Tag Archives: Rum

 HAWAII, KITTENS, AND AGE GROUP AWARDS, OH MY! (or, what I’ve been up to since my 50 mile race)

Widget Medal

Our newest medal model, Widget

After my 50 mile race on April 29th, May arrived and flew by in a flash. Though I only logged about 80 miles of running that month (my lowest monthly mileage since 2012), I guess I had a few good excuses.

First was my trip to Hawaii. OH MY GOODNESS WHERE ARE ALL THE PICTURES?!?!?! Well, though I was in paradise, it was nonetheless a business trip in paradise. I took some pictures but the business at hand left little time for exploring outside of the Honolulu city limits. That’s not to say I didn’t have a blast. Waikiki is full of great shopping, bars, restaurants, and beautiful ocean views. Though the weather was perfect for outdoor running, the amount of tourists and some scary, sun-fried locals made me cautious about running outside by myself. Alas, all the miles I logged while in Hawaii were on the hotel treadmill. Shout-out to Maui Brewing Company for having some delicious beers, and to the person who invented the Mai Tai.

The morning after I landed in Michigan, after sleeping in until 11am because I had just flown through a billion different time zones, Shawn whisked me away to a belated birthday brunch (oh yeah, I had a birthday while in Hawaii). Suspiciously, he grabbed our cat carrier before we departed. We had been casually looking at kittens available for adoption but suddenly I realized Shawn’s longing for a kitten was serious. He had something up his sleeve. After having lunch at the New Hudson Inn (they stopped serving breakfast at 11am, jerks), Shawn drove us to a local Pet Supplies Plus that was having an adoption event. Long story short- Laura spots black kitten, Laura holds black kitten, Shawn and Laura walk out with black kitten. Black kitten is now Widget.

During the joy that comes with raising a kitten, the first week Widget was in our home, I unfortunately missed some issues going on with our existing kitty, Beans. Shawn mentioned he didn’t eat much while I was in Hawaii but I selfishly attributed it to him being anxious that I was away. After Widget’s arrival Beans began to eat less, rarely use the litter box, and hid away from us. After the first couple days I blamed it on stress from the new kitten. But by mid-week I was concerned. He began vomiting regularly and showing absolutely no interest in food. He stopped purring, meowing, and acting like his normal cheerful self. By Thursday night I decided he needed immediate help and took him to the emergency vet in town. After examining him until 1:30am, it was found Beans had Pancreatitis, a UTI, and a possible mass showed up on an X-ray. My poor baby kitty had to spend all of Memorial Day weekend in the hospital recovering while Shawn, Widget, and I went up North to my parent’s home in Charlevoix for the first time in a year. It’s been over a week since Beans has been home, and I wish I could say he’s made a 100% recovery. However, he has a follow-up appointment tomorrow to find out for sure about that possible mass. In short, I’ve been an absolute mess. I blame myself for him getting sick and I just want my normal chatty, affectionate, goofy, kitty back.

In the midst of Beans’ illness, I ran my first race since my 50 miler, the Miles For Mankind Half Marathon in Westland, MI this past Saturday. I finished in a time of about 2:13ish, which while slow, was still my fastest half marathon time in over three years. To quote our current president: Sad! But it also gave me hope that faster times are ahead. Since this was a small race, my completely non-impressive time was somehow enough for me to win 3rd in my age group. I got a lovely green ribbon that you can see modeled by my Widget.

Before I knew it, May was completely over and June was upon me, leaving 13 weeks until my next 50 miler. I’m happy to report that in addition to the 13.1 miles I ran in Westland, I was able to log 48 total miles this past week. My butt is officially in gear. I have a lot more “life” being thrown at me lately- a sick kitty, a busy job, a house, a husband who sometimes appreciates having me around, but I’m determined to rock North Country in August.

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Unlucky #13: The Ann Arbor Marathon

Way back in 2014, I was in great shape and setting PR’s like a champ. It’s been nothing but a sharp nosedive from greatness since, but I do marvel at my accomplishments three years ago. In March of 2014 I set my half marathon PR of 1:50:10 at the Ann Arbor Half Marathon, a very hilly course that in no way should have inspired record-setting speed from me. To this day I have no idea how I pulled that off; to put things in perspective, I returned to run the Ann Arbor Half in 2015 and finished more than 35 minutes slower. Hoping to redeem myself, I did register again in 2016, but after a fun night out with Shawn I woke up race day morning with a hangover, looked at the freezing temperature, said “fuck that”, and got back into my warm bed.

I had never skipped out on a race due to laziness, and guilt inspired me to do something pretty stupid at the end of last year- I registered for the FULL marathon in Ann Arbor as my penance. Never mind that the full was a double loop (ew!) and in March (when Michigan’s weather goes on the rag). Not only would it make up for my misdeeds, but training for a March marathon would inspire me to get my butt out the door during the most miserable months of the year.

As you’ve read in previous posts, I joined up with friends who were training for a 50 miler on their weekend long runs to train for Ann Arbor. A gentle twist of the arm saw me signing up for the 50 miler as well, and now Ann Arbor went from “Early Spring Marathon to Keep me Motivated” to “A Mere Training Run”.

The weather leading up to Ann Arbor wasn’t terrible- pretty mild and no snow or ice. In fact, the Friday prior to the marathon was set to hit 75 degrees! Oh but in typical schizophrenic Michigan fashion the temperature would drop to 40 the next day. The forecast for race morning called for just shy of 40 degrees with a 90% chance of rain. Lovely. I kept checking my weather app hoping that through sheer positivity I could change the weather, but alas, I don’t have X-Men capabilities after all.

The night before the marathon my parents came over to see the new house and of course no visit from mom and dad would be complete without a visit to a local dive bar. Long story short, I ate a lot of bad food and drank a lot of rum. I could barely sleep thinking of everything that would surely go wrong the next day- I wouldn’t make the cutoff. I’d get drenched. I’d have to poop 50 times. When my alarm went off after a solid two hours of actual sleep I almost began crying, that’s how little I wanted to run. Thankfully a friend from the ultra training group was using the marathon as a training run as well, and accountability saw me make my way to the starting line.

Conditions the first half of the race weren’t bad- I even took off my gloves and rolled up my sleeves. As horrible as weather conditions are for Ann Arbor, you can’t deny that it’s a lovely and scenic course. It takes you through the University of Michigan’s campus, through riverfront parks, and through the Arboretum. Thankfully my tummy was on it’s best behavior and the Tailwind Nutrition was keeping my energy steady. Dare I say it, I was enjoying myself! Then, magically on cue, as soon I started my second loop of the course, the rain began to fall.

The rain started as a mist and I thought, no big deal. Then Mother Nature laughed at my arrogance and it began to pour. Areas of the course became nothing but puddles which aren’t as easy to hop around after 17 miles of running. The Arb was nothing but mud. And remember how I said it was not even a high of 40 degrees? I was absolutely miserable. At one point the Five Hour pace group leader ran up to me and asked, “You’re running slow, are you okay? Taking in enough calories?” First of all, fuck you for asking such a condescending question. Second of all, I answered a bit more diplomatically, “I’m running a marathon in the rain, I’m as good as I can be.” Mr. Happy Asshole replied, “Well I’m running a marathon in the rain too! Stick with me and we’ll finish together!” UGH. I had really wanted to finish in less than five hours but the prospect of having to listen to him for the next seven miles was enough to make me walk and accept defeat.

When I finally finished I was a soaking and shivering mess. The Mylar blanket handed to me was soaked as well but I took it anyway. In all, I finished marathon #13 in just over 5:11, which given the weather and course conditions and the fact I had run 31 miles in the week leading up to this marathon (and it was just a training run after all), I was pretty satisfied. Thankfully I was smart enough to pack a change of dry clothes and my training buddy had an office in town where we could get changed.

To put it in perspective how cold I was driving home, it took me 20 minutes to work up the courage to leave my heated truck and walk into my house. When I finally did, I spent most of the rest of the day on the couch watching comedy specials on Netflix. I treated myself to a victory Bloody Mary and lots of peanut M&M’s.

A2Marathon

My penance having been satisfied, that night I swore off running Ann Arbor ever again. However, an urge to return and break five hours has been nagging me since. I never claimed to be a quick learner.

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To New Beginnings

The end of the year 2013 is fast approaching and I can’t help but start looking back. This past year definitely flew by, probably because I was having so much fun for the most part. Some of the highlights:

1) Running six half marathons

2) Running two full marathons

3) Completing my first sprint triathlon

4) PRing my 5K and 10K

5) Starting a new running/”boozy breakfast” tradition with my friend and favorite running partner Mary Beth

Through running and other exploits, I’ve developed several new relationships in the past year, which is amazing for an introvert like me. I firmly believe that fate has brought every one of these people into my life for good reasons. This past year I also said goodbye to my tumultuous twenties and hello to 30. I admit it was a relief. I can definitely say I entered this new decade with more confidence and a better sense of self than I’ve ever had. However, this better sense of self lead to some questioning of areas in my life in which I’ve been unhappy with for a long time, which brings me to the not-at-all-fun part of 2013:

1) The end of my marriage

2) The beginning of a life on my own

I won’t go into the details of why I’m getting a divorce. Those closest to me know the reasons. While the reasons have not been popular with many of my friends and family, the support I’ve received has been outstanding. It goes to show that when it comes to friendships, quality truly outweighs quantity.

The events that lie ahead will be stressful, which does frighten me. I’ve already chewed my nails down to the bed and lost weight from having a constant upset stomach. Oh, and did I mention the random crying spells, usually at work? However, my motto through it all has been simple, “I’ll live”. With the help of family and friends to make me laugh and hear me cry, and running to clear my head and relieve stress (and the occasional Bacardi binge), I know I’ll make it through this mess.

The upcoming year will be one full of new beginnings, new adventures, and new accomplishments. Somehow I’m going to complete four full marathons and a possible 50K. Yes, it’s almost as though I’m running away from life. But I don’t care. Despite everything, I am excitied for everything to come. My calendar may still read 2013, but my mind is already celebrating my life ahead.

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Random Thoughts: March Madness Edition

ImageMarch has been a month of personal records for the Rum Runner, in both the 5K and Half-Marathon (26:00 and 2:01:36 respectively). I should have recapped those races but frankly I just don’t feel like it. The thought of another race recap bores the hell out of me. My mind is more sporadic which leads us to yet another edition of Random Thoughts:

1) Randy and I leave for Utah on Easter Sunday to visit our favorite couple ever, Tracy and Charlie. Tracy and I met in college when we became roommates. We spent many a drunken night making fun of The Dog Whisperer and the rest is history. We’ll be visiting Moab for some hiking and mule riding and spend the rest of our time Sister-Wifing around Salt Lake City. I can’t wait!

2) I just bought a six-month unlimited yoga package at my favorite studio. I really hope to get my money’s worth and be able to contort into a pretzel by the end of September.

3) My morning routine could use an overhaul. Right now it consists of abusing the Snooze button, jumping out of bed way too late, tripping over cats, screaming about having nothing to wear, and rushing out the door still half asleep. Now that the weather is nicer I want to make a new tradition of getting up earlier to run two miles every morning. Just two easy miles to awake my mind and body and start the day off right.

4) Saturday morning me and some Your Pace or Mine buddies will be running the 16 mile training run held by the Lake Orion Hansons. I don’t have 16 miles on my schedule but I’m going rogue and doing it anyway! YOU AREN’T THE BOSS OF ME HAL HIGDON!

5) I’ve been craving really strong coffee lately. I’ve been drinking it black, which I never do. I’ve also been craving really good microbrews and I’ve never been a huge beer drinker. My friend joked that my strange cravings could mean I was pregnant, though I think most people would agree that coffee and beer are horrible pregnancy cravings. By the way, I’m definitely not preggo. CHEERS!

What are everyone’s spring plans? Any races on the horizon? Any babies in the oven? Oh my that sounded terrible. You know what I meant.

 

 

 

 

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Race Report! The Snowmans Half Marathon: Snow & Sluts 2013

The day of after Christmas this past year I was in a funk. There was some minor drama occurring between me and certain family members which had me feeling lonely and depressed. To cheer myself up, I turned to the internet, looking for some retail therapy. New boots would surely heal my wounds. Instead, I saw a post on Facebook about the Snowmans Half Marathon on in Mt. Pleasant, MI. The race was part of a series of three, each occurring during winter months promising runs through snow, slush, and mud. Instead of boots, I found salvation in a half marathon. In January. In Michigan.

Thankfully Randy was super supportive in my decision to run a half marathon in potential blizzard conditions. “Whatever makes you happy,” was his response. Right on! Michigan experienced one snow storm early on and then conditions became mild, melting most of the snow and ice off of the sidewalks which made running conditions optimal. I was running record high mileage during this usually abysmal month. Then, the week before my half, the snow fell and the mercury plummeted. We experienced sub-zero wind chills and suddenly I was more frightened of frostbite than running on ice.

When the morning of January 26th rolled around, it was a sunny 17 degrees in Mt. Pleasant, a relative heat wave. Randy and I had rolled into town the night before in a white-knuckle drive that saw five cars in the ditches. Mt. Pleasant is the home of Central Michigan University, and our packet pick-up was in a bar called The Wayside. The place smelled of stale beer and broken condoms. Dancing cages and stripper poles were placed throughout the dance floor. Runners warmed up by shaking their stuff. “The men’s room is nothing but a toilet with no stall around it,” I overheard. Oh college, how I’ve missed you.

Now on to the race. I debated wearing my Yak Trax. In the end I decided to spare my feet and run without them, and I’m thankful I did. Though the course was completely covered in snow and/or slush, it was compact enough so I didn’t slip around too much. The course itself went through Central’s campus and through some country roads. I saw horses and alpacas. I ran cautiously without a goal time, and in the end completed the half marathon in 2 hours 15 minutes. Not my best, but not my worst either. Randy was of course there at the finish line with a camera and a smile on his face. Has he ever taken a picture of me finishing that turned out well? No, not even close. But I look forward to it all the same.

After receiving my medal I cleaned up to go enjoy my free drink coupon at a local pub. My calves and hamstrings took a beating in the snow and the Bacardi helped sooth the pain. Despite the conditions, The Snowmans Half felt pretty effortless and it felt great to know I was in the kind of shape to just get up and run a half marathon without months of preparation. It got me fired up for my next half in March, which I hope to complete in 2:05.

I have to say that the more races I run, the more I appreciate the small town races with the smaller price tags. The frills may be few but what they lack in swag, they make up for in charm and camaraderie. If you live in Michigan and love running in whatever Mother Nature throws at you, I highly suggest you run the remaining two half marathons in the Winter Warriors Series- The Ice Cube on February 16th or the Mud Dog on March 23rd. Both races are in Mt. Pleasant.

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These Colors Do Run

Try explaining the idea of The Color Run to an outsider, I dare you. “Basically it’s a 5K and you wear all white and people squirt colored powder all over you…” When I tried explaining The Color Run to my mother, she gave me a blank and confused stare that I took to mean, “So THIS is the crap in my daughter’s life that’s getting in the way of grand-babies.”

The Color Run in Ypsilanti on June 22nd reunited me with my Warrior Dash partner-in-crime, Christina “Swiss” Herrick, and Andrea Hudak, one of my best friends from high school. Our pre-race preparation consisted of polishing off four carafes of Sangria between four people, on empty stomachs. I have no recollection of dinner afterwards. There are several pictures now posted on Facebook of me making out with a ketchup bottle. Not one of my prouder moments…

I woke up in the morning with less than five hours of sleep and a throat that felt like sandpaper. I chugged a Gatorade but that barely made a dent in my hangover-induced thirst. I put on my tutu and sunglasses and prayed to God that I didn’t contribute to the spraying of color with my own spraying of vomit.

Despite my brown-bag blues, I perked up as soon as we arrived in Ypsilanti. After the horrific news out of Colorado on Friday, seeing a huge crowd of happy, laughing runners made me forget about my lack of faith in humanity and escape to The Color Run Universe. My friends and I took it easy and enjoyed taking pictures and laughing at all the crazy scenery. I loved all the adventurous spirits who rolled around in the excess color on the ground, and enjoyed a good chuckle at a boy who held up a sign reading, “RUN FAST- I JUST FARTED”.

For such a large race, The Color Run was handled efficiently and smoothly. The city of Ypsilanti seemed tickled to have such an event- I overheard one local woman say, “I’m so glad this is happening in Ypsi! Screw Ann Arbor!” There was a huge dance party after the run where we all bared witness to a very sweet marriage proposal.

Though I’m still trying to scrub off the blue tint from the small of my back and armpits, I had a great time at The Color Run. Next time I’d definitely take it easy the night before so I could better enjoy the happy madness around me.  Also, I hate to keep driving home the point that I like to drink (hey, you saw the title of this blog and knew what you were getting into), but it would have been nice if the race was held later in the day and beer was served at the after party, a la Warrior Dash. I wasn’t feeling the party vibe at 9am on a Sunday.

My next racing adventure will be joining up with a running group tomorrow night, The Downtown Runners. They are meeting at Harry’s in Detroit, the best place to grab a drink or two before a Red Wings or Tigers game. Running (and socializing) with strangers is outside my comfort level but I’m still looking forward to it.

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Where is Everybody?

“Is everything speeding up/or am I slowing down?”

That’s right! Every single thing I write will relate to NIN in some way because I’m obnoxious like that. Along with running (and my husband, and our cats, and rum…), Trent Reznor is one of my main obsessions in life.

Well, I am definitely slowing down. It’s amazingly sad how just two weeks of not running derailed all the progress I made in speed and endurance. Getting back into the habit of wanting to run is another story. Though it was depressing and my butt started to jiggle more than usual, having an injury and not being able to run was kind of, dare I say it…freeing? For the first time in months I found time to do such leisurely activities as finish reading the 25 half-read books sitting on my shelf (one down, 24 to go!).

But May is a new month without injury and it’s time to start running my (jiggly) ass off! Though I was tired and hungry after work I forced myself to explore some new trails at Orion Oaks County Park. The two most exciting aspects of exploring a new park is 1) finding the usually small, unmarked parking lot, and 2) finding the actual running trail, and not just the path that leads to the nearest port-a-potty.

Once I got on the right trail I was immediately bewildered by how alone I was in a vast, open field. Despite the beautiful weather there was not a single soul out running! It was pretty cool but pretty frightening at the same time. I immediately imagined 100 rapists hiding behind bushes, just waiting for some slow girl to jog by.

Despite being jumpy, and despite the trails being poorly marked and having to guess my way back to my car, this was a beautiful and challenging 3.35 miles. The path was hilly and sandy and I was definitely winded despite my slow 10.26/mile pace. I signed up for a half marathon (pre-injury of course!) on May 20th and was warned it was a hilly route. I will definitely be running more at Orion Oaks to train, and to enjoy the nature and solitude.

I never know how to end anything  I write, so I’ll just say this: Thank God I can run again. Books are overrated.

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Here I go Again…

I am a horrible blogger. I love writing, and have started many blogs in the past, only to abandon them after a few posts for having nothing else left to say. I see the fault now- I never really had a “theme” to these aborted blogs, or I tried to be too clever, or tried on a persona that didn’t fit me.

As a member of Daily Mile I enjoyed reading the blogs of fellow runners: their racing adventures, tips and advice, beautiful pictures from their running routes, etc. These blogs would often energize me and force me out the door when all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and eat fritos. So, finally, I thought, “Why not have my own running journal?”. Despite my horrible blogging history, I figured it would be a great way to track my progress and to let my friends in on one of my major addictions (other than rum, which they are well aware of).

I’ve approached running with a newly found enthusiasm this year and I hope it reflects in this blog (did I mention I also hate the word “blog”? Ick). I can’t wait to write about my upcoming races. First up- Let’s Move Festival of Races Half Marathon in Mt. Clemens, MI. Lots of bars in Mt. Clemens. I will definitely enjoy some rum after the race.

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