Day 1

Today was the first day of the year of 27. Which I have deemed, the year of commitment and transformation.

Today was the first of my new year. I woke up with a purpose and a plan.
A plan to start a new work out program and a new bootcamp. A plan to forget all the negativity and thoughts from the past three weeks.

I have really struggled in these first few weeks of 2012. I’ve struggled to start again with a workout regime and get back on the healthy eating track. I’ve struggled a lot internally with my emotions regarding things in my personal and professional life. I’ve wasted a lot of tears over these last three weeks on the same old same old, and some new feelings and emotions I’ve never felt before. There was a point in the past few days where I have felt like I hit rock bottom and didn’t know what to do next. But as I wiped away my tears and steadied my breath, I knew that I needed to not focus and dwell on the negative and the things I can’t change right now, and get back to what I know makes me happy and puts me in a good place.

I decided that I needed to refocus all the negativity into my fitness again, especially running. I don’t know if I’m necessarily scared to start running and training for a race again, but I need to get back at it. I’ve got a half marathon PR to set and Ragnar to complete with some pretty kick ass runners. I want to put as my time and dedication into this training as I did for my very first half marathon. Which is kind of a hard mindset to put myself in since this will be my third. But I know I am basically starting over, so I need to take everything in stride and celebrate my small achievements.

So day 1 was pretty amazing. After my dr appointment this morning, I headed to the gym to get in my day 1 workout in the 12-week challenge. Today’s workout focused on chest and shoulders. Wide pushups, dumbbell bench press, flat bench dumbbell flys, narrow pushups, standing dumbbell tricep extensions, and tricep push downs. You do 12 reps of each three times with 1 minute rest in between. By the time I reached the narrow pushups, I thought my shoulders were gonna fall off. I know my upper body is my weak point, but man, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to finish the rest. I conquered through it and my shoulders felt like Jell-o. My goal by the end of the 12 weeks is to be able to do 12 regular pushups on my toes and not on my knees.

The rest of the afternoon was spent spending gift cards from Christmas, getting a shellac mani and throwing together an impromptu crockpot dinner before I headed off to my first bootcamp at a new place.

I purchased a deal from Living Social for a month of unlimited bootcamp sessions at Strong Fitness in Avon Lake. I really like bootcamp workouts because you burn tons of calories and work a variety of muscle groups. I was excited and pumped for to be able to go to two of the three classes offered a week.

The class was small, 10 of us. We warmed up with cardio for 6 minutes changing every minute or so between high knees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and squats. By the end of those 6 minutes I had sweat rolling off my face and tore off the long sleeved shirt I had on.

Next we partnered up and rotated through 5 different stations that had two elements to them, switching on the 30 second or so mark. Think Biggest Loser in a circuit 5 times through. By the end of the third circuit, my right side was aching and my head was pounding. My favorite circuit was the ropes. We picked up two thick ropes that you would climb up and gym class and waved them up and down while the other person held on to the other end and acted like a shock absorber. Remember my chest, shoulder workout from the morning, yeah, my shoulders hated me!  My least favorite was probably the bullfrog/burpee circuit. Half the time we jumped up back and forth like a frog and the other half we did burpees, or what I like to call HELL! This was the hardest circuit to keep your momentum and speed up in and I tired quickly. Luckily side planks followed hell and it was ALMOST like a breather, until my body started shaking holing myself up.

Hardest workout I’ve ever had, but I can’t wait to go back for more!

I just hope I can function well enough to get through Day 2 of my workout tomorrow and a 2-mile run! 🙂

Day 1= success! 🙂

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A new year, a fresh start

2011 was an absolutely amazing year! I ran a marathon, something I thought I would never dream of doing or completing! My personal life ended pretty crummy in 2010, but got amazingly better in 2011 when Aaron entered my life. 2011 wouldn’t have been the same without him. 2011 was the year of 26 and love! 🙂

Now with 2012 ahead of me, I’ve got some new goals for myself.

I want to keep running as a part of my life for as long as my knees will allow me to. With that said, I want to get back to the reason why I started running in the first  place: to stay fit and lose weight. I want to get back on track with running regularly and work in other aspects of exercise into my life while getting back on to the healthy wagon of maintaining a healthy diet. Its no secret that I fell off that wagon a month  before my marathon which resulted with a spare tire around my waist. Definitely not acceptable. I know how it happened and won’t let it happen again.

So, I am using 2012 to start over and get back to the basics. That means starting over with my running. I am going back to the beginning with EVERYTHING! Pace and mileage mainly. The mileage is going to start out small and slowly increase as my body gets back on board with running longer distances. Speed. I really want to regain the speed I had last spring and slowly lost as I was building endurance for my first marathon. My goal is to finish the Cleveland Half Marathon in 2:10.  I know this is an attainable goal.

 

2012 running events:

Catch a Leprechaun 15k

Cleveland 10-miler

Rite-Aid Cleveland Half Marathon

Officer Kerstetter Memorial 5k

Fort4Fit Half Marathon

Ragnar Relay -200 mile 24 hour team relay

 

When my #dirtyrunner crew threw out the idea to participate in this 12-person 200 mile relay, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity! Its all about running as a team, bonding, and having a great time! Legs of the race ranges from 8-22 miles, each person running three legs. I know with the marathon maniacs in the group, the 22 mile legs will be handed straight to them and I can handle any legs between 8-12 miles. I can’t wait!

Team #dirtyrunners will dominate Ragnar PA!

 

Overall, I just want to regain control of my health and fitness, learn new, healthy habits and finally being happy with myself!

 

Here’s to a year of health, running, and happiness!

 

Cheers!

The day I became a MARATHONER!

Sunday morning started off a little confusing because I woke up about 10 minutes before my 5:00 am alarm. The clock on the night stand in the hotel read 3:50 am and I thought I had another hour of sleep. But then when the boy’s phone alarm went off, again, I asked why he had it going off so early. He said it was almost 5 am. I immediately got up and looked at my phone and it read the same time. We thought maybe daylight savings time had ended, but I knew it wasn’t until the following weekend. Plus, we will fall back, not forward. So after we confirmed it was indeed the time our phones read, I began getting dressed and ready for my EPIC day!

We met my friend Jenine who was also running the race and her cousin in the hotel lobby at 5:30 am to take a taxi to the metro station. After we rode the metro to our stop in Crystal City we walked underground for what seemed like forever until we popped up on ground level right near our friend’s hotel who had a shuttle to drop us of near the start. The plan here was to eat breakfast and then take the shuttle. Since we arrived later than planned because we sat on the metro for about 10 minutes before it took off, there wasn’t much left for breakfast options. I munched on a half a plain bagel and found a banana while I used a real bathroom one last time before the shuttle arrived. I wasn’t too happy about the lack of breakfast I was eating, but didn’t really have much choice since I didn’t bring any other food with me.

Representing the 440 at MCM

We hop on the shuttle a little after 7 am and take a short ride to some sort of military housing near Arlington Cemetery. It was kind of crazy at this point because both runners and spectators were going the same way and the Marines were shouting for IDs to access beyond this point. I’d given the boy my ID, but a Marine said the runners could just show their bib, so I flashed my bib from under my throwaway shirt. After that, we made our way down a long road towards the start area. The sun was just beginning to rise over the horizon at this point. I looked to my right and saw this beautiful and bone-chilling site.

 

We had not made it to Arlington Cemetery before this, so I was trying to take in my surroundings while trying to remember where I was at and what I was doing. We hit a point where spectators and runners had to part ways, we said our goodbyes, and then Jenine, Jeff and I made our way to the port-o-potties for one last pitstop before the start. The port-o-potties were located on this slope of a hill that was just a mud pit since it rained all day the day before. As we descended down the hill, we were greeted with this gorgeous view of where we would be headed during our 26.2 mile journey through the Nation’s capital. 

After we made our final pitstops, we followed the crowd about a half mile towards the start line. Opening ceremonies had already started including posting of the colors by the Marines and a fly over.

 

It took us quite a while to navigate to our designated corral since the crowd of runners was so thick! Jeff and I said good-bye to Jenine as we past the 4:00 hour corral. Jeff and I headed down the highway farther to find a place for us to start. After chatting with two Marathon Maniac runners for a couple minutes, then the announcer came on to introduce Drew Carey to officially start the race and shoot off the starting pistol. 13 minutes later after passing the boy  Jeff and I were crossing the starting line mats and heading down the highway towards Rosslyn (the first of many cities) on our route. Holy heck! This is real, I’m starting the marathon.

Jeff and I planned to run together as long as possible since he is injured and planned on run/walking with an anticipated finish time of 6 hours. (Yeah, this plan went straight out the window after the first few miles)

I knew the first part of the course would have its share of hills, but I did not expect the slow and constant uphill that took use from mile 1 to mile 2.

Mile 1: 10:16/mile – a little faster than I needed to be, but I was feeling strong

Mile 2: 10:45/mile – surprising since there was a point where a little speed-walking was involved to propel me up the hill

Mile 3: 11:14/mile -hill recovery? who knows, knee pain started to kick in

Mile 4: 9:51/mile- woah speedy gonzalez! SLOOOOW DOWN!

Between miles 4-7 I was trying too hard to pace with Jeff at this point which would later lead to my running on empty feeling.

Once we crossed the bridge over into Georgetown, the energy from the crowd was AMAZING! This was the first time we could see the people running at a much faster pace as they were coming downhill towards us. We made a long stretch down a road that runs next to the Potomac River. It was really pretty and serene. But after a while it got pretty boring because it was just a big pack of runners and no spectators since there was no room. After about a mile, we turned right and shot straight up another hill. Ugh! I kept plugging away, but started to experience some pain in my left knee. Knowing I need to save my legs for the rest of the race, I power walked when I needed to keep up with Jeff’s pace and ran when I felt better. This part of the course was pretty tough, but when we came barreling back down the hill where we first saw the lead runners, I got such a rush of adrenaline from the crowd running through old Georgetown the next two miles flew by like nothing. By this time I had shed my throwaway long sleeved shirt and had taken some Advil to help alleviate some knee pain.

After we navigated the streets of old Georgetown, we began winding our way through West Potomac Park, which gave us beautiful sites of the city along the river. Around mile 11, I look to my right a little bit ahead of me and see Aaron with my camera up to his face snapping photos. Total surprise! I did not plan on seeing him until we reached the National Mall around mile 16. A hugh smile instantly covered my face and I ran up to him, gave him a kiss and said a quick “I love you.” Jeff and I kept on trucking and I see Aaron run ahead of us along the sidewalk so he could get some more photos a few yards down.

 

I really don't remember sticking my tongue out

Once we hit the halfway point, I was feeling tired. I knew at that point I started out WAY too fast and knee pain and by now, foot pain were ailing me. I was doing a lot of running and walking by this point. We were still in the Potomac park running along the river on a multi-purpose trail. It was kind of narrow and people were being polite and saying excuse me if they needed to pass. Around mile 14 or 15 is when Jeff and I parted ways since he felt like if he walked his knee would cramp up.

Honestly, as much as I enjoyed having someone to run with for part of the race, after Jeff and I parted ways, I was able to tune into the whole race and truly put myself in the moment. And the timing was perfect right before the National Mall.

Once we turned and headed down the National Mall, we were hit with an over-whelming amount of spectators. It was truly the most support I have ever felt during a race, and was SO glad I put my name on the front of my shirt. I know I had a smile on my face the entire time because not only of the sites around I could see, but being greeted by so many amazing people. Before I knew it, I saw a familiar face with a camera pointing at me and was super thrilled to see Aaron!

After I gave him a quick hug and kiss, I moved on down the road. But I must have gotten caught up in the moment that I began to cry and slightly hyper-ventilate. I stopped to walk so I could catch my breath and get my breathing back on tracking. Aaron jogged up to catch up with me and make sure I was okay and told me that Jeff wasn’t too far ahead of me. I thanked him and then went back on my way.

I passed the World War II memorial and wished so badly that I could stop and really look around but knew I had a race to run.

Here are some of my sights that I saw while running along the Mall.

So by mile 17 I was STARVING! Remember I said I knew I didn’t have enough for breakfast that morning? Yeah, coming back to bite me in the butt. Luckily, a kind spectator was handing out these !

SWEDISH FISH!

OMG! You have NO IDEA how good the first one tasted as I bit into it! I kept these around for about three miles, munching as I needed the energy.

We did some more “sight-seeing” before we made our way back towards Arlington getting an up-close view of the Capital.

After this, we looped back to “beat the bridge”, the 20-mile marker that you had to make by a certain time to guarantee to finish the course before it closed. On the way to beating the bridge, the fans again we’re unbelievable! Hearing my name over and over again. High-fiving spectators as I shuffled along. I even high-fived Steeler fans (eew!), but they were cheering me on so I forgave them for their poor choice in team loyalty. 😉 But let me tell you, nothing gives you more energy than running towards a little kid and giving them a high-five! Such a moral boost that you would not believe!

Once I hit mile 20, I knew it was all a mental battle from here. I’d run 20 miles twice before, so every mile after this would be a new milestone for me.

Miles 20-22 were the most boring on the whole course. We were running on one side of the highway. Small rolling hills along the way. No spectators. So I relied a lot on my music and positive attitude to keep me going. By this point, my feet were SCREAMING at me. No matter if I walked or ran, they hurt. But I knew I had come this far, all I had to do was survive a 10k.

These two miles gave me plenty of time to people watch. There were a group of 6-7 military men dressed in camo pants, maroon shirts, their boots and backpacks that probably weighed 70 lbs each at my guess. I had seen them earlier during the first part of the course. They stuck together, motivating each other and taking turns leading the pack. I shuffled past a Marine Staff Sergant wearing camo pants and his boots. He was running by himself. I totally respected these men running in what would seem like uncomfortable apparel to sport runners, but the norm to those in the military.

It was during these two miles that I really wished I had carried a hand-held water bottle because I felt like I was dying of thirst! Once we approached mile 22 we ran down an off-ramp and onto the streets of Crystal City. I knew this meant we were getting closer.

I totally missed the water stop at mile 22. At each water stop along the course they had Gatorade at the beginning and water at the end of the stop. I really think it should have been flip-flopped because it was just so congested. Or at least have water on one side and gatorade on the other. But, I missed the dividing spot for water and it was too late to turn back once I missed it. But up ahead there was a food stop, the third on the course. Dunkin’ Donut munchkins! A cake chocolate donut never tasted so good. It just sucked because I had nothing to wash it down with. But at this point I knew I just had to make it to mile 24 where the next water stop would be.

Crystal City was basically a loop so I saw the runners ahead of me heading back. I hate this parts of courses because you can never judge where the turn around point is and its very discouraging. But the supporters lining the streets were amazing and cheering us runners on. Again, people were handing out snacks and a group of spectators were handing out beer. Though I was parched, I was not that desperate to take Natural Light (eeck!). Finally, I saw the loop through a small park that would send us back the other way out of Crystal City and towards the finish. As I ran through the park, a Marine was standing there cheering us on and telling us only 3 miles to go. I high-fived him and kept shuffling along.

Finally I made it to Mile 24 and water was ahead. Marines were still handing out munckins and I took two-a glazed one and a chocolate one. Ate the glazed one with ease, but waited to eat the chocolate one until I had water. At this water stop, I took both Gatorade and water. I mixed the two, hoping between the electrolytes and the sugar, it would help me get the last second wind I needed to push on to the finish.

During Mile 24 we ran by the Pentagon. From the ground, it looks like any normal building. But as I ran along by it, I reflected on the tragedy that struck this location 10 years ago, and all those who lost their lives.

Mile 25. 1.2 miles to go. By this time I was walking a bunch and running when I gained enough strength to do so. As we made our way down an off-ramp and back on the highway towards Arlington Cememtery, my lower back on my left side began to hurt. So a lot more walking between 25-26, but I tried and tried to push hard when I ran.

Mile 26…SO CLOSE. I’m frantically looking around for the finish line. .2 to go and I’m a marathoner!

As I’m pushing along I notice the course turns left and then I though, WTF!?

WHO PUTS A HILL AT THE END OF A MARATHON?!

I began to run and wanted to push my hardest, but about halfway up the hill I knew this bastard would get the best of me. All the hills in Akron’s half had NOTHING on this hill. I pumped my arms and power walked up that bitch.

Once I reached the top and turned right, my legs were dead and it felt nearly impossible to sprint towards the finish line. I passed Aaron as I was approaching the finish line, still smiling and excited for what I was about to accomplish.

5:31 later, I crossed the finish line with my hands above my head.

I had become a MARATHONER! I had finished what I started.

After we finished, we walked a ways into these shutes where several Marines stood with medals hung around their arms. A very handsome Marine put a medal around my neck. I graciously said “Thank you, sir” and moved on. When I looked up, I was in awe of what was in front of me.

Iwo Jima Memorial

After getting some finisher photos taken and navigating the “get post-race food” line, I was finally able to meet up with Aaron. Exhaustion is what I felt. My feet ached, my back hurt and I wasn’t able to move fast.

Treking through mud post race was not fun, but the only way we could get back up to the street and head towards the finisher’s festival.

Post race I snagged a finisher’s shirt and met up with Jeff at the TAPS tent to retrieve my bag and take some photos.

One badass medal for this Marathoner!

kisses!

Wow. I REALLY did it. Thinking back on it Sunday evening and even Monday, it felt like it was almost a dream, a surreal dream. I DID it! 8 months of marathon craze, 18 weeks of training. Lots of weeks and runs of doubt whether or not I could actually complete a marathon.

But I did it. I completed 26.2 miles with a smile on my face and without a doubt or negative thought in my mind. It may have taken me five and a half hours to do so, but that is not what matters. The thing I am most proud of myself is that I never mentally gave up during those 26.2 miles. I did not allow a single negative thought to even begin to form nor did I beat myself up about not being fast enough or not at a smaller weight. I absorbed every single minute of every single mile and truly lived my marathon. That is the sweetest victory of all!

Now, the journey here was not done alone. There were many people a part of it that need to be mentioned and thanked.

First, Jenine. Thank you so much for signing up for this race with me and sticking with me through the entire training and making it to DC with me. Your wisdom, encouragement and friendship during this whole process helped keep me focused on the fact that I CAN and WILL complete a marathon. Thank you for running at my pace on our longer runs. I know I’m not a speed demon like you, but your company was definitely enjoyed and appreciated during our training.

Second, my dirty runners circle. It has been such a great pleasure exchanging stories, jokes and advice over Facebook and Twitter, and during meet ups at races and other outings. I’m glad many of the first time marathoners went before me so I could relive their special days via their blogs(TheHeldawg, KimiK, HungryinCle, MojaMala2, Justin_McI). Your daily support means so much and was definitely thought of during my 26.2 miles. I’m so stoaked to be part of club now! Keep runnin’ dirty!

Next, my friends and family in the Midwest! You guys have been there for me always and when I decided to take on this challenge, you did not discourage me but were my biggest cheerleaders! I love you guys so much and don’t know what I’d do without you!

All of you who donated to help me out Run MS. I ran the Akron half marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon in honor of my Aunt Anita who is currently living with MS. She is a strong woman who keeps going with her head held high while facing daily struggles this awful disease challenges her with. I am proud to say that I raised $400 for the National MS Society. All of you who gave to this wonderful cause, you are angels and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Lastly, and certainly the most important person I need to thank: my wonderful and amazing boyfriend, Aaron.

Aaron, you were there with me every step of the way. From the beginning of our relationship, you wanted to be there with me during this amazing time in DC after only knowing me a week. Since then, you have been there to listen to me moan and groan about aches and pains, being woken up early on the days I had long runs as I crawled over you out of bed. You were my motivator during the week when I didn’t want to get up that extra hour early to get my run in before I had to get ready and go to work. You made it to as many races as possible to cheer me on in the training leading up to the marathon. You even popped your race cherry and ran a 5k with me on a cold March morning. You survived my many mood swings and emotional roller-coasters this training sent me on and still encouraged me, even though we both couldn’t wait until it was all over. And you made the 300+ mile trip with me to Washington D.C. and endured four-days with me and we didn’t die (either by plane or killing each other. hehehe 🙂 ). And on race day, you shocked me most when you walked the distance of a half marathon around D.C. to make sure you got photos of me and my friends along different spots of the course.  If there was an award for the best boyfriend, you would receive it hands down! You are my rock and believed that I could complete this challenge when I felt at times I couldn’t. I couldn’t ask for a better guy to have as my boyfriend. I hope the next marathon I decide to do, you can run it with me in your own unique style. Thank you, Aaron. I love you.

What’s next? As of now, there are no marathons planned in the immediate future. I am going to focus on getting fit and healthy again as the end of marathon training left me with crappy eating habits and some pounds gained. I want to slim down, tone up and work on getting faster.

I said before this race that this would be my marathon swan song. Now, I don’t think it will be my ONLY one, but it won’t be within the next six months. We’ll see what the future brings.

I finished what I started.

I AM a marathoner!

It’s down to single digits.

Nine days.

In nine days I will be toeing the start line with 30,000 runners about to embark on our nation’s capital running the “People’s Marathon”, also known as the 36th Marine Corps Marathon.

 

Over almost two weeks now, I’ve gone through ever emotion possible when thinking about this race. And I haven’t even run it yet. After reading all of my runner friends’ marathon blog recaps over the past couple weeks has got my head in a tailspin.

Each person had their own story and experience to tell on their 26.2 mile journey. Some have run the distance before, and others were marathon virgins. One thing I noticed in all of their journeys is that there emotions seem to fluctuate throughout the distance. Each faced a point in the race where they struggled with either physical pain or mental stamina. It got me wondering how I am gonna feel at different points in the race and am I gonna be strong enough to handle the emotional ups and downs.

Another thing that I realized that was a crucial part in helping these runners make it through the tough spots was having supporters strategically positioned along the course. This is the part that worries me about not seeing a familiar face for almost five hours and helping lift my spirits when they need it. I’ve spoken with the boy and told him that it would be really helpful if he would be at designated “watch spots” on the course to be there to cheer me on. He didn’t seem particularly thrilled about it. But I think its better to be moving around over the period of time I’m running than standing at the finish line just waiting. Plus, it will give him the opportunity to see some sights of DC while he waits. This whole thing is TBD, and hopefully we’ll map out a game plan once we get to DC and can see where everything is.

 

Though I’ve had these nerves and anxiety about the race, over the last few days I’ve gotten increasingly excited.

Excited to go to a place I’ve never been before.

Excited to experience DC with the love of my life.

Excited to conquer a goal I never imagined last year at this time I’d ever be attempting.

 

During my four mile run on the dreadmill this morning (insert awful groan here), I tried to run at a faster pace for at least a mile to work on a little speed. I tried to block everything around me in the gym and just try to visualize me sprinting towards the finish line. It got me pumped and ready to for this race!

 

I’ve got one last long run to knock before super taper next week. 8 miles tomorrow morning. Piece of cake!

 

SO looking forward to carb-loading next week. Just hoping I don’t suffer from tapering craze, comparable to PMS from a fellow dirtyrunner. That would NOT be good.

 

Bring it on MCM! I WILL finish what I started!

 

….9 days.

45 days to go and there isn’t much gas left in this tank

I have been training for my first marathon for 11 weeks now. And for about the last two and a half weeks, I have been really slacking on my daily runs, finding it hard to muster up enough motivation to get my butt out the door and pounding the pavement. My (motivation) gas tank is running on empty, and lately, I feel like my physical gas tank is too.
I know I am in the critical part of my training where every mile counts as the days inch closer to my 26.2 mile journey. I should be logging between 40-50 miles a week, when realistically I’m probably only logging in the low-30s.

Not acceptable.

I am not a morning person what so ever. It is hard to get out of bed at 6am to get ready to go run while the boy is still snoozing away for another hour and a half. It’s even harder when some days I don’t have to be at work until 2pm to get up that early when I probably didn’t get to bed the night before until midnight. But, I want to finish 26.2 miles on Oct. 30 without being whisked away by medical after crossing the finish line, so I HAVE to get my rear out of bed in the mornings to get my miles in. I have enlisted the help of the boy to be annoying as possible when my alarm goes off to help get me going in the mornings. He has tried so far, but I told him he was just too nice about it.

Saturday will be my first of two 20 mile long runs. This week I have only logged 4 miles. No bueno. Tomorrow I plan on running 8 miles and 5 on Friday. Since I will be out of town Sunday for the Browns game, I can’t do a recovery run, so Monday will be a must run to recover/pump up for the week ahead.
To say I am scared of running 20 miles is an understatement. I have been dreading this run since the beginning. Luckily, my training partner/ friend Jenine will be running with me through those 20 miles. She has run several marathons so she is no stranger to this distance. It will be nice to have someone to run with during a long run again.

Okay, so to help refill my tank I am enlisting the help of all you who have taken an interest in this craziness to hold me accountable/ support me in these last 7 weeks. If that means I need to blog more to keep you updated, I will. Anyway you have to communicate with me, utilize it to keep the positivity and support coming.
I can’t run on fumes alone.

I will finish what I started!

MCM 2011 Training Week 10

I can’t believe there is eight weeks and counting until I will have completed my very first marathon and I will be a member of the marathon club. Summer sure has flown by, but I feel like its taken so long to get to this point.

 

17 miles in the books today for my long run to round out week 10. I decided to rest yesterday and use this holiday to devote three hours of my day to pounding the pavement. I think the day of rest helped me overall since I felt strong and good for long periods of time during my 17 mile trek.

 

This past week was also MUCH better than the previous week where I slacked on my weekday mileage and paid for it on my long 12 mile run. I told myself that this past week I needed to put my serious running cap back on and not slack on my daily mileage because I knew it would hurt me come my long run. And that I did. I got in my miles, with the exception of Thursday and spent some time in the gym cross training instead.

 

Saturday I ran in the North Coast Challenge five-mile race in Westlake for the second year in a row. Its a well organized event with a flat, fast course that always brings out a good crowd. Last year it was cold and rainy and this year it was hot and humid. I pushed through the hot temps and found a woman that I paced with for a good three miles. Around mile four I passed her and picked up my stride. I started to walk with less than a half mile to go to save my legs so I could sprint it out the last couple hundred meters. But when a guy in his mid-thirties came up next to me and said come on we’re almost finished I picked up my pace back into a run and gave it all I got. I was hot and tired from the heat, but I left it all out on the course. I crossed the finish line in under 53 minutes, just 5 seconds faster than last year. I immediately grabbed two bottles of water to begin to cool down and quench my thirst, and then grabbed a hunk of ice from the water bin to put on my body to help cool my body temperature down.

 

Today’s long run was nice. The temperatures were in the mid-60s and it was overcast-perfect running conditions compared to Saturday’s race. I was nervous before heading out on the roads alone for 17 miles, but I knew I had no choice but to conquer this fear. I felt good for long spurts of time and didn’t have to walk much for the first 10 miles. Around mile 6, the sky ahead of me was really dark and I could see that it was raining about a half mile down the road. The closer I got to the dark clouds it began to sprinkle. A funny, random thing happened moments later. A car pulled out of a driveway and continued down the road in the same direction I was going. Then it stopped in the middle of the road and sat there for a while. As I got closer to the car, it went into reverse and started heading towards me. The driver stopped the car a couple hundred feet in front of me and when I was approaching the car, the older woman driver rolled down her window and asked if I wanted a ride. I politely told her no and thanked her for her offer. At that moment the sky was just spitting on me and it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. But really lady, I’m in the middle of my 17 mile run, not gonna let a little rain make me stop. As I approached the rain-drenched pavement the rain had lightened up to a sprinkle and was tolerable. It wasn’t until around mile 8 when the wind picked up a little more and the sky opened up and just poured for a good 10 minutes. I didn’t let this slow me down and I continued to power through the rain, completely soaked from head to toe. It was chilly at times, but I’d rather take the cold then the sweltering heat. The rain eventually slowed then stopped which I was thankful for.

The last three miles of my run where the toughest. My feet and knees were really beginning to ache to the point that it became more difficult to zone out and ignore. I kept reminding myself to keep running and why I am training. I am running Akron and DC not just for me, but for my aunt and all the other people in this country living with MS. The temporary pain I was feeling at that time is nothing compared to the bodily pain those living with MS experience every day. I knew once I was done with my run, I would be able to go home, put up my feet and ice my legs. Also, reward myself with a nice glass of chocolate milk (which halfway through my run I decided sounded amazing even though any other time I don’t really like chocolate milk). Reminding myself of why I am running really kept me going, along with telling myself that I CAN do this, I CAN finish these last few miles running.

 

So now my longest run logged is 17 miles. Since I am running the Akron half marathon in three weeks, the same weekend my first 20 mile run is scheduled, I’ve had to do some rearranging so I can get that run in on a non-race weekend. So, next weekend will be a step back week then the following week is the first of two 20-mile runs on my schedule. I would be lying if I didn’t say this run completely scared me to death. I just really hope I can work it out with one of my friends to run that distance together.

 

I would also like to give a special shout out to all of my friends who have made donations to my fund raising efforts for MS this past week! You’re kindness and generosity really touches me deeply and helps keep me motivated! So THANK YOU!

 

If you are reading this and have not yet made a donation on my behalf, I would suggest visiting my personal page and learning more about the cause I am raising money for. My goal is to raise $500 by the day of my marathon (Oct. 30). I sent a message out to some of my Facebook friends asking them to consider donating-whatever amount they could to help me reach my goal. So  I hope you will consider helping me help Run MS to create a world free of MS.

Running a Perfect 10-miler

Hello little blog! I know, I know. It’s been a couple of weeks, but I’m back.

Yesterday (Sunday) I decided to run the majority of my long run during the Perfect 10-miler in Lyndhurst. The race web site promised a flat and well-shaded course that wound through the neighborhoods of Lyndhurst. I figures it would be a great way to knock out 10 miles of my 14 mile scheduled long run.

5 am wake-up was a bit rough after I didn’t sleep well the night before. I pulled myself out of bed and began to get ready. As I was doing so, I saw flashes of light outside that soon followed by the sound of a heavy rain fall. Great. Not the weather I wanted for a race morning, but I figured the weather system had about two hours to pass through before the start gun went off. After I was ready, I woke up my boyfriend for him to get up and around so we could make the trek to Cleveland’s eastside together. Once we actually got to Cleveland, the rain had subsided thankfully.

Once I got to Brush High School, I planned to meet up with fellow running tweeps to get a pre-race photo. It was nice getting to meet John, Jess and Christian, finally putting faces with Twitter handles. (We chat frequently via Twitter about running, races and encouraging one another.)

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After we got our photo, we wished each other luck and parted ways to finish our pre-race rituals.

We lined up about 5 minutes before 7:30 on the street in front of the school. I found John and Christian again and stood by them as we waited for the horn to sound and the race to start. It seemed like the longest five minutes in the world, but then the horn sounded and we were off. I decided that I was going to try and pace with the guys for as long as I could since I knew they planned on running about a 10:00/pace. I kept up with them for a little more than a mile until the first water stop when I grabbed some water and walked to be able to drink it. I kept them in my sight for about the next three miles or so.

Somewhere between mile two and three as we were rolling through the streets and making turns, I was jamming along to my music and thinking about anything and everything but the fact that I was running. I don’t know how long it lasted until I realized that I was so consumed in my thoughts that I forgot what I was going. That has never happened! I hope in the future that I can have more of those moments and for greater periods of time.

The rain started somewhere after mile 3. It didn’t bother me and I just kept pushing along. I continued plugging away at a pretty steady pace. I knew there was a slow, gradual hill that was ahead between 5-6 and was warned about this before hand. I was patient with it and kept attacking it at a steady pace, knowing I could regain speed on the downhill. When I passed the clock that was set on the other side of the street at mile 5 and I was now at mile 6, I knew I was making good time to finish in a faster time than my previous 10-miler. After grabbing water and slurping down a Gu, my energy and confidence was still high I pushed along at a great pace.
Volunteers were positioned at mile markers 8 and 9 shouting out times. When I passed each, I knew I was still on great pace to set a new PR. The last mile I got a spell of fatigue, but luckily Mr. Trace Adkins came on next singing “Ladies Love Country Boys”. This song instantly brought a smile to my face and lifted my spirits allowing me to put a pep in my stride. Small rolling hills and several turns took me back to the high school to finish on the track. I was happy to see we didn’t have to run a full lap, but just enough of a stretch to push out a sprint to the finish. As I was approaching the finish line, one of the race officials told me to go catch the guy in front of me. I began to sprint as fast as my knees would allow. I never caught the guy, but I did cross the finish line in 1:45:52, a new PR by five whole minutes! I felt great afterwards. I felt like I could have finished the last four miles of my long run right then. But I couldn’t since my boyfriend was ready to head home and get work done.

Definitely wish I would have pounded out those miles post race. My legs began to feel fatigued about an hour after the race and got worse after sitting for the majority of the afternoon editing photos. My “easy 4 mile” run in the evening turned into a painful 1.5 mile run.

I was very pleased with the race course, my performance and how I felt post race. This race was the total confidence boost I needed as I progress further into marathon training. I know I can complete these longer runs ahead of me.