Sunday, November 2, 2014

Race Report: New York City Marathon...3 Years Late!

In honor of the NYC marathon today, I thought I would finally publish my race report from that day.  The race happened when Ken and I were going through a rough time with selling our house and not knowing if we were being relocated or not.  Here is what I had to say about the race back in December 2011.

I have been so delayed in writing this.  Maybe it is because the race did not go as I hoped or maybe it is because we have spent the last few weeks packing up our entire house and moving into an apartment.  To say that I have been stressed and busy (I hate when people say busy) is an understatement.  I have had this written since December, but went back to re-write it because it felt negative.  We had so much up in the air while were in New York, that I feel I could not enjoy myself.
I was so excited about running this race.  I was a little bummed that it was taking place during a very stressful time for Ken and me.  We had debated about cancelling our trip all together with everything going on with our house, but I told Ken if the contract fell through and we cancelled our New York trip, that I might really hurt someone or end up in a mental institution.  So, we proceeded, stress and all. 

I was scheduled to take the 7:30 am Staten Island Ferry.  I slept horrible and woke up at one point to pee and noticed my throat felt a little sore.  Great.  Nothing like starting to catch a cold before a marathon.  I went back to bed, not before growling at Ken who had just returned home from having a few drinks.  I need my beauty sleep people.  :)  I want to be clear that my sore throat had nothing to do with my dead legs for this race. 

I made my way to the subway with my throw away clothes on.  A short ride later, we were down in the financial district ready to board the ferry.  Then, the waiting.  The wait was not too bad, but I was thrown off by the late start.  It is odd to wake up early for a marathon and then wait to start at 10:10 am.  I know there is no other way for the organizers to handle this, but it is a pain. 

The view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the ferry.

View from the ferry

Lower Manhattan with the Freedom Tower.

The Statue of Liberty

The Verrazno Bridge, which is the first few miles of the race.

The ferry ride was very cool and I was very happy with everything that I was able to see from the ferry.  I was really bummed that Ken was not able to see all of it with me.

My favorite part of the entire race was the start.  Hearing someone sing New York, New York gave me chills.  It was a great moment before the start.  We started off running across the Verrazano Bridge, which according to the elevation chart, was the steepest hill of the day.  I personally disagree, but maybe the excitement and the crowd made it seem like a smaller hill than it truly was.  At one point, it was so crowded on the bridge that I had to walk.  I thought the Queensboro Bridge was a much tougher hill. 

I do not want to write a long report complaining about this marathon, so I will just make a quick summary of the rest.  It was not everything I had hoped for.  I had read about the crowds, the crowds, and mainly the crowds in Manhattan.  Yes, there were a lot of people spectating in Manhattan.  I did not think they were loud and cheering.  They were kind of just standing there.  It was nothing like I had expected and nothing like I had experienced in Chicago.  I was kind of shocked. 

You know the runs that you go out for and you decide it was just not your day, you ditch the run and go out the next day?  Well, that was my day on November 6th, 2011.  At mile three, my legs felt heavy like they would at mile 18.  Great, this will be a long day, I thought.  I hung on, knowing I would see Ken around mile 17 or so.  We had a great plan and I was able to see him both times right where I expected to see him, which was such a high point for me in the race.

You can barely see me here.  I am wearing a pink shirt.

There I am running by with the pink shirt

This just was not my race.  My legs felt dead the entire time, and I could not go any faster.  At one point, I started thinking that it would ended up being my slowest race ever, but I somehow managed to keep running instead of being reduced to walking eight miles to the finish, but I made it.  Finishing in exactly 4:22, with an average pace of 10:00 miles.  The funny thing is, this is what I wanted to do for my very first marathon back in 2007. 

This was the most crowded race I had ever participated in.  It was absolutely insane.

I had said I would never run this marathon again.  I have since decided that I would, just probably not for a few years.  Ken is totally rolling his eyes about now.

Getting out of Central Park and back to our apartment took us what seemed like forever, but was probably about two hours.  Thank goodness Ken gave me his sweatshirt, because I was so cold after running and being sweaty.  We stopped and got pizza or as the New Yorkers call it, a pie, and scarfed it down along with a few beers in the apartment.  I was exhausted from such a long day.

I hope that one of these days after I finish nursing school that I will be able to run this race again.  I highly doubt Ken will want to participate, so I will be looking for a marathon mom.  Jill?  Michelle? Katie?  I am very glad that I can finally look back at this race and smile and think of it as a great memory.  Not everyone has the privilege of running such an amazing race and I am thankful I was able to do it.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Kansas Wine Trail...

Last weekend some friends and I took the Miami County Trolley on the Kansas Wine Trail.  Michelle and I had been on the wine trail before, but that was with Ken and it was by car.  Erinn had found the trolley online and thought it would be a fun fall activity.  Indeed it was.

We visited Night Hawk, Middle Creek, White Wind, and of course my favorite - Somerset Ridge.  Michelle and I have been to this winery so much that I feel like there should be a pavilion named after us.

All of us girls with the trolley

Katie and I rode in the very back of the trolley.  With the windows open, it was super windy!  Our hair was blowing in the wind!

All of us girls at Somerset Ridge

Jill and me 

Jill, Katie, and me

It was a beautiful day to be out and about!  I had a lot of fun chatting away and drinking wine.  Thank you Erinn for planning and thank you Melissa for the pictures.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Kansas City Half Marathon...

On Saturday, I ran the Kansas City Half Marathon.  I had not run this race since 2009 when my friend Laura came to Kansas City and ran it with me.

My friend Mike and I had a bet on who would run the faster half marathon time.  I like to tease Mike because he is (cough, cough) approaching 50.  The loser had to buy the winner breakfast.  I ended up running it in 1:55, which was a little surprising because the only true long run I have had since Ironman Louisville was a 9 miler several weeks ago.  I guess swimming and spin class both pay off.

Mike and me

Mike ended up buying Ken and me breakfast after the race.  I felt bad for him because his Achilles was hurt, but he told me he would never run another one, so there will be no shot at a rematch.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

St. Louis...

A few weeks ago Ken and I ventured off to St. Louis since our beloved Cardinals were in the NLDS.  We dropped Kya off at her hotel early Saturday morning and made our way across the state of Missouri.

We stopped to see Ken's parents for a while and then went downtown to check out all of the action.  We checked into our hotel and then walked down to Soulard to check out the Oktoberfest that was going on.  It turned out to be a bust since the line to get in was way too long.  We walked around for a bit and then stopped at a bar near the stadium for a drink.  I love me some Schlafy Pumpkin Ale.

With all of the Ferguson stuff going on, there were rumors that protested would be out in full force.  Luckily, it was uneventful.

Enjoying a few pregame cocktails

It was a beautiful, chilly night for a baseball game!

The Cardinals ended up losing,but it was fun to go to a playoff game.  I had never gone to a playoff game before, but Ken has been to a playoff or World Series game each year since 2004.

On another note, we received a call from Kya's daycare and she had to go to the emergency vet for stitches.  Apparently another dog bit her while they were playing.  I felt so horrible for her, but the vet said she was completely unaware that she was even getting stitches.  I guess our girl is pretty tough.

Bless her heart!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hamburger Mary's...

Ever since we went to charity bingo at Hamburger Mary's back in June, Jill has talked about going there for her birthday.  I really cannot blame her, it was a lot of fun.  Little did we know that going for Jill and Jamie's birthday would be soooo much more fun!  Jill and Jamie both got a gift from Melinda, the drag queen calling bingo.

Jill with her beloved fan!

Melinda was just one of the girls!

Jill, me, Jamie, and of course, Melinda

There were a couple of different parts of the show, including Melinda going around and singing.  Tips were taking during that time and I slipped my dollar bills in Melinda's bra.  It was too funny!

Melinda ended up giving Ken a hard time all night, which was pretty fun.  Not to be missed is the shot below when Melinda stopped by our table to give the guys a hard time.

It is not everyday that you get kissed by a drag queen.

We were also treated to a performance by Jayonce singing and dancing to Crazy in Love.


Jill and me with our new friend Melinda

We had a ton of fun at Hamburger Mary's! Jill says that this will be a birthday tradition from now on if not that, then a frequent girls night out.  We love our drag queens!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Kansas City Renaissance Festival...

Over Labor Day weekend we met up with Rob and Michelle for lunch down in the West Bottoms of KC.  There was a little bit of debate going on as to what we should do with the rest of our day, and as soon as the Renaissance Festival was mentioned, Ken was sold.

Tickets in hand and ready to go!  KC Renfest, here we come!

Neither of us had ever been before, but we knew we were in for a great afternoon of people watching.  It was very interesting seeing all of these people in character.

Our first stop was for alcohol, obviously.  After we had alcoholic beverages in hand, we set out for some of the best people watching ever.  I created a game called get the best selfie.  The object was self explanatory and the person could be aware of the photo or not, your call.

I am not one to brag, but I was very good at this game.  Ken was not so good.  I think we can all agree that the photo below would be difficult to top.

I was polite and gave the mud slave a dollar for a picture.  Yeah, this was not weird at all.

The best part about the photo was when Ken was shouting to me not to let him touch me.  It was way too funny.

Michelle and me with the mud slave in his natural habitat.

We wandered around and had to stop for a few more photo ops during the day.

Rob and Michelle as King and Queen

Ken and me as master and jester???

The best costume of the day was the gentleman that was wearing purple tights that provided a full outline of his, you know, package.  We all about peed our pants.

Obviously, we stopped for a picture!

I am posting this picture to show my horrible tan lines from Ironman Louisville.  That is my wristband from the race.  It took me two weeks to cut it off!

Thanks Rob and Michelle for a fun day out in Kansas City!  Until next time!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ironman Louisville...Race Report...The Run

I saw Ken as I dismounted my bike and he got a good laugh at my fabulous tan lines!  I jogged on into transition, where a volunteer handed me my bag.  I ran into the women's changing tent and got dressed as quickly as I could.

I was so thankful to be in different clothes that were not soaked in sweat.  I threw my hair up in pigtails and was ready to roll.  I was sad that my hair was so wet that I could not get my pigtails to stand up as perky as I can at home.  Oh well...

I got another layer of sunscreen, not that it really mattered anymore and I was ready to attempt the marathon.  I saw my crew cheer me on and I stopped and gave all three of them hugs.  I knew it was such a long day out there, and the only one of them that is obligated by marriage is Ken!  All three of them were such troopers!

My exact words to Ken was that this was the easy part.  Ha, clearly you lose your perspective during an Ironman.  Someone please remind me that I called a marathon easy the next time I run one.  

Transition Time:  12:41

As soon as I started I knew it was going to be a long day.  It was hot.  By hot I mean in the 90's with a triple digit heat index.  I knew I had to take it easy if I did not want to end up in medical like so many others.  The saddest thing is that right after I left transition, I saw a man arrive on his bike and tell his wife he was just hit by a car????  He and his bike were both fine and then he told her he missed a cutoff and he started crying.  I felt bad for him, but I was also confused, because the bike cutoff was still an hour away.  

Right away I saw two guys that were dressed as cheerleaders, with boobs and everything.  I told them how hot they were and they yelled back.  They were pretty fun cheerleaders.

I made it to the first aid station and grabbed a cup of ice and tossed as much as possible in my top and added the rest to my water.  I was in no mood to eat anything, especially a GU, so I also drank some orange mango Perform.  Delicious I tell ya...

My plan was to run a few minutes and walk a few minutes.  I stuck to my plan pretty well, which usually was three minutes of running at a minimum.  I tried to stay in the shade as much as possible, but at times it was difficult to avoid the sun.  I looked forward to my second lap, which would be when the sun was down.

I saw a man that was spectating and he called out my name and asked me if I would meet him for a run the next day.  I told him, you bet and to meet me downtown at 6:30 am!  

I ended up chatting with a man named Kerry for a while.  He was from Louisville and told me that we were experiencing the hottest day of the year.  Go figure!  He as super nice and had a huge blister on his foot so he was walking.  I lost him when I started running, but saw him again later and know he finished.  

It always seems like the worst part of the run is getting to the turn around on the first lap.  After that, it seems like it gets easier for some reason.  I drank more ice water and iced Perform and dumped as much ice in my top as I could.  I ate pretzels and potato chips.  Someone offered me grapes and I about died.  I loved eating the grapes!  

Soon, I was finishing my first loop which means we turn and run right by the finish line.  It has never bothered me so much like it does others, because I know I will be back to experience it for myself!  I saw my crew at the turn and gave them a thumbs up to tell them I was feeling better.  I felt like I was finally cooling down!

You can see the layer of sweat and salt that is covering me!  I felt such relief finishing the first loop!

I skipped special needs on the run and kept moving.  I still was alternating my run/walking and was glad I was not pulled over on the side of the road like so many others.  I was tired of drinking but took water or Perform at every aid station.  I was starving too, but was still afraid something bad would happen if I had a GU.  I stuck to grapes and added oranges too.  It was pure Heaven.  I may have needed a room with my oranges the way I was molesting them.  Moving on...

For some reason the image of this man finishing an Ironman with poop running down his leg kept popping into my mind.  It had me so worried, that I stopped to do a quick "check" to make sure we were all clear.  My stomach was just not right after ingesting so much Ohio River water.  I did not want to be the girl that finished an Ironman with poop running down her leg.  Anyway, we were good, so I tried to get the image out of my mind.  

On the second lap, I tried to make my purpose to pass as many people as possible.  I would pick someone out ahead and tell myself that they were annoying or something and to pass them.  I turned it into a game and it was fun.  I did not get passed on the second lap.  

I was running longer than I was the first lap, just like in 2012.  My legs were feeling a little sore, but I stuck to my run/walk plan.  

A lady was handling out Twizzlers at one point and she became my BFF.  They were almost as good as the Payday I had on my bike.  

Soon enough, I was upon the final aid station.  I cannot even remember if I stopped or not.  I made it my mission to run all the way to the finish, knowing I would pass all the people up ahead.  I made the left turn and knew I had one block left to run before turning right to head to the finish line.  

I turned right, and knew what was ahead.  The lights were blinding.  The crowd was deafening.  A volunteer was sitting there and gave me the thumbs up to run to the finish.  I was running. I was smiling.  The crowd was so loud.  Everyone was yelling and had their hands out for high fives.  I ran down that chute with the biggest smile and slapping all of their hands.  

The next thing I knew, I was on the read carpet.  I had made it.  I was still high fiving people.  It was amazing.  One of the hands that was extended was Ken's.  I saw him and smiled the biggest smile ever.  I had made it.  I crossed the finish line and heard, "Keri Jackson - YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!"  

High fiving Ken, I have to buy this picture!  Also note, the horrible burn lines and pigtail swinging in the wind.  Best picture ever!

Run:  5:57: 25

Total time:  16:06:43

I instantly felt like I was going to vomit.  I got carried away high fiving everyone and sprinting, but I was fine.  I just needed some water.  I got my finishers hat, shirt, and medal.  My sweet volunteer told me that she wanted to make sure my cute face was visible for my picture.  I laughed at her and told her how rough I must look.  I got my picture and was free to see my crew.

I was not too tired for a little sass in my finishers picture!

Ken picked me up and gave me the biggest hug ever with tears in his eyes.  That moment, that exact moment made it all worth it.  The awful swim, the firery crotch on the bike, burning up on the run, was all worth it just to hear Ken tell me how proud he was.

With the best IronFans ever!

After hugs and pictures, we went to get a drink.  I ordered a mojito and brownie with ice cream.  I started to get a mango mojito, but decided on a normal after all the mango Perform I drank on the run.  

We went back to the finish line to cheer in the final finishers and it was hands down one of the best experiences ever.  A lady made it with two seconds to spare.  If you want to get inspired, go to the finish line of an Ironman 5 minutes before midnight.  AMAZING.

I was worried that there was no way that a second Ironman could top my first Ironman finish.  Well, I was just as proud of this finish as I was my first, maybe even more.  I felt so proud for overcoming what was not the perfect day, that I could not have been more proud or thrilled to have made it.

We walked back to the car this time, without having to take the shuttle.  It was a good year, no one was too chaffed to walk back to the car.

I had so much fun reading all of my text messages and Facebook message.  It is so overwhelming to feel so loved and to know that so many people are cheering me on.  Thank you all so much!

I wish I could say that I am never doing another one, but that would be a big fat lie.  I have no plans do complete an Ironman in 2015, but 2016 might be a different story depending on nursing school.