Oct 23, 2013

The night before the race.

Well, I completed my first half marathon on Sunday. I'm going to be completely honest about the whole experience. It was the HARDEST thing I have ever done in my whole life. Both physically and mentally. I'll start at the beginning...

Saturday night I ate whole grain pasta, ground turkey, spaghetti sauce and some garlic bread (I love me some garlic bread!). I drank tons of water throughout the day and I had a couple of glasses with my dinner. I was ready for bed around 8:45. My boyfriend lead me through some "football stretches" and then I got into bed. My boyfriend (who I refer to as the water Nazi) got me a glass of water and put it by my side of the bed. He told me I needed to drink it through out the night.

I woke up several times in the middle of the night. I kept thinking it was 5:45 or close to it. I was anxious. I did actually remember to drink some water at one point and I even told my boyfriend. He said, "That's my girl." When my alarm finally went off I jumped out of bed. I was nervous. I felt shaky. I felt a little excited. But more sick than anything. I woke up my boyfriend and I started getting ready. I put Pandora on and my boyfriend started dancing all over and making me laugh. I started to feel better.

While I was getting ready my friend, John, called to wish me good luck. He said I sounded like I was in good spirits. I think at this point I had a "Let's do this!" attitude.

He couldn't contain his excitement for me.

Once we were both ready we headed out the door. I had my arm band, my phone, my apartment key, my head phones and my Gatorade chews for my halfway snack. The event would take place at Wilson Creek Winery which was only like four miles from our apartment. But once we got closer there was traffic. I expected this. When we reached the first parking lot I had my boyfriend pull in. I said good-bye and jumped out of the car. He had to go to work. I was a little sad that he wouldn't be at the finish line but my parents would be.

I immediately looked for a bathroom. I found one but the line was wrapped around the building. At this point it was 7:24 and the start time was 7:30. I left the line and headed towards the starting line. Luckily I found a line of porto-potty's right at the starting line. I snuck my way in and did my business. I was so glad I got that over with before the race.

There was a mob of people, as you can imagine, at the starting line. I was so nervous. I'm pretty sure I was shaking. It was probably a mixture of nerves and the cold weather. I put my head phones on and pressed shuffle on my playlist that I had made. The first song that played was Jonny Lang's "Anything's Possible" and the announcer yelled GO! I started to cry as I started to run. It was a very emotional moment for me. And it was just so weird that that song played first...out of the sixty songs on my playlist.

Within the first thirty seconds, there was a hill! We were running through vineyards and the dirt was flying up everywhere. I could barely breathe. It got better later on when people started spreading out. I know for a fact that I had dirt up my nose. It was not the best feeling.

Mile 1 came pretty quickly. I think I was distracted by all of my surroundings and it helped the time fly by. After that time slowed down though. I usually average 15 minutes or a little less per mile. I think the first 7 miles I was on track and then my body began to resist. Every mile seemed longer and longer. The scenery in wine country is gorgeous but the hills are brutal! I started eating my Gatorade chews on mile 5. I finished eating them on mile 7. I was surprised that they helped me get through the rest of the way. I didn't get hungry at all until after.

See that hill in the distance...Just one of many.

Breathtaking view

My parents were going to meet me at the finish line. At first I was optimistic and I told them to meet me at 10. After mile 7 I texted my dad and told him that I was slowing down and I wouldn't be at the finish until after 10. Now that I think about it, I don't even know why I told my parents 10. That would have been a 12 minute mile average. I'm not quite there yet...I wiped the sweat from my face a couple times and every time I did I could feel the salt. I don't remember ever feeling that before.

I was freaking out from miles 8-10. I had looked at my clock and for a moment I thought my 8 mile time was getting close to 30 minutes. Well, turns out they didn't post a sign for mile 9. I was coming down a hill (what felt like the thousandth one!) and at first I thought it was a mirage. I saw a 10 in the distance but I kept thinking - there's no way! I mean, mile 8 did feel like the longest one yet but there was no sign for mile 9. I got closer and yep, it was a 10!!! I was relieved at this point. Double digits. Only 3 more miles to go.

My mind and my body were ready to continue running but my feet would not allow me to do so. I pretty much walked the last 3 miles. I had blisters forming and the bottom of my feet were burning.

I texted my dad when I got to mile 12. I tried running again but it hurt too badly. I walked as fast as I could. When I finally saw the magical number 13 I started running. I didn't care about the pain anymore. I just wanted to be done! In that moment, "Halo" by Beyonce started playing in my ears. This was the live version and this version always makes me emotional because she dedicates it to Michael Jackson.

Wouldn't you know it, I had to go up another hill to get that last .1 in! When I got to the top there were people with bells. They were yelling but I couldn't hear them since I had my headphones on. When I took them off I heard the best words I would hear all day, "You're done! You're done!" I felt great! But for some reason the finish line was down the hill and around the corner.

When I turned the corner I saw my mom and dad standing there. Both had their phones pointed at me, snapping pictures. They both looked so happy. And believe me, I was ELATED!!! I was done! I had done it! The announcer was trying to call my name out but I guess he didn't have the information to match my bib number so he asked me what my name was. I told him and my mom kept yelling, "It's her first half marathon!!! Her first one!" Yep, she's one proud mama. He said my name and then came over and shook my hand and congratulated me on completing my first half marathon.

Let me tell you, the cut off for the race was three and a half hours. I just BARELY made it. My official time was 3:24:55.4. I can not tell you how proud of myself I am.

Aw, my proud parents.

My friend, Emily, who actually got me into running, also ran a half marathon with her sister in Colorado on Sunday. She texted me when she was done and I told her it was the hardest thing I've ever done. She wrote back, "But didn't you love it?!" I responded, "Actually, no." Haha. I loved the feeling of accomplishment afterwards. But I don't remember loving the way I felt out there on those dirt roads. I'm just so glad it's over.

So what's next?! At the moment, I have no idea. I'm going to focus on weight lifting with my boyfriend for right now. I may do some short runs here and there but I have no intentions of signing up for anymore races any time soon.

Yes, I did wear this ALL day.

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Oct 10, 2013

My half marathon is TEN days away. I compared my half marathon to being pregnant the other day. I've never had a child so I'm going off of what I've heard. But I told my friend, "At first you're really excited. And then you're nervous. And as it approaches you're just ready to get it over with!" I'm at the point now where I just want it to be done! I'm also freaking out on the inside...a lot. I have moments when I feel sick and I have butterflies and I'm like-what is going on?! And then I remember- OH YEAH! You signed up for a freakin' half marathon!!!

I'm working on a playlist for my ipod shuffle for race day. I've decided not to carry my phone that day for a couple reasons. It's just plain heavy. I have an arm band that I like to wear but not for that long of a run. It would drive me crazy. Also, I don't want to focus on the time while I'm out there running. If I bring my phone I'd turn on MapMyRun and every mile I would be informed of my time and distance. I just want to go out there and enjoy myself and run when I want to run and walk when I want to walk. Back to the point- I am making a list of songs for my half marathon playlist. Here's what I have so far:

Katy Perry-Roar, Dark Horse, Teenage Dream, Part of Me, California Gurls, Firework, Peacock, Circle the Train, E.T., Who Am I Living For?, Hummingbird Heartbeat
Lady Gaga-Applause, Marry the Night, Government Hooker, Hair, ScheiBe, Teeth, Money Honey
Keith Urban & Miranda Lambert-We Were Us
Sara Bareilles-Brave
JayZ & Justin Timberlake-Holy Grail
Justin Timerlake-Pusher Love Girl & Mirrors
Miley Cyrus- Wrecking Ball

I always think of songs when I'm out and about and then by the time I stop to write them down I have forgotten them. I've kind of been on a Katy Perry kick since I ran seven miles for the first time while watching her documentary.

I will admit, I'm a cardio junkie. It's my drug (when I'm at the gym). I would rather turn on my music and hang out on the elliptical or the treadmill. I hate weights. I just get impatient. I feel like nothing is happening. The funny thing is that my boyfriend feels the same about cardio. I have been doing some research (mostly by reading some very inspiring women's blogs and following them on instagram) and I have found that most of them say they're bodies completely changed when they started lifting weights. I have lifted weights but not on a regular basis. Maybe once a week I get around to it. I want to start making in a priority. My goal (once my half marathon is done) is to cut back on cardio and spend more time on strength training.

Last Monday night (September 30th) I went into the gym with a goal in mind. I wanted to run one mile in under 12 minutes. I don't think I have ever done that. I average a little under 15 minutes most of the time. I usually walk for a little and then run my little heart out until I hit the mile marker. And then I walk again. I usually don't run straight through. I would burn myself out. So I challenged myself. I got on the treadmill and set the pace for a 12 minute mile and I went for it. I was feeling really good and I actually turned the speed up a little bit. I finished in 11 minutes and 46 seconds. I felt so good. I was dripping in sweat and I felt accomplished. I do these things to remind myself that I can do anything I put my mind to. After that I ventured into the weights area and I stepped out of my comfort zone and did some work on my arms and legs.

This past Monday night (October 7th) I accomplished something even bigger and better. I ran (and walked a little) twelve miles. Yep, you read that right. TWELVE. My friend, who has quite a few races under his belt, explained to me that there was no need for me to run more than ten miles on my training plan. I believed him but I knew I would feel more comfortable if I had run twelve miles before the big day. So I made the decision and I went for it. I went to the gym at 7pm and I left at 10pm. I'm pretty sure I have never spent that much time in a gym. I didn't ever think about quitting but it was definitely one of the hardest things I have ever done. I actually thought I would cry at the end because of what I had accomplished but I didn't. Maybe I didn't allow it to sink it.

I went straight home and got in the shower. I thought I was going to pass out the entire time. When I was done I put my pj's on and I laid on our recliner. My boyfriend asked me if I wanted something to eat and I said, "I don't think I have any energy to eat right now." He got up and got me a big glass of cold water and I think that was the best water I have ever had! Then he brought me a protein shake. Once I had finished that I yelled to him, "I'll take my chicken now." Can I just have a girly moment and say how great my boyfriend is? Thank you. He is amazing! Anyways, I could barely walk the rest of the evening and I slept so good that night! When I woke up on Tuesday morning I could barely move. It's now Thursday and I'm still sore. That run took a lot out of me but I'm darn proud of it.

My boyfriend and I went to the gym last night and only did weights. I asked him to show me some workouts that I could do when I am by myself (when I'm with him I just follow his lead) so that I can start doing weights on a regular basis. We did abs, back and biceps. I requested to not do legs since mine are still sore from my run. I'm really excited to see my body change as I do more strength training. 

I was not planning on this post being so long...I guess I had a lot to say!

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