Friday, October 28, 2011

RnR St Louis Race Recap - Post 3

*note: I don't have the actual run pictures right now so I will post those later*

After a week of torture, your patience has paid off... my recap is finally to race morning. Sunday morning, I was out of bed by about 4:20 am and started getting myself ready.  The plan was to meet the girls in the lobby of their hotel at 6 (?) to walk to the start area of the race.  The race started at 7:30 so that left us time to use the bathroom and get into our corrals.  It was a cold walk to the start area and my nerves were getting the best of me.  Luckily once we got to the start I started feeling more relaxed.  

“The girls” all had a VIP sticker to “potty like a rockstar” so while they got their rockstar on I decided to go drop my bag off at gear check and get in line for the port-a-potties. After about 5 minutes waiting in line for a potty, I realized I had forgotten my bondi-band in my bag so I had to run back and grab it and get back in line for the bathroom.  Believe it or not I spent nearly an hour in line to go to the bathroom.  I think I finally got to the front of the line at 7:27 (remember the race was to start at 7:30).  Luckily the race was delayed, I was in corral 20, and with the staggered start I had enough time to get to where I needed to be.  I made small talk with a girl next to me in my corral.  She had lost 75ish pounds running as well and this was her 2nd half as well.  Having someone to talk with helped with my nervousness.  One of my favorite signs of the race I saw while waiting to cross the start line: “I don’t know you but I am proud of you.”  I think I finally crossed the start line at about 8 am.

I’d love to give a mile by mile recollection of the race but unfortunately it just wasn’t that type of race for me.  I went into this race wanting to do my absolute best but wanting to make sure that I enjoyed it for what it was – a fun weekend with the girls.  The course was VERY congested but this was definitely to be expected given the race was sold out (20,000+) runners.   I struggled to find an “open” space to run and did a lot of weaving around people.  Overall, I was focused on just keeping my focus ahead of me, I was pretty sure I was watching the scenery.  But, in hindsight I don’t remember much of it. I remember thinking “I remember seeing this yesterday when we drove the course” but I don’t remember many specifics.  

notice all the turns on the course!
There were A LOT of turns on the course and with the crowds the turns were congested so I had to slow at every turn.  I felt pretty good at 5k, I was on pace for a PR but I knew that I would slow down but I just kept trucking on reminding myself to enjoy the run.  I took my Chocolate #9 at about mile 4.  Because I had heard about the lines for the port-a-potties on the course I stopped at just before mile 6 when I saw one with only 2 people waiting.  It took about 3 minutes to get back on the course – I HAVE to figure out a way to run in fewer layers.  Going to the bathroom involves pulling up my hydration belt, spi belt, shirt, and long line sports bra and pulling down two different skirts and of course underwear.  That’s a lot of layers and they tend to get tangled on each other. At the 10k mark, I felt pretty strong but knew I was slowing down. I was okay with this though because again I was just truly enjoying putting one foot in front of the other and running.   I took my second and last fuel around mile 8 or 9 I think.  I wish I had taken a third fuel but for some reason I just didn't.  The miles are a blur, but looking at my race data, I didn't take my first walk break until almost 9 miles into the race.  All of my walk breaks were short, I wish I knew exactly how long but I don't have that information right now.  My stomach was starting to bother me so I had to take another walk break before my second bathroom break at almost mile 10. 

I was starting to really feel exhausted but I was determined to finish stronger than I had at my last race.   I didn't want to push too hard, but I wanted to make sure that I felt like I gave it my all.  I took 4 more short walk breaks between mile 10 and mile 12.  However, just before mile 12 I got a jolt of energy and decided to just keep running until I crossed that finish line.  This was a HUGE part of my feelings of success for this race. Despite my time not being what it was last time, I think I showed progression as a runner and that to me is a big deal.  At my last half, I walked several times in the last mile (and once within a half a mile of the finish).  To finish strong felt amazing - it was awesome passing people as I rounded the corner to the finishing chute.  I nearly killed myself in a pot hole, but luckily I caught myself before I went down.  I did manage to twist my knee but kept on trucking as fast as my legs would carry me.  I crossed the finish line and was super proud of everything I had accomplished.  

All in all, I ran a slower time - but it was a much hillier course than I ran last time.  Granted, it wasn't big hills, but there were alot of long "rolling hills" and they added up.  Not to mention I spent 6ish minutes in the bathroom versus maybe 1-2 minutes last time.  If I take everything into consideration I am extremely proud of my performance especially given the fact that I hadn't been properly maintaining my training this last month due to injury.   I took 6 very short walk breaks between miles 9 and 12, but I expected I would need to given the lack of long runs in the last month.  I had only run 6 miles twice, and other than that I think I only had 4-5 runs of 3 or so miles.  Definitely not enough for a months worth of training! 

More analysis in pictures (info taken from my Garmin): 

The two spikes at 6 and 10 are bathroom breaks, the other 6 small blips between 8 and 12 are walk breaks.

Miles 6 and 10 are slower due to bathroom breaks

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rock N Roll St Louis Race Weekend Recap - Post 2!

So, when I left off I was talking about the expo.  I should mention, I purchased a shirt as well as a mini-magnet replica of the medal for the half marathon.  So cute.  I am sure I could have bought a lot more running apparel but I was trying to keep my spending to a minimum.  I was excited to see that Lift Your Sole was at the expo but I didn’t buy anything and the same goes for Running Skirts.  Someday I would love to try one of their skirts, but being on a tight budget its not something I can do right now.  Especially given the fact that I have bought 3 or 4 different brands and none of them fit me correctly – I figure my chances of success are pretty low.  Maybe someday I will win one or something? One can dream right?

After the expo, we headed back to our hotels and then met up at the Millenium hotel to head to dinner.  Finding someplace to eat was an adventure in itself.  We ended up finding a Hooters and Hardy’s and while they were “tempting,” we decided we wanted something more fun.  So, we ended up walking down to the Casino and eating at a restaurant called “Stadium” in the casino.  They even had an ipad on the table for you to play games so some of the group decided to play angry birds while we waited for our food. 

A bit of back story for those of you who may not realize it – my stomach does horrible things when I run, horrible things!  So, when I am getting ready for a long run or race I do a two day high carb, low fat, low fiber, low protein diet.  Combine that with Imodium and I can normally get through with minimal problems.   This would mean that I needed to stick to this diet on Friday and Saturday.  Needless to say, with traveling this wasn’t very easy.  I ended up eating a chicken wrap and fries at Chili’s in the airport in Chicago for lunch on Friday.  I was careful at the expo and didn’t try any new energy products or anything.  And I did my best at dinner too – I had pasta.  We can ignore the small detail that it was the cheesiest and richest alfredo sauce I have ever had, and that it came with garlic bread that was definitely not “low fat.”  Either way, I enjoyed every bite – it was SO good.   It was a great time with great company.  I love spending time with these girls, they are a blast and a half and there is never a dull moment!

The cheesiest Alfredo ever, yummo!

Photo borrowed from Wells L
After dinner we walked back to our hotels, luckily my hotel was along the way to the one everyone else was staying at so I wasn’t walking alone in the dark.  We planned to meet up the next morning for breakfast.  Once in my room I called Tommy and talked to him for a bit then decided to hit the hay so I could be as rested as possible.  It was fantastic to stretch out in bed and stare out at the arch – so awe inspiring.  

This was taken in the morning, but you get the idea.
After a fairly decent nights sleep I was up very early.  I took my sweet time getting ready and then spent a bit of time wandering around the streets of downtown St Louis.  I also called Tommy to have him sign me up for the Oak Barrel Half Marathon in Lynchburg next April – they had just opened registration and I wanted to make sure I got a place.
I'm not a baseball fan, but had to get a picture of Cardinal stadium.
I decided at breakfast that I wasn’t going to be able to stick to the normal pre-race diet so I went all out and got all sorts of yummy things off the breakfast buffet – French toast with brown sugar sprinkled on it, crispy bacon, hash browns, strawberries, and pineapple.   And diet pepsi too since it was included in the cost and I wanted to “get my money’s worth.” Hah. 

After breakfast we took a few more pictures in the hotel lobby and headed out drive the course and go bead shopping.  Thanks to “MOA” (good friend of Wells L) for driving us around St Louis – you did a fantastic job and I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to try to navigate those streets myself.  I am really glad we drove the course because it gave me a sense of familiarity and gave me a sense of where to expect the hills and such.  We ran into a HUGE group of people riding their bikes in the middle of the street who seemed to have no regard for the drivers on the road and were holding up traffic terribly.  Wells L asked them what they were doing (we wondered if it was a race) and a smart ass guy answered back “Drugs!”  Later on we asked again, and found out they were doing a bar tour (bar hopping) on bikes.  No wonder they were being stupid on the road.  After about a mile, we were able to pass them and drive the rest of the course.  Next came the bead store - I am not a crafty person but Wells L offered to make me a bracelet to remember the trip if I picked out some beads.  It took me a while but I finally found some that I liked – can’t wait to see what she comes up with! 

On our way to the bead store “MOA” was talking about a cupcake place in town.  After shopping we all decided that a cupcake was the perfect way to round out our afternoon so we went on the hunt for a place called “The Cup.”  They had a wide selection of adorable looking cupcakes, but being me, I just HAD to get the Peanut Butter Cup one.  So good – a dark chocolate cupcake with peanut butter buttercream frosting with crumbled peanut butter cups on top with a cute seasonal plastic spider on top - SO good.  If I hadn’t had a race the next day I would have been tempted to get more for later in the day!  With our sugar craving satisfied we headed to the Gateway Arch where we met up with another friend of Wells L.

The Arch was a point of anxiety for me.  While I was super excited to go see the Arch up close and personal and check out the area I was TERRIFIED of going up in the arch.  But, I figured what better time to go for it then when I had a group of girls around to be my support crew. I mean, this trip was all about challenging myself and doing things I normally wouldn’t (hence the flying!).  Surprisingly enough, once we were in the pods headed up to the top of the Arch my fears pretty much dissipated.  A word about the pods – they are TINY, the doors to enter them are only about 4.5 feet tall.  They cram 5 adults into this tiny little pod – luckily the ride up only lasts about 4 minutes and the ride down takes about 3 minutes.   Once we exited the pods at the top of the Arch my fear returned momentarily, but after a good 30 seconds I was feeling comfortable and enjoying the views.  I am SO glad I pushed my comfort zone and did this – thanks girls for putting up with my ridiculous fears!  From the Arch I could see the pool on the roof of my hotel – I wish it had been earlier in the year and warmer, I think it would be awesome to use a pool on the roof of a huge building.

Me in front of the arch - not sure whats up with  the posing of my arm.

Checking out the view from the top of the arch

Imagine 4 other adults crammed into this pod with me.

After the Arch visit, it was time for food again!  Common theme this weekend – but what is a girls’ weekend without fabulous food?  MOA being familiar with the area recommended a restaurant called “Zia’s” which was “on the Hill.”  The Hill is the Italian area of St Louis so we figured the food was probably fantastic.   MOA did a fantastic job of getting us there and we got our name on the wait list.  There was quite a wait, but we expected it.  A few of us walked around the area while waiting – they had a ton of cute little houses, meat markets, bakeries, etc.  It reminded me a lot of my time in Philadelphia. After what seemed like forever, we got a table and ordered our food.  While I had been “bad” all day I ordered a “safe” dinner – pasta and marinara sauce.   When the food came out it was quite possibly the biggest bowl of pasta I had ever seen, but it was good and very flavorful. 

It was pretty late when I got back to the hotel but I called Tommy and did a little video chat with Natalie.  I couldn’t stay on the phone long because I needed to shave my legs and get everything laid out and set up for the race the next morning.  It was very late when I got to bed and I didn’t sleep well for fear of oversleeping.

My stuff all laid out for the race.

To be continued.... I know, the suspense is killing my readers, but I am truly doing the best I can! :)

A preview of the race.... just a proof for now until I get my order.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rock N Roll St Louis Race Weekend Recap - Post 1 of many!

Sorry its taken me so long to get to this, I have been trying to catch up on sleep from a busy few days since I got home.  I am having to get up early in the morning and I am not so good at mornings anymore!  Oh well, on to more interesting things - my trip to St Louis!

I was very nervous leaving the house Friday - its only the second time I have spent more than a few hours away from my kids (and last time I was only an hour away).  Once I got in the car I was feeling pretty relaxed  - some of you may not know but I am terrified of flying.  I was doing great right up until I pulled up to the airport and a plane takes off right over top of my car.  The nerves were back in full force!  I was nervous about security - I was afraid they would take my stick from me because they saw it as "club-like," they inspected it VERY thoroughly but finally let me get through with it - Thank Goodness!  After waiting for quite a while I was on the plane to Chicago - the flight was rather uneventful and I was feeling good when I landed in Chicago.  After a quick lunch at Chili's in the airport I was on my last flight for the day to St Louis.  This was a much bigger plane and that seemed to make the flight easier for me.  I even took pictures!

Upon arriving in St Louis I took the MetroLink from the airport to the stop at 8th and Pine (my hotel was at 4th and Pine.)  I was surprised at how easy the train was - its DEFINITELY the way to go if you need to get from the airport to downtown and don't have a ton of baggage.  It cost me less than $7 round trip - much cheaper than the airport shuttles or a taxi!  I love the feel of a new big city - I am frequently just in awe of all the cool architecture and culture and St Louis was no different.  I snapped a few pictures on my way to the hotel.  I was pleasantly surprised by the room at my hotel - I was on the 21st floor and the room was awesome with a great view!  

 And, did I mention the VIEW?!?!

After dropping off my luggage and enjoying the view for a few minutes I headed over to packet pick up at the expo.  I was pleased to find it wasn't too far of a walk.  Nothing too exciting at the expo, a few freebies and merchandise for purchase.  I was also able to get my ankle taped by a guy with KT tape - thank goodness it worked out perfectly for the half on Sunday.  I don't have the greatest pics of our group at the expo, but here are a few expo pictures.

Borrowed from "Wells L" because its so much better than mine!

I had intended to write much more tonight but I am falling asleep typing this entry so the other details will have to wait. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Physical Therapists?

There was a sign up at the PT's office that I noticed this morning...

"How can you tell the difference between a terrorist and a physical therapist?... You can negotiate with a terrorist."

I guess I should have taken it as a sign of the pain I was in for just a few short minutes later.  So, apparently my muscles are all VERY tight (note to self:  work on stretching more so I can get this under control).  After trying hand massage on my calves the therapist decided it wasn't working... I needed something else... scraping!

I almost shuddered when he said that... I remember reading about Wells L's experience with calf and heel scraping.  I tried to act like I wasn't worried... but HOLY CRAP!  So painful!  He said my calves are a mess... he tried to explain it to me but all I got out of it was my calves are bumpy and they should be smooth?  They were VERY red afterward.  It was amusing to watch all the therapists' shocked faces as they saw what my calves were looking like during the scraping.

Anyway, that was my excitement for this Wednesday.  Anything exciting going on this week/weekend for my bloggy readers?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Going "home" to College

This weekend was another mini family vacation.  Tommy took Friday off of work so we could head up to Alma for my college homecoming celebration.  On the way to Alma, we planned to stop in St Johns at Uncle John’s Cider Mill.  We LOVE the donuts and cider there, plus they have a pumpkin patch and fun fall activities for the kids.  Unfortunately the weather forgot to cooperate and it was very cold, windy and spitting cold rain.  We decided to make a quick stop despite the weather.  The kids enjoyed the ride out to the pumpkin patch.  We posed with some of the fall decoration cut-outs and the kids quickly picked out their pumpkins.  We took a few more pictures before heading back to the barn to get cider and donuts. 

After the cider mill we got back on the road and headed to Alma to visit with my college roomies.  My roomie Anna was a "townie" meaning she was from Alma so we spent time at her parents house during college.  Her parents are gracious enough to let us all "hang out" there when we come back into town.  We spent the rest of Friday with Anna, Christina, Anna's parents, and Anna's baby Lydia.  So much fun and it was a great way to get my baby fix!  I don't have any picture of me holding baby Lydia but here's a picture of my kiddos helping to feed her a bottle - so cute! 

I had a race Saturday morning, so we left relatively early and headed up to Mt Pleasant to our hotel.  It is always rough getting the kids to sleep at a hotel, they are typically wound up and of course we can't put them in a separate room and "ignore them" until they go to sleep.  Wow, that sounds terrible, but I think you guys will understand what I am meaning.  We woke up bright and early Saturday morning so we I could get ready for the race and drive back to Alma.  Now, this was DEFINITELY a small town race. The Matt Reinke Scot Trot 5K is a walk/run to benefit the Matthew J. Reinke Scholarship Fund at Alma College.  Matt Reinke graduated the year after I did and unfortunately passed away shortly after graduating.  I didn't personally know Matt, but since Alma is a small college, I did know of him. I was excited to take part in something to honor him and provide scholarship options for students looking to come to Alma College. 

Of course there was also my selfish motivation to run the race... The last time I was at Alma College was two years and 100+ pounds ago.  During my four years at Alma and all the years following I would tease people who ran (in jest of course), and I never would ever have imagined I would run even one mile, let alone complete 3.1.  It was a joyous day for me to return to my college a changed person who had the capability to not only complete the 5k, but also compete. 

The race was very small, with approximately 47 runners.  I did appreciate that they had a separate walking division  that got separate awards.  I thought that was a great way to get people involved who may not normally do a 5k.  There was no water stop halfway through (which was fine, especially given the weather) but they did a great job of having volunteers on the course to ensure people were going the right way.  I went out pretty strong as usual, then watched someone roll their ankle within the first 100 yards so that was a reminder to me that I needed to be careful.  My goal was to do well but ensure I didn't do anything to jeopardize St Louis!  I honestly don't remember much of the race, except that the fall colors were beautiful! I was focusing on running strong but making sure that I paid attention to my body and didn't run if I was feeling pain etc. 

I checked the results as they were posted and I was pleased with how I ran... official time of 24:22.3!  Not bad considering how little I have been running lately. I came in 13th overall out of approximately 47 people and 2nd in my age group.  I was slightly disappointed but when I realized that I was beaten by nearly 2 minutes I decided that it just wasn't meant to be.  We decided to hang around for the awards ceremony because they were doing a raffle drawing. Good thing we did.  Turns out the girl who took first in my age category was the overall female winner which means I got first in my age category!  Hooray!  I was so excited, to come  back to my college and not only complete the race but be in good enough physical shape to actually place... it felt amazing!  It was definitely a moment where I realized just how far I had come in a few short years.  If I could only ever win one age group award, this was one that I will treasure forever.

The rest of Saturday went by way too quickly - homecoming parade, walking around campus, hanging with my besties, departmental receptions, and dinner at my favorite Alma restaurant with a great friend.  

We headed back to the hotel, but not before getting lost (only I can get lost in Alma after having lived there 4 years).  We were exhausted but it took forever to get the kids to sleep.  Sunday I woke up way early and got ready for church in Alma.  It's always fun going to mass at St Mary because its the church my husband and I got married in.  We actually arrived early so we decided to take pictures in the park beside the church to waste some time.  

After church was lunch with good friends and then more hanging out with my besties Anna and Christina and baby Lydia.  All in all a very good weekend well worth the trip up north.  Hopefully I can get my act together tomorrow and get ready for St Louis!  I leave Friday morning - ACK!!  

On a separate note, I apologize for the lack of posts about running lately, but I have been doing alot of resting lately to ensure I am healthy for St Louis.  I promise to get back to the "healthy living" posts after St Louis!

PT appointment

need to get a weekend recap up yet today or tomorrow but I thought I would give the readers of my blog a quick summary of my visit to see the PT today.  I thought I was going in to be fitted for orthodics, but apparently they had a different idea.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am glad to see them taking a wide view when trying to figure out my problems.  I just wasn’t expecting what I got today.  We didn’t even really discuss orthodics – I left with 3 more appointments for PT.  One more appointment this week to “get me ready” for my half this weekend and then two more next week to help me “recover.” 

Apparently, I have Morton’s toe.  If this had been a few months ago I would have been clueless as to what this meant, but my classmate brought up this condition in class not long ago so I at least knew what he was talking about.  Basically, this means that my second toe is longer than my big toe – I have obviously known this my whole life but didn’t realize it could cause problems.  It’s actually not the toe itself, but the bone in my foot – so the metatarsal that leads to my big toe is too short.  Apparently the morton’s toe combined with the fact that my forefoot is out of alignment with my heel creates a problem when I run.  Apparently my ankle is doing a lot of abnormal twisting and rotating when I run to account for my “flaws.”   He said that basically I am overstressing the muscles in my ankles and that is likely causing the problem.  The overstressing is also causing the muscles in my legs, ankles, and feet to tighten up since I don’t stretch like I should.

In addition, The PT thinks I am in the wrong running shoes so I need to go to the running store again to hopefully talk to Eric about that.   So, anyway, the “game plan” is to go in these next three visits and get the tightness worked out of the muscles in my lower leg, ankle, and foot.  Then of course I am supposed to look into new shoes and then at that point we will look at the possibility of orthodics to correct things if I am still having problems. 

Keep an eye out for my weekend and race recap in the next day or so... 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


My appointment at the ortho today couldn't have went any better!  She said she doesn't see a stress fracture and the tendon doesn't have any tears.  She did say there was noticeable inflammation but she doesn't feel like running will cause any further damage.  My official diagnosis is peroneal tendonitis.  Thanks Dr. Google for leading me in the right direction.

Obviously the more I run, the longer its going to take to heal.   But, I am cleared to run!  She did tell me that I should take it easy.  She advised to listen to my body and not push too hard in St Louis.  That means that I will most definitely not PR, but I am okay with that - I am  just thankful that I won't have to walk the whole distance!

I have a 5k this weekend, I am going to try to treat it like a training run.  I say try, because I often have a problem with pushing too hard when I race.  I am really excited to run it because its at the college that I attended and its a memorial 5k for a former student who was a year behind me.  I think it will be even harder for me to hold back because looking at past results, I could take 1st in my age group if I ran my normal 5k race time.  I know its just an award, but who doesn't want to win something? lol

I do have to go get fitted for anti-supination orthodics next week.  The doctor believes it will  help prevent flair ups of this in the future.  The injury is a result of over-stressing the peroneal tendon.  Part of it is the running I have been doing, but part of it is that I naturally supinate - ALOT and it puts a huge stress on that tendon.  Here's hoping that the orthodics help!

Thanks for everyone's well wishes as I dealt with this minor/temporary set back.  Of course since I was cleared to run today I had to go out for a run tonight!  I went out this evening after my hubby got home from work and ran 3.1 glorious miles.  It felt so fantastic to get back out there.  I wore my fancy new garmin - I still don't know much about how it works, but it says I ran 3.1 miles in 27:52 (a 8:59 per mile pace).

Reader Poll:  If you were in my shoes, what would you do in regards to my half on the 23rd?  I obviously know I won't be PRing, but what would your race strategy be?

Monday, October 10, 2011

MRI and Mind Games!

I had my MRI today - unfortunately as per usual the tech's aren't allowed to tell you anything so I have to wait until tomorrow morning.  I am anxious to hear what the doctor has to say tomorrow.

Of course, the pain that took me to the doctor was pain in the outside part of my foot and upper ankle along the peroneal tendon.  However, after a week in the "boot" I have other pain in my ankle area.  Its sort of scaring me, but I think its my mind playing tricks on me.  If I am logical and think about the fact that the boot is making me walk in a different fashion it makes sense that things would be twinge-y. At least, thats what I am telling myself.

Will update more tomorrow after my appointment.  I would appreciate any good thoughts you want to send my way.  This is such a minor injury and I am totally going to be okay no matter what they tell me, but I really want to be able to do St Louis in a little less than two weeks - even if it means walking it.  This injury has made me realize how lucky I have been so far so I am going to take this in stride.

Hope you all had a great Monday!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cincinnati Mini-Vacation!

This May we traveled to Kings Island for my first 10k - the Beast 10k.  Here is just one photo from that race, I am hoping to "back log" my race recaps from before I had my blog set up.  But, in the mean time - I finished that first rough 10k in 59:51.

That's me in the light pink towards the back of the pack - very start of the race. 

The race was early in the morning before the park opened but we decided to stay around and go to the park.  I had my first episode of sensitive runner's stomach that day plus it started pouring late afternoon between these two issues we didn't get a ton of time to explore the park.

Because of that we decided another trip was in order - we figured we would go in the summer but with my races scheduled it just didn't happen.  So, October it was.  As the weekend approached I considered going to the zoo in Cincinnati instead as I figured it would be cheaper.  Everyone told me that they would do Kings Island over the zoo, but anyone who knows my daughter knows that she just HAD to go to the zoo.  So, since we have a zoo membership here in town, the zoo was relatively inexpensive so we decided to do both!  

We left home early Saturday morning and drove to Kings Island.  It was nice to do the park without the heat we dealt with this summer - however it was almost too cold!   It was approximately 50 degrees, but with the high winds it felt MUCH colder.  Pretty much everyone was there with winter coats, hats and gloves.  I brought coats for our family, but they were not winter coats by any means.  We spent a big part of the day shivering!  We did have fun though - the kids enjoyed the Dinosaurs Alive exhibit with trick or treating with the dinos.  They also had a Halloween event that had a little petting zoo and kiddies games.  And after that we spent the day riding the kiddie rides in Planet Snoopy.  The park was all decorated for Halloween - there were quite a few "interesting" decorations (see pictures by following the link near the bottom of this post).  It was a great weekend to visit KI (minus the cold of course!)   Just a few pictures: 

We left the park sometime before 6:00 because they were starting to set up for "Halloween Haunt" and we wanted to have the kids out of there before that got going.  We headed to the hotel and ordered pizza for dinner - YUM!  After getting everyone settled I was dying to go for a run (it had been nearly a week) and my foot was feeling pretty good despite having walked on it all day.  I headed down to the fitness room and ran about 5.7 miles on the treadmill at somewhere around 9:05-9:10 per mile.  I got off once to get water and the treadmill reset so I don't have my exact stats. I had to stop before my goal of 6-8 miles because my foot was starting to hurt.  

After a good night's sleep we headed off for the Cincinnati Zoo on Sunday morning.  We were excited for some of the "big animals" that we don't have at our local zoo.  We needed to leave by 3:00 or so to make it home to pick up our dogs so we knew we didn't have a ton of time.  That meant we had to move somewhat quickly to ensure we saw everything.  Luckily, after an hour or two my foot started to loosen up and we were able to see pretty much everything at the zoo.  I want to add that we LOVED this zoo - I am SO glad we decided to hit the zoo against the recommendations of others.  My daughter loved every minute of the animals and I thoroughly enjoyed photographing all the animals!  (If I was better at it,  I would pursue it as a career!) Just a few of my favorite pictures from the zoo...
One of my favorite pictures from the weekend.  I look ridiculous, but for good reason, a lorakeet biting my ear!
Natalie loved feeding the birds but refused to have them land on her, so mommy became the bird perch! 

Before crossing the bridge to the zoo

Loved this guy - he would charge towards us full speed and then pose. Too funny!

I could have watched the polar bears all day! Man I love them.

LOVE orangutans and this one was all about posing for me! 

If you want to see more photos, check them out here.

Hope you all enjoyed my mini-vacation recap.  I know its not running or weight loss related, but as most of you know I am laid up waiting for an MRI tomorrow.  I can walk on my foot without pain now so I am hopeful that I will get good news at my follow-up on Tuesday!  I do have some stiffness and weakness in my ankle but I think its due to wearing the boot - so I need to work on that if I am cleared to run. I probably won't run my 5k this coming weekend - I will just walk it (it will pain me to do this, but I need to be make sure I am as healthy as possible for St Louis). 

Please keep me in your thoughts tomorrow afternoon - I will report back as soon as I know anything regarding my injury!  

Question for my readers:  What do you pack for a destination half marathon?  I am flying and don't want to check a bag so I am limited to a carry-on.  Any advice will be greatly appreciated!