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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rock and Roll St. Louis 1/2 Marathon Race Report

Half marathon Number 2 is officially in the books. How did it go? Well you're about to find out.

I mentioned in my last post that I was a wee bit concerned about how my IT band would act during this race. I had issues in my last training run last Tuesday that left me thinking it might not cooperate. I was worried because I had no problems during training and I'd trained hard, in search of a huge PR. Any kind of PR was going to happen, weather conditions and IT band problems during my last(and only) half left me with a finish time of 2:48, so I was bound to do better than that. How much better was the question. Many months ago, I planned on being very happy with anything under 2:30. As I trained and I got faster, my anticipated finish time got lower, to hoping for under 2:20, then hoping for under 2:15.

During my last training run, I did 13.1 miles in 2:16. Add in my last race, a 10k, being done in less than an hour, and I knew I could finish in less than 2:15, if conditions were right. The pain I began feeling Tuesday night in my right knee had me worried that I'd be kissing that dream goodbye. I hoped that my chiropractor visit on Wednesday, lots of stretching and foam rolling would be enough to keep my IT band happy.

I made sure to go to bed nice and early on Saturday night, as a 4:30 am wake up call Sunday morning was in my future. By some small miracle, I fell asleep and stayed good and asleep until my alarm went off at 4:30. I woke up feeling nice and refreshed. I ate my banana and drank my trusty Carnation Instant Breakfast, took my Energy Bits and got dressed. As luck would have it, getting dressed left my back hurting. 2 weeks ago, during my last long training run, I hurt the same spot in my back brushing my teeth. Is this how it's going to be? I injure myself before running by brushing my teeth and getting dressed? Either way, I was left unable to turn my head without pain. Lovely.

I had laid all of my gear out the night before, so after I was dressed, I was ready to grab my gear, just in time for my running partner, Amy, to pick me up. I opted for a running skirt, a long sleeved running shirt, my compression socks, and a throwaway jacket. It. Was. Cold. The temps were in the upper 30s. Coming from NC and coming off of summer, I wasn't used to this cold. I'm not a fan of the cold anyway, so this made things so much worse.

We made the drive, in the dark, to downtown St. Louis. The streets were empty and it was really hard to get out of her car, with the heated seats, once we got parked. But we did and the cold got to me quickly. My teeth began chattering in a short amount of time. We walked the few blocks to the race area.

The race area is much smaller than the Disney race areas and we didn't have to walk a lot to get where we needed to be. Bag check was close to the corrals and everything was pretty centrally located. On the way, we found piles and piles of the space blankets they hand out after the race, just waiting for us to take them and use them for warmth. They really came in handy. We checked our bags and headed to the Porta-Potties. More people started showing up, but lines for the bathroom facilities were not bad. After that we headed to our corral.

We were in corral 11 but Rock and Roll corrals are extremely relaxed. Nothing more than signs separate them and you are pretty free to roam about, moving up in corrals if you want to. We did end up walking up to corral 10. The sun was just starting to peek up and we were facing the St. Louis Arch, a very lovely view.

At 7 am, after the National Anthem, they started letting the corrals go. Now there is little pomp and circumstance, certainly not as magical as the beginning of a Disney race. Just an announcer on a microphone counting down from 10. No Fairy godmother and no fireworks. The corrals are released much faster than they were during PHM, with only 30-60 seconds between each one. We moved to the front very quickly and soon it was our turn. I was thankful, as I just wanted to get moving, since it was still pretty cold. I ditched my throwaway jacket right before our corral was let go.

Just like that, it was our turn. Since this was my 2nd half marathon and I felt very well trained, my nerves were pretty calm. I was just nervous about how my IT band would treat me. We set off and I felt good. I warmed up quickly and wasn't feeling the chill by the time I'd hit my first mile. The course was lovely, we ran by Busch Stadium, home of my beloved St. Louis Cardinals. We wound all around downtown. My first mile was slower than I wanted it to be, at close to 10:30, but I knew I could bring my splits down as I went, and I did. Miles 2 and 3 were both well under 10 minute miles.

After about 5 miles, my running partner started to have knee pain and slowed, I went ahead without her. Within a mile or so she caught back up to me. We stuck together until around the 8th mile, when my left arch started to hurt, badly. My normal strike was causing a sharp, shooting pain with each step and I had to modify to strike on the inside of my foot. Luckily by mile 9, the pain magically went away. I was still hovering around the 10 minute mile pace, give or take, but I was keeping around my goal.

I was starting to feel like my legs weighed so much more and felt like I was slowing. We hit mile 10 and I knew I'd have something to look forward to. My best friend of 23 years(we met in 2nd grade) lived right along the race route and she was planning on coming out. I have never had anyone come out to any of my races to cheer me on before. I don't dare make my husband drag all 3 kids out to any of my races, so I've always done them on my own. The sun was up and in my eyes but I scanned both sides of the street as I ran. Then finally I saw it. A big yellow sign that said "Go April Go". I had tears in my eyes, I screamed and moved to that side of the street and came barreling towards her and her husband. Her husband screamed for me as I approached, I gave him high 5s and I crashed into her, stopping just for a short time to hug her and tell her I loved her. It felt so good to have that support and it really gave me a boost.
My splits for the 10th and 11th mile came back down to under 10 minutes a mile. I didn't go through my typical mile 11 pit of despair. I felt good.

Until I hit mile 12. Amy, my running partner, had pulled ahead of me. We faced another uphill climb and my legs had that heavy feeling again. I'd had enough Gu, they just felt like lead. I wasn't out of breath, I wasn't sore, my legs were just stuck. Trough the race, I had kept pace with two official pacers. They were carrying signs that said 2:15 and they had started about a minute in front of us. I knew if I could keep up with them, I could get in under 2:15. I struggled to keep up next to them and around 12.75 miles, I came very close to asking if I could just hold onto one of the guys' arms and have them pull me along. I refrained. REO Speedwagon's "Keep Pushing" came on my IPod and I picked up the pace, passing the 2:15 pacers. I came up, crossed the finish line, and paused my Garmin.
I had done it. I came in under 2:15. My official chip time was 2:12:45. I was slightly disappointed that I hadn't gone to 2:10 but I really don't feel like there was a point that I could have picked up the pace and cut 3 minutes off my finish time. The hills were rough but they didn't really slow many down. Most of the miles that were uphill I still stayed around 9:45 per mile. I didn't stop for pictures(which accounts for the complete lack of pictures for this report). While there were a lot of runners, the course was never crowded. I did have to move around a few people here and there, but the course was always wide enough and bottle necking wasn't an issue. Most slower people stayed to the right as proper etiquette dictates. I really enjoyed the complete lack of crowding compared to PHM. So aside from the maybe 5 seconds I slowed to hug my best friend, I don't feel like I could have pushed myself anymore. My IT bands cooperated and I had no pain, except for the arch pain I felt for about a mile. I was pleased with myself.

The post race goodies were abundant. Chocolate milk, Gatorade, water, energy drinks, bananas, protein bars, pretzels and more. I grabbed it all but chugged my chocolate milk first.

We grabbed our checked bags, a lady covered my with another space blanket and we hobbled back to her car. I'd forgotten how cold it was, especially walking in the shade. We headed over for a celebration breakfast with my bestie and her hubby, where I enjoyed blueberry pancakes and bacon. I'd earned it.

So my thoughts on this race:
1. Well organized. Everything was close to each other and well laid out. We never had to walk far.

2. Big lack of celebrations. There were bands at every mile but I paid little attention to them. The start of the race wasn't all that exciting, at least compared to a Disney race.

3. The course was nice, but St. Louis city streets are poorly maintained. Many potholes, rough patches and other areas that I was afraid I'd hurt myself on. Luckily I did not. While the running surface left something to be desired, the course was at least wide and went through nice areas.

4. I had worried a bit about the free range corrals and the ability to just move up as you felt, but it honestly wasn't a problem. I was afraid I'd have to dodge a lot of people who moved up to walk, and starting in a corral for faster people. This wasn't the case at all. I don't know if there was just a difference in the field of people who were participating, but I was very pleased with the fact that pretty much everyone that surrounding me was at least close to my pace and I didn't have dodge walkers. I respect everyone's individual paces and 13.1 miles is 13.1 miles whether it's done in 1:30 or 3:30, but at the same time, if you plan on completing a half in 3:30, it isn't fair for those of us running faster to have to weave through that traffic. This was a problem I had during PHM, I ended up running 13.45 miles because I spent a good amount of time dodging walkers and zig-zagging along the course. I didn't have this issue at RnR.

5. I liked the post race refreshments. The box we got after PHM left me disappointed but I felt like I had a lot of options after this race.

6. Running in the cold is much better than running in the heat. Normally I hate the cold, but my last half was done in 70 degree weather, with nearly 100% humidity. This was done in the upper 30s to low 40s with no humidity. I barely drank any of the water I had with me and I liked not being soaked in sweat.

7. The medal is very nice. Certainly not as nice as a Disney medal, but lovely nonetheless.
So overall, I would definitely do another race in the Rock and roll series. I liked the course, I liked the race. The only things that were lacking to me was the expo(and I think that was just because there were other big races that weekend so vendors were at other, bigger expos) and the lack of hoorah compared to a Disney race. This was a good experience, and now it's time to look forward to the Disney Wine and Dine 1/2 Marathon in just 10 days.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Counting Down the Hours to Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon St. Louis

Because that's all that's left, hours. I have to wake up in 11 hours and race time is in less than 15 hours. Crunch time. It's been an epic weekend though, and I'm fully confident that the race itself will be winning as well.

I began my trip into St. Louis on Wednesday. Let me tell you, Wednesday was insane. Tuesday night I went for one of my last training runs before this race, and things started to unravel.

Many months ago, I battled ITBS in my left leg. I was injured during PHM and after that race I went through over 2 months of physical therapy and many other treatments. Since May, I've been happy to report that my IT band has fully cooperated. I went through all of this training without an issue. I was pumped. Even the last long training run I did of 13.1 miles felt great. I was so excited to do a race without pain and see what I could really do. That excitement came crashing down Tuesday night.

A few days prior, more than 5 days after my 13 mile training run, I felt a little tightness, a familiar tightness, in my right leg. My good leg. I brushed it off. Surely I can't be having IT Band issues now. My suspicions were proven correct on Tuesday night. Not even a quarter mile in, I felt the tightness and pain in my right knee. I stopped to stretch a few times during that 4 miles but by the end, my knee was tight and it hurt. I was in shock. How could this be happening now?? I am less than a week away from my first of 5 half marathons in 5 months and I'm looking to do my first full marathon in the spring. I wanted to cry. I went home and rolled my legs, I stretched, and I hoped it would feel better on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday morning came, and it did not. I hobbled down the stairs and limped around. I rushed around to get the kids off to school, to pack, to get my hair done(because I can't run 13 miles with roots you know), all while trying to put the pain in the back of my mind. I called my chiropractor, one of my saviors during my ITBS battle, and got an appointment after my hair appointment. Bless his heart, he fit me right in.

I did my packing and my hair fixing and headed his way. I told him to work whatever magic he had. I see my chiropractor every 3 weeks religiously, he knows me, he knows what I went through and he knows how hard I trained. He got to work on the moving and the stretching and the ART, then the electric stim on my leg.
I felt much better immediately and by Thursday it felt completely better. Here's to hoping it holds up for tomorrow.

Our trip from NC to MO was uneventful. Visited family in TN and got in on Thursday. The mister is stuck working so it is all 3 kids and me, all by myself.

Thursday was epic by itself. All running aside, I'm a very big music buff and my cousin's tattoo shop was having a private concert with Steve Ewing, the singer of one of my favorite bands, the Urge, Thursday night. Of course I was all over going. After spending a bit of time visiting with my parents, I kissed the kids goodbye(I had spent hours in the car with them after all, mama needed a break), and headed to pick up my best friend of 23 years. It was an amazing show, maybe 15 other people there with us. Steve Ewing was so nice, and it turns out he actually ran the Rock and Roll full marathon last year and he is a runner too.
Talk about front row seats

Steve Ewing and Me

Me, Steve Ewing and the Bestie
It was an excellent night. Friday was an easy day, visiting with more family and hydrating.

Saturday morning, this morning, was the day my friend Amy and I decided to go to the expo. Amy is a girl that I ran track with in high school and we reconnected because we are both moms of 3 who took up distance running within the past couple of years. We wanted to do the expo early, before it got busy. I have only been to one expo, the expo at Disney during PHM weekend. That was very large and super busy, so I expected the same today. I was wrong.
We got there a bit before the expo opened and there was a small line, which moved extremely quickly once they opened the doors. The first thing they have, much like the Disney expos, was where you pick up your race packet.
There are many booths for each corral, I believe there are 20 corrals. I was originally supposed to be in the corral 15, as when I registered I put down a much slower time. Again, very little waiting, which was a plus.
Much like runDisney, each booth is set up according to bib numbers. I was able to get my packet in less than 5 minutes and was off to the corral change booth because my anticipated finish time was much faster than what I had put down. While I have heard the Rock and Roll races aren't strict at all about corral enforcement, but I still wanted to be in the proper corral as I am a rule follower. I was moved from corral 15 to corral 11. I walked right up, gave them my estimated finish time, was not asked for proof of time or anything supporting my claims of a 2:15 half, and was given a new sticker for my bib that said 11. Much different from runDisney, who requires proof of time when changing corrals and who will be doing away with corral changes at the expo in 2014.
Next up was grabbing t-shirts and swag bags. The t-shirts are very nice, Brooks shirts, but the drawstring bag I was given wasn't nearly as nice as the one I got for PHM.
Wearing the shirt, but I got a bad juju feeling so immediately took it off

Then came the fun, or so I thought. Shopping the expo. Except there was so little shopping to be done. There was a lot of Rock and Roll gear, but if you thought Disney prices were high, RnR merchandise prices made my eyes bug out of my head. Any guilt I felt over spending $70 on a PHM tech jacket instantly disappeared upon seeing the $110 price tag on the RnR St. Louis tech jackets. Aside from that, you had a booth with shoes, a few booths with fuel and other running gear, but certainly far from the huge selection of stuff at the PHM expo. I did load up on my precious salted caramel Gu for race day.
I walked around looking for the KT Tape booth, as I wanted my IT bands and knees taped, but they were nowhere to be found(even though they told me on Twitter they would be there). Most of the familiar booths were not there. runDisney wasn't there, neither was Raw Threads, Sparkle Skirts or Team Sparkle. I did happen upon a display with the medal I will earn tomorrow, and it does excite me, being from St. Louis and being a huge Cardinals fan.
This medal is going to look awesome on the new Sport Hooks medal hanger I won just yesterday on another blog(more awesomeness to add to this weekend). Speaking of Sport Hooks, they did have a booth at the expo. I stopped by and told the woman I had won a new hanger yesterday, which will work great because the first one I bought from them was already full. Oh the bling life problems. It turns out I was speaking with Marcey, the owner and creator of Sport Hooks. Marcey is an AMAZING woman. She designs all of the medal displays, all of the products she sells are made in the USA. She has finished a marathon in all 50 states and she is just as nice as can be. We chatted with her for a good 20 minutes and she is just amazingly passionate about running and her work. I've always liked Sport Hooks medal holders but now I will never buy anything else. I love companies like this, that connect with their clients, existing and potential.
Marcey, owner and creator of Sport Hooks, and Me

Hopefully there will be more to come on Sports Hooks in the near future(foreshadowing!!).

We walked around a bit more, the expo was far from crowded, but there was so little to do that we left a lot earlier than I expected. I could have spent more than a full day at the runDisney expo I attended, there was so much to do and see, between vendors and guest speakers. This was the exact opposite. While I appreciated not having to deal with a big crowd, expos are exciting for me and this was not. We got a few more pictures and headed out less than 2 hours after we came in.

On the way home, we did stop at a St. Louis original, Gus' Pretzels. It's a staple around here. Fresh and hot pretzels, they've been in business for decades. When my husband and I got married, we had Gus' pretzels at our wedding reception. They make them all right in front of you. It is the day to carb load afterall.

The rest of the day has been spent being lazy. I wanted a nap but I didn't think it would bode well for an early bed time, which is needed for my 4:30 am wake up call. I loaded up on my usual sushi for dinner.
It left a lot to be desired but white rice is white rice so I had to make do. Race time is 7 am. It's looking to be cold, in the 30s, something I'm not looking forward to. But I'm going to kill this race, I won't let the idea of my IT bands causing problems get into my head, and I'll be back tomorrow night with a full race report.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 15-Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

I wanted to take a break from the running and the racing and the Disneying and focus on something else. Time to get serious folks.

On first glance, I seem like a very happy and satisfied person. That's because I am. My life is full and I am blessed. Get to know me and you will find that I am slightly goofy, mostly sarcastic and totally upbeat. I try not to complain about the "problems" I face in life because in the grand scheme of things, my problems are trivial and the good things I have far outweigh the bad. I tend to be the comic relief in my groups. I have a wonderful husband who treats me like a queen and 3 wonderful kids. I like to have fun. Lots of fun. You'll often find me double fisting pumpkin spiced lattes in the middle of Target:
Running half marathons dressed like Minnie Mouse:
Kissing gargoyles:
Fist pumping to music in my mini-van with all of my kids, taking selfies with my girls, making silly faces, and generally trying to get everyone to look on the bright side of things. I can be a bit brash and abrasive, I have a very up front personality(rather odd for an introvert wouldn't you say?) and people know they can rely on me for not only the honest truth, but a hard does of logic.

But only those who truly know me(and that's like, one person, I'm looking at you Missy Zarbock) know why I am the way I am. Why I stay on the side of logic and not emotion. Why I stay upbeat and don't sweat life's curve balls. Yes, I'm an optimist, but I'm pretty much completely shut off from most of my emotions. It's my own coping mechanism, my skills for self preservation.

What people don't see is a heaviness I carry with me. The heaviness is odd considering it is caused by a hole, an emptiness that can never be filled, a permanent void in my heart and soul. It silently consumes me, most days not so much but it's always there.

Why the void? Why the sad, heavy burden?
I became pregnant with my first child at 19 years old. Against so many odds, I gave birth to him in December 2002 and a month before I turned 20, before I was even old enough to drink, I lost my baby boy. It was a day that doesn't feel real anymore. A distant memory that feels like a dream but feels sickeningly familiar and fresh all at the same time. I was still pretty much a child myself, thrown into funeral planning and writing an obituary for the smiling boy I had held the morning before.
I didn't do well in the months after his death, my life completely spiraled out of control and it took a few years for me to dig myself out. I put myself back together, built up my wall, and started over again. I built myself back up, met new people, started a new family, moved halfway across the country and wiped the slate clean. People who know me now didn't know me back then. People see who they see now, very few people saw me then, so it's easy to miss the tiny, sad glimmer in my eyes.

But it's there. I have had 3 children since Chris died, I have my husband, I have so many wonderful friends, I have self confidence and self worth. But the wall I built to protect myself is still up. I never fully dealt with Chris' death, I just keep that part of me locked up and behind that wall, so others don't have to see it and I don't have to deal with it. My heart will never completely heal, no matter how many kids I have or how wonderful a life I have. I will keep running from that part of my life and that pain.

It makes you wonder, how many people do you cross each day that carry that pain and empty spot in their heart? How many people out there can never be truly happy, because they will always have a piece of them missing? The happiest days of my life, my wedding, the births of my other children, could never be completely perfect, because someone is missing. Nothing can ever be completely perfect.

This is something to think about when you meet new people. Why are they the way they are? Did something so awful shape their personality? What are they truly dealing with? 1 in 4 women experience the loss of a pregnancy, from miscarriage to still birth to infant death, like I did. You might not know it, but many of us carry this silent pain. Be gentle with us as life, at times, has not been.

In memory of my baby boy Chris 12-17-02-03-01-03, and all of the other angels gone too soon.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

It's Taper Time!

If you are a child of the 90s like myself, you just read that in Jason's voice. If you aren't, you really have no clue what I'm referencing or who Jason is.

But that's what time it is, it's taper time, exactly 2 weeks until the Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon in St. Louis. I'm following the Wine and Dine 1/2 training plan and my last long run before these two back to back races was today.

Today called for 12.5 miles. I've always been a bit of an overachiever, so something didn't sit right with me, being just .6 miles away from a half marathon, so I decided a few days ago to just up it to 13.1 miles. I'm glad I had that goal in my head because I may have stuck with 12.5 miles if I made the game day call.

Preparing yesterday went well. I drank tons of water, I ate very well. I've been trying to eat better foods and I stuck with it yesterday. I am an insanely picky eater and have been trying to branch out with more foods, even though I find them, especially vegetables, disgusting. I felt like I did really well yesterday with the right foods to fuel my long run today.

I met with my local MRTT girls, they are all training for a full marathon and had 20 miles to run today, so I joined them for the first 7 miles of my journey and then planned to loop back. Things started to go wrong last night.

My 4 year old daughter, the Big Princess, fell on the playground yesterday. No big deal to most people, but to her it is the end of the world. She is a HUGE drama queen and a scrape is cause to amputate. The last time she fell she cried to the point that she seriously said "I don't want to dieeeeeee." So this is what I got to deal with last night. With my alarm set for 6 am, I needed to get to bed early, but there she was at 11 pm, crying about how awful her boo-boo was. I finally gave it up to my husband and told him I needed my sleep, and I went to her bed. I got to sleep, only to wake up at 1:30 am. All of that hydrating during the day was still catching up with me. Back to bed, only for my 2 year old, the Little Princess, to come walking in looking for me at 2:30. I got her back to sleep, only for the cat to decide that 4 am was the perfect time to play and scratch. Put her in the bathroom and get back to sleep once more, which only seemed like a few minutes before the alarm went off. I had to get up.
I sucked down my beloved Carnation Instant Breakfast and ate my zucchini muffin, which I made yesterday in my effort to eat better. Yes, there are chocolate chips in them, but zucchini, so it's healthy, and I won't listen if you try to tell me otherwise. I got dressed, quietly, to avoid waking the Big Princess who shared the bed with daddy last night. Put my contacts in and started brushing my teeth. Perhaps I brushed a bit too well, because I somehow jammed my neck, causing some lovely shooting pain. I had trouble turning my head either way. Spectacular. Add some Tylenol in with my Energy Bits before leaving. Now I've got a sore neck and an iffy toe. Two weeks ago, the Big Princess dropped a vacuum cleaner on my big toe(don't ask, seriously, don't ask). It's left my toe bruised and sore for all that time, perhaps even slightly broken. But I wasn't giving it, and off I went.

I met my group of girls, who were already 4 miles into their run. I seriously wouldn't have been able to do this without them, they dragged me out of bed at O Dark Thirty on many weekends, pushed my pace and kept me company. My neck loosened up and my toe didn't hurt, so I was doing well.

Around mile 5, I felt a feeling I hadn't felt before, but that I knew exactly what it was. Rubbing, on my pinky toe. I wore new compression socks for the first time while running, and they were rubbing my toe raw. I have been lucky enough thus far not to have ever dealt with blisters or lost toenails, until now that is. I knew that my first blister was forming. I was actually okay with it, because a blister made me feel more legit as a runner. It's my war wound, my badge of honor.

I split up with the group as I hit 7 miles. Fearing I would slow down, I actually picked up my pace. I had my tunes and it was just me and the open road, so I had more pep in my step. At that point I had been going anywhere between 9:50 minute miles all the way to almost 10:30. After breaking from the group I went back down to around 10 minutes per mile. I was feeling good and then I hit mile 11. My previous training runs had gone so well, I had forgotten all about the pit of despair that is mile 11.
Apparently you have to trudge through the pit of despair during happy training runs too. It didn't help that I hit a rather steep hill at nearly 11.5 miles. I got passed that and into the shopping center that I would finish my last miles in. It's a trendy little shopping center and I was greeted by the wonderful scents of bacon and Starbucks coffee. I wanted them both. Bad. I. Love. Bacon. If I had to pick one food to live on forever, it would be bacon.

I was hungry. I was thirsty. The water in my fuel belt was gone. I had my first blister. The crisp cool air we'd had earlier in the week was replaced by humid warmth so I was soaked with sweat. I got back to the parking lot where my car was parked and I was only at 12.8 miles. I probably looked a bit foolish to the folks working in the beauty store but I ran the last .3 miles around the parking lot. It hit my car right after hitting 13.1 miles. I did it.

Not only did I do it, but I did it in 2 hours and 14 minutes. For comparison, I finished PHM in 2:48 and less than 5 minutes of that was due to pictures. I was undertrained and injured. The last big training run I did before that race was only 10.1 miles and it took me 2:15 to get through that, a minute longer than it took me to do 13.1 miles today.

Some thoughts after today's run:
1. Blisters are not fun badges of courage. I realize now that, on top of it hurting, I'm stuck in flip flops until it heals. There goes the start of boot season. And there goes the pedicure I was planning to get this week. Hopefully by next weekend it will have healed.

2. Running 13.1 miles(or more) during a training run is oddly disappointing. While I do feel really proud of doing it, and improving my time, the lack of pomp and circumstance is sad. I have only run 13.1 miles one other time and that was PHM. That came with a medal and celebration. Today's half marathon came with a car ride home and 3 loads of laundry when I got there.There was bacon waiting for me when I got home, because my husband is awesome like that.

3. Don't put your car key in the back pocket of your running skirt. Mine apparently got pressed against my tailbone by my fuel belt and now it feels like there is a bruise there.

4. I really think I can do a full marathon. Sure, I'm sore now, but I really think I can do a full. The last time I ran this distance, I was ready to die and couldn't figure out how anyone did a full marathon, as just finishing a half was awful.

5. I'm amazed at how much I have changed. I went from "Just get this over with." during PHM to actually looking forward to these longer runs. My pace has improved 2-3 minutes per mile, I'm injury free and I don't actually hate all of this running. Before PHM, if I had a 12.5 mile training run, I did 12.5 miles and not a step more. I didn't even go to 12 miles back then, I went up to 10 and called it a day. And I stopped right at 10.

6. Speaking of stopping at 10, many people say if you can get to 10 miles in training before a half, you will be fine. While this is what I did before PHM and I did finish that race, I still feel like it wasn't enough. Finishing the 13.1 miles was a struggle for me and after 10 miles I ran out of steam. Yes, I was injured on top of it all, but my lack of training played another big role in my complete decline after mile 10. This time I've gone higher than that, and I feel much more confident.

7. And speaking of confidence. I really feel like I'm going to kill the RnR half marathon. Over training I've bumped up my time goals. First it was to finish in under 2:30. Then it was finish in 2:20. Now I really think, with race day adrenaline and a partner that is a bit faster, I think I can finish in around 2:10. I'm excited about this, not dreading it like I did with my first half marathon.

With that, I'm ready. Ready to conquer St. Louis.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Meet the DisBroads-Meet April!!

That's me, I'm April!! Obviously I am also a DisBroad.

A little about me, as you can tell by my blog title, I'm running for my life. Not in the way that others run, like to lose weight or take control of their health. No guys, I'm really running for my life. I have three kids, 8, 4 and 2. I'm a work from home mom, which sounds grand, but have YOU ever tried to do a job with kids running around? Not easy. But I do love being home with my kids, so it's a blessing and a curse. I play the working mom role and the stay at home mom role, which means I pretty much run on coffee.
And Energy Bits.
As if I didn't have enough to do with 3 kids and their school, play dates, gymnastics, soccer, and the Mt. Everest sized pile of laundry they leave me, with my house and dinner and trying to give my wonderful husband the attention he deserves, I decided to give running a shot in July 2012. I wasn't very active outside of my kids and two babies back to back left me with more weight than I wanted.
But I did have ulterior motives when it came to running. I was turning 30 and wanted the accomplishment of something like a half marathon under my belt. I also wanted a trip to Disney World to run that half marathon. I. Love. Disney. DisBroad Patty tempted me with the Princess Half Marathon and I finally relented and registered for the 2013 race. Along the way I found a love of running and racing and I lost a lot of weight, and I finished my first big race.
While I swore up and down I'd never do a half marathon again after PHM, I soon slipped and fell on my computer, not once but twice, and accidentally submitted my credit card info for two more half marathons. I have since slipped and fell on my computer, pressing that enter button(on accident, I swear) 3 more half marathons, including a repeat of PHM. I'm currently planning my first full marathon next spring. Because I have so much extra time to train for a full marathon. But I take these challenges in stride, I keep pushing, because, well, I've come to learn that I'm pretty awesome. I think you're awesome too, and it's good to "meet" all of you!

The Clock Is Ticking-Training and Other Random Updates

Tick tock, tick tock. It seems like I've been waiting forever, but the months leading up to the Rock and Roll 1/2 marathon and the Disney's Wine and Dine 1/2 marathon have passed. Now it's crunch time, and things seem to be going by a lot faster. Months have turned into weeks. A year ago, if you would have told me that I would be gearing up for two 1/2 marathons in 13 days, I probably would have laughed at you. I hated the training leading up to my first half. My head wasn't in it and my body wasn't taking my newly found activity well. Between July 2012 and March or so of this year, I still didn't consider myself a runner. I battled an injury from the beginning of this year up through the end of April. Training for my first half marathon and then running that race while injured didn't make me love running. In fact it made me hate it. But I didn't want to give it up, I liked how I felt and the weight loss. I knew if I didn't keep a race on the horizon as a goal, I would probably stop.
So there I was, a girl who hated running, who was battling an injury, and what was the most logical thing to do? Register for two 1/2 marathons in a span on 2 weeks. Not just that, but register for one in St. Louis and one in Orlando when you live in North Carolina. But when I go, I go big. I'm a world traveler.
Well maybe just a country traveler, but whatever
I actually looked forward to the challenge. The good news is, training when you are injured and training when you are healthy make a world of difference. Back before PHM, I didn't take care of myself. I didn't eat well before runs, I lived on coffee. I didn't realize it at the time but it made a huge impact on how fast and far I ran. Now I know more about pre-run nutrition, I've found what works for me the day before a long run and right before a long run, I've found what works for me in terms of fuel during long runs. I've really settled into a comfort zone in terms of knowing what I need a don't need. It was a learning process, trial and error, and I'm sure I looked goofy running a 10k with my water belt and compression socks, but you live and learn.
I'm looking at you 2012 April. Overkill.
With my health and the knowledge I've gained, I do love running now. Well for the most part. You may get a different answer from me during the first couple of miles. I look forward to my long runs. Nearly 2 weeks ago, I ran over 11 miles, getting up at 5:30 am to do it and make it to my son's 9 am soccer game. This past weekend only called for 4 miles, I did 5 and was a tad bummed that it was a short week. This weekend calls for 12.5 miles, my last long run before the Rock and Roll 1/2. I'm excited about it. Again, ask me during miles 1-2 and then probably right after mile 11, but those feelings are fleeting.
Because of my newfound love of double digit runs, I have made the decision to register for a full marathon. But I haven't registered yet, so there is plenty of time for me to chicken out. I'm aiming for the Rock and Roll Raleigh full marathon next April, I mean I did run PHM to celebrate my 30th birthday, I might as well run a full marathon to celebrate 31 right? But I will chat more on that when I find my courage and sign up.
In the mean time, things are ramping up and excitement is building for the races I have in the very near future. Bibs numbers and corral assignments, with waivers, were released for Wine and Dine, Bib #6380 here. Two days ago I received my final instructions email from Rock and Roll St. Louis, Bib #15550. Just this morning I received our Magic Bands from Disney for our upcoming stay.
I was rather leery of the whole Magic Bands concept at the beginning but the more I learn, the more I love the idea. When I get back from that trip, I'll share more about them and my experience using them. Right now it's taking all I've got not to put it on and wear it right now. Add in the pre-trip preparations for our trip to St. Louis(13 days until we leave!), and the anticipation is building, big time. After all of the months asking if we are there yet, now it seems like I have so much to do and so little time. It's the part I love the best.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Disney Through the Years

I wanted to do a Wordless Wednesday post, but let's just be honest here folks. There is nothing wordless about me. I talk in my sleep. How can I show you the pictures without helping to tell the story? Well I couldn't, so I'm going to post on Tuesday night and try to keep the words to a minimum. This blog is meant to keep record and share my running journey. My running often takes me to Disney, and Disney is the reason I started running. A 5 day, kid free vacation to Walt Disney World and only having to run 13.1 miles to earn it? Fair trade if you ask me. Little did I know I would keep running. I am also not ashamed to admit that MORE trips to Disney helped keep me running. But what started my love of Disney? I wasn't one of the lucky kids who had fond childhood memories of Disney. My family was rather poor growing up and Disney was the last thing we could afford, so I never went as a child. I didn't go to Disney for the first time until I was 24, in 2007. I was still dating my now husband and he took me. We left our oldest, the Prince, only 2 at the time, at home with my parents. It was my first taste of Disney and enough to get me hooked.
Young and in love
The following year, in 2008, I was eager to take the Prince for the first time. He was 3 and I thought it was a better age. He had a blast and it started his Dis-Love off right.
Look at that face!
Our little family of 3
You know you've done Disney right when this happens before you leave the parking lot
Little did we know, we brought home a souvenir from that trip, one you don't buy in the parks. Two weeks after we returned home from that trip, we got a very unexpected positive pregnancy test. That's right, the Big Princess is a Disney baby. We decided to take her for her first trip in May 2009.
Our family of 4
I cried after we took this picture, my princess and me
We went back a few months later, in August of 2009, when the big Princess was a little more alert.
The Big Princess was not amused with Pluto, slept right through it
Due to some life changes, mainly a move all the way up to Maine, making Disney travel a lot harder, another move back to North Carolina 6 months later, our wedding, and us adding to our family, we had to take a few years off from Disney. We returned in 2012, 10 months after adding the Little Princess, as a family of 5.
Our family of 5
They grew a lot from the cherubic little boy hugging Eeyore and the chubby baby sleeping through Pluto
Disney is special to our family. We've made lots of memories there and I feel blessed to be able to give them these trips, especially after my family couldn't for me growing up. I love looking through the pictures and watching how our family has grown, and Disney has remained. I look forward to adding a picture of our family of 6 to the mix. But not yet, right now runDisney still has it's hooks in me.