Did I Just Enjoy That Run? I Think I Did.

When I was training for my half marathon over the summer and into the fall, I was so excited.  Every run brought me closer to a really amazing goal I had set for myself, I enjoyed running in new territory (lengths) every week with my long runs, and I looked forward to lacing up and heading out.

This time around, I’ve been struggling.  I haven’t been enjoying my runs.  They’ve been painful, exhausting, and seemingly endless–and I haven’t really had any actual LONG runs!  I chalk it up to the fact that it’s cold, and I let myself get out of shape.

Tonight, I had my first enjoyable run.  The hill leading out from my house was a little rough, but the rest of the run was awesome.  I felt freer than I have felt on any training run this far.  I was a little nostalgic too.  I envisioned my marathon.  I thought about the people in my life who can’t run and never will again.  I chanted their names in rhythm with my footsteps, and it was encouraging.  I imagined those people mid-course holding signs that say things like “my daughter runs for me” or “run while you can” as they sit, incapacitated, in their wheelchairs. I even picture my twin brother standing with our parents with a sign that reads “my sister’s a friggin’ show off”…lol!

I’m happy to have finally had a good run.  I wish I had had time to do another mile or so.  I didn’t want to stop!  I may just be getting my groove back, and that’s a good thing because I’ve been questioning whether or not I could actually complete a marathon since I started training 3 weeks ago.  The seed had been planted; I was just waiting for it to germinate.  It may finally be pushing its fragile self to the surface after all.  🙂

On a side note: my mom is still in the hospital. Nursing home, actually.  She is still working at being rehabilitated enough to go home.  I fear it may never happen.  She’s been in the hospital/rehab/now nursing home since Oct. 8.  She had a doctor’s appointment today and was informed that she will need to have stents put in her legs.  Her feet are not healing properly (diabetic/kidney failure=poor circulation=foot problems).  Hopefully, blood flow will be restored, and she will begin to heal.  Back in May, my dad had this problem, and it was never rectified.  He is now a double amputee.  Mom has a better shot, but we will have to wait and see.

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They are the reason I run.  I’ve said it before, and I will say it again (and again, and again, and again).  I weighed almost 300 pounds, and I was going to die.  Not soon, but sooner than I should.  And painfully.  Watching my vibrant parents become bedridden made me change my ways.  1. I didn’t want to end up like them. 2. I wanted them to know that I wouldn’t end up like them.  They are so proud of the way I have turned my life around.  Especially my mom.  She has confided several times that if she had known how things would end up, she would have taken better care of herself and that she’s so happy that I AM doing just that.

I love those goofy people, and I wish I could have them around longer (and healthier), but it is what it is.  I’ll be spending as much of the holiday with them as I can.  Christmas break starts Friday at 12:30, but we are supposed to get some snow and ice tonight, so I may be off until January!

Keep running!  It’s so worth it! 🙂

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Marathon Training: Week Two (And Confessions of a Fat Girl)

This week wasn’t too bad either.  I’m still playing catch up from all the couch sitting I did after my half marathon in October, but my endurance is coming back fairly quickly.

I ran 3 miles on Monday.  It wasn’t too bad.  I walked a few miles on Tuesday.  On Thursday, I rushed home because I wanted to get my long run (6 miles) in before my hectic weekend began.  I ran the whole 6 with a few short walk breaks up hills.  At first I was disappointed in having to walk, but now I remember how I had to take a few breaks in my first few weeks of half marathon training too.  I’m certain that as I progress in training, my endurance and stamina will catch up and I’ll be running non-stop like I did for all the later weeks of my half training.  No worries.  Well, maybe a few. 😉

I ran 2.5 last night before it got dark.  I was dressed in dark clothing, so I thought it might be best to get home.  Besides, I had a ton of cleaning and wrapping to do before the kiddos came home at 8.  Spoiler alert:  My house is kinda-not a disaster, and no gifts were wrapped.

This morning my piano is being tuned, so I’ve been able to do a little laundry and blogging.  I’d have liked to have gotten my last 3 mile run of the week in, but I guess I’ll save it for tomorrow.  I’m going out to dinner tonight with my hubby and our friends, so I’m going to make healthy choices, but I’m also going to eat as much as I want!  I’ve busted my butt all week running AND eating healthy, so I deserve a little calorie splurge.  My body is tired too, so…maybe I need the calories.  That’s what I’m telling myself anyway!

Confession time!  After my half, I had planned to keep running and eating healthy, but I did allow myself 2 weeks off.  2 weeks morphed into 6…and I morphed into a fatty!  In 6 weeks, I went from 164 (half marathon weight–and +7 from my lowest) to 184!  In my defense, about 5 of that was water weight because as soon as I got back in the swing of things, I instantly dropped to 179.  The last 1.5-2 weeks, I’ve dropped another 5, so now I’m back down to 174.  I’m hoping the weight keeps dropping.  I’m sure that the reason I feel extra tired on runs is because of the extra pounds I’m packing.  It freaks me out a little that I gained 20 lbs almost instantly, but I did do a lot of eating.  And a lot of lounging.

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I fell, but I picked myself back up.  I’m sure I’ll be seeing the 160s soon, and I’m still hoping to hit my goal of the 140s by marathon day in April.  With all the running I’ll be doing, I’m thinking it’ll all come out in the wash. 🙂

Anyway, next week is a 3, 4, 3 and 7 miler.  We shall see how that goes.

Keep running.

First Long Run of Marathon Training

Welp, it’s done.  I just ran my first “long run” of marathon training.  I was planning to do 6, but it ended up being a 5 miler instead.  It wasn’t too bad, though.  I will say it wasn’t as enjoyable as some of my other long runs from previous training, but it was doable.  I cut it short because I think I just hadn’t eaten enough and my body was tired.  I’m also getting strange feelings in my legs and feet, so parts of the run were very uncomfortable.  The feeling is kind of an itchy/crawly/light buzz or tingle.  It doesn’t hurt, but it feels very strange.  As I type this, I notice the same feeling in my left hand.  Usually, if I feel in in my hands, it’s my right hand–not the left.  Weird.  Anyone have any ideas?

My hubby ran with me for a bit.  I did a 1.2 loop and then he met me when I came back by the driveway.  We ran down across the dam, which offers pretty views even in winter, and then looped back home.  Hubby ran so much faster than me, and it really ticked me off!  I’ve been serious about running for almost a year now, and he can out run me–at least with speed.  He lost his momentum when he hit almost 2 miles.  I kept going strong for 3.4, then I walked up a huge hill and ran the rest of the way home for a 5 mile run.

Along the way, I found a cell phone on the dam.  I called the last person they had talked to, and a neighbor from down the street answered.  She came by to pick up the phone and was very grateful.  When she called me back on the found phone to let me know she was on her way to my house, the ring tone was Me and Bobby McGee.  I told her it must have been fate for me to find it, since that is probably my all time favorite song…or at least top 5!  Too funny.  Anyway, I did my good deed for the day, so I hope karma was watching! 🙂

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I’ll be running three 3 milers and my 6 (that I was supposed to do today) next week.  Wish me luck on week two! 🙂

I Finished my First Half Marathon!

Celebrating with the kids post-race. :)

Celebrating with the kids post-race. 🙂

Welp, I did it, and it was great!  On Saturday morning, the family got up and headed out the door for St. Charles, MO.  We stopped at Denny’s and I indulged with pancakes and hashbrowns.  Yum.  We ran a few errands, and I tried to find some compression pants in a smaller size, but with no luck.

We went to the Expo where I received an excellent stretch and a looooong, much needed massage from a young man named Ramone.  I told him I wanted to marry him.  He thought I was joking.  I picked up my shirt and car sticker and a few coupons.  One coupon was for free socks, so we visited that store, since it was basically in the same plaza as our hotel.  They were out of the free ones, so they gave me an even better pair of Saucony dri-fit compression socks.  Score!  And in talking with the young lady behind the counter, I found out her grandparents live in the same community as me and I’ve done several training runs by their home.  Small world.

We ate at a cheap Italian place.  We were tired, and the restaurant was next door.  I ordered lasagna.  It was frozen!  I was so tired that I didn’t even complain.  I just ate around the solid parts and we went back to the hotel.  We watched a bit of Harry Potter, and we had the lights out by 9pm.  I think I fell asleep by 9:30 and slept well all night–which is uncommon for me.

I woke at 5 and had all my race gear in the bathroom, so I could dress without waking the family.  I was still pretty out of it, so when I turned around in the bathroom with my clothes in my hand, I dropped my socks.  In the toilet!  I’m soooo glad I had gotten that extra pair the day before!  To run 13.1 miles in uncomfortably thin cotton socks would have been a nightmare!

I scarfed a granola bar and a fruit bar and woke the fam.  They all bounced up and were ready within 15 minutes.  We hit the breakfast downstairs.  I had coffee, and the kids had muffins and yogurt.  There were other runners there, but they were pretty obnoxious.  They really seemed to just want to hear themselves talk.  They were having a conversation, but each person’s was one sided.  Just a bunch of declarative statements, really.

We arrived at the public parking lot.  It was dark and cold.  We waited in the car for a bit, but then I decided to head to the start line at 6:40.  The race stared at 7:30.  I used that time to stand in the super long port-o-potty lines and meet up with my friend who was running too.  She and her husband lined up at the back of the 10 minute mile line.  I lined up with them so that I would have company while we waited for the start.  After a mile or so, when the crowd thinned, I slowed my pace to a 12ish minute mile pace.

After the start, I was overwhelmed with emotion.  It was a big deal for me, having weighed almost 300 pounds in 2013.  I realized how hard I had worked and how far I had come, and that I was realizing a goal I had set for myself and trained religiously for for months!  It was all I could to to not ugly cry.  The feeling passed, and I ran a great race. For the first half of the race, every time I would pass a mile marker, I would think, Wow!  Really?  Already?  

There weren’t as many spectators as I thought there would be, but the High-Five Zone at mile 5 was pretty cool.  The only negatives were that I had over-hydrated, so I had to stop at several port-o-pottys, and halfway through, I started having tummy trouble, again…having to stop at every port-o-potty. 😦  I thought it was because I had drank more Gatorade than I’m used to, but that night, my daughter got sick too.  Figures that I would have a stomach bug on my first big race!

Even with the frequent bathroom breaks, I hit both of my half marathon goals:

1. Finish in under 3 hours (My finish time was 2:48 flat)

2. Run the whole course without walking (I allowed for bathroom breaks…just didn’t know I would be taking so many!)

At mile 10, the flat course became a hilly course.  Ouch.  Bad place to add some hills if you ask me.  I was still feeling okay, and had plenty of energy.  At one point, as I was passing everyone who was walking up the hill, a woman yelled, “You run that hill!”  I loved that encouragement.

Mile 11 was the longest mile in history.  I don’t think I ever saw the mile 12 sign. I must have missed it. During the final miles, my hips were hurting, and I had to stop and stretch them and my quads, but other than that, I felt great.  Others around me were miserable.  Someone with knee pain was telling her husband it was worse than giving birth.  Some were limping. Some were sitting on the curb.  Some were basically crawling.  I was so proud of what I was accomplishing and how well I had trained for it.  My body was not giving out.  My mind was not giving in.  My heart was not giving up.

Finally, people started shouting that the finish was just down the hill and around the corner.  I was thinking:

A. OMG…If I was running a marathon, I’d only be HALFWAY!

and

B. OMG…I’m going to finish a half marathon! 13.1 miles!

And then I saw the finish.   I saw the clock.  I saw that I was going to beat my goal by more than 10 minutes.  I crossed the line.  I jogged a little farther and began walking toward a gate to get some good stretches in.

My hubby came over and hugged me.  A big bear hug.  He was so proud.  The kids were proud too.  I celebrated (even with my bad tummy) by getting my free beer and some delicious blueberry bread.

We walked around for a bit and then went to the car.  We stopped by the mall, so I could return some items, we shopped a little, and then we stopped for lunch.  After this, I was beat.  We got home, I took a shower, and I hit my bed and stayed there watching tv all evening.  Heck, I deserved it. 🙂

It was an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to do it again!  I’ll be working on speed now that I have some miles under my belt.

Now the question is…to marathon, or not to marathon…

Sunny selfie in my race shirt.

Sunny selfie in my race shirt.

T-33 Hours to My First Half Marathon!

I am beyond excited.  And scared!  I have worked so hard for this race, and it is finally here.  Long runs, short runs, painful runs, hot, cold, never-ending, euphoric runs.  They will culminate in 13.1 miles of kick-a** racery on Sunday, October 5th.

I did my last training run this evening.  I have been so busy this week that I truly did not have time to run.  I felt a little…off…so I put in 3 miles tonight.  They were okay.  Cold.  I got a side stitch.  My knees hurt a little. But all in all, I feel very prepared and oh-so-ready for my race on Sunday.

The kids and I made signs tonight.  It was therapeutic after the week from hell I had.  The signs turned out nice!  Can’t wait to see them on the course! 🙂

I'm sure hubby was thinking two out of the three signs here the whole time we were making them.

I’m sure hubby was thinking two out of the three signs here the whole time we were making them.

Yes, I know they are cheesy, but a little cheese might be all I need to push me through the last few miles.

Thanks to all who have rooted for me, encouraged me, or gave this newbie some seasoned advice.  It is all so very appreciated.  Send me good running vibes on Sunday morning!

Keep running.  I know I will.

It’s Tuesday: Quick HM Update

 

I’m a tired, tired lady.  Some of it is from all this running.  The rest is because I’m a teacher.  I love what I do, but boy, is it exhausting!  I’m also doing a lot of writing on the side…a novel maybe?  But it’s just for fun…Bucket List fun.

 

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I’m also a hungry, hungry lady.  Again–all the running, I’m sure.  I’m keeping my calories in check, but Lawd, have mercy, I wanna eat the world!

 

 

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I ran after school with a co-worker/half marathon training buddy.  We’ve only run together twice during our training.  That wasn’t the intention, but it’s the way it worked out.  That’s fine though, she’s much faster than me, and I hate feeling like I’m slowing her down.

I’m tapering this week.  I ran 12 miles on Saturday, and then took Sunday and Monday off.  Today, I only ran 2.5 miles.  I’m planning on 5 tomorrow, 5 Thursday and 6-8 Saturday.  Next week I’m thinking I’ll do 5 on Monday, 3 on Tuesday, 3 on Thursday, and then rest Friday and Saturday before the big race.  I’m so excited.  I feel very prepared.  As long as I’m healthy, rested, and injury-free, I’ve got this!

Happy running! 🙂  Enjoy every step.

It’s a Beautiful Day: Last Long Run Before my Half

That was the most beautiful 12 mile run.  I was up at 5:30, out the door by 6:15, I watched the sun rise, and enjoyed every second (well, almost every second) of the 2:25 hours it took me to complete it.

Mile one was a little rough.  I was worried that if I felt like that in mile one, I might be dead by mile five.  I had worn a headband that went over my ears to keep them warm, and I put gloves on my hand.  Turns out it was much warmer than I thought, so I ditched them in my driveway after about a mile.  I took another loop around the park and made my way back up my road and toward the lake.  At about mile five, when I turned around to make my way back to my house for another loop, I was greeted with this sight.

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The mist. The sun. The lake.  This run was so worth it. I found myself feeling a little guilty as I ran back across the dam straight into what I could have sworn was a painting.  Other people were still in their beds.  Other people were in their cars.  Other people were in their houses.  I was in this portrait.  Sweat dripping, feet pounding the pavement, steady, rhythmic breaths sucking in and whooshing out.  I was in this moment. Present.  Living life.  It saddened me to know that others would never experience this beauty in this particular way.  They’ll never know what they’re missing.  I know I never did.

After crossing the dam and making my way back up a nasty hill where a sweet woman in a bathrobe who was taking her dog for it’s morning potty break asked me how I had the energy to get up this early and run when she could barely totter across the driveway.  I just laughed and told her she had a pretty puppy.  I really wanted to tell her that I have the energy to do that because I made it a priority; that last year I was almost 300 pounds.  But I didn’t.

All through my run and for the next few miles, I was really hot.  It was only about 70-75 during this time, but my cooling system was out of whack today.  I felt like I just couldn’t sweat properly.  Is that a thing?  Anyway, I was starting to wear down as a result.  At mile eleven, my quads tightened up, and I was beat.  My pace slowed, but I kept running.  I also had a little pain in my left hip (usually it’s my right).  I was planning to try for 13 today, but it just wasn’t in the cards.  At the beginning of mile 12, nature began calling.  Nay, screaming.  I thought I might be able to put it off, pass my house and finish a 13 miler today, and I probably could have, but at about mile 12. 75, I had a searing hot pain on the top of my right foot in a metatarsal bone.  I hopped a few times (reflex, I guess, because I didn’t plan to do that), and I rotated/stretched my foot a few times which remedied the issue, and then finished the 12.  I decided not to push it…no sense in hurting myself 2 weeks before the half!

I stretched like a mo’ fo’ when I got home and treated myself to some chocolate milk.  It really hit the spot!  I did a little laundry, grabbed a quick shower, and took the kiddos to a fall festival down the road from our house.  I was really looking forward to eating a guilt-free bbq pork plate, but it ended up being awful…and not enough food.  We did buy some caramel kettle corn, so I had a few helpings of that.  I’m gonna hafta get my bbq fix later today, though.  What I had at the festival was school cafeteria quality. Blech!

The kids play a few games, jumped in the bouncy house (one ticket = 10 minutes!!!), and I treated myself to a quick massage–the massage was free!  It was tip/donation only.  I cannot begin to tell you how amazing that felt after my 12 miles this morning.

I’m super sleepy.  Like ridiculously sleepy.  I may take a nap and then rustle me up some bbq.  Productive day, I know.  😉

Hope you have a fabulous weekend.  Enjoy every beautiful minute of it!  I know I will!