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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 227.

This morning I did a 5 mile run.  I went to the park again, since I had Nick in the jogger.  I walked there as a warm-up, ran 5 miles, then walked home.  After my run, I also did 15 minutes of Pilates.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 226.

Today I did an 8 mile run.  Since my husband is out of town, I took the older kids to school, then headed to the park with Nick in his stroller.  I walked on the way there for a  warm-up.  The distance of the track at the park is 5/8 of a mile, and I was a little worried that the run would be tedious; to accomplish 8 miles, I had to do 13 laps!  Strangely, I had a great run!  It was actually a fun challenge to do that distance around the loop, pushing the jogger, and it went by surprisingly fast.  I mean, my pace wasn't super fast, averaging about 11:30min/mile, but it didn't feel too monotonous.  It sure as heck beats trying to do 8 miles on the treadmill!  After walking back home from the park, I did some simple stretches as a cool down.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 225.

My newly revised schedule has me cross-training today.  I'm feeling really good this morning.  My stress level is fairly low, I don't have any aches or pains, or even any sore muscles - it's been a while!  For my workout I did a 30 minute DVD called Crunch: Fat Burning Ab Attack, the first time I've tried it.  Netflix is awesome, I can pick a different workout video everyday if I want, and play it from my computer.  Anyway, it was definitely a decent ab workout.  After that I walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes at an incline, trying to prepare for the hills of RimRock.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 224.

Wow.  What a day it has been!  Yesterday afternoon the electrical in our home went haywire, light bulbs were popping, outlets were humming and smoking, we "lost" 2 TVs, a cordless phone and my Dustbuster to the strange surges. :(  I was very worried that we had lost the computer, as well, even though it was plugged in with a surge protector.  My husband is out of town for the entire week, so of course I was freaking out.  I had an electrician friend, neighbor and the Inkom fire chief over to figure out what the heck was going on and make sure there weren't any hot spots in our walls.  They didn't figure the problem out, in the meantime we had to have every single item in the house unplugged and all the lights turned off, or we risked more mini-explosions due to the surges.  All of this was happening on a day when I happened to have a migraine.  Needless to say, the kids and I did not get a very good night's sleep.  This morning I had a 4 mile run on my plate, and when I woke up with my head still pounding and major stress to boot, I was unsure about completing my run, to say the least.  I got the kids off to school, put Nicolas in his jogging stroller, and made a pit stop at the market for a Diet Coke before heading to the park.  As I started my run, my head was jolted with each step, but as I've learned in the past, running has a weird way of relieving stress and headaches, so I forged on.  Oddly enough, other than my head, I felt good on my run.  My legs felt nice and strong and the fresh air felt awesome.  I did the whole four miles then walked home, took a shower, gulped an Instant Breakfast, and by then my headache had thankfully subsided.  I then called the power company, which I should have apparently done in the first place yesterday, duh!  There were some huge branches that had fallen and broken something called a neutralizer on the exterior power lines to our home.  Basically with that broken, you get super high voltage in one set of outlets, while the others have super low, and every time something is turned on or off, the surges take place, smoking everything in their path.  Thankfully, the fix was simple and we're back up and running, with only the above mentioned casualties.  My kids will be very happy when I pick them up from school this afternoon.  Life happens, and I'm still running!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 223.

Today is a rest day.  Earlier in my training, I used to get annoyed with "rest days", feeling like I should be using every possible minute to prepare myself for the marathon.  Now that I'm up to logging 30+ miles a week and growing, my body is extremely grateful for the rest!  Now if only I could get better rest, that would be something.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 222.

Today is for cross-training.  So far, all I've done is 30 minutes of Pilates.  I then got distracted giving my kids and the dog haircuts, now I'm going to give the dog a bath.  After that, I'll jump on the treadmill and do a 1/2 hour or so of walking.  My legs are still sore, but I'm determined to start off on Monday with a new resolve to work through the pain and do my absolute best, realizing that the pain and soreness is part of the process.  I'm actually starting to get very excited for the marathon.  It's going to be such an adventure!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 221.

This morning I did 30 minutes of Pilates, then 20 minutes of walking on the treadmill.  Despite a bit of soreness in my legs and back, I feel in pretty good spirits today.  My friend, Rebecca reminded me of the words in the "Complete Book of Women's Running", by Dagny Scott Barrios.  Though I've read the book twice and referenced different parts of it many times, it had been a while since I'd read the portion on marathons.  She points out that if your goal is to finish the marathon, the training should focus on the long run.  "The purpose of long runs is to develop endurance - particularly in the leg muscles and the connective tissue - and to develop the fitness of your cardiovascular system so that your body can withstand the rigors of the marathon distance."  She also says: "Walk early and often in order to go the distance.  Maureen Roben (5-time Olympic trials marathon qualifier) refers to these workouts not by the amount of running, but by 'total time on your feet'.  It's assumed that you'll spend some time walking."

Anyway, re-reading that made me feel a little bit better about yesterday's long run.  I've rearranged my training schedule for these last 7 weeks leading up to the marathon so that instead of running 4 days in a row during the week, then having 3 cross-training/rest days in a row, I will run on Mondays, cross-train Tuesdays, run Wednesdays and Thursdays, rest Fridays, long run on Saturdays, then rest on Sundays.  I'm hoping that by placing my long runs between two rest days, I will gain the most benefit from my runs.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 220.

12 mile long run today.  12 miles, shouldn't be too tough at this point in my training, right?  Well, unfortunately none of my runs seem to come easily these days.  It's quite frustrating, actually.  I would have thought my muscles would have built up more endurance by now, but they seem to tire out even more easily!  I started my long run routine as usual, with a 10 minute warm up.  The first few miles were fine, though I could tell early on that my legs felt heavy.  I really, truly hate that feeling.  I just want to feel light on my feet.  Anyway, I pushed on, each mile getting more and more difficult.  I took my first walking break around mile 7, walking for just a minute or two.  When I picked the pace back up, I felt just as wasted.  The backs of my thighs were burning like a fire that wouldn't go out.  From there on out, I was feeling pretty down.  I alternated between running and walking, which I don't usually like to do, but it was such a struggle today to even keep moving because the muscles in my legs were feeling so weak.  How is this possible??  I should be stronger by now.  Infuriating.  For the first time, I would have to say I was not enjoying my long run.  Around mile 9 I was deep into a pity party and had slowed to a walk to take some GU and shed a few tears over my frustration.  Just then I saw a vehicle coming toward me that looked familiar.  It was my husband, who had been at home taking care of our 4 year old.  He was wearing his uniform, so I knew something was up.  He had been called in to work on his day off due to a bad accident involving a truck semi and a school bus.  He had our son, and had brought the jogging stroller, and he gave me the choice of hopping in the car and riding home so he could switch to his patrol car, or I could finish my run with Nicolas in his stroller.  I still had a good 3 miles to go, on winding, hilly country roads.  What a choice...I mean, here I was having this crappy run, I could have easily jumped in the car and called it good at that point.  Of course, anyone who knows me knows that's not the choice I made.  So I buckled my little guy into his stroller and off we went.  At that point I pretty much decided to end my sour attitude and try to make the most of the remainder of my run.  I mean, things are put into a different perspective about the time you learn of an accident involving a school bus full of children.  Plus, now I had my sweet little boy with me, it gave me a new purpose.  I have to admit, I did do a little more walking when I came to realize about 1/2 way up some fierce hills, that pushing a stroller with a 40 pound kid in it up a steep hill adds a new dimension to your training run.  Hopefully, even though I walked some, I got a good workout.  When all was said and done, the time it took me for the 12 miles today, equated to the same pace I ran my half marathon, which seems weird since I took so many walking breaks today.  I guess I must have made up some time on the rest of the run, so I guess that's the silver lining to all of this.  I also did level 2 of Yoga Meltdown when I got home, and I already feel recovered - another bonus.  I've got to figure out what's going on with my leg muscles, though.  Next week's long run is 18 miles, and I can't go into it dreading the pain, I've got to shift my paradigm right now if I'm going to finish this marathon.  I know I can do it, I just have to convince my body we can do this!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 219.

Today's run was a 5 miler.  I did my usual warm up, then started out on my run just as the sun was coming up over the mountains.  I felt pretty good in most respects.  I didn't feel too tired this morning, and no headache, which is of course a huge plus.  My only issue was that my legs felt very heavy.  I hate those runs when it feels twice as hard as usual to lift each leg, over and over and over... So, I tried to focus on my surroundings, looking at the scenery, watching for wildlife, waving at my friends and neighbors as they drove by me.  It seemed a good enough distraction, and I was able to complete the 5 miles no problem, and I even started to feel a little "lighter" on my feet for the last mile or so.  See, this is such a mental challenge.  Gaining control over my thoughts means gaining control over my body - at least to some extent!  When I got home I also did workout 1 of the 30 Day Shred DVD.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 218.

8 mile run this morning.  I started out with 15 minutes of Pilates, then made sure the kids were ready for school, lunches and backpacks packed, so my husband could take them when it was time.  Then I headed out for my run.  I walked for a few minutes to warm up a little more.  Today was one of those mornings when I was having a hard time getting moving.  I woke up with a pounding headache, which I attribute to a poor night's sleep.  As I was doing my Pilates warm up, I was thinking "Gosh, this sucks.  I feel like crap.  I don't feel like running."  The frustrating thing is when mentally I still feel the motivation to get my run done, one day closer to the marathon and all that, but my body is fighting me every step of the way.  It's seriously amazing, though, how I always feel better after a run.  I don't know if it's the endorphins, or just getting out in the fresh air, but within the first mile I could feel myself start to relax and I forgot about how yucky I'd been feeling when I got out of bed.  By the time I finished the 8 miles, I felt tired, but better, and so glad I did my run.  I also did level 1 of Yoga Meltdown after that.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 217.

This morning's run was pretty uneventful.  I woke up early so I could get my run in before my husband left for work and so I'd still have time to get my kids up and ready for school.  I did my usual 10 minute Pilates warm up, then headed out for my 4 mile run.  It was a good run, nice and easy.  My hamstrings and glutes are still sore from last Thursday's run, but I'm starting to realize that at this point, I probably just need to get used to being in a perpetual state of soreness!  When I got home from my run, I also did workout 1 from 30 Day Shred.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 216.

...and the recovery continues!  I'm feeling a little less sore today.  Even though it is Sunday and a rest day, I did 30 minutes of Pilates this morning.  My body always feels a little better after some Pilates or Yoga because it's not too strenuous but still effective.  This week is one I am looking forward to.  My longest run is 12 miles and I should be able to keep my schedule pretty well.  The following two weeks after that I am not looking forward to quite so much.  My husband is going to be going out of town, which means I'm going to have to figure out something to do with my 4 year old so I can do my running.  With 18 and 20 mile long runs those weeks, and less than 8 weeks until the marathon, I can't afford to miss any of my training runs.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 215.

Today this week's long run seems to really be catching up with me.  My legs are more sore and stiff today than yesterday.  I did 30 minutes of Yoga Meltdown, then I walked on the treadmill for 25 minutes.  I think I need to work on doing more stretching after my runs and on my rest days.  When I was doing Yoga this morning, my legs felt very tight, especially my hamstrings.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 214.

I'm using today as a rest day.  I actually feel pretty good, considering the tough run yesterday.  My legs aren't too sore, but my neck and shoulders ache and feel stiff.  I wanted to do some Yoga or Pilates this morning, but I didn't have time to do it before I needed to get ready to go to Cub Scouts this morning.  Tomorrow I will do some cross-training.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 213.

No rain this morning on my long run.  Not even any clouds, with the exception of a few pink wisps as the sun came up over the mountains.  I woke up bright and early, 4:50am, and couldn't fall back asleep even though I had set the alarm for 5:45.  So I went ahead and got up, started getting all my running gear ready, ate 1/2 a banana, then did 15 minutes of Pilates.  Once I had everything ready, I set out on my 16 mile long run.  I had to take a little flashlight with me, but I only needed to use it a few times to see where I was stepping, then it got light enough out that I could see fine.  The first half of today's run was great.  I felt good, the wind was blowing slightly to my back, a nice fall breeze that helped keep me cool and comfortable.  I did have to stop at a railroad crossing and wait for a train to pass for a minute or two around 5.5 miles, but I just went ahead and fueled up while I waited, eating my GU and drinking some water.  I've also found that sucking on Jolly Rancher candies helps.  The sugar gives me a little boost, so I keep 2 or 3 of them in my pouch for my long runs.  Anyway, I was feeling good, enjoying the beautiful scenery and weather, up until I reached 8 miles and turned around to come back.  Now the wind was blowing directly into me, at what felt like about 100 mph!  I almost lost my hat several times, and as I ran, I felt like I was running in place.  Finally I decided to walk for a little bit, since I knew I was expending way too much energy trying to push against the wind.  It was very frustrating, because even at miles 10-11, I was physically feeling good enough to keep running, but the wind was making it almost impossible.  Finally, after walking on and off for about a mile, I picked up my pace again, and eventually, as I got closer to home, the wind started to die down and I could tolerate running the rest of the way.  A couple of times between miles 14-16, I walked for just a few seconds and then started running again.  My legs were SO FREAKING TIRED!  It's not even that I have pain, per se, in my legs.  My muscles just feel like Jell-O after about 13 miles.  Oh, well.  I finished the run, and when I got home I gulped down a glass of chocolate milk, then filled the bathtub with cold water and sat in it for about 15 minutes.  Yes, my legs were that fluid that I thought it would be worth adding additional amounts of suffering by sitting in an ice cold bath!  I hope it helps with my recovery, we'll see.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 212.

This morning I did a 4 mile run, after a short warm up.  I felt much better on my run today than I did yesterday.  I plan to take it easy, for the most part, the rest of the day in preparation for tomorrow's 16 miler.  Marathon training is so tough on the body.  I trained for 6 months, running consistently for the first time in my life, and I didn't lose any weight during that time.  Not that it was a goal, because I already felt "fit" enough, but I have been monitoring my weight because I want to make sure I'm getting enough to fuel my body for these long runs.  Now that the mileage has increased so much, I have lost 4 pounds in the past 2 weeks, and I'm still having a hard time feeling like I'm feeding my body right.  I think the key to having the best possible long run is going to be finding that balance between eating the right foods at the right times, and not eating too much as to feel sick after my run.  I'll just have to keep experimenting.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 211.

This morning the schedule had me doing an 8 mile run.  I warmed up with my usual 10 minutes of Pilates before going out, walking a few minutes then starting my run.  I felt fine for the first few miles, but for some reason I started to feel really weak and tired after that.  My leg muscles felt especially wimpy.  I did a route that I've done before, which involves several good sized hills, and it was tough.  But I kept telling myself that these hills are a necessary part of training, and I could feel my quad muscles straining up and down those hills.  I was able to run the whole 8 miles, though I felt like laying down and taking a nap a couple of times.  ;)  At 8 miles I slowed to a walk, then stopped to stretch my legs.  I still had about a mile and a half to get back home, so after I had rested a minute, I did a slow jog to get back to the house.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 210.

This morning there was another scheduling issue which forced me to do my run early, to get it in before my husband needed to leave for work and I had to get the kids to school.  I tried to go at the last possible minute, because it is still dark outside.  I left the house at 6am, with a flashlight this time!  I decided my best option would be to go to the park again, so I walked for a couple of minutes, then started my run a few blocks from the park.  I had set my Garmin to alert me when I hit 4 miles.  I had done 3 or 4 laps with no issues, the flashlight providing enough light for me to see where I was stepping, and by about 6:30 the sun was starting to come up over the mountains anyway.  I was at a point where the track goes along a tree lined, rocky area, with a chain link fence right along the edge of the track.  All of a sudden I realized there was a skunk right next to me, and I must have scared it too, because up went it's tail...and let's just say, it's amazing how fast a person can run when you're about to be sprayed by a skunk!  I could hear the spray land on the ground and leaves behind me - whew, that was a close one!!  Anyway, I finished my four miles, and it felt good to be out in the cool air, just as the sun was rising; another beautiful day.  When I came home, I got the kids ready and off to school, then I headed into the workout room and did level 3 of 30 Day Shred.  After that, I was still feeling like I had energy to expend, so I walked on the treadmill for another 20 minutes.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 209.

Today is a rest day.  I'm still feeling pretty good.  I'm getting a little anxious as I head into "Monster Month", (the toughest month during marathon training, the most miles).  I'm just trying to take things a day at a time, or a step at a time, at least!  That way it doesn't feel too overwhelming.  This was the Runner's World Quote of the Day recently:

"Just do the best with what you have, and you'll soon be doing it better."

        ~Gil Hodges, American first baseman and manager in Major League Baseball

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 208.

Today is for cross-training.  I went walking for 45 minutes, then came home and did about 15 minutes of Pilates.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 207.

My recovery after yesterday's long run has gone much better than after last week's half marathon.  I think it's mostly due to the fact that I was sick last week, and this week I've been feeling better.  This morning I don't even feel too sore.  I did 30 minutes of Pilates and that's all I have time for this morning because I have to take my kids and go to Cub Scouts.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 206.

Whew!  15 miles done, and man, it was not easy!  I warmed up with 10 minutes of Pilates, then geared up and headed out at around 6:30am.  My husband was not working this morning, so I had made all the kids lunches last night and got all their stuff ready, and he just had to get them up, dressed and off to school.  Anyway, it was cloudy when I started out on my run, but before long it started to rain.  At first it was just a soft drizzle, and it actually felt kind of refreshing.  The colors are starting to change on the mountain side and it felt nice and fall-like, and I was really enjoying my run.  Then  the clouds settled in, and it started to pour.  I was rained on for almost the entire 15 miles.  By the time I got home, my clothes and shoes were soaked through.  Around mile 6.5, I slowed to a walk because I needed to wipe my nose really bad.  I keep a few tissues in my water carrier just for that reason.  I decided to go ahead and fuel at that point as well, so I took a GU and drank some water.  Then I picked up the pace again and continued my run.  I felt okay until about mile 12, when my legs started to get really tired.  In my mind I was telling myself over and over, "This is where your gains are made!"  At some point around mile 13 there was a huge hill.  I was determined to get up that hill and finish the run strong, but my legs felt like wet noodles.  I made it about 2/3 of the way up the hill before my body ignored my mind and I suddenly found myself walking.  I checked my watch and timed myself, I walked for about 2 minutes, then forced myself to start running again.  Then I was able to run the rest of the way home.  I did about 15 minutes of Yoga to cool down and stretch.  Now I am drying out my shoes with a heater.  My sweet husband drove to check on me while I was out on my run, when he noticed it was raining so hard.  I told him I was fine and would just push through it.  He gave me a thumbs up, then drove away.  When I got home, there was a huge Diet Coke fountain drink waiting for me in the fridge with a note that said: "15 mi.!!!  Good Job!"  Thanks, honey!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 205.

This morning I had time to do 20 minutes of Pilates before going for my 4 mile run.  I've had a nagging headache for the past few days (which seems to happen with every monthly change in hormones), and it was annoying me while I ran.  The fresh air clears my head, but the thud of my feet hitting the pavement doesn't help.  Anyway, I did the 4 miles then returned home and did level 2 of Yoga Meltdown.  Big jump up to 15 miles tomorrow ~ send positive vibes my way!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 204.

On the docket for today, a 7 mile run.  Because of schedule issues with my husband, I had to get up early and do my run at 5:30am.  Unfortunately, at 5:30am it is so dang dark, I couldn't see where my feet were landing.  I started out walking towards the route I wanted to take for my run, but I couldn't even see down the road in front of me.  About the time I encountered a skunk not 4 feet away, because I had to be that close before I even saw it, I decided to turn around and just run up and down Main Street, since there were enough street lights.  I was hoping to just kill some time there while the sun started to come up, but by the time I had done 2 miles that way and it still wasn't quite light enough to run safely, and I was getting bored, I headed to the park.  At least running laps at the park, I wouldn't have to worry about getting hit by a car.  I did a few miles at the park, but because I had spent so much time walking before even starting my run (I guess I was hoping my eyes would adjust to the darkness, but it never happened), and I needed to get home by 7 to get my kids off to school, I went home after only doing 5.5 miles of running.  Once the kids were gone, and my 4 year old was contentedly watching a show and eating a bowl of cereal, I got on the treadmill and did another 30 minutes, alternating running and walking.  Thankfully, tomorrow and Thursday are my husband's days off from work, so I can go at a more "normal" time.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 203.

This morning I'm back on track with my marathon training schedule, with a 3 mile run that felt like about 30.  My legs are still not fully recovered from Saturday's run, and I'm still suffering through this stupid cold.  Anyway, I did 10 minutes of Pilates to warm up, then did my 3 mile run, in about 34 minutes - in other words, slow and easy.  When I got home I also did level 1 of Yoga Meltdown.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 202.

Rest day, thank goodness!  I am sore and tired today.  After being sick all week, I was amazed at how good my sinuses felt during my race yesterday, but as soon as I got back home, it's like it kicked into overdrive!  I felt worse than I had all week, and this morning I could barely breathe and my head is pounding.  I have to say, though, that I am so glad I decided to do the 1/2 as a training race before doing the full marathon in November.  Now I know more what to expect, and the different, weird things that my body will do on race day.  This morning the official time from the race yesterday were posted on the marathon website.  I actually had a time of 2:37, which is about 1 minute slower than my training run of the same distance.  Considering how I felt during the run, I can't say I'm disappointed.  I trained at a certain speed, and as such the results are fairly predictable.  For those who care about times/places, etc., that time placed me as 302nd out of 416 overall in the 1/2 marathon event.  Not great, but not the worst.  My husband commented that as he watched a lot of the other participants cross the finish line and enter the "recovery" area, and then after watching me when I finished, he noticed that a lot of the others seemed like they were dying, like they had pushed themselves to the max, whereas I recovered fairly quickly.  I guess that can be interpreted for good and for bad.  While I felt like I was pushing pretty hard at the end, the fact that my recovery time was short and pretty easy means that I probably could have given a little more.  I just need to decide if I'm content to feel "comfortable" in my pace and exertion level, or if I want to crank it up a notch.  To be honest with you, right now I'm feeling too tired and weak to make that decision.  Once I'm over this head-cold, or whatever it is, I have a feeling I will be more motivated to do more with my training.  At this point, with this being my first marathon, the most important part of my training is the long run.  The long runs are what teach my body to most efficiently utilize oxygen, glycogen, and all that stuff.  There is an article in this month's Runner's World Magazine that has a marathon training plan that makes the most of the easy/short runs to increase speed, while not overdoing prior to the big day.  I may have to take a second look at that article...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 201 ~ 1/2 Marathon Race Day!!

 I'm finally back home, with a good heat-induced headache, bloody sock (from a blister), and an awesome feeling of accomplishment!  That was a tough run, but what a rush!  I had so much fun, and I'm now even more excited for the marathon, though now realizing I need to buckle down heavily during these last couple of months of training, or I will probably die!  I guess I thought that because I had run the 13.1 distance twice before, I would be fine.  But all the rumors are true: rookie mistakes can really come back to bite you in the end.  After a restless night's sleep, I woke up at 4:50am.  I had to be in Pocatello (10 minutes away) by 7am to catch a shuttle to the starting line.  I had plenty of time, so I took a shower, got dressed, ate some watermelon and then did about 20 minutes of Pilates.  I felt really good as we left home to head to town.  At the starting line we had a wait of around 40-45 minutes.  It was cold, but there were over 400 people and the excitement was buzzing.  Then, boom...we started.  In my head I knew not to go out too fast, and I had been telling myself all week to mentally block out the other runners, focus on keeping the pace I am used to, and think of this as a training run.  But, of course, I couldn't help it, and I went out just a tad fast, and I knew it right away.  It was hard to bring the pace down, too, because there's this kind of push of momentum from all the people around you.  I felt a little "huffy and puffy" for the first 5 miles, and I knew all along I was going to have a rough time at the end if I didn't slow it down.  Once the runners had spread out some, I was able to get to a comfortable pace, but about the time I needed to fuel, I really wanted to walk!  I didn't, though, and just slowed enough to gulp down a gel that a volunteer handed me and drink some of my sports drink.  The other issue I was having was with the heat.  Our weather has been considerably cool, and I usually do my long runs starting between 5:30 and 6am.  Since the 1/2 didn't start until 8am, and of course we were having a beautiful, warm day - I was hot!  I could feel the sun burning into my back for the first 12 miles, then we turned to make the last 1.1 miles to the finish line, and the freaking sun was right in my face!  At the mile 11 aid station, after I realized that the liquid in my water bottle had turned disgustingly warm, I took a paper cup with ice cold water from one of the volunteers and sloshed it down, and slowed to a walk for maybe 30 seconds.  Then, the test of mental toughness kicked in, and I knew I had to finish as strong as I could.  As I approached the finish line, the spectators cheering me on were what kept me going.  It feels great to have a crowd of people saying: "You look great!  You're almost there!!"  All I could think of was my husband and kids - where were they?? I heard someone call my name, but I was in a bit of a confused and yet focused state at that point, and as hard as I looked, I didn't see my family.  Apparently they were there, but it took a few minutes after I finished for me to find them!  When all was said and done, I ran the 1/2 in 2 hours and 34 minutes (I will get my official time when it's posted on the website, because I couldn't see the clock and I forgot to stop my Garmin as I crossed the finish line).  That's a couple of minutes faster than I ran the same route as a training run, and considering I've been sick all week, I'm pretty pleased with how it went.  I am glad to have this experience finished and I would consider it successful...now on to prep for a 15 miler later this week!  :}

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 200.

This morning I went for an easy 25 minute walk, then did 30 minutes of Pilates.  My cold has gotten worse, and I am not too happy about it.  It's at that point where you wake up in the morning feeling pressure in the sinuses, eyes, and nose areas.  The good thing is, I start to feel better after I've been up and moving for a while, and I also feel better when I'm outside in the fresh air.  I'm just hoping that my runny/stuffy nose doesn't affect my run too much tomorrow.  Now I'm headed into town to pick up my race packet/bib, etc!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 199.

This morning I did an easy two mile run.  I warmed up with 10 minutes of Pilates.  After my run, I still felt like I needed to do something more, but I didn't want to do anything too high impact, with race day only a day away.  I decided to do my favorite belly dancing DVD.  It's a 45 minute workout, and a very good cardiovascular workout at that.  I'm just glad there is no one watching me when I do that particular DVD; let's just say I couldn't be less "middle-eastern" or exotic!  I probably look ridiculous, but it's fun and I work up a sweat, so that's what counts, right?!

I had a comment from one of my readers asking me what running has done for me.  I was actually just thinking about that very thing while on my run this morning.  As I'm preparing for the 1/2 marathon on Saturday, I'm amazed at what I've been able to accomplish in the past 7 months.  I've basically gone from a non-runner, to running 4-5 days a week and being able to do long runs of up to 13.1 miles.  Running is something I look forward to, and I miss it on the days I don't do it.  It's relaxing and stress-relieving for me.  I've also gained confidence in my ability, not just physically, but in my strength and determination to achieve my goals.  It's fun, it's a challenge and that's why I enjoy it and have been able to keep it up.  And to anyone out there who has considered taking up running, but hasn't because of fears like looking awkward, being slow, feeling uncoordinated, or any other reasons you may have - just give it a try!  I felt all of those things for a long time, but eventually your body learns the motions, and once you start to enjoy running, you will care less about what others might think of you.  Once it becomes a habit, a routine, it becomes a part of who you are.  My sister-in-law asked me recently what am I planning on doing after the marathon in November is finished, and without hesitation I said I would keep running and train for another race next year.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 198.

4 mile run today.  We have some extended family members that stayed with us last night, so besides being up just a little too late, I also didn't get in much of a warm up before going out on my run.  It didn't seem to affect me too much, though.  I had a great run, and even kept up a 10:30 min/mile pace for the whole 4 miles, which is decent, for me.  I'm starting to feel a bit of giddiness about the race on Saturday.  Tomorrow I will do a short, easy run, just to stay loose, then Friday I will rest.  I'm still fighting off this illness - sore throat, runny nose, etc., but as long as it doesn't get any worse, I think I'll be okay on Saturday.