Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Should I tri?

With a marathon under my belt I feel that I have succeeded as a runner. I have run the great race and I ran it well (for me). As I am sitting here without another race to look forward to I feel a little lost. I am one of those people who always need a goal to keep going, a next adventure, so to speak. With that being said, my focus in the coming year will be improving my times. I have been running long enough that I should be getting faster, especially with my 5ks. I just have no tolerance for speedwork. It makes me mad...unless I am on a treadmill. On the treadmill I have no choice but to go as fast as the belt moves. It makes my legs move and I'm ok with it. (I'm also all alone.) I could go to speedwork with the Foot Rx group...but almost everyone is faster than me and I feel like a doof. I consider myself more of an endurance runner than one built for speed. So anyway, that is one goal. My other goal is to race my first triathalon!

This will be a feat considering I will have to conquer not 1 but 2 new sports...swimming and cycling. I will also have to buy a bike and all gear that is required for that. I will start off easy with a sprint tri. No need to jump into an Ironman. Not sure I'm cut out for that anyway (especially with all the training required). I suppose I will have to take a swimming class. I took lessons when I was young but that won't really get me that far. I'm not really sure when I will start all of this. It's just something I have in the works in my head.

I am super pumped about now being a member of the State of Franklin Track Club. I got my card in the mail the other day and I was so excited! Oh the things that excite runners! This was a step that I took to become more dedicated. I am the first one to admit that I tend to become way too relaxed during the off season. So here's to getting up and getting going more often, becoming faster, and conquering a new adventure. These are my running resolutions for 2012. If you know me, then motivate me and push me. Jamie Mains, I know you will!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I ran a marathon!!!

I have been meaning to and was reminded this weekend how I have not yet blogged about my FIRST MARATHON!!! Wow! That pretty much sums up my race.

I need to preface this with a big thank you to Jamie Mains. Without her encouragement and perseverance I would not have ran this marathon. She has always believed in me when I didn't believe in myself and pushed me from the start. Also, Jenna Booher, who always had encouraging words for me when I questioned my ability at times and my whole Foot Rx family...I love you all and thank you for cheering me on in my first!

Let's start from the beginning...our drive to DC late on Friday night. It was cold before we even left Johnson City. I was dreading it. I hate cold weather! While driving through the great state of Virginia it began to rain...then that rain turned into snow. Now I was freaked out. The distance and time taken to run the distance was already intimidating me to the core. Now I was thinking that I was going to run 26.2 miles in freezing rain or snow. What tha? I didn't sign up for this. But, Jenna's positive attitude kept me in check. She said marathon weather?, I think so! I felt like I had been whiny after that. After all, it wasn't like it was going to be scorching heat. One must choose her battles.

The next day was even worse. It snowed/sleeted all day long!! We went to the expo to pick up our packets for the race. The little amount of time we were outside in that weather troubled me. I was fighting the voice in my head all day telling me "I couldn't do this" and "What had I been thinking?" I was nervous as I wondered what the next day would hold for us. The forecast said sunny skies so I was hopeful, but we all know how fast forecasts can change.

Finally, it's marathon day. We wake up at 5:10 a.m. to get ready and make it downstairs to catch the shuttle to the starting line. We were bundled up for it is 36 degrees outside. We bought these ridiculous white throw-away jackets that were supposed to be warmer than a "heavy" sweatshirt. They were not. But they were something. I think we each had on 3 long sleeve shirts, 2 pairs of pants, gloves, and headbands to keep us warm until we got started. To be honest with you, I thought I would be wearing all of it to the end.

As we arrived at the starting line there were signs for anticipated finish or goal times. I lined up with the 4:00 group because I had a few other friends there. I knew that it was highly unlikely that I would finish in less than 4:30 but I sure was going to go for it. I know that we were talking at this point but I couldn't tell you a thing that was said. I was a bundle of nerves. And cold.

Drew Carey was running so he got up and said a few words of encouragement before the start. The next thing I knew someone was saying a prayer for the runners and the race over the mic. And then...it's go time! We were off. It took us about four minutes to make it to the start line so I walked. I didn't run. I wanted to save my energy for when it was being timed. I lost my friends before I hit mile one. They were pushing hard through the crowd. I was using too much and I knew it. I backed off. I could do this alone. I run most of my races alone. This is what I came for. This is what I had trained for. This is why I had gotten up so early those weekend mornings for long runs when I could have been sleeping in. I felt good and ready.

I was still freezing though. I had taken off the 2nd pair of pants at the start because I knew I wouldn't be able to shed them while running. When we hit the first of many bridges I heard people saying "Watch your step!" I saw a gap in the road so I thought this was what they were talking about...until my foot hit. It was ice. The whole bridge was iced over. Scary. I took very small easy steps because I didn't want to bust it this early in the race. Once we got over that bridge and got going a while, I started to warm up. I shed my hideous throw-away jacket(It looked like something from ghostbusters. I liked to sing the theme song whenever wearing it). Now you're singing it! Ha! Between miles 4 and 5 a vehicle went zooming past us in the opposite direction with a clock on top. It said 46: something. Then here come the leaders! Amazing! I got to watch the leaders zip by at their impressive paces. The course was an out-and-back at this point. They were around mile 8 or 9 I think because later I would run that way passing other runners where I once was.

The spectators were amazing at this race!!! I did not go hardly one step in this race without seeing and hearing fans. Signs were funny too. You need something to entertain you when you are running for 4+ hours. Some of my favorites - Honey Badger don't run marathons, Chuck Norris never ran a marathon, You're sexy and you know it - You work out!, Don't Stop! People are Watching!, Run Stranger Run!. There were tons and I'm sure I will remember more later. I seriously loved almost every minute of this race. It was a beautiful course and the weather was perfect, in addition to these wonderful spectators and Marines giving me water and cheering me on.

I remember hitting the half marathon mark and thinking, "Wow, I'm halfway done. I'm really gonna do this." I PR'd my half marathon time, by the way, which is crazy! I got choked up a few times in the race when I thought about what I was doing, what a beautiful day it was, how great I felt, and all these crazy people cheering for me. We ran by the Potomac River, through Georgetown, around the capital a few times. At a point later on in the race, this man was standing on the sidewalk and just said, "Welcome to Capital Hill." I don't know why but this stuck with me. I'm not really sure why. It was a surreal moment for me. I think I was around mile 16. I knew I only had 10 more to go. Those endorphins were really kicked into high drive!

I was fine and felt really good right up until mile 21 or 22. I can't really remember now. I didn't get discouraged. I knew I was going to finish and in really good time. But my legs got really heavy and I started cramping. It got hard to pick them up at this time but I kept going. My pace dropped but that was ok. It didn't drop too much and I was still running. I remember passing a couple walking with their arms around each other at 35k. I was thinking, "How can you be walking this close to the end?" I kept telling myself how close I was and how I only had 4 miles to go. I have ran 4 miles sooo many times I told myself.

Earlier in the race I was passed my a man. I noticed his gait was off. He had only one arm and one leg (he had a running prosthetic on his leg) and he was running a marathon!! And he was passing me!! If that's not inspiration I don't know what is.

I pressed on. The whole time I wasn't planning what to do next or fighting with myself. I was enjoying it and I'm glad I did. I had thought going into this that I might not do another one after this. I just wanted it to be over with so I could say I did it. But, it is an experience like none other. I will do this again.

As I neared the end of the race in Crystal City, I was smiling. Happy. I was doing this. Yes, me. No one else can do this for you. If you want it, you have to put in the work and you have to stay in it mentally. As I passed the 26 mile marker I knew that I still had a battle ahead of me. .2 miles can be the longest distance you have ever ran at the end of a marathon. Then I saw the hill. Basically a steep incline leading to the finish line. They were going to make us work for this finish, huh? I growled up the hill and made my way. That finish line was the best site I had seen all day and I was headed straight for it...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Or Don't

To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. For those of you who don't already know it appears I have a stress fracture on my lower left leg, right at my ankle. A stress fracture is a crack in the bone caused by repeated force over a period of time. When the muscles get tired and can take no more, they transfer the weight to the bones which then have to take on that repetitive beating.

If you're looking for an exciting story as to how this injury came about, you're about to be disappointed too. There was not one specific moment that I just fell down crying with pain. I was running last Wednesday (only 3 miles, mind you) and my leg just started hurting really badly towards the end. I thought I had given myself shin splints. I ran...until I hit 3 miles. Then, I walked the rest of the way to my car.

I thought that I had pretty tough bones considering the beatings they took from 10 years of being a cheerleader. All of the jumps I did, the back-tucks and back handsprings I landed, and the times I FELL from stunts and pyramids. The only break I ever had was a broken nose in college...and that was from someone else's flying arm. I had my share of twisted ankles for sure, but that was about as far as it went. I have hit basketball floors from 8-12 feet high and never sustained a serious injury.

All that being said, I am trying hard to not be depressed. (This is only temporary after all...I am not losing a leg.) Running is kind of what I had going for me. With a marathon coming up in less than 3 weeks I am on a time frame here. I can't believe that this happened after such a great high of my 20 miler (which in all honesty could have caused it). I have still not decided about attempting to run it. I have high hopes for myself. I don't want to get out there and be miserable 1. because I am in pain and/or 2. because I have lost all of my running fitness. How miserable 26.2 miles could be if not properly trained and ready! Everything I have read and heard says to try deep water running. That it best mimics the act of running and keeps you in running shape. But...you must have $$ to join a gym with a pool. I could handle the $50 a month...it's the $200 "initiation" fee upfront that kills me! This is why I like running, you can do it anywhere and it doesn't cost a thing. I miss the fresh air and the beating of my heart.

I did Pilates yesterday. What a waste! I didn't even sweat! I'm gonna go crazy without it!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chronicles of the Creeper Trail: First Time for Everything

My first time...to run 20 miles. Crazy, right? Who in their right mind does this?? We actually questioned our own sanity on the ride back from Alvarado Station to Johnson City on Saturday. BUT if you want to run a marathon, you have to do it or suffer the consequences of hating every single second of your 26.2 miles because you haven't had the time on your feet. If you want to sign up for a crazy event, you must train like a crazy person. That being said it actually wasn't that bad.

Yes, I know that sounds even crazier, but if there's anything I'm good at (in running) it's that I will keep going. I split up my mileage in my head as I'm going. I didn't start it saying to myself, "I have 20 miles to go." I said instead, "I have 3 miles up." Then, 3 miles back. Followed by 7 miles out and 7 miles back. Of course, I had mile markers in my head all the way. I would think if I can just make it to the next mile, I will only have (insert miles here) to go. I can be alone with my thoughts because that is basically what goes on in that time. I was alone with my thoughts for over 3.5 hours. Good thing I like talking to myself. Ha!

I did have a couple of obstacles to overcome. One was being hungry. Obviously, I did not bring enough food. I know better from now on.

Another was... the COWS! Omg, anyone who knows me, knows that I am not an animal person. Not that I hate them...just don't really know how to relate to them. I'm scared of them, ok?! I realized while running that we had to open and close gates but I didn't think too much of it. I don't know why. I'm a smart girl I should've figured it out. I guess I just thought someone would've told me that there could be cattle on the trail. Another clue besides the gates should have been the huge cow patties I ran around. Again, smart girl...where was my thinking? I remember thinking that someone had to have a reallllly big dog or a horse. But then again, I knew better. I'm from the country I know this was not left by a horse, and especially not a dog. Maybe this was just my mind playing tricks on me because I didn't want to quit when I got scared. Well, apparently I was running almost the entire trail through pastures. Upon reading when I got home, I found that much of the Creeper Trail is private land but we can use it as long as we stay on the trail (and don't scare the livestock. Ha!) All of this is not a big deal in itself. So back to the running. I was at 18.5...so close that I could taste the finish of it. Then what to my eyes do appear but about 10 grazing cattle blocking my way ...and the gate. I did not know what to do. I was all alone. Half of the crew was in front of me, the other half was behind. I looked behind me, hoping upon hopes that one of those fast people were approaching and would rescue me from these cows staring at me. Literally, staring at me. No one was there. What to do? They seemed harmless and I know they are supposed to be more scared of us, but these guys sure didn't act like it. They were staring me down. One particular black one looked really mean...like he might stomp me down at any moment. I made myself just go. I had to. I felt like if I stood there any longer they would come at me. So, I took a deep breath walked very slowly between the cows all while saying, "I'm not gonna hurt you, I'm not gonna hurt you." until I passed the one closest to the gate. Then I sprinted. I knew that if I could make it there I could climb over the gate if I couldn't get it open.

All that for nothing. They did not move one step. Even after I had closed the gate back, but they were still staring at me. (As a side note, Brinson said he experienced the same thing when he came through a little behind me. I'm telling you the black one wasn't very nice. He saw it, too.) Whew! Glad that was over. I guess 20 miles can make you a little delirious too. When I made it back I was so glad to see that little restaurant and Jamie cheering me on. 20 miles complete and it didn't even hurt as badly as the stupid Bluegrass half marathon. The next day I was fine, surprisingly. I had expected lots of soreness but only experienced a little.

I'm glad that this went so well (other than the cattle incident). It makes me not dread the next one, next week. This will be the last one until the marathon in less than 4 weeks. Overall, I'm really glad I decided to do this after all the toying I did with the idea not to. Great friends and a strong mind can make anything doable, maybe even enjoyable :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sometimes you're the windshield (or the face of a runner)

Life can hit hard sometimes...yet be so gentle with us at others. As I said before, I had a delightful time running the Scream Half in July. Not so much for the Bluegrass Half on Sunday. It was painfully obvious that I don't like running hills and they don't like me.

I have never wanted to quit a race so badly as I did during this one. It has really messed with my confidence. I, honestly, thought that I would be able to run in it in under 2 hours with my current fitness level - WRONG. I haven't been doing speedwork of any kind and I think that has really hurt me in the "speed" department. I had a friend do the relay on a team called "Fast for Turtles". Ha! I could so be classified there. I'm faster than people who don't run on a regular basis but much slower than my friends who run all the time. Oh well, it's ok...Never gonna win anyway, right?

I have set my sights on this marathon now. We are down to less that 5 weeks to go. Training has been harder than anything else I have ever done in my life. It's not necessarily the running that's hard. It's more like trying to find the time to run. Fitting in a 3 hour run isn't easy, especially when all you want to do is sleep. Yes, it wears you out. As if that were ever a question.

I find myself being thankful more and more though regardless of how I run. I am constantly reminded of just how blessed I am. First of all, I was working in a classroom learning about Columbus and just started thinking about how odd it is that I was born in America and not somewhere else. How come I wasn't born in Africa or India or Honduras? Maybe this is me learning more and more about mission work and about how much these people lack compared to what we all take so much advantage of on a daily basis. I know this has nothing to do with running but just wanted to add some food for thought.

Happy Running!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Where do I go from here?

So much has happened since my last post that I don't know where to begin. First off, I made my original goal of breaking 2 hours in July. (Whoop Whoop!) It was a downhill race but I finished it in under 1:53 so I will take it! I haven't been running that much since I got back to TN. It just seems that somehow something always seems to get in the way. Here I have friends who want to hang out with me, a family that wants to see me, and things I want/need to do(for example, working 2 jobs 11a.m.-11p.m. almost every day). I didn't have all of the distractions in Charleston, therefore I ran more(because I didn't have anything better to do). Oh, and have I mentioned how hot it has been?! That, in addition, to my adverse reaction to getting up before the sun rises when it is still cool, has also put a kink in my running plans.

I feel good when I go run now. I don't get nervous like I used to. I just went and ran 11 miles yesterday. Not once did I think, "I might not finish this", even though I should have. I hadn't ran over 10 miles at once in 4 weeks. I was sore that night, but that is normal.

I have signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon in DC, as most of you know. More than once this summer the thought has crossed my mind that I won't do it and I will just sell my bib number. Why? Well, as if the reasons above aren't enough, my running friends usually do long runs on Sundays. In Charleston, I would have been fine with this but since being back I have found myself in love with a church here. I hate to miss it. Therefore if I want to do a long run I usually must do it alone on Saturdays. I am fine with this until I make it up to my 20 mile runs...then I would really like to have someone with me. Just. In. Case. You never know what can happen.

So that's where I am now. I have decided to start putting more effort into my training on the assumption that I do decide to go to DC and run my 26.2. I have to say though, my friends Jenna Booher and Jamie Williams just completed an IRONMAN! If that isn't inspiration and motivation, I don't know what is. I have so much respect for these ladies when, at this point, I am intimidated by training for just a marathon, when that is only 1/3 of what they just did!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I wanna go fast!!

Where to begin? I think I will start on a good note because, as any teacher knows, it's always best to lead with the positive. I am so happy to be back! As beautiful as Charleston is, it is still not my home. Now that I am here I feel so surrounded by love :) As cheesy as that sounds, it is true. I have been welcomed back with open arms by my family and friends! While I was in Charleston, I may have made more friends back here than I did there. Ha! I am so glad that I have this time to spend with my family and my friends, old and new.

I have been accepted by the group of Foot Rx like crazy! Let me tell you something, runners are some of the nicest and most supportive people I know. (It could be all the "feel-good" endorphins) I honestly don't really feel worthy of being in their group considering how fast most of them are...but they have NEVER made me feel this way. That is just my own insecurities.

The race today was not my best...but I suppose they can't all be or a "PR" wouldn't be special, huh? I ran 30 seconds slower than the 5k 2 weeks ago. I could sit here and make excuses for myself all day long, but I'm not going to. The truth is I was just not feeling it and could not get going. I am disappointed in myself and mad at my body for not being faster. I want to go fast!(Thanks, Ricky Bobby) Is it my VO2 Max? Am I just not cut out to be a fast runner? I don't know. I would like to blame it on my physical make-up but I don't think that is the problem. I really don't want to continue at this hard-racing, speed-workouting, competitive pace if I'm not going to get any better. If this as good as it gets then I just need to go back to recreational running. Although, I do enjoy a good half-marathon. I think I like those much better than 5Ks, as odd as it sounds.

I will give it some time. As some awesome people reminded me today, I just got back and have started training hard, which is hard on the muscles. I need to let my legs adjust to what I'm putting them through. In the words of marathoner Kara Goucher from her fifth-place finish at Boston, Today was "Not my day, but that's okay". Sometimes we all just need to learn how to let certain things go and I'm working on that for today. As for the future, I'm looking forward to running my first 4-mile race next weekend. It is THE HOPE 4 to benefit the American Cancer Society at Tusculum College. I love running for a good cause and at this point I can't think of a better one.

“Desire is the key to motivation, but it's the determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal—a commitment to excellence—that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”
— Mario Andretti

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

eat pray run

As I am drawing a close to my Charleston experience, I am feeling bittersweet about leaving this fair city. I don't know how I have been so fortunate as to have been blessed with meeting the wonderful people I have here but I am so very thankful that I have. I will miss each and every one of you...you know who you are :) I am hoping that I will find myself back here a few times this summer! I learned a lot about myself during my time here. I really did eat, pray, and run A LOT! There was no love to it but that's ok. Running became my new love and I am thankful for that. I feel that many things would not have been accomplished had I still been in Tennessee all this time. I needed time for reflection and growth in order to progress. I did this for me. I hope there are no hard feelings from my people in Johnson City because I left for a while, because you are my people.

EAT~If you don't know Charleston is one of the best culinary experiences you can have in one city! Very seldom are chain restuarants to be found here and they are not to be patroned unless you want to be shunned by the natives. I have had the fortune to experience many of these culinary offerings while here but still feel like I didn't even get the tip of the iceberg. When you come to Charleston, explore!

PRAY~With God, all things are possible. Without Him, I would have been so lost in this new city all alone for the first time in my life. It's hard for me to come out of my comfort zone and open up to new friends. I may be goofy and grace you with my singing and dancing but that doesn't mean that you really know me. It takes me a while to let people in, as it did here. God helped me through a lot...from what was going in on in the present to things that happened in my past. I feel like I worked a lot of things out and I am coming through better for it. I needed the alone time here. I have always depended a lot on my friends and family to help me through things. Here I learned to do it by myself.

RUN~I feel like all of you reading my blog have watched me learn and develop as a runner this year. I am far from finished. Still a long way to go to that 23:00 5k, 49:00 10k, 1:45 half, and finishing a whole marathon but I am getting there. I am so much closer than I have ever been. I look back to my first ever race and I struggled to finish a 5k in 31:09. It was reallll work...and now, I am hoping to post a 25:00 very soon. Be on the lookout. My first half-marathon I completed in 2:40. And just brought home my second one in 2:03. That's 37 minutes!! I am not bragging. Please do not take it this way. I am just happy! :) I want to be a success and this feels like WINNING(Charlie Sheen voice here)! In all seriousness though, I'm not sure that I would have pushed myself and put myself out there had I been home and trying to run with the girls that I went to Disney with. They intimidated me incredibly. (Love you girls!) Here, I could do it in the privacy of my "own" Ravenel bridge, Isle of Palms(IOP)Connector, and treadmill. I pushed myself to my limit and it was good. I have built my confidence to be able to run with them now and I have even found some pretty awesome new friends in them! :) Everything happens for a reason...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chasing those Snakes

I ran my 1st 10k on Saturday, Chasing Snakes. It was...interesting. I went out there hoping to run a 55 or 56. (Ran in 56:58...barely made it!) I didn't know that the race was full of hills! Who decided to put all of those there?? I once again went out too fast. I'm gonna have to put a stop to this! Slower start is definitely my goal at the moment. I think that is the only way I will make it to my time goals.

I have to admit that my competitive nature is getting the best of me lately. I don't like being the slowest one of all my running buddies..but I guess that just means I will get faster when I run with them. (I do have to say they are some of the fastest women in JC.) I have been getting down because of not making the goals I am setting for myself. Maybe I am reaching too far...I don't know. I know that to get faster it takes dedication, mileage, and speedwork. I have made each of these a special place in my weekly routines.

Then again, I feel lucky that I can run. Just today while running I passed a man getting out of his car with a walker. Not an older man either. I was just thankful that my legs were pumping away (even if they do hurt sometimes). I could just as easily be in that position. I also saw a video that someone had posted on facebook of a man running marathons and an Ironman with his son. Watch the video that is now on my page and you will appreciate what you have too.

Love and happiness to all!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fairytale Ending (Well Almost)

Ok so I just finished the Princess Half, which is what this whole blog was focused on so now it will be transformed since I will be running my 1st ever marathon in October! It is the Marine Corps Marathon so I can't be having a Princess blog for that one ;)

I probably won't start the intense training until June but until then I will try to keep at least one weekly run of 10 miles or more just so the mileage is not so hard on me come June (because it will be. I've already been warned). I also plan on completing a couple more half marathons this year to not only beat my personal best but to also make sure that I am in shape and keep up with all I need to be doing to prepare and train.

As for the Disney Princess Half, I was overall happy with my time. As you know I was going for under 2 hours so I fell short by 3 minutes. While running the half I was so concerned with finishing and saving my energy for later that I didn't use it when I had it at the start. I know what my mistakes were and I will learn from them. If I don't then what was it all for? I went out at a 8:20 pace, which is WAY fast for me...but it didn't feel fast. It felt good. Like really good. I don't know if it was the adrenaline or training but for what it's worth - it worked. Then after I ran my 2nd mile around 8:30 I started getting nervous. I knew (thought) that if I kept up that pace I would die before the end so I started trying to slow it down. (This was my mistake.) I should have just went with the flow but I was trying to plan and be smart. I ran my 1st 4 miles under a 9:00 pace and my 5th right at 9:00. I was pumped and just knew that I was gonna make it but I kept trying to lower the pace so I could keep it up. In the end I realize that fighting with myself to slow down was the worst thing I could have done and I slowed too much. Live and learn. My next one will be there. I know it. (Unless I run some crazy hilly thing...not planning on it.)

I'm already excited for the marathon and it is sooo far away but if I keep up the excitement it should be one for the books. If I never do it again, I will be able to say I ran a marathon...

I am just amazed at what I can do already. Running is all about personal goals and records. You can't compare yourself to everyone else out there running. You do it for yourself and not anyone else. I already beat my best by nearly 40 minutes! And it didn't even feel like it took that long. I was just running along for 13.1 miles. Now a new adventure begins...Crazy...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Here we go!

The beginning of this week started out bad for me. I had had the terrible run on Sunday and was just feeling sooo tired and beat down. I honestly didn't know if I had it in me to do all of my runs this week so I bargained with myself that I would skip the Saturday 3m HMP run since it seemed that my long runs on Sunday seem better when I don't run on Saturday. Wellllll come Tuesday I had a horrible day. all. day. long. I just had a lot on my mind. I know that the best thing for me to have done would have been to come home and run but I didn't feel like it so I didn't. I'm glad I didn't because I'm pretty sure everything has just been laying on me pretty heavy right now and I needed the break. My body was telling me to take one. I like to listen to my body when it talks to me. hehe. I decided to do 6 x 800s for speedwork this week. I have kind of gone on my own with the plan by now. I do what I feel I need. 800s are killers! They are so fast (for me) and it is for 1/2 a mile. I, again, do the math in my head. With these I break it down to laps around a track. (Only 3 more laps - Push!) It works for me.

I felt pretty bogged down on my recovery run on Thursday but I guess that means I did my speedwork right? I was reading RW this week and saw some of Dean Karnazes' quotes. He had one where neighbor had said, "Doesn't running hurt?" He answered back, "Only if you're doing it right."

I ran my 3m on Saturday since I skipped my Tuesday one. It was successful. I am keeping under pace for my runs so hopefully that is a good sign. My long run today was great, beautiful and windy, but overall great. I feel a sort of peace over me about the race. I'm ready. If I don't have it by now then it's not going to happen. I am anxious about hitting my time goal, excited about going to Disney World, and a little nervous about my first solo flight and getting through Atlanta's airport on my own. I can't wait to spend time with my fellow runners as well!! It has been so long since have ran with anyone so I am really looking forward to the half and commercing with a sea of runners. All of the races for this weekend are sold-out! How awesome is that?! We are going to have such a blast ladies!

On another note, I am feeding my addiction and signing up for a FULL marathon. The Marine Corps Marathon is in D.C. on October 30th. I have plenty of time to prepare but the distance (26.2 miles) intimidates me to the core. This one is a good one for my 1st I think. It is called "The Peoples Marathon". Most who run this are running their 1sts, it's fairly flat, and in our nations capitol. Well, I'm gonna need twice the discipline and determination for this one but I do have a lot longer to prepare. I only had 6 weeks for this half!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chilly runs are no fun :(

This past week has been good overall, if I don't count Sunday.

Sunday, I almost skipped out on my run. (Gasp!) Why, you ask, would I do that? Well, quite frankly, I was tired. After my family had left on Sunday, I took a nap. Apparently, I learned, a big no-no for me on days I long-run. I had planned on gettting up at 1:15 to go...didn't get up until 2:30. By then I decided it was too late to go run 13 miles and I had bargained with myself that it would be ok to skip this one. (?) But I eventually dragged myself out of bed and into my running shoes. I made it out to IOP around 3:20...with 2 hours ahead of me. I was dreading it. I wanted to be back in bed but I knew that if I didn't do this long run I would regret it and be soooo mad at myself. I blame a missed run on my bum knee from last year's half. I skipped a 6 miler. Then, my next run is when I began hurting. I couldn't do that to myself again. Not when I am so close.

I took out over the IOP connector and it was in the 60s. A beautiful day. I had worn shorts and a short-sleeve shirt. The first time I've worn shorts outside in awhile. It felt great. I decided I would actually take it slow today like I'm supposed to. I started out at a 10:00 pace and fell into a 10:20 pace later (which is where I should be). I had brought along my debit card so that I could buy a water half-way through. I stopped at a gas station. Took my water to the counter. Pulled out my card. Dude says, "$3.00 minimum on your card." WTH?! Really?! So I left. I said, "nevermind then". It was so obvious that I was out for a run. He is obviously not a runner or he would've let me get the water. I found a Rite-Aid and went in there. This, of course, is cutting into my running time.

I was going to carry the water with me but it was cold and I was getting chilled. I don't know if it's because the sun was going down or what but all of a sudden I was freezing! I threw the water away hoping that that would allow me to run faster and warm up. So I kept going. I decided to go down this side street to make up for the 3 extra miles that I hadn't accounted for on this course. I was supposed to go 1.5 down and back. I made it .75 down and just could go any longer. I was soooo cold! If you know me, you know I can't stand the cold. That's the reason I'm glad I've missed this horrific winter in Tennessee.

So I ran back, just wanting to get to the car and get inside where it was warm. I made only 10.5 of my 13. But...I will take that, all things considered.

On a good note, I ran 4 miles on HMP Saturday morning. It was great!! The rest of the week went as planned, if not better, and I'm hoping this week does as well. I'm really hoping upon hope that I'm not getting burnt out and all I need is a little sleep. Please, Dear God, don't let me burn out!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Trust your training

And trust I did. My 12 miler today was UNBELIEVABLE! It felt so good. I had planned on running a loop from IOP to Sullivans Island to Mt. Pleasant and back to IOP...but as I crossed the Ravenel Bridge I was inspired by all those people to run there. If I was going to run there it meant one thing though. I was going to have to cross it TWICE! O.M.G. I have never ever done that and just crossing it once is a battle. I had had a great tempo run there on Thursday though so I thought I'd give it a try. Who knows? Maybe the bridge is my strength and secret to training.

I started off slow, as always. Still, I was encouraged. I had been having a great week and nothing could hold me down. Not now anyways. My playlist was, as my musical taste, eclectic. It was my favorite to date. I don't know if it's because the run went so well or it was just the music. Maybe I will never know.

My music, as my run, started off slow with Until the Whole World Hears, Airplanes, and I'm Letting Go. I have included my complete playlist at the bottom just so you can get inside my head a little bit more. The next several songs picked up the pace for me, which was perfect considering I was almost to the top the 1st time. (Tiff, I added Ms. New Booty just for you. hahaha) The whole time I was thinking, "Maybe I will just run it once and then do an out-and-back down Coleman Blvd. when I get back to Mt. Pleasant." I didn't have faith that I wanted to do this twice. I didn't really know how far I would have to run past the bridge into downtown before I reached 3 miles because technically the bridge is only 2.5 so if you do an out-and-back it's 5 miles total. I just figured I'd run til I hit 3. What else is there to do, right? So I did and it actually wasn't that far out. Only to the second red light. I hit 3 and turned around to go back. At the bottom there were 2 water fountains and I thought that would be perfect for when I'm coming back the second time to wash down my Gu. This trek up was tough. I had gained so much momentum coming down. It's hard to switch gears like that but you do what you have to. I've found that now rather than feeling like I'm pulling my legs through mud sometimes that my legs actually propel me forward. It's a good feeling.

My country songs got me up this one...along with Black and Yellow and Firework. The downhill felt good. I was trying to hold back so that I don't get too fast because that can easily happen here. I told my friend Courtney about this once and she said, "Just tuck and roll." Hilarious and I think it everytime I'm going down that hill. When I got to the bottom I wanted to do it again. So I did.

I stopped at the water fountain first because I need some water after those 6 miles and I was hot. It was in the 50s but your temp rises when running. And I realized when I got home today that I had gotten some sun!! Wow! I had forgotten that existed. It certainly was exciting though. It's not really attractive to have an ipod armband tan but who cares! I think my face is actually a little burnt.

So anyway, Eye of the Tiger got me back up the 1st hill the 2nd time. It's funny that that has become my "powersong". On the downhill I was smiling I was so happy. I had kicked out 7.5 so far and still felt good and strong. I also had Yeah by Usher to thank for that and Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars. I found this song because it was free on itunes but it is one of my new favorites. The beat is infectious and great for running too. Then I found today the line "Keep walkin', runnin', and runnin' for miles." Awesome. Again I was still smiling. I know I looked like a goob but today I felt like a runner, like for real. I was running with my ponytail whippin' around behind me and happy to be there when it hit me. I AM A RUNNER.

The rest of the run went without incident except for those water fountains that I said would be great for mile 9 when I take my Gu. Yeah, they didn't work. I was ok though. Power through. I was running at one point looked down and my watch tells me I'm running on HMP! Yes! I finished up the 12 mile run in just under 2 hours which gives me tons of hope for my finishing time. My last song was Wagon Wheel which I added because Katie (she's from Asheville), whom I work with said that everytime I say I'm from Johnson City, TN she thinks of that song. It gave me a little bit of home and all those who love me there.

12 mile playlist
1. until the whole world hears - casting crowns
2. airplanes - BOB
3. i'm letting go - fracesca battistelli
4. the time - BEPs
5. hold it against me - britney
6. perfect - pink
7. ms. new booty - bubba sparxxx
8. crazy dreams - carrie underwood
9. evacuate the dancefloor - cascada
10.wildflower - jane dear girls
11.smoke a little smoke - eric church
12.firework - katy perry
13.black and yellow - wiz khalifa
14.bullets in the gun - toby keith
15.bulletproof - la roux
16.im coming home - diddy and dirty money
17.grenade - bruno mars
18.eye of the tiger - survivor
19.say hey - michael franti
20.are you gonna kiss me or not - thompson square
21.yeah - usher
22.barton hollow - the civil wars
23.stuck like glue - sugarland
24.fight like a girl - bomshel
25.boom boom pow - BEPs
26.forget you - cee lo green
27.imma be - BEPs
28.black or white - mj
29.haven't met you yet - michael buble
30.love sex magic - justin timberlake
31.gotta be - desree
32.romeo - dolly parton and friends (hehe)
33.wagon wheel - old crow medicine show

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Among the clouds

"Thanks for making me a fighter", X-tina

It is amazing how much things can turn around in a few days, or even just one day. After this weekend I was incredibly discouraged. I just thought that I'm just not cut out for this "hardcore" training stuff and I will just run the race and finish in under 2:30. I would still have a PR but I wouldn't really have to work at this. I felt after the long run on the trail that my body just couldn't handle the stress. Then I tried at 5 miles on HMP on Sunday...I only made it 5k and I was dead. I walked another mile just to gain mileage but I feel it wasn't quality miles. My knees were shot. Even on Monday, I thought I am going to just have to take it easy and whatever happens happens because my knees were ON FIRE! I did all the right things though. The cherry juice, the chocolate milk, the icing every other 20 minutes, and I even bought some organic muscle relaxers at Earthfare. By Tuesday though things were looking up. :)

Tuesday, I decided to run 3 x 1 mile repeats because I feel that my weakness is holding a quicker pace for an extended period of time. 1 mile is more than 800 meters by 2 so why not start there? The RW plan for breaking 2:00 says to run these at an 8:20 pace so that's what I did. I warmed up for a mile ran my miles and between each I jogged 1/2 mile at 10:00 pace. Then I cooled down for a mile. I'm not gonna lie, this was tough. I know my weakness and now I must strengthen it.

I bought new shoes yesterday and they were a Godsend! I couldn't have asked for a better run. My legs didn't even hurt during this run. The new cushioning really helps.

I had had a lot on my mind for the past few days, dealing with my broken-down knees and other stuff that life makes you dwell on so I really needed this good run. If nothing else I run to get my mind in a better place. People wonder why I'm so easy-going most of the time...this is why. It is a natural drug to keep your sanity. Really. Everyone should try it.

I was feeling great after this run so I packed a bag for my recovery run right after work today. I am so glad I did! It was 71 in Mt. Pleasant and what a wonderful run! My legs were contesting this run at first. They did not want to go and they hurt from the hard run yesterday. I hadn't worn my new shoes either. I try to not wear them every run so that they don't get too worn down. I think I will change this from now on. But, like always, once I made it up to a mile I was feeling no pain. It was wonderful weather and I passed so many runners on my path. I love that this is such a runner-friendly place. It makes it much easier to run, find places to run, and weather to run.

I have been running and training all on my own. No one that I have met here of yet is a runner. They have no interest in the world to go out there and sweat it out with me, so alone I am. Some people might think that this is lonely and I guess it could be if I let it be. I won't lie. I envy my friends in JC who can go run with each other and motivate each other. Running alone is perfect for me when I am just running, but for training it would be great to have someone to push me past my comfort zone. I feel that sometimes I give up too easily. This is true of my tempo runs mostly. This is definitely the hardest for me...like I said, keeping the pace over an extended period of time which worries me considering that a half-marathon is 13.1 miles. I will push myself to my limit on that day. I just want to be prepared for that mentally, but mostly physically.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tart Cherry Juice and Chocolate Milk are my new best friends

Yuck! That is my feeling of today's long run.

I had found out about a Greenway a couple miles from my place and thought it looked like a lovely place for a long run considering that it spans 10 miles with little traffic interaction. I looked up the website. It said that it was hard packed dirt, which I could handle. Well, about 3 miles in it goes all rocky, gravel-like. It killed my knees and ankles. I thought about going back and finishing the rest of the run somewhere else but that kind of felt like cheating to me so I kept on truckin'. I ran the first mile of this run at HMP (just to see). It felt good. I can definitely do that pace IF nothing else affects me, such as side-cramps or other unmentionable problems runners can incur.

The last 2.5 miles out were killer. My ankles definitely got a workout. I can feel it all over though. I will not be visiting this trail again until after the half.

I need to start carrying water with me or making my runs pass by water fountains. I had my Gu at 5.5 miles and water was nowhere in site. The Gu was nice and warm because I had stored it in between my ipod armband and my arm. Eww. But, it went down smooth and was a pretty tasty one. I still needed water though.

Anyway, I turned around there to finish the run of 11 miles. I slowed it down a lot because I was feeling all the working the trail and rocks were doing on my body. I have no doubt that had I ran last week's course all would have been well but as C.S. Lewis says, "Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn." These are words to live by and one of my favorite quotes.

After my run, I stopped by Earthfare to pick up some 100% Tart Cherry Juice. Jamie Mains, whom I have bugged to death I'm sure over this entire process of asking her a bajillion questions about running and training, recommended it to me for joint pain. It is supposed to reduce inflammation. So when I got home I drank a glass of this along with my norm of drinking chocolate milk. (A perk to training is that you get to drink chocolate milk without any guilt. The combo of the chocolate and the milk replenish the protien and carbohydrates you lost during your run and is popular recovery drink for serious athletes.) So, this is why tart cherry juice and chocolate milk are my new best friends.

For now, I will be resting my legs at home and praying a lot. As I write I have just switched the ice packs from my knees to my ankles. Hopefully, I will be recovered enough tomorrow for my 5 miles at HMP. If not, I will use tomorrow as my Monday rest day and run this on Monday.

As a side note, Mom, don't worry about me...I am fine. Just a little sore. Remember the broken nose? That was much worse.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mantras and PRs

Let me start off by saying, after Reality and Doubt came to visit me this week I have revised my original goal of 1:59 to one of 2:10. Suffice it to say, I will be ECSTATIC if I do get the 1:59...but I have to face reality. The reality is that this is pretty fast (for me anyway) for a long period of time. I have been keeping up with my plan. Following it to the Tee. If nothing else, I am a rule-follower. It's just in my DNA. I don't break rules.

The plan I am on is based on a goal of breaking 2:00 so I am keeping those paces just because I am comfortable with them and it will make me faster. Obviously, I will PR and that is always a good thing. My first half was 2:40. I think I was more trotting than running. I was scared to death of not being able to finish because the 12 miler I had ran 2 weeks before had hurt my knee so bad that I did not run period in the 2 weeks leading up to the race. I got out and tried to run 4 miles one day and didn't make it 1 before I was in excrutiating pain and had to walk back to my condo.

Training has been going great so far. I am having a hard time trusting the process though. Everything I read and everything I'm told is that I should run my long runs at an 11:00 minute mile, or 2 minutes slower than my HMP. I can't do that. I am told that the long runs are just so you have time on your feet and that on race day is when you really get it. I feel like that I would get lazy and my body would get used to the pace, therefore want to always be at that pace. I know that this is what I should do and maybe I will this week for my 10-11 miler. We shall see.

Monday, my rest/stretching day, was soooo long! I was restless. I got home from work and immediately wanted to go run. It had been a much longer break than I usually have for runs. I, obviously, need a life. (I do have friends but they are all at work at night.)

Tuesday was an easy 4 mile run. It was so slow and easy that I was b-o-r-e-d. As I said, I am following the plan. This was the pace it said to run. And again, hard time trusting the process. I guess I have to realize that race day is when I should reach my peak, not before then. Until that day, I need to treat my legs well. Let them recover and rest after a hard or long workout. I guess it's the same in any sort of competition. When I competed in cheer my coach always said we needed to peak at competition. It didn't matter if we weren't hitting everything perfectly before. It mattered if we hit it perfectly there...that is a lot of pressure to put on one day. That's why we train though.

Tonight I did 800s x 4. I increased my pace by .1mph with each 800. It felt good. I felt strong and, surprisingly, fast.

I had recently picked up my Runners World magazine to read it when I finally had the time. There were two extremely interesting articles I found this week. (They are all interesting to me, but I won't bore you.) One was about how the Biggest Loser contestants train for a marathon. This was very inspirational to me, as is the show. If these people can train for a marathon there is absolutely no reason why I can't. I will run one this year.

The next was an article on mantras. The Sanskrit word actually means "instrument for thinking". It basically says that while running you should reinforce positive thoughts in your head. I've already been doing this so I was excited. When I am really pushing in a speed workout I will yell things (in my head), usually only one word but with the same meaning - Find the will. Find the strength. I will try to make up more to get me through the 2 hours of the half-marathon. Any suggestions will be taken. One of my favorites from RW was "One mile at a time" for a marathon. Simple, yet, to the point. I can use that for a half. It's important to not become overwhelmed by the task at hand and to just be in the present.

I already find myself doing math equations every time I run. I know, dork, huh? Well, I will separate my runs into fractions and pie charts. (If any teachers are reading, you should appreciate this.) For example, when I hit three miles in my nine mile run, I thought 1/3 of the way through. Only 2/3 to go! I will also try to calculate pace and finish time. It is hard to do while running but just kinda comes natural to me...always with the numbers.

The countdown continues....4 weeks and 3 days.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Feeling blessed!

Today was amazing! It was one of the best days I have had in a long time. Not only did I get to go to church for the first time in a few months, but it was a gorgeous day for my 9 mile run. The church was great. Collective worship and praise always gets me teary-eyed. I am just overcome by why we are all there. Some of the smallest things affect me on a daily basis. My friends call me "sensitive"...I am. :)

After church, I went in search of Gu because I was not prepared. I had packed my bag because I wanted to run in Mt. Pleasant today and found no reason to drive all the way back to James Island when I was already there. So I packed everything I could possibly want to wear to run in, my Garmin watch, my iPod, and a headband. Then, I realized that I was running 9 miles today and I couldn't do that on my breakfast alone. I knew that I would need some Gu (for you non-runners, this is an energy gel designed to be eaten/taken while in motion to provide fuel to keep you going when your stored-up energy runs out). And, of course, I'm (still) in an unfamiliar place. I don't know where to go buy this. So I looked up Vitamin stores on Google maps on my phone. (Have I mentioned I love my Blackberry? I don't know what I would've done without it these past few months.) I find a Vitamin World so I go there thinking that they would have Gu. But, when I get there the woman looks at me like I'm crazy when I ask for Gu's. Haha...I guess I would too if I didn't know. Then, she directs me to Try Sports, where I finally buy four because I don't know where and when I'll find it again.

Then, I drive to Isle of Palms because I have heard about running the IOP Connector. It is a beautiful day but still a bit chilly between 47-51 degrees. I packed on the clothing because I got cold last Thursday on my 3 miler at the bridge...but, now that I think about it, I was getting dark by then. I parked by the beach. It's inspirational to me...and it's really cool that I can do that now. I took off wearing my dri-fit long-sleeve, running tights, half-zip long-sleeve, and a fleece headband. I didn't want to get cold and come back early, so be prepared, right? BIG mistake. I was hot, and I mean, sweating hot by mile 2. Ugh! What to do? I had three options. Go back to my car and put it up, lay it down somewhere and hope it was there when I got back to it, or tie it around my waist. I opted for the last because I was not about to go back and restart my run and run the risk of losing momentum and this jacket was expensive. My luck someone would pick it up. So here I go, running down the IOP Connector with a jacket tied at my waist like a dweeb. Oh and I took it off mid-run. Like I said, didn't want to lose momentum. This meant taking the iPod off my arm and my Garmin off of my wrist all while trying to not drop anything and keep up my pace. And then, putting them back on. The jacket didn't bother me once I got going but I did have to turn it to the side. The fleece headband also came off and ended up in my jacket pocket eventually.

Other than that, the run was great! I ran under what my pace was supposed to be for this run and I wasn't out of breath. The first two miles weren't my best, but they never are. It got much better. By halfway through, I was rapping Ice Ice Baby. Yes, out loud. Those of you who know me well can imagine this, I'm sure. I can assure you I was a sight to be seen in my highlighter yellow shirt singing "Word to your mother." Hahaha..."too cold, too cold". At 5 miles I was ready for my Gu. I had started to slow a bit and knew that I needed something if I wanted to finish this on time. The Gu is pretty nasty the first time you eat one, but this one wasn't so bad. It took me about three slurps, if you will, to get this one down. Easy peasy. The rest of the run was beautiful except for having to readjust my jacket a few times. I ended up at one point with it around my chest, under my arms...fun times. One must be flexible to succeed at anything.

When I got down to about .3 miles to go, Shout to the Lord came on my playlist. I had intentionally made this my ending song. I knew that I was almost finished and I looked at my watch. I was going to make it under pace. I was overwhelmed with joy and relief and teared up. Training is such an emotional thing for me. To push my body to the limits and be amazed at what I am capable of. This is why I'm feeling blessed. Not all people can get out there and run 9 miles, even if they desired to, but I can. I have two perfect legs, perfect lungs, and a perfect heart. What else could I ask for?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Nothing is impossible.

Woohoo! I ran 4 miles on my HMP!! Now, I know this is possible. All day it seemed like this run was not going to happen. I had to work today at 11:00 and had imagined the night before that if I wake up early I would go ahead and run before work, so that way it would be done for the day and I wouldn't be worried about making time for it later in the day. But...I woke up early...and went back to sleep. Ha! I figured I don't get to sleep in often so I would just run after work. Well, at work we decided to go out for Mexican food afterwards, which I was pumped about (and if you ever come to Charleston eat at Santi's). It was delish! I have been ravenous for the past two weeks and ate enough for at least two people! So, of course, right after that I could not run, but I came on home. I started making excuses like, well, if I don't run today I always have my long run tomorrow... Then after about an hour and a half of being home I went for it. I was nervous about trying to stay on pace but I did it the whole way through, without my full-on effort. Training is paying off and I couldn't be happier....

Friday, January 21, 2011

It is so close...

Today is a rest day and, boy, did I need it! My legs have gotten so heavy this week during my training. This IS the first full week of hardcore training. This soreness in my legs really got me thinking this week...can I really do this?

It's not really a question of whether I can run the half marathon or not. I know that I can run it and complete it, probably without all this "hardcore" training...BUT I am a competitor and just finishing at this point is not an option for me. Besides, I've done that already. On to the next. You know when I told my dad that I was going for under 2 hours he didn't even flinch. Well, I don't know if he flinched (We were on the phone) but he didn't hesitate in telling me that I could do it and it was fully possible. I know myself that this is a lofty goal but...here I go anyway. It actually gave me a lot of confidence that he had faith in me. I know that my mom believes in me too, along with the rest of my family and friends. I don't want to disappoint anyone, especially myself. I think of the impossible and I think of how I used to do back tucks when I cheered...Now, THAT is scary!

My intervals I ran this week were difficult. I did it and I ran on pace but I didn't want to. I was tired. My legs were tired. I had ran the 7 miles on Sunday, strength trained on Monday, and ran 4.5 miles on Tuesday. Intervals on Wednesday were...not desired. I think it is me getting used to the speedwork. I've never done this before so my body is adapting and it is letting me know. I got some good advice this week from one of my half-marathonmates that this happens during training and it will get easier. Good to know. Good to keep going. And keep going I will. Tomorrow, I am running 3-4 miles on my HMP (half-marathon pace). Then, on Sunday, 9 miles. I find joy in looking for new places to run and planning playlists for my run. I realized when talking about why I am doing this last week I forgot to mention my love of running. It is just a given to me and I consider this an unspoken known.

I am so excited about going to the half marathon. My mom thinks I am just excited to go to Disney World. (Who says I'm not?) I love theme parks and don't all athletes say they are going to Disney World when they win? Well, I will already be there when I cross that finish line :) Another thing that I love about and am pumped for is the camaraderie. There is something about being with other runners, surrounded by them that makes me feel in my element. Now, granted, I am no Olympic runner, by any means, but that doesn't make me love it any less. When you love something, you want to get better at it and you want to be around other people who love it just as much as you do. Runners understand each other. They understand why we will go out in the middle of a rainstorm and will be as happy as a lark to run 4 or 5 miles. They understand why we will run for hours on end to train or just to run. They understand when other people say "how can you like to run?" or "I hate running. Why would you want to do that for fun?" and all we can do is just smile and say "I love it." or "It is my release." No one else understands. No one else understands until they have enjoyed a run. Once you enjoy a run, it is addictive. It is a drug.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

6 weeks to go

I don't really know what I was thinking signing up for a half marathon 6 1/2 weeks away when I hadn't ran more than 5 miles since my 1st half marathon in April...and on top of that I will be going with two Boston Qualifiers!

I began with some speedwork last week when I realized I was going to get to go. This race is one that I had coveted since I saw the post on Active.com about it. I had tried to find some fellow ladies to run with me but to no avail. It seems hard to find people that want to run these. I get it, if it were easy everyone would do it...but it's not. It takes hard work and a lot of discipline. So why do I want to do it? The answer is easy...for the sense of accomplishment and inspiration. The first half I ran was the Country Music Marathon in where else but Nashville. It is part of the Rock and Roll Marathon series. These races feature bands along the course to sing you to victory, as I like to think :) All along the course there are spectators who are cheering and holding up signs. I felt like a rockstar running that race with all of those people yelling for me! It was definitely one of the most inspiring things that I have ever done in my life. That race I ran just to finish but it felt sooo good when I did. I did have a time goal but did not make it and I am very competitive. It hurt my spirit a little bit but I did have a major knee injury at the time and only missed my goal by 10 minutes.

So this time I am going to take care of myself and make sure I go in injury-free. I will try to break my PR (personal record) by 40 minutes. I honestly think I can do it. I have been running for a solid year and have built myself up (I think and hope). So on to speedwork, which I did not do the first go-around. To be honest, it has always kind of scared me and intimidated me. BUT if you want to get better you have to push boundaries so that's what I'll do. My first time felt awesome! I don't know if it will be like that from hereafter but I sure hope so. I warmed up for 5 minutes. After the warm-up, I started my intervals of 400 meters at as fast as I could go. I took one minute breaks between each interval. I started out thinking I would only do 4 intervals but I just felt like running (Forrest Gump, anyone?) and ended up doing 6 instead. Then, the cool-down. After that I took two days off from running (per Hal Higdon's training plan). I did Yoga the first off-day, Friday, and did nothing on Saturday except work. Yoga really helps me to center myself and not to mention the amazing stretching it does for my legs.

Then comes Sunday, my first long run of this training. I had went in hoping to do 7 miles but ok with 6, considering my mileage at this point. I don't really like to run in the cold so I hadn't really been racking up the mileage. I decided to do my run at the bridge mainly because it doesn't have intersections like road running does. I wanted to run straight through because I knew that if I stopped I might not make it the whole 7. I really don't want to lose my motivation, especially knowing how close the race is. I drove to the bridge, which I know is a solid 5 miles out and back, and went one mile further so I could add that to my distance and make it 7. I don't know what I was thinking. The first part of the bridge is KILLER! It is so steep! I was afraid I would never be able to keep my pace and keep my legs injury-free so I slowed down at the beginning. I made up for this time on the downwards. You have to understand once you get down...you have to go back up. The second time up was easier, actually, from the other side. It is a longer ascent but it isn't as steep. I consider myself an endurance runner rather than a speedy runner. I get better as the run goes on so by mile 2-3 I am usually feeling great but at mile 1 I sometimes want to stop. I am very happy with the way the ran went. My only hope is that I can keep it up and make progress. AND that my knee behaves :) Thanks for reading...I know it was long but I had a lot to say.