Thelma and Louise Take On The Ozark Mountains

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Every summer for the last 9 years, Tyree and I are sure to take a few day-trips on our two-wheeled beauties.  Sometimes we rolled out with an agenda in mind, most times not.  Over the years they progressed into the Thelma & Louise adventures, matching shirts and all.  On numerous occasions we had talked about taking off on a multi-day adventure, but summers always filled quickly, never leaving any opportunities.  Finally, during the late 2017 winter months, we penciled in two adventures into our summer ’18 calendars that were non-negotiable: Colorado over July 4th with our boys (more about that later) and a T&L only adventure to the Ozark Mountains during the 3rd weekend of July.

And so, on Thursday, July 19th, 2018 we put our kickstands up for an adventure we won’t soon forget.

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1st Official Destination: Warsaw, MO for a late lunch and an ice-cold beverage.  We happened upon Dam Restaurant, adjacent to a swinging bridge and decided that was our place to stop.

As we chatted with the regulars and enjoyed our meal and first beer of the day, they kept track of a storm cell that was building just northwest of Warsaw.  A lazy, no-rush afternoon, turned into an afternoon with a slight sense of urgency attached to it due to the oncoming storms carrying 70+mph winds.  The locals hurried us out the door (truly…  they nearly forgot to tab us out before we asked) and with well-wishes being shout-out behind us, we headed south, just barely 20 minutes ahead of the storm cell.  To the folks at Dam Restaurant, we appreciated your hospitality and desire to keep us safe. 

People are good.  

There was only one time where we thought we might not beat the storm due to a brief jaunt west of Springfield to avoid the backlog of traffic heading south.

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But, we made it in to Branson safe and sound, left our bikes at the hotel and headed out for BBQ and beers at Gettin’ Basted where we waited out the storm before leaving our mark on the Branson strip.

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Friday, July 20th | Weather forecast: 115 degree heat index.

7:30am: Breakfast at Belgian Waffle and Pancake House, where the staff are absolute dolls.

“You girls are hot!  Like, not hot/hot, but hot/hot!” 

After a few conversations with our waitress we found out that she and another employee are referred to as Thelma & Louise.  Of course, we had to have our photos taken with the local T&L before we departed for our FULL day on two-wheels.

Thanks, Belgian Waffle House for a WONDERFUL breakfast and conversations.

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First leg: Branson to Peel, Arkansas so we could take the ferry!

If you are in the area, this route is a must out of Branson. Rolling hills, incredible views and curvy roads the entire 44 miles.  And as always when traveling into mountainous areas, plan for almost double the time as a straight path may take you.  Lot’s of gear shifting (and FUN!)

As we waited for the ferry, we struck up a conversation with a guy who just happened to hail from Plattsmouth, NE, only having just recently moved to Arkansas.  Small world!

After a brief wait, we boarded the ferry and off we went across the lake to begin our afternoon, and very dark evening, in Arkansas!

 

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Thanks to the recommendation of our new buddy from the ferry ride, we pointed our headlights towards Cliff House Inn in Jasper, AR, which overlooks the “Grand Canyon of Arkansas”.   The stellar views, and what appeared to be a breeding ground for giant butterfly’s and hummingbirds, this stop certainly didn’t disappoint.

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A quick bite to eat and an iced tea (hello dry counties in over 90% of the State) we headed out.  By this point in the afternoon it was well over 100 degrees.  We were one of FEW outside, which provided us the opportunity to own the roads.

Our route took us straight south on 21 to the D&J Country Store where we sought out water and air-conditioning for a few minutes.  The hotter-than-satan’s-lair weather conditions, while straddling a boiling hot motor that is working double time thanks to the terrain… well…. you get the idea of what we looked like at this point.   Thanks to the cashier we received the recommendation to head back into the national forest to Country Road 4400 and take a left.  Literally saw ONE car in the hour we were in this part of the forest.  It was perfect.

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Once we were satisfied with our County Road playground, we headed on West to find a major road and happened upon the bottom end of the Pigs Trail.

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Typically this part of the Pigs Trail is JAM PACKED with tourists and locals.  This day?  Crickets, man.  My phone tells me this photo was taken at 4:54pm and it was well into the 115’s for the heat index.

Tyree missed riding the Pigs Trail byway the last time we were in Arkansas, so we for sure wanted to hit it this time around, but to be honest: it wasn’t that thrilling after the day of switchbacks we had explored already, all thanks to taking the roads less traveled.  Ah-may-zing. 

Fun (?) side note: lower left side of my windshield you can see the remnants of something that most likely didn’t make it out alive…

It was at this point in the day that we were becoming cognizant of the time and sun placement and knew we needed to be making our way out of the national forest and back towards Branson.  So, we left with the destination of Eureka Springs in mind.  Surely we could get there, eat dinner and take a semi-scenic way back into Branson?!

Surely…

A wrong turn (but gorgeous byway) took us 30 miles out of our way but we took it as a challenge and headed to Eureka Springs anyway.  We NEEDED A BEER and a BURGER something fierce by this point and so around 7:30pm, we rolled into the Cat House Lounge, a favorite amongst bikers.

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The beer was welcome and the belly laughs abundant, which was most likely due to a combination of part heat exhaustion and said beer.  We mapped out a perfect little route back into Branson, via NW Arkansas and Branson West to get us back to our hotel … And then we bounced.

For the mom’s reading this, you may want to skip ahead to after the map photo.  We know that even though we are both 37 years old, you’ll want to scold us after this… 

MapQuest had a mind of it’s own and we found ourselves deep into the Ozark Mountain and forest terrain welllllll after sundown.  Do I dare mention there were no stars due to a slight overcast and threat of rain? It was black.  Sheer black.  A 60-75 minute ride ended up being about 2.5 hours of:

  • white knuckles
  • outward laughs from the nerves and the stupidity
  • three one lane bridges that we prayed were not actually one plank bridges (it’s a thing and there are a few down there)
  • a few tighter than expected curves because where we were, road signs weren’t a thing,
  • thigh squeezing/butt-clenching
  • a lot of down shifting
  • forced relaxation to navigate curves fluidly
  • a few stops to say “you good?”
  • quick eye glances towards the ditches for wild animals
  • quick glances back to what you could see of the road due to said curves with no warning road signs
  • internal thoughts of what the news channels would say about us if we really did go off a cliff… with our Thelma and Louise shirts on…
  • a few morbid chuckles about that, because come on.  That’s actually kinda funny.
  • deep breaths and verbal reminders to take it all in and enjoy the journey, regardless of the fact that we couldn’t see a damn thing
  • out-loud verbal affirmations of “Girl, this is AWESOME” to “Girl, you are STUPID” and back.

…and when we finally saw the lights of Branson and navigated our way confidently towards “home” we breathed a sigh of relief, relaxed our clenched butts, laughed at ourselves, thanked the man upstairs for the guiding hand, praised our common sense of taking it easy and laughing through the journey and recapped what an incredible experience that actually was.

I only hope that someday we can retrace our steps and actually experience those incredible less-than-traveled roads again, but in the daylight, preferably.  I can only imagine the absolute beauty those bridges and cliffs held.

Maps do not provide justice for the type of curves and elevation changes you can expect on this route.  Top notch! 

Uh, especially between Eureka Springs and Branson. 🙂 

Saturday, July 21st | Still Hot As Hell

We didn’t have any set plans for Saturday other then slowly making our way towards Nebraska.  We had a few points of interest and an idea of where we were going to end our evening, but didn’t set it in stone.  And so after a 50’s inspired diner breakfast, we set out to play in the Missouri National forests.  We did several pass-through’s and loops, a few backtracks, and even found ourselves in a one-lane valley where a local farmer coming out of his farm ground gave us a friendly head nod as he rolled on by at a leisurely 15 mph.

Thanks, buddy, for letting us take over your road for a short period of time.

After we played all morning on those incredible roads, we landed ourselves in Ozark, MO around 2:00pm for a Bloody Mary and a few beers at Back Home Brewing.  I mean, it was our vacation and we just spent the last two days in mostly dry counties.  We were due a few. 🙂

And then realized we had literally made ZERO headway towards home.  Like… at all.  HA!

And so we made the executive decision to hit the ever boring Highway 13 for 136 miles to Warrensburg, MO for a brief beer stop on Pine Street (apparently the stomping rounds for all Central Missouri State University kids) before heading on to Weston, MO.

Side note: make sure you take all the back roads North of Warrensburg towards Excelsior Springs (Highway 10 to 92)and then into Weston, MO if traveling that way.  Those roads were insanely gorgeous.  Had no idea there was such beauty in that part of Missouri.  NONE!

Weston, MO is a community pulled straight out of a Christmas Hallmark Movie.  It is so quaint and full of charm with it’s little shops, restaurants, wineries (Pirtle Winery is housed here) and bars.  I cannot wait to go back and spend an entire day there.  Seriously, folks.  Explore it online (here) and then go pay it an actual visit.

We had dinner at the Tin Kitchen, a southern smokehouse, walked up and down the main drag to do a little window shopping before landing into O’Malley’s Pub to end our night.  O’Malley’s is a series of 3 vaulted limestone cellars, with the main bar located in the lowest level.  They had an Irish band playing on Saturday evening and we seriously could have stayed all night listening to and enjoying the show.  Such a cool bar and community!

But, we still had a 30 minute ride ahead of us to Atchison, Kansas where we had last second booked a hotel for the night, so back on the bikes around 10:30pm for the last part of our journey.

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

Bright and early we woke and set out for breakfast at a café about 60 miles northwest-ish.  Upon arrival it appeared the whole town was closed up and dried out, so a quick call to Tyree’s mom:

“Whatcha doing?  Any chance you want to make us breakfast?”.

And so on we went another 60 miles, with a quick stop to Tyree’s grandpa for a quick good morning hug and on down the road to her parents house where we enjoyed a warm and made with love breakfast with her family.  A walk down memory lane for Tyree as she gave me a tour of the neighboring communities, her high school and finally a stop at Peru State College where she completed her undergrad.  The town is literally a college, a small grocery store and a bar/grill.  So, naturally, we stopped to enjoy one last vacation beer before taking on the last leg of our journey home.

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And so the Thelma and Louise multi-day adventure concluded and with a happy heart and giant smiles on our faces as we split ways at the highway 32 interchange.

Thanks, Tyree, for an epic adventure.  Lot’s of memories were made down in those trees.  Happy to have you by my side for so many fun events.

Cheers to many more!

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A note of acknowledgement to the victims, survivors, families and workers of the Duck Boat accident in Branson on the evening of July 19th.   The storm that we outran, unfortunately, did not dissolve before hitting the tourist town of Branson.  Our thoughts and prayers were with you upon hearing the news of such a tragedy, so close in proximity to where we were.  May you find peace and understanding in the days to come.

900 Miles + Blazing Sun = Happy Heart

This last weekend I took off on my own little adventure through Iowa, just me and my trusty two-wheeled side kick.  It had been a minute since just she and I went on a little adventure, so it was high time!  Of course it was the hottest weekend on record for June.  I mean you literally started sweating just looking outside.  Brutal.  B.R.U.T.A.L.

But, hey.  When the open road calls, I answer.

Friday, June 15th, 10am.  Bags packed, tire pressure checked, oil levels solid.   Time to pack it up and ship on out.   Until my saddle bag handle falls apart ever so nicely in my hands.  I laughed.  Out loud.  Of COURSE this would happen, because why not?  Sigh…   Three pieces held together by 6 itty bitty little screws.  Do you think I can find any of them?   Nope, just one loan ranger that had apparently been hanging on for dear life (and holding my lid on too).  Thanks little buddy.

Operation: fix this shit, stat.

As I am searching through bins in the garage to find replacements Clint calls and says to take his bike. Um, no. This weekend is reserved for me and my girl. His response:  Well, guess you better fix it.  Good luck.

Already on it, good sir.

A little trip to good ol’ Tractor Supply and 30 minutes later, home-girl was on the ROAD!

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Destination: Ames, IA for a late lunch with my HS girlfriend, Erin.

Friends, I don’t think I stopped smiling the ENTIRE journey.  Well, except once, in Des Moines.  Traffic was thick, some cute bubbly blonde teenager was on MY ASS, so I turned around and gave her a little piece of my mind, hopped lanes, and went back to smiling.  Spent almost two hours catching up with Erin on personal and professional life, a nice solid hug to close our afternoon out, and back out to the heat I went.

Second time the smile left my face.  That heat hit ya right in the feelers, man.

 

That frown turned upside down the second I hit Hwy 30 headed East.  Destination: Cedar Rapids, IA to hang with my galpal Cyndi!   She had an ice cold glass of water and a PBR waiting for my arrival and I happily chugged them both.

And then it was off for a fun (and sweltering) photo sesh.

Look at this cutie!!!!!!!!

STOP IT CYNDI!  If you are cool enough to know this chick, you know her laugh is TOP 10!  More to come on that.

We spent an hour or so doing photos and then it was time for drinks, food and music to close out our night.

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Saturday hit me like a hangover from hell.  Mind you I had three beers and one vodka over the span of 4 hours.  PBR HATES ME AND IT MAKES ME SO SAD. I mean, come on.  You’re supposed to be my friend, Pabst.  What happened between us?  My head was pounding, my stomach rolling, Cyndi wanted breakfast, I wanted a soda, so I popped some ever-so-faithful Dramamine and Aleve and off we went.  First hill I had to yell at Cyndi to slow down if she didn’t want puke in her car.  Lovely house guest I make!

Anyway… Dr. Pepper saved my ass.  Dramamine is my hero.  We all survived the morning, and it was off for a day in the sun on the AMVET Poker Run!

We cruised north and east for a little over 160 miles.  I met some of her girlfriends, we signed our names to a random wall, we sweat out any and all drinks that went down the hatch and all and all had us a solid day!

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Poker Run wrapped up around 4pm with Cyndi winning some hundred dolla bills, y’all… (you just sang that didn’t you?)

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4:30pm I peeled off and headed to Ankeny, IA to hit up Whiskey River to see my cousin Erika.  Guys.  4:30pm, heading west, 105 degree index… and I am the genius going straight into the sun.  And guess who didn’t give two shits?  This girl.  Permagrin here to STAY!   My mind was happy.  My heart was full.   This was turning out to be a solid weekend.

6:30pm, drinks and dinner and a few hours of catching up with the gorgeous Erika made for an even happier girl.

And this is where I excel in making plans.   I try not to solidify much until necessary.  I told Erika to pencil me in as I might stay with her, but once 9pm rolled around, I was jonesing to move again.  If you have followed me long enough and know me well, you already know night riding is my absolute favorite time to ride, hands down.

It certainly is the most dangerous, but guys.  Your senses come ALIVE at night.  Your mind becomes sharper, your eyes more alert, the sounds and smells are heightened 10 fold.  It’s magic. Simply magic.  So, 9:15pm I fueled up and pointed my headlight towards Omaha.

And we rolled in just slightly after 11:30.  It was pure bliss.

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Father’s Day Sunday and I get a call from my dad jonesing for some open road time and a few beers, and so 20 minutes later I was out the door.   Hair hadn’t been washed in four days.  My face was a collection of at least 6 layers of lotion and sunblock and an additional 3 layers of makeup on makeup.  #killingit

Full disclosure:  Yes, I rolled into bed the second I got home Saturday night.  Sweat and sunblock and road grime and all.  Clint is a lucky… LUCKY man.  HA! #killingitagain

90 miles later I was at dad’s and we hit the road for a mini-southwest Iowa tour of bars.  It was a GREAT day!  As I was telling him about my weekend adventures he said “You are a daring little girl” to my night riding.  To that he followed up with “it’s my favorite too”

Like father, like daughter on that note.  Check!

I decided to peel off at Sidney, IA to head back to the city. I have a college friend staying with us for two weeks and I was in dire need of a shower.  It was when I reached Hwy 34 that the clouds showed their ugly head.

But, I think I had mild excitement at the thought of cold rain hitting my overly tanned shoulders.

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I hit it.  And I have made a mental note to get some RainX for my windshield.  We had a few hairy moments on some construction zones.

Clearly, we made it home safe and sound.

And deliriously happy.

My head needed those miles.  My heart needed those miles.  My LIFE needed those miles.

I recently read a quote:

Just because your time is full, doesn’t mean your life is full

Really hits home, doesn’t it?  Once upon a time, my time was full.  Of stuff.  Of work, of training, of teaching as an adjunct for a University, of fitness teaching, of conference calls, of weekend events, of this, of that.  My time/life. was. busy.  My life is still busy as many of the above-listed items I still do, but I am prioritizing appropriately, and condensing the amount of TIME spent on each.  A balance is essential.  I also reflected and eliminated some of those things in my previous life that were once fulfilling, but then after digging deep into my heart and mind… they actually weren’t.  I was missing out on the here and the present with my friends new and old.  I was missing out on things that at the end of my life, I didn’t want to regret.  I want to spend my time, my days, my life with the people and the things that make me feel fulfilled and that I know will make my heart absolutely happy at 90 when I look back on these times.

So, if this quote resonates with you, I encourage you to stop.  Reflect.  Take action on things that are going to fulfill you and your bigger purpose, whatever that may be.  What is going to make you feel proud at the end of the road?

Now, go LIVE!

 

Cheers!!

 

Memorial Weekend, the MURPH Challenge and some Yummies!

Grimmy’s Tuesday feels:

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The good ol’ Midwest went from freezing to blazing in 5 seconds flat!  And that meant Memorial weekend had a lot of this…

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And this…

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Friday of Memorial Day I got to spend time with my girl, Claire.  And by time spent, I mean packing up her SHIT so she could move.  I have seen Claire through I don’t even know how many moves, and I swear that girl has enough clothes to last a year without laundering, and hangers to fill even the Kardashian’s closets.  Girl…. You’re lucky I love your butt.   We worked our tails off from mid-Friday afternoon until well after 9pm before we decided a Jeep ride, dinner and beers were in desperate need.

Saturday was 1.5 million degrees.  What the heck even was that?  I don’t know.  I don’t care either.  I spent it shopping, cleaning, donating, cooking and baking.  It’s called staycation vibes and I was loving it.

Key Lime Pie Recipe Link

Cosmic Brownies Recipe Link |   Guys.  This recipe.  The chocolate ganache frosting.  This was the treat of the week at Walkup Wood Products.  Sinful.  Gooey.  Magic.

Drool.

Sunday, Clint and I cruised out to Catfish Lake Restaurant for some beers and grub.  What an adorable little craphole with amazing food.  Clint ordered escargot as an appetizer.  After digging through the cheese and gallon of butter I was able to find that cute little bite and enjoy it.  Clint, on the other hand, ate it, as served, in its full glory.   Cheese and garlic butter have its place… apparently, this restaurant believes it is in your arteries.

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Bellies full, we motored on…

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… And found ourselves at Heron Bay to close out the night with some friends and their buddies.   I will take beers on the river any day.

Let’s talk the Memorial Day MURPH.

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You can read about the origination, purpose, and goal of the MURPH here.

The MURPH workout in its true form (in sequence):

1 Mile Run

100 Pull-ups

200 Push-Ups

300 Squats

1 Mile Run

While wearing a 20lb vest or body armor

Variations of the MURPH include removal of the vest, splitting the movements into sets, dropping to knees on push-ups, splitting the workout into partners etc.

I wanted to challenge myself to the max, so chose to do it on my own, with a few variations.

  1. I did not wear a vest (I think there were only 3 who did out of the 75+ who completed it at my gym)
  2. I ran the first mile at an even pace, preparing myself mentally for what was to come.
  3. Split the middle into 10 pull-ups, 20 push-ups, 30 squats | 10 times through.
  4. Used a band for assisted pull-ups to help remove some weight, but still maintained a strict hand grip and only progressed to heavier bands as the reps increased
  5. I only did 30 of my 200 push-ups on my knees.  I have a thing about completing full range motion push-ups.  I get pissy when I drop.  Real pissy.
  6. Finished with the mile.

That last mile.  Woah.  Legs were jello for a minute before I got my pace settled back in.

Guys, it was effing awesome.   I cannot wait to do it again, and I will for sure be watching my time this go-round.  I am a little competitive in non-competitive events.

Organized sports for me = gross. 

Gym organized events that equal camaraderie and support and all-in-it-together mentality?  YES! 

My competitiveness is within just me and that is what I am loving about this new gym I call home.  It’s made me so happy.  That’s another post, for another day, but know… it’s one of those things that makes you want to talk all day every day about, but don’t, because you don’t want to be that annoying guy, so you go on loving it and kicking its ass every day with other people who love it and kick its ass everyday too.

Yep.  That kind.

Here’s looking at you, Edge

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The rest of Memorial Day Monday was spent soaking up the sun, AC and ice cold beverages at the Sejhaur’s with a little side of washers.

 

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Cheers to you, Summer 2018 and your happiness… and random 2pm middle of week texts from one of your bestest to meet up at “your” bar.

Summer (and this guy) are looking mighty fine.

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CHEERS!!!!

Weekend Highlights and a Snickers Crunch Bar Recipe

Wait, hold up.  You say something about a Snickers?   

…I’ll get to that, kitten. 

Happy Tuesday, friends!  I hope you are coming out of a happy weekend spent doing what you wanted to do!  We had a graduation party for our friend Tracy’s son on Friday evening.  Check out her cupcakes for the party.  Fits her (and her kids) humor, 100%.

Post-graduation party led to an impromptu late dinner and cocktails with our friends Jess, Luke, Tyree & Cole in the Old Market.  Lot’s of laughter was had at that back corner table.  Saturday brought some work out at the shop.  Clint always works Saturday’s but I am hit and miss on when I go out since most of the paperwork I handle is done in my home office.  This weekend I spent over three hours cleaning out the office at the shop.  It. Was. Hideous!  Clint ended up working from 6:30am – 11pm that day, so the homemade enchiladas I had waiting for him at home ended up in the fridge.  I’ve gone from snow widow to a mulch widow, y’all.  That’s ok though.   He is dedicated, focused and determined!  He makes me want to do more and be better, that’s for sure.  And just when I was starting to back off of the billion things I do/did!  😉

Mother’s day we went our separate ways for the day, but not before I took an obligatory mom’s day photo with my kittos!

Grimmy just wanted treats and wouldn’t sit still.  Harley was traumatized I was holding her, per usual.  Lil Princess and Lil Devil.   They are the best!

I spent the day in Clarinda with my mom, grams, Gabe and Dave.  The boys grilled burgers and they were amazing!  An afternoon of great conversations and I headed out around 3, with a brief pitstop at the daddio’s.  Clint spent the afternoon at his mom’s with his siblings and we both found ourselves back at home together around 8!

So, about those Snickers Crunch Bars.

It has become an official tradition to have a “Sweet of the Week” at Walkup Wood Products.  The crew, customers, and contractors appreciate the gesture and everyone deserves a sweet treat, especially those hard laborers!  And so, each week, new treat’s are created and served!  This week I picked out Snickers Crunch Bars from Mom On TimeOut.  The only additions I made were an extra cup of Krispies for the bottom layer and an extra half bag of caramels for the caramel layer.  Otherwise, I kept it as is!

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They are sinful!  And heavenly!   The best of both worlds. 😉

Pop on over to her website (click here) to recreate them for yourselves!  The recipe is lengthy and I am JUST lazy enough to not copy and paste it over.  I’m sure she’d enjoy the extra traffic to her webpage anyway.

Cheers!

 

 

The Half Marathon Breakup

10.31.17

 

Dear Half Marathon,

You and I… we just don’t mesh.

You demand too much of my time.

Your 10, 12, even 14 week training plans are insane.

You require long distances and hours on sacred weekends.

Each weekend you even go as far as to increase in mileage requirement.

You force short speed work runs during the week in between work, gym, activities, LIFE.

You wreak havoc on my inner workings if you know what I’m sayin’.

 

The forced nature of our relationship is downright draining.

I don’t want to have to stick to your demanding schedule anymore.

It’s annoying.

And who are you to tell me what to do?

What I am getting at here is…

We’re over.

We had some ups and downs, but in the end, our 3-time relationship was beautiful.

I will forever be grateful for the challenge.

It’s not you, it’s me.

And all that other breakup crap.

Sincerely,

The Non-Forced-I-Like-To-Run-At-My-Own-Leisure,

Jordan

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Sunday, October 29th, 2017 concluded my half marathon running days.  From my first half-marathon in 2013 to my second in 2014, it’s been a journey.  A fine one at that.  But, ladies and gents, I am for real done with the training of it all.

I set out on my third half marathon journey in July of this year.  I committed (silently) to run the Good Life Halfsy as my last half-marathon and conquer a new PR of 1:59:59.  My first half I finished at 2:10.  My second half I finished at 2:05.  Surely I could knock out another 5 minutes off my time, ya?

TOTALLY!

And I could have, had I taken the training a little more seriously.

But I didn’t.

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I didn’t account for the amount of time I’d be out of town in September or the work events and travel, I sometimes bypassed a distance run on the weekend due to some of that CRAZY rain we had for a while and I am a NON DREADMILL runner.  I won’t.  Just won’t.   I ran when I could.  I stayed as close to the training schedule as I could.  I realistically reduced my goal time of 1:59:59 to 2:04:59.

And then October hit and I put in one serious distance run of 10 miles and only logged 7-8 distance miles the other weekends, and a few 4-5 milers during the weekdays leading up to the event.   I just was over it.

And I also scheduled my LIFE first, training second. 

I ran an out and back if you are trying to figure out my mapping situation above. 

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No excuses.   I am just not a dedicated runner.  I don’t claim to be.  I don’t want to be.  I have many friends who ARE runners and holy shit they are SLAYING it out there.

Let me brag on Cara for a sec.   She started running (seriously running) last fall.  Competed a few halfs and began seriously training for a full early summer of 2017.

On October 15th she completed her first FULL marathon (26.2 freaking miles) and came in at 3:54:45.

Guys, that is SMOKING fast.  Especially for a first-timer with an average pace at 8:58.   So crazy proud of her.

Cara on the right. 

Tori (marathon master and extraordinaire, dual Boston Marathon conquerer) is on the left and helped coach Cara through her training.

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She LOVES to run.  Lives for it, actually.  The day after her marathon she was running on the treadmill before coming to my PiYo class.

Ok, let’s call it like it is.  She’s a weirdo.

Anyway, back to the story at hand.

You still following me?

Bless you, my child.

I set out on October 29th with no expectations, which is a big deal for me.  I am super competitive with myself when it comes to the mileage and my pace.   Note the keyword there: myself.   I don’t give a darn what others are running at.  I truly don’t.  But I care about how I am doing compared to myself.  But, I also had to be very realistic.  I am most definitely not in what I consider my best shape.  I’m probably the most out of shape I have been in since 2013.   I went through a phase the last 8 months.  Quit master training, cut back from teaching 7-8 classes a week to 2-3 classes a week.   I stopped hitting the weights in August when my work-life balance were competing with each other.  I was burnt out.  BIG time.   And I simply have NOT been motivated to get myself back in the game at my 100%.  I am still in the game, but not playing competitively.

So, Sunday October 29th came, ready or not.

And off I went.

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I had a good playlist set, I was content with whatever time I was going to come in at, I tuned out everyone around me, and I just ran.

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The hubs met up with me around mile 3.5.   He had every intention to meet me again at mile 10, but somehow we missed each other.  I was fully prepared to yell some very explicit language at him.  Sometimes you just need to get your words off your chest, you know?   But instead, my fellow running neighbors got my words.   We had a laugh about it.

And we kept going.

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Miles 10 through 12.5 sucked.  No way around that.   My breathing was on point.   My head was clear.  But my legs…. they were on fire and not afraid to tell me every single stride and step they took.  I had also been nursing a pulled hamstring in the days leading up to it so was overcompensating a little on the right to alleviate pressure on the left, so that played into the leg sensations as well.

With the end in sight and the dreaded HILL at the end (for the LOVE people), I SPRINTED my little heart out the last .25 miles.   I set my eyes on roughly 6 people ahead of me and made it a point to pass them.  I passed all of them, with the last girl getting passed literally two steps before we crossed the finish strips.

Goal accomplished.

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2:10:10

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A respectable time.   A time I am honestly proud of considering all the other factors that came into play in my training and lack there-of.

  • I finished milliseconds faster than my first half marathon that I trained religiously for.
  • I finished in 1,966th place of the 4,505 finishers that day. First half of the group, yo!
  • I wasn’t one of the 47 runners who started but didn’t finish.
  • I wasn’t one of the 2,000 runners who registered but didn’t participate.

It also proves to me that I know I CAN do better, I did it before, and with a little more training I could master my 2:04 time, or maybe even my 1:59:59 time.

But, those days are officially done and over for me.

I like to run for ME.  For the fresh air.  To clear my head.

I like my 3 milers.  I like my 6 milers.  I like to run them when I want to and I like to run for as long as my body chooses to.

Not when a training program tells me to.

So with that, I can officially say…

It’s been a good run.

Cheers to never again.

 

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Special THANKS to the fine folks of the Good Life Halfsy!   This is such a well put together run and event.  I was completely blown away by the organization, the structure, the route, the after party (that I didn’t get to stick around for since I had to be back in Omaha at lightning speed to make my Nebraska Wind Symphony concert).

Well done, friends.

Well.   Done.