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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Davidson Run For the Green 10k-9/21/2013

I mentioned a week or two ago training for a local 10k and running the preview course(you can find that post here) During that preview run, I managed to run my fasted 10k, in 1:04:16. I was looking forward to this race, in hopes of coming close to that time officially, so I could submit it for my upcoming Disney races for better corral placement. The last official 10k time I have is from last October, when I ran one in 1:09 and change. Now that's still a decent time but for the "girl" oriented races like the Tinkerbell half or the Princess half, this is still rather middle of the pack. I did fine running in the middle of the pack this year, so perhaps it's a pride thing, wanting to be in an earlier corral. Just having an earlier corral on my bib was something I dreamed of. I will admit though, I had no idea this race would turn out the way it would(dun dun dun, foreshadowing). On Friday evening, I had a party to attend. Now remember guys, I'm 30, so when I say party, it doesn't involve drinking or dancing. It involves Pinterest and crafting. I did manage to pump out this beauty for my front door, pretty proud of my creation.
During my party night, I made my wreath, and I ate. I ate a lot. And it was all junk. Not exactly the best pre-race fuel. There was pizza, there were cookies, pumpkin cake, apple crisp, lots of fall goodies, and I ate it all. I did stay away from the soda and kept hydrating with lots of water. I tried to leave early, but I didn't end up getting home until midnight. I still had to get my race stuff ready for the following morning, since I didn't want to go rustling through the house at 6 am and chance waking up children, leaving a very unhappy husband. I didn't end up in bed until after 12:30, making the 6am alarm call rather unpleasant. But my choices had been made and the alarm went off at 6 am. I got up, drank a smidge of coffee, my Carnation Instant Breakfast, I took my Energy Bits and made sweet love to my inhalers. Here's another problem that I had run into before the race. Last weekend, my two younger daughters developed a lovely cough. No fever, just crud, but I caught it. I fought it hard during the week, pumping myself full of water and vitamins and by Friday, I still felt on the verge of getting sick. I wasn't officially sick, I'd wake up with a sore throat each morning, and had the smallest cough, just enough to make things annoying when running. I made it through my short training runs but the 3 miles I did Thursday evening had me a bit worried, as I had that little tickle I couldn't shake. I was worried so I started with my inhaled steroids and rescue inhaler that night. Friday I still felt a bit rough, but thank goodness when I woke up Saturday morning, my morning congestion wasn't there. I left my house at 6:30, race time was 7:40 and it was local. I met up with the local MRTT girls who were running, most were running the half marathon, but a few of us, including a fellow Princess in training(also going for proof of time), were running the 10k. The weather was a bit warmer than it had been earlier in the week and it was a tad muggy, but still somewhat comfortable. We did the usual group picture, the half marathoners started at 7:30 so we have time to line up and wait before we started with the 5k runners. At 7:40, no gun, no bull horn, just a shout of "GO!" and we were off. My goal was to keep up with one of our MRTT leaders, Heather(you can find her blog here), who runs at a slightly faster pace than me, for as long as I could. I stayed right behind and as we hit the first mile, my Garmin told me I had run it in less than 9 minutes. I "prefer" to stay at 10 minute miles and call that pushing it and normally when I see this kind of pace, I tell myself to back off, that I will kill myself early and really slow down after the first 3 miles. But I was in a different mindset yesterday. I decided not to back off early. I knew I was facing the uphill climb back up the Patrick Johnston hill, so I figured it would be best to keep going faster than I like to, until I hit that hill and was forced to slow down. I got the first 5k in, and was still moving in record time. I broke my personal best for the 5k by a minute. It was at this point when a thought entered my mind, something I never thought would be possible. One of my worst habits is short changing myself. Months ago, when I got left in the dust attempting to run with the main group of MRTT girls, I resigned to never being "fast" and was ok with it. But I kept going and I started keeping up with them. I always underestimate what I can do, and it's a pleasant surprise when I do do it. Another thing I never thought would be possible was a sub one hour 10k. I've seen others do it plenty of times, I figured I would be able to get down to 1:02, but never under an hour. Hitting the halfway point yesterday at 28 minutes and change, I started to wonder if it would be possible after all. I started calculating numbers in my head, where I'd need to be for each mile to get there. I was hot and sweaty by this point, but in the zone.
Somewhere between there and mile 4, I passed a very special woman, someone I'd been looking for. Her name is Margret. She was doing the half marathon and she is 90 years old. Yes, 90. A year younger than my frail little grandmother. She is the world record holder for being the oldest person to complete half marathons on all 7 continents. She did finish yesterday. Amazing.
As I passed her, I clapped for her and she smiled at me. I felt renewed. I doubted that this woman had ever told herself something wasn't possible. So why should I tell myself that a 10k in under an hour wasn't possible? I kept going. I passed water stations, not wanting to slow down. I reached the hill I had been dreading and I plugged away going up. I knew I was going to slow down and as I climbed by body, especially my lungs, screamed at me to stop. I had started wheezing and as I got to the top, I hit the first time ever when running that I'd wished I had my inhaler. I coughed things loose and kept running. As I hit the 5th mile, I noticed my music had started over. I have enough songs in my playlist to ensure that this doesn't happen. Music is a huge mental "thing" for me. I NEED my most beloved tunes to keep my mind going and I did not want to hear the same song twice. Sorry Selena Gomez, nothing personal. I kept running as I fumbled around with my armband and got tangled in my headphone wires trying to get new tunes going. I shut down my Nike app and found a song I could deal with on repeat for the last mile, put my phone back, untangled myself from the wires once again, and kept running. I was coming up on 56 minutes with a half mile to go. I knew I would have to speed up even more to get in under an hour, so I picked up the pace. My legs were dying but my spirit was not giving up. I hit the 6th mile and knew the finish line was close when I hit it. A hill. Seriously? I have to finish this up hill? While less than pleased, I kept pushing. I saw the finish line and and the gun time clock was ticking, 59:40, and climbing. I got closer, 59:50, 51, 52, 53. I crossed the finish line at 59:56. I tried my best not to completely burst into tears. My eyes filled but I held off crying. I realized that at the beginning of the Patrick Johnston hill, I had passed Heather. She didn't pass me again, meaning I finished before this woman that I have been trying to chase for a good year, even if she was taking it easy. She crossed the finish line less than a minute after I did and she was so proud of me for having done a sub hour race. We drank our water and our chocolate milk and waited for the half marathon runners to finish. I was beyond elated. There I was, fueled by pizza and assorted baked goods from the night before, with less than 6 hours of sleep, breaking a time goal that I hadn't even made because I didn't think I could come close. I couldn't wait to get home and download my splits.
You can see the mile that involved Captain Johnston, and it is still faster than normal. This just means I've been holding back. I've been told I should reevaluate my half marathon goals, and I think I will. The biggest thing for me is purely not liking to push myself. I don't like being uncomfortable and going all out. I want to keep something in my tank. But after yesterday, seeing the payoff of pushing myself to the point of misery, it definitely seems worth it. Final results were posted last night, and my chip time was a tad lower, officially 59:46. I've already submitted all of this new info to runDisney, natch. I came to the realization that if estimated finish times break down in a similar fashion to this year's PHM corrals, this time is good enough for Corral A. Me. A Corral A runner. As hard as yesterday's race felt, the idea of that makes up for it.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Rock N Roll St. Louis/Wine and Dine Half Marathons Training

I'm sure I've mentioned this, but in the coming weeks, I am registered for not one, but 2 half marathons. As the Princess Half approached this year, I could already feel the post race blues coming on, and I hadn't even done that race yet. I needed something else on the books to keep me going after PHM. I will admit, my motivation to run isn't super high, and if I don't have something to train for, I really think running would be sporadic. I don't love running. I love a lot of the side effects of running, but the actual activity itself, well if I have the choice to sit and veg or run, I'm sitting and being lazy. It's something I still struggle with after a year of running. So during the cold winter months, registration opened with a good discount code, and I registered. Boy was that cheaper than a Disney race. At the time I had no hopes of doing another Disney race until Princess 2014. But March and the Wine and Dine half registration came closer to opening, and I got caught up in the frenzy, registering the day registration opened. The interesting part is that they are 13 days apart, with RnR STL on Oct 27 and Wine and Dine on Nov 9. Now plenty of people do half marathons close together, no big deal. But I barely made it through my first half. I was injured for a good chunk of training and I slowly chugged along. I only got up to 10 miles before that race and many factors contributed to me slowly finishing that race. The weather was ugly and I was hurting in a bad way. The last couple of miles felt like death and I didn't ever want to do it again. That didn't stop me from keeping up with my plans for 2 half marathons in 13 days in the fall. I did my time in physical therapy for my knee, I threw my money at every massage therapist and chiropractor I could and by May I was finally doing better. I still kept my miles low until July rolled around and I started on a more regular training plan for these races. The good news is, according to the Jeff Galloway training plan, I am supposed to run 14 miles two weeks before that half, so a half marathon will do. I'm also rather curious about what time I can really run a half in, now that I'm not injured, with conditions not as sweltering, and fully trained. I plan on taking the Wine and Dine half kind of easy, I want to enjoy it, so RnR will be my race for time. I finished PHM in 2:48, which was still decent given the conditions and the fact that I did stop for 4 pictures. I've been climbing in miles well and I'm thrilled with how well training is going. By the time I got to 6-7 miles in PHM training, I was hurting, so when I did 8, 9 and 10 miles, it was slow and ugly. I limped for days after each run. It's so refreshing to see how well longer runs go now when I'm not hurting. 2 weekends ago, I climbed to 8 miles. This was only the 4th time I've gone to 8 miles or higher. My speed has improved over the months and I am finally able to keep up with a lot of the local girls, albeit barely. But months ago, I couldn't keep up for even a quarter of a mile, so I will take the improvement, even if they are chatting away and I'm just trying not to die. It was warm and muggy outside and a hilly course. The course was a preview course for a 10k I am doing next weekend. I added on miles since I needed 8. The course has one ugly part, and when I say ugly, I mean ugly. Locals call it Captain Johnson.
As you can see, it's a short hill. Maybe .15 miles. Going down is great, going up is not, as it's a steep climb. I slowed to a crawl going up this hill, but I made it running. Even with having to climb what I felt like was Mount Everest, I still finished that run averaging less than 10:30 per mile over the 8 miles.
I also set a new 10k PR, shaving over a minute off of the previous PR I had set two weeks before.
This excites me, because it's been so long since I've had an official 10k time to report. If I can manage this during a training run, I'm confident everything goes well and I can repeat during the 10k next weekend. My previous official 10k was from last October and my time was over 1:09. This will be a much better time to submit to Disney for better corral placement. After those 8 miles, my runner's high quickly worn off. I will admit that in the 2 weeks since then, my motivation tank has gone from full to nearly empty. I have been skipping one of my weekday runs since we've had some soccer interruptions and it's still been hot. Last weekend, I shamefully admit that I skipped my long run altogether. I know I can't lose steam this late in the game, when I'm so close to being done. I went out Friday morning, and this lead to a bad run, but at least a run where I met my goal. I had 9.5 miles on tap for this weekend. I scheduled my long run with other local girls, the girls that I huff and puff keeping up with. I knew I needed to run with other people to keep me going for 9.5 miles, but part of me was dreading trying to keep as close to a 10 minute pace as possible for that long. But I prepared my body for that mileage today, knowing I'd need it. I headed out early this morning to meet up with the group. Lucky for me, a couple of other girls who take things a bit slower had showed up and we decided to set out. They were doing run/walk intervals as one girl, in the middle of marathon training, had been battling injuries, and even if it was slower than I normally do, I was ok with chilling out a bit. My body thanked me for it. I. Felt. Great. I did a lot of miles with these girls during training for PHM so it was nice to catch up with them. Good conversation made the miles go by quickly. I didn't find myself begging for the end. I actually decided to run a bit longer, and ended up doing over 10 miles. Our pace was over 11 minutes, I could have gone faster, but I was comfortable and I felt like I could have kept going.
I felt great after, and have all day. I'm not sore, no aches or pains, I'm not limping. This is one of the rare moments where I actually enjoy running itself. I took a look at the last time I did 10 miles, 2 weeks before PHM. My pace was much slower and even though I was with a group of girls, it couldn't have been over fast enough. I felt ready to die and I was miserable. I was not comfortable during and I wasn't comfortable after, like I was during both today.
I'm very pleased with the progress and looking forward to my 10k next weekend, and climbing to 11 miles the weekend after.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

30 Is The New 20

Or is it? What does that mean really? Turning 30 has given me the chance to reflect on this statement, and it's made me realize that 30 is not the new 20. I certainly don't want to be a 20 year old again. After I turned 25, the age thing became a down hill slope for me. Ugh, I was closer to 30 than I was 20, and time seemed to speed up as I raced towards 30. Turning 28 and approaching 29 left me less than thrilled. What had I really done in life? But then 29 came and things started to look up. 30 was not going to be knock knock knocking on heaven's door. 30 was going to be awesome. It was at age 29 that I decided I was not going to limp sluggishly into the following year. When I turned 29 it looked like that's exactly what would happen, but I became determined not to let that happen. Let's look back at age 20 for me. I had my first child young, I was only 19. He was born 5 months before I turned 20. He only lived for 2 months and 12 days, so at the ripe old age of 19, I became a mother and experienced the loss of my child, a loss that would ruin a woman of any age. For a long time, it did ruin me. 20 was not a good year for me. I spent that year trying to drown my sorrows in whatever I could. I lived hard and partied harder. I didn't go into mourning, I was in full on self destruct mode. I had absolutely no direction and did nothing with my life that year, and didn't do much in the following year either. I straightened up and got on track a bit more when I got pregnant with my 2nd child, whom I gave birth to just before turning 22, but even after that it took me a good amount of time for my head to settle on my shoulders. It wasn't until I turned 23 and met my now husband that I realized my life was going nowhere, and that wasn't fair to me or my son. I went back to school, worked and graduated before our family grew again and we moved halfway across the country. After I turned 29, I made the choice to take more control in my life. Things were great, I had an amazing husband, 3 wonderful, healthy children, we had a nice home, lived in a nice area, what more could I want? Well for starters, to be my own person. I'd spent the previous few years playing wife and mother, and I felt like nothing more than an extension of my family. I wanted to do something big, something for me. Because I wasn't paying enough attention to me, while I was absolutely happy, I wasn't completely satisfied. This might sound selfish, but it's the truth. I didn't take enough care of myself. This reflected in the way I looked.
Now I wasn't by any means obese, but I was overweight, especially for me. I had no desire to exercise and ate with little restraint. I was unhappy with the way I looked but constantly putting everyone else first, helping myself came last and usually not at all. I refused to turn 30 like that, not just with the extra pounds, but putting myself last. A few months after turning 29 I made the leap and registered for the Princess Half, with no training under my feet. I was determined to make that half marathon happen before turning 30 and I did. I lost a lot of weight a long the way but I gained a lot of confidence and a whole new sense of self. I made new friends and reached out to old ones. I took time to make myself happy, even if others call that selfish. If a bit of time and work on myself gives my kids a better mother, then I'm totally cool with being selfish.
So let's look at me at 30. I look darn good after having 4 kids. Probably better than I did at 20(I went through a blonde phase, it was a bad look for me). I have a college degree, I didn't at 20. I have direction and confidence, also things lacking at 20. I was smart at 20, had plenty of knowledge, but little wisdom to be found. Now I have both. I have a better idea of who I am at 30,I have more insight, more compassion. I make smart and healthy choices now at 30, definitely not the case at 20. I take care of myself, body and mind at 30. So 30 being the new 20? No thanks, I think I will keep my 30s, and if 30 is this much better than 20 and things keep going like they are, 40 is going to be amazing.