Thursday, May 02, 2013
We are officially three wake-ups away from what will be my first Pittsburgh Half Marathon. It was originally planned to be my FIRST half marathon, but I'm impulsive and decided to go the distance beforehand so I knew I could do it.
So, yeah, I know I can do it.
So why, exactly, am I freaking out?
We're going to say that my last Half Marathon took me three hours. I have three and a half hours to make it to the ten mile point. If I don't make it to the ten mile point in that time I will be unable to finish because a bridge will be re-opened to traffic and I won't have anywhere to complete the course.
I'm freaking out.
Well, I was freaking out.
Thanks to friends, family, and coworkers I'm coming down off my ledge. I'm breathing and I'm trying to be rational.
In other news I get to hang out for most of the weekend at the expo. I'm going to be at my office's booth. It's going to be fun just to pick up the vibe. To be excited with everyone else. It's going to be absolutely awesome.
I haven't decided what I'm going to wear on race day yet. I'll figure it out tomorrow, I guess.
There's no escaping the jitters on this one. My family is coming out to see me finish - it feels like a BIG deal. They haven't come to any of my other races - and this is very likely to be the only race they come to. It's special and important.
I'm very rational and I know in this moment I'm not being particularly rational.
The next time you guys will see a blog from me it'll be a PIttsburgh Half-Marathon re-cap!
Keep on sparking!
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Well, I've pretty much managed to set my race schedule for the rest of the year. With the exception of August, November, and December I have a race at least every month. Big races. Half Marathons and Marathon!
In the most stupendous news, I've signed up for my very first Triathlon! I'm going to compete in the Sprint level distance - mostly because I'm not very confident in my swimming ability. The Triathlon is on July so I have plenty of time to build up some swimming muscles. Sprint Distance is a 500m swim, 20K bike ride and a 5K run. I feel really confident about the biking and the running - but, as much as I like to swim I'm not very fast.
It's going to be an adventure!
I also wanted to share with you guys the first photo I've had taken in a while where I didn't fool with any angles.
I feel completely happy with how I look (well, I'm in desperate need of a haircut...) You have no idea how complete this makes me feel. I just keep looking at it.
Speaking of photos, here's the photo I bought from the finish of my first Half. Behind me you can see those amazing club people I wrote about. Look at them! There are no words for how awesome they are!
In terms of weight and food I'm stuck. I'm hoping to find some weight loss mojo after the Half - just in time to start training for the Triathlon and the Rachel Carson 17mile challenge.
Man, I keep signing up for things. I love it. It takes me back to high school when I had a chest full of ribbons and medals. Not gonna lie, I have my 1/2 marathon medal hanging in my office right now. It'll live there until my display comes.
That's really it from here - I hope you guys are doing amazing things, too!
9 days until I'm a Runner of Steel!
Monday, April 22, 2013
My goodness, guys, I've been brewing on this blog!
Before I get to the meat and potatoes referenced in my title I figure I should cover a couple of quick things. First and foremost, Dad is out of the hospital. He's home and doing well. Second, the scale graced me with 183 again this weekend. My weight loss might be slow; but, it's still happening. I'm okay with the slowness, it just means it's going to be more likely to stay away in the long term!
Now, as to the title of my blog - my very first Half Marathon was this past weekend. All 13.1 miles. All of it. Mine. I did it.
Race Recap is as follows:
First and foremost I got to registration at 7AM sharp. That's right, the race didn't start until 9AM but I was so worried I wouldn't be able to transfer my friend's registration that I wanted to be sure to get one of the race-day registrations. Unfortunately they wouldn't allow the transfer; fortunately, I still got a race-day bib. Whew. However, that meant I got to spend about an hour stewing in my car. I played a lot of Candy Crush Saga before making a dash to the porta potties and meeting up with my friends from the SCRRC.
Waiting for the race to start was uneventful. Just the usual jitters. Of course you start off thinking about your pace and planned finish time. 2:45 was my hope. I decided that 3:00 would be respectable.
The first mile or so was pretty uneventful. I settled into my pace and got comfortable. It was me and the usual crowd of Galloway run-walkers, amazing older people (Really, I genuinely think they're amazing - can you imagine being older than 60 or even 70 and doing a Half Marathon? In my mind, they're flipping incredible), and the sag-wagon. (For those who aren't runners, the sag-wagon is what picks up people unwilling or unable to complete the race. But, something magical started happening; I couldn't stop smiling. Even among the cold (39 degrees!), the snow (ugh), the rain (Double ugh) and the sunshine - I just couldn't stop feeling, well, blessed.
Around mile five I started having one of the most amazing experiences of my life. You see, it was an out and back course. You ran out about six and a half miles and then turned around to come back. At first it was the uber athletes - and you could tell they were very serious about their times. They were 'in the zone' - staring hard at the trail and looking like they could run a hole through the sun. However, once those lonely, really fast runners got away, I started seeing small clusters. And these people? These people carried me for a couple of miles.
Strangers telling me things like "Good job!" and "Keep it up!" and "You're doing amazing!" Strangers. More than strangers, fellow runners. People who do this sport better than I hope to and they were cheering me on. I can't even articulate what it feels like. I also got to run by the rest of the club. High-Fives all around - and those were even more amazing.
I have to say, though - the six miles back on my own were the loneliest and hardest I've ever done. You see, this was on a trail - an old rail-trail of flat, crushed limestone that's running past the Youghegany River. It's beautiful; but, the only other souls I got to see in that time were the people manning the water stations. Believe me, I was counting the two miles in between them.
Around mile eight I started feeling a twinge in my knee. Around mile nine when I slowed to walk and drink I realized I was in trouble. My knee felt wobbily and weak; hell, it hurt. I tried to start running again; but, I have to admit, for the first time in my life I had to limp. It was heartbreaking. Usually the saying goes "The body is willing but the mind is weak." Let me tell you, my mind was more than willing, my body otherwise felt strong; but, my knee was not happy. Up until this point I had kept between a 12:00 and 12:45 pace. After all, I was treating the day as a race-distance, training pace kind of day. In fact, at the half-way mark I was turning around to go back at 1:22. I was on track to hit my 2:45 goal.
Deciding to be bold I found that the pikes they put up to keep trucks and carts off the trail were an asset - I balanced myself between them, put ankle to knee and did a sit-stretch. It felt amazing. At mile 11 or 11.5 I started jogging again. It was sore; but it wasn't as terrible pain as I'd felt before. By the time I got to mile 12.5 I was having some pretty ridiculous thoughts. What if the finish line was gone? Surely the rest of the club had drank all the chocolate milk and taken off for all their plans. There probably weren't any medals left at all.
Yeah, my brain imploded.
And then, by the grace of God I swear, I happened to see a couple of my friends headed up the trail. They probably have no idea how much I needed to see them. I posted on my Facebook how they carried me that last tenth of a mile; and they really did.
I was coming around the corner - and then even more magic happened. The club was there. No crap. I didn't believe it. There are photos on the race website and I'm totally buying them. Short of my family I never would have expected these kinds of cheers. Really, I get all sappy thinking about it.
It was amazing.
I got over the finish line at 2:59 - a respectable time for a 185lb girl who never thought it was possible to want to run more than a 5K a year ago. I'm so very proud - I worked hard for this and trained, too. But, I was carried by friends, family, and strangers.
I have another half in two weeks. I just can't wait. I'm hoping that I'll have all of my hips and knees stretched out real good before the PIttsburgh Half Marathon and that I'll be able to get my time more in line with my pace. After all, I can do ten miles in 2:08; there's no reason I can't do another 5K in 40 minutes.
In terms of this race, I don't know if I'd recommend it as a first Half-Marathon. It gets lonely on the trail by yourself. However, for my first half marathon, it was perfect.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Happy Lunchtime, Sparklers.
I'm sorry I've been MIA for about two weeks now. Things, have been, well difficult.
First and foremost last Thursday I went and got my hip fixed. She did such a good job that I went out and ran nine miles. It felt really good until miles 5 and 7. I stopped and stretched then, and my mile-pace after stretching was actually faster than when I started!
My weight and food and emotional health has been all over the place, though. My dad was admitted to the hospital last Sunday for difficulty breathing. He stayed there for almost a week and then came home for two days. During those two days he was so exhausted that we literally couldn't get him out of bed to do the things he was supposed to. So, he had to go back again. He's old. His cold turned into Pneumonia. He's been in the hospital since Monday. They're talking about sending him home again tomorrow. I hope, thist ime, he comes home rested.
So, During those two weeks I lost three pounds - as Dad's health has started to improve they've returned. It's okay, I'd rather have my dad feeling better than weigh 182.
I'm trying to focus on getting my calories back down where they should be. I can't justify snacking every day on a snickers bar, that's for sure.
In other news, I have the Boston Trail Half Marathon this weekend. Our Western PA Boston considers itself a sister city of the bigger one - so this half is going to have special significance given recent events.
I hope that all of you have been doing well - looking forward to catching up on your blogs!
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
My new measurements!
And AMAZING plans!
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