Joplin Memorial Half {2016}

It was the race I wasn’t supposed to run.
After last years JMR I swore off running it again in 2016. I said “I was done running long distances” I really should learn to keep my mouth shut. I am pretty sure I will never be done running long distances, I just can’t seem to quit.

So I signed up on New Years Eve and ended up training about half as much as I normally would to run a race. With about 10 days until the race and a sponsored entry Russ joined the fun too. Boy was I SO glad that I had already signed up to do the race this year and would now be running Russ’ first half with him. 

It started the same way it does every year. 



And 161 balloons released followed by 161 seconds of silence for the 161 lives lost on May 22nd, 2011. Every year I stand there and think of just how beautiful this moment is. This truly is a day to run & remember.

Think of this photo as a game of Where’s Waldo and see if you can find us :). 

Before I knew it, we were off! I think it went something like this. run, run, run, run RUN! The course for 2016 was a brand new and oh goodness was it the best JMR course so far. It was fantastic. It wasn’t “flat as a pancake” but it was the perfect course through Joplin and followed roads that I run on a usual basis. I felt pretty at home on the course. 

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Through the heart of down town.

Smiling for the cameras.

And we even held hands for a minute walking up this hill.
Sneaky Anna caught a photo and I am so glad she did.

The weather was perfect, the hydration stations were incredible, my feet were EXHAUSTED and Anna endured what we will forever call “The epic side cramp of 2016” but we did it, we finished.



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I couldn’t possibly be any happier with our results and this guy for running it with pretty much no training. I set out just wanting to finish the race and put up a pretty respectable time for me. Russ was a little disheartened to have lost to me by 5 seconds, but then he gloated that he ran his first half faster than I ran mine. 

So thankful to have had this experience with two of my favorite people EVER!

And to have yet another race in the books with this lady. They are getting almost to many to number now.

So that leaves me with the question I always am thinking about this time of the year.
What next?

For the very first times I’m not quite sure how to answer that.
But I am pretty sure I can say one thing…
It will likely involve running 

See you next year Joplin Memorial Run!

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Joplin Memorial Run 2015

Welcome to Tuesday Talk!

We are so glad to have you join us. Tuesday Talk is a weekly link up where you can post about anything, link up your post and mingle around. We would love to have you join the fun.

This weekend I ran half marathon #4, The Joplin Memorial Run.

If we’re friends on Facebook you might have seen a status that read like this:

Today I finished half marathon #4 with a time of 2:13:08! It wasn’t a PR but it was a great run. The JMR has such a special place in my heart. I run to remember the 161, I run to defeat lies and fears, I run for the glory of God. He is SO good and has abundantly blessed us.

Thanks to everyone who has encouraged me along the way. I couldn’t do it without you.

Those words couldn’t possibly be any more true.

Race weekend started like this.

(My favorite part of the day)

And ended like this.

Everything in between was running, crying, mentally struggling, pictures, lots of hills, funny signs and smiles.

Let’s take a closer look.

The race started at 6:30 a.m. we showed up about 5:45, prayed took photos and were ready to start.

My Dad surprised me and showed up to watch me start the race. It was really sweet to see him before I headed to the coralls and he snapped this picture right before we took off. 
Yes I am a total nerd.

The first several miles felt effortless. We were running and our pace was amazing. We can across the first official race photographer (who just happened to be at the top of a hill) and some how we were still smiling.

I assure you Anna doesn’t normally run with her eyes closed ;).

And I am almost always at least this awkward.

Things didn’t get challenging until around mile 5. Anna and Lacey stopped to walk a bit and I kept running with another friend. I managed to stay with her for another mile or two but eventually my head won out and I stopped to walk then I found myself in a spot I never had been in before. On a long run, in a race and alone. It was completely bizarre and something I mentally had never done before. It was tough. I kept on the best I could. around mile 9 I realized a PR just wasn’t going to happen but I knew I could at least stay within my goal if I didn’t give up.

Then about here, I lost it. 

Those girls were a sight for sore eyes jumping up and down holding signs smiling at me. Tears flooded my eyes.

I stopped and talked to them for a couple minutes but knew I had to start running again or I never would. Off I went to battle out the last few miles. 

Around mile 11.5 I saw Michelle (in the left of the picture). She is a friend who was running her first half and she was just the inspiration that I needed. Someone to keep me accountable. I ended up running on a bit ahead of her but I knew with her on my trail I wouldn’t let myself fall behind any more.


And eventually I somehow got here. There is nothing more beautiful at the end of a run than a finish line.

This half was so different than the previous three. This was the hardest course I have ever ran. The first time I have ran part of one alone and I knew this was going to be my last half marathon for almost a year. It felt so good to be done and each of those things made this race more challenging and meaningful for their own different reasons.

Exhausted I stood at the end of the finish line and cheered my girls in. 

I never imagined this race going this way, but I am almost glad it did.

I learned so much about myself that day and ways that I can grow.

I came home, hung my medal up, stood back and looked.

I can’t believe all of this has happened in just barely over a year. 

I run to remember, I run to defeat the lies and the fears, I run for the glory of God.

Now it’s your turn to grab the button and link up!

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OKC Memorial Half {Race Recap}

Last week I shared about my emotional visit to the OKC Federal Building Memorial, but I almost completely forgot to do another post sharing details about the memorial race. That would have been a shame since I have never had so much fun running 13.1 miles.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Saturday morning we loaded up and headed out of town, OKC bound. This was a girls only trip that was bound to be fun, exciting and quiet. 

Ah yes, a mommy get away indeed.

I guess I could  go ahead and insert a joke about us being willing to run 13.1 miles just so we had a reason to get out of town :).

We arrived in OKC and headed to packet pick-up.

I obviously wasn’t the least bit excited….obviously.

We found this AWESOME photo-op, how cool is this?!
Then we walked around the expo where we gathered a random aray of goodies including: pancake mix, good bars, sunglasses, a box of rice and some other random items. Who doesn’t love freebies?

The rest of the day/evening was spent in Norman, OK. Anna has a cousin there and they were amazing hosts who let us stay with them. We had great conversation, laughter and an awesome Italian dinner. It was wonderful.

We headed to bed early and about 4:00 a.m. our alarms went off. Rise and shine? I have never been so glad that I am already an early riser 4:00 a.m. is brutal. 

We headed to downtown OKC where we caught our first glimpse of the memorial before heading to the corrals.
Next up were our obligatory pre-race selfies. 
Some traditions will just never die.
We had company this race too.
Anna’s cousin Jacy was running her very first half marathon. 
It is so exciting when someone sets out to do something they never imagined them-self doing. 

I can’t even begin to tell you how large the crowd was. Imagine 26,000 runners if you can.
Is your mind blown? Mine sure was.
That was something this “small race girl” was just not used to. Usually the first mile or two of a race is pretty crowded. Not in OKC. There was a mass of people behind and in front of you for the entire race!
And it wasn’t just runners the streets were LINED with spectators for nearly the entire race. You were never alone where there wasn’t someone cheering you on. 

Now we have to talk about the course. It was # 1) beautiful & #2) amazingly flat. Joplin is anything but flat and our half marathon course here is brutal. 
I can now officially say with my whole heart, “I LOVE Oklahoma.”

The pace we ran wasn’t our normal pace. We averaged about 2-3 minutes a mile slower than we usually run. But sometimes races are about more than an PR or a great pace.
Never leave a fellow runner behind. Anna and I learned that the hard way on one of our first ever LONG runs. Ever since then she and I have stuck together like glue. This race wasn’t going to be any different. We had no plans of letting Jacy fall behind
So I danced, I sang and I had more fun than I ever imagined 13.1 miles could be. I was able to really soak up this AMAZING race. When the last few miles got tough I was able to see Anna be the encouragement for someone else that she has so many times been for me. That was awesome.
With the finish line in sight and a huge goofy smile on my face….

We all crossed together.

As for a finish time we wrapped it up in about 2:39. I went to OKC with different goals in mind but I walked away with an amazing race experience, a beautiful medal and a few lessons learned.

The first lesson is that people and relationships are so much more important than a time on a clock.

The next lesson is one about myself. I have said many, man times that the day I cross a half marathon line and feel like I could keep running I’ll think about running a full marathon.
Well guess what? It happened. It may not be soon but I definitely see myself attempting one…. let’s say in the spring of 2017.
For now I am content that I finished half marathon #3
Which also means 3 half marathons with this girl by my side.

As for OKC I will most certainly be back. I already have made plans of running the half again next year and taking Russell along to run it with me. He must really love me to agree to do something like that. I just hope that I can keep up with him. 
I have one more half marathon planned for this year. The Joplin Memorial Run on May 16th.
Even though the course is going to be hard I know the company, as always, will be good.

I can’t wait.

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Amazing GRace {Race Recap}

Several months ago I caught my husband in a good mood. You ladies know the mood I am talking about. It’s the one where you bring up doing something, going somewhere or a project and he quickly agrees. I said “hey I am going to sign you up to do a 5K with me in April” and he said “Sure.” You all know that I immediately signed him up before he realized what had happened and was able to change his mind.

A pair of running shoes, 3 months and 3 training runs later we were there. 

Look at us. We are “that” couple. I have observed “that” couple running down the road a few times and I have always been curious what “that” would be like.

He had good company too.

This picture brings a huge smile to my face. These are some great men.
 They all committed to and followed through with doing something their wives love to do with them.
It wouldn’t be a race with out a pre-race selfie with my girls.
Now I want to take a minute to brag on my guy. In his words “I take the term couch to 5K literally.” Before Saturday Russ had never ran an official 5K and before his 3, yes only 3, training runs he had never ran for 3 miles before.

Look at that smile. He is truly a natural runner. 

It was so much fun to run the race together. At times I felt like I was holding him back a bit. We made it to the end and sprinted to the finish line. Neither of us seemed to out run the other… or so I thought

He finished in 28:08

I finished in 28:09

He beat me by a second. I love that even as he was sprinting to the end he still had a smile on his face.

Here is how I stacked up. Out of 247 female runners I came in 8th! That is a number that I feel really good about. 

And my time was good enough to get me this 3rd place in my division. For two years in a row now I have placed 3rd in a 5K on Easter weekend. Crazy. 

The best news of all is he doesn’t seem to have the “one and done” mentality. He is already eyeballing a few races this summer that he would like to do and talking about training to get faster. That obviously means we won’t always be running together, but I’m okay with that.

I guess my theory that running is addictive proves to be true for some.

Have you ever ran a race with your better half?
What activities do you enjoy doing together?
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Tuesday Talk: Race Recap, Run With The Wind

Welcome to Tuesday Talk! The weekly link-up where you can post about anything, link up and meet some amazing bloggers.

This weeks post is a race recap. I LOVE a race recap and it has been a long 3+ months since my last one. 

So this is way over due. 

Saturday I participated in the 2015 Run With The Wind 25K (15.6 miles). I have thought about this race many times but honestly I have zero desire to be trained for that distance in February. Plus signing up for a winter race, months before, is taking a pretty big gamble on what kind of weather you will have on race day.

Lucky for me everything worked out perfectly. I signed up as a relay team with two of my best running buddies. We would each run approximately 5.2 miles. As for the weather it was sunny with temps in the 50’s. Does it get any better than that?! 

(Obligatory pre-race selfie)

Run With The Wind is a pretty unique course. First off it is Missouri’s only certified 25K road course. Secondly you don’t know which direction you will be running until the day before race day. The race is ran point to point. You run from Carthage, MO to Sarcoxie, MO…. or the other way. The direction is determined by the wind forecast hopefully giving you that extra little boost and avoiding a head wind that can cause a brutal battle for the best of runners. 

Anna was up first she ran with another friend and was a huge encouragement along the way. Love that lady and her big heart.

Next up was Lacey. Poor Lacey was our hill runner. When we signed up months ago we happened to put her in the second slot not having a clue that it was the hilliest part of the course. She is a champ though and put up a great time. So proud of her.

Then it was my turn. I made it about 1.4 miles before I picked up some company. 

Anna decided that she wasn’t finished yet. After some joking around that became serious she decided to run the rest of the race with me. The race crew is pretty laid back and had no problems with it and let’s be completely honest the company on a long country road was more than welcome.

15.6 miles combined miles later I crossed the finish line and wrapped up our relay.
I love me a finish line. Something about them just makes me run so much faster. 

My part of the course ended up looking like this.

And our teams time was 2:30:02 an avg group pace of 9:37

Not bad at all!

So thankful for my sole sisters, for spending Valentines Morning with them and the chance to experience this race, together.

That wraps up races for about 6 weeks the next one comes Easter weekend when I run a 5K…

with my husband!

 I can’t wait. I might just make a runner out of him after all. 

Now it’s your turn. Grab the button and link-up!

Our Pretty Little Girls
Our Pretty Little Girls

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Blue Moon 10K Recap

Saturday night was the 3rd and FINAL race in a 3 part summer racing series.

The Blue Moon 10K

Let’s start by talking weather. What started out as an average hot summer day made a weird turn when it started raining in the early afternoon. I pulled up my phone and sure enough 0% chance of precipitation. Definitely a forecast FAIL.

So when it finally did stop raining and the sun once again reappeared, it mad for some lovely hot humid southwest Missouri summer weather. AKA miserable humidity.

My goal for this race was to beat last months time. I had said under an hour would be awesome but as long as I was under 1:02:15 I would be happy. Sometimes when the weather gets bad you just have to adjust your expectations of how you will be able to perform.

Upon arriving we as always had to snap our traditional pre-race pictures. 

And before we knew it we were rushing to the start line. With a larger than normal turn out we didn’t expect the race to get started on time. Boy were we wrong!

With no on course race photographer I don’t have any “lovely” action shots to share with you this time. Oh darn ;).

We ran and ran our hearts out. Our pace the first 3 miles was much faster than we expected, but we felt great. We slowed down a bit for mile 4 while going up hill but picked the pace back up. I think it was somewhere around mile 5 that I started realizing we were likely to make our goal and and by mile 6 I was almost certain a 59:something time was in our future.

Final time 58:30 average pace 9:26 my new PR (personal record)

That, that I never imagined happening on a horribly humid night race.

I also learned a valuable lesson at this race, only wear black pants for summer races. Why? The INSANE amount of sweating you will do. Just trust me, or check out this picture. 

I promise I did not pee my pants, eeekkkk! My shirt was soaked my body was literally dripping with sweat and as you can tell by this picture everyone else was to. So nice to have great friends to sweat with. 
With the summer night series completed we received our finisher medals. Now we only have 12 short weeks until 13.1 miles of fun in Springfield, MO!
Let the half training begin!

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