Friday, July 5, 2013

My First 1/2 Marathon

I should have blogged about this sooner. Rachel and I ran our first half marathon race back in May. It was truly intense. I can't believe I have to run double that in October, but it was a great experience. Rachel was ahead of me for most of the race, but I caught up with her at the last mile. I had lapsed in training for the half because my knee was giving me some trouble and the physical therapist I saw said that I needed to rest. During the race, I only stopped briefly to pick up water and I finished in 2 hours and 18 minutes, which is slow, but good for me. I was pleased with the results.

Anyway, I'll start writing again now that I'm training for the Marine Corps Marathon in October. Tomorrow, I have a 7 mile run. I'm thinking that I might train using the Hansons' Marathon Method. I'm about halfway through the book and it's quite a convincing method for training. We shall see. For now, I am following Hal Higdon's marathon training schedule for novice runners. More to come about this journey to be trained for the marathon.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

17.75K Race in March

Okay, okay, so I'm behind on blogging and just now getting to writing about our race on March 23rd. This was the 17.75K Marine Corps race that Rachel and I ran together. This race had a little over 2,100 participants and those that finished were guaranteed entry into the Marine Corps Marathon in October. So, Rachel and I were bound and determined to finished this approximately 11 mile race, which was mostly on trails through the Prince William Forest Park in Quantico.

I picked Rachel up early on Saturday morning at her husband's apartment in Pentagon City. There was no traffic getting there and I arrived at his place at around 6:30 a.m. I texted Rachel and said she had to gather a few more things and would be down in a few minutes. I was feeling good that morning. I had followed my training schedule pretty well and was feeling confident about finishing in good time.

Once Rachel came down, we were on our way to Quantico and chatted incessantly for the 45 minute trip to the start of the race. It's nice running with my little sister. I feel like it's brought us close together again and we are working toward a common goal. I really like having the support of someone who has known me for practically my whole life through this physical endeavor.

Parking was a bit of a drama, but we eventually found a place to park and took the shuttle bus to the start of the race. Once the race started, Rachel and I ran together for about the first six miles. We talked about time and how it quickly it passes. We talked about life, relationships, marriage, and family. I can't really remember the specifics; just sister chatter. I also tried to get her to call cadence from basic training. She didn't really remember any, but it was fun getting her to think of them. A gentleman passed us, who was clearly an older Marine, and commented that we needed to get a CD of cadence calls. I think we'll need something like that to keep us busy during the Marine Corps Marathon, at least for part of it.

At about almost mile 7, I broke away from Rachel and the trail became quite steep with lots of hills. Because of the hills' steepness going up and down the hills was very difficult. I hadn't run on hills quite like that and was really feeling it in my legs and thighs. The scenery helped keep my mind off the physical difficulty I was experiencing. In fact, it was quite beautiful in the Prince William Forest Park. I think I'd like to camp there over the summer or maybe in the fall.

There were great signs throughout the race challenging my endurance (see picture below). You know typical macho Marine stuff, but very funny and clever. This sign was just one of many of the slogans that I saw throughout the 11 mile race. There were phrases like: "Keep going, you just started" and of course "Pain is fear leaving the body." I really liked seeing those signs because they were motivating.

I finished in under 2 hours. My official time was 1 hour and 49 minutes, which I was pleased with. Rachel came in just a few minutes behind me, in under two hours. I was glad that we were both able to finish in under two hours. That was really exciting!

The picture below is just after Rachel finished the race. We had so much fun collecting our free goodies. We drank our free Michelob Ultras (I may have had a couple) and walked around snagging food, drinks, and other things to take back to Rachel's kids and my nieces who were all in town. We also collected our chip and pass: now we were guaranteed entry into MCM 2013. All we needed to do was register over the weekend with our code. We were in...Next challenge: 1/2 Marathon in Delaware.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston on My Mind

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those runners, their families, volunteers, and spectators who were affected by the bombing that occurred today at the Boston Marathon.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The 10 Miler

So, it's been awhile since I've written anything. I've been running, well, mostly been running. It's been difficult to fit in runs since adopting a new puppy, Lenny, a couple of weeks ago. But I'll get into a good routine again once Lenny gets settled and I get motivated to run instead of spending all of my time with him.

I never did write about the race that Rachel and I ran back in January with her friend from work, Jill. I really enjoyed this race and it was the first time that I had ever run the distance of 10 miles. Rachel, Jill, and I started out together, but by about half a mile in, I told Jill to go ahead of us. She's a much faster runner than the two of us and I didn't want to hold her back.  Rachel and I ran together for about the first two miles or so and then I broke away from her. Sometimes, for me, running can be a very solitary act.

In any event, I didn't feel the need to devote miles to anyone until mile 4 came around. That mile was for my Aunt Laurrie. During that mile, I remembered all of the fun times we've had together crafting, shopping, hanging out, and talking. It's nice to have so many great memories with her. She's someone I've always admired and looked up to for advice, guidance, and encouragement and who is always supportive of all the crazy things I do (like distance running for example).

Mile 5 was for my deceased friend and sister-in-law, Georgi. I thought about how much fun and full of life Georgi was. Always ready to have a good time and willing to listen and lend advice in a troubling or confusing situation. I also thought about her lovely daughter (my niece too!), Ava. She's truly a resilient child, who has remained strong with the passing of her mother, whose light was extinguished far too soon.

I devoted mile 6 to my deceased grandmother, but also to her very dear friend, Papa John. Both were instrumental in my life as a child and I share fond memories of them both. My grandmother was stoic and loving in her way. I remember the time she found out I was smoking cigarettes as a teenager. She was so sad about this because of the serious health implications smoking had for her. Ultimately, her lung capacity would be her undoing. I miss her dearly. I'm thankful Papa John is still a part of my family and it's nice reminiscing with Papa John about my grandmother and all the wonderful times we shared.

The memories I've shared with Hank, my husband, carried me through mile 7. I wandered through my memories of the journey that we've taken together. I thought about our first date, our many road trips and vacations, our games nights, our wedding, too many wonderful things to write about here. I also thought about the difficult and trying times we've shared and been through together. I'm so grateful that we've stuck together and continue to let our love be the glue that holds us together through it all.

I thought of my mother during mile 8, the woman who gave birth to me and brought me into existence. Without her, I wouldn't be here today and I thought about our relationship and how it's better than it's ever been. We had our fair share of difficult times during my teenage years, but throughout my early adult years into my grown up adult years (yikes! I'll be 30 this year, that's somehow a real grown up in my mind), we've shared some great times.

While I run, my thoughts always lead me back to one person, the one person who I miss most in and that person is my brother, Bobby. Mile 9 was for him and he helped me push through. Sometimes, I'm overcome with thoughts of him while I run and start to have trouble breathing. Those are the sad thoughts that cloud my mind, the thoughts of his alcoholism and subsequent death as result. But then I think about all of the fun and crazy times that we shared together. I'll always have a hole in my soul, a piece that's missing, without him around. But I'm trying to keep the memory of him alive by having a relationship with his daughters. My nieces are truly amazing girls! I'm so grateful that God has blessed me with them because they truly help ease the sorrow of his absence.

At the end of my race there was a horribly steep hill that I was determined to run up. People around me were stopping and walking up the hill, but I was determined to continue running (well, barely running, hah) and not walk. It really helped when my older sister, Jenny and niece, Juliette, drove by in their car and were honking and cheering me on. I definitely couldn't start walking then. What a nice surprise that was! They weren't even supposed to be there.

The next race Rachel and I are running together is a week from today. It's the Marine Corps 17.75K in Quantico, Virginia. It's about an 11 mile race and while I've been slacking on my training, I'm really excited to be running another race with Rachel. It's nice to be spending time with her again participating in big life changes events with her. For a long time, we didn't really talk or hang out much because she had moved away to be a Marine. The running is really bringing us closer together now and I'm excited for the new memories we are creating.

Good luck to all of you in the DC area who are running the Rock 'N' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon this morning. Special luck and happy thoughts to my friend Kristen. I'm thinking of you and wishing you a great finishing time.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hardship Run

I have a friend who I run races with on occasion, who says that she believes in hardship runs. You know the runs you do in the rain or without music or on some horrible terrain. Or you know the ones you do in the freezing rain and sleet for nearly 70 tiring minutes with another insane member of your family.

That was my day after Christmas run with my little sister, Rachel. We decided that we were going to do a BIG run. So, we mapped it out and settled on a loop a little over 8 miles starting and ending at our mother's house. Well, when we started it was just really cold, but only sleeting a little bit. We warmed up fairly quickly and the freezing sleet wasn't a big deal for the first few miles.

It wasn't until about mile 4 that the wind and freezing rain decided to really come down. Rachel was running a bit behind me on the road and the sleet was pelting and stinging my face. I had begun to lost feeling in my hands because my gloves were wet and every time a car or truck came by I was splattered with additional water. Also, my legs were soaked and numb as well because I wore cotton leggings instead of spandex (Note to self: Always check the weather before running).

At one point, I said to Rachel: "I won't phone in for a ride, but if someone we know drives by, I will accept a ride." Well, my husband, Hank, did drive by around mile 7. I waved at him frantically, but he just kept driving. My heart sank. I knew we didn't have much further to run, but it was absolutely miserable outside at that point. I told Rachel I had seen Hank and she seemed slightly disappointed as well.

But, lo and behold, my husband had pulled off to the side of the road about a quarter mile around the bend. I have never been so happy to get into our car as I was in that moment. Rachel and I jumped in and he drove us home. When I arrived at my mom's house a few minutes later, I immediately peeled off my wet clothes and hopped in the shower. My thighs were bright red from the wet, cold rain, but the warm shower helped get my body temperature back to normal and once I was dressed, I felt good that I had done it.

I was excited to have run that far in such poor weather. It was the first time I had gone more than about 6.5 miles and I think considering the horrible weather, we ran at a pretty decent pace. I feel like I won't have to subject myself to one of those runs again anytime soon, but it's good practice in case there's bad weather for our 10 miler that's planned in a couple of weeks.

One other note: I remember seeing people run in the rain and cold and would think: "I'll never do that. I'm just not that committed to running." Well, now I'm one of those annoying runners who run come hell or high water. I guess it builds character to tough out the elements once in awhile.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

This Week

I planned to run alot more than I did....

5 miles

Interval training (run to the gym, 20 minutes interval run back)

Interval Training (run to the gym 2 miles in 18:42! and 5 more minutes at a 6.5mph pace)

Thats it. Wow, that sucks.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Jingle All the Way 8K

Yesterday, I ran the Jingle All the Way 8K in downtown DC with a running friend. I was a naughty girl the night before the race and stayed up WAY too late and my speed suffered as a result the next day. Note to self: a good night's sleep does improve physical performance and is a necessity before running 5 miles.

Although I woke up to pouring down rain yesterday, it stopped by the time we arrived in DC, which was fortunate because I really didn't want to run in the cold rain. It was damp and rather chilling to the bone on our walk from the car to the start of the race, but by the time we were at the start point designated by pacing markers (we started at the 10:00-10:59 minute mile marker), there were tons of people waiting to start and it wasn't all that cold to me. This was a very festive race. People dressed like elves, santas, reindeer, and many were wearing hats and accessories to show their Christmas spirit. I even wore my reindeer headband to be a good sport.

During the race, I remembered what I had read about devoting miles to people that you love. It helps to focus attention to form and speed and when I get fatigued, thinking of that person helps me to continue to perform my best. So, by the time I saw mile two I remembered this idea and so my second mile was devoted to my Uncle Scott, who told me the night before the race to "run really fast." I devoted my third mile to my dad and when I started feeling lethargic I thought of his positive phrase: "I can, I am, I will."

My fourth mile was devoted to my brother and his girls. A lot of time when I run, I think of my brother and our memories together. There have been times where I've nearly hyperventilated because I've held back tears thinking about how much I miss him. That's why I also devoted that mile to his girls, so that I wouldn't get too sad. They are living reminders of him and I am so grateful for them.

Despite the dreary weather, the race went reasonably well. I finished in just over 48 minutes, which is slower than I've run in other races, but considering the tiredness factor, I'm okay with that pace. I placed 391st out of 977 females in the 25-29 year-old category. Meh, right around the middle of the pack.

Also, a brief rant about Pacers' events. First of all the race started about 15 minutes late, which is not cool in my book. I want things to start on time. I've allotted a specific amount of time to this and if I am there on time, I expect things to get going as planned. Also, when I went to pick up my "race packet," they handed me my shirt and bib and pointed me in the direction of the bags and safety pins. I had to put my own packet together! I paid $35 to participate in this event, the least they could do is stick the damn t-shirt in the bag. Okay, rant done. All in all, it was a fun time.