Thursday, April 19, 2012

my first half marathon {race recap}

I figure it's time for a race recap, I've had a few days to digest the event, stare at my hard earned medal and recover.  I really don't know where to start...but here's my attempt.

It's finally race day, it's my first half marathon and my alarm goes off around 5:30 am.  I wasn't too happy with the wake up call seeing how I slept horribly the night before.  Somehow we had booked the loudest hotel in Kansas City and we had the loudest 'neighbors'.  I heard every conversation in the hall and every door slam shut all night long.  I managed to sleep inbetween the noise, so I had that going for me.  I had a banana, granola bar, some Starbucks and water.  I was SO ready to get out there and to get this done.  I know if I start the race, I will finish it.  Even if I have to crawl across that finish line, I'm going to finish this race.

The weather gods were good to us, storms were forecasted for most of the morning, and although it was humid, there was a cool breeze and overcast skies.  When I finally got to my 'corral', I knew a potty break would be nice, but there were FAR more people than porta-potty's, so I started my race without a pre-race pee.  Really NOT a big deal, but I had hoped to get that done.

Mile 4 and I see a line for the 'restrooms', and I decide to stop.  I waited in line and then I enter the dirty stall, close the door behind me and stumble.  I have my phone in one hand and I'm keeping that from a fall into the pit of waste, but as I regain my steadiness, I find that I caught my balance by sliding my hand into a wet urinal.  Wait, a wet urinal coated with fresh....vomit.  YAY.  So, I sanitized my hand, stepped outside, found a puddle, washed in puddle, went back into the porta-potty, santized my hand again, stepped back outside to the puddle, lather, rinse, repeat.  It was so gross but more than was time consuming.  Very time consuming.  I'm trying to recall if I thought any of this was funny at the time, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't laughing.

Miles 5,6,7 were fine, nothing fast but still running.  Mile 8 I notice that my GPS is saying I'm longer into my run than I am. least a mile longer.  So, in my mind, I've just tacked a mile onto an already long run, I know this isn't what actually happened but it really got into my head.  I still don't understand why this happened, but it affected me a lot.  Now I see a Garmin in my future.

I started to slow down.  I began walking through some water stops, and then the sun came out which is beautiful but hot and more humid.  I never stopped, but I did slow down.  I know I walked mile 9, picked it back up here and there and ran mile 12 to finish.  When I saw the finish line I wasn't all re-energized or excited...I was like "FINALLY".  I was spent.  Drained.  I don't think I could have gone any longer.  I was done and no matter what my official finishing time is (3:10:00) - I AM A HALF MARATHONER.  

I hope I don't sound like 'Debbie Downer'.  I loved this race, I loved the weekend, I love having this huge achievement under my belt.  I love knowing I have a 12 mile race in about 40 days.  I love LOVE all of my support from SO MANY PEOPLE that took time to send me messages and emails, tweets and facebook posts.  There were all beyond awesome and I truly wish I could thank you and tell you all personally what that meant to me.

My goal this race, my first half marathon, was to finish.  I finished, I learned and I will use what I've learned to teach me to be a better and stronger runner.   I know using what I've learned for my next race will be invaluable.  I won't become much faster in just a month, but I can get stronger.  I'll work more on my stride, my pacing, focus more on actually running than the music or podcast during my run.  I've realized that I need to 'get to know' my run, we need to meet, we need to know what to expect from each other....I've realized that I need to learn to respect my run.  I work too hard not to.

Friday, April 13, 2012

ready to 'rock' the Parkway

It's here.  Well, almost.  As I sit here sniffling and ignoring a tickle in my throat, I find my mind going to back to reminisce this first part of 2012.  How could four months fly by so fast?  How could this winter be so perfect (relatively non-existent) to support my first ever half marathon training?  How can I finally be *ready* to run 13.1 miles?

As I reflect on my previous months of training, it's only natural to look at numbers.  Roughly 240 miles ran so far in 2012.  I kind-of want to say "that's it?" but these miles are almost half of the total miles I ran in 2011, so I feel somewhat accomplished.  These miles were hard, with purpose and intent.  The competitive part of me would love to run 12 miles at least one more time, 'to really make sure I'm ready', but the sensible part of me says "You ARE ready."

My support has been more than amazing.  So many people on Facebook, Twitter and Dailymile have been SO supportive ...ALL THE TIME.  I know I wouldn't be where I am without them....the accountability is huge and their support is priceless.  But, this past week, I've been panicking and have turned to my sister, Amy.  She's listened (endured) my rants and worries all week, one day, I called her 4 or 5 times!  Amy is a former-runner-especial and I know to listen to her tips and advice, I also know one day we will run together again, and I can't wait.  Erin and Barb on Twitter have been beyond-words-amazing.  Again, two more people I'd love to have the pleasure to meet and run alongside (one day).   Logan, you better be reading this.  YOU were the first person to go 'all-in', when I proclaimed on Run Chat that I had decided to do my first half.  I believe you said "I'm going to follow you now, I love watching people tackle new goals" (or something kinda/sorta like that).  Then, there's my parents, my Mom always asking "are you still running" and my Dad reinforcing my running by telling me how great I look...that is so much more inspirational than you can imagine.  Now, I turn to Bob.  He's been my virtual running coach forever now.  (we actually attending the same HS and almost the same time!)  I really don't know if I would have done any of this without his guidance, his continual super-support and advice.  I'd love to run a mile at the speed he can run a mile...I laugh because we're both in Nebraska and I'm planning on running the Omaha Half Marathon and he is, too.  It's going to be hysterical because by the time I'm done, he will have showered and changed and grown a beard.   He's fast, I'm not, but as long as I have his 'support' I'm not worried about speed.  That's the best thing about running a new distance for the first time, a guaranteed PR :)

This sounds like I'm either going to die tomorrow or I'm going to win, I know both aren't going to happen but what I do I'm running my first half marathon and I am ready.   I'm ready to Rock the Parkway in Kansas City!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

running thoughts

It seems crazy to me that I haven't ran since Saturday.  I actually haven't done anything at all, that might be longest 'break' from running and working out I've had since being sick in July (except for traveling).  It seems even crazier to me that I'm running my first half marathon race in 9 days.  NINE.  I'm super excited for next weekend, all parts of it.  I even have a list!
1.  A medal
2.  A medal
3.  A medal (I reeeeally want a medal)
4.  Going to KC and seeing my brother and his wife (she's running with me!)
5.  Weekend away with hubby
6.  Drinking margaritas the size of my head after my race

Anyway, I don't feel that I'm off track or worried about my lack of running for the past 4 days.  I just....needed a break.  The timing, I don't understand.  My body just said 'stop', so...I did.  It was like I hit an 'off' button.  I don't even feel guilty.  I also realized my running shoes are WAY beyond their mileage.  You know how you drive on that worn tire for too long?  Those are my shoes.  I stepped on a rock and said 'ow'...I even have a cute hole in the top, which I thought was kinda cool until I stepped on that rock and had a closer look at my shoe.  I know it's too close to the race for new shoes and in all honesty, my shins aren't hurting and I'm not experiencing any real discomfort...unless of course I step on a rock.

So, I haven't ran or worked out, I need new shoes and I have my first half marathon next weekend.  I'm ambivalent about the end of my first half marathon training.  I feel accomplished and I love the structure, the schedule ...all of it.  Do I just continue my last weeks of training forever?  Will lack of this schedule derail me?  Will I ever run more than 13 miles?  Do I even want to ever run more than 13 miles?  How do I continue to challenge myself?

These are the questions/concerns rattling around in my head, but there is one thing constantly at the forefront, and that is finishing my first race and being damn proud of myself for doing just that.

Oh, and check out this sweet bling which will be mine next Saturday!