2018 5K & Firetruck Pull to benefit Area 19 Special Olympics Virginia Athletes

Come join us at the Onancock Elks Lodge #1766 in Accomac, VA for the 3rd Annual 5K & Firetruck Pull to Benefit Area 19 Special Olympics Virginia Athletes!  The event will take place, rain or shine, on Saturday April 21, 2018 at 22454 Front Street in Accomac, VA.  You can visit the event page for more information.

If you are interested in the 5K, you can download a printable registration form by clicking on the following link:  Elks 5K Registration and Waiver.  Complete the form and return it to the Lodge with your registration fee.  I will be coordinating the run, so if you have any questions about it feel free to contact me at animalwhiz@yahoo.com.

If you have any questions about the Firetruck Pull, you can contact the Lodge or message me and I will find out the information for you.

This is a really great, fun event for all ages and supports a wonderful cause.  Help us make it the best yet!

 

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Assateague Island National Seashore 5K Centennial Run

About 6 weeks or more ago, a friend and fellow runner let me know about this local 5K that was going to happen in early June at the Wildlife Loop at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The race was free and was limited to 100 participants. I jumped on it because 1) you can’t beat that price for a race entry, 2) the location is a lovely one and 3) it will ensure that I get up early and get a run in that day. race33288-logo.bxeQDw

I signed up along with several other runner friends. At the registration page they were taking donations to go toward the Assateague Island Alliance (a non-profit friends group of Assateague Island National Seashore that helps to raise funds to go toward preservation of the island while also supporting educational programming). Of course I donated, though it was a small amount.

A week prior to race day all of the participants received an email that gave details of the run; when and where to pick up your race packet, how to get into the park, where to park your vehicle, how to prepare for the race due to its location and abundance of bitey bugs, rain date info, and a little note of appreciation at the end.  The US Fish and Wildlife Service granted each participant free admission to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  Therefore, if one chose to do so, race participants could stick around after the run and make a day of hiking, beaching, lighthouse visiting, pony watching, whatever they choose, all for free.  I thought that was absolutely awesome and generous, especially given that the race entry fee was free.

I awoke early June 4th, the morning of the race, to get there on time as Chincoteague was about a 40 minute drive from home.  I didn’t have to get there too early since a running buddy already picked up race packets for all of those in our troupe.  The weather was warm, a little foggy with overcast skies.  The humidity was mild.  The drive in was smooth and once I got on the island I was surprised to find it as calm and quiet as it was.  It was pretty early and many of the shops were still closed, but it is summer around here so I thought there’d be more hustle and bustle going on.  Perhaps they were anticipating rain?  I made it to the park gate earlier than I had expected due to the lack of traffic and pedestrians (and I might have a slight case of lead foot at times).  Almost immediately after I entered through the gate there was someone on the side of the road directing us to the parking area for the race.

Arrival was welcoming and easy.  There were a few participants there by the time I had shown up, but most of them poured in almost immediately afterward.  There were park rangers at the registration table, happy to answer any questions and excited about the event.  One of the rangers was perusing through the crowd taking photos.  I gathered with a group of my running buddies to take a “before” photo in front of the banner on display.

A fun photo before the race began

A fun photo before the race began

In our race packets there were pamphlets about the area, a temporary tattoo (which we all were happy to sport), a decal for our vehicles, a race bib and a t-shirt.  Did I mention that the registration for this race was FREE?

All tattooed and ready to run!

All tattooed and ready to run!

As the start time neared, I ran into several other friends and fellow runners from our community!  I was elated to see each and every one of them.  There were participants of all ages, some seasoned runners and some first timers.  After a brief welcoming and intro at the start line, we were off.

The route was a paved, flat, scenic loop filled with coastal flora and fauna.  It was peaceful; only the sounds of birds and frogs in the distance, the pitter patter of shoes on the pavement, and the occasional spoken words of encouragement from one runner to another.

Before I knew it I was almost at the finish!  I wasn’t paying much attention to anything other than the beauty that surrounded me.  The park rangers, as well as those that had finished before me and some other supporters, were there to greet all of us with high fives, congratulatory messages, and a finishing patch.  There were bananas and water at the finish for all of us too.  All of this for a registration fee of $0.00.

Our finisher patch!

Our finisher patch!

This was the first event of this type for the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and they did an absolute perfect job putting it together.  From the ease of registration to the final minutes after the race, everything was well organized and the race bling was generous given the cost of registration.

If ever there is a race such as this in your area, I encourage you to take part.  And if they are accepting donations, remember that every little bit helps their cause.  I for one will happily partake in another of these events, and not just for the “bling,” but because of the sense of community it creates.

The Assateague Island National Seashore 5K Centennial Run has raised just shy of 50% of their goal as of the date of my blogging this.  They are still accepting donations if you wish to help the cause.  Visit their donation page here to help them raise funds for preservation and education.

Half Crazy for the benefit of the Animals

Yesterday was the 4th annual Run for the Animals Half Marathon and 10K on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The weather was beautiful, the crowd was huge, and the bling was fabulous. I have trophies from every year prior and I really wanted one from this year to add to my collection! This year’s trophy was a cool cat design.  But if I didn’t win a trophy it wouldn’t be the end of my world, just being able to finish my first Half Marathon would be enough for me.

My training over the course of the past 2 weeks was lax because of traveling and a nagging pain in my left hip.  I was hoping/expecting to finish with a time somewhere around 2:10:– judging by my training pace.  After breakfast I downed 800mg ibuprofen to, hopefully, keep any hip or other pain at bay to make the run bearable.

I arrived to the event later than I had hoped, since I had some fundraising stuff to set up.  I managed to get the majority of the items in order before my “helper” arrived, but I had to bolt on him and hit the potty before the race began!  Thankfully some seasoned volunteers of mine were nearby to help out with the fundraising table while I was out getting my run on.

There were just over 150 total participants this year (10K and Half Marathon combined).  By the start of the race, the weather was at a comfortable temperature in the upper 40s/lower 50s with just the slightest breeze.  Perfect running weather!  I’d have run in shorts if it wasn’t for the fact that I had just gotten the coolest pair of running tights ever…just in time for this run!  So I had to wear them.

I’ve only ever run the 10K portion of this race in the past, so I’d bolt out of the starting gate and push as fast and as hard as I could for as long as I could.  This time I had to remind myself to take it easy!  When the start airhorn sounded I just took off at a gentle, comfortable pace, a little faster than my average training run.  I felt great!  Made it to the 3.1 mile mark (the 10K turnaround) and kicked it up a bit.  Just a tad.  After 2 more miles I slowed it up a bit for a mile or so.  By mile 7, I started to get a hint of side stitches.  I hate those!  So I slowed down a wee bit at that point and started some breathing exercises.  After another mile the pain went away.  So I picked up the pace just a bit.

At mile 10, I was ON FIRE!  My legs felt great and I was able to speed it up and pass a couple of people on my way down the home stretch!  Damn!  I can do this!  That’s what was going through my head.  Then I hit mile 12.5.  My legs started to give in.  I’d try to do the “mind over matter” thing and convince my legs to keep moving, but they needed a break.  So I stopped and walked for about a minute.  Then MIND won as I told myself “the finish line is right there and then you can rest all you want!”  So I started running again, not super fast, but fast enough to finish with a time of 1:54:15!

I DID IT!  Finished my first Half Marathon!  Woot!

I DID IT! Finished my first Half Marathon! Woot!

Holy crap!  I just finished my first Half Marathon in LESS THAN 2 hours!!!  I could hardly believe it!  And I actually felt pretty good afterward, as long as I kept moving.  I was welcomed by my friends, dogs and other awesome folks at the finish line!  I DID IT!  FINALLY!  Another milestone reached!

My running buddy, trainer and coach!

My running buddy, trainer and coach!

 

Today I’m a bit stiff, my left hip is nagging me, hamstrings are a little tight, and my knees are not quite up to par.  But I still feel great.  After a few weeks of rest, I’ll be back at it.  This time in shorts and a tank top.

The Final Results:

  • I finished 17th overall out of 65 Half Marathon participants
  • I finished 1st in my age group for women 40-44
  • I earned 3rd place fundraiser, raising $751.00
  • I FINISHED MY FIRST HALF MARATHON at a venue that I hold very near and dear to me!

I did get a couple more trophies to add to my collection of Run for the Animals bling.

My Trophies for this year for top female finisher in my age group, and for 3rd place fundraiser!

My Trophies for this year for top female finisher in my age group, and for 3rd place fundraiser!

Now to work on improving my pace for next year so I continue to collect trophies from each year!  🙂  Thanks for all you do Andrea D. putting this awesome event on every year!  Can’t wait to hear what the final fundraising tally was (it was EPIC this year!)!  Love what you do, and I’ll see you again next year…

Me and my post-race bling :)

Me and my post-race bling 🙂 wearing some awesome tights!

Facebook “Silent” Auction

In an effort to raise money for the Run for the Animals (visit runfortheanimals.com for more information, or see my previous blog post), I am hosting a “silent auction” of items with 100% of the proceeds going toward my fundraising efforts for the event!

The items I have available are primarily dog, cat and runner-related that have been donated by outside parties or myself.  I don’t mean to appear discriminatory against pocket pets, horses, reptiles and other animals, but I just don’t have the donor support from those other animal venues at this time.  Please check out my Facebook page for more information!

The Run for the Animals is an event that hold very near and dear to my heart, and you can read about it more on my previous blog post linked above!

So you say it’s too cold for a run…

Aside

It’s no secret that I am a fair-weather runner.  I adjust my running schedule based on the weather forecast.  I don’t have a treadmill, nor do I really want or need one.  I just have to pick and choose my battles when I run!  I will and have run in the rain, sleet, snow, heat, humidity and (the most dreaded for me) wind.  But if I don’t have to run in crappy weather, I won’t!  Or at least I’ll scout out the nicest days of the week and make those my run days.  On my off run days, I will often cross train at home with a Jillian Michaels DVD, POUND DVD, or I’ll do my own thing, like this:

An easy & effective workout to keep you conditioned between runs

An easy & effective workout to keep you conditioned between runs

Use this and let me know what you think and/or how you feel afterward.  Was it too easy?  Too difficult?  Too boring?  Just right?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  >^..^<

Fat Tuesnowday

Today was a Snow Day for us here on the Eastern Shore of VA! It’s rare for there to ever be much snow accumulation here, but every now and again we get lucky (or unlucky in some other people’s opinions). I personally enjoy snow, I just don’t like the cold that goes along with it (can you say “conundrum”). And my dogs, they think snow is the most awesome thing ever! Except CJ, he thinks most everything is awesome, except thunderstorms.

CJ enjoying a rare snowfall

CJ enjoying a rare snowfall

After being informed that I didn’t have to go in to work, I layered on the long underwear, dusted off my snow suit and snow boots, and went out to enjoy the powdery white stuff with my family (sans the cats…they were very disinterested in the snow). We took in the scenery, played fetch, checked on the chickens, then came back in to warm up and dry off. Just so that we could go do it all again!

Trekking through the snow with CJ

Trekking through the snow with CJ

I am in the process of training for the Run for the Animals Half Marathon in April this year and was due for a short training run. I don’t own a treadmill so my options are, well, there’s only one really. After piling on the layers and lacing up my Ice Bug shoes, I managed to drudge through the unplowed road and finished a 5K in record slow time! But I got it done. To be honest, I don’t mind running in the rain, snow or cold. It’s the wind that drives me crazy! I absolutely abhor running when it’s windy and make any and every excuse not to. But usually still do it with much complaining! They say running in inclement weather “builds character.” Yeah, it builds character alright…when I run in the wind, the character that is being built is a cranky, angry, foul-mouthed goblin!

My 5K trails today

My 5K trails today

Aside from being able to play in the snow and to spend a little extra time with my family, I was also able to get caught up on my chores (boring), AFAA classes and was able to do some blogging (duh). Fortunately, it looks as though the snow will stick around for a few days; unfortunately, it looks like that snow is going to stick around because the highs for the rest of the week are expected to be in the teens. I love snow. I hate cold.

I want to retire to Green Bay, WI though. … … … another blog!

Oh, wait! And to top off the excitement for the day, the mailman was able to get out and deliver today and delivered a most important package…BarkBox! Once again, CJ was THRILLED! Chompers was interested, but CJ was his typical “OMG is that for ME?!!!” self and claimed everything in the box…CJ BarkBox

Happy Fat Tuesday all!

For the Love of Run

As a kid in a tiny town in Northern Illinois, I did a lot of running and bicycling because all of my friends from school were several miles away.  Where I lived was considered the “boonies” so, to visit my friends, I’d hop on my bike and ride into town (about 5-7 miles, but it felt like 20+) and back, or I’d run and make my Mom pick me up from Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  I was also active in school sports, namely basketball.  I don’t know how many of you are familiar with basketball, but there’s a lot of sprinting that goes into the game, along with the dribbling and shooting of hoops!

Unfortunately, I was one of those kids that was easily influenced by others and by the time I was 18, I’d taken up the awful habit of smoking.  It started out as it usually does; one here, another there as I was hanging out with my friends.  Then eventually it developed into a habit.  A nasty habit that I was not proud of and tried to break myself of at least a dozen times.  Along with the smoking came the lack of willingness to do other physical activities, like running.  By the time I was a Junior in college, I was smoking a pack-a-day and not really doing anything in terms of physical activity other than walking to and from classes, daily routine stuff, and working my full-time job.

Fast-forward to 2008.  My long-time boyfriend (still happily un-married; another blog post at a future time) and I moved to the Eastern Shore of Virginia from Southern California.  We went from the Mojave Desert to the beautiful green, surrounded-by-water Eastern Shore.  It was like I belonged here!  It reminded me of my childhood home in Northern Illinois; a small farming community where the majority of the people are very friendly and sociable, only this place is warmer and surrounded by salt-water as opposed to fresh-water.  This new environment made me want to get out and explore!  But I was so out of shape; I wasn’t overweight, I was just not very physically fit and was unmotivated.  Cue the motivation.

In order to get my diet and nutrition on track, I signed up for Weight Watchers.  I had a few pounds I could stand to lose, but I really wanted to learn how to 1) eat right and 2) control my portions.  No matter what your opinions may be about Weight Watchers, it was great for me.  It was step one to gaining control of my health.  Not only did Weight Watchers teach me how to control what I eat, but the meetings and the other members were very supportive and helped provide me with the much-needed motivation I was looking for.

During the time I spent at Weight Watchers, I also started getting active again by walking.  We live 1 mile from the water, so I’d leash up the dogs and we’d head down to the end of our neck and enjoy the beautiful view.  The dogs could run off-leash and explore the shore so they were having a great time!  I eventually started incorporating short bouts of running into my walks; I’d walk for 5 minutes then run for 30 seconds to a minute, and walk some more.  I would often get short of breath because of the smoking.  Stupid cigarettes.  I wish I’d never started because quitting smoking is not easy!…

After numerous unsuccessful attempts at quitting smoking, I was finally successful in 2011!  With the help of running and an electronic cigarette by blu, I was able to curb the addiction and then the habit.  The more I ran, the more I wanted to run; the less I smoked, the more I was able to run.  So, running kind of saved my life in a sense.  And I’ve been keeping up with it ever since.  I literally love to run.