Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Santa Hustle

     A fall race schedule that included a couple 5Ks a couple half marathons and one full marathon is culminating in the Mountains of Eastern Tennessee. 

     As winter is settling in all around us, we travel almost four hours to Sevierville, Tn for our last race of the season.  This race is a unique one for a few reasons.  1.  1,800 people will be running and dressed in Santa Clause outfits of some sort.  2.  The first two graduates of the LaMonica Running and fitness school  are running in this race.  3.  The race starts and stops at an indoor water park.  The ride complete we stroll through the hotel to find the packet pick-up site. 

     Flashing back a few weeks to the Savannah race and that expo we expected about the same.  By this I mean athletic goods more specifically running goods for sale, samples of energy goods and maybe race advertisements.  We did not get any of this.  The main sponsor Reebok had a stand where they were selling items and giving out door prize tickets.  You could feel this was a first year race and was going to have a few hiccups.  Is it bad after a while we can sense these things?

     We left  the "expo" checked into our Hotel and then drove to Gatlinburg to drop off the founder of R1 productions so he could rest before his first half Marathon.  It was then family time and of course shopping in the Christmas store and the outlets.  After walking through the stores until almost 1900 we went to the Mellow Mushroom for dinner.  Nothing like cosmic Pizza and Humus to get you ready for the long run. 

     It was then time to relax and prep race gear for the morning.

     Waking up in the mountains is always awesome but also this time of year it is cold.  This day started in the 20s and hovered around the mid 30s throughout the run. 

     This was the first time this year I had to scrape the frost off my windshield, it was bone chilling cold.  As I went out to go pick up MisFit 23B you could still see the frost over the road, I knew then it was going to be a tough run.  I also knew that all three of us were trained well enough to complete this no matter what the extremes would be.  After final prep getting dressed and protecting from the elements we were ready to race.  

     The wait inside the wilderness was worth it.  Staying out of the cold for a bit saved us all from the elements for a little while. 

     As you all know you can only postpone so long, then you must take the plunge into the elements.  It was time to go and join the other 1797 Santa's for the record breaking start of the Santa Hustle Half-Marathon and 5K.  

     Even the biggest scrooge would be moved by seeing that sea of Santas.  This is a great way to spread Happiness during tough times. 

     As the gun went off and the sea of red took off you could feel the cold crisp air hitting you.  Worried that the clouds from Saturday would be here on race day, we had a pleasant surprise of crisp blue skies and bright sunshine.  That makes the run seem a lot easier.  (13.1 miles is never simple) 
     As we hit mile one the first glimpse of a different rest stop appeared with moose munch being offered.  Yes I said Moose Munch.  This was followed by two cookie stops and one jelly bean stop.   Of course there was the traditional water and Gatorade stops to make it safer for all the runners.  As we approached the half way mark a typical impatient driver nearly ran me over.  He drove right out of a hotel driveway and just missed me.  It took a lot but the MisFit just gave him the thumbs up and drove on (others were not as nice). 

     We got to see all of the Pigeon Forge attractions along with the greater Sevierville City offerings.  The sights kept you going and both cities' police force were out on nearly every corner to ensure our safety.  This was a great thing and I thank them all. 

      Of course in the end we all had fun and were very excited to see the finish line.  It was a tough course but everyone finished with good times.  Raymone Byrd AKA MisFit 23B finished his first Half Marathon and graduated from the LaMonica Running and Fitness school, Gwen finished her third half in just over a month and fourth of the year.  Great job to both of them, they did awesome. 

Now it is time for the off season and prepping for the next season.  Oh well On to the Next!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jingle Bell Jog

     As we all know the year comes to an end in a few weeks.  This also means one season of running is coming to an end and we start our training for the next 12 months of pounding the pavement.  I have one scheduled race left for this year the Santa Hustle in Sevierville, Tn.  It should be a ton of fun.  This will culminate a year which started horrendously for me in Afghanistan.  Before we could raise our glasses of water we lost a young Sergeant.  He was the last Screaming Eagle taken from us in 2010.  I know I have mentioned him before but it was this that pushed me to run like a kid this year. 

     I started training while still in the stan.  Waking up two hours before everyone else sometimes in order to get a quality run in.  I had various partners while over there each was also training for something.  They either had a Physical Fitness test upcoming or they were trying to redifne themselves.  I made it back to the states and continued to train getting used to the humidity of Kentucky again while running.  We then traveled to the town of Millington, TN to run my first race stateside of the year in June the Navy Ten Nautical Miler.  It was a brutal run in 105 degree heat.  I slugged through it beating the heat as best as possible.  My best training partner, my wife also made it through the heat for the 11.6 mile course. 

     From there we ran a few 5Ks and 10Ks as we went through the summer.  We also helped in putting on the 5th Annual Haley's Team Twilight 5K in Anniston, Al.  The Anniston Runners Club (http://www.annistonrunners.com/) came out in full force to help make it a success and I thank them for it. 

     We ran in the run for the fallen and the week of the eagle 10K on Fort Campbell.  We started to train on the weekends with the Clarksville Running Club (www.clarksvillerunningclub.com) .  A great group of runners who encompass all levels of runners.  My better half finished her second half marathon at the Go commando race in October while I used that day to run the 5K as my last tune up before tackling my first Full Marathon in St Louis Oct 23rd.  It was amazing to finish the 26.2 mile course and see my girls at the finish line waiting for me. 

    Then it was on to Savannah for the Rock and Roll Half-Marathon where we ran the Half together and with our long time friends and family.  Another great event which we had a blast with our friends and family and of course my Team Marathon teammates.    We took a couple weeks off before our Turkey day run and then a week later we were running our Jingle bell Jog.  This race was in downtown Clarksville and we ran with about 280 of our closest friends. 

    The race was well organized and from what I could see all the runners had a good time.  We thought the hills would be a challenge to us but the proved not to be that bad.  In the end Gwen had broken through to the podium with her first placing in Age group.  Great work!!!  With just a week until the Santa Hustle we are pumped for it and for our tapering through the end of the year.  I am sure the hustle will be challenging up in the mountains but we will push through it as always.  Well it is on to the next...

What do you have planned to end your year out??