January 29, 2013

1200 Mile Club and TrailMix app winners

Let's start with the winners. If you see your name listed below, email me at yomommaruns(at)gmail.com for instructions on how to redeem your free TrailMix app. Then get shakin'!

Congrats to Elizabeth at Running for Bling, Cathryn at My Heart's Content, Sarah at Sedwick Studio, Jenn at Run It My Way, and Marla Lenox! And thank you to TrailMix for sponsoring this giveaway.

I'm also feeling like a winner this year because I made it into the Birmingham Track Club's 1200 Mile Club. You probably can't guess what the requirements are. Fine, I'll tell you. Run at least 1200 miles in a year. My total was just under 1600 for the year, so I'm solidly in the club now.

At the track club's annual party, they pass out the gear to those who qualify. The year you qualify, the BTC gives you a jacket that boldly tells that world that you are a rockstar and not afraid to painstakingly calculate and track stats to earn that rockstar-iness. Plus you get a patch for that year's accomplishment. Then every year after that, you get to add another patch to the jacket. 

Now I've found my come up.

And, yes, of course I immediately put that jacket on over my other jacket. Represent.

Talking running with the the trailheads. Source: David Christy Photography

Once you're in the club, you're eligible to buy more 1200 Mile Club shirts. Do not, I repeat, do not try to buy these before you are officially in the club because you will be shut down. They're not just handing these out like lollipops at the bank. I tried to buy one back in the summer when I was fairly sure I would make the mileage. Uh no, I got shut down on that big time. So once I joined I was excited to FINALLY get to buy that shirt I was craving like a pregnant lady and a corn dog (just me on that one ... moving on then).

Source: David Christy Photography

Where did that foot come from in the middle of my serious-look-into-the-distance photo shoot? The photographers around my house are all in time out for not taking their job seriously enough. 

One of the side benefits of loving to run and train for long-distance races is that you get plenty of mileage. My original aim was not to earn club status, but once I realized that my training would take me  to that level anyway, I was totally in. 

Any Marathon Maniacs out there? My next unintentional goal is to join you in the club. 

Do you know how many miles you ran last year? No, this was the first year I've totaled the miles for the year. Is it just me, or do you instantly see 1200 and divide it into the number of shoes you would need to run that many miles?

What running clubs are you a part of? 

January 27, 2013

Keep the darkness at bay

*Don't forget to enter to win one of five free TrailMix apps. Go here to enter.

Workout wrap-up

Monday: 12.17 miles at Red Mountain Park trails in 2:33. Felt like a great pace to aim for at the 50K. Slow and steady. The goal is to finish, which I think I can if I take it easy.

Tuesday: Chiropractor appointment. My back was in much better shape, but my left hip was still really bothering me. He did a lot of dip tissue work on my hips, and the therapy on the right side had me gripping the table in pain. Looks like that's where I'm tightest. But since the appointment, my hip has had little to no pain. Seriously, best chiropractor I've ever been to.

Then I went to Body Flow and a spin class. I decided to hit up Body Flow instead of yoga and was the student in the back not doing anything when they did any forward bending that felt slightly uncomfortable. But it worked. My back is still good.

Wednesday: speedwork. Normally I'm with my coach's group, but I had to go treadmill this week because of scheduling conflicts. 9.41 miles total. Warm up, 4x1600@7:19 (1-min RI), cool down. I loved this speed session. It's always feels nice to go a little slower but sustain it longer.

Thursday: spin class and planks.

Friday: 8.02 miles in 1:06. I was supposed to run these slower, but I was trying to crank them out before a scheduled appointment (that's what I call playdates). So I turned this into a marathon pace run.

Saturday: 17.28 in 2:27. I got to run the first 11 with my favorite marathon training partner, and the last six or so were solo with no music. It was a great chance to get into my head and train for those last lonely miles of a marathon. I was supposed to run 18, but I got back to my car in fewer miles than I thought with a slightly achy foot. No desire here to press my luck with a wonky foot.

Fueling was power protein bars again. Still looks disgusting but works to keep me feeling great. No, that is not a Madonna mic coming out of my ear. Street lamps look weird from this angle.

Sunday: rest

So February is turning out to be the craziest month of my running journey ever. I talked to my coach about all of my plans so we could get on the same page. It's nice to get feedback from someone who considers crazy plans without too much judgement. Or, more like, with no judgement, just encouragement. More on the actual crazy plans later when I've ironed out the details.

Now for the new segment on this blog called My Favorite Things From the Interweb.

1. My husband sent me a link to an article titled "Nipple-Bottomed Shoes Freak Out the Internet." The title is actually the best part of the post. Hilarious. BTW, the shoes seem goofy, and I would vote to never wear them.

2. This video and song are my new favorite because I love the thrift store and have been waiting for someone to dedicate a rap song to it forfreakingever.

Warning: there's a lot of swearing in the video, but if you want to hear the clean version go here. Or you can watch the video with the volume down to see their cool dance moves. Trying to keep it clean for the kids, ya know. 

But seriously, that video was like a picture of my life, dancing through the thrift store aisles in my big fur coats. Plus, there's a monetary lesson in there about overpriced name brands. So educational. 

3. My new favorite motivational video. 

My favorite quote: Don't stop believing, unless your dream is stupid. Then you should get a better dream.

Second favorite quote: We can cry about it, or we can dance about it.

4. And for your FiveFinger shoe lovers, here's an article you might enjoy: "Man Behind Vibram FiveFingers Creates a Two-Toe Shoe." There's actual content in this article, unlike the nipple one above.

5. My sister-in-law just reminded me of my favorite quote from The Hobbit.

Glad I stayed awake long enough to hear this part. 


And this is the segment of the post where I cry because I took my niece Aria back to Kentucky yesterday.

Well, actually, we met some family in Tennessee, and they took her back to Kentucky. That saved me from falling asleep on the drive home. Those long runs wear you out.

We actually met them at the place I got married. Tears. I love remembering that day. Although it rained the entire day so all of our pictures are underneath the awning out front. 

Basically that Gandalf quote up there is why I'm going to miss Aria. She did lots of small acts of love and kindness all around our house to make it a better place. I would come home from dropping off the kids the kids at school, and the dishes in the sink would have disappeared. Do you know how often that happens around here? Let me think about it ... oh, um, wait, NEVER. 

Every activity we did together she proclaimed as fun. I just love her attitude. We will seriously, seriously miss you, Ari-R.

On the way home, I needed a snack, so I stopped and picked up this.

When you run a lot, you have to eat a lot. But this photo also tells the story of why you should not shop while you are hungry. I probably overdid it for a road trip snack for one person. I've been trying to avoid chips on my clean eating plan, but they had much simpler ingredients than most of the junk at the grocery store so I felt like they were a good choice. Also, I decided to give Larabars another shot. Maybe with a less-sugarfied palate, I will now enjoy them. Maybe.

My daughter called my clean eating "a diet" the other day, and I had a long talk with her about how the eating wasn't about losing weight at all. The clean eating plan is about feeling good. I wanted to make sure that it is clear to her that I do not deprive myself of food when I am hungry. It's all about paying attention to what you are using as fuel so that you feel better. And it works!

What's a small act of kindness that someone did for you this week? 

What's your favorite road trip snack? Usually mine is Hardee's Thickburgers. More of a ginormous meal than a snack.

Did you see anything hilarious on the internet this week? Or in real life would work too. 

January 25, 2013

Clean eating, highs and lows

The experiment in clean eating continues. When I signed up for the two-week jump-start program, I wasn't sure I would make it two days, and I definitely wasn't looking past two weeks. But once I realized how great it felt to cut out gluten, dairy, and added sugar (excluding honey), I decided to at least keep up this experiment until after my next big race

What I've found most interesting is how my relationship with food has changed. I'm cooking a ton more planned meals, which my family loves. That also makes lunches easier each day because I can either reheat leftovers or add something to them to make a great lunch the next day. 

For example, this crock pot vegetarian chili with sweet potatoes was delicious the night of, but for lunch the next day, I added black rice and an avocado to the mix. Now that combo was amazing. 

Here's another typical lunch for the week. Leftover rice (which is a half-and-half mix of black and brown rice), mushrooms, red onions, red peppers, spinach -- all heated up in a pan together with coconut oil. Pretty much, I take whatever grain is left over and throw in whatever veggies need to be used up before imminent saggy-ness. This combo never disappoints. 

One of the biggest challenges has been eating out, which we don't do a ton of anyway, especially with this plan. Last Saturday at the BTC party, I decided to get wild and order from the taco truck. This was my very first time eating out on the plan. After painstakingly combing the menu for items to not include on my tacos (cilantro mayo, I'm talking to you), I accidentally ordered tacos on wheat tortillas. I took a giant bite just as my friend pointed out that I was eating wheat. Oops. Well, I wasn't about to waste money, so I ate the suckers. And for those wondering (everyone), I was definitely feeling it that night and the next day.

Think cramps and no business. You're welcome.

After that, I was prepared to consider more angles of the ordering process next time I ate out, which happened to be at Moe's on a hot date with my husband (thanks to my visiting niece and her babysitting skills). Moe's is a convenient place to be a picky orderer because everything is prepped right in front of you. I ordered the burrito bowl, which was tastiness supreme, but I'm pretty positive something in there had sugar in it. Probably the meat marinade. Afterwards, I was craving sweets so badly which isn't usually the case when I eat at home (even salty foods).

One of the easiest things to do is just take junk (meaning food) with me everywhere. Luckily my kids don't mind if I borrow their lunch boxes. I always have boiled eggs on hand, plus carrots, portable hummus, and clementines. 

My church snack. Three hours is a long time to not eat!

I have another long run (18 miles) on the schedule for tomorrow, so I'm interested to see how I feel this week. Last Saturday, I felt like a fresh pair of sneakers (that means awesome and smelling good, or at least just awesome) during my run, but I didn't really want to cook afterwards. So I ended up not eating enough post-run. For running 22 miles, that's not a great idea, so I hope to be a little more prepared tomorrow with easier things that I can just reheat and go with. 

What I never thought would happen to this blog is that it would get hijacked by a health food fanatic. It's not really my style (my style is way more chips and pound cake), but by gosh, this eating clean stuff is making me feel so great. I have more energy than I've had in a long time, and I just don't want to let go of that. Plus my family has to be benefiting from it too. I'm not making the kids eat everything that I eat, but we eat a clean dinner together. Plus they just have fewer poor food choices hanging around. They are still drinking milk and using butter, which I'm not, and I'm having a hard time letting go of their sandwiches for lunch (for them and their lunch boxes). It's just so easy. 

In case you didn't come here for a food lecture, here's some other biz that's been happening around here. 

Plank parties. My gym hommies and I like to squeeze in a few planks every day to keep the chiropractor away. In my case that philosophy hasn't fully worked yet. Still seeing the chiropractor, but my back feels pretty great.

Me (with my thrift store $3 Target running capris), Lara (who now is my bright Mizunos twin), and Diane (who just rocked Disney Marathon for Autism Speaks!)

My daughter just became an official good citizen. I suspected she was for a while, but now that she's got the certificate, it's solid. Also, I pretty much love the fact the school goes out of their way to catch kids doing the right thing. In addition to these citizenship awards, they have a Gotcha Award that kids get for getting caught doing something awesome. I think I might need to implement that at home. 

Wearing my thrift store 7 jeans, in case you were wondering. They are mega comfy. 

At the good citizenship banquet, I learned the way to get a toddler to ignore a cookie. Hand him your phone.

The saddest part of this weekend is that our niece Aria is going back to old Kentucky. We'll miss her positive attitude and the fun adventures we went on this week. And we'll absolutely miss her Vulcan impressions. Uncanny. And classier than that pants-less Vulcan.

What are some good lunch box alternatives to sandwiches? 

Where do you take visitors when they come to town? This week we did the Birmingham Zoo, McWane Science Center, and the waterfalls at Boulder Canyon trails.

If you could implement an award at your house, what would it be? I would definitely start giving awards to people who clean up their dishes without being reminded. It'll be called the Our Kitchen Isn't Funky Anymore Award.

January 24, 2013

$5.99/year of Runner's World (again) and free Mercedes Marathon entry

Another deal post. Gotta make this quick-sky as I'm in the middle of dinner prep. Dinner, BTW, is crockpot curried chicken -- substituted coconut milk for the yogurt. 

1. $5.99/year for up to four years of Runner's World with the coupon code KRAZY. See here for details, or go straight here to order with code. You have to add to the cart before you will see the box to enter your coupon code. You can add this to a current subscription as well. And you only have until midnight tonight to order. So get on it!

2. For Alabama residents, you have a chance to get a free entry to Mercedes marathon or half by sharing your story. Go here to see the details. You have to write something and wait for them to send you a code. Pretty simple. There are also a few other Alabama races that you can apply for on the site, from 5K up. So even if you aren't up for the longer distances, still check it out. 

3. This isn't a deal, but it's the best thing I've tasted since I've been on the gluten/dairy/sugar-free plan. A vegan chocolate shake -- go here for the recipe. I substituted almond milk for rice milk. Now that I'm talking about it, I might have to stop dinner and immediately make another one. 

January 22, 2013

TrailMix App Review and Giveaway

When I first started marathon training, I put in a lot of long solo runs. While I like a good short solo run as much as anybody, there comes a time in long runs that I just need a distraction from the step, step, steppity, breath, breath, breath-ity. That's when my love of music and running solidified.

I have spent hours (wish I was exaggerating) putting together the perfect-for-me playlists for long runs and marathon race days because I know that when my morale gets low, I need something to help pick my feet up when my doubts kick in. For me, music has the power to erase negativity and fear and replace it with hope, joy, love, and positivity. 

Just look at all this positivity that music brought to the Birmingham Track Club social on Saturday. 

That's some serious feeling-the-music face.

A little bit softer now. Photos by David Christy Photography.

So when the people from TrailMix contacted me about trying out their app, I was definitely interested to check out something that would enhance my music-running relationship. 

From the makers of TrailMix:
We took a music player, combined it with a state-of-the-art beat analyzer, dynamic gait detector, and high fidelity audio time stretcher, then hid all the advanced technology under the hood. The result is magical: a simple, easy-to-use music player that can change the beat of any song to match your footsteps automatically.
The cows aren't as quite as good of running company as music.

It's really basic and easy to use, but genius. You can select your own playlist or let it choose songs for you from your library, and then run. The player will sense your movement and speed up or slow down the song as needed to match your pace.

If you're aiming for a certain tempo, you can dial in the tempo you want and let the app adjust your songs to match your desired tempo. And, no, your songs don't come out sounding like a recording of Alvin and the Chipmunks. They're just like the songs you love, only faster or slower. The only feature I wish it had that it doesn't (yet, maybe) is a way to put in the pace you want to run in a xx:xx format, but once you determine the BPM (beats per minute) that match your desired pace, it's easy to manually change the BPM to get all songs to match that pace you're hoping to hit.

To break it down into TrailMix bullet points:

  • Simple to use
  • Helps you to maintain your pace
  • Doesn't make music sound like Chipmunks
  • Possibly makes you run as fast as Lauren Fleshman (not guaranteed)

Ready to party yet?

New Year's Eve at Gip's Place

You can purchase the TrailMix app here. 

Or you can enter in the comments for a chance to win one of five free downloads of TrailMix. 

To enter: In a comment below, tell me your favorite power song for running.

For bonus entries (make sure to leave a separate comment for each so I can count them all!):

* Follow TrailMix on Twitter. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Follow (or already follow) Yo Momma Runs on Twitter. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Like TrailMix on Facebook. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Like (or already like) Yo Momma runs on Facebook. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Follow (or already follow) Yo Momma Runs via Google Friend connect. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Share this giveaway via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or your blog. Leave a separate comment for each share!

This giveaway will close next Monday, January 28th, and I'll pick a winner via random.org. Thanks and get shakin'!

January 21, 2013

Homemade long-run fuel alternative and other malarkey

Workout wrap-up

Monday: 45-minute spin class, yoga class that ended up making my back hurt again -- ugh!
Tuesday: 8 miles, easy pace
Wednesday: rest day to let my back re-heal
Thursday: speedwork, on treadmill because the track run got cancelled because of snow, 2-mile warm-up, 1600 @ 7:03 (1:30 RI), 800 @ 6:43 (2:00 RI), 1600 @ 7:03 (1:30 RI), 2-mile cool down. PT appointment.
Friday: 1 easy mile and a lot of walking
Saturday: 22.10 in 3:16, longest training run I've ever completed!
Sunday: rest day

As you can see, my back was giving me grief again after yoga on Monday. One of the forward-bending moves with wide legs is what pushed my back over the edge. I thought yoga would be great for my back, but it looks like I need to get stronger before I go back to yoga. Or just not do that move next time I'm in class.


Luckily the back outage wasn't as intense or long-lasting as last time. To keep my back strong, I'm doing planks like a maniac, basically anytime I can. Also, I'm incorporating lots of hip and leg exercises that I can do at home or anywhere, like squats, lunges, leg lifts -- all really simple moves that I always need to be doing more of anyway.

Here are some of the highlights from this week in pictures.

The mother load from the thrift store. They had a bunch of new Target cast-offs for $3 each. Those yoga pants are about to become my new uniform. The gray pair of capris are actually for running, and the black pair is for lounging or yoga (aka also for running). Plus I found a pair of 7 jeans for $5 (my first pair ever because I'm super cheap) and a bunch of matching jackets, sweaters and shirts for the twins.

Because I needed a new phone case (mine broke and I keep dropping that darn slick phone), I checked out the thrift store's supply and narrowed it down to these two. The question here is: should I go funny or practical? 

And I went with ...

If something makes you laugh every time you look at it, it can't be bad. 

I also picked up this shoe pocket for another running pocket. With distance running, I feel like you cannot have too many little stash options. 

You never know when you're going to have to throw some homemade protein power bars in your available pocket. Then where does your key go? Shoe pocket!

Go here for protein power bar recipe. 

I ate this protein mix during my long run on Saturday. The fuel was awesome, filling and long lasting with a great flavor. The consistency, of peanut butter, not so awesome. This would probably work well for an ultra, where there will be moments of walking/hiking that will be perfect for choking some of this mix down.

Here are some food highlights from this week. This quinoa, chicken, and olive soup was a win.

Best roasted brussel sprouts I've ever made. Toss the halved sprouts in tamari sauce, salt, pepper, olive oil. Set the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 35-40 minutes. So easy, and my kids will eat them. 

But the biggest news from Alabama is that we are finally got our own little drizzle of snow. 

Not everyone was as happy as I was about it. Where are this kid's parents? They should probably get him some gloves.

The only unhappy part for me was the traffic. I think I found the reason why so many people were wrecking even though the roads were just slushy, not icy. People were forgetting to brush the snow off their back windshield and side mirrors. Kind of important. I bet you thought I was going to say that the wrecks were because of people taking cell phone pictures while driving. Pinky swear we were all stopped for a long time when I took this.

Outside of annoying traffic, we had fun with our five minutes of snow. It took pretty much all the snow in the yard to build these snow monsters with alien babies erupting from their abdomens.

My niece, who is staying with us for a couple of weeks, was the mastermind of the freaky snow monsters. Did I already mention that every time I see her I want to call her Katniss? Do you see it?

How much snow have you had where you live? This was it for us for this winter so far.

What extra pockets have you found for running? The classic back-up pocket for me is always the sports bra. Guys, what do you do for emergency pocketing?

Do you splurge on expensive jeans? My biggest jeans splurge is when Old Navy has a sale. We get crazay. Honestly, I don't even know where they sell pricey jeans. The mall?

January 20, 2013

Runner's World $5.99/year deal

In you haven't seen my Facebook post about this deal, I wanted to let you know here on the blog too that right now there is a deal for a year of Runner's World for $5.99 (up to four years). Go here and type in the coupon code SLICKDEALS after you add the order to your cart.

I've been searching for a good deal on this for the last two years, and this is the best one I've come across. So if you've been putting off ordering, this is a great time to sign up.

Edit: This deal is now dead. But I'll post when I see another one.

Be back soon with a real deal post.

In the meantime, I'll be doing some of this to recover from yesterday's 22-mile training run (and the dancing at the track club social).

January 18, 2013

XTERRA Monte Sano 15K, January 12, 2013

While the Monte Sano 15K was supposed to be a trail run, the rain that began before the race, and has barely stopped for a breather since, made it more of a mud run. The day started and stayed misty and foggy, but the mist and fog blocked the sun to give us some cooler weather than we've had lately. To be honest, even though it was harder and my quads were telling me about it the next day, the mud made this race even more fun. 

Before quad death by hills.

Getting there: This race is at Monte Sano State Park, which is in Huntsville, AL. The mountains there reach over 1600 ft. in elevation, which seemed impossible to me since Huntsville itself is pretty flat. We woke up early and met at 5:15 to get up to the park in time for the 7-8 a.m. check-in time. Sure enough, at the very end of our drive, the road started to steadily climb until we reached the race start. 
Although the race had sold out, and I was worried about crowded parking, there seemed to be plenty of spots. I noticed that a lot of people, like us, had carpooled. So maybe that helped the parking situation. 

Pre-race: Check-in was fast and efficient. We grabbed our bibs and shirts along with a glass filled with some PowerBar gel and gummies. Because it was so fast, we had plenty of time to attempt to stay dry before the race. 

Between the pavilion, tents, and our car, we managed to stay out of the rain. It wasn't heavy, but there was a constant drizzle that could have proved annoying if you had to stand still in it for an hour. 

I felt lucky when a local girl told me that there was a women's restroom right around the corner from the port-o-potties, and there was no line, at least until word spread about it. 

The finish line: bringin em home with the cones. 

The race: With the entire Dirty Spokes/XTERRA series, they have been so punctual with start times so no issues there once again. Promptly started at 8:30.

Not sure what is happening in this picture, but the Alabama Outdoors guys thought it was sort of funny, whereas I thought it was the most hilarious thing I'd heard possibly ever. And the orange-shirt guy behind me was just not amused. Bottom left corner, I covet your stripy socks. 

Source: We Run Huntsville

I definitely wasn't thinking that I could hang with those AO guys for the run, but the last trail race got so bottle-necked at the beginning that I was practically walking. So I was going for an ambitious start.

After the whistle blew (possibly not literally), we ran down this trail for a bit, through the parking lot, and then onto the trail we would stay on for a while. So we had plenty of time to space out. 

As I mentioned before, the trail was completely full of mud. I wonder if those at the head of the pack had it any better. It seemed like the more the stomping of mud went on, the harder it got to cross the mud pits. There were also lots of little streams to cross. Some of those are possibly new ones that had cropped up with the rain.

One of the highlights of this course for me was all of the rocky formations. We hiked/ran through a rock tunnel. It would have been tricky to run through it, so everyone in my line hiked. And even though this hill (below) kicked my trash, it was gorgeous with the rocky and misty loveliness taking the sting out of my burning hamstrings (and calves and lungs).

So many parts of this trail made me think, dang, this is amazing. Or, I freaking love this. That could also be the clean diet talking. There was also a long section of trail that was cut right into the side of the mountain, so one side led straight up while the other led straight down. Not a place I wanted to pass someone (luckily I didn't have to) or lose footing, but I loved running there.

After the largest hill (around mile 5), there was a water stop, and it was the only one of the race Definitely prepare to bring your own fluids.

The markings for which trail to follow were not huge, but they were consistent and not too hard to spot.   There were a couple of sections where we crossed over the roads back onto a trail, and they had people stationed there to guide us back onto the trail. Overall I had no directional problems.

The hills were definitely large and in charge, but the downhill wasn't shabby either. I had to slow down more on the downhills because the rocks and mud were slick. If it was dry, this could probably be a pretty fast course, for a trail.

My race: Having not been able to walk the day before because of back issues, I was just happy to be moving along. Although my doc thought it was unwise to run muddy trails, I actually think that helped me to slow it down a bit enough to protect my back and not do anything crazy. I had no falls at all, although there were a couple of largish trips. 

For fuel, I carried a handheld of water and some date balls. At about mile 5, I ripped open my baggy of date balls that had now turned into date paste. They were harder to get down than a gel but took similar effort to a gummy. At first I thought maybe they were not going to sit well in my stomach, but the yucks passed. They seemed to be a good fuel alternative. I started to get light headed at the end of the race (when I was also attempting to sprint), so I think that I should probably plan to intake a little more fuel next time. Usually I would carry Gatorade in my handheld, so that might have made the difference. 

Several of the steep hills I hiked instead of ran. The major hill (pictured above) was all hiking, but some of the others I hike-jogged. Basically, whenever I was feeling it, I hiked. That is until I got into the last mile and realized that another girl was right behind me. It always makes me so nervous when someone is right behind me, so I tried to pick up my pace a little bit. There was a big hill around mile 8 that I definitely would have walked more of if she wasn't behind me. Thanks, stranger, for keeping me motivated to push it. 

Source: We Run Huntsville

Although I could have sworn that she was within arm's reach of me, this pictures says no. Check out the running wonky foot. I get that when I'm really trying (and tired). 

My finish time was 1:36:45 (10:24 pace), which was enough to get first place in my age group and fourth place woman. And, again, awesome for not being able to walk the day before. Thank you, Mr. Miracle Worker Chiropractor.

Vanessa, me, Mary

After-race party: By the time we rolled back in, they had already issued the 5K awards. Mary, below on right, got first place in her age group.

Vanessa, me, Mary, Phil. Phil's face cracks me up every time I see this. I swear he likes us.

They kept it simple with the eats at the finish. I could only eat the bananas and drink water anyway, so I was solid. 

They also brought in a taco truck to help feed the masses. It looks lonely in the picture because that was pre-race. Post-race, that joint was hopping. 

And mostly people took the pants/shorts option, but I might have to adopt this as our house logo. At least for the twins.

Swag: I've loved all of the shirts from this series. They've done a great job with a unique design and color each race, and the women's cut they chose works really well for me. Not too short, which is a must.

Medals were for age group and overall winners only, but they provided randomly drawn (by bib number) door prizes for everyone. Even though I didn't win (bummer), I saw tons of people walking around holding socks or some other little runner trinket. They had boxes of stuff, and you could go pick out your own prize when they called your number. Cool idea.

Overall: Low profile race with gorgeous, gorgeous (I could even repeat that a third time) trails. They were difficult to navigate in spots because of rocks and mud, but there were also sections where you could gain speed. Carry your own water because not much is provided on the course, and bring cash for the taco truck. Or you could pack a lunch. I would definitely repeat this race to get a chance to head out on those trails again. If you live close to Huntsville or want to make it a weekend (they have camping and cabins), these trails are worth exploring. They're also the home of the Mountain Mist 50K, which dubs itself Alabama's toughest trail run.

Alabama Outdoors sponsored my entry into this race. I received no compensation for this race report, and all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Mary C., the Vaughns, and We Run Huntsville for some of the above pictures.