Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just Not Feelin' It!

Disclaimer: This post really is a little of a Dear Diary, so here's what is floating around in my brain right now.

The honeymoon is over! I took several days off at the beginning of last week, but headed back out to the open road on Thursday. My goal this year is to log (mostly through running, but some will be walking miles) 1000 or so miles, give or take.  Calculated, I need to log around 19-20 miles per week. Sooooooo, I needed to run 6 miles to finish out last week.

Here is a summary of my exercise for the past week:

1/13/11-3.1 miles-30:57-9:59 pace
1/15/11-3.1 miles-31:28-10:09 pace
1/17/11-6 miles-64:26-10:44 pace-Yikes!
1/18/11-4.11 miles-65:48-a much needed therapy walk with my friend Jennifer
1/19/11-3.0 miles-30:07-10:02 pace
1/20/11-3.2 miles-31:45-9:55 pace

Reflecting on this, I'm not disappointed. It is my intent to stay positive and focus on how far I have come. A few lessons:
*You are what you eat. Well, remember those M&M cookie bars, those probably didn't help. Nor did the donut from Milton Bakery OR the blueberry pineapple dump cake. OK, I'll stop there. Oh, maybe the few glasses of Riesling that I had last week didn't contribute well to my efforts either. Now, I'm done.
*Perhaps there is a recovery period after these big events. I remember struggling for a few weeks after I ran my first 10K back in October. Pushing my body to a new extreme may require my brain to adjust also. Mentally, I have been a complete mess while running. I have even had to stop to walk a few times. I'm just NOT feelin' it!
*On the bright side: I am getting my miles in toward my goal.  Finished out last week with 19.37 miles at an average pace of 10:23. I have 16.3 miles logged this week with two days to go. I am so thankful that schedules and weather allowed me to walk with my friend Jennifer on Tuesday. Walking and talking is great for my emotional health. Just sayin'!
Bright note #2: I am holding the sweets at bay this week, opting instead for sugar-free chocolate pudding to attempt to satisfy my sweet tooth.
Bright note #3: I have about 10 women interested in starting a Couch to 5K program with me in February. I am excited to see what God has in store for the women who join me.

It would be easy for me to get discouraged. I've accomplished my major goal, I no longer have my running buddy, I am pretty positive that I am fighting off bronchitis...blah, blah, blah.  All that needs to fall on deaf ears. Mine might need earplugs.
I realized way back in high school that I tend to complain. It is something that I consciously work to overcome. I try to be a glass half-full person because I was raised by a glass half-empty person. I have spent a good deal of time with my glass half-empty person this week taking her to have cataract surgery and for follow-up appointments. I literally cringe when I have to be around negative, pessimistic people for an extended period of time. It is so much easier to choose JOY!!!!!!!

So, I leave you with this that I saw on a friend's FB page:
There comes a time in life when you walk away from all the drama and those who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right and avoid the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of life, getting back up and moving forward is living.

Last, but not least, Scott encouraged me to break down (remember my thrifty side) and purchase my "official" photo tonight. Looking forward to my next half-marathon in New Orleans on February 13. Don't you want to go?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

First Light Half-Marathon

Most likely, you are in for another short story made long, so if you are interested, grab your favorite beverage and I'll reminisce about the events of the past weekend.  A little background knowledge for you, Scott and I have lived in Mobile on two different "power company stints" (as I fondly call them).  We have lived in Mobile for a total of 8 of our 17 years of marriage.  Considering all of our other moves in between, Mobile is in a unique way kinda home for us.  Both of our children were born in Mobile, ahhhh, memories.

Once I picked up my race packet, I decided to explore part of the course that I was not familiar with. The first 4 miles took lots of twist and turns on roads that were off the beaten path.  I took a few snap shots of this beautiful old downtown area that is very historical in nature. 

Below is the picture of the home stretch.  I knew that once I saw this, I would be running the final steps to accomplishing my goal of completing a half-marathon.

After my little tour, it was time to get checked into my hotel. I was so thankful when I realized that my hotel was two blocks from the starting line and two blocks the opposite way from the finish line.  I never could have imagined just how helpful this would be.  I debated about going to eat dinner with a close friend of mine, which I should have done!!!  I guess I let my anxiousness get to me a little.  I was all settled in and didn't think I wanted to go back into another part of town.  I chose to eat the provided pre-race meal, which turned out to be cold spaghetti and COLD peach cobbler. 

One of the main reasons I wanted to go over the night before and stay in the hotel is so I could focus and go to bed early.  I got all nestled into bed at 9:00.  11:00 is my "normal" bedtime, so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that I wasn't just going to nod off to dreamland.  It didn't take long before my stomach went into a dimension of it's own.  No, not nerves, it had to have been either food poisoning or something viral.  I will spare you the details of course, but I finally went to sleep around 1:30.  I know that I was "awakened" again in the the 3 o'clock and 4 o'clock hours.  At 5:23, I was wide awake for good. 

At this point, all of my attempts to hydrate all week long, were since exhausted.  My mouth was dry and I started drinking Propel.  I did actually feel like eating, so I headed down to the breakfast buffet provided by the hotel.  I had already called my best friend who was boarding her plane to some game out in Arizona and asked her to pray for me.  I also called Scott around 7:00 to tell him that he may find me at a local hospital, but I was about to head out to try to run the race. 

I sat down after breakfast and wrote out the Bible verses that I had been praying during my eventful night.  I knew that the ONLY way I would get through more than two hours of running would be with HIS help.  With less than four hours of sleep and almost dehydrated, I was learning the lesson to make sure He was glorified through this whole experience.  I still consider myself a toddler or perhaps a preschooler in my journey with the Lord, but these are the verses that I prayed and took with me on my 13.1 miles:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good,
not for evil, to give you a hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:30

At 7:22, I darted out the door to jog to the starting line.  My body didn't allow me to leave any earlier and I probably did not stretch enough.  I turned my Garmin on as soon as I went outside, but guess what, the satellites would not load.  After a few adjustments and a little bit of panic (I so rely on my Garmin to keep my pace), the satellites were loaded and POW! the gun went off.  If there was any pomp and circumstance, I had missed it by my tardiness.

As I started running, I turned on my I-Pod only to find that it TOO was malfunctioning.  At this point, I just had to giggle.  Every time I turned it on, Anoop Desai's version of "Beat It" from American Idol was playing.  Blake loved that when it was on American Idol and it is on his playlist.  I could get it to stop and go back to the main screen, but could not get it to load my running playlist.  I tried no less than 6 times and decided just to give up on the I-Pod.  At mile three, the I-Pod fell off and I took that as a sign to try one more time.  Victory! it went to my running playlist where you might hear anything from Beyonce's "If I Were a Boy" to Aaron Shust's "My Savior, My God". 

After this long oration, I must tell you that the next 13.1 miles were fantastic.  Simply stated, I couldn't have asked for it to go any better.  After about mile 8, it was vital that I stopped at every water stop.  Just needed the fluids. After about mile 10, my body started saying-you have never pushed me this far, I think that this hurts and I will show you many places where I am uncomfortable.  It NEVER crossed my mind to quit though.  This was a done deal. 

About that time, I start running by USA Women's and Children's Hospital.  Emotions...that is where our precious Blake was born 10 years ago.  Believe it or not, there's a much longer story that goes with how the Lord orchestrated his birth.  That was the little extra push I needed to keep running.  I started visualizing seeing my family at the finish line.

Running into the home stretch was exhilirating!  Scott and Blake were on one side of the road cheering me on and taking pictures and my dad was on the other side.  I am thankful they got pictures of me actually running.  No huge strides at this point in the journey, but still putting one foot in front of the other.  Bryant was stationed at the finish line and I didn't see him until he startled me after I had come through the crowd.  My boys think it is the funniest thing in the world to scare me. 

My Garmin time said 2:18:38, the official time from First Light was 2:18:57.  I still don't understand how these bibs are suppose to work.  I purposely got in the back of the crowd and started my Garmin as I was passing the start line.  Oh well, I'll learn and let you know.

My goal was to finish with a time somewhere between 2:15 and 2:20.  I am thrilled that I did just that, especially considering my lack of sleep and hydration issues.  My next half is scheduled for February 13th in New Orleans.  I am so glad I did this one first.  The Rock-N-Roll Half-Marathon is going to be huge!  I think there are more than 20,000 people registered.

Thank you Lord that I was physically able to complete my first half-marathon!

My first medal and the love of my family!

Scott is my biggest supporter.  Due to a torn miniscus and surgery, he no longer can run with me.  He said he never wanted to run the half-marathon distance, but I know that if he had not had surgery, he would have been there every step of the way.

Below is a picture of me with my boys and my dad.
My dad wanted to get this picture of me in the hotel after I got all cleaned up. 
 So, this is an "after" picture of one tired, but elated girl!

Now, if you stuck with me for this long, you certainly deserve to know that one of the big reasons I run is so I can eat some of my favorite things, like Fried Green Tomatoes, Fried Mozzerella, and seafood from The Original Oyster House.  On Monday night, I treated myself to a pan of  M and M bar cookies.  I would show you a picture of those, but they are in my stomach.  Maybe I'll do a short post soon and share my favorite dessert with you! 


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Terrible chafing and a little anxiety

On Sunday, I set out for my 10 mile run.  You know how they say to not cook a new recipe when you have company, well a similar scenario is to not try anything new on race day.  I already have a few issues with this as I told you earlier of my uncertainty on how to fuel my body for such a long run.  I wanted to wear clothes that would be similar to what I will wear on race day.  I put on another running skirt (the one I bought on clearance) and set out for a run. 

These skirts have "built-in" underwear, but otherwise, there is nothing between your legs.  I have another skirt that I dearly love that has compression shorts built in.  I also have a couple pair of Nike running shorts with built in underwear.  I love, love, love them, but the shorts do tend to right up due to the fact that my thighs do not allow enough room between my legs.  How do you like that for a mental picture? 

I was doing great until around mile three when I started noticing that the friction between my legs was going to be an issue.  Well, by mile four it had become a little painful.  I thought, no pain, no gain, but is this what I want to do?  By mile 5, I was close to my house and seriously considered coming inside to change into pants, but I was afraid I would lose my momentum.  I HAD to complete this run. 

Unfortunately, when you have something nagging you like that, it takes over mentally.  I guess the good news is that I finished the run with no problems.  I felt terrific other than the insides of my legs.  I finished the run in 1:44, which is a 10:24 pace.  I was pleased with my time considering my "issue".  You likely could put me on America's Funniest Home Videos if you had me on tape from Sunday afternoon. 

The rest of the evening was spent avoiding my thighs actually touching.  It was pretty comical.  My children are just a little too old for us to have any A&D ointment or Desitin in our medicine cabinet.  We keep some at the beach, but I could not find any in my house!  I do know that I should have a runner's friend, Body Glide, and I would not have this problem.  I just never have had any need, so I have never purchased any.  If you decide to take up running, this might be a tool to invest in.

My planned outifit might be need to be changed.  I ordered the same skirt that I got for Christmas, but in the "athletic" version, which includes compression shorts.  If it does not get here in time, I will just wear my old reliable running skirt that I got from Kohl's a while back.  By the way, my "right feet" socks arrived today.  So, plenty of socks on hand!

Well, it's Wednesday now and my training is allowing me to taper down my running this week.  Mondays are always a rest day after the long run.  I ran 4 miles yesterday and 3 today.  I am suppose to run 2 tomorrow and then rest Friday and Saturday.  Here's my problem, my quads feel like they have 15 pound bowling balls attached with every step I take.  They feel sore and heavy.  They were already sore, but then lastnight Scott and I did an exercise using a kettle bell that involved squats.  I really, really struggled through my three miles today.  My debate is: do I rest an extra day tomorrow or do I still run the 2 that my training tells me to?  Decisions, decisions.

My other concern is the weather.  I am a true wimp to the elements anyway.  I would prefer to live somewhere that it is always sunny, high in the 80's and low in the 50's.  Well, I live in hot, humid Florida.  I overcame the cold issue when I ran a 10K in Mobile in October.  The temperature was around 35 when we started that morning.  I have figured out the way to make that work.  Lots of layers, and give your body time to warm up.

The forecast for Sunday is a 40% chance of rain.  I can handle a little rain, but it has been a drenching, pouring, soaking, flooding rain here today and that has built some trepidation in my mind.  The temperatures look great, low 41 so it should be a wonderful start!

I realize I am long winded.  A year from now, I just want to be able to look back on this and see what I have learned.  I will take lots of pictures on Sunday, somehow.  I don't know how I will get actual pictures of me running, but maybe I can get one of my Mobile friends to help out.  Scott, the boys, and my dad should be there at the finish line.  I am excited about my first half-marathon experience. 

Until then, wish me luck!