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Monthly Archives: May 2013

I Finished My Second 1/2 Marathon!

Last weekend I successfully completed my second 1/2 marathon and I had a blast!    Everything about this half marathon was different from my first half (well, the distance was the same).  The training methods I used, the actual race course, my goals, how I felt after…all different…and I think that’s a good thing!  So here’s a little recap about the differences between my first and second half marathons:

THE COURSE:

  • Half marathon #1 (HM1) was an unforgiving, hilly, exhausting, “why am I doing this to myself” kind of course.  It was all hills and yes, I am exaggerating but I spent a great deal of time walking up hills.
  • Half marathon #2 (HM2) was as flat as a delicious pancake dripping in syrupy yumminess.  Sounds appealing, huh?!  The course was new to me, which was a great distraction, the surroundings were beautiful, and did I mention it was flat…?

GOALS:

  • My goal for HM1 was to finish.  Plain and simple.  Finish it.  And I did.  My time was 2:49:28 but it didn’t matter and I didn’t care because my goal was to finish and I accomplished my goal!
  • My goal for HM2 was to finish it with a time of 2:30 or less.  Keep in mind, this was a lofty goal for me since I’m a slow runner.  That would mean I needed to run at an average pace of 11:27 per mile.  I was pretty sure I could do that.  At mile 1, my watch read 11 minutes.  Mile 2 = 22 minutes, mile 3 = 33 minutes, and it was like that until mile 7.  I was impressed with myself for being so consistent.  In mile 7, two things happened – the math got harder (77 minutes minus 60 = 17 minutes, carry the 1…and so goes my brain).  The other thing that happened is I had to pee.  I have a pretty strong bladder unless I’m bouncing up and down on it for 77 minutes (minus 60, carry the one = 1 hour 17 minutes).  So I waited in line at the porta-potty and used up 2 minutes and 12 seconds of precious time (yes, I actually timed it).  These minutes ended up mattering because my finish time was 2:32:58.  If I could have skipped the bathroom break, my time would have been 2:30:46…which is basically making my goal as far as I’m concerned…who cares about the pesky seconds anyway?!?
  • My other goal for HM2 was to have fun and enjoy the experience.  I accomplished that goal as well!

TRAINING:

  • HM1 training consisted of Jeff Galloway’s run/walk method.  I trained alone, mostly on my treadmill, and I stuck to my plan like nobody’s business.  Ultimately, I ended up doing 3 minutes running then 1 minute walking and that was my race  plan…except when there were  hills.  When I approached a hill, I walked up the hill then ran as fast as I could down the hill.
  • HM2 training consisted of joining a training group.  You can read about this bold decision here.  It turns out, this was a very wise decision.  I learned a great deal, like how to breathe, running form, speed work, all that good running stuff.  There were mentors who helped me along the way.  In fact, at around mile 12.75, I was SO hurting and wanted to walk even though the finish line was right there.  I started to walk and one of the mentors (who had already crossed the finish line) came up to me and said (encouragingly), “You can NOT stop running now.  Is your family at the finish line?”  I replied, “Yes.”  She said, “Then start running, you want them to see you finish strong!  Just follow me!”  So, I followed her and kept running.  That kind of encouragement and motivation is priceless and she really helped me finish strong.  Thank you Staci!
  • With HM2, I had a training plan but I didn’t stick with it as much as I did for HM1.  I did the weekly planned group runs (except for the 11 mile run) but didn’t do so well with cross-training.  This half marathon plan was not a ‘run/walk’ plan.  It was a ‘run/run’ plan so I ran the majority of the entire 13.1 miles…toward the end, I needed to take a few walk breaks because of my hips and knees, but other than that, I ran.

halfmarathonmedal

HOW I FELT THROUGHOUT THE RACE:

  • HM1 was kind of intimidating because it was my first half, I didn’t know what I was in for, I saw a couple familiar faces before the race but not one familiar face was to be seen for the duration of the run.  I felt excited on one hand, but as mentioned above, the course was hilly which really took a toll on me toward the end.  I think in my focus shifted from, ‘Wow, look what I’m doing’ to ‘I’m so uncomfortable, why am I doing this?’  When it was over, I was sore but recovered rapidly and felt great the next day.
  • HM2 I had a mission to “Run the mile I was in”.  I read a great post by Wise Running that talked about just enjoying the mile you are in…don’t focus on what you’ve done or need to do, just focus on the present mile.  I thought of that over and over, I focused on breathing and counting (it relaxed me), and I thought of how fortunate I am to be able to run.  Keeping my mind focused on those things kept me moving.  I felt super throughout the run.  Well, except  when my hips and knees started hurting.  At that point I needed some walk breaks.  After the run, my knee was really hurting and it took a couple of days before I was able to wake up and not feel like my legs took a beating.

BEST RACE MOMENT:

  • HM1’s best moment was finishing the half marathon.  I was very proud to finish, to remain uninjured and to walk away knowing I wanted to do another half marathon…just not THAT particular half marathon!
  • HM2’s best moments were:   Finishing, of course, and doing so in a time I was proud of (and setting a personal record, to boot).  I loved the fact that I saw familiar faces all throughout the run.  I saw runners from my training group, I saw the coaches cheering us on, I saw my BFF and her family on the course since they were race volunteers.  And best of all, I saw my family at the finish line.  My son was in the crowd running along with me for the last couple hundred feet.  I yelled out to him, “Keep running with me, you’re keeping me motivated!!”  When I crossed the finish line and met my husband and son there, I said to my son, “Thank you so much for running with me!”  He said in his matter of fact tone, “Mom, I was just walking.”  Oh, ok…so if he was walking, and I felt like I was sprinting, I guess reality lies somewhere in the middle 🙂

Thank you to my family and friends for all your support during my training and my second half marathon!  Sometimes it takes a village 😉

postracedogkisses My family provided me with post-race Krispy Kreme donuts, an ice pack and some ibuprofen.  Finn provided me with dog kisses.

halfmarathon post pic

Has running taught you any great lessons?

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Sometimes You Gotta Ditch the Plan

GASP!  You read correctly.  Slow Girl (the control freak, the planner to a fault, the one who should take a chill pill already), says, “Sometimes, you gotta ditch the plan.”  I never ditch the plan.  I make the plan, baby.  But a couple of weekends ago, I ditched the plan like one bad-ass plan ditcher.

You see, my half marathon is coming up this Sunday (as in three days from now) and I haven’t been following my training plan like a good obsessive planner would do.  It’s my second half marathon so it’s not like I haven’t run 13.1 miles before.  I’m sure I can do it even if  I’ve missed several mid-week runs, skipped a dozen or so cross-training workouts and missed just one long slow distance run.  Sure, it was the longest run of the training program that I missed but whatever…it was just 11 miles.  Besides, it’s not like I sat around on my butt that weekend and did nothing at all.  I did something just as challenging and strenuous as an 11 mile run.  I had a family dance off, yo!

A couple of weekends ago my youngest sister, Amy, graduated WITH HONORS from college.  Impressive, I know.  I flew to California and met up with my younger sister, Andrea, my mom, my step dad and my niece, Angela.  Since we live in different states, it’s a pretty special occasion when we are all under the same roof.  Throw in a college graduation and a good time is guaranteed!  Spending time with my family always brings me great joy and this trip did not disappoint!

On Saturday night, after all of the graduation festivities, Angela and Amy suggested we play a fun game called, “Just Dance 4.”  What?  You’ve heard of it before?  Well, apparently everyone in the universe has heard of it except for me.  It’s a Wii game and you follow the dance moves of the pretend dancer on the screen.  The better you follow the moves (using the remote thingy) the more points you get.  I’m not a dancer.  I have no rhythm, no groove, no grace, no nothing.  But when challenged to a dance off by my little sister and niece, I said, “Bring it on, you little whippersnappers.”  And so the evening began.  A snap shot of the night:

justdancedontpeepants Amy is on the left, she’s the one actually dancing.  I’m on the right, trying to not pee my pants from laughing so hard.  That was my second dance outfit of the evening.  Lesson:  Don’t ‘Just Dance’ after drinking a ton of water all day….jumping up and down does not mix well with hard-core laughter.

justdance I pulled myself together, put on my game face and danced to this fun song, “Call me Maybe.”  I lost but was given bonus points for best facial expressions.  Yay me.

justdancesister $h!t got real when the song, “Moves Like Jagger” came on.  A little dance off with Andrea was underway…I wanted to win SO bad.  I didn’t.

So you see…sometimes when you ditch the plan, there is a WAAAY better plan out there.  For me, it was dancing like a dork with my family all night long.  Did I deviate from my training plan and miss my 11 mile run?  Yep.   Did it really matter in the grand scheme of things?  Nope.  Was I sorry that my family made me laugh so hard  I peed my pants?  Not really.  Am I going to buy my own Just Dance game so I can secretly practice my moves for the next reunion/Dance Off?  Hell yeah!

As for my half marathon that’s coming up in three days…I’m feeling fine physically and great mentally/emotionally.  My head’s in a good place, I feel like I’m going to kill it.  I’ve completed a 10 mile run during my training so what’s a few more miles?  Honestly, I think spending time dancing with my family was more beneficial to my race preparation than running my scheduled 11 miles all alone.

To Sunday’s Half Marathon:  Ready or not, here I come!

Does emotional/mental preparation play a role in your training?  Do you freak if you deviate from your training plan?

Finnigan Strikes Again & Again

Finn, my whippet puppy, is doing it again.  He’s driving me mad, batty, coo-coo.  I’m supposed to be training for a half marathon but instead, I’m chasing after this goof ball:

slywhippet

He’s a 10 month old whippet, which I’m convinced is old enough to know better…right??  We (the humans) recently took a big leap of faith and started leaving Finn home alone, uncrated, when we left the house.  At first, we left him alone for 20 minutes or so and everything was fine when we returned.  Then we had to leave him for 45 minutes, then an hour, then 4 hours.  Yes, you’re right.  Four hours was a little risky on our part…especially knowing he gets bored so easily.

Here’s what tickles Finn’s fancy in the absence of human supervision:

grass Removing all of the dried moss from the potted plants and then leaving the moss on the kitchen floor.  What’s so fun about that?

mantle Finn knows that we keep all of our winter shoes in the basement closet.  He also knows that we are a forgetful bunch of humans and never close the closet door.  He finds great pleasure in carrying our shoes up to the living room where he chews and chews and chews on them.  When we get home and find all of our shoes (and boots, and hats, and slippers) around the house, we just throw everything on top of the mantle because we know if we put it away in the closet, we’ll forget to close the closet door and we’re back to square one.

mismatchedshoes Where the hell are my missing flip flops, Finn????  I can NOT continue walking around like this!

When I come across one of Finn’s messes, I think to myself, “When I find you, Finn, I’m gonna…” then I find this:

adorablewhippet …An adorable whippet who drives me crazy and melts my heart all at once.  I forget exactly what it was I was going to do to him and instead I pour a glass of wine, relax with my trouble maker and make a mental note to close the closet door.