Thursday, December 6, 2012

I did it!

Oh my word.  I have been waiting for six months to write this post and I don't even know where to start!  I did it!  I finished a half marathon!  It's taken me five days to find the time to blog about it and I'm still in shock a little bit.

I think I mentioned before that I had been so nervous in the weeks leading up to the race, but somehow had found a way to get my nerves in check a couple of days before.  Even on race day I had decided this was going to be just like any other race.  I was going to start and then I was going to finish.  I wasn't trying to finish first.  I wasn't trying to beat anybody.  This was my first half marathon, so I didn't have a personal record to beat.  No need to be nervous, right?  I was, however, super excited!  The night before I laid my clothes, bib, headband, etc out, ate some fried rice because apparently you're supposed to "carb load" before a long run (I don't really know but it seemed like a good enough excuse ;)), and made sure to be in bed by 9:30.  **side note: by "bed" I mean "couch."  My bed had been hurting my back recently and my couch had seemed much more comfy.  I didn't want to risk waking up with back pain.**

Saturday morning I woke up right on time.  (5 a.m. in case you were wondering.)  Got ready and was out the door to meet my friends and head downtown.  Notice I didn't mention eating anything for breakfast.  No granola bar.  No banana.  No gu.  I will find a little later, during the race, that this was a mistake. 

We got downtown around 7 and the race started at 8.  The atmosphere was so exciting.  There were a TON of people down there but somehow I ran into my aunt and uncle and was able to get a hug and talk to them before I took off.  That was a nice surprise.  :)  We caught part of the 5k that kicked off at 7:15, so watching and cheering for them was fun.  Like I said, the half and full marathons started at 8, but the pace group I started running in didn't cross the start line until about 8:25.  And then I was off!  Sadly, or maybe not sadly, but oddly I could probably still describe each and every mile to you in detail, but I won't torture you!  At the start of the race I tried really hard to keep my two friends in my vision.  That lasted all of about a minute and a half.  There were just too many people, but that was ok.  I ended up finding them again at the mile and a half mark.  The first 5 miles were a blast!  We ran up Riverside drive and up Beale Street.  There were bands or DJs almost every mile.  On Beale I saw a ton of people I knew standing off to the side cheering people on.  At mile 5 we ran through the St. Jude campus and OH MY WORD.  I can't even describe to you the feelings.  There were balloons, people, signs, St. Jude kids and their parents...all cheering for you, thanking you, calling you by name.  I'm tearing up now just at the memory.  What an awesome and incredible experience!  We had some friends waiting on the side for us when we ran through St. Jude.  It was so good to seem them cheering us on and to hug their necks!  After running through there and seeing our friends, we knew we had more people cheering us on around mile 9, so that kept us going that far.  Unfortunately, and here comes the TMI, I somehow managed to get hit with a UTI somewhere in the middle of the race.  I've never had one before, so I was completely freaked out.  And in every port-a-potty from then until the end of the race.  It was really, really painful.  At mile 7 my legs started cramping badly.  I ran through the pain off and on for about two miles.  At mile 9 we saw my friend's mom, sister, and son.  Her son was holding a giant balloon shaped like a monkey that said "Hang In There!"  I don't think there could have been a more appropriate sign!  After hugging their sweet necks we were back at it and headed straight for the finish.  I tried running more, but at that point I couldn't run without my calves cramping up.  Between that and the UTI, I just didn't have anymore "run through the pain" in me.  At mile 10 my friend went on ahead without me and I conceded to walking the rest of the way.  Miles 11-13 were the most difficult and most painful of the whole race.  You'd think getting to mile 11 I would be able to tell myself, "Come on...just two more miles!"  Nope.  I felt like I was done.  I wanted to text my cousin, who was waiting for me at the finish, and just ask her to come pick me up.  Then the texts started rolling in.  So glad I had my phone with me!  I was getting text messages from my sisters, my cousin, and so many of my girlfriends pushing me and encouraging me!  (Here come the tears, I can't even blog without getting emotional!)  When I got just past the 13 mile mark and made it into the redbirds stadium I could see the finish line...and my mom and cousin.  It was like every bit of pain I felt had disappeared (for the time being).  I tried to run across the finish, if for no other reason than to look better in my picture :), but my legs were still cramping, so that didn't happen.  But it was ok.  I finished!  I crossed the finish line about an hour after I hoped to but I just didn't care.  I was so happy and so proud of myself for finishing!  My mom and my cousin were so proud of me...that felt awesome!

Here's a (terrible) picture of me just after finishing.  Note that my arms and fingers were so double sized!  I couldn't even make a fist.

So, as it turns out I was super dehydrated which caused the UTI and the leg cramps.  I should have drank a lot more water than I did in the week leading up to the race.  And I should have eaten a little something Saturday morning.

Since the race on Saturday I am still receiving so many text messages, facebook messages, twitter messages, etc congratulating me.  Such a great feeling!  My friend that got me started running had me over for wine to celebrate with some of her friends.  And they MIGHT have made a happy, cheery "woo hoo" bridge for me to run through.  But don't worry, it wasn't embarrassing at all.  ;)  Some other sweet friends sent me beautiful flowers to work!  How sweet!

So, I've been asked a lot if I lost any weight while training and if so how much.  YES.  I did lose weight, but not a lot.  I lost about 25 pounds in the whole six months and that was mostly in the beginning.  The fact is, long distance running is not the best for weight loss.  In the beginning it was working because there was a lot of running and walking.  My heart rate would go up and then go back down, back up and back down.  Steady running and keeping my heart rate basically the same the entire time wasn't as helpful with the weight loss.  BUT, I didn't gain any weight back, ever.  Not when I wasn't eating like I should, not at Thanksgiving, never.  That's awesome.  And starting in January I plan to work on my speed, which should help with the weight loss again.  I do feel much more healthy than I have in a long time.

Another question I had been asked is if I would keep running after the half.  Before I just didn't know.  Now I can say I will definitely keep running.  I will definitely do another half.  It was such a great experience and I still feel so proud.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Marathon Week!

OH MY WORD!  Y'all, I cannot even believe the week of my half marathon is here.  I'm am freaking out a little bit!  I can't believe it's been six months since I started my training.

Last week my nerves were completely shot.  I couldn't focus on anything but this race and "what if" I come in last place, "what if" I suck, "what if..."  blah blah blah.  After talking to a friend who has completed many half marathons I felt much better.  The race isn't consuming my thoughts at this point, but I do still get butterflies and nervous feelings when people mention it.  I mean...four days!  I'm going to run 13.1 miles in FOUR days!

Y'all, training has been so fun.  Actual physical running aside, I have met so many fun people!  Some I've met in person and lots I haven't, but talk to them on blogger/twitter/facebook like we've been friends forever.  You have all been so encouraging throughout the last six months and I'm SO grateful for that!  Hopefully we can keep those new friendships going...the encouragement is definitely necessary.  :)

So this week's training is super easy.  Almost seems too easy compared to the rest.  Couple of three milers and then the big day...(Eeeek!!)  I can't wait to blog after the half marathon!

I know this post has been all over the place.  I'm a big ball of nerves and excitement right now!
Talk to you all soon!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012


OH MY WORD.  Can y'all believe the big race is only about two and a half weeks away?!  I can't!  It's now time to start tapering my training, which means lowering my long runs until race day!  Yay!  I'll probably do a ten miler this weekend, an eight miler next weekend, and then the half marathon. 

Yesterday I ran the Greenway with two friends that have been training for the half marathon with me.  Our run was somewhere between 6 and 8 miles (GPS kept losing signal) and it was a decent run compared to my average, but I'm SO slow.  And running with my friends, while it definitely holds me accountable, can be so discouraging.  I really should have done speed work in my training.  But oh well.  Next time.

Speaking of next time, my friends and I have been discussing a little whether or not we will keep running after the half.  I really can't answer for sure right now, but it's definitely something I think about a lot.  On one hand, it's still SO hard to me.  It would be really easy to never run again after I cross that finish line on December 1st.  But on another hand, I've come so far and I've never stuck with anything as long as I have stuck with running.  (Sad, I know.)  Plus I haven't gotten as good as I'd like to, so part of me wants to keep training after the half.  There's also something really exciting about the thought of just going out for a run and not having to measure the distance to make sure I'm meeting my training know, just going out to run for fun.  I really do want to continue, so I guess the trick here will be taking a long enough break after the half to let my body recover, but not so long that I don't ever start back.

So, marathoners and half marathoners, how long of a break do y'all take after a big race like this?  Or do y'all take one at all?  Do y'all find it hard to start back?


Monday, November 5, 2012

Weekend Recap

I wanted to post a recap of my weekend because it was probably the best weekend for running since I started my training.

First, I got my racing singlet in the mail last week.  That made me SO nervous, but also extra motivated!  

Friday night I ran another race...the True Blue 5K at the University of Memphis.  It was SO MUCH better than the one I ran the week before.  I still ran it pretty slowly, but felt much better after this one than I did after the BWW 5K.  I didn't even cry during or after this one...ha!  Plus, we got to run through the tiger's mouth to cross the finish can you be upset about that??

Saturday morning I met a friend at the Green Line and we were going to attempt our long run for the week...9 miles.  My body nor my stinky attitude were going to let me do nine miles that day.  In fact, they weren't going to let me do more than two.  So I finished a little two miler and went on home completely mad at myself, but swearing I'd do nine the next day. 

I may have still been a little bit unsure of myself on Sunday, but that evening I popped some Gatorade energy chews, met up with two friends and we set out for the nine miler.  We started out at one of my friend's place and about 5.5 miles in were at my place, where we all paused slightly for a water/bathroom break.  Also took a Gu packet at this point.  (Note to self: no more blackberry gu...NOT good!)  Leaving my place to finish it off I knew there was no way we weren't going to finish.  See, my car was at my friend's house, which is exactly 3.5 miles from mine at the shortest route.  We had no choice but to finish.  The first and last mile were the hardest to me...and when we made it back to friend's house I wasn't in the greatest mood.  But holy crap.  We did it.  We ran nine miles, which was the longest run for any of us.  That's only 4.1 miles short of our half marathon!  I left friend's house without saying much to the girls, but it was just minutes before I called/texted them freaking out about what we had just accomplished.  I also couldn't wait to text Christin to tell her about it. 

This nine miler included the tiny little mile Christin and I ran together on my very first ever run.  Back then I think I had to stop and walk 4 or 5 times before I made it just half a mile.  I hadn't run that stretch since Christin and I ran it together, so of that entire nine miles I think running that little piece without stopping may have been the most rewarding.  (Yes, I'm a nerd.)

We shoot for 10 miles this weekend and I know now that I can do it.  I'm pumped and super excited for the half marathon coming up in just four weeks!  Now...let's just hope this motivation can last! 


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dead Last

I ran in a race on Friday (two days ago) and it's taken me all weekend to decide that I would blog about it. Originally I thought to myself, "This is so embarrassing. There is no way I'm posting this for the whole world to see." Well, now I'm looking at it differently.

Ok, so. Friday was the Buffalo Wild Wings 5k for St. Jude and the best friend and I decided it would be great practice for the big race coming up. It was a night race which I thought would be great since I'm used to running at night. We got there and got all signed up and I got NERVOUS. Not really sure why, but I did. So we get outside to start the race, get a little instruction from the sponsor and then we're off. There was a little bit of confusion in the beginning as to where the actual start of the race was, so there was a lot of starting and stopping on our part. We finally get going and I'm doing well at first. We decided to start in the back just because we're not pro racers and it seemed most people there were. Plus I'm slow, so it just seemed like a good place to start. That just meant that from the start of the race we had the last police escort on our tails the whole time. That's a little intimidating. :) At one point I slowed way down for whatever reason. I just remember telling my friend that she didn't have to slow down with me and just to go on. Looking back, I probably should have stayed with her. I got to the halfway point and there were only two people behind me. TWO. And then the police escort car. At that point I lost it. I just gave up. I was embarrassed, discouraged, just stopped running. I walked the rest of the race. The two ladies behind me caught up and walked with me. (They were so nice, by the way, and didn't even make fun of me for crying...haha!) I got almost to the end and friend was waiting for me and walked in with me. Then I looked up and here came two other people I knew from running that also finished it out with me. (P.S. that's one thing I love about the running world. SO supportive!) One of the girls that came back to finish it with me probably won the whole race but she was still there to encourage people the rest of the way. The other person was my coach's husband. I just remember him saying, "It doesn't matter how you run the race. All that matters is how you look crossing the finish line." That may have gotten a tiny laugh out of me. Then we ran across the finish line, where my running coach was.

Y'all, I came in last place. DEAD LAST. I've run 3 miles plenty of times but it just wasn't happening this night. At that point, I was done. No more running. I was ready to sell my spot in the half marathon and be done. I've participated in a ton of 5k's, even as a walker, and had never in my life come in last place. I was devastated! I cried all the way home. The entire next day it was on my mind. Still so embarrassed and so devastated.

Today I've turned that around some how, and I'm glad I have. I'm glad I waited until now to post in my blog. I've turned the devastation into determination. I'm using this experience to push on. In fact, I'm already signed up for another race this weekend.

I'm glad I'm feeling better about it. Just hope I can keep up the positive attitude! Besides, if anyone can ROCK last place it's me, right?!


Monday, October 15, 2012

When does it "click"?

I can't believe I'm going to run a half marathon in a month and a half! 

It's been a while since my last blog post, so I felt like I needed to post something.  I don't really have any updates on my distances.  My hip is finally feeling much better.  Whatever was going on there REALLY slowed down my training, so I'm a bit behind.  I should be running 8 miles by now and I'm not, but that's ok.  8  That's a lot! 

Running is still SO hard for me.  I feel like I keep waiting for that moment when it just "clicks."  I've heard so much about that moment...but haven't exactly gotten there yet.  I definitely have times where I want to get out there and do it.  I sort of crave a run, but when I get out there it's still so hard.  Every time I go out it's still a struggle.  Whether it's a short run or a long run, it's always tough.  But what is it they say?  If it was easy everyone would do it, right? 

When did it "click" for you?  Or did it ever?  Anybody else feel like I do?


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why I Run

Tonight I felt good about my run for the first time in a few weeks.  It was a short one...a little over three miles...but it felt good.  My hip still hurts...icing it now...but tonight just felt good. 

Don't get me wrong, it was still tough.  I had to continue to remind myself why I run, which may have been what made it feel so good.  Over and over in my mind: "I run because I'm 33 and my dad started with heart trouble in his mid thirties (died at 38)." "I run because I'm blessed with the ability to do so and so many others aren't." "I run because I'm training to run a half marathon in support of sweet little beauties with cancer that don't have the same ability (by the way, have to throw in my fundraising pitch :)  You can click here to sponsor my half and donate to St. Jude)."  "I run because I love my body and I want to take care of it."  Over and over...this was what was running through my mind as I was running down the street.

I'm a little over two months away from the big race.  Hoping for another good run tomorrow and then upping to seven miles on Saturday.  Holy smokes!  SEVEN miles.  That's insane!