and I am on my own running journey and I ran a marathon in 6 hrs.

(P.s) I was going to include post race stuff, what I did in NOLA, etc but realized how long this post was getting, so instead of 3 parts there will now be 4. Part 3 will be post race and Part 4 will be what’s next in my running journey.

(P.p.s) I decided to buy my race photos this go around (even though they were kinda expensive, but I completed a marathon people!) and have included some on here with a mix of some of my own photos. Of course many of my photos look crazy bad (personally to me) and some of them just so happened to be on a walk interval so they look like I’m doing nothing….


Rock N Roll NOLA RECAP: Part 1

5 Feb

OK. So I figured that I would split up my race recap into three (ish) parts, part 1 (which is here) will be about the expo and pre-race stuff, part 2 (which should be up tomorrow) will be about race day, and part 3 (which will be up either Sat or Sun) will be about what to do next now that I’ve accomplished my goal.

First thing first, when writing this I realized that I had not transferred my pictures over yet from my phone/camera so I will go ahead and publish this as is, but when I get home (currently writing during a break at school on a lab computer) I will strike this out and insert the pictures. I didn’t want to deprive y’all of a post so I will start without the pictures. (Race shirt and another will be shown tomorrow they are in the wash I believe).

Sat. Feb 1

My Saturday started really early. I had driven home to Pensacola from school the day before and Saturday was when we were officially driving to New Orleans! My dad unfortunately couldn’t make it because he was on call for work and couldn’t get anyone to swap days with him at work. Bummer. So my mom and I started off early by dropping Charlie off at the vet’s office to be boarded for the weekend. (With my dad on call he could have ended up anywhere and may have had to spend the night somewhere, thus was unable to watch him for us). We drove through Mobile and picked my brother up at his dorm room and then we officially were on the way! I still couldn’t believe that this weekend was already here (and as I type this I couldn’t believe that I have finished a marathon!).

We went straight to the expo when we had got there. I was hoping that we would have gotten there early enough for a tweet-up that the race was holding with two twitter runners that I had been talking to and following as of late but our trip was delayed a bit at various stops and we didn’t make it in time.

We get to the gigantic convention center where the expo was being held and lo and behold in the room (ballroom whatever) right next to the expo upstairs they were holding auditions for So You Think You Can Dance. (I’ve never really watched the show that much honestly, and was surprised that they were still on air I suppose).  I figured I would put all the auditionees to shame with my mad dance skills (NOT!) so I decided against auditioning that day.

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We get to the expo and it was the hugest thing I have ever seen. Most of the races I have done have been really little (in comparison) and only a couple of them actually had expos but they were tiny compared to RNRNOLA. They had a red carpet directing you inside to pickup your packet, shirt and goody bag along with a countdown clock until race time.

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At this point my mother was driving me slightly insane. For some reason she was far more than her usual self and I wondered what she put in her coffee she was oddly hyper. Thankfully my brother saw my annoyance and intercepted in order to wrangle some of her energy.

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After pickup the first area that you go into (which is about ½ of the room or so) is the Brooks sponsored area.  They had tons of running clothes (from the generic to the New Orleans specific). I ended up getting a cute tank top with a picture of Louisiana on it (there will be a pic) and a long sleeve gray shirt (that was actually a men’s shirt but super comfortable) that said Rock and Roll New Orleans Marathon on it (and I may have worn it to school yesterday) and then my mom bought myself and her a lightweight running cap.

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They had this neat little “Island” area where you went in and got your “passport” and then they had three different stations from a gate analysis, mechanical shoe (instead of mechanical bull) and this neat little racing up a volcano thing. If you did all three things, you would get a stamp and then could get a tote cooler thing. We opted not to do the events but went straight to the marketplace. On your passport was a QR code. The people there would scan the code and you would win anything from a pair of Brooks shoes (pretty rare to get, but the people behind me got it), a t-shirt, foam finger or a small plastic tote.  My brother and I both won t-shirts and my mom won the tote.

From there we went to the other half of the expo where tons of different retailers and such all had booths. There were things from massage sticks to headbands, compression socks to GU gels and everything in between.  To keep this post from getting to long I’ll skip to some of the highlights.

I ended up getting 2 pairs of running socks as I needed some more dry-wick socks and tried and voted for the RNR official GU flavor (I picked the salted watermelon one). We went to the Geico booth where you got a pair of shoelaces and a car decal for the race and could spin the wheel to be sponsored by Geico and win some pretty nice stuff from them. Didn’t win on the wheel (but of course the guy behind me does, ugghh).  They had some people from previous Biggest Loser seasons there which was pretty neat. I stop by the FlipBelt booth as I was looking to get another belt but unfortunately due to the stupid winter and ice storm their shipment didn’t get in in time so they only had XL belts, but they did give me a coupon code to get 20% off online (which I will for sure be doing). I absolutely love my flipbelt and can’t wait to get a second one. Then my mom paid for a parking pass that would guarantee us somewhat decent parking and we were done with the expo.

Almost forgot! I also got my 26.2 Marathon Magnet to go on my car!!!

We were at the expo much longer than expected and were starving. Ended up just getting snacks and heading to the hotel with the plan for an early dinner. Our hotel was pretty far from the actually expo (and resulting start line for the race) but we got it free through rewards points so can’t complain much there. We asked for suggestions from the front desk and at about 4:30 we went off to eat dinner. Somehow we ended up a primarily seafood restaurant (I hate seafood and used to get sick at the smell of it) that had okay food (although the fried eggplant sticks were pretty awesome) but extremely slow service. They had even gotten my order wrong so I had to wait even longer for my chicken pasta (did I mention that I was starving?).

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Fast forward back to the hotel where I laid out my running clothes for the next day, made sure that my gym bag was packed with my change of clothes and anything I would need/want immediately post race and I was off to bed at around 8:45/9:00ish.

My name is Holley and in a nutshell that was my day before my marathon.

Auburn Classic (Race Recap)

24 Jan

So obviously I’ve been failing alot lately (I feel like this post is totally de ja vu or however you spell it), I fell off the wagon with janathon (even though I did quite well with junathon) and some of my other goals are slightly out the window. So for the last time. I’m sorry.

I’ve decided now though that I need to stop appologizing and get to working. So no more sorrys from me. I’ve still been working out (mostly) and as you know (or probably don’t since I’ve been blog slacking) my FIRST ever MARATHON!!!! is coming up in just over a week (8 days 20 hours and 4 minutes from the initial point of this writing to be exacty, but whose counting?).

So as I’m leading up to this marathon I plan on getting up some race recaps (that never seem to get posted) in order to help me get back on track.  After my marathon I will then decide what I need to do in terms of blogging (it will still happen just need to set a strict schedule or something for myself).  And maybe work on not using as many () but if I do still overly use them then I am not appologizing for it. 🙂

So to start off my race recaps I’ll get into a race that I did last Sat.  For my training run I only needed to do 6 miles (as I am in the dreaded and uncertain taper time).  Lo and behold there was a 10k and 1/2 marathon going on in Auburn at the same time. Obviously I knew about this ahead of time and my running group decided that we would all use it as our training runs with the marathon peeps doing the 10k and the 1/2 ers doing the 1/2 (and a few of them used it as their actual race as they will not be traveling down to NOLA with us).

The Auburn Classic was awesome and very well put together (much better organized and sponsored than the 10k I did back in March/April where they ran out of food and water, even though it had a much more exciting finish on the 50 yard line inside the football stadium).  Back to the race at hand. It was organized by the local running club AORTA (Auburn Opelika Running (or is it Racing) Track Association) and had many sponsors including the favorite local running store Big Dog Running Company.  The had a nice little expo the day of packet pickup and the goody bag had a lot of little coupons a water bottle from one of the sponsors and a pretty nice technical shirt, which I will try to post a picture of when I get home.

Race day conditions weren’t the most ideal, although I did get to sleep in as the race wasn’t until 7:30 when we normally run at 6:00 Sat mornings.  It was freezing! That darn polar vortex made it about 25 degrees (and with the wind chill probably much colder), but they did have a few heat lamps set up down where the expo was, which made the anticipation for start time even more high strung.  Even with the cold weather there was still about 400+ runners that came out for the race with more people surprisingly opting for the 1/2 over the 10k. And there was approximately 100 or runners in a shadow run in the middle east with some of the U.S. soldiers stationed there.

I met up with most of my running group so that we could take a pre-race picture, unfortunately our valiant leader had come down with a leg injury so she was unable to race (and wont be able to run the marathon anymore) but she came in the cold to support us all.


Most of the Group Pre-Race (Amanda and Craig in the back ran their 1st 1/2 marathon!!)


I opted to up my interval times to a 4 minute run 1 minute walk for this race just to add a bit more endurance, which will hopefuly help when I drop down to lower intervals for the marathon.  After the national anthem we were off and running (literally). I quickly broke off from the rest of my running group as we were running at different interval times and soon it was just me (and obviously the other runners around me that I didn’t know). I didn’t run with music for this race for several reasons.  1. I’ve gotten used to not running with music as I normally have been running with someone who was my same pace, unfortunately she was in the Florida Keys that weekend for her goal race 1/2 marathon so it was just me. 2. My dog ate my running headphones and I hade not had time to go and get a new pair (more stories on the pup later I know yall have been missing them).  So I have been debating now if I am going to use music during my marathon, what do you think should I?

The course was hilly (although not too bad), which granted any race set in Auburn is going to be full of hills, which should help with the flat race of New Orleans. But it was wonderfully staffed. There were a multide of volunteers at traffic lights and intersections all very pleasant and cheering you on. There was not one opportunity for someone to get lost (like the finish on the 50 race) as there was always a volunteer pointing you in the right direction. And for standing out in the freezing cold not moving much they all seemed like they were having a good time.

Maybe it was the cold and wind but I felt like I was running extremely slow (even though I wasn’t and actually ran about 30 seconds faster than my 10k race in December). With my intervals obviously some people were passing me as they just ran the whole thing but as I got closer to the end I would eye certain people that either we would go back and forth or they were ahead of me that I decided in my head I wanted to pass at the finish line.  So for the last mile and a half during my run intervals I did a bit of speed(ish) work and would push hard to run faster. It paid off in the end because as we neared the finish line straightaway I put on the afterburners and was able to pass everyone that I had set out to pass.

I finished my 10k in 1 hr 3 minutes and 20 seconds and now (after my marathon) I have a new goal of breaking 1 hr for a 10k.  They had a fun dj at the finish line and after finishing I went to where the expo was set up and they had post race refreshments. They had muffins and bread from Panera Bread, doughnuts from a local doughnut shop, cupcakes , bananas fruit, water and whole containers of TrueMoo Chocolate milk! I have never had that brand of chocolate milk but let me tell you it was pretty good!


We are the last 2 standing for our group (for the marathoners that is)

I was the first one of my group to finish and as such my leader didnt see me cross the finish line (she had went to her car to grab a blanket but then realized that I may have already finished so she hurried back).  I stuck around and waited for the rest of the group to finish their race. Amanda was near the end and the sweetest thing happened. There was a bunch of ROTC guys in uniform and they escorted her to the finish. We later said that she did that on purpose so that she could have military guys bring her in.

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Yummy Chocoalte Milk!

They even had pretty neat little medals that everyone got for finishing the race and the top finishers in each category took home (I think) a giftcard to the local running store and 2nd/3rd places got a nice magnet with the race logo on it.

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Cold and windy finish!

All in all it was a wonderful race and I would definitely run it again!

Photo: Look what came in the mail yesterday!

Medals that all the finishers recieved

My name is Holley and it is just over a week until I run my first marathon!!!!!!!!!!!