Jingle Bell Run 2019

Sunday, Dec 15, 2019

This year there were three members representing the Ram Fam (plus our driver, of course!). Nick was home for Mike’s birthday so he joined Zach and I running the race this year. We almost didn’t make it on time due to a late night the night before, but we rallied and miraculously got our butts to the start before the gun went off!!

Freezing before the race!

The boys ran most of it together, but by about the 2nd mile Zach hung with me while Nick ran out ahead. Zach and I walked the big hill, but then came in strong at the end. Even in spite of our bit of walking we did pretty good – well for me, that is! Our times were: Me: 33:26, Zach: 33:24 and Nick: 32:25. It was fun to be active together even though we were all super tired!

Turkey Trot 2019

Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, November 28

As per usual it was time to run the annual Turkey Trot again this year. This year I asked Anna to join us! The kids (mostly Zach) were not amused that they actually had to get up early on Thanksgiving Day. Zach attempted to get out of the 5K and run only the Mashed Potato 1 mile, but that was not going to cut it.

Before the race

It was pretty chilly that morning, but we powered through! It even snowed a bit right before the start!

The kids stayed with me for a bit and then eventually went on ahead. It was fun running it together.

I was pretty proud of my time! I ran a 33.27 which was 10:47 mile pace. I came in 10/26 for my age group. The kids came in at 31:42.

Finish!
Swag

Akron Goodyear Half Marathon – #12!

Saturday, August 10, 2019 – 6:30am

Well #12 turned out to be a great experience! After doing the Flying Pig in May I signed up for this race in order to keep running over the summer. It worked mostly. I definitely ran more during the week throughout the summer, but the long runs pretty much ended at 8 miles. So, going into this race and I wasn’t completely confident.

This was a new half for me – I had run the 10K another year (I forget when), but never this distance. It is a part of the series to benefit for Akron Children’s Hospital. The more known race in the series is the final one – the end of September. I have run that half before and it also happens to be the one and only full I have run.

Anyways, it was a very early morning. We had to be at the race area by 5am so I was up at 3:30am! My GPS got me lost, but I made it and parked by 4:55am. I thought it started at 6am, but turns out it was 6:30am so I had plenty of time to chit chat with folks and use the restroom!

I had a nice conversation with this one woman who I later found out later from someone else’s picture is also in my Challenger group online! Too funny!

It was an absolutely beautiful morning with a breathtaking sky! The temperature was a perfect 63 degrees. It was a nice number of people too – about 850 people. It felt like the perfect number. There was great support along the route with a few bands, fuel stations and even some misters! There was even a couple of kids in front of their house handing out Twizzlers!

I gave myself permission to “walk the ups” if I needed to as I heard it was a hilly route. I actually felt pretty good for most of the race. I walked through the fuel stops and maybe two hills, but other than that I was steady as she goes. I felt like I was on target for pace too. Around mile 10 I came upon the pacer runner for the 2:30 group and I was stunned. So I hung with him throughout the rest of the race. I had a bit of calve cramping towards the end, but gave it my all the last .2 miles. I was really happy with my time of 2:31:06. After looking back over my stats I realized that this time was 6 seconds faster than my first 1/2 in 2011! It is definitely one of the fastest of the twelve!! Feeling pretty good about that now that I’m in my 50’s!!

Race for the Parks 10K

Saturday, April 6 – Race for the Parks 10K

I actually forgot to even blog about this race! It was such a last minute thing that I signed up for! I heard about it from Ellen at church who is training for her first half. Part of the fee for the race goes to benefit the parks in Hudson so it is a good cause too. I had 9 miles to run that day so I figured it might make sense to run 6.2 with a group and then tack on the balance afterwards. The race took place mostly at Hudson Springs. It was perfect weather and I ran pretty good! My time was 1:08:36 for the 10K. I was feeling like bailing on the last almost 3 miles, but thankfully Ellen talked me into it. The race ended downtown Hudson so I just ran home. I had asked Mike to drop me at the start. Every now and then I have a good idea! Anyways, the last almost 3 miles were pretty good as well. I’ll have to remember this race for next year!

Flying Pig 2019 Half Marathon – Sun, May 5

Sat, May 11, 2019

I’ve tried to sit down and write this blog a bunch of times, but each time I had to put my laptop away and go back to it later. So many thoughts and feelings to process and not enough time to dedicate to it! Well, a week after descending on Cincinnati for my special birthday celebration weekend I’m finally ready to write! In January this year I gave a lot of thought as to what I might want to do to celebrate my 50th birthday in May in terms of fitness goals. I did ponder running a full marathon – for like 3 minutes, but then decided I wanted to focus on a less intense, more doable and enjoyable goal. How about a new (to me ) race around my bday, I thought. Right around this same time I started seeing folks talk about the Flying Pig race in Cincinnati in the Challenger Nation (running group website). I had heard tons of good things about the Flying Pig and had never done it before. Plus it became clear very quickly that this was becoming an EPIC meet up for my virtual running group! That was all I needed to hear! I registered in January for my 11th half marathon and started to put my training plan and other weekend plans together. I figured we could make it a family trip by including a college visit to Xavier University in the mix as well.

Before I share the details of the weekend I want to include a note about my training for this race. I. Was. Dedicated. I didn’t do lots of cross training, but I was religious about doing the amount of minutes listed on the plan (Coach Jenny’s plan, of course!). I am usually good about getting all the long runs in, but lots of times I just do 3 miles on week days and that is it. I made sure to get all the minutes in (sometimes early on the TM before work) for like every weekday training run. I really think this made all the difference for my success on race day!!

The weekend came and I left home Saturday morning with my husband and son in tow. We checked into the hotel first and then walked over to the expo right across the street. We all agreed that Cincinnati was a pretty cool city! They are very serious about their support of the Flying Pig. See below.

The Expo was very fun with lots of SWAG!!

Cool SWAG!!

After the Expo we went back to the hotel to relax a bit before dinner. We had signed up for the special Challenger meet up for dinner at the Rock Bottom Brewery, about a 2 minute walk from our room. The dinner was a buffet from 4:30pm – 7pm so it was a come and go situation (so I thought). In typical Ramsey fashion I screwed up the time somehow! We got caught up watching a cool movie on Netflix so we planned to leave for dinner around 5:30pm. Then, our GPS to walk to the restaurant got messed up so we walked all the way around the barn out of our way to get there. Did I mention it was raining and we didn’t have umbrellas?! By the time we finally arrived it was like 6pm and everyone was already seated and eating! Turns out everything did actually start at 4:30pm so I missed Coach Jenny’s talk and everything. Thankfully, we were so welcome by everyone that my frustration and embarrassment quickly faded and we enjoyed dinner and mingling with all my virtual friends I could finally meet in real life! There were about 60 folks there for the weekend! I wish I could have had more time to talk with more folks, but there is always next year, I suppose!

That night I slept terribly (typical for the night before a race), but got up ready to run! It was so nice to be so close to the start line. I just followed the folks I met in the elevator!

What a fantastic race!! I was overwhelmed by so much spectator support the entire way! There were tons of signs and people all along the route. Most big races typically have Gatorade/water stations regularly along the way, but in addition to that this race had SO much stuff – food and other supplies runners need during runs. It was almost as if the race organizers could read our minds…like “boy, I could use a tissue right now,” and BOOM someone is handing you one! Or “wow, I just need some extra energy right about now”, and BOOM, someone is handing you an unwrapped Hershey’s kiss in a cup! The following food items were given out by volunteers along the route (keep in mind this is just the half – they had more stuff for the last half of the rout too I’m sure. And remember this is DURING the race – this doesn’t count all the stuff we got during the after race party):

  • Bacon (duh, and so funny)
  • Hershey’s kisses (at least 2x during the race)
  • Swedish Fish
  • Pringles chips
  • Orange wedges (2x during the race)
  • Orange juicey candies
  • Cookies

If that list wasn’t enough, there also non food items given out – again, seemingly right when we thought we needed it. Here is the list of non food items that were distributed:

  • Tissues (at least 2x during the race)
  • Paper towels (dry ones and some stops and wet ones at others)
  • Hose sprays/mist sprays
  • GU packets
  • Sticks of Vaseline for chapped lips.

Between mile 12 and 13 they gave out shots of beer (eww), but hillarious! I mean this was incredible!! It felt like almost every mile or shorter there was something else being given to us! I only took the orange slices, tissue, paper towels, GU and definitely the hose spritzer. I saw two live pet pigs too!! One was like a mile in and the other was about 5 miles in. In terms of the race itself, I felt really good! The weather was perfect – 54 degrees and cloudy – totally perfect! MY GLASSES DIDN’T FOG UP which was huge as it is always nice to see running in a race (ha)! I was worried about the hills, but after talking to Coach the night before I decided to take her advice and “walk the ups”. It worked and I felt really strong the entire race.

I talked with the Challengers who ran this race before about the route and they said you will know when you get to the top of the hilly part because of the view – everyone takes pics. Yep – see below! Worth the climb for sure!

Up the hills we go…

The race was great and I was really happy with my time too! My time was 2:34:44 which was a 11:46 per mile pace. I finished in the top 50% for my age group and about the middle of the pack for the women. It was awesome having Zach and Mike greet me at the finish. Last race in my 40’s. Bring on my 50’s!!!

Muddy Paws 2 Mile Trail Race

Saturday, July 14
Muddy Paws 2 Mile Trail Race
Pine Hollow Trail

So I tried something different this summer! I signed Henry up for his first trail race! I had been running with him a bit over the summer when I saw an ad on Facebook for the Muddy Paws race series sponsored by Western Reserve Racing. There were 2 different races – a 5 miler and a 10 miler, but what caught my eye was the 2 mile doggie fun run as a fundraiser for the Humane Society. I read further to read that the dogs would be chipped (timed) only and not the humans and there would be prizes for the various sizes of dogs. That was it! I was in!

So the morning of the run Henry was totally cool. No pre-race jitters for him!

We got there a little bit early to pick up his bib and his swag item – a collapsible water bowl that has the Muddy Paws logo on it.  So stinkin’ cute!  We spent the rest of the 30 minutes before the race making new friends, slobbering other dogs and straightening out leashes!  Before we knew it it was time to start!  The first 100 yards or so was all downhill and even the race director mentioned that he couldn’t wait to see how fast the dogs would pull us down the hill!! There was quite a crowd there – I was pleasantly surprised! I was also surprised at how many smaller dogs there were! I wasn’t sure how the littler dogs would do with a race that distance!

We took off and at first Henry was a bit confused. He wanted to smell the dogs as we were passing them. Pretty soon he got the hang of it as he saw all of them moving in the same direction. He trotted along pretty good. I had made sure to have him take care of business on a quick walk at home that morning before we left to minimize stops. I think he only had to pee once. The trail was pretty steep in parts and the morning was very humid! Because of this I had to walk just a bit on some of the hills. Each time I did as I told him I had to talk just a bit, Henry looked back at me like, “is that all you got, lady? When are we actually going to start running?!”

 

 

We trotted our way to the finish line and I led him to the number of water bowls out for the doggies. He sniffed all of them, but would not drink out of any of them. It was like they were tainted. First of all, who is he to be judgmental of slobber?! He eyed the water I was drinking so I had to pour some of my bottle out so he could drink it. But as soon as I dumped the rest in a bowl he was not interested. He could not bear to drink out of a public water bowl!  Funny how a muddy lake is another story, however! I was glad I brought his own bowl and a cold water bottle with us so he could have a drink by the car before heading home.

One cool and unique thing about this race was the sounds I heard. Normally during a race I hear feet on the pavement or path and sometimes folks breathing. This time it was a mix of human breathing, but also lots of panting! It was fun and I felt a cool connection with Henry. He is 7 years old and we just started doing this together, but it just shows that it is never too late. We didn’t win any prizes. He/we came in 51 out of 62 dogs in total, but I had a blast and I think I can speak for Henry that he did too.

Time: 25:31 51/62 dogs

Cleveland Marathon 2018 – 10K

Sun, May 20, 2018

So I signed up to run only the 10K this year as my winter training time was wonky due to the “great basement flood of 2018” in January (treadmill was out of commission – actually destroyed due to water). But I thought I could definitely get a 10K in. My attitude for this race was just to have fun and enjoy it! I even bought a sunflower headband at the expo to wear to celebrate the occasion.

The good news was that the night before the race the weather prediction for the day was great…coolish with upper 50’s to low 60’s in the morning with rain ending by like 6am. So with that as the prediction I left my large black garbage bag at home (not even in the car) and headed downtown in my shorts and short sleeved shirt. As I got closer to downtown I noticed something on my windshield…uh, misty rain? Excuse me? Ah, yes, it was spitty rain. You know the kind. It was not an all out rain, but a constant drizzle of wet that is just annoying. I reassured myself that it would surely let up by race time.

I pulled into my parking space by 5:30am and waited before I had to go find a potty (again). The rain was not really letting up at all and I cursed the fact that I didn’t have my garbage bag. The garbage bag is the perfect thing to have with you before races like this:  they keep the rain off of you, (and they do provide a bit of warmth, but then you can just rip them off and toss them aside when they are no longer needed.  I wasn’t really cold, but again…just annoyed by the wet.  I made my way to Quicken Loans arena to use the facilities and begin the hangout hour before the race started at 7am. I was thankful there was a dry place to wait.  I started talking with a woman who was also by herself. She was running the marathon that day (her fourth) and she was my age. We kept each other company before the race and headed out to our corral at 6:40am. Still raining. All the runners were talking about how unexpected the weather was that morning. There was a fog around some of the buildings. We were all in the same boat, but that was little comfort as we just stood there and waited for the race to start.  It felt like the longest 20 minutes of my life.  Every now and then I would wipe the water off my arms and again, curse my doggone garbage bag on my kitchen table at home. Couldn’t I just will it me somehow or travel back in time to get it?!  It suddenly became blurrily clear to me that a hat would have come in clutch right about now as I looked through my rain spotted glasses. My new race buddy gave me a dry tissue which I promptly stowed in my race belt for later. I planned to use my shirt as a wiper at first before it got totally soaked. The worst was just waiting at this point because even after the race started at 7am those of us “back of the packers” had to wait another 20 minutes to just get to the start line. Torture!

Lauri

Glad to be done!

Finally we were at the start and I bid my new friend good luck and farewell. I kept thinking to myself how glad I was that I was only running 6.2 miles this time. She had to go 4 times as long!! Gulp. I kept all those thoughts to myself and tried to pump her up.

The run itself felt pretty good. I got into my stride and felt good. During the first couple of miles as I noticed all the thrown off shirts on the side of the road I started thinking.  I could grab one of those and use it to wipe my glasses!! After I came upon my third group of discarded shirts I said “carpe shirt”, spied a cotton blue shirt that looked like it still had some dry spots and claimed it for my own. After I used it to do the deed I decided to keep it for later so around the waist it went and it became a new part of my race garb for that day. Yep. You see the wiping of the glasses was just a quick fix because 2 minutes later they were covered with rain drops again. Between the rain and then the humidity fogging them up I could really not see s**t during this race.

This year’s shirt

So much for just having fun during this race!! I mean I actually considered talking my glasses off and running without them. Ummm, those of you who know me well know that I have a bum eye AND have a really strong prescription and cannot do really anything without corrective lenses. But I had to choose the better of two evils – regular blurry vision, or blurry vision with fog and raindrops. I decided to keep them on and just go for it. I was actually beginning to feel proud of myself for dodging all the potholes which were now filled with puddles until it the inevitable happened. I splashed both full feet into a huge puddle as all the runners around me groaned “ooohhhhhh!!!!” collectively. After I uttered a few choice words I just laughed and was grateful, yet again, that I was only running 6 miles that day!  I used my trusty adopted shirt about every 3 minutes or so and slogged myself to the finish. I didn’t even get a look at the clock for my time (go figure).

Other new headbands for the collection

Adopted shirt (Trusty blue, as I like to call her)

I grabbed a Mylar blanket, banana, and chocolate milk (oh yeah, and the medal…def looked for that) and headed to my car. Of course I got lost finding my car too, but eventually got there and drove home. In addition to my family greeting me at home in the kitchen, what else was sitting there mocking me on my kitchen table? Yep, the black garbage bag. It will forever have a permanent home in my glove compartment.

 

 

 

Time: 1:11:09; 11:29/per mile
Age group: 45/149
Female: 631/1294
Overall: 1230/2182

 

 

 

Frostbite Prediction Run 2018

Frostbite Prediction Run 5K
Munroe Falls Park
Sponsored by SARC

First race of 2018! I love this race! This is my fourth year running it and it gives a fun twist to a race. The way it works is that you predict your finish time when you register and then the 10 folks who come the closest to their predicted times are the winners! It doesn’t matter how fast you are! No watches or timing devices are allowed – on your honor. This is the only race in which runners like me could actually place! In the past three years I have not really come close to my time. The winners usually are within seconds of their predicted time which is crazy!! The other cool thing about this race is that there is a big pile of freebie clothes on a table and at the end of the race people can grab something from the pile. Basically everyone leaves with something so it is fun.

It was chilly this year at the start of the race – 20 degrees! I had predicted 35:15 when I registered, but I changed it to 34 minutes flat the morning of the race because of how I’d been running on the treadmill lately. The roads were a little snow covered, but not much. I have not run outside much this season because of very cold temps so I wasn’t totally sure about how I would do.

I felt pretty good the entire race. There was one slippery spot that I noticed on the loop that we ran twice, but other than that it was uneventful. I also walked a little bit up one of the hills.

As I came into the finish I felt like I was close to my time. I looked back at the clock (they don’t have it facing the runners for obvious reasons) and it said 34:01! Oh, my gosh! “I won!”, I screamed to the woman next to me. I told her what my predicted time was and she said, “oh, yeah, you got really close!”. So cool!! Of course this is the year that I placed. I could not stay to hear the results as my family had an appointment that morning so I had to get home. AHHHH!! I chatted my friend who ran the race to see if he could pick up my gift card, but he had already left! I found the race director to find out if I could still receive my prize if I was not present and he said yes. He also let me take something off the freebie table before I left which was nice. Of course it wasn’t confirmed that I had made the top 10 when I left as not all the runners were back yet so I left not knowing for sure if I made it.

Medal and cool long-sleeved maroon shirt

Sweet long-sleeved shirt from Vertical Runner from the freebie table

I kept checking the results that morning, but they were not posted. Then my friend texted me to let me know that I came in 5th!!! Yahoo!!!!  I had predicted 34 minutes flat and my finish time was 33:56!  I was 4 seconds off my predicted time!!  Here are the final results with my name listed. I will admit that while I was excited that I actually placed in this race, I was disappointed that I wasn’t there to hear my name called and get some applause. I’m not ashamed to admit it! Runners like me don’t usually get the chance to “place” in races. I called Ritches Sporting Goods to give them my mailing address so they could mail the $10 gift card to me. Of course I also have bragging rights!! But you better believe that I will make plans to stay to hear the results at next year’s race. That will inevitably ensure that I will be at least a minute off my predicted time!! Ha!!!

Great New Year’s Eve Race 2017 – Tradition #13

Sunday, December 31, 2017
GNYER 2017 5K, 4pm
Stow High School

This is a bonus Christmas tradition – lucky #13!  I included it with my 12 Christmas tradition list because it takes place during Christmas week and it certainly is a tradition as I’ve done it since 2010!!  And plus, it is my blog so there is that.  I’m the boss of it.  Anyways…

Whew, that was a cold one!  It was a balmy 15 degrees at 4pm for the start of this 5K.  I think this is the race I have run the longest!  I started in 2010 and have run it every year.  It is fun because it is the last race of the year and you just never know what the weather will be!  For example, last year it was 40 degrees!

I was actually dressed perfectly for the weather today.  I had on running pants, two layers of tech shirts (one was my new Patagonia shirt with a hood – should be great for fall weather) and then my running jacket.  I had 2 pairs of gloves – one pair of liners, my gaiter and 2 hats.  I took one pair of gloves off at about 1.5 miles.  I felt pretty good for the entire race – but walked the last hill which is a killer.  My glasses fogged up again which is generally a pain, but more this year because I was trying to avoid the slush.  We got a decent amount of snow the day before and a little bit the morning of the race so the roads were a little slick in parts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was happy to see my friends, Chris and Alise who recently got engaged.  Yay! Chris won his age group!  Alise and I were interested to see if we got the “middle of the pack” award. Both of us lost there.  She was faster than it and I was slower!  The middle of the pack woman’s time was 34:18.  I was so close again!  My time was 34:49.  Damn, if only I didn’t walk the hill!!  The prize was $100!!!

Overall I was okay with my time.  I’m definitely slowing down a bit, but hey, I’m still out there, right?!  That wraps up both my Christmas traditions and my races for 2017.  Happy New Year!  Bring on 2018!!

Here are my stats:
Time:  34:49; Pace:  11:14
Female age group: 9/16
All female:  64/111
Overall:  162/234

Frosty 5 Miler – Tradition #8

Frosty Five Miler
Sunday, December 24, 2017
8:30am

This is the second year I’ve done this race sponsored by Western Reserve Racing.  It is really nice because it is right downtown Hudson so I don’t have to travel far.  This year the weather was 28 degrees and cloudy.  We had gotten a dusting of snow the day before so it looked pretty and Christmasy, but the roads were clear.  I was determined to to win the ugly sweater contest this year.  Here I am in my new blinking sweater.  Yes, it is making a encore appearance from the zamboni ride.  I also remembered to wear my blinking hat that I got last year.  Add some Christmas socks, a tutu that I may or may not have bought at the children’s department at Target years ago and you have an outfit!  I had to bust all this out since we missed the jingle bell run this year!

There were over 700 runners participating this year.  I eagerly lined up for the ugly sweater contest, but had a lot of competitors.  Even Santa showed up!  It turns out that my sweater actually would have won the “cutest Christmas sweater” contest as the runner-ups and winners were truly bad.  One funny thing happened on my way to the race.  No seriously.  A complete stranger offered to give me a hug.  Of course at first I forgot that my sweater had “hug me” on it so I gave him a weird look until he reminded me that my sweater said “hug me”.  Duh.

 

 

I ran into a few people I knew so that was fun.  The run itself was uneventful.  I was too hot with 3 layers on.  I took my gator and gloves off after mile 1.  I felt challenged running this morning.  I haven’t run outside for awhile and when I run the treadmill I usually don’t set an incline so I wasn’t really prepared for the hills.  I could totally tell this during this race!  I walked a bit during it.  I was about 3 minutes slower than last year, but it was just fun to get out there.

Here are the stats from the race:
Time: 55:18/11:04 pace
Overall place: 577/709
Age group 38/53
Female: 316/408