Summer Runnin’

Summer runnin’, had me a blaa-ast;
Summer runnin’ happened….well okay, not fast.  But still fun!

I did just three races this summer: A 10K in June, a 5K in July at the beach,and a trail 5K in September.  Here come brief highlights from each.


The Obediah Cole Foundation “Man Up” Father’s Day 10K
Otherwise Known as “The Unfortunate Logo Race”

One again, I laced up for the Father’s Day 10K.  My friend Kelli and I drove in together, and we met Nina there.  I probably went over this last year, but here’s the unfortunate logo.




  • Because the logo is so hideous, and the t-shirt is cotton, none of us would actually wear the damn thing.  So I decided to order a XX, thinking I might cut it into rags (more fabric for my money).  I decided to try it on over my clothes in the parking lot, just as Nina was rolling in.  The first thing I hear is, “I’m coming in!”

    Really big shirt

    This is out “get along” shirt.
    (So good to have a friend who just “gets” you!)

  • I decided to run with Kelli, who said she looked like a lady cop (from Reno 911) in her aviator sunglasses.  We were going to help her reach a goal time, but she was in the midst of learning she had a knee thing.  So we fell a little short, but it was still awesome, as we did manage to run the whole race without walking.  Which brings me to:
  • FAVORITE MOMENT:  Somewhere around mile 4-5, we merged with the 5K runners and walkers, and it got a little congested.  Just past the merge point, Kelli and I stopped at a water station.  She elbowed me sharply and said, “Get moving!  That guy just called us ‘walkers.'”  My reply: “WHAT?  [Turning around and holding up my water cup]  We’re not walkers!  We’re drinkers!”  Kelli thanked me for five minutes of pain-free running from that little distraction.

The 5th Annual Independence Day 5K at Myrtle Beach

Julie and I were in Myrtle Beach the same week this summer.  I was on vacation with the family.  She was on a writing retreat for work.  So we decided to get up early together on the 4th to do this race together.


  • The past few years when we’ve gone to the beach, I’ve taken my running gear, but never managed to run three straight miles in that heat.  So my goal was simply to run the whole thing.  I finished in 29:17, making me extra happy to have done it in under 30 minutes.
  • The t-shirts were cotton, but also very nice, soft…not unlike the T I got at the Decker’s Creek Half.  They had other, decent ‘swag’ items like frisbees, bag clips, and flavored lip balm, as well.
  • We felt like badasses just for doing it.  Like you know, “Yeah.  Went on vacation.  Ran a race….”
Palm tree background, baby!

Palm tree background, baby!


Miracles from Maggie Trail 5K

Julie is on the board for this event and insisted that I participate.  I’m very glad I did.  It’s a great event, at a beautiful venue to celebrate the life of a little girl who lost her battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma and to raise money to help kids being treated for serious illness.  Jessica, who’s been doing at least a race a month this year,  joined me.


  • Race is held at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier.  This is what greets you as you enter.

    I've used this as a race mantra on more than one occasion.

    I’ve used this as a race mantra on more than one occasion.

  • It’s a very trail, cross-country-type race, which made it beautiful and brutal all at the same time.  I had to constantly watch my footing and the uphills were hard.  Plus, the downhills were often gravel or riddled with tree roots, so you couldn’t always let it out on the downhill after a climb.  I would have absolutely hated it, but it was so very pretty.  I might even dig trail racing now.
  • They kick it off with information and prayers for Maggie, topped off by a balloon release.  I held it together through the speeches and poems, but cried like a baby as the balloons floated heavenward to Maggie.
    Photo credit: Jessica Marks.  I could hardly look.

    Photo credit: Jessica Marks. I could hardly look.

    My beautiful, happy, healthy girls before the release.  #blessed

    My beautiful, happy, healthy girls before the release. #blessed

  • Gotta love small races and their age-group awards.  Jessica and I were second and third in our age group.  We suspected that there were only three of us in our age group, but there were nine!  It was extra fun to accept with a buddy!
Our super-fun awards!

Our super-fun awards!

Next up: Buffalo Creek Half Marathon

My next, and probably final race for 2014, will be a half on October 18th.  Joining me again will be the lovely Jessica.  My training has been shaky at best, so I’m just hoping it doesn’t totally suck.  Jess and I decided that a race day always kicks the ass of a sit-on-the-couch day, so we really can’t lose, regardless.  Then I intend to use the coming months to prepare for 2015.  I may have some pretty big goals for next year….  It remains to be seen whether I talk myself into or out of these crazy ideas I’m having.


Deckers Creek Trail Half Marathon Recap

NOTE: This has been sitting, complete, here in draft form for ages.  I’ve just been busy NOT logging on to Word Press.  Nothing like an exciting race recap almost FOUR months later.

A brief intro for my second list (you might recall I had a Pittsburgh Half Marathon list a really, really long time ago).  My Pittsburgh race buddy, Jill, decided that she wanted to do a second half marathon before the middle of June.  She found the Deckers Creek Trail Half Marathon in Morgantown, West Virginia.  And since her husband had to work that Saturday, she invited ME to go along with her!  My race time was not the best – 2:25 (I did a lousy training job the two weeks prior), but in all other respects, this was an awesome race – we can’t wait to go back next year.  So here’s why:

Thirteen Things I Loved about the Deckers Creek Trail Half Marathon:

  1. I got to go to a race with Jill again – Well, I started out with her, but then fell behind few a few reasons.  One was that I had trouble with my ear buds at mile four.  There was no way I was running without music for nine more miles, so I had a little stop.  Nevertheless, it was super fun to hit the road again with Jill early in the morning and have a fun race day.
  2. Easy to get to – The race was easy to travel to, and parking wasn’t an issue.  It was also very well organized, so the pre-race routine was not at all stressful.
  3. Literally all downhill – We got bused to the start, then ran a straight shot down the trail to the finish, near where we were parked.  I did the math, and we were running – on average – a decline of 1 to 1.25%.

    Elevation Chart

    This makes it look steeper than it was.

  4. Not crowded, yet enough people to know it was a race – Because it was a straight shot (and not out and back), the trail wasn’t crowded.  But there were enough people that I was always running with a handful of people.
  5. Plenty of water stops – I think there were seven water/electrolyte stops along the course.  It was more than enough, and they were staffed with:
  6. Fabulous volunteers – Most races I’ve done have included friendly and enthusiastic volunteers.  But this bunch exceeded expectations.  They had fun, encouraging things to say beyond the typical, “You’re almost there!” (Liars!) and “You’re doing great!”
  7. Free gels – There were boxes and boxes of free gels in a handful of flavors.  One of us, used this as an opportunity to stock up.
  8. BEAUTIFUL scenery – The trail was gorgeous.  For my local friends, it was as if the drive to Ligonier was a trail and not uphill.  The water, the huge rocks, the canopy of trees (Hello, shade!).  I would have liked to stop a bunch of times to take pictures, but I just got this one of some BFRs (big, fat rocks):


    Most of the race looked something like this.

  9. There was a banjo – Do I need to say more?  The guy on the race committee who thanked us as we got on the bus to the start, set up to play the banjo to entertain us, somewhere around mile 7 or 8.  (I did mention this was in Morgantown, WV, no?)
  10. Thinking “Oh, I only have to do this for about another hour” – And smiling to think that I used to struggle to keep it up for a single minute.
  11. They called out your name as you crossed the finish – I guess the timing system told the DJ who was about to cross the line.  He did call me “Melissa Leeman,” but it was cool all the same.
  12. Crazy food at the end – There was TONS of REAL food at the finish.  Pizza, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, vegetarian wraps, pulled pork sandwiches or sliders, dozens of desserts, etc.  The best part was that the super volunteers were bringing us everything that they could carry over (e.g., pizza and Gatorade) to feed us while we were in line for the food.  I had two pieces of pizza before I even got to the buffett.
  13. Appropriate race “bling” – This race didn’t have medals, but we got a cotton t-shirt that I love and wear all the time.  (It’s not white and it’s really soft.)   And our goodie bags included this little, stamped disk with the race details on it.  I tied it on a ribbon I bought for $3 at Walmart and added it to my medal display.  It made me happy.


    Race T and “medal”

I loved this race so much that I’ve been telling everyone I know about it.  I’m hoping we take a busload – literally – of people to it next year.

Next up: Since I’m so far behind, a rolled up summer race recap