Tag: race

Dreams Deferred

Week 12

If all goes as planned, this will be my final week.

I wanted to feel the cool air on my face so I did the first mile outside. I began to wish I stayed outside. After being in the gym for ten minutes, I was joined by the loudest woman on a gossiping phone call. It was too early for this conversation and it was quite rude to carry on so loudly being in a shared space. I wanted to go unplug her machine. She was getting on my nerves and I desperately hoped that the person on the other end had somewhere to be. No such luck. Urgh!!!!!!!

To top off the ridiculous loud woman, Nike was up to his antics again and not registering my miles. Again, the universe recognizes who I run for. Today, my miles aren’t for a person, but rather; for dreams come true. Like this morning’s run, as I pursue my dreams; there will be people who annoy me and difficulties along the way. Today’s lesson, “Don’t sweat the small stuff and just keep going!”

I went back for round two. This time I was armed with headphones, just in case. There were two people on the treadmills (one on either side). The female to my left kept glancing over. After her warmup, she appeared to be trying to run with me. That just made me get rid of my idea to do intervals. Fifteen minutes in, she got off. One down, one to go. The gentleman on my right was going for it. I kept wishing he would quit so I could walk. He too finally caved. I crowned myself Treadmill Champ.

Day 2

I woke up eager to run. I smiled at the enthusiasm I had today. It was the same enthusiasm I used to have any time I had something planned with my brother. He was twelve years older than me, but we always clicked. It was 42 degrees. He loved the cold. Me, not so much. I dressed in my favorite neon leggings, long sleeve shirt and jacket.

After a mile, I was getting warm. The hills seemed liked mountains, but I was having a good run. To make my run better, the horses were out. I completed seven miles.

I know I needed double digits for the day so I went back out to walk later to make it ten.

In the last thirty four days, I have logged two hundred miles. This lady is tired, from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. I spent the evening with my legs up on the wall. I imagine that will be my ritual the remainder of the week.

Day 3

I chose to run for the #IRUNTHISC1TY supporters in Illinois that I had hoped to meet this weekend. My miles were easy and steady as the reality is setting in that I won’t be racing on Saturday. I’ve eliminated the desire to complete 1,000 miles on a specific day because it just won’t have the same meaning not reaching the goal crossing a finish line.

Day 4

The calendar says rest. I’ve decided to do just that. Sadness has overcome me and I just don’t want to. I haven’t thrown in the towel. That’s not in my character. I’ve just delayed the sense of urgency to reach my goal.

Rest will be good for me. Rest of the body and the mind is currently needed.

Day 5

And the day before what would have been race day has gone exactly as the day after the first day of training….with technical difficulties. I decided on a midday mile. Low and behold, my difficulty really wasn’t technical…but more user error. I forgot to stop my app and three hours later, I laughed at my phone when I realized it was still going. 3:20:14 to complete 1.88 miles. Talk about slow and easy. Oh well. C’est la vie.

The night ended with me in tears as I surfed Facebook and saw the pictures of my friends at expos and pictures of their race day clothes spread out. I’m happy for each of them but I’m so sad for myself and my other friend who is also unable to race. It’s heartbreaking to spend twelve plus weeks training for a race and then not having the satisfaction of showing up at the START line. I have race envy in the worst way.

Day 6

It’s supposed to be race day and the morning started just like it ended….in tears. Who knew I’d be this emotional??

More Mental Than Physical

Week 8

Now that I have my horrible week of training behind me, I’ve taken time to reflect and stop beating myself up. I realize that running is so much more mental than physical and I’m my own worst critic. Rather than feeling disappointed in myself for missing ten miles of training, I should be happy that I was able to complete what I completed. I need to remind myself that training provides you the opportunity to try things before race day. This includes figuring out what recovery methods work best. The biggest thing I learned was that when the pavement is too much, try the treadmill. I also believe that a recovery walk the following day would have been helpful. I spent too many hours following being inactive.

How will this week be different? I plan to complete 40 miles this week. I will do as many miles as I can on the pavement, hopefully increasing each day. I will finish the miles on the treadmill if I need to so that I am prepared to do my entire long run on the pavement Saturday morning. I will revert to my previous post long run ritual of taking an ice bath. I’ll add ibuprofen and then I’m going to a street festival to keep moving. I also plan to incorporate daily yoga to aid in stretching and strengthening my body.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Week 8 Day 1

I started my run with .25 on the pavement. I didn’t go very fast, but I also ran the entire distance with no pain. When I arrived at the treadmill, I decided on a two minute run / thirty second interval. I felt great until I looked at the time and distance. It was slightly discouraging once I realized how slow I was going. I had to convince myself that speed wasn’t my goal today. Instead, I needed to focus on just completing five miles with no pain. I realized when I increased the speed on the treadmill, I experienced no pain, but discomfort at a 1.5. When I decreased my speed, discomfort also decreased. This is when I really decided to focus on my breathing, my form and finishing.

I ended up running twenty minutes straight. I left the treadmill at slightly less than four miles with the intent to complete my mileage on the pavement. I ran more than half of what I had left with no discomfort. I waited impatiently for Nike to tell me I had completed my training miles. But he never said a word. Maybe he thinks I’ve quit. Even with no words from my app, I finished my run feeling victorious. I was a little down when I saw that it took 1:29:36 to complete five miles. But I put it in perspective that at least I was starting the week off completing the required amount of miles.

I followed through with my post run activities. I prepared a smoothie and found a yoga post run video on YouTube. The stretches felt so good.

Next up, eight miles. I may split it and do five and three as the newest running shoe store in the area is hosting its first group run. I think I want to go.

Week 8 Day 2

Before I started my run, I did something I never do. I stopped for coffee, pumpkin spice coffee. It instantly became a major win when the guy behind the counter told me it was going to be free. I returned to a trail I hadn’t run in a while. My plan was to complete five miles on the pavement with no pain. I knew I would need to take it easy. I set my intervals to 2:1. When I reached the mile one marker, I was happy with my sub :14 pace. I took my time and decided to go in the direction of the hills because I would get to see the horses. I decided to walk the hills and felt fine. No pain, discomfort at a 1. To my disappointment, when I arrived at the pasture, there were no horses. Oh well.
I hadn’t heard Nike in a while and I decided I wouldn’t look even though I was curious of not only my splits, but also my distance. Although there were no mileage indicators coming from my app, I was quite pleased to get all the cheers.

5 miles later, I had completed this run17 minutes faster than yesterday.

My training planned called for eight miles, but I had decided I would split my run today and join a new local running group later in the evening.

For the first time in a million years, I experienced a feeling that seemed so foreign; intimidation. I arrived early at the group run and I was obviously the first to arrive. I sat in my car doing idle things as a few people began to appear at the designated starting location. My prior enthusiasm took a downward turn when I looked at the people that I would run with. What I saw were cross country and endurance runners who always placed in their age group. Even if that wasn’t the case, that was my observation and it made me uncomfortable. In my mind, all I kept thinking was that I’d never be able to keep up. I don’t think I’ve had that feeling in a running situation since the first time I toed the start line of the two mile run in high school. I knew I would be last to finish. Would the outcome over twenty years ago have been different if my thinking had been more positive? Unfortunately, I’ll never know. Yes, I did cross the finish line last that day. But that day, I also felt a sense of victory. I had done something I didn’t want to do because I didn’t think I was good enough. But I was good enough. I wasn’t fast enough or confident enough to place, let alone win. But I was determined enough to finish. I let myself get inside my head that everyone else was faster. I ran with the people on my team, they were faster. But I let my thoughts also think that about the runners from the other team without ever seeing there ability. That race was the last time I finished that distance last. What I lacked in speed, I made up for with determination. In my mind, I just needed to finish before the last person. As my determination increased, so did my speed. I was never the fastest, but each race my time was faster than the previous. And I was never last again.

I left the group run feeling defeated. I still had miles to run. I decided to complete them on a nearby trail. It was mind over miles. Each mile was faster than the previous. I had beaten my times from previous weeks and I had finished ahead of my biggest competitors; my thoughts and myself.

Week 8 Day 3

I switched my training schedule again. I traded today for tomorrow since I’m running well over my training plan this Saturday. It’s now three today, six tomorrow and no more than two on Friday. It was nice to use today as a stroll. Since I was going a lot slower, I was able to pay more attention to my surroundings and take advantage of the sights of the leaves beginning to take on the season. I love fall and the orange leaves are icing on the cake.

Week 8 Day 4

I did something I haven’t done on a consistent basis in a while. I woke up before the sun. It took me over thirty minutes to actually get out the door. It was rough. When I did exit the house, I was greeted by near perfect weather. The cool air on my face was a pleasant start to my day. My glimpse of the moon was an added bonus.

I walked passed a young guy at the bus stop. He was on the phone. I wondered who he was talking to so early. The list of people I’d want to talk to in the wee hours of the morning before my coffee is a very short list.

Week 8 Day 5

Guess how many miles I did today? Zero. Today and tomorrow had a combined total of 19 miles. Since I’m doing 18 with my friend tomorrow, I decided to take the day off.

Did I tell you I found a race to replace my half? It’s not actually a half. So my plan is to complete the suggested amount of miles each week (even if it’s slightly out of order).

Week 8 Day 6

It’s long run Saturday and even though I felt like my alarm rang thirty minutes after I entered rem sleep, I was ready to go. We drove to our starting point. The first two mikes seemed to drag and for some reason, the humidity felt different. I was drenched in sweat, wishing I had made a different clothing choice. It was odd to me because it was only sixty six degrees which is usually perfect for running.

I had only run the portion of this course to about three miles. Most of my running here has been relatively flat. In fact, I wondered where all the hills were. I found them today. My running partner, Kat, gave me the stank eye a few times. She had been sick all week and had heard me say “this city isn’t that hilly”. Today’s run made me out to be a liar. Oh well. We pressed on. As we ran, I gave her a city tour when we reached landmarks (the a Beacon and Denny’s headquarters). She seemed interested, but secretly, I knew she hated me.

Our run took us downtown. It’s quite eccentric there and I knew she’d enjoy the scenery. She liked all the bike rental areas and the water fountain that had turned the water pink. Six miles later, we reached the Mary Black trail. It was flat here. Yay!!! We completed most of the trail before turning around. By thus time my water was gone. We headed back and I stopped in a convenience store for water. She got coffee. Here, we decided to take a slight short cut. This was great. By this time, I just wanted to be done and back at the car. It was getting warmer and the hills were doing a number on me.

At mile 14, we noticed a sign with orange treats. Bruster’s had pumpkin ice cream. Yes, we stopped to get two cones. About five minutes after we got them, my ice cream was running down my arms . She took a good lick of her cone and all the ice cream ended up on the ground. Her face looked like that of a five year old. I shared my ice cream with her. We finished our ice cream on our cool down. Yup, I’m declaring it was a cool down. 15 miles later, mentally and physically, I was DONE!!!

Hurry Up & Wait

Week 5/12 Day 1

Yesterday, I was excited to look at my training plan and see just five miles for today. I was even more excited to look at the remainder of the week and discover a day with two miles.
Weeks one through three, my average pace for the entire week had been consistent. Last week, it dropped down a bit. It doesn’t bother me too much as I realize that waking up in three different states for three consecutive days was a bit out of the normal for my training. I got most of the mileage in and I’m ok with that.
This morning when the alarm sounded, I had lost a bit of my enthusiasm. I got up and got dressed and then I got back in the bed. This was supposed to be for five minutes. But when I finally got up, enough time had passed for me to have completed two miles.
I think it is really sinking in that I have put in 125 miles of training for a race that I will potentially not even have the chance to run. I’m awaiting information to confirm a graduation date. In the event that this actually occurs, I’ve been looking for a replacement race either near me or in the city of graduation. Doing so was causing me a bit of anxiety. And there honestly is no need (yet) to look for a race when I’m unsure of the date. Gotta love the concept of “hurry up and wait”. I should be more clear of my plans within the next ten days.
Because I have also set my goal of one thousand miles this year, I still need to get in my miles. I will continue to train as if the race will happen.

Week 5 Day 2

Today, I was scheduled for eight miles. Since I had to go to Greenville, I decided I’d go to the trail there. It was nice to be somewhere different. It made for an interesting run. When I started, it was already over seventy degrees so I knew I would be in for a challenge. The waterfalls were breathtaking. Of course, I stopped a few times to take pictures. There were mile markers along the route. I saw one that said mile 35. I wondered the total distance of the trail. I think one day, I will attempt to complete it……maybe. If I find out it’s over fifty miles, I take back the previous sentence.
Parts of the trail was lonely. But I enjoyed the serenity of it all. It was just what the doctor ordered. The cool breeze, the water, the flowers, the people I encountered along the way; all made my run more enjoyable. I look forward to doing it again next week….but I have to go earlier so I can complete better intervals. Today’s intervals were changed to run in the shade and walk in the sun. But, I got it done!!

Week 5 Day 3

Today was a make up. I was supposed to do six yesterday and rest today. I overslept and didn’t feel like running when I got off at seven so I decided to switch the days. My run today had three goals; 1. Complete the mileage 2. Run for an hour 3. Don’t stop until sixty minutes have been completed. This would be my longest time running without stopping in a long time. I was on the treadmill and there was a lady on the elliptical. Yes, I was racing her. In my mind, it didn’t matter how long she planned to be there; I wasn’t going to stop before she did. This was a fun game for me to play. I wonder if she knew she was a contestant in my running game. At about thirty minutes, she ended her workout. I was closing in on the three mile mark and knew I’d have to push to finish in an hour. It didn’t happen. At 59:59 I wasn’t quite at five miles yet. But I still felt accomplished because I didn’t stop. A little over an hour later, Nike congratulated me on completing my miles. After patting myself on the back, I got excited because I know tomorrow’s run is only two miles.

Week 5 Day 4

I was excited for three reasons about this morning’s run. The weather was perfect, I could run outside and I would finish in less than thirty minutes. Everything was perfect. The sky was completely dark. The only illumination I had was provided by the street lights. It was just me, the sound of my footsteps and my breathing. For a moment, the thought of my twelve mile long run entered my head. I quickly shook it away to try to focus on the current run. My pace wasn’t as fast as I’d hoped it would be, it was consistent with my reality.
Another training run in the books. I’m only six miles away from 100 for the month. WOW!!!!

Week 5 Day 5

It’s a twelve mile kind of day. My running partner and I started our run before sunrise. For safety purposes, we altered our route for more light and visibility. We decided on a 1:1 interval. This gave us approximately a fifteen minute mile. It was a little slower than I wanted but I enjoyed not having to run it solo. At about mile six, she began to feel bad so we cut the run short (about 7.5 miles). Part of me was ok with that since I’m no longer officially training for anything. But the other half of me was determined to finish. When she dropped me off, I went in the house to refill my water bottles and decided to run laps around the parking lot. This was tedious to say the least. I dislike running circles more than I dislike the treadmill. But the weather was too perfect to go inside. Shortly before I reached the ten mile mark, my phone died. I felt defeated as I knew I didn’t want to run miles that weren’t being tracked. I prayed that the miles I logged would appear once my phone recharged.

I went inside, yet again; to get my phone some juice. I knew I had less than an hour more to run and fifty percent should be enough to do it. This was turning out to be the worst run ever. Again, the waiting time allowed the “you’re not training for anything” thought to creep into my head. I turned the phone back on and was happy to see that Nike+ hadn’t let me down and my mileage was still there. I still wasn’t 100% sure I was going to finish my run. I put the phone down and it rang. On the other end was my son calling. I hadn’t heard his voice in ten days. He was in great spirits and when I hung up the phone, I knew that I would complete my run. We’re a house of finishers.

It took me 3:18 to finish (much slower than my slowest half marathon time) but I finished!!

Beat the Heat…..again

One year ago, I showed up at the start line for my first 5k. I vowed never to complete that race again because the conditions were not so great. By conditions, I mean it was hot…really hot! But, I did sign up and I did finish…..again.
It felt nice not being the new kid on the block. Unlike the year before, I felt confident and my I wasn’t nervous.
I looked back mentally at what I thought I needed to do different this year. The first thing on the list was to wear my fuel belt. I didn’t have it last year and at the first water station I was sadly disappointed when I was handed a cup of very warm water. I was very hot and all I wanted was something cold. At the second water station, I wanted to cry because I knew this water was going to be warmer than the last. But, I was thirsty. I had to take it. This year, I froze two of my water bottles so my water would be cool and I wouldn’t have to stop.
The second thing on my list to do different this year was run the entire course. Last year, I was slightly upset with myself for walking when I knew that physically I was capable of running three miles. I was inspired by a shirt on the course that said, “Run when you can. Walk if you need to. Crawl if you must. But never give up.” If I chose to walk, in my mind I was giving up. So I kept going. I had to have several talks with myself to keep running, but I didn’t walk at all.
The third thing on my list was to finish with a better time this year, than last year. Go me!!! I did that too.

This year, the only thing I would have changed was to get more rest. I had a little too much planned for a race day. I stayed up too late the night before and woke up at 4:30am for a yard sale. When the yard sale ended, I went to work. I tried to squeeze a nap in between work and the race but it was unsuccessful.

I’m glad that even though I vowed never to do this race again, I was able to complete it with two women who were there with me at the start line last year. I love the memories I continue to make with my sole sisters Kat and Pam. I was most happy about being the encouragement for my friend John to begin a fitness journey. She finished her first 5k almost two minutes faster than her goal time.

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Rule #1

Today I broke Rule #1 of racing. Don’t try anything new on race day. Though today wasn’t exactly race day, it was a training run on the actual course of my next race. I had run this course before. It’s the site of my first 5k. I vowed never to run this race again. But somehow I got roped into not only running the course for practice but registering to race it again.
After finally convincing a friend to start running, she decided that “Beat the Heat” would be her first 5k. I asked if she wanted me to come cheer her on or come run it with her. I had my fingers crossed that she would choose cheer. But no, she wanted me to run. This made my running buddies happy as they had already decided that ” WE” should make this our reunion run. I had already declined. They were excited when I told them I was signing up.
This morning, after twenty years on land; I thought it was time to get in the water. I put on my swimsuit and made my way to the pool. I didn’t want to just get in and get out for the sake of saying I did it. I needed to stay in for a while; hold on to the wall and kick a bit, walk the length a few times. It never crossed my mind that this was “something new” in regards to rule number one. After the pool, I went to work. From work, I went straight to the run. I started out strong but then began to feel my legs weaken. I wondered what was going on. At first I thought it was the heat. Then I thought it was the hills. But I realized it was neither. It was the pool. I had really already worked out for the day and used my legs slightly different than I use them to run. My legs were tired. I had to have what felt like a long conversation with myself to keep going. The situation with my legs caused me not only to fall behind the group, but to follow a person who had taken a wrong turn. This caused my 3.1 to be a bit longer. I actually completed 3.33.
Note to self….getting in the pool is “something new” and another workout. Until I build my strength and endurance in the pool, I need to get in on a day I don’t run or run first. Body…..I’m sorry for doing this to you today.

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Beat the Heat

July 21, 2012

Today is the big day.  My first official 5k.  I got up in the morning glad that I had to go to work.  I figured at least I’d have something to do to occupy my time and mind before the 7pm start.  The weather was perfect, less than eighty and no sun.  Part of the battle was already won as there was no heat to beat.

Funny how the weather has a mind of its own and it was perfect, until a few hours before race time.  The sun was blazing and it felt just the way I hoped it wouldn’t; hazy, hot and humid.  As the sound of the gun being fired indicated it was time to run, the less than eighty had crept to above ninety degrees.  The start of the race was overwhelming as over eight hundred bodies shuffled across the starting line.  As the faster runners moved further ahead, I felt relieved to have more space.  No One was super close to me and I could just concentrate on the run. As the sun beamed down on me, running became almost unbearable.  When I got to the first mile aid station, I was excited to see water.  I wasn’t excited when I tasted the water.  It was hot! Throwing my cup to the grown in disappointment I trekked on. At 1.5 miles I started to walk.  The heat had gotten the best of me.  The group ahead of me were further away and the group behind me got closer.  At mile two, I decided it was time to jog.  This decision came not because I was concerned about my race time or anything race related.  I picked up the pace because although it was hot, the skies began to darken and the thunder in the distance was getting closer.  In my mind, my objective went from beat the heat to beat the storm.  I got more hot water as my thirst had grown into something awful and picked up my pace even more.  I was thrilled to see familiar faces along the course cheering me on.

Rounding the last corner, there was a man assuring us that we were almost near the end.  On the right, there were runners who had completed the race that had come back on the course to cheer the rest of us along.  None of the words were extremely comforting.  But I thought it was nice of them to do.  I just wanted the race to be over.  My attitude changed the moment I saw the finish line.  I knew that I had beat the heat, beat the storm and completed my first 5k.  The best part of the whole race wasn’t finishing but the ice cold beverage that was handed to me by one of the run run leaders who had worked with me to assure that I was ready to run.

When the last runner crossed the finish line, I heard the announcer of the awards ceremony say that a new course record had been set.  I was thrilled to get my award, a certificate for completing my first 5k.  But, it was time to go.  The storm was coming and I still had a hike to get back to my car.  A few of my run buddies hung around.  I figured my air conditioner in the car would be a better way to cool me than the rain I knew was coming.  Just as I entered the highway, the bottom fell out.  I was glad I left when I did.

When the race results were posted, I learned that I was finisher 703 with a time of 41 minutes and thirteen seconds.  I almost met my goal of 40 minutes.  Maybe next time, when it’s not so hot.