Monday, December 3, 2012

I always start out in first place

I must admit, I do it for laughs.

When running in a 5K, I will stand in the front of the starting line knowing good and well that I will not be first across the finish line. Ever. For any race.

It just makes me chuckle, especially when I later see a photo of the race start.

I wear all the right clothing, have a waterproof heart rate monitor with GPS and even bring a race belt to these things. I look like a serious runner and, therefore, like I might be fast.

But I'm not. I'm slow. But that secret typically goes undetected for at least one minute into the race until I start getting passed ... then passed again ... and then passed again.

In fact, during a 5K I ran earlier in the year, I was talking to a guy after the race who told me his wife had sized up the other racers (there were only 40) before the gun went off, and she had decided I would be her biggest competition.

Now, that was funny. She ended up beating me by a couple minutes. I wonder when she figured out that I wouldn't be giving her any problems.

So, of course, I got in the front of the line at The Friends of the Wilmington Parks Seventh Annual 5K and 10K Run and 5K Walk to Promote Health and Community Fellowship Thanksgiving morning.

Made up of what appeared to be mostly students from Wilmington College or the high schools, I was the only old person up front.

After the starting gun fired, these kids were already blazing a trail. A minute later, I got into my pace, turned on my playlist and just enjoyed the scenic course.

Race organizers told me Thursday morning before I had to leave to come back to the News Journal office that there were at least 350 participants, but that they were still counting the numbers.

As of Thursday evening, according to the race's Facebook page, there were 469 timed participants. A record-turnout for the race, now in it's seventh year.

The excitement of seeing so many friends, the perfect running weather and a beautiful course all added up to a wonderful morning of racing - and I had a blast.

There was, however, a downside I would soon discover.

I haven't been training as much as usual lately, and, though I finished the race without struggle, I was able to observe a decrease in my stamina.

I typically get passed by others more than I pass them, but I felt like I was choking on more dust than usual.

I needed to put more people behind me ... but the energy just wasn't there.

With just a half a mile to go, Mötley Crüe's "Kickstart My Heart" showed up in my playlist. I paused it, knowing that would be a perfect song to get me going at the very end, and I ran a few minutes in silence.

As I turned the last corner, the finish line was in sight. I unpaused the high-energy music and picked up my pace.

A few seconds later, a man running with a stroller started to catch up with me. He, and the two other people with whom he was running, eventually passed me.

I said to myself, "OK, Lora. You cannot let someone pushing a stroller beat you. Pick up the pace a little and sprint to pass them at the very end."

Though I picked up my pace slightly, there was no sprint left in me. To make matters worse, the song slowed down at that point, going in to its bridge.

Of course it did.

Though I had to watch papa and his little one score a higher ranking than me, I actually was pleasantly surprised when I looked up the race results Friday afternoon.

As an unquestionable middle-of-the-pack runner, I was nearly dead center overall having placed 174 out of 349 in the 5K. I placed 76 out of 192 among the females and 28 out of 70 in my age group.

Given how sluggish I'd felt throughout the race, I thought for sure I was headed more toward the back-of-the-pack standings.

I am a very, very competitive person - at least in the things I know I can do well. Running isn't one of them, so even though I have the occasional small goal in a race, just to make it interesting, I'm able to just go out and have a good time.

Thanksgiving's turkey trot served not only as a reminder of how out of shape I am, but also of how grateful to God I am that my faculties are still intact and that I have the ability to just pick up and run.

I noticed there were a couple photographers snapping pictures at the start, finish and along the course. I look forward to seeing the photos online later and having a good laugh about it. I'm always in first place at the starting line.

This was originally published in the Nov. 24 edition of the Wilmington News Journal.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Juggling lemons

Courtesy Greater Cincinnati-Dayton Region Red Cross
I was a celebrity waiter at a recent fundraiser for our local American Red Cross. I'd never been to a celebrity waiter event, but I knew going in that being entertaining and goofy were the requisites.

Goofy I had down. Whether that would translate to entertaining, well - I had my doubts.

I threw on a couple silly hats and mingled with some customers.

One couple said the last guy did magic tricks for them.

"What can you do?" they challenged.

"Well, I can juggle ... a little," I said after thinking for a moment.

I went to the kitchen and grabbed three lemons out of the fridge. I went back to the table, negotiated a price and pleaded silently with my body to please not let me drop them.

I started juggling and was able to make it through a few good looking rotations before I lost my groove.

The couple seemed please, clapped and handed me some dough.

More than $5,500 was raised that night and all of the dollars went to this Red Cross chapter.

Given the choice, though, I'd rather juggle interviews in the privacy of my office than lemons in public.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July

Courtesy 55KRC Radio.
My favorite period to study in history is the Revolutionary War era.

I remember sitting at my desk in the 5th grade and being outraged - outraged I tell you - at what the British empire was doing. I couldn't wait to turn the page to learn how my forefathers were going to rebel and stick it to them.

Today, we'll have the day off from work, cook out, set off fireworks and maybe hang a flag. My hope is that you at least take a moment to reflect on the significance of the day and thank a veteran for keeping the most important freedom movement history has ever witnessed going.

Happy 4th of July, my friends!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Capping it off

My new Nike ball cap.
It was never going to be expensive to buy; at most a little more than a hearty lunch for two at Panera Bread.

Still, I continued to spend my triathlon dollars on race entry fees, new tri shorts or nothing at all given how little I've trained lately.

And my other spare dollars?

Those exist?

For a few years, I've been wanting to buy a better ball cap, one that wicks the sweat away and promotes a great shape on my noggin'.

My mom got me a really nice cap for Christmas a couple years ago. It was white and read "Marshall University" in a proud green. Other than not being made of the quick drying fabric, it was perfect. It was so perfect I didn't care that it wasn't quick drying.

My Great Dane chewed it apart a few weeks later.

A few months ago, she got me another Marshall cap at Cracker Barrell. It was another great fit. However, it's a fitted hat and does not have a spot for me to pull my pony tail through. I save it for casual weekend wear.

The other day, I found the ball cap for which I'd been looking. Gary and I were at Dick's and I saw this hat with one other on a random shelf. As soon as I put it on I knew I'd be taking it home. I tried on another one from Under Armour just to see how that one fit to compare.

I should not have bothered.

I've worn it three or four times out on my runs and it feels great. It also looks spectacular, which is the most important feature for a dorky girl like me trying to pass for somewhat normal.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Blog gets first place nod from the Associated Press

Out on a run yesterday.
I was so thrilled to have won first place for Best Blog at the Associated Press Society of Ohio's annual awards banquet last Sunday for "The Iron Mountaineer." Some days, I just can't believe my life.

These were the judge's comments:

"Great blog! Entries aren't extravagantly long, topics are focused, writing style is light-hearted. Personality of the blogger shines through. Excellent."

I also took home second place recognition for Online Photojournalist and third place for Best Use of Multimedia. The paper with which I am most associated, The Times-Gazette, took home seven AP awards all together. My colleagues at the Wilmington News Journal took home six and the Record-Herald walked away with two.

There are five divisions in Ohio based on circulation and our division, Division 1, has the most papers, making it the most competitive division in Ohio.

These are the four entries that I submitted for judging from last year.

The name I won't let them call me

Mourning fading body markings

The top 5 swimming pet peeves

It's like I'm half triathlete, half human

Thanks for reading, everyone, and helping to make this trip even more joyful.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

First place in my age group

Wearing my 1st place AG hardware standing by my truck.
With only 48 participants, and the majority of them walkers, I can't say I was totally surprised when they called my name for 1st place in my age group. It was, however, still pretty cool.

I've only placed once before. It was during the Thomas Frericks 5K at the University of Dayton where most of the participants were college kids or their parents. There were only three other women in my age group. I received a UD ball cap for my win.

The course represented the area in which I live: rural and pretty. It was a scenic route past homes and farms scattered several yards from one another; cows and horses grazed on the bright green grass.

Though a casual affair, the organizers certainly had the basics covered very well. The course was clearly marked, the water station was perfectly timed, the post-race recovery water and bananas hit the spot, the mile markers were clear and the mileage on the race was spot on.

The name of the race was the In Step for Life 5K Run/Walk. These folks are raising money for a community garden, so the registration money went to a good cause.

My time for my three-mile effort was 32:57. When I train, I'm usually hitting three miles at about 35 minutes, so it was a pretty good time for me.

What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


Friday, April 6, 2012

'Ron Swanson' was my race director

Not the triathlon from my dream.
The way I started this triathlon was the beginning of a dream.

A notoriously slow swimmer, I was the first one to exit the water. I thought, Could I possibly podium in this race, and not just in my age group, but overall?

The answer would be no, I was soon to find out.

There had been another competitor directly behind me. I had to keep up a strong pace in the Transition area to maintain this unreal lead.

When I went to Transition, it was like a locker room but in a hotel. I was frantically looking for my tri shorts, shuffling through my bag and other belongings. That was quite strange because I should have been wearing these during the swim.

Uh, oh.

I was unable to find my shorts or anything else I needed fast enough to keep my lead. I looked to my left and out of the room. The lady who had been behind me was now jetting off on her bike.


I continued to scurry about looking for what I needed. Though the next part was a blur, I ended up finding it. I began walking my bike out of the hotel when all of a sudden the tile flooring turned into dirt. There was a trail barely marked for the bike, but I somehow knew where to go.

As I came around the corner, I noticed triathletes already running. I couldn't believe I'd gotten so far behind that people had already finished the bike and begun the run.

Placing was obviously off my radar. I now needed to address the challenge directly in front of me: finishing the bike.

A real finish line.
The bike was only seven miles but it was around a track and spectators lined up all around. As I was going around one of the turns, I saw a sign that read "Party After the 5K."

I turned another corner and saw the character Ron Swanson from "Parks and Recreation" standing on the side. He was leaning against the brick wall, smoking a cigar, clearly in charge of the race but obviously disinterested.

I told him hello as I was riding by on the bike. He stopped me to ask if I would go check on a problem happening in the ladies room. I told him no. Without a reply, he stepped back to lean against the wall, like a shadow trying to forget it was ever there. Though I didn't do him any favors, I thought I saw him nod in approval of my refusal. Almost like I was April from the show.

I finished the bike and now needed to run the three miles of the run. I asked Ron where the trail was. He pointed to the "Party After the 5K" sign.

I was miffed and said, "No. No. Where is the trail? Just because that sign has the word 5K in it doesn't mean it's the trail."

He was a horrible race director.

He then said, "OK. Let me show you what you have to do next."

I thought, I know what to do next, this is not my first tri. I just need you to have been a better RD.

He led me over to the sign again and all of a sudden there was some kind of kid's mini jungle gym toy that he said I had to stick my feet through to wiggle my way to the other side where the run started. There was one problem: My feet were too big to get through. I'd have to take off my shoes. I couldn't believe that every other contestant ahead of me had to do this. Somehow they did, so I must, too.

Then I woke up.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

5 things I want from a race T-shirt

My second half marathon.
A thread was taking place over on the Beginner Triathlete forums titled "RD wants to know what you want in a race t-shirt."

This RD was getting a bounty of feedback from the community. People are clearly passionate about their swag.

Most posters agreed that Technical T-shirts are the way to go, but a few said they wouldn't mind cotton Ts as long as they were decent cotton. (Wrong!)

The community was almost evenly split about whether T-shirts should be white or not, and there was some discussion about where logos should be placed.

I chimed in, too, and these were my thoughts, though I've expanded them a tad more here.

Please. No cotton Ts. That's like having moved to CDs in the early 90s and then your parents go and buy you the new album that you wanted for Christmas - on tape! Disappointment. Please use current technology.

Please offer women's sizes, and make sure they're long enough. Nothing like your muffin top peeking over and bouncing above your shorts. Not all of us "look like runners."

White is fine with me. Just don't order a gross color like mustard yellow. I have one and it is visible only at bedtime.

To buy or not to buy
Give the racer the option of not buying a T-shirt for a lower registration price. This is true especially if you've decided to order cotton Ts. (By the way, why are you ordering cotton Ts?) If you're offering Technical Ts, make it clear on your registration form.

In lieu of a T
People typically expect a T-shirt. If you're going to replace it with something else, it must have the same "a ha" worth. I don't know if a visor does that. Now, a nice wicking ballcap would be a suitable substitute.

What do you want in a race T?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Running from irony

My mileage has certainly been down lately as I have been nursing my feet injuries. What little running I'd done was on the treadmill. So, when the weather warmed up recently, I put on this long-sleeved shirt, a pair of running pants and hit the pavement.

(I won this shirt from the Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon organization last January in a New Year's Day Twitter contest organizers were holding. Really very cool.)

Though I was only running two to three miles, I had to stop more times than I wanted to, gulp, walk.

Walking at the end of a steep hill more than once, I imagined what the jerks would say as they would drive by, watching a person struggling to breathe just walking, but wearing a big sign on the front of her shirt that read "RUN."

But then I didn't care. I've had to take some steps back as I heal, but I know my training will increase and I'll be running full steam ahead on those same hills in a few weeks - and then, my shirt won't seem ironic to anyone, but most importantly to me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A dessert by any other name

These should last a week.
I don't nag my husband, Gary, about eating poorly (what's the point?), but I do tease him about it on the rarest of occasions.

It's a running joke that his idea of a balanced diet is making sure he has French fries across from the cheeseburger on his plate.

Recently, we were relaxing on the couch watching a couple hours of TV before heading off to bed. After eating one chocolate ice cream bar, he got up, walked to the freezer and pulled out another one.

Moving my glasses slightly down my nose and glaring at him from above them, I asked, using my nagging wife voice, "Going for no. 2, huh?"

"Nope," he said. "I'm calling this my middle one."

We both busted out laughing, having to pause whatever show we were watching because we were nearly on the floor.

The irony will be, of course, that he'll probably outlive me. At least there are precious moments like these to cherish along the way.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Short, hilarious video: 'Day after the marathon'

A coworker, a runner, shared this with me yesterday, and we both just laughed our butts off because it is so relatable.

Maybe it's been floating around for a while, and I'm one of the last to discover it. It wouldn't be the first time something like that has happened. Nonetheless, enjoy, and be sure and watch it up to the last second. Here's a direct link.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...