Latest reviews by Katrina Plyler

(2019)
"I Love the 90's Nashville"
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The I Love the 90’s 5K in Nashville was a fantastic race! If you have a chance to race in any of the cities of Chicago, Nashville, or Oklahoma City I would highly recommend it.

The registration process was quick and easy. I didn’t have to go through pages of “promotional” magazine offers or donation pages to random things. I entered my information and shirt size. Easy.

Because I drove directly to the race, I used race-day pickup. This was very well-organized. The race event emailed a QR code a few days before the race. They scanned my code and I got my shirt and bib.
Head of the line was easy to find, thanks to the inflatable starting line. We had a big crowd of runners ready to go. The speakers were blasting the best of the party music from the 90’s.

The course was mostly shaded and easy to follow. We ran around Shelby Park on a wide foot path. Markers and cones kept the traffic going. I greatly appreciated the many trees to help with the temps. This part of the country is often overly warm in late September.

Two water stations had Nuun and water. Both stations had plenty of both choices and volunteers.
The finish line had water, Nuun, Honey stinger waffle, and a GameBoy MEDAL! This has to be one of the top 5 medals in my collection.

The post-race area was hopping with people getting their selfies and beer. There was plenty of space for people to walk around and enjoy the post-race fun.

Overall, this was a fantastic return to 5K racing. I loved the location, event course, and racer perks. If you have room on your 2020 race calendar, try to get to an I Love the 90’s Run.

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(2018)
"Rock 'n' Roll Savannah 2018"
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Without a doubt, Savannah is one of the most beautiful cities to enjoy racing. That’s why I came back to run Savannah again. After the expo the day before, I drove back to Hilton Head where we are vacationing and got in some beach time and then got some rest. I had an hour long drive to the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. I love the free parking and ferry ride to the Historic district and start line. The starting line is right up a flight of rocky stairs from the docking area.
The crowd support was awesome! Plenty of people came out to cheer on the racers and at key times when we needed it the most.
After you cross the line, grab the medal first. Then, take all the Gatorade, granola bars, chocolate milk, bananas, trail mix, etc that is waiting for you. These are full-sized bottles and packages of serious post-race goodness.
After eating, I started the walk back to the river front to catch the ferry to the Convention center. It was gorgeous day and I loved this part of it. The race was finished, I had my medal, and I had a beach and my family waiting for me in Hilton Head. Thank you, Savannah. I’ll see you in a couple of years!

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(2016)
"Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans"
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I have so many emotions going that I’m having trouble with the words. I’m absolutely ecstatic to have this medal in my hand. It means 2 years of doubt are over. Those lingering questions about whether or not I could return to running are over. The answer is definitely YES!

As far as the race, this one was almost perfect. The crowd support was fantastic. We had people offer us beer, King Cakes, beignets, Chips Ahoy and other stuff that I could not eat. Gluten forever! I would have paid some coin for a banana. I committed almost every racing sin, including NOT having my own fuel. It’s like I forgot how many ways things can go wrong when running with a cranky pancreas. I had no gummies, gels, money, etc. The Gatorade and the 1 Glukos station were lifesavers…literally.

Another perk was French Quarter “real” bathrooms. I can’t say enough about that. I zipped into a public restroom and got in and out quickly. I saw several churches with signs offering their restrooms. I saw a few people go in and out of local businesses. From experience, I know that if the businesses didn’t want racers in there, those people would have ran back out. The local businesses seemed VERY race-friendly with restrooms.
The course was very well-marked. The only trouble I had was dealing with the road conditions. They reminded me of some rough roads in Mississippi…ankle-breakers. I saw more than one person face plant from the loose road grit.

As far as my race, I ran some, walked some, laughed a lot, and basically had an awesome time in my own head. Life is about to get hectic quick (moving…building a house) and I used race time to get my head straight. By the time I crossed the line, I was absolutely the happiest I have been in a very long time. When I finally found Stephen, the happy was off the charts. He is such a great race spectator partner.
Will I race in New Orleans again? Absolutely. It was a quick stay so we will definitely be back to do some exploring in the Big Easy.

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(2012)
"Twisted Ankle Trail Race in Pieces and Pictures"
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Number of miles: 13.2

Number of steps: 37,000 according to my Fitbit before it gave up and cried.

Number of peanut butter/jelly sandwiches: 3 total

Number of snakes I saw: 1

Number of bugs I ate: 4…One of those WITH the PB&J.

Number of times I cursed the ground Becky walks on: countless

Number of times since I finished that I said “I love Becky!!!”: countless

Becky is the creator of Becky's Bluff which is a torture device in this Sommerville, GA trail race.

Number of times I’ve completed a TA: 3

Number of times I will return: Until they scrape my body off the earth

This my absolute favorite trail race of my very short 6 year running adventure. It’s in Summerville, GA which is a 3.5 hour drive from my front door to the incense-filled doorway of the Coach Inn. If you like camping, go ahead and try to reserve some cabins now at the James A. “Sloppy” Floyd State Park. Otherwise, embrace the incense.

This year, things got a little interesting. In previous years, all the racers (I use that term lightly. I’m not racing anything but maybe a lizard or two) went around a lake, up Becky’s Bluff and then along the trail ridge for a few miles and then we all came back down to the finish line. Half crazies ran a few miles at the top, Full crazies ran a bunch more miles at the top and claimed they enjoyed it ;-).

BUT, this year, due to F-PAW (Federal Panties in A Wad), we couldn’t run on federal land which included most of the top of the trail ridge. So Becky, in her mad genius skills, decided to try to re-route the whole darn shebang instead of cancelling. That’s how trail runners roll….we get knocked downhill and come up smiling. We also have a polite way of telling people who mess with our trails to kiss it. The new route included 2 loops: Blue and Red. Half crazies ran each loop once. Full Certifiables ran both loops TWICE and that included hauling their cookies up Becky’s Bluff TWICE. Yeah, I’m not one of those. A one-time visit with the Bluff is plenty for me.

So, I ran it. I walked it. I stumbled over the fire break which was described as “gently rolling terrain”. I got out my airplane arms and WHEEEEEEE!!! my way down and then grumbled and whined all the way up. Well, the airplane arms got to be too much of an effort after the first 2 hills of the fire break. Then I just grumbled a lot in both directions. And tripped. And had spastic fits complete with :girl-scream: when a kamikaze bug went in my ear. I bet the guy behind me got a chuckle out of that.

Then I finished the first loop and had to run RIGHT PAST MY CAR to get to loop 2. I could have reached out and touched it. It took a major gut check to keep going for another 6 miles. So, back around the lake. Asking the same question to the nice guy “Are you sure I go up?”. Talking to the same people at the campground “Yes, I’m only on my second loop” and meeting the peanut butter girls at the Marble Mine.

Then…..the Bluff. It’s every bit as bad as I remembered. No….it’s worse. You know that saying “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity”? Yep. It applies here. I imagine it’s like childbirth. If I really remembered how bad it is, I would never volunteer, much less PAY, to do it again.
I finally got to the top and there was Mullet Jesus. When you see him, you know you’re going to make it.The final 3 miles were a cake walk. I was just so glad to get down off that bluff.

For more pictures: https://www.katrina-runs.com/twisted-ankle-half-marathon-2012-in-pieces-n-pictures

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(2011)
"St. Jude Marathon"
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It still hasn’t sunk in. But it better, because I’m doing this again!

Short version: great race, exceptional organization, and I’m probably spoiled for life with the exceptional service from the directors. I finished. And I did it before they closed the course.

Long version:
I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Even if my training had continued as scheduled and I got a much faster time, the day couldn’t have been any better.

I spent the morning Friday going over my packing list and getting things squared away at home. The trip up there was good. I was nervous. Very. The traffic was terrible, but we were prepared for that. At the expo, I was not prepared for how big it was. I have never been to a big time race expo before. I got to meet Hal Higdon! I used his novice marathon plan for this race.

I saw a ton of discount shoes, but nothing in my size. I almost got a 26.2 sticker for car window, but I passed. What can I say, I’m a realist. I knew I had the mental strength to go that far, but my body doesn’t always keep up. I passed on the sticker, grabbed some free coffee, and found my pacing guide. He was a racewalker. I told him a quick version of my issues and he said "nobody will remember that you met some arbitrary time goal for your first race. All they will remember is that you crossed the line". Bless him. He was a nice guy.

Miles 1-3. Blur. One big blur. The crowd support was unbelievable. Riverside drive was gorgeous. I kept a great pace and felt even better. At mile 3, I saw my family with signs waving.

Miles 4-9 Mile 4 is the run through St. Jude. I can’t even explain what that was like. The kids, parents, signs, more kids…it was overwhelming. It was like a big party. I have no idea who Jake is, but his family had signs over the whole course and thoughts of Jake and KB kept me going. I was still going strong. I used the aid stations to full benefit by getting one cup of water and one cup of powerade. Since I knew I was close to the back and could see they had PLENTY of supplies, I didn’t see a problem taking two cups. Pace is good, one gel down, testing glucose is good, I might keep up with the pacing man the whole way. No bathroom stops. It’s like once I started running, my bladder closed down. Then my hands started really swelling.

Miles 10-13.1 Man..I’m glad they turned the half runners down a little side street before going into Autozone. If we all had to pass, it would have been very tempting to call it a good day and just do the half. I’m assuming the race directors knew that because quite a few of us who had another half to go looked longingly at that side street. I was beginning to get tired and another 13.1 was daunting. Saw my family again. Mom and Stephen had been there a while waving signs to people. They said the faces seemed to perk up and they got a lot of positive feedback from someone waving to them. I told them to keep it up because it does help. It doesn’t matter who the signs and waves are for.

Miles 14-18. It’s just like that marathon video. Second wind baby!!! I didn’t know I had such a thing as a second wind. But maybe it was me just passing into delierium. All of a sudden, things seemed easier. I was breathing fine, pace was good, I was now walking and running on a good schedule and I was having so much fun. Random songs like the "bye bye binkie" song rolled through my head. I heard about 6 different versions of Sweet Home Alabama from the support acts. I belly danced at one aid station. I did the Dance Fever with a group of girls with Down’s Syndrome. I high fived a few Elvis’. It was a party. Then I decided I should use a bathroom.

Miles 19-23. Apparently, when I go pee, that’s a open invitation to pee every 10 minutes. I started slowing my pace down and I felt some calf pain. I didn’t want to limp the rest of the way so I ignored it the best I could. I passed one lady who had a whole card table full of stuff like bananas, pretzels, pb, gummies, etc. I grabbed a couple of pb pretzel bites. She said her child was currently in St. jude right now but she wanted to be there until the last runner came by. So that got me through a couple of miles. I passed another sign for Jake, but it was in past tense. "Keep smiling! Jake always did!!". That got to me. I passed a gentleman and I was walking then. He came off his step and asked if he could shake my hand. His son just lost his battle with cancer and he said he knew without St. jude, he wouldn’t have had the time that he did with his son. Well, I lost it then. Just shook his hand, told him it was an honor to meet him, and picked up my pace and cried like a baby.
Miles 23-26. Pee at every mile. Check the garmin. How much farther? Shuffle, walk, run, sing crazy songs, curse the sun, and then before I know it, I look up and see my family on an overpass bridge waving those signs and telling me "you’re two minutes away from your dream!!" I go under the bridge and the 26 mile marker lady said "Up this short hill, down the hill, and you’re there". I wish I had gone slower up and down that hill. I really do. I wish I had taken the time to take it all in. I had taken forever to finish 26, I should have enjoyed the .2 more. I heard my family screaming their head off and people that were still left were on their feet. All I could do was smile and get my medal, space blanket, and picture with the twin Elvis’.

So after a few roadblocks here and there, I did something a few people told me I would never be able to do. And I’m still intact. I have some soreness in one calf/back of knee that might need some extra attention, but everything else is in working order. I had some massive stomach pain/issues/swelling overnight Saturday and all day Sunday. I couldn’t keep anything down and had the worst headache. I made sure I drank plenty of equal amounts of water/powerade, but maybe I should have done something differently. Live and learn and do it better next time. I will do another marathon. I have LOTS of room for improvement.

One thing I have to say, if anybody is ever in the Memphis area, this is one race I can’t say enough about. They had aid stations at EVERY MILE after mile 3. Actually, after about mile 10 they were placed in the halfway mark between the mile marker signs. So you had something to look forward to EVERY HALF MILE after mile 10. That was really helpful when things started sucking. It’s easy to say "get to the next mile" and "get to aid station" when they were in half mile increments. Also, they had trucks bringing supplies to the stations so the slow people had plenty of water and powerade. The race started on time and we started moving every 2 minutes in the wave start. Plenty of crowd support with entertainment acts at each mile. The drum line of 4 people was outstanding. I loved the harmonica band. Zumba was a big hit, too. But the best part was the St. Jude walk through mile 4. Nothing can prepare a person for that. And I’m so glad I got to experience it.

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