Tag Archives: half marathon

13.1…my way.

Today, I ran ‘my own’ half marathon.

Almost exactly two years to the day since my first half marathon (that was, in my mind, botched).

Just over a year since my second half marathon (that proved that I am *not* a racer).

I finally proved to myself that I can run 13.1…my own way, in a time that I knew I could (yet never quite achieved in aforementioned half marathon race environments!).

It was my do-over that I have had in the back of my mind ever since that botched second attempt at a half marathon.

And I did it with no fanfare, no stated goal, nothing. (just a few quiet sherpas pushing me along – thank you ladies, you are truly, truly the best. Especially that 5:30 am text message from this one, who I love so!)

Because that’s how I roll.

Some say a goal isn’t ‘real’ until you write it down.

I call bullshit on that and say a goal is a goal no matter if it’s on paper or not.

So, I give you…13.1…my way. 

***

Up we woke, at 5:30, pitch black, but thankfully, relatively warm (57 degrees), clear skies, no rain (windswept rain in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow, egad!).

Out the door by 6 am, and it was still dark, and honestly, that first mile in almost darkness felt so bad ass, I loved it! (though I was straining my eyes to find bunnies, since I knew it would be prime time for them!)

I probably went out a little too fast, feeling all bad ass and stuff (LOL), and after the second or third mile, I started to go into mental brain mode, but a spate of 6 bunny sightings perked me up.

I started to break the run up in my head into pieces, and just think of the next ‘spot’ along the route I’d created that I would be happy at, while chanting ‘let the run come to you’ (also a la this girl!) and ‘run the mile you’re in’ over and over in my head.

Somewhere around mile 7 or 8, I started hitting a wall. Too early, in my book, and I started to wonder if last week’s 12 mile redemption run would be my best run of this ‘secret’ training and this one would soon turn shittastic.

Well, it didn’t hit the shittastic zone, but there were a few miles in there that I was thisclose to a bit of a hissy fit. My legs felt so.tired. And I stupidly (in hindsight) wore my new replacement Brooks Ghost 4s (thinking – same shoe – shouldn’t matter that I haven’t worn them yet) and was feeling blisters forming. On. Both. Ankles.

A different fueling strategy (one Honey Stinger around the one hour mark, a Healthy Bite a la this girl around the 8 or 8.5 mile mark, and one more Honey Stinger around mile 11, with water, of course) seemed to helped, but I just kept burning out fast.

Saving grace was a bit of a walk ‘stop’ as M got two pages (did I mention he was on call last night and this morning? trooper, my sherpa, isn’t he?) and I tried to talk myself down. I was again, thisclose to hissy fit status and almost wanted to cut out the little loop add-on I added to get us to 13.1 (reasoning that 12.8 was ‘close enough’ even though I knew I’d be pissed at myself after). What did M say to that?

“We are running 13.1 miles today. If we don’t do that loop, I’d call that a fail, wouldn’t you?” <-man, does he know how to turn my mental wacked brain back on to myself, doesn’t he?!

After that tough love talk, we powered through the last of our run, two bloody heels and all, and did it. Stopped, held hands, caught our breathe and realized we did it….

In 2:18. 

My ‘secret’ goal? Anything under 2:30 and I would have been thrilled.

2:18? 

Frigin awesome.

Today, we ran a half marathon. 13.1 miles. My (our) way.

And I couldn’t (again) be more proud.

More Friday lovin’

Keeping my fun/loving/Friday Five theme going because it’s one of those weeks where I yet again have a lot floating around up in my OATTing brain and figure this is the best way to hammer it out without a heck of a lot of detail, yaknowwhatimsayin? <–and I’m clearly a little slaphappy this morning, too!

Some Friday lovin’:

My run-speriment seems to be working (and I just realized I never totally blogged about this, this week, did I? Just mentioned it in last Friday’s post!)! I think I’ve finally found the right balance (at least in my first week’s run-speriment, that is!) for my runs. It’s all about working smarter, and not harder. Back to those basics I’ve talked about before. I carefully planned my runs this week around my barre classes (teaching and taking) rather than trying to do them back to back (it legit feels like what I would equate a brick workout to feel like, in a sense…not that I have done a brick, but if I did…) and did not do any of them back to back with teaching. And every single run was absolutely fabulous! I felt strong, I ran hard, and hit some relatively good mileage too, and that’s with 3 of 4 runs on the dreadmill, no less (we’ve been hammered with rain and yuck weather this week!). That, my friends, is how I want my week’s runs to feel every week. Strong, speedy, and just plain GOOD. <–just the vibes I’ll be sending my sis, brother in law and Samantha as they kick ass in the Providence Half Marathon on Sunday!! Go get it!!

If I haven’t said it enough, I absolutely love teaching barre n9ne. I’ll be teaching a total of 6 classes by the end of this weekend (two more tomorrow and one on Sunday) and with each class, no matter how big or small, I feel more confident, I feel more sure of myself in switching up my plans mid-routine (Me!? Who is this non-planner?!) and there is seriously nothing better than seeing the determination, sweat, and focus in the eyes of our clients at the studio. This feels insanely good. That, and all of the feedback from clients that my sister and I have both been getting, seeing the results of the 60 day challengers and the inches melting away, and on this day, one year ago, when we officially won the 60 day challenge? It feels incredible. (shameless self promotion: check out the feature I scored for Tanya! SO COOL!)

I love my man. More than ever. I don’t know why, but this week, I’ve just felt so connected to him, and wanting to just be near him in every way. Maybe it’s the fact that I am traveling next week, or maybe it’s just another evolution of our relationship, where our love continues to grow and develop, but I just love him so much. I know it’s mushy, but I just do. He’s amazing and I feel so blessed.

Celebrating an unplanned weekend <3. If I could hug this weekend, I would. Hell, I might even marry it ;-) Almost nothing planned (except for a fabulous birthday party tonight) and I couldn’t be happier. M and I will be doing a lil date night in on Saturday and beyond teaching at barre n9ne, that’s honestly all that I want to do. Flit around, do as I please, and just be. 

Happy weekend friends, make it a good one, mmk? Cheers!

 

Renewing my faith in running…and maybe even racing.

This weekend, I watched one of my fabulous bloggy friends Samantha  run a half marathon (Hampton Half Marathon) and despite freezing my bum off, I walked away from the day with a few a-ha moments tucked into the back of my brain.

I fully expected the familiar ‘anxiety’ feelings to arise as I saw runners whizz past me, emulating the feelings that I usually get when it’s me in that flurry of runners. But instead?  I started to feel a bit of renewed sense of faith in running (as evidenced also by my guest post on running for me) and even, just maybe, the racing aspect that I tend to hate dislike so much. Because what I saw was the camaraderie of those cheering their family and friends on, and the glimmers of happiness in the eyes of those runners as they saw their family and friends rooting them on. I was glad to give Samantha a little moral boost, when I finally saw her, and know from personal experience that it really does help to see friendly faces in the crowd.

But beyond that, it was some words of advice I got on Sunday that really resonated with me. I met up with Meaghan - finally – who I’m pretty convinced will become a fast friend (she’s awesome!) – and talking to her about my past struggles with racing (read her recent post here too, that partially recaps the day). On how I pretty much choke on race day (anxiety, breathing trouble, the whole 9 yards), and I asked her how she’s been able to put that pressure out of her mind (given her 10 marathons(!) she’s run!), and she simply said, ” ‘you just do.’ It’s you and 5,000 other runners out there, you can’t let that affect you.”

Simply stated, but so very true.

The only pressure is the pressure I put on myself and 99% of that pressure is completely unnecessary! I know I am not the fastest runner out there, and I am not running to win, I am running to accomplish my personal goal, no matter what time I cross that finish line. This is something that was so hard for me to see when I ran those two half marathons in years past, and I just feel as though I’m gaining so much clarity in what is compelling me to run and bringing me back to the question of…what is my plan? Do I want to attempt another half? Does it even matter? Do I care? And the answer…I think…is yes, I do. Because I clearly keep going back to that question for a reason.

So when Meaghan asked me what my plan was, coincidentally, when it comes to any planned races, I actually had an answer (sort of). While I’m still working out the specifics in my head, and what I want, or don’t want to do, I do know this: I am determined to do a half marathon to see how I actually finish, since the last two that I’ve run, I let the race get to me, and I choked. I finished, but I choked. I have never ran a half marathon (or any race whatsoever, whether that be a 5K, or a 5 miler or whatever) and run it with success. Yet, I have run many a run with success. And I know I can translate that into an actual race day performance. I just need to separate in my head that it’s a race and that it’s a performance. Because for me, it’s neither of those things. For me, it’s just another run (with oh, anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand other runners…). Right?

So my faith in running is certainly back….and maybe, just maybe, so is my faith in conquering a race, and more importantly, conquering my fear of what that means. It’s only a race against myself and nobody else.

runspirations...

My 6-Month Run Challenge: Week 4 (and 5)

I’ve realized that when I share updates about my 6-month run challenge that I am posting after the actual week has passed (for example, this is week 5, yet I am posting about week 4), so I am going to combine this post, talking about last week and this week. If that makes sense (last post can be read here)

(and I hope these don’t become boring…if they do, feel free to skip them, I just really would like to chronicle what I am learning and areas I want to keep focusing on each week!)

So, what’s working?

Well, honestly, everything is working! I am absolutely loving this little plan I’ve carved out (with some helpful advice from all of you, friends! Thank you all for weighing in on everything from stretching, to intervals, to cross-training) as it is a) keeping me motivated to keep adding mileage each week and keep to 4 runs per week as much as possible and b) pushing me to run outside more.

What I noticed today, when I went to a spin class (I’ve been doing spin on my own, with the help of Cathe Friedrich’s CycleMax on my iPhone, super useful so I don’t have to go to a scheduled class if I don’t want to) is that spinning is most definitely helping to condition my lungs for speed bursts and labor-intensive breathing (very similar to how my lungs feel when I do intervals, since they both have a lot of what I’d call bursts and troughs). I actually do NOT use my inhaler when I spin, and while I noticed more tightness in my chest, it was bearable. It makes me think that eventually, I can start weaning myself from the inhaler altogether. I tried doing that a few times earlier this fall, but it was a total fail. I think I will try doing it on shorter runs here and there and see if it’s feasible or not.

I’m also noticing that I actually really am starting to LIKE running outside in cold temps. And that is yet another thing I never thought I’d say (in addition to liking intervals! My former nemesis!).

Last week, I ran outside two days in a row. First, one of my best runs ever, and then the next day, Jess and I ran AGAIN outside, since it was freakishly warm. It was super duper windy though, and I felt like my legs totally crapped out about halfway. I went balls-out during the first half of the run, against the wind, and that extra resistance totally did me in for the second half of the run back. I really battled with myself to keep going, but I did, and Jess pushed me even when I took a few walking steps. She’s all “you can recover but still run, come on, let’s gooooo!’

Bully.

(at least she didn’t make me do farklets again!!)

And this week? I ran outside once – with M, no less, and he always shies away from it, since he has worse asthma than me when he runs. But he also admitted to liking it (okay, like is a strong word. He thought it wasn’t AS BAD as he thought it would be. Semantics…). So, we had a nice 5 mile run outside together yesterday, and I loved it! Saturday, Jess and I kick off the first-ever barre n9ne #rundate before the 8:30 Method class…reallyreallyreally excited for this little program to kick off, and hope it takes off, since we’d be running it (no pun intended hehe). So, that will be two outdoor runs again for me this week, if not three…

Because, I am inching my way towards thinking about doing my ‘long’ run at 7 miles outside on Friday. IF it’s not too cold and IF I can possibly find a running partner (ahem). ;-)

We’ll see.

Either way, I am stoked at the progress and know that with each week, I’ll get stronger and gain more much-needed endurance (the windy run last week was evidence that my legs need to boost up stamina-wise, since that 6.5 miler took a lot out of me!).

I’m still taking it week by week, but let’s just say that the thought of a half marathon at some point in 2012 is becoming less and less scary for me.

Never say never.

:-)

**asslap to everyone adding some sweat to their lives, no matter what form it comes in…yoga, running, walking, swimming, kickboxing, barre, you name it, it counts ;-) **

The day I just ran.

**This post is dedicated to my sister Jess, who just kicked the crap out of the Newburyport Half Marathon and who inspires me and pushes me every day to find my running mojo again, and today, well, today I think I may have gotten it. Thank you sis, you are the best. And PS, love that the titles of our posts today are similar, without even meaning to be!). Maybe we’re related or something.**

Today, I just ran.

Today, I felt vindicated over my previous half marathon fail bad run.

Today, I pretty much snuck in my 13.1 do-over in (basically) super secret mode.

Today, I ran almost 10 miles of the 13.1 half marathon that my sister ran.

I didn’t register (because I knew it would freak me out.).

I didn’t start with the racers.

I didn’t train for it, I didn’t carb up for it, I didn’t even forgo wine last night as I probably should have.

Why?

Because all of these things freak the hell out of me. It’s completely mental. I know this. So why not outsmart myself?? And outsmart I did.

The race conditions were ideal. The course was (mostly) flat. I came to the half marathon to cheer on my sister and Scott, but did wear running gear and did bring my inhaler, because I told myself that we’d run 5-6 miles or so and be good with that. Just a little Sunday jaunt waiting for Jess and Scott, right? Right??

Wrong!

M and I set out about 10 mins after the start time. We let everyone go on, get rid of the crowd. I took a port-a-potty stop (no lines, score!). The temps were perfect. I was happy we were running, but also had in my mind that we’d just run till we felt like stopping.

First mile in, I told myself, ‘yeah, no, not going far, let’s do 3…’

But then I hit my stride. M was being chatty, keeping me going. He felt good. Made me feel good, confident.

And the funny thing about this race? No mile markers (for the most part!) and that was HUGE for me. I didn’t figure out that water stops were every other mile (happily didn’t put two and two together!) and the route was beautiful. We kept at it, we caught up with some of the other runners, and we got cheered on by bystanders (even though we didn’t have numbers on! We just blend in, I guess). We kept going.

Saw my mom around mile 4 (but thought it was only mile 3) and she told us she’d meet us at mile 5 and mile 8 (it was a loop, so the rationale was, run to mile 5 and then be done). Except she wasn’t at mile 5. There wasn’t even a marker for it (I don’t think?) and then suddenly, we were at mile 6. M grabbed a Gu and I had a little bit of it. Got a boost knowing we were at mile 6 (pleasantly surprised) and then looped around and kept going. Beautiful course. No word from my mom, so we kept on. Hit mile 8 and got some gatorade. Was, at this point, pumped that we had gone that far.

All told, we ran almost 10 miles. I’d estimate we ended around 9.5 when my mom met up with us.

9.5! And I felt GOOD the entire time. We walked a couple of times for water and such. But I felt good. I just ran. I didn’t have much trouble breathing. I didn’t get any side cramps. My hips were super tight and sore going into the run, but I didn’t really notice any tightness until we finally stopped at 9.5.

I JUST RAN.

And it felt like the cloud that’s been hanging over me every time I have a crappy run had lifted.

We were running. And we were enjoying it.

Who knew I could ‘just run’ and it would work??

Honestly, the only reason I didn’t keep going to the finish was to see my sister cross that finish line (knowing she passed 10 miles about 10 mins prior to getting picked up, I knew it would be close).

And we just missed her finish by about 5 minutes. Missed her finish. I felt like the worst sister in the world. I felt like I totally failed her. All I wanted was to see her smiling face at the finish line.

And I missed it.

But her reaction? Uttering her PR (drained, tired, but thrilled!) and when I told her how far we went, she was honestly almost more happy with that than with her own PR. She felt like we ran this together. And you know what? She’s right. We did. She kept me going…I pictured her running happily and speedily and knowing that she was going for it made me feel like I could too.

And maybe, just maybe, my mojo is back. Maybe this is all I need…no pressure, no times to shoot for, no ‘race mentality,’ just running.

Today, I just ran. And it felt awesome.