Saturday, March 26, 2011

Race Day!

Alright ladies and gents,

The blog that has been requested. I was too mentally exhausted and honestly excited to sit down and write this when I first got home. I also wanted to see how my body felt after a couple hours, to let you know.

Today was amazing. It was tough, I have friends from running club who run halfs regularly, admitting that this was a very tough course. It HAS to be hillier than your average course, otherwise, more people would die running, lol. The hills are a mixed blessing. They keep you awake,  keep you motivated (looking forward to the downhills), and really just mix things up. BUT, they are hard. In some cases, VERY hard. The notorious hill on this run is a good mile or so of straight up hill. Everyone around me was walking. My running buddy, hard determined, just kept running, slow, but still running. I absolutely admire her determination, I can honestly say I did NOT run much of that hill, I did however, speed walk past a bunch of people.

I have to say that I had an new found motivation today, the motivation to finish in under 3 hours. I knew that a 3 mile half required about 13.5 minute miles. Every.Single.Mile.Marker told me if I was on track to finish in 3 hours. I was MILKING my watch, to make sure I was on time. Many times I was off, 30 seconds or a minute, but I kept on, determined. I eventually, sadly, left all of my running buddies behind with this new determination.

By myself, no music, making friend after friend with lone runners, I kept going for the last 4ish miles. I walked more than normal, but when I ran or walked I did it with purpose, continually keeping that goal in my mind. My regular snacks were making me feel sick, so I kept drinking water to keep them down. By the time I got to 11 miles, there was no doubt. I had 28 minutes to finish 2.1 miles. This was very tight, but possible. I knew that to get there I had to give it everything, but I had nothing left. I kept going, on overdrive, no heart, no brain, just body and road. The hills kept coming, literally, till the last .25 miles or so. I kept checking my watch, knowing I was cutting it close, 3 hours was fast approching.

Well the flags were in sight, and I knew that I had to sprint to make it. As I crossed the finish, with Carlos, running coaches, and complete strangers cheering for me, I had to pause my watch. I had to know. 2:59:42. . From my start to my finish, 2:59:42. I made it, to my goal, by a matter of seconds, a matter of steps, a matter of breaths.

I am grateful to everyone who motivated me, encouraged me, supported me, and it literally pushed me those last 2-3 miles when I wanted to stop. This quote comes to mind, "Success lies just past the point where other people quit,"and today this was so true. These last few miles I pushed ahead, and was able to gratefully meet my goal.

Tonight I am icing knees and left achilles. Surely, these are temporary pains that ice and rest will repair. My feet and hands are about back to normal size, lol. And I am guzzling water like none other, but anyways this is the update.

Would I do it again? Surely. Will you be hearing more about my running? Most definitely! And thanks again for the ongoing support!!

 Alex and I pre-race!
 Group Post-Run!
 Me, turning the 13 mile marker, .1 left to go!
Race Medals!
Race Group, post race kickin back :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

3-2-1- Take off!

Today marks three days until my first half marathon! So many things running though my head!

I can't help but think that I am as prepared as I can be! I have run 12 miles twice, test run the race course to get comfortable (11 miles, similar to race route), tested all my snacks and breakfasts, know what clothes/shoes I should wear, know where I need to park, etc. I know all the logistics, but somehow that is not settling to my nerves.

The tempermental weather is also giving cause for concern. Luckliy, (Knock on wood) rain is currently out of the forecast for Saturday. It is however predicted for the two days proceeding. This only tells us that half of course, through the national park (aka dirt paths and rocks) will be MUD and puddles. Lovely.

But no complaints. I am doing this because I CAN. I am doing this because I am able. For my friends and family who physically can't, for my friends and family who don't believe they can, and for myself, who never believed I could or would. I am running, in 3 days.

A quote from one of my favorite movies sums up my feelings about the impending race quite well...

We're gonna die! We're gonna die! I'm going to throw up, and then I'm gonna die! Mommy, tell it to stop!       Whew... ha! Almost lost my *cool* there.  (The Grinch)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The needed boost!

The last couple of weeks I have been going with the flow. Getting in runs when I *can* (when I feel like it). I struggled on this weekends long run, and realized that I really need to focus the next couple weeks. Its crunch time.

My schedule got a bit messed up as I ended up cross-training on my rest day, so I changed my rest day to Monday. That meant running on Tuesday and Wednesday. Since I didn't want to do to medium runs in a row I made Tuesday a shorter run and Wed medium. Lets just say Tuesday was tough. It was HOT outside, it was after work, and I didn't warm up or stretch because I just wanted to get it done. Bad idea. The whole run was a struggle. I got through, with a decent pace, but man was it a pain. My legs hurt, it just wasn't pretty.

I was bound to make Wednesday better, and fortunately it was the best run I have had in weeks! I did a nice 10 minute warm up (walk, jog, stretch). I went in the morning when it was cooler, properly hydrated. Of course GOOD doesn't always mean easy. The run started out okay. I wanted to walk, I mentally *needed* to walk. That dreaded mental block I have been fighting since day one.

On the boards I have shared a tip several times. Recently I have been quoted for this multiple times, so I thought I would share it here. I haven't used AS MUCH since I started running further, but today it's what got me through my run.

When I feel the desire to walk, I ask myself 3 questions.
1. Is your breathing in check?
2. Are your legs feeling okay?
3. Is your heart rate in an acceptable range?

If yes to all 3, I keep running. At that point the question becomes "Why do you think you NEED to walk when you don't?" It's often boredom, or even more it's that I don't believe I can do it. But I can. And I DO.

I thought I would share this. If you end up trying this out, let me know how it goes! It most definitely got me through today's run, and many in the past!

Looking forward to my 8 miler this weekend, and hoping to bring a camera because this was the lovely run from 2 weeks ago I wished I could have captured for you! Now's my chance!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tappering... Or not!

So a very quick synopsis of this week's running. It basically didn't exist. Well I got in a nice 3 1/2 miles on Monday, and that ended up being the extent of my weekday workouts. I had a week long subbing job that had me quite busy, and I am always looking for an excuse to skip a workout :/

The good news (grumble) is that I made it up today! Met up nice and early with running group this morning! Had to leave the house at 6:15! It ended up being a PERFECT running day. Not too hot, not too cold, just sunny enough! We even had a photo op with my running pace crew!

We were told by coach that we were to do a 9.5 mile run today as a part of our taper before the race in 2 weeks. The problem was, we were on a course new to most of us, with now street signs, postings, etc. Welcome to trail running, the real deal! Warned to look out for deer, snakes, mountain bikers, and fellow runners! Luckily bikers and runners were all we saw this time! There were TONS of people out today, not surprising with the race coming up and the lovely weather.

After getting started, I had trouble getting into my stride. The course was pretty hilly, and very rocky. I have never experienced a trail run before, and it was VERY new and different!  I walked nearly half of the time for the first 4ish miles. I usually use my watch to guesstimate how far I have gone, but that was difficult today with such a different course. People kept telling us, "Just a bit further", so we kept going. Eventually, after 1 and 20 minutes of running, I frustratingly stopped to figure out how far we had gone. My running buddy checked her Garmin to find out we had gone too far, 5.5 miles. Oops. This set us up for just over 11.25 miles when all was said and done.

Fortunately, the second half I found my stride. We had more down hills, and a very apparent negative split (meaning our second half was run much faster than our first). Overall our pace was much improved from the last few weeks!

I am happy to report that, although this was clearly a challenging run, and almost 2 miles further than planned, I am not sore at all tonight! No ice, no limp, good to go! I am feeling a little nervous to do this terrain again race day, but so glad to get a feel for it today! Also looking forward to a true taper run, next week only 8 miles (and we WILL be sticking to course, lol)!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pushing Through

Yesterday was my second time doing a 12 mile run. The first time went pretty well, I walked minimally, hydrated well, etc. However, I was still very nervous going into this. The idea of running for 3 hours straight still gets me.

This week my regular running buddy was out of town, so I ran with some different friends. We walked a little more than I usually do, but kept up a similar pace. Man was this course TOUGH. All sorts of hills, curved roads with no shoulder for running, loose gravel, sharing minimal lane space with bikes. But this course was GOOD practice. It pushed me harder than normal, took me out of my comfort zone. The best part about this weeks run was that the views were GORGEOUS! This is an area of rolling hills, ranches with horses, a beautiful lake, they also film many movies and TV shows out here (including my most addictive Bones)!

I wished I had my camera with me, but this photo gives a pretty good description of the area!

The other great thing about this week's run was the comradery that comes with running/biking in a place like this. Every runner or biker who goes by smiles, waves, and many say "Good Morning"! Runners who pass, and even cars driving by honk and cheer you on. This isn't a place where one goes to jog 3 miles, everyone out here is working on some mad mileage, and it is nice to be a part of it. My running buddies were great too! We mostly ran in a line, talking, supporting each other! So much better than running alone!

My new recommended product for running= salt tablets.
After 1 1/2 hours + of running, I tend to lose quite a bit of salt. You can tell if you lose too much salt if you can scrape white off your face after your run ;) I find myself feeling EXHAUSTED after a run without one or two salt tablets! I wouldn't necessarily say they give me energy, but they make me feel less blah. 

I am excited to begin tappering, this was our last 12 miler before race day. Next week is 10! 

Off to watch some movies from my list and rest my legs!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Movie Challenge

As though my bum doesn't already spend enough time in front of the TV, I have taken a challenge to see 26 movies I have never seen, beginning with every letter of the alphabet. After recommendations from lots of friends and boardies,  I have put together a list of about 38 movies (Oops, couldn't decide between some!) that I intend to watch in the next couple of months. You will notice that I also skipped Q, but figured I made up for it with the others!

I will update this post as I go to check off the movies once I have watched them, and hopefully post a quick review! Feel free to post comments with more suggestions, etc!

A- Amelie, An Affair to Remember
B- Breakfast at Tiffany’s
C- Casablanca, Can't Hardly Wait, Cool Hand Luke
D- Dear Frankie, Dr Zhivago
E- Elephant man
F- Food Inc, Footloose, Fish called Wanda
G- Gone with the Wind, Godfather, The Graduate
H- The Heiress
I- In the heat of the night, It happened one night
J- The Jerk
K- Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
L- Lucky Number Sleven
M- Mad Hot Ballroom
N- North By Northwest
O- O Brother Where Art Thou?, One flew over the coo coo’s nest
P- Philadelphia, Pretty In Pink
Q- The Queen
R- Rear Window
S- Streetcar named Desire, Sixteen Candles
T-  True Grit
U- Unusual Suspects
V- Virgin Suicides
W- Where the Red Fern Grows
Y- Young Frankenstein
Z- Zombieland

Let the challenge commence!

*Once a movie has been viewed, it will be in italics