Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gains and Losses

I thought it might be fun to reflect on all the things I've gained, and lost, throughout the past 9 weeks.

I gained:

-a greater confidence in my abilities as a runner.
-more respect for those committed to improving their health. It's not easy. And sometimes it tastes gross.
-7 lbs (last I checked, anyway!). I read somewhere that this is pretty common when you start training for longer distances but I thought it was a myth. It's not. So to all of you out there who keep telling me, "Stop running so much, you're getting too thin..." I've gained 7 lbs.
-knowledge of how my body functions. It needs at least 8 hours of sleep the night before a long run. It needs less sugar and a LOT more water. It needs more fruits and veggies and fewer cheeseburgers.
-a thirst for further distances! My next goal is a full marathon! I'm not sure how long it will be before I'm ready to start training for that, but I am convinced I can do it.
-a better relationship with Christ. I've tried to make running about Him and for Him. Running is a way to clear my mind and is a great time for prayer.
-a love for athletic gear. When I go shopping now I always want to buy new running shorts, shirts, tights... You can never have too many!!
-a fear of wild animals! Skunks don't look so scary when you're in your car and you drive by them fast and the smell doesn't last forever... but when you're on foot and you see a live skunk up ahead, you turn around and take a different route. No other options.
-an appreciation for wide roads and friendly drivers. I can't tell you how many times I had to jump in the ditch because the road was too narrow for a car to get over much or the driver was rude and/or not paying attention.
-the ability to breathe correctly. Who knew I'd been doing it wrong all these years!? I used to get side stitches ALL the time, even in short distances. But, after I learned the correct breathing technique, I could get rid of a side stitch in the middle of a run. YES!

I lost:

-3 toenails, two of which came from the same toe =(
-my good pair of gloves. Technically they weren't even mine to begin with. I borrowed them from my sister and had to buy her a new pair because of the first time I lost them. Hopefully they'll turn up again!!
-my fear of hills. I still dread them but I don't intentionally avoid them anymore.
-the belief that I can't do something due to lack of time. I have a full time job. I go to school full time. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister... and I can still be all of those things and be a runner too.
-money. Okay, so maybe I didn't lose it... but I can't be certain where it went. Maybe it was used for registration fees? Maybe some new running shoes? Maybe someone spent it on a new Nike running shirt? The world may never know.

So, as you can see, I gained quite a bit more than I lost!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Route 66 Half Marathon


I had several panic attacks the week before but I managed to push through. My husband and I left our house Saturday afternoon and headed to Tulsa. We are not city folk. We do not like traffic. We do not like one way streets or road blocks. We drove around the Expo center for about half an hour before we found a place to park and decided not to pay the meter since we couldn't find it... I told you we're not city folk!!!

After picking up my registration packet we drove around for about an hour looking for a movie theater that was playing Flight. It was a very intense movie! I ate too much popcorn.

Through Him alone!
Dinner was at Olive Garden where I loaded up on spaghetti. And I ate too many bread sticks.

On our way! SO SCARED!
We then headed to my cousin's house where we would be staying for the night. I threw back a couple of Benadryl before bed just to help me sleep. I was SO nervous, it's a miracle I was able to doze off at all. And then I realized I FORGOT MY EAR BUDS AT HOME. I can't run without them!! Luckily my super awesome cousin had a pair and let me borrow them. SHE SAVED MY LIFE! We went to bed and I hastily dozed off...
Shakin' in my  boots. 

My alarm went off at 6:00 and I shot out of bed with a racing heart as nervous as I could possibly be! I brushed my teeth. I put on my clothes. I woke up my husband. I ate a muffin, drank some water, and the we headed off to the race. EEEEK!!!!

Say my prayers!!!!!! 
We parked and paid the metal box that told us we owed it $5. My awesome husband told me he was so proud of me (and that I looked good in my tights..) and we walked to the starting line. People people everywhere!! And everywhere I looked I saw runners who looked 100% more legit than myself. They had these neat belts with water bottles and power bars and gel packs and I was like whaaaaaaat is all this? I don't have a neat waist pack, what am I gonna do?! I can't call myself a runner without a fancy running belt!!

And we're off!!! 
Intimidated by all the professional runners and wishing I had brought a pair of gloves, I joined the herd and headed to the start. My husband stayed with me until the very last minute so I could toss him my jacket. I love that man!! Had it not been for him I probably would've had a meltdown.

By the time the race started my fingers were already numb. I wish I would have taken a picture of them--they were solid white.Why didn't I wear gloves!?

The first 3 miles went by pretty fast. I spent most of that time with my hands up my shirt trying to warm them up! There were so many gloves lying on the ground from people tossing them after they got warmed up and I really considered picking a pair up and putting them on... but I didn't. Around mile 3 the feeling had returned in my hands and I finally stopped picturing my fingers falling off from frostbite.

I hit a wall around mile 6. That's a bad feeling considering I wasn't even halfway done! But the spectators cheering everyone on was an ENORMOUS encouragement! I LOVED IT! People were holding signs all over the place. Some were hilarious, like, "Worst. Parade. Ever." and "Kick some asphalt!" I was amazed at how many runners there were, too. The crowd never thinned out at all. There were several water/Gatorade stations throughout the course, and someone was handing out some gel energy packs around mile 8 which was much needed! I hit another wall around mile 10. I knew at that point though that I couldn't stop, not even to walk. My legs were getting stiff already.

When I started this journey I committed myself to giving God all the glory. I promised to trust Him to give me the strength to endure. I even bought a shirt with Philippians 4:13 on it to run in. With a little less than one mile to go I had forgotten all of that. But then, right when I thought I couldn't go any further, a spectator made eye contact with me and shouted, "You can do this! Way to run for the Lord!" I almost started crying right then. He was SO right! I was doing it for Christ and through Him I can do anything! I finished that last mile strong and full of energy. I even sprinted to the finish line :) My time was 2 hours, 16 minutes, 16 seconds. Not bad for a newby who doesn't own a running belt!

I received my medal beaming with pride.

Several hours later, we left Tulsa (after driving around lost for a LONG time... whole other story!) and the only thing I could think about was COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE! My husband took me to IHOP where I ate ALL of my food and drank almost the entire pot of coffee!

By the time we got home every part of my body ached. My poor feet took a beating--I ended up with 6 blisters and a bloody toe. :( My husband informed me, upon seeing my ugly feet, that I was in desperate need of a pedicure! HA! When we got home the heating pad became my best friend.

So there you have it. My half-marathon experience, from start to finish! And to think that when I first started running after my son was born, less than two years ago, I couldn't even go half a mile without stopping.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

142.5 Miles Later...

I started training for my half marathon on September 17, 2012. Since then, I have ran 142.5 miles and burned approximately 13,520 calories! That's equal to 45 slices of pepperoni pizza! Also: 61.5 blueberry muffins.270 cups of sliced strawberries. 451 servings of baby carrots. Or, my favorite, 78 cups of Honey Bunches of Oats with almonds!

I have not stuck to the schedule 100%, but I've come really close. I ran 10 miles this past Tuesday, the first time I have ever gone double digits in my whole life. It did not feel amazing during the 9th mile, but it did feel amazing after the 10th and I was staring into the sinking sun thinking, "Wow, I can not believe I just did that." Run while you can folks. Someday, when you're old and can't hardly get out of bed, you're going to wish you'd taken better care of your body!

During my 10 mile run I took a little detour from the route I usually run, just to add those last few miles onto my run. I tried to take some pictures... 

I took this one on accident, hehe
As much as I've enjoyed this journey, I am glad to be at the end of training. Next week I'll taper, only going a couple of miles each day and then the big 13.1! Over the past few weeks I feel like I've barely seen my family at all. I go to work, run, go to bed, repeat. My husband has been absolutely amazing through all of this and I'm sure he's ready for training to end, too!

Even my son knows what it means when Mommy puts on her running shoes. He starts crying as soon as I get them on because he knows I'm about to leave. Two hours later I get home and it's time to put him to bed. It has been tough on everyone! 

What am I going to do after my half? I have no intentions of giving up running, that's for sure. But I think I'm going to take it easy for a while--no more than 6 miles for a few months. My husband gets his cast taken off his arm today and I know he's going to want to have some basketball dates with his friends over the next few weeks. Perfect timing! 

One more thing before I go: I could not have done any of this without Christ. During some of my most difficult runs all I had to do was pray for strength and endurance, and it was always there. I really can do all things through Him who gives me strength!!