The Hunger Games

I went to see The Hunger Games this weekend with some lovely friends.  I learned my lesson – no more opening night movies.  That crowd was insane and a little scary.  There were even girls hiding in the bathroom, creating their own line so they could cut into the theater line.  Ridiculous.

But that said, I loved the movie.  I thought the casting was excellent, and for the most part, I’m okay with the changes that were made.  I thought the girls who played both Rue and Prim were perfect (and I am horrified by the race comments that have been made about the casting and can’t believe we live in a world where people think it’s okay to say those sorts of things).  I cried twice during the movie.  I’m not ashamed to admit it.

I thought the violence was very appropriately done, and it’s a very interesting look at society.  I don’t have an issue with violence on tv and in movies (but think parents should use their discretion in deciding what their kids watch).  But it’s not real violence – it’s fake.  The Hunger Games though, that’s real violence (at least to the fictional people watching).  Will we someday look at people fighting to the death as entertainment?  It already happens with dog fighting and cock fighting in many areas.

It’s a bit of a scary thought and hopefully very far fetched.

But the movie was very good.  You should see it.  Read the books first though.  Books are always better than the movie.


Amazingly, I don’t have another race for a couple of weeks.  I know, can you believe it?  I need a break after this last round of racing.  However, four half marathons in four states in under 51 days got me a new Half Fanatics moon.  I don’t see myself moving up any more levels anytime soon.

My next race is technically 4/14, but it’s a ten miler that I’m mostly using for training.  After that, I have Katie‘s wedding shower race (IronGirl Columbia) followed the next weekend by the Frederick Half.  With another set of back-to-back halfs, I don’t plan to all-out race IronGirl (sorry Kim!)  so I can prevent injury before Frederick.  Frederick is hilly, but if I can get some speedwork in, I might try to use those hills to my advantage and push my time.

After this past weekend’s race, I know that I need to step up my training and also get in some cross training.  Today is Wednesday and it’s the first day that I’m not sore.  That’s saying something.  Some of the leg soreness was likely due to the camber of the road, and there’s not a lot that can be done about that.  But my glutes were sore, and weirdly, so were my pecs and abs.  What does that mean?  More cross-training is definitely needed.

My weight training has definitely fallen off.  I injured my wrist doing who knows what and haven’t picked up the weights since.  I also need to get back on my bike.  I may hop on the bike tonight (it’s still in the trainer) and use that to shake out my legs before leaping back into running this weekend.

I need to get myself back into a good training regimen.

2012 Shamrock Half Marathon

No surprise to anyone, this past weekend I ran yet another half marathon.  This was the 2012 Anthem Half Marathon, also known as the Shamrock Half Marathon (Yuengling sponsors the full and Anthem the half).

AWESOME race.  I was so excited to finally get to Virginia Beach this year.  I was actually registered for this race last year, but deferred because race weekend was the best weekend for me to move from my apartment to my house.  So for an extra $30, I deferred to this year, and I’m so glad I did.

I headed down to the race with Jen, Katie, and Lauren, and once there, we met up with a number of other friends, making this an amazing race weekend.  It’s always fun to race with friends, even if you don’t end up actually running together.

Katie did the Dolphin Challenge, so she ran the 8K on Saturday (as well as the half on Sunday).  So we all headed out to cheer for her.  While there were corrals based on time, I think there were some issues with the corrals, because while many of the corrals started out running, Katie’s was definitely filled with walkers.  Kind of a bummer, but she had a half on her plate for the next day.

We stayed and watched the kids races.  There was a one mile kids race as well as a “final mile.”  Those kids ran 25 miles over the past months and then did the final part of their marathon that morning.  There were so many kids!  Lots of green hair, lots of parents running with their kids, lots of costumes.  It looked like a lot of fun, and it was fun to get to cheer for them.  We got lots of little high fives.

Sunday morning was race morning.  The half started at 7 and the full at 8:30, leaving plenty of time to prevent the slow half marathoners from causing trouble for the fast marathoners.  I was just excited that I would finish the race before the first marathoner.  That typically doesn’t happen for me with combined halfs and fulls!

Once again, there were corralling issues.  There were 7 corrals for the half, and I was in corral 6, which I believe was finish times from 2:30-2:54.  My PR was 2:49:20, and I was hoping to pull off another PR on this very flat course, so I was in the right corral.  Plenty of people were not.  Again, I am a super walker friendly person.  I encourage walkers to participate in races.  It doesn’t matter if you run, walk, or crawl (or cycle, I suppose) across that finish line – we all cover the same distance.  That said, it’s really hard to start out and have walkers in front of you.  It’s just lack of knowledge of race etiquette, I think.  So walkers, remember to be out of the way of faster people who may be behind you.  I saw an opening at the very beginning and I bolted through it.

I made myself a pace band for this race that would get me in at 2:49 and getting me a new PR.  Mile 1, I was well under pace, thanks to having to bolt around walkers.  But then I started to get slower.  I needed to keep a 12:54 pace (I run/walk).  I started with a 1:45/1 pattern, but dropped to a 1:30/1 pattern that felt great.  But I had to push those early miles.  My splits were pretty good.

1 – 12:44
2 – 13:01
3 – 12:52
4 – 13:00
5 – 13:06 (it was here I began to question the PR)
6 – 12:43 (and then I kicked it into gear)
7 – 12:37
8 – 12:43
9 – 12:43
10 – 12:51
11 – 12:41
12 – 12:41
13 – 12:47

And my finish time was officially 2:48:33.  A new PR!  Hooray!

It was a hard fought PR.  My last PR felt easy.  I was well trained and had been doing solid speedwork, but also getting a lot of rest.  I wanted this PR, but I hadn’t been keeping up with my training.  And I felt it.  I fought for every mile.  I deserve the time and I’m proud of it, but two days later, I’m still sore.  But I learned my lesson.  If I train properly, I can whittle away at that time.  I would like to see a 2:45 someday.  With my heart rate issues, I’m never going to be fast, and I don’t know that a 2:30 is ever in the cards.  But I still like seeing improvement.

I saw Monica on the course, and when I finished, Laura was hanging out by the bananas, waiting for us.  I met up with her, willed my legs to not cramp up (I could feel it coming and quickly downed some Gatorade and pretzels), and waited for Katie and Jen to come in.  They looked great at the finish!  After the race, we also met up with Suzanne and Monica and then headed back to cheer Lauren to her full marathon finish.  I know she didn’t have the greatest race, but she looked spectacular!

We headed back, showered, and made it back outside to see Janice and David finish.  Janice spotted me and I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone so excited to see me.  It was great to see them run their way to new PRs.  And they introduced us to our new friend Sandy.

All in all, a great race filled with great friends.  This is why I run.

This was the 40th Anniversary of the race, and the organizers set out to make it awesome.  This race always features a finisher’s item, usually a hat, but for the anniversary, we got hats and sweatshirts.  And, of course, a medal.  That doubles as a bottle opener.  Awesome.


2012 B&A Trail Half Marathon

Hey look, I ran a non-Disney race.  Local, even.  And I love this race.  Let me say it again.  I love this race.

First off, the name “trail” is a misnomer – the race is on a trail, but it’s a paved trail.  No rocks and roots and things to jump over.

This is a small race, held on the B&A Trail.  It’s a half and a full that start together.  For those who remember the crowds during the Annapolis Half, specifically during the part on the B&A Trail, that isn’t a concern here.   This race has a cap of 1000 runners (for the half and full combined).  I believe the Annapolis Half had over 5000 runners.

This race has the feel of a small town race, but the organization of a big race.  The half fee was $50, and for that you get a great premium (this year it was track pants!), a well organized chip-timed race with great water stops, and more post-race food than you can imagine, including hot pizza that just keeps coming.

The race is a tune-up for the Navy Marathon team, so if you’re young, this might not be an award winning course for you.  This year, the Korean Marathon team also showed up (and I loved the sign at the split between the half and the full written in Korean).  The race also has a lot of 50 Staters (people who want to run a full or half in every state) because it’s such a friendly race.  So there were quite a few Marathon Maniacs out on the course.

But don’t let that fool you – this race is also very slow runner friendly.  The full has a 6 hour time limit, but if you’re worried about that, there’s an official start an hour early – you just can’t win any awards with an early start.  Because the half and full finish together, that means the half also has a 6 hour time limit.  Definitely friendly for the slower runners.  And the race organizer is always sure that there is plenty of food left for the slow runners.

We took this race nice and easy, since three of us had run Princess the week before.  We just set out to run a casual 1:1 walk/run pattern and chat the whole way.  The course is flat save for one hill at the turnaround – but the benefit of an out and back means that what goes up must come down.  Even with a stop to chat with some friends who came out to cheer, we finished almost 11 minutes faster than last week – and finished feeling strong.  Not a bad way to race at all!

I highly recommend this race.  The volunteers are amazing, and the water/food stops are always so cheerful.  There are friendly faces all along the course, and the crazy teenagers making up dances always make me laugh.   It can be a chilly time of year, but before the race, you can wait inside the high school cafeteria, so no worries about freezing in a corral.  And there is a medal and hot pizza waiting for you at the finish.  What more could you want?