Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Spontaneous Race!

Don't you just love happy surprises?  A running friend texted me a couple of weeks ago to say that she and a couple of girlfriends were coming to Galveston for a few days and did I know of any half marathons nearby that weekend.  Well, as a matter of fact...

The Houston Half Marathon, put on by Luke's Locker running store and Koala Health, just happens to be that Sunday.  It's part of the Houston Warm Up Series leading up to the Chevron Houston Marathon and Half Marathon in January.  We worked out the logistics together and we both registered for the race.  So my friend flew into Houston Hobby Airport on Friday morning, picked up her rental car and met me at Luke's Locker to get our race packets.  We walked a couple of blocks down the street to Cafe Express for lunch, and then she headed back to the airport to pick up her friends and continued on down to Galveston.

We made plans for her to pick me up early Sunday race day morning, so that we'd be together in only one car and so that I could give her directions to the best parking garage.  It was still dark when we arrived and the lines for the porta-johns were really long.  She'd had a long drive up from Galveston, so standing in line was necessary for her and obligatory for me.

Before the race...

Even as the race got underway, we were still squeezing ourselves along the edge of the crowd barrier until we could find an opening into the very crowded start corral.  And then we were off and running. The route made a big rectangle on downtown city streets in Houston and then took us onto Allen Parkway.

This is my favorite Houston race route!  It used to be a 20K race, part of the series of 20K, 25K, and 30K races spaced a month apart from October to December.  A few years ago Luke's Locker added a mile to the 20K to make it a half marathon.  This no doubt greatly increased participation!  But I remember when it was really just nothing more than a big, organized training run.  No finisher medals, just a t-shirt for our efforts.  But running along Allen Parkway is so gorgeous, and the views of the skyline on the return leg are so spectacular that the miles seem to fly by.

Houston Half Marathon route.  Data from my Garmin GPS watch
I enjoyed doing this with my friend.  I could give her occasional little highlights as we ran along....the historic Jewish cemetery, Eleanor Tinsley Park, the bat colony at Waugh Street underpass, pointing out Felix Lugo as he ran by carrying the U.S. flag.

Army veteran Felix Lugo runs in every Houston area
marathon/half marathon carrying this flag the entire way
The route took a jog on Shepard to Memorial Drive and then continued all the way to   the 610 loop, where we turned around and headed back toward downtown.  I pointed out Memorial Park and the joggers running along the gravel trails, told her when we were nearing the Post Oak section of town where the high dollars are spent in trendy designer shops.  The stretch of Memorial Drive between the park and 610 is so tranquil and quiet that it's hard to believe how close we really are to Houston traffic mayhem.
The last couple of miles...returning to downtown and the finish line

As we neared downtown again, my friend paused to take some photos of the skyline.  A few tenths of a mile from the finish line I pretty much cratered, but we finished with smiles on our faces!

My friend Colleen from St. Louis.  Yes, we both got the
memo about wearing purple on race day!  

Whole Foods was one of the corporate sponsors and they had a fun costume booth with backdrop, with a wide assortment of hats, masks, and other costume accessories for photo ops.  We had a bit of fun with this, then went off in search of some post-race food.



We were a little disappointed, expecting more than just bananas, tangerines and bagels from Whole Foods.  At the very least we were hoping for chocolate milk.  And they ran out of beer!!   A live band was playing in the park and a few runners and families were sitting on the grass relaxing and soaking in the atmosphere.
The formal "finisher" photo

We made our way to the car and then left downtown heading to my house to drop me off, but  not before I convinced her to take a spin through the Starbucks drive-thru!   We made plans to meet for a late lunch on Tuesday with her friends before they fly home.

Very pretty medal, with sparkly Texas...and it spins!

Another half marathon done, another finisher's medal for my now-overflowing medal rack.  I already have the state of Texas (multiple times!) so no state was colored in on the map, but it was a fun race and even more fun doing it with a running friend!

The Jazz Half Marathon in New Orleans is this coming weekend.  I thought about canceling out but then realized I'd missed the window for canceling the hotel room without penalty.  Well, drat!  Looks like I'll be driving to New Orleans and running that race.  That will make 5 half marathons in 3 weeks.  [groan].


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Running a Trifecta - Race #3

Race day morning in Lowell MA!

My hotel was just a few short blocks away from the start line and as I headed out the door another runner asked me if I knew where the start line was.  I invited him to walk with me but I realized that it was warmer out than I thought, so I pointed him in the right direction then took off my fleece jacket and tied it around the outside rear view mirror of my rental car in the parking lot, hoping it would still be there when I returned.

As I walked to the start line, I worried I might be too warm with my long sleeve shirt and capri's.  It was very windy, so my hope was that I'd be okay given a slight wind chill factor.  I placed myself toward the back of the pack, knowing I'd be setting a fairly slow pace after doing two half marathons last weekend.

We were treated to a lovely A Capella tight harmony duet version of the National Anthem and then we were set loose onto the race course.  I know this city well.  I lived nearby and worked in Lowell for several years.  Our race route took us right by the former St. Joseph Hospital where I worked for several years but now a U. Mass Lowell facility, and it took us right past the U. Mass Lowell building where I taught for two years.  It also ran me right past the building in which nearly all of my MBA graduate school classes were held.  It was a very special race for me because of this.  While the former hospital facade had changed significantly, being turned into a beautiful glass-front building containing conference facilities and the River Hawks book store, the U. Mass campus buildings had not changed at all.  They still looked exactly as they did when I taught there and attended graduate school.

The day was glorious!  Low humidity, clear blue skies, and a strong wind that sent cascades of leaves down onto us runners.  The leaves formed deep "puddles" along the curb and it was fun to scuff through them as I ran along the route.  We had a view of the Merrimack River at all times, first along the south shore then, after crossing the river at the Rourke bridge, along the north shore.  We made two loops of the river, crossing the Rourke bridge and the beautiful and historic Ouellette bridge twice.  Despite the fact it was a two-loop course, I totally enjoyed it.

Baystate Half Marathon race route - data from my Garmin GPS watch

I was happy with my finish time, even though I stopped running to help a little girl who'd crashed hard on her bicycle.  She was riding her bicycle behind her mom but slammed into a guardrail buttress and went down very hard.  Her mom didn't realize this and kept going, and the girl was absolutely panicked.  I stepped over the railing and helped her get untangled from her bicycle and asked if she was okay.  She fell hard on her left arm and I was worried she may have broken it.  Just as I was helping her to her feet, her mom rushed up and thanked me.  The delay didn't matter; I knew it wouldn't make a difference in my age group placement and, in the grand scheme of things, in my finishing time.

Nice finisher medal

Crossing the finish line

The finishing chute sent us through a park and around a building where we found cauldrons of HOT SOUP!  It was fabulous!  We had a choice of minestrone, bean, or chicken noodle.  Such a perfect post race food!  I wandered out of the park, following other runners and hoping they knew where they were going because I was totally disoriented.  Finally I had to approach a police officer who was directing traffic, ask him how to get to the hotel.  Once I got onto a street I recognized, I knew where I was and how to get there.  I had some money in my pocket, thinking I was going to pass a Dunkin Donuts shop, but where it should have been was an empty storefront.  So, sadly, and without a nice hot cappuccino, I returned to the hotel to get cleaned up.

A longtime friend from high school was meeting me at the hotel at 1:00 PM for Sunday Brunch.  We had a great visit, and promised we'd meet again next time I'm in New England.

It's been an unbelievable 10 days of racing, visiting, sightseeing in New England!

Here's what my 50 States Half Marathon map looks like, now that I've colored in the states of CT, RI, and MA;


The New England Trifecta finisher medals:

Hartford, Lowell, and Newport finisher medals:  3 races in 9 days

A relaxing post-race evening at the hotel in Lowell, and I then packed up and departed for Providence airport Monday morning to fly home.

Next:  a week to recover, then the Houston Half the next weekend with a St. Louis friend.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Running a Trifecta - Spending the Week Before Race #3

I was still in a bit of disbelief that I had actually completed two half marathons in two days!   As I drove from Newport RI to Burlington MA on Monday morning, I re-lived the details of those two races in my mind.  As amazed as I was that I'd done it, I was even more amazed that nothing hurt too much. No horribly stiff or sore muscles, no blisters, no "hot" spots...nothing.  Amazing.

Next stop... Burlington MA at a very nice Hyatt House hotel to spend a few days relaxing, visiting, shopping before moving just a few miles up the road to Lowell MA for race weekend.  My accommodations at the Hyatt House were spacious - a separate bedroom, living room, eating area, full kitchen - and within walking distance of several restaurants, Starbucks, some shopping.  I should be quite comfortable here for the next 4 days.

Tuesday morning I drove just a few miles up Route 3 to visit with an old friend of mine, a woman I'd met when I joined the faculty at the U. Mass College of Health Professions in Lowell.  She was the same age, had a son who, like my son, was 4 years old at the time, and we hit it off immediately.  Her family and mine did almost everything together on the weekends.  But I'd only seen her once or twice since I moved away to Texas in 1990.  Both of our lives had changed significantly over those years.  We'd both remarried, we'd both retired, we'd both seen our sons move far away.



She prepared a lovely lunch for us - beef kabobs on the grill, big tossed salad, rice, and homemade apple crisp for dessert.  We chatted for hours and could have continued to do so had I not needed to get back to the hotel to beat the horrific rush hour traffic on 128 in Burlington.  I stopped at a grocery store, the same one I used to shop at when I lived in town decades ago, and then headed south on Highway 3 toward Burlington and my hotel.

Wednesday morning early, I jumped in the car and drove out to Gardner MA, on the Mohawk Trail (Route 2) to meet a motorcycle friend for lunch at the Gardner Ale House.  She lives in Vermont and Gardner seemed just about right for a meet in the middle.  We had a nice lunch and nice visit and then I mentioned to her that I was going to continue on a little bit west on Route 2 to Philipston, to the Red Apple Farm orchards.  Was she in?  She was!

Red Apple Farm
The drive getting there was gorgeous!  Once off the limited access Route 2 highway, the small little country roads were ablaze in fall color.  At the farm, I bought some fresh apples, had a cup of hot mulled cider, and visited the cute animals outside in their pens:  goats, tiny little piglets, a cow or two.  We sat outside and continued our chat for a little bit before my friend needed to get back on the road and head for home before dark.  It was another very pleasant day, spent with another friend.

On Thursday I shopped at the LL Bean store across the street from my hotel, making some great purchases and saving myself some sales tax money.  It was a cool, wet day, best spent indoors, so I bought a cappuccino at Starbucks, a sandwich at the Pot Belly Sandwich Shop, and brought it all back to my hotel room, where I spent the rest of the day knitting and watching TV.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Time to check out of the Hyatt House and move up the road to Lowell and the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center.  I gathered together all of my dirty clothes, a few clean clothes I knew I'd never wear, and most of my purchases from the last few days and stuffed them into my carry-on wheeled tote.  There's a UPS Store on my way to Lowell and I stopped there and arranged to have the suitcase boxed and shipped home.

It was still much too early to drive to Lowell and check in to the hotel...it's only 15 miles away and it's not even lunchtime yet.  So I exited the UPS Store parking lot and drove across the street to the Burlington Mall.  Now this really brings back memories!!  I even remembered where most of the major anchor stores were and where best to park to be near the best mall entrance.  Some things are just never forgotten!!

There's a CVS store here and I needed to make a purchase, then walked out into the mall area to find the Talbots Petites store.  I bought a couple of nice long-sleeve tops and had the store ship them home to me - they ship at no charge!  On the way back to the escalator I passed a Lindor chocolate shop and stepped inside.  So many truffle flavors I've never seen before!  So of course I had to buy 1/2 pound of mixed truffles, all flavors I've never tasted.

I simply could not find other ways to kill time so got back in the car and drove up to the Inn in Lowell and hoped they'd let me check in.  But they wouldn't.  My room wasn't ready yet.  I left the car there and headed out on foot in search of a late lunch.  I found it at Wings over Lowell, a not-too-bad chicken wings place that was cheap enough and convenient.

After lunch I continued down Market Street to the Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center where I picked up a park map and then watched the 20 minute film about the history of the mills in Lowell.  Lowell is the home of the industrial revolution in the United States, being the first city to industrialize and automate a manufacturing process.  Francis Cabot Lowell brought the power loom across the ocean to Lowell and a city grew up around it.
Lower Falls canal

One of the wooden locks on the lower falls canal

With map in hand, I left the visitor center and strolled along some of the canals that crisscross through the city.  The series of canals and locks control water that feeds into the canals from the Merrimack River.  Lowell sits on a portion of the river that drops down a series of rapids, the perfect place to tap into that rapid flow to provide power to the textile mills that sprang up along the river.

I returned to the hotel and they finally had my room ready.  It was suppertime, so I placed my things in my room and returned to the hotel restaurant for dinner.

The next morning - Saturday - I drove to the Radisson Hotel in Chelmsford to visit the race expo and pick up my race packet.  I was surprised that packet pickup was in the next town, not in downtown Lowell, but it did force me to get up and get moving.


Packet pickup at the Radisson Hotel in Chelmsford
Back at the Lowell Inn, I dropped my things off in my room and then took a walk to the historic Boott Mill, passing the Jack Kerouac memoriam along the way.  Jack was born and grew up in Lowell, a good reason to revisit some of his writings.





The Boott Mills:




Here's a photo of the mill yard today, and a photo of the plaque showing what the mill yard looked like in the 1880's.  Not much difference!

Mill yard today

Mill yard photo from 1880's
Inside the mill, they have an entire floor of power looms set up and in working order, and actually running.  It was loud!




The boarding houses for the girls who worked the mills:


Corner of Boardinghouse Park



Lowell National Park Gateway - at Boardinghouse Park
On my return to the hotel, I stopped at the Blue Taleh Japanese restaurant and had udon noodle soup and sushi for dinner.

Tomorrow:  Race day in Lowell

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Running a Trifecta - Race #2

The Hartford Half Marathon is done and it's onward to the next of three races for this trip.  I'd been dreading doing these two races on back to back days, but I felt surprisingly good after finishing the Hartford race.  I had walked back to the hotel, taken a quick shower, and then checked out of the hotel to get on the road toward Newport.

My drive from the airport near Providence RI was hurried and I paid little attention to the scenery on my way to Hartford.  Now, as I drove back to RI, taking a slightly different route as I headed toward Newport, I wasn't in such a hurry and I could enjoy the beautiful fall leaves, which were in full color in many areas.  This is a dense hardwood forest region and the colors ranged from yellow through deep red.  Beautiful!

After living in Texas for so many years, it's easy to forget how close everything is in New England.  I very quickly found myself driving across the bridge into Newport.  I skirted the downtown area and very soon arrived at Second Beach to pick up my race packet.  The wind was sharp and cold as I stood in line to get my packet.  Now I just had an easy, short drive to the Comfort Inn near Easton's Beach, where I will be staying for two nights.  I had a great corner room with partial view of the water and several little restaurants within walking distance, including a coffee house.

As soon as I checked in, I walked across the street to the Atlantic Beach Club for an early dinner so that I could chill out for the rest of the evening, get off my feet, and recover/re-hydrate before the next morning's half marathon.
Dessert and sparkly to celebrate post-Hartford race

It was nice that the Newport race had an 8 AM start; even nicer that it was starting right across the street at Easton's Beach.  As soon as I arrived at the start line I immediately found our small group of Half Fanatics. The wind still had a bit of a "bite" to it, though it promised to be a gorgeous day, perfect for running.  I'd saved my "space" blanket from the Hartford race and used it to keep warm until the race started.

Half Fanatics/50 Staters at the start line
One of the gals in our group - Sandy - started out with me, but decided she wanted to go at a little bit faster pace, so I found myself running along by myself until about mile 3 or 4, when I caught up with a young lady I didn't know, but fell in with her.  She was struggling a bit, and I could tell she wanted to slow down, so I stayed with her for the  next 7 miles chatting and encouraging her to keep her mind distracted.  Her name was Lisa and she was from Pennsylvania.  I enjoyed her company and it kept my mind occupied as well.  Nothing hurt after yesterday's race in Hartford but my legs felt leaden and heavy with so little recovery time.

Running with Lisa somewhere along the route between
miles 7 and 9

The route was gorgeous!!  It took us past the harbor, through a park, along the coastline for miles, then past the major mansions including The Breakers and others.  Simply stunning!! Eventually Lisa confessed that she could no longer keep the pace and didn't want me to slow down for her, so I told her how much I enjoyed running with her, wished her a good finish to the race and pulled ahead of her.

The spectacular race route; data from my Garmin GPS watch

As the route turned away from the coast and entered the mansions section, I caught up with Sandy, who had slowed a bit, and we ran the last 3 miles to the finish line together.

With Sandy and our finisher medals at the finish line
I did it!!  I ran a Double - two half marathons on back-to-back days!  And I really was none the worse for wear, surprisingly.
Newport Half Marathon finisher medal

I had tucked some money into my pocket and on the way back to the hotel I stopped at the little coffee house and bought a cappuccino to take back to the hotel room with me.  I was in no hurry, since I was staying another night at the Comfort Inn.  I took my time getting showered and dressed.  I was meeting a friend who lives near Jamestown for a late lunch at the Atlantic Grille.  We had a great meal and got caught up on things, since it had been a while since we'd seen each other.

I was tired, but I was also "pumped" that I'd done what I wasn't sure I could do.  And nothing hurt, no major aches or pains.  I felt great!  Later that evening I walked down the street to a Subway shop and picked up a sandwich for dinner, then crossed the street to a liquor store and bought a small split of cava wine and had a celebratory dinner.

Next up:  Drive to Burlington MA and spend a few days visiting, shopping, sightseeing before the third of three races in the Trifecta.



Saturday, October 25, 2014

Running a Trifecta - Race #1

As I've been completing my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states plus DC, the dilemma has been working the puzzle pieces in a way that will maximize efficiency and minimize expenditure.   The big states in the middle of the country have been easy to schedule, as have the Pacific Northwest states.  The tricky ones have been the New England States.  There are so many of them all clustered together up there in the northeast corner of the country.  How to knock off as many as possible in as few trips as possible...that was the challenge.

I had the good fortune to meet a fellow runner while doing a half marathon near Rome NY in August 2013. She was from Rhode Island and as we ran along together in the Turning Stone Half Marathon, I picked her brain for advice on how to accomplish this.  Her suggestion:  Do Hartford and Newport on back-to-back days in October.  Well, I took a look at that and also looked at several different on-line race calendars to see if I could add NH, MA, or ME to that trip.  Bingo!  There were a couple of half marathons in Massachusetts the following weekend so I chose the one in Lowell MA and then marked my calendar, bookmarked the race webpages, and waited for registration to open for each of those races for 2014.

One by one, the registrations opened up and I paid my fees, booked hotels and flights and then for the next 6 months second-guessed my ability to pull this off.  I'd done plenty of back-to-back weekend races but never half marathons on back-to-back days.  What have I gotten myself into?

As October drew near, and as I got myself back into decent running shape after faking it through the long hot Texas summer, I relaxed and quit worrying.  I would just take it one race at a time and not be concerned with doing them well.  Just finish.

I started packing several days ahead of the trip, watching the weather and readjusting the wardrobe as the weather forecasts changed radically every time I checked.  In the end, I packed a bit of everything and hoped I had enough of anything to get through 12 days.

Hartford is one of those cities I've driven or ridden through countless times on the interstate without ever visiting the downtown area.  It's the state capital and has several charming features that caught my camera.  I flew into Providence RI, picked up my rental car, and drove to Hartford Thursday, stopping at a Walmart along the way to buy Cheerios and bananas.  I arrived into Hartford in plenty of time to visit the race Expo, get my race packet, and then explore the city a tiny bit before getting dinner. Hilton Hotel, convenient and easy self-park garage, connecting bridge to XL center where the Expo was being held, and a very nice sandwich shop and convenience store right across the street.   Perfect!
These were everywhere on the sidewalks of Hartford

The next day - Friday - was glorious, with sunny skies and perfect temperatures.  I took off toward the capitol building perched up on a hill and then explored the race venue start/finish line a bit before continuing on into other parts of the city.

Runner Village


Finish line being readied for next day's race.  Love that
we'll be running under that icon arch as we head for the finish line

I found the old, original state house, in beautiful condition even right down to the old stockades in the yard.  While the bits and pieces of the "old" Hartford are still there, it's a city that has reinvented itself a few times and in so doing, has lost much of its original architecture unfortunately.

Hartford Capitol Building

Old Hartford State House, complete
with stockades in the yard

Friday evening, a small group of us met at Salute Italian Restaurant for our pre-race "carbo load." We had fun and I enjoyed meeting a few more Half Fanatics/50 Staters.  A few of these ladies will also be at the Newport race on Sunday, so I looked forward to seeing them again.

Saturday morning - race day - was cold and wet with a forecast for rain all day.  Yeah....cold and wet.  This is why packing for this trip started several days before departure.  I left the hotel at the last possible moment, leaving just enough time to walk the 1/2 mile or so to the start line.  I arrived just in time to hear the national anthem and then we were turned loose onto the course.

The only way to stay warm was to keep running.  I gave myself permission to walk through the rose garden park at miles 9-10, but picked it back up again once the route exited us from the park and headed us back toward downtown and the finish line.  Really, the variety and diversity of the route, plus the rain, actually kept my mind occupied and the miles seemed to pass quickly.

Approaching the finish line

Done!  Here's the medal:



I had tucked a $5 bill into my pocket, knowing I'd be passing a Starbucks on my way back to the hotel.  A nice hot cappuccino...did that ever go down easy after being cold and wet for 3 hours!  I moved quickly toward the hotel, got a quick shower, packed my wet running clothes into a plastic bag, and just made it by the check-out cut-off time.

In my rental car, I let my GPS lead me to my next race stop - Newport RI - where I'll run another half marathon the next morning.  

Tomorrow:  Newport Half Marathon, #2 in the Trifecta.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Go Girl Run Half Marathon - Another Wine Glass

I love collecting unusual or engraved wine glasses.  It all started when my husband was still alive.  We loved to get dressed up and go out to dinner at one of several high-end restaurants here in Houston.  We also loved to travel, taking international trips every year.  Along the way, we'd pick up some unique and unusual wine glasses in a number of different ways:  paired wine-flight dinners, antique shops, wine tastings.  So now, years after he passed away, I continue to add to this collection.

2013 Go Girl Run
Half Marathon wine glass
Columbia MO
So when I ran the Go Girl Run Half Marathon  in Columbia Missouri in 2013, I received a finisher's wine glass as part of the "swag" from the race.  I was handed a finisher medal, a finisher's wine glass, and the glass was quickly filled with their signature smoothie, some pink and very tasty concoction.  I love this wine glass!  I reach for it every time I have a glass of wine.  But now I need another one...a matched set.

One of the race series was being held near Kansas City, in Overland Park. I already have the state of Kansas, but... I wasn't busy that weekend, so why not?  I registered for the race, made a hotel reservation nearby, and then looked at the drive route to get there.  I could stop for the night in Miami, OK and use some hotel loyalty points for a free room at Hampton Inn.

Friday morning I was on the road by 5:30 AM, heading north toward Kansas.  After a night's stay in Miami, OK, I was back on the road early the next morning and arrived in Overland Park.  I went straight to PrairieFire where I picked up my race packet and then checked in at the hotel.

Sunday - race day morning, I was up at 5:30 AM and out the door of the hotel by 6:20 AM, walking the mile to the race start in the trendy, tony new shopping complex called PraireFire.  A group of us Half Fanatics gathered for a photo and very soon it was time to move into the chutes and await the start.

Half Fanatics represented at the Go Girl Run Kansas City!

Temperatures were a little warm and it was humid, so I knew I wasn't going to have a really great race, but I was pleased with my finish time, considering how wretched the last couple of races have been.  At least this race was at only 1,000 feet above sea level, not 5,000-7,000 feet!

Race route, data from my Garmin GPS watch

The route was great!  The first few miles ran on paved trails through the woods.  The last few miles weren't so great, running along busy urban streets in the open with no shade.   Then I was within a couple of tenths of a mile of the finish line and I could hear other women cheering everyone on.  The race director had sent out a very touching email the week before, encouraging the faster runners to stay after crossing the finish line to cheer on the back of the pack runners - which would be women like me.  It really did help.
Taken at around mile 12

I hung around afterward and waited for the awards ceremony to start.  the finish line was right in the middle of a pedestrian walkway within this shopping/dining complex and the race director had done an excellent job getting the restaurants involved.  More than a half dozen of them had booths set up and were giving us runners a taste of their cuisine....mini tacos, tiny designer pancakes, sliders, little chocolates in the shape of running shoes, pretzel bagels, a really yummy green smoothie, and so much more.  Unfortunately for me - and most other runners - food doesn't go down well immediately after running a half marathon, but I did try a few of the delicacies being offered while I waited for the awards.

3rd place age group medal, finisher medal, wine glass

Third place in my age group!   I was happy as I walked back to the hotel, clutching my medals and wine glass and a bottle of water.  A quick shower, checked out and car packed and I was on the road, heading for home.  A stop for the night at a free room at Holiday Inn Express in Okmulgee, and I was home by 1:00 PM on Monday.

And now I have a matched pair of Go Girl Run finisher wine glasses!


Coming up next:  a trip to New England to color in the states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.