Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fallen Heroes 2014 Race Report

Last year, the Kiddo and I signed up to do this race, but she decided that being a teenage girl and going to a slumber party was much more important than waking up early on a Saturday and going to a 5k race with her old, slow mom (geez!), and she bailed on me. (Luckily I was able to defer to this year, using her registration).

This year, she decided to try it again. I waited a bit before signing us up, making sure she wasn’t going to bail on me again, but after nagging her for a week, she promised that she was going to go, so I signed us up.

All our gear ready to go (Ignore the mess in the back)
The day of the race, I woke up at 6:30 and had my breakfast before waking her up. We were running behind and didn’t get to the race until 7:50!  We were so late….

Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Lucky Charms (and yes, I know my stove is dirty)
Lucky Charms - the Breakfast of Champions!
We stuffed our pockets (I had inhalered in the car on the way there) and rushed to pick up our bibs.  After we got our bibs, I noticed that it was really sparse. What the heck? The race started in 10 minutes and there were probably only 20 people here?  I’m so gonna be last.

Where IS everyone?
But then, I realized….

The race started at NINE a.m. – not EIGHT!  Good lord, we are there an hour early!

So, we walked around, looking at all the little tables and booths set up, picking up some swag here and there.

Hot Beverage Cup, Gator stress 'ball', Army Strong Keyfob and Lanyard
(Cold Beverage cup not pictured) Army pen (writes GREAT), keyfob, lanyard and Cellphone sticky pad
We got a Tech Tee this year - it's Navy Blue
One booth had bagels, cream cheese, Gatorade and bananas, so we grabbed some breakfast to eat.  We took photos in front of the ginormous American flag.

Sure, she's all smiles now...
'Murica, where you can wear funny things on your head and run in a skirt!
We also had our photo taken by the Flourish Magazine photographer (it made it to their Facebook page later that day)
We are having way too much fun
I hopped over to the potty for a pit stop around 8:45, we took our swag to the car, I inhalered again, and we got ready for real this time.

"Real" toilet and sink, with mirror
Fancy! My pottie had a hand dryer!
How to charge your iPod with a Halo when your hands are full
The Color Guard came out for the National Anthem and then we headed towards the start line.

Color Guard
Ah, here's all the people!
I’d told the Kiddo before we got out of the car that I was hoping to PR this race, and she was welcome to do intervals with me, but if she couldn’t keep up, I’d meet her at the Finish Line. Unless of course she’d hurt herself or something horrible. 

We took off and she was able to keep up with the first interval (I was doing 60/90) – I’d lift my hand up and motion “forward” when it was time to run, and hold my hand up like a high five when it was time to walk.

There we are! 
Hey, it's Old Lady and Her Dog again! I remember her from last year
Ironically, the lady in the orange shirt is a coworker - I didn't know she was doing it this year
She lagged behind for the second interval, and by the time the third interval came, she was way behind me. I kept up my hand signals for as long as I could see her behind me, but eventually I lost sight of her.

She's still back there (but this is only at about 1/4 mile or so!)
Oh, look – it’s raining. This is the third time I’ve done this route, and the third time it’s rained. At this point, I don’t know what this course is like in the sun…. Sure does keep it cool, though.

the drops seem small, but I totally couldn't see out of my glasses!
By Mile 1, I was pretty much alone, keeping pace with the Wounded Warrior Project flag guy.

Ran with him last year too.
Oh, Lord, are we only at Mile 1?
By Mile 2, I was also pacing this lady in a Jazzy with her family (and frankly, she kept getting in my way…)

Well, I'm 2/3 of the way done now, I guess...
No offense, but get out of my way you guys
"It pays to be a winner - no really! There's trophies!"
Turn at the light and finish is coming up soon
Coming up on the finish line, I saw this other fun sign!

"The only easy day was yesterday!"
Finally, though, I crossed the finish line, sadly with no PR.

Typical Back-of-the-Pack finish line sight (not a lot of people to cheer us on)
I hung out around the finish line, waiting to see the Kiddo come in – she can’t be THAT far behind can she? – and after almost 10 minutes, I saw that Sparkle Skirt come around the corner!

Go Badass Go!
She looked so triumphant coming through the finisher’s chute! I gave her a huge hug and she BROKE DOWN sobbing, saying that she couldn’t feel her left foot. I immediately went into Stern Mom mode and told her to sit down and take off her shoe.  I didn’t know what the issue might be, but I wanted to look at her foot.

She told me that very soon after I took off, her foot had begun to tingle and by the time she got to Mile 2, she couldn’t feel it at all – it was like a big block of cement on the end of her leg.

I looked at her foot, and I didn’t see any outward issues. I asked her if she’d tied her shoes really tight and she said that yeah, she did (she likes her shoes tight).  I then asked if she was getting feeling back in her foot, and she said that she was.  I deduced that her foot had swollen and fallen asleep!  Then I told her that she should have asked a volunteer for help at one of the water stops (well, the only water stop), or one of the policemen directing traffic. She said that she did stop around Mile 2, but she wanted to finish. (Can’t argue with that).

She kept her shoe off for a while, while I went and got her some water, then once she could feel her foot again, we went and got some snacks (Gator Dominos was there, with pizza and those cinnamon sticks).  We also hung around for the awards and raffle (we didn’t win anything), but soon the event was over and it was time to head home.

Freddie Whebe and Gator Dominos always up for some good times
We finished (she still doesn't have her shoe back on!)
She put her shoe back on and we limped our way to the car and drove home. 

She said that she was very under-prepared, and if she’s gonna do this again next year, she should probably train more (gee, ya think?!) I told her that I would certainly run it again next year if she wanted to do it with me (although, I’ll do it again anyway).

Once home, I looked up our official times:
I finished in 49:48 (2:37 slower than last year), which is a 15:33 pace (that's pretty good for me!)
She finished in 57:26 (7 minutes slower than the FAM Fest last year), at a 17:56 pace. 
I was 202nd out of 237 people; she was 226th (so, she didn’t come in last!)

Maybe next time I do this course, it will be sunny?

It really began pouring once we got home!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March of Dimes 2014 Walk Report

Today was my third March of Dimes walk, and the Kiddo’s second.  She told me the other day that she wanted to be near the back so that we could score ‘lots of swag’ like last year. Little did I realize just HOW far in the back did she want to be!

We got there earlier than we did last year, and had plenty of time to pick up our check-off card. This is the card that, when you get to each station, you get stamped so that when you are done, you can get a free burger or slice of pizza or whatever.  (It also proves that you actually walked, instead of sat in your car for 3 hours then came back for free food….)

The Map
Back of The Map with more info
All the stations that you need to get stamped
After getting our card, we stopped by the Dunkin’ Donuts booth and got a fresh chocolate glazed cake donut (oh, how I miss these from my Dunkin’ days!)

Coffee was over on the left side, and about 4 different kinds of donuts on the table in front
Donuts and smiles!
When it was time to go, we hung out in the back, letting the mass of crowds go ahead of us.  I don’t like crowds anyway, so this was a win for me.

So many people...
We started walking when the majority of the crowds were gone, and though it was overcast, it didn’t look like we’d get the rain we got last year. 

The first hill, not too bad
It always amazes me what people wear or carry with them on this walk… Dude, you are walking NINE miles (more or less). Respect the distance!

I think she was wearing Gladiators too.... This isn't the mall.
Yee haw! Let's rustle up some dimes for babies! (She's wearing boots)
The Cheer Squad (or Obnoxious Screamers) 
Stop 1 (1.2 Miles) was sponsored by Santa Fe College.  There were bananas, oranges and yummy Silver Springs Bottled Water.

Stop 2 (1.6 Miles) was sponsored by Florida Credit Union, the best non-bank in existence!  They had trail mix, water and really cool lip balm/sunblock sticks. I’m definitely gonna tuck that in with my race gear!

Stop 3 (2 Miles) was sponsored by Campus USA Credit Union. They had more trail mix, crackers, cookies, water and these little first aid bags – I think it has some bandaids, BioFreeze, Neosporin and a Lifesaver in it!  I always get these and tuck them away in my run bag too.

Coming up on the Campus USA Stop, in front of the Millhopper Library
I should have flipped one over so you could see the contents! 
Stop 4 (2.4 Miles) was sponsored by Wells Fargo. The first year I did this, they gave away lots of ‘tchotchkes’ like door basketballs and desk calendars. All that I saw was this tent, and we just trucked right by - I don't think we even stopped. 

It was a fiesta - I think they had people in serapes and sombreros
A little further past this stop was a Beverage Trailer – they had COLD sodas (I grabbed a few Strawberry Crush and a Dr Pepper) and bottled water.  Also near here were porta-potties, if anyone needed them. 

The guy inside was kind of grumpy, but it's probably hard to do this alone!
Unfortunately, also near the potties were a group of walkers – every single one of them pregnant or pushing a stroller – smoking. As an ex-smoker, I generally don’t begrudge anyone a smoke, but 1) you are pregnant and 2) you are smoking during a charity walk to save the lives of babies! Cut it out…

Peeing and smoking
Stop 5 (2.4 Miles) was sponsored by North Florida Regional Medical Center, easily the biggest stop of the walk. They always have really cool stuff like toys and bubbles. This year was kind of disappointing…  

Good directional signage! The NFRMC is past the tunnel of potties
They had bubbles (so I grabbed a BUNCH, after telling the volunteer that my cat likes the bubbles), bananas, Apple & Eve juice, chocolate-covered mini doughnuts, stickers and trail mix.  We each grabbed a few.

Before stop 6 is the area where the Survivor Row and Memorial Mile are. First, you get to walk by all the babies that March of Dimes helped (I love that part), but then you are bummed out by all the signs of the babies that didn’t make it. (Hate-filled irony?  The Smoking Pregnant Chicks from stop 4? They were here, posing with their Memorial Marker – one of them lost a baby…. Perhaps if you stopped smoking while pregnant? Just a thought).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again about this walk – I really wish that they would do the Memorial Mile FIRST, then the Survivors.  It would be much more uplifting.

Oh, look - another group of walkers SMOKING. Seriously folks - DON'T smoke on the walk! I'm dying back here!!!!!
Stop 6 (4.1 Miles) was sponsored by Healthy Start.  I believe that this was where Blue Bell was, with fruit popsicles, fudge pops and ice cream sandwiches.  There was also a doggie pool and snacks for our 4-legged walkers.

Thank you UFH for the Family Support Tent, for those of us who choose to breastfeed in private
A popular stop - lots of frozen treats!
I got a Grape Freeze Fruit Juice Frozen Snack
The Kiddo chose a Fudge Popsicle
Stop 7 (4.6 Miles) was sponsored by Gainesville Regional Utilities. I don’t recall what they had, other than water.

Between this stop and the next is a HUGE hill (but not the biggest hill), and the Kiddo was kind of draggin’ at this point, so I said that once we got up the hill, we could take a rest at the bus stop up ahead (it’s covered, with lots of benches). 

When we got there, there was someone actually waiting for the bus, and well, he was a bit of a Tinfoil-Hat-wearing kind of guy. We chatted about the walk for a bit, but then he began to tell me how the Illuminati killed JFK and blah blah blah, so I kind of nudged the Kiddo and we headed out.

I did see this witty bit of graffiti before we left though!
Stop 8 (5.3 Miles) was sponsored by UF Health (formerly Shands Hospital). They just had water.

Stop 9 (5.7 Miles) was sponsored by AvMed. I think they were right next to 93.7 K-Country who were handing out stickers.

Stop 10 (6 Miles) was sponsored by Walgreen’s and it was a fun stop. They had a cornhole (hehe) game set up, and you could win a small stuffed animal. You could guess how many beans were in the jar (I don’t think I won – I never heard from them), and they had a bunch of snacks set out on the table – lots of granola bars and trail mix bars and buried underneath…. CHOCOLATE!  I dug around and got a handful of yummies before we headed out down the road to the next stop.

Past the bus stop was Walgreens (the red tents)
Stop 11 (6.2 Miles) was sponsored by Walmart. I love Walmart. I hate people who hate Walmart simply because the Main Stream Media tells them to hate Walmart. My Walmart is AWESOME!  Anyway, they had AWESOME stuff.  We got lots more bubbles, sno-cones, bananas, apples, tangerines, crackers and trail mix! We were bringing up the rear of the walk, so all the people wanted to get rid of what they had (which is why the Kiddo wanted to be in the back in the first place).

Stop 12 (7 Miles) was sponsored by the Gainesville Regional Airport.  An old co-worker of mine got a job there a few years ago (we were laid off at the same time), and I was glad to see that he was still employed there, helping out at the booth!  We chatted for a bit, and I got some animal crackers, Gatorade, water and one of those oval car stickers – it says GVL.

Stop 13 (7.1 Miles) seemed a lot further away from stop 12 than just .1 miles!  It was sponsored by LifeSouth blood bank. They had little kids giving out pens and Post-It notes.  (They were good pens, too!)

Pens and Post-It notes
After the LifeSouth stop, it was time for The Hill. Okay, so it’s not quite as bad as the 8th Avenue Hill that I talk about a lot, but I’d say it’s the 2nd worst hill I’ve encountered in town.  The Kiddo and I put on our game faces, tucked in our earbuds, tucked our heads down and kicked that hill’s butt! 

Here comes the hill!
She is so tired right now!
There was no “One mile to go!” banner or anything this year (in previous years there were cheering fans to give you that push near the end). It kind of bummed me out….

But finally, we came around the corner, back on to 34th, and we could see the final stop.

She looks like she's done!
Stop 14 (8.5 Miles) – finish!  The Kiddo and I turned in our stamped cards in return for some Domino’s Pizza, which we carried back to the car.  She was tired and exhausted, and so was I!  It took is over FOUR HOURS to do this walk!  I think next year, we need to go a little faster – I’m all for being in the back, but it physically HURT to go this slow! My back is killing me (from all the swag), my feet are dying and I can’t feel my fingers from all the swelling….

Finish Line! We took so long the balloons are falling down!
Once we got home (we ate the pizza in the car), we checked out all of our goodies:

The Kiddo’s Bag

The Kiddo's stuff (Fruit, juice, candy, soda, water bottle...)
My Bag

Goldfish (I gave these to the Kiddo)
Trailmix (I dig out the raisins, but other than that it's yummy!)
Bad photo of the stuffed lamb I got from Walgreens
Clover is not impressed with the banana
Gainesville sticker, k-Country sticker, NFRMC Sticker
Round part is sunblock, square part is lip balm
Aquafina (in the back), Apple & Eve juice boxes (they freeze well!), Dr. Pepper and Strawberry Crush (yum!)
Bubbles from NFRMC and Walmart
Kellogg's Fruity Snacks (I didn't like these and took them to work to get rid of them)
Dum Dum Pops and Jawbusters (my drug of choice)

4 Hershey bars, 2 Kit Kat, 1 Reese's, 1 Milky Way, 1 Milky Way Midnight (gave to Hubby)
Can’t wait for next year! I love this walk!