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LAURIE5658
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My official JASR HM Race Report Blog (photo rich)

Saturday, April 02, 2011

JASR weekend Spark style has been along time in coming and the excitement was building with each passing week. For my normal life friends and family that are reading this thinking I am talking jibberish again, I shall explain.

JASR is a Lymphoma and Leukemia Society fundraiser held just northeast of Pittsburgh. JASR stands for Just a Short Race and includes a 5k, 8 mile, Half marathon and a 30k (18 miles) races. It is used locally for training purposes for the Pittsburgh Marathon coming up in May. This was a golden opportunity to get many Spark runners together from all over the country to run and above all HAVE A BLAST together. Both missions were accomplished.

This was going to be a solo trip for me with Jim staying home and that is usually not the case. Sweet! I was going UNchaperoned and I had a blast! I have witnesses LOL. I arrived in Pittsburgh late Thursday afternoon and was welcomed by Bob, Anne and poor Suezette that was in dire need of parkas. Suezette is a Florida girl and has been worried about the temps for months now. I am very pleased to say that she survived. After a tour of the race course and a look at THE HILL I was safely delivered to the Hampton Inn Cranberry Twp., PA and unpacked. I ventured over to Primanti Bros. to dine solo. I NEVER do that at a restaurant as hubby is usually attached at my hip.

After returning back to the room the phone rings and Lynn which lives 4 minutes from
Hotel comes by for a wonderful visit. Many stories were swapped and then I was off to bed. The only problem was I probably received about 30 total minutes of sleep. I was too wound up. Great. A runner always needs a good nights sleep two nights before the race and that is all I could think about.

The next morning I get settled in to the lobby waiting for my Spark buddies to start arriving. It was going to be a toss up as to whether Renee or Bill would show up first. The one time I turn my back to the registration desk and I completely miss Bill checking in. Oops my bad LOL. Finally we connect and it isn’t long before we are in the lobby sitting area both online doing what we do best…Sparking. It was as if our in person conversation picked up where we left off way back September 2009. We have been good Sparking buddies ever since that first meeting supporting each other in our trek for healthy living…and Big Ten sports. Bill is a RABID Buckeye fan and I am a RABID Hawkeye fan and yes, we have clashed at times.

Well, look who strolled in now! Renee! I hadn’t actually met here but we are close friends and at last we meet! Again, it was like we have always been buds.

More and more Spark runners arrive!




After more and more arrivals it was time to head to the Olive garden. What a zoo!!! What a blast!!! I felt sorta kinda sorry for the management but hey!!! We all paid our bills and they received a lot of business from us.



Back to the hotel we go and its time to settle in for the night and get race gear all finalized. I actually slept that night and I never sleep well the night before a half marathon. Oh, did I mention that this will be HM #3? Yeppers, you read that right even if it did involve that HILL.

Alarm goes off and I get dressed and geared up. I head downstairs and the lobby is wall to wall running Sparkers including Bob in his pink tutu.

Yep, its just another day in the life of SparkPeople and their usual behavior. After more stories are swapped its time to load em up and head out to North Park. We park by the nice and warm Rose Barn and the infamous Spark patches are given out for us to wear so we can spot each other. Britt and Bonnie made all of then and mine had a PINK backing! I was thrilled and so surprised! THANK YOU!!


After photos were taken of the MANY Sparkers running it was time to head to the start. IT WAS COLD even by my standards. I had my layering just right though so it wasn’t a problem for me. I could see though that others were suffering a tish. Renee and I finally have a chance to actually run together although we knew it would be for just a short time as we are both solo runners.

After the start and we successfully run up and over the hill we part ways. I am settling into my usual pace with my 2/:30 walk/run intervals and quickly decide that the hills would be a factor. I really paid attention and adjusted pacing accordingly. I am getting pretty dang good at doing that now.


I am now finished with the 5k portion with just the 5 mile loop left to run…twice.

I am on my merry way and quickly discover that the hills on this course are nothing like the ones at home.

OMG! They go up what seems forever only to go down just a tish. Then the next hill is just like that. And another. I come around to the 5 mile loop mat again and now I will run over the hills for the last time. By mile 11 and 12 my legs are getting spent and I walk a little more often. I knew going in that this would not be a PR and that was ok. I finally see the finish line coming up and as I am reaching the mat I raise 3 fingers celebrating my completion of my third Half marathon. Not bad for non-athlete until June 2009 and now age 52, huh?


We head back to the hotel and over to Primanti Brothers for post race festivities. Once again, Sparkers take up a goodly portion of the restaurant. So many stories are swapped and laughter is everywhere.


I head back to finally take a shower only to meet up with friends once again to tell even more stories. Next thing you know its time to head over to Second Sole (local running store) for yet another party. More food, more laughter, more photos more tears.



Back to the hotel and I start to gather things to go home EARLY Sunday morning, but first, more partying in the lobby where we pretty much took over. Come to think of it, we all signed party waivers when we arrived LOL. Ever try chocolate wine? Heavenly.



I took home a few more HM lessons, more bling and many many priceless memories. What stands out in my mind are the TNT/LLS signs along the race course. Also very important to me was having the chance to actually visit with many fellow Sparkers that have been my source of encouragement and support during my journey. How cool is that?



The stats:
2:42:05 chip time

Garmin:
12:08 ap
1243 cals burned
Splits:
13:06
12:05
11:59
12:15
12:12
11:54
12:12
11:28
12:16
12:32
11:43
12:11
12:09

Total ascent: 1947 feet
Total descent: 1922 feet
That is alot of feet!



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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • FITNESSFOODIE
    Congrats on your HM#3! Sounds like it was more than a blast! emoticon

    No on to HM#4! emoticon
    3656 days ago
  • SUNFLOWERGRRL
    How fun! Congrats!
    3657 days ago
  • LUV4CHOCOLATE
    Wow - I am going to HAVE to find a way to do this with the spark team next year. Sounds like so much fun. Great job on the run!!
    3657 days ago
  • LIVE2RUN4LIFE
    Laurie, sounds like an awesome time was had by all and some great running too! Let me know if any more group runs are in the offing.
    emoticon emoticon
    3657 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5826541
    Oh man, I am gonna have to try to make this one next year if you guys are doing it again. I want to get into a serious sparkmeet!!...that is if you guys dont mind waiting at the finish line for me lol.....
    3657 days ago
  • 2WHEELER
    Laurie, great blog. It's been wonderful to read all of the reports and get a slightly different twist on each story. I don't know what the hills were like on the 8.1 course, but that first one on the 5K was enough for me to know I didn't feel like running any more hills. The pictures are priceless. Hope to see you again soon.


    3658 days ago
  • MEGLUVS2RUN
    Congratulations on your 3rd half marathon! It looks like you all had a blast! Great pics of you all. I would love to someday be able to do something like this! It inspires me to keep going when I see what can be accomplished. emoticon emoticon
    3659 days ago
  • DEEJ4FITNESS
    I am so proud of you Laurie!! You nailed that #3 as I knew you would. I have few regrets with this over-the-top, wonderful weekend but if I had to come up with one (actually two), it would be not being able to be there to see you finish or to run alongside Bill as he finished his 30K!!

    You've been a very special SPARK in my life as I've cried with you and laughed with you in our time on this site!! And having just a little more time with you than I had in Cinci was wonderful but still not enough!!

    Ya never know when ya might look up & see ol' Deej at a finish line one of these days :) I'd never invade your space but one of these days, I WILL cheer you in!! Count on it!! Perhaps I'll be more in my "right mind" next time!! Can't wait to follow your progress as you continue to bring home the bling!!!

    Love ya girl! Always ~Deej emoticon emoticon
    3660 days ago
  • RUNNINGPFUHL
    Awesome Awesome Awesome!! I'm so happy for you!! What a great blog! :D
    3661 days ago
  • LIGHTNINGRUNNER
    Great job and great blog - I will have to look into this one.

    3661 days ago
  • MYTURN11
    Great race blog for JASR! The pictures were great and it must have been fantastic meeting with everyone. I love the rack where you hang your medals. Congratulations on your HM! emoticon
    3661 days ago
  • ETTEZEUS
    Great blog Laurie! I loved reading it. I still have so many JASR blogs to read and haven't even written one myself.

    You look GREAT in the race photos and running real strong! The hills were a challenge for me but I LOVED them! Since coming home, my runs seem so BORING! LOL

    I had a great time and I'm so happy I got to meet you! I will never forget that look on your face when you walked out of the drive thru beer store! OMG was that priceless!!

    See ya next year!
    3662 days ago
  • FITCOFFEEMOM357
    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!! Where did you get the great Spark picture? I love where you hang you medals.

    You are super cool.
    3662 days ago
  • BILLALEX70
    FIRST! 30K=18.6 Miles; don't short me. emoticon

    Second, I love you like a sister! This group contains so many of my favorite people and best friends. After last weekend I've added some new friends, but not all are as close to my heart as you. We go back and forth like family, but we're always there for each other.

    I'm already looking forward to seeing you in September for USAF half!
    3663 days ago
  • FT4EVR
    Enjoyed your blog Laurie. It's fun to see the pictures too. I am sure Spark P. becomes more "real" for those of you that have been able to meet others in person. Looks like it was a great time. Congrats on running another half!
    emoticon emoticon
    3663 days ago
  • WANT2BEFIT10
    How awesome! I've been fortunate enough to meet a few sparkpeople, and it's just so cool to actually hang out and chat. It sure looks like you guys had a fabulous time!
    3663 days ago
  • FUNFROG79
    I have been waiting for this blog! What a fantastic write up and love all the pictures! Look like it was a blast! You did amazing! You gotta be proud! emoticon emoticon
    3663 days ago
  • TIGGER622
    What an awesome race you had!!! It was a super tough course and I am so proud of you!!!! AND you looked AWESOME in all those pics - like a true strong running athlete! WAY TO GO!!! PS - love that medal rack... I'm off to go find one for myself!!! MUAH! So great to spend time with you!
    3663 days ago
  • MENT2BE
    Fantastic race blog!!!! Loved all the pictures....recognize so many faces. I love being able to meet my spark buddies in person....the more the merrier. And it looks like you all were definitely MERRY (is that Rhonda with a beer??).

    Maybe one of these days I'll get to meet you at a race.....still crossing my fingers for Disney Princess in 2012!!

    CONGRATS on HM #3!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3663 days ago
  • ELISA322
    I've always wanted to go to Primanti Brothers after seeing it so many times on the Food Network!

    You guys look like you had a blast. I will need to go one year although the race scares me a bit! You did great especially dealing with the cold and a tough hilly course.

    Congrats on finishing HM # 3 and great pictures!
    3663 days ago
  • JEM0622
    Great blog. I love your medal rack. Very nice :) You are on fire! Very proud of you.
    3663 days ago
  • TAMTAM64
    What a great time you had! Loved looking at the pictures. I see Bobby wore a pink tutu! How nice that he wore your favorite color! :)

    Tammy
    3663 days ago
  • SLYTHERCLAW55
    congrats on JASR and being 2/3 of the way to half fanatics!! It looks like it was such a fun get together and I only wish I would have had the resources to get out there and meet everyone! I am really getting excited about our mini-Spark rally in August!! YAY!

    Great job on tackling all those hills too. My next half (this month - finally!!) keeps advertising all-new HILLS on their course so I'm skeerd. Trying to make sure I get plenty of hills into my training runs to be ready...and you'll be so proud, I don't think I have hit a treadmill in over two weeks now! Yeah, call me a fair-weather runner, but I think that's going to be changing as I get ready to meet the mouse in Jan. Can't do all those training runs on the 'mill. I'd go crazy!!

    Just rambling now - congrats again and have a great week!!
    3664 days ago
  • CDK210
    CONGRATS!!!
    emoticon
    3664 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4363972
    Great blog, Laurie! Love the photos. Congrats again on your race!
    3664 days ago
  • ABSOLUTZER0
    I have read a couple of reports from the JASR race. Sounds like an awesome event to do. Hmmm.... Great report and great photos! Thanks for sharing the weekend in with us. Congratulations on HM #3! Woohoo! I have #3 coming up in two weeks!
    3664 days ago
  • RELLIMTENAJ
    Sounds like an amazing weekend and race. So glad you enjoyed yourself. Solo trips are definitely different.
    3664 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4351492
    Congratulations on completing your 3rd half marathon...hills and all! It looks like you had a wonderful time. I would love to do this half next year and meet up with all the wonderful Spark people. Cold weather running is right up my alley! How soon must you register?
    3664 days ago
  • BAM0827
    Congrats! I love your running photos. You look strong, confident and happy!


    3664 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6329775
    Laurie! I love this blog. You did so GREAT!!! Such a great time what with all those hills. One of these days I'm going to be one of those Sparkers in one of these photos!!!
    3664 days ago
  • ROOT4HOME
    Laurie - Congrat's again on your 3rd HM!!! I think by now you know how incredibly happy I am to have met you FINALLY!! Love your blog!! emoticon
    3664 days ago
  • LYNNANN43
    You got me all teared up again! emoticon

    What an emoticon weekend recapped so lovingly by you:D

    I'm so proud of your 3rd HM, but even more so to be your emoticon

    emoticon
    3664 days ago
  • RUNNER_TIFF_07
    Wow, it sounds like you had such an amazing time!! I'm jealous :) but very happy for you of course! You are a star! :)
    3664 days ago
  • FELIXC
    GREAT blog, Laurie!

    But who is that FREAK holding up that beer??????

    emoticon emoticon
    3664 days ago
  • EMILY1244
    Awesome! #3 down, #4 coming up shortly! I am so glad you have such a wonderful time!
    3664 days ago
  • KAYALI
    Awesome!!! You did great. Will see you at your HM #4
    3664 days ago
  • UROPA40
    Nice blog and glad you had a great time. Suzy

    3664 days ago
  • NURSESARAH03
    Sounds like you had a GREAT time!! Congrats on your third HM! That's awesome. Love the pictures
    3664 days ago
  • RUN_DARLING
    Did I mention today that YOU'RE LOVELY!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3664 days ago
  • CALIDREAMER76
    Great play by play! Awesome blog - one of my regrets is not having taken a picture with the first sparker I ever met!
    We'll just have to repeat someplace or maybe even back here in the burgh!
    emoticon
    3664 days ago
  • DREBENEZER
    Laurie, great blog and great job on your 3rd HM!! It was a fantastic weekend and so much fun. I wish we were doing it all over again this weekend!
    3664 days ago
  • no profile photo THEMRSH
    Awesome. I love seeing Sparkers get together and can't wait until I meet more. I'm working up to my first running 5K in about a month and still trying to decide if I want to ever attempt more than that as I am new to running. So it's nice to read your experience. I read Bill's blog but I didn't realize till seeing the pics just how many Sparkers there were. emoticon
    3664 days ago
  • BOBBYD31
    nice blog laurie, i was so great to see you again. it was such a great weekend. i noticed you referenced party a lot in your blog, it seems there was quite a bit of that going on. but yep that is us, a party waiting to happen. so did you drink that whole case of beer?????
    3664 days ago
  • MIAMIA7
    he,he,he...soooo much fun! Loved the blog, loved the pictures, and loved the whole darn weekend! So good to see you again and can't wait until next time. Hopefully it won't be another year! Hugs girl...it was an awesome time!
    3664 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/2/2011 10:41:42 PM
  • GRACEISENUF
    This blog was so worth waiting for....loved every bit of it!!!!
    Also glad I got to read it before I leave in the am.

    Pics are so great and your race pics made me so proud of you Laurie! So glad you had such a great time.

    LOVE U!
    emoticon
    3664 days ago
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