My big event this weekend was my half marathon, of course, but before that there was GrapeFest!

GrapeFest is an annual wine tasting/showcase event in Grapevine, Texas.  I’ve always wanted to go, but never worked it out in my schedule until this year!  Even so, the timing of my visit wasn’t optimal for my race schedule.  I knew that I was taking a risk going to GrapeFest the afternoon before my race, but I figured I would simply rest my legs and drink LOTS of water while relaxing in my hotel room afterwards. Unfortunately, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and by hell, I mean racing after attending a wine festival.


Our first stop was at the Argentinean tent, where $14 got you tastes of 6 Argentinean wines not available in the US, along with a lovely souvenir wine glass.  While we were in line to get our punch card and our glass, a woman tripped on a curb and hit her head.  It was quite the dramatic way to begin the event and a good reminder not to drink too much!  Thankfully, she was OK and we headed into the tent to wait in line for what seemed like hours to get our first taste of wine.  To pass the time, I decided to snap a pic of us….except I kept having technical difficulties.  Dara offered to take over and she had technical difficulties.  Thank goodness Erica was there, or we would never have gotten a proper picture!

What would we do without Erica's selfie skills??
What would we do without Erica’s selfie skills??

Honestly, I prefer a nice sweet wine, but apparently they don’t like sweet wine in Argentina.  I ended up with a dry white something or other that was actually better than I expected.

I wanted to try to catch up my friends from Homestead Winery, so after the forever wait in the Argentina tent we went in search of the tent they were in….with a few pit stops on the way.  One VERY worthy stop was at Dr. Sue’s Chocolate, where I fell in love with Midnight Mocha.  Chocolate and coffee…merged together.  It is divine!

I may have made inappropriate noises when I tried this in the shop.
I may have made inappropriate noises when I tried this in the shop.

We never did make it to Homestead, but it’s just as well because I have their wine all the time!

After our second stop at the Argentinean wine tent, we scurried across the street to the sparkling wine area.  I do love sparkling wine and ended up with another commemorative glass!

I thought the bubbles would show up better in the pic.  This was hands down my favorite area!
I thought the bubbles would show up better in the pic. This was hands down my favorite area!

Festival Food

After all the wine, we decided we should get something to eat.  Only, there wasn’t ANYTHING that was pre-race approved.  Erica, aka Stomach of Steel, had a hankering for chili pie.  I couldn’t even imagine eating a chili pie.  And Dara, bless her heart, because she is from “up North”, has apparently never even eaten a chili pie.  Before I even ordered, Erica knew that I would be getting fried pickles because “it is the Texan thing to do”.  I ate about half my bowl of pickles then made the sign of the cross and prayed that all this didn’t affect me during the race!  Of course, I was still planning to drink tons of water.  Good intentions, right??

Fried pickles.  Totally worth all the race stomach issues.
Fried pickles. Totally worth all the race stomach issues.

Runner friends protect clumsy runner friends

After the woman tripping on curb and hitting her head event, Erica took it upon herself to be my personal protector for the remainder of the day.  I think she felt a little guilty about leaving me unattended for a few days (which is when I ended up doing the stupid single leg dead lifts).  She also knows how clumsy I am and that I don’t always watch where I’m going.  I’m probably not much different than the kids she teaches in preschool.  #sadbuttrue  Every time we approached a curb or anything else that I could trip over or run into, Erica pointed it out to me.  If only she had been around to point out the folly in my choice to do those dead lifts… hamstrings are still angry!

It was a wonderful time with wonderful friends, though, so the race day stomach issues and dehydration was totally worth it!

Happy Tuesday!





Jump of a Lifetime

On Saturday, I crossed an item off my bucket list that has been sitting on there since I was 16 years old.  My cousin, Mark, used to come to Texas to visit and tell tales of all his skydiving activities.  He was in his 20s and single and skydiving was his “hobby”.  I remember thinking how much I wanted to do it!  I thought about it several times throughout the years and NEARLY went when my niece went after her high school graduation.  Then I NEARLY went again when Taylor went after her high school graduation.  I couldn’t muster the courage.  But the most likely reason is that I had been living my entire life for other people and I just didn’t feel I was worth giving myself that opportunity.  But things, they are-a-changing.  I’ve blogged before about how running helped me find myself and finally move to a different stage of grieving over the loss of my friend.  Running has also helped me arrive at a place where I value myself more than I ever have before.  Maybe the 40s have helped on that front as well, because when I arrived in my 40s, I began having strong urges to be more true to myself.  Maybe it is a mid-life crisis?  I don’t think so.  I think it is just me, finally becoming truly comfortable with who I am.

So back in the Fall (maybe it was Winter, but my ADHD brain can’t retain details), my friend Corky (@corkycronin), and I somehow got on the subject of skydiving.  (Corky and I became friends years ago when our daughters met through volleyball.)  We both discussed how we had always wanted to go and how exciting it would be.  One thing led to another and we decided to go in the Spring when the weather got better.  I KNEW that by committing to Corky, the jump WOULD happen.  She oozes badassery.  After all her kids were gone and off to college, she took up roller derby as her hobby and she dominates the rink!

We started discussing possible dates in February and it took us until May 2 to find an acceptable day for the jump between our schedules and the weather.  Last Monday, I booked the jump and we were set!  Luckily, Mother Nature smiled upon us and gave us a sunny, warm, not-very-windy day!

Our appointment was at 10, and we were instructed to arrive 30 min early for sign in.  We completed that process then were called into a “training” where we learned things we would need to do during the dive.  Mainly: how to jump from the plane, positioning for the free fall, and landing.  OK….I was REALLY concerned about the landing, because I planned to run my first race (half marathon) of the year on Sunday and I couldn’t afford any mistakes on that front!

After the training class, we were told that we would be called to suit up after 20 minutes or so.  We couldn’t take our phones or anything with us, so we were asked to go put our phones and wallets in our cars, then come back inside and wait for our names to be called.  We headed to our cars, stopped to take a pic (for Twitter documentation, of course) and were called back inside before we even had time to tweet that pic or put our things in our cars!  corky


We headed back, got suited up, and within 15 min were walking to the plane.  Jennifer_Kirkpatrick 008

And about 15 min later, when we had arrived at 13,500 feet, it was time to jump OUT of the plane (or in my case, fall out).

Seriously not as nervous as I look.  I was trying to concentrate on what I was to do on exit AND take in the scenery!
Seriously not as nervous as I look. I was trying to concentrate on what I was to do on exit AND take in the scenery!

Can I say that it is difficult to maneuver when you are strapped to another person?  And I mean STRAPPED.  There was not one centimeter of space left between us.  Try scooting out of a plane like that! LOL!!

The next 60 seconds were my favorite part of the entire experience.  Honestly, I didn’t feel like I was falling, which is apparently attributed to falling at 120 mph and the wind resistance that comes with it.  But, it was absolutely amazing!!!  I don’t have the words to describe it properly.

Jennifer_Kirkpatrick 017

Jennifer_Kirkpatrick 034

Yes, it is as beautiful as it looks from up there!

After the free-fall, the parachute was opened and we floated back down to Earth, which took 4-5 min.  It was so beautiful and peaceful from up there, so quiet, removed from the hustle and bustle on the ground below.

Far too soon, the time to land had arrived.  It was too soon for a couple reasons.  1) The jump was so much fun and so enjoyable that I didn’t want it to end!  But, more importantly, 2) I had to land the landing!  I was supposed to cross my arms across my chest and lift my legs up.  The legs were easy enough, but he had me strapped in SO tight I COULD NOT cross my arms! Thank goodness the landing was smooth and easy because I was able to keep my feet up!  I was relieved to know that I would still be able to run my half marathon on Sunday!

After the jump concluded, we were given critiques from our instructors….I was complimented for my exit, my arch during the free fall and… landing!

I drove home, still rattled from the adrenaline and made myself eat 1/2 banana with peanut butter and honey for lunch.  (I felt like I do after running, but x10.  After runs I am never hungry and have to force myself to eat for recovery.)  I didn’t get hungry until late Saturday afternoon, which equates to a pretty awesome adrenaline rush!!

I am glad I decided on the video and pictures.  It was totally worth it!!  My video is posted here.  You can click on May 2, 2015 and then my name, Jennifer Kirkpatrick, if you are interested in watching the video!

Happy Jumping!


How to sabotage your race results: Part 1 – Training

My friend, Running Lonely, and I were recently discussing the ways in which runners (OK….WE) sabotage our races.  While I am more adept at killing my race during training, M has more patience and is able to wait until race day to do all his damage.  So we started thinking that maybe we should share our insights so that newbie runners (all runners, really) can learn from our mistakes.  (We fully realize newbie runners probably won’t learn from our mistakes, because, let’s face it: they are like teenagers who just got a driver’s license and they know more than we do.)    Part 2 will be posted tomorrow on Running Lonely’s Blog.

  1. Training pace:
    1. Never listen to the “experts” who want you to pace long runs at 1-2 min slower than your realistic race pace; instead pace all your runs at (desired race pace – :30).
    2. Why train at all? It’s SO time consuming, especially for distances over 13.1.  Just show up at the start line on race day.
    3. Drink 5 Monsters before your run. The caffeine will help you maintain your pace.  Take it from me – even GU Roctane is weak where caffeine is concerned.
  2. Strength training:
    1. Do not strength train.   Every moment spent strength training is a moment of running lost.
    2. Do you even need upper body strength anyway? Have you ever stopped for pull-ups during a marathon?  I rest my case.
    3. Forget the squats. It isn’t all about that base.  The Kim Kardashian trend will change and you will be ready and waiting with your tiny ass.
  3. Training plan:
    1. Write your own training plan….because running coaches clearly don’t understand your need for runs with “badassery”.
    2. Use the “more must be better” method: pick a training plan, but double everything.
    3. Find a training plan that best suits you. Then put each run on a sheet of paper, throw it all in a hat and each day draw a piece of paper from the hat and that will be your run.
  4. Rest:
    1. Clearly rest is for the weak, so any rest days are to be discouraged…unless you want your Twitter followers to secretly laugh at you.
    2. Take “accumulated fatigue” to an entirely new level and run twice per day – every day.
    3. Pulling an all-night GOT-watching marathon is encouraged the night before your long run.
  5. Self-massage:
    1. Don’t drink the foam rolling Kool-Aid. The “experts” are merely marketing geniuses trying to sell foam rollers.  Clearly they are getting a kick-back from foam roller sales.  Have you seen the prices of those things?
    2. Have you ever wondered HOW foam rolling can be beneficial? WHY would you want to feel like a hot dog at 7-Eleven?
    3. Foam rolling is clearly a form of masochism. Unless you want to be lumped in with Christian Grey, it should be avoided at all costs.  (OK….I know some of you like the sound of this one…..if you are one of those people, use a Theracane instead.)

      Marsden SWEARS this is actually works.  Looks more like a medieval torture device to me.
      Marsden SWEARS this is actually works. Looks more like a medieval torture device to me.
  6. Fueling your runs:
    1. Cadbury eggs make the best run fuel. Canadians will tell you to use maple syrup but I find it difficult to carry the container on runs.
    2. Spicy thai food before your long run will help your stomach adjust to the rigors a marathon puts your digestive system through.
    3. Forget run fuel. Your body needs to learn to burn fat as a fuel source.  Plus, without fuel you can experience hitting the wall on every run, which will prepare you for the inevitable on race day.
  7. Listening to your body:
    1. KT Tape fixes EVERYTHING.
    2. Drinking beer every mile will not only serve as fuel with the perfect carb:protein ratio, once you get to mile 10 you won’t care that your ITB is giving you fits and your knee is screaming.
    3. If you feel you may have injured yourself, DO NOT SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT! Do not stop running. First, consult Twitter.  If you can’t find diagnosis and rehab on there, then Google should be able to solve the problem.
  8. Tapering
    1. If tapering is so good for you, why are we not doing it all the time?
    2. Taper spelled backwards is Repat, which is basically Repeat, which means you should repeat your hardest runs.
    3. You carb load during taper, why aren’t you run loading?

Hopefully these tips from #teamsabotage will help keep you running strong.  Or not.