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The road to my first marathon

The road to my first marathon

Originally written November 14, 2013, this is a training recap of my first marathon.

Wow, it is already race day. I am writing this as I wake up and prepare for my first marathon. I haven’t blogged over the last few months because my life has been crazy. Apparently, training for a marathon takes way more time than I anticipated. But – I have had many successful runs and I feel ready. I’ll let you know in the post-race blog as to if that really is the case!

I did a lot of things leading up to this race that I haven’t done in the past. Mainly, I joined a training group. That is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Each week they had three training sessions, but due to my work schedule I could only do long runs with the group. It was perfect to know people were waiting to see you Sunday morning and run long together. It made me get out of bed when it was raining, very hot, and there were even a few cold mornings! It also helped me do more than just survive my long runs, it became fun and there were many mornings where we were all setting personal distance records together. There is something really cool about being able to encourage each other by saying, “each step you take is a personal record, this is worth it!”

During the training, I learned that I am most definitely a morning runner. Sometimes, I would have to do my training runs after work or very close to my bedtime (6pm) and those were usually the worst runs. I would be tired, sluggish, and felt like I couldn’t hardly keep going for even a short 3 miler.

I started reverting back to more traditional eating. I was needing more carbs, or at least that is what I felt like. So I started eating more oatmeal and 9-Grain muffins from the bakery. All the work I have done to get more “fat-adapted” has pretty much been lost during my training. I don’t feel too bad about it, but being carb and sugar dependent does make me a little unstable when I’m hungry.

The first half of my marathon training was more balanced with running and weight training workouts, but as the miles got longer, I began to only make time for running. Only sometimes would I stretch and foam roll, and very rarely, every other week at best, would I do any sort of weight training. Mainly that would be in the form of squat breaks at work, walking lunges while out on a run or some push-ups before going to work. Toward the end of my training, I could definitely tell my muscles were weaker, I had endurance to keep running but I didn’t feel as strong. My personal perception is that my body composition changed during this experience, my hips widened and my butt flattened out. I was extremely lucky that I did not gain weight during training, but I worked very hard to not over-eat on non-training and low-mileage days. Keeping my carbs down also helped, as I was turning to veggies and protein as much as possible to keep me full.

Training for the marathon was a huge mental and physical feat. On the days I was having bad runs, whether short or long, I would keep telling myself that this is how the end of the marathon would feel. That I would have no choice but to keep going, keep running and finish what I started. As the mileage increased, hitting personal records was fun one week and terrible the next. The 14 mile run was not terrible, but not great. The following week, after running 16 miles I felt much better, physically. My body didn’t hurt as bad and mentally I enjoyed the run.

Running 18 miles was tough, but with the help of my running group, I was successful in completing my goal. We ran about a 10 minute mile pace for the first 14 miles or so, with a few stops to re-group, go to the bathroom, etc. Around the 14 mile mark, some of the group fell off the pace and three of us set out to finish our run. There was some joking, lots of fantasizing about breakfast tacos and mutual encouragement to keep the others running, even though we all wanted to quit.

My least favorite part of marathon training was my 20 mile training run and the 20 mile “race” put on by my training group. The day we were scheduled to run 20, I decided to get some sleep and just go for a short 5 mile run with Pearl. So I set out on a Monday morning to run 20 miles, and it was pretty disastrous. I had to stop right at mile 3 for a potty break and then felt pretty good until mile 8, where I almost immediately needed to find a restroom. I got to the bathroom at mile 9, and (TMI alert) proceeded to stop for much longer than I would have preferred. After that stop, I was ready to go, and good until mile 14, where I was feeling like I needed more water and a Powerade. It was a hot day, and although I had my camel pack, I was definitely running low on fluids. I had to circle back around to a gas station, fill up with ice and water and buy a Powerade. When I set out again, I felt the weight of the water but had energy until about mile 17, then it was just painfully slow and tough to keep going. Ben called me at mile 18 and I requested he come pick me up because mile 20 was going to be 2 miles away from our house. I couldn’t bear the thought of walking one more step past 20 miles. It hurt to walk but I could barely keep running, so I would run and then walk a little all the way until I finished 20 miles about 100 yards from the Alamo. Ben was there to pick me up and I was so relieved it was over!

I am pretty embarrassed to say that from about miles 16 to mile 20, nothing good came out of my mouth and my thoughts were pretty bad as well. I was cursing everything from the pavement to my camelpack to the person who decided I should run a marathon (yes, I was cursing myself).

Lucky the 20 mile race was better and I felt more prepared for the marathon. The last crazy mental feat was exactly one week before the race. I had run 4 miles and 6 miles earlier in the week and figured we would run about 6 miles to keep it easy before the race. Then my coach told me I should run 10 miles. I only had one RehydrateGEL on me, and I almost didn’t eat breakfast because I figured we weren’t running long. I decided I would just see how I felt at the 6 and 8 mile turn-back points, but then I realized this was my last test before the marathon. Could I run farther than I thought? Could I run farther than I was mentally prepared to run? Could I push past my mental limitations and rely on my past training, knowing I could easily run 10 miles? And I did, with the help of a few running buddies of course.

How could 6 months of running, training and racing already be done? Race day is here (and gone by the time I am finishing this!) and I am going to be a marathoner.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Running

 

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2014 So Far

Welcome to 2014!! Somehow it is already 4 days into the new year! I wanted to give a quick recap of what I have done so far this year. Also, for anyone who regularly was reading my blog, I apologize for the lack of posting in the last few months of 2013. I hope to get a few recaps written up about what I did, but if not, I would like to say I hope to be back to blogging on a more regular basis. 

New Year’s Day was my 3rd wedding anniversary! Woohoo! It has just flown by, which I would like to attribute the fact of my husband being in law school, taking the bar and myself being a baker. Talk about crazy schedules that don’t mesh up!! But we have done lots of fun things together in the last 3 years and I am looking forward to all the adventures that will come in 2014!

Also, I made myself get up and go for a run on New Year’s day. I believe I ran about 5 or 5.5 miles. I stopped at mile 2 or so to do a few push-ups and dips on a bench, proceeded to sit down and facebook  message a friend, and while sitting there I saw a group of 8 or so ladies running by me. I got up and quickly fell in with them, thinking they would be a good motivator to keep me running! I met a new friend, S, who is a Texas transplant from Iowa originally. We had fun talking about our farm families and new city lives in Texas. 

Oh, I forgot to mention, this post is coming from Dallas because we are up visiting my in-laws for Mimi’s 85th birthday party today. All the brothers and their families are in town and we are having a big old party tonight to celebrate her birthday. I have to go finish decorating her cake as soon as I’m done writing this post! We also celebrated Christmas again, so all the kids could open their presents, and I was supremely spoiled a second time by all of my husbands family!

Yesterday, I took Pearl for a 4 mile run because she was bouncing off the walls! Finally, last night she conked out and was calm. It was a chilly run for me, maybe only 40 degrees and windy! I’m feeling good about my runs, although they are slow, it is nice to get out and get moving after the month of December, in which I only ran and handful of times.

What have you done so far in 2014??

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Picture Lunch

I am having tuna with veggies and a side of chips and salsa for lunch.

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This is a new brand of salsa for me, and I hope it is good! I love trying new salsa but have the hardest time choosing one! In Texas, the salsa takes up at least half an aisle!!!

What is your favorite kind of salsa??

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2013 in Food Reviews

 

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Workouts 9/24 – 9/30

Ah, recover week after my half marathon. Oh wait, I’m still training for a full marathon so this is just another week of training. How crazy is that?? In the past, after running a half marathon I would take at least a week to a month to recover and now I just keep on going like nothing happened! I did only run two days this week, but I was able to achieve another personal distance record of 16 miles. I am truly being carried by God during these runs because I have no idea how else it is possible to run that far!

Tuesday, September 24th -
.5 mile walk with Pearl

Wednesday, September 25th -
.6 mile walk with Pearl
6 mile run
1 mile walk cool down

Thursday, September 26th -
1.33 mile walk with Pearl
Foam roll & stretch

Friday, September 27th -
.5 mile walk with Pearl

Saturday, September 28th – OFF

Sunday, September 29th -
16 mile run in 2:40
20 minutes foam roll & stretch
5.61 mile bike ride

Monday, September 30th -
2.57 mile walk with Pearl
30 tricep push ups
30 air squats
30 modified V-ups
30 bicep curls
30 bent rows
1.5 mile walk with Pearl

Total Miles: 23

 
 

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Siclovía Sunday

Siclovía fell on September 29th this year. We have been attending the event for two years now, once in the spring and once in the fall. The first Siclovía was a great event and we had so much fun riding our bikes in the street with out traffic. About a year later when we went to Siclovía, we met Pearl for the first time! This year, nothing too special happened during the event. But I did have a personal distance record of running 16 miles earlier in the day, and then was able to ride my bike 5.6 miles afterwards!!

Siclovia Postcard

The day started out rainy, but it stopped around 8 am and the rest of the day was cool, overcast with a beautiful breeze. It doesn’t sound that amazing, but trust me, it is a needed break from the last three months of upper 90’s and 100 degree days! Surprisingly, there weren’t as many people out for the event as I would have imagined. I guess everyone thought it was going to rain again. We took a short ride up to the end of the route, said hello to my fellow running friends and then proceeded down the route to church.

We are in the middle of a sermon series entitled, “Survey Says” because a few weeks ago a survey was taken asking everyone in the services what issues they would like to hear addressed on Sundays. Last week, there was a sermon on suffering and this week it was about God’s will, specifically, what are we supposed to be doing with our lives. It was a great sermon with good pointers on making decisions in a wise way and also understanding that God doesn’t give us the whole picture, just the next step. Kind of like when you use a flashlight, you can’t see everything, just a few feet in front of you.

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On our way home, we stopped at the Boiler House in the Pearl Brewery complex to get brunch. They have an amazing menu, but our favorite is definitely brunch. I got the Hangover Hash, to cure my running hangover from earlier in the day! Ben chose the S’mores French Toast, sugary heaven of french toast covered in nutella with marshmallows, berries and ice cream. C-R-A-Z-Y! Sorry for the small picture – I had to copy it from their website because I was too hungry to take pictures of my own!

Although I didn’t take a picture of my meal, it was exactly what I wanted and I had no problem downing ALL of it! We are so blessed to live in an area with amazing restaurants!

How was your Sunday? What new foods or restaurants have you tried lately?

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in When in Texas...

 

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16 miles of Ghost Stories

Yesterday marked a new personal running distance record for me. 16 miles. Yes, one-six, like the age when you get your driver’s license, only somehow I ran that far. Whew – it’s tiring just to think about it again! I am so thankful for my CarreraThon training group because it would have been an extremely tough run all by myself. Truly, the only reason I finished this run is because I prayed that God would keep me going when I wanted to quit. I totally was leaning on the verse that says “in your(my) weakness, I(God) am strong” because I was very weak, but He kept me going.

It was raining when I got up at 4 am and I really contemplated going back to bed and running later in the day. Instead, I started baking a pumpkin loaf and getting ready for my run. I like to have time to relax, eat, organize my fuel/water situation and mentally prepare for the run. It wasn’t until about 6:25 that I actually decided I was going to meet the group at 7 to run. It was still raining when I arrived at our starting point, but by then I was committed to running, as long as everyone else was running.

We waited until 7:45 because it was very dark and by that time the rain was pretty light. The first three miles tried to dodge the puddle but still ended up soaked head to foot. Our route was along most of the last half of the Rock N Roll marathon route. I was very happy to run this because I always feel more confident running a race when I know the route ahead of time. Our turn by turn said something about Ghost Tracks, and I didn’t exactly understand this. Everyone kept making jokes and finally, I had to tell them I didn’t know what they were talking about. We ran past a large cemetary, which is part of the marathon route, and apparently there is a Ghost that will stare at you if you get too close. I did not see any ghosts, but our coach said on that stretch of road during the actual marathon, the crowd will be pretty dead. Ok, bad joke, but we laughed pretty hard!

Running, running, running, bathroom stop, running, running, running. And then the ghost stories began. We ran along the rail road tracks for at least a mile maybe longer, and that is where I got to hear the story about the Ghost Tracks. Apparently, in the 60’s or 70’s, a schoolbus full of children got stuck on the railroad tracks and was hit by a train, killing several children. At this point, I’m feeling down, not the way you want to feel less than halfway into your 16 mile run. The upside is, the little ghost children are still in the area and watch over the tracks. People will line up, put baby powder on the trunk of their car and straddle the tracks with the car in neutral. If you wait long enough, the ghosts will push your car off the tracks. I was highly skeptical at this point, but our coach said she actually did it and there were little finger prints on the back of her car when it got across the tracks. I’ll let you know if this actually works, but I’m not sure I really want to try it.

Ok, back to running, running, running. Eat a LARAbar, running, running, running. Take a Rehydrate GEL, keep running. Yeah, it is kind of boring I know. I wish I could tell you all the funny jokes we passed around, but I’m terrible at telling a good joke. At mile 12, our coach fell back to make sure two other runners finished and three of us kept on pushing. We had a couple little hills right at this point, and we all kept encouraging one another to keep running. When we got to mile 14, each step was a new personal record for all of us. It was very cool, even though we were tired and only wanted to stop for breakfast tacos, we kept running. It really made me think of the TEDtalk I watched about running and how it is meant to be done in community. If you have 15 minutes, definitely listen to it!!

Our route ended just short of 16 miles, so we looped around the park just long enough to make 16. When we stopped, it was like we all had jello legs. They felt like they were still moving even though we weren’t running anymore. I immediately took off my shoes and sat down indian style. After about 10 minutes I got my foam roller and rolled out at much as possible. I also downed a powerade and about half a liter of water. I felt very accomplished, tired and a little dismayed that in about 5 weeks I would have to keep running for 10 more miles after this point. Thank goodness for God and his angels to carry me because otherwise it just won’t happen.

Do you have any real life ghost stories?? What were your first marathon training experiences like?

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in Running, When in Texas...

 

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GUSTO Challenge – Who is Challenging You?

This is part 4 of the CarreraThon marathon training race series in preparation for the San Antonio Rock N’Roll Full marathon. Let’s just say, I am totally freaking out that my marathon is less than 8 weeks away. As I was working up to this race, I have conquered 14 miles and also done some small speed training sessions. That being said, I have really been using these races as long runs, not as competitive events. It is fun to go out and run with friends and get food and drinks afterwards.

Much to my surprise, when I woke up on Sunday morning, the weather was absolutely glorious! Approximately 60 degrees, low humidity, clear (dark) skies, just wonderful. Fall has finally arrived in San Antonio! The weather got me thinking that maybe I should push for a PR or at least a decently fast time in the race. I also was feeling good, well hydrated, full of energy, excited to run. I decided I would play it by ear and run as hard as I felt good doing.

I showed up about 75 minutes before my race started. I promptly put on my light jacket and walked over to the packet pick up area. I apologize – I have zero pictures from this race – so it is just a boring, word only post. But hopefully my race story will keep you entertained! Anyway, I got my number, and chip and went back to attach them to myself in my warm car. Yep, I officially a wussy Texan – 60 degrees and I am “cold.”

I did about mile warm up before the race – trying to get the blood flowing and literally warm up my body. We were off right at the stroke of 8 am, as the sun was coming up. I was in the front third of the pack and pretty much stayed there the whole race. Everyone spread out by mile two, but two girls about my age fell in stride with me and we all ran together. There wasn’t much talking and I was analyzing our pace, which was pretty fast. I think we did the first 3 miles in 24 minutes, almost a 5k personal record for me! At that point, I decided to slow down just a little, keep relaxed and just run strong.

I took my Rehydrate Gel at mile 4 and water at mile 4.5. The three of us girls jockeyed back and forth for the lead and sometimes we would get as far as 100 meters apart. We all joined together before mile 6 and began cheering all the leading runners on as they were coming back toward us after the turn around. I really though I would never make it to the turn around. For some reason, it was at least a half or 3/4 of a mile past the 6 mile marker and it seemed as though we would never reach it. I was getting a little tired at this point because we had been pushing an 8 -8:30 minute mile pace and I had not run that fast in months! I grabbed my Raw bar and started taking little bites but then it slipped out of my hand into the dirt, and I was NOT picking it up.

When I dropped the bar, the race became completely mental for me. I knew I was supposed to have more fuel to get me through the race, but it was gone. I had to rely on my body using what I already had stored up to power me until the end. Running up the small hills were just like flats, and I used momentum to carry me downhill and gain a little speed. I took my last Rehydrate Gel at mile 9, right before I got my last mini walk break with water. The other girls had been ahead and behind me at this point, and as we came to the water stop, I slowed just a little, knowing I was going to walk and drink my water anyway.

They started out ahead, but I was able to pass them on a small downhill. I gained 20 ft or so and kept my lead. I was getting tired though, I could feel my energy dropping. As always, I began silently chanting  my various words to keep me going. “Don’t Stop” “Don’t Quit” “Jesus,Jesus”(praying that He will carry me through). At one point, I zone out a little too much and stepped right on the edge of the pavement and half way rolled my ankle. This is a very normal occurrence for me, but the other girls said, “Don’t fall or we’ll fall behind you!” That  made me happy, because we had all come to the conclusion that they only reason we were running as fast and as hard is because the others were with us.

In the last mile, they ended up passing me. We ran together for a little bit and I suggested we just walk to the finish, but they did not take me up on my offer. I was really ready to quit, really ready to walk and really ready to find the restroom! Uffda! As they were ahead of me, all I could do is keep pushing my arms and telling myself that I was strong and I was going to out sprint them at the end. Well, Claudia(I learned her name after the race) was about 50 meters out and just kept on going strong when we got near the finish. Myself and Andrea were not catching her, no way. Andrea did step it up as we got closer but I decided she was not winning, and pushed back and as we made our way down the chute to the finish, we were in a full-out sprint. I was pumping my arms and pulling my legs as hard as I possibly could, there was nothing left to give. In the end, she beat me by only a few hundredths of a seconds, mainly due to my non-chip wearing foot crossing the line before the shoe with the chip.

Wow, I was so tired at the end, I couldn’t even drink water. I didn’t even look at the clock. I briefly said hi to a few friends but then immediately had to use the restroom porta-potty, ugh! There was barely any toilet paper and really, it’s a porta potty, what can you say??

After checking the results, I found out that did indeed set a new personal record of 1:53:28 for a half marathon! So crazy, so awesome, so HARD! I really don’t think I want to try to beat my record again this year.

The best thing about this race was seeing how a community of runners can push each other to new limits. I believe the same is true in life, so I want to surround myself with people who working harder, learning more and doing greater things to keep me pushing toward my goals. Who are your greatest influences and motivators right now?

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in Running

 

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