632.6

I never thought I would ever be considered a runner. I will leave it at that because I’m sure the five people reading this know all about how I started running, how I hated running, how I found running buddies, and how I now wake up at an ungodly hour to pound the pavement. In fact, I calculated it all up this morning and I’ve run 632.6 miles this year. I’m not going to hit my goal of 1,000 miles this year, but that was lofty to begin with. 632.6 miles…that’s about as far as Disney is away from my apartment. Crazy, right?!

Anyway, yesterday I got home from work and run club to find a box sitting on the counter waiting for me. I was confused for a moment because I’ve had this vow to not online shop (that and the things I “accidentally” bought online this week aren’t due for another couple of days…). So what was in the box, you ask? This bad boy…errr….girl:

Trophy

The Danville Half-Marathon was my second half-marathon, and the first of three I had signed up for during October, November, and December. I did not have high expectations and had to be reminded by my mom many times that I was running my own race and it didn’t matter what other people were doing. That seems to be the constant battle of mine – I’m too competitive with others and not competitive enough with myself.

It was a really chilly October morning and I was one of two people I saw running with a camelbak on. I was nervous. And scared.  “Would I finish?” “Can I actually run 13.1 miles still?” “What if that race in February was just a fluke?” “I’m not cut out for this.” It’s amazing how much you can doubt yourself before the gun goes off.

Then the gun went off…or rather the guy leading the show yelled, “GO!” and off we went. People passed me. My hands were cold. My earbuds didn’t want to sit in my ears right. I was annoyed I didn’t have anyone to talk to. Then I remembered that I enjoy running and noticed that I enjoyed running through my hometown. I started trying to find the silver lining.

When I got to the first water station, I ran on by because I had my trusty CamelBak. At this point, I was almost 3 miles in and feeling good. By mile 6, I grabbed a GU but still didn’t slow down. At mile 8, I realized I had been running the whole thing with no walk breaks and I would be incredibly mad at myself if I stopped running to walk for a bit with 5 miles left to go.

Long story short, I ran all 13.1 miles to a personal record of 2:11:56 and placed 3rd in my age division. I took 25 minutes off my original half-marathon time from February, and I was seriously in awe of what you can do when you set your mind to it. Oh, and when you’re hydrated. 🙂

running real talk.

Y’all, someone needs to come take my credit card and running shoes away from me. I just signed up for my second half-marathon in less than a week. I’m starting to think I enjoy the thrill of hitting “Register” and typing in my info more than I actually enjoy running. Anyway, I managed to get signed up for the 2016 Disney Princess Half-Marathon last week despite the runDisney website crashing and being cumbersome. That means Abbydean and I will be getting our mulligan to run this race as sisters (and maybe Cruella DeVil and Lucky).  It’s so hard to believe that it has been a year since I began my running journey. In that year, I have racked up over 500 miles on these little legs of mine. Is the human body incredible or what?!

races

 

In those 500 miles, I have run in 7 races, picked up a regular running partner in the mornings, and joined a running club that meets 3 times a week. Who knew running could be so social?! But back to the taking my credit card and running shoes thing…

What started as a “Hey, let’s run this half-marathon on my 25th birthday” novelty has turned into a “Hey, let’s run 5 half-marathons while being 25!” So here’s what I have coming up.

  1. Danville Half – October 17
  2. City of Oaks Half – November 1
  3. Baton Rouge Beach Half – December 5
  4. Disney Princess Half – February 21, 2016

Yes, that is quite ambitious. I know. But I’m not trying to PR every race. I will probably train to PR the Danville half and finish respectably at City of Oaks. I’m running with my pal, Leigh, in Baton Rouge and I have to work that weekend, so that will be easy. Then two whole months to prepare for Disney! So yeah…someone please tell me to stop signing up for races.

Life Lessons from a Half-Marathon

Y’all – I did it! I am a half-marathoner. I have a hard earned medal to prove it. Getting here was interesting to say the least. Throughout this whole process, I learned so much about myself. I’m still learning, but I thought I would share a few things that I didn’t know 7 months ago.

medal

  1. You don’t have to follow a training program to the mile. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal. For example, I restart games over all of the time if I don’t do something perfectly. In my world, I’m either 100% or not doing it. So when it came to my training program, I hit every mile assigned to me consistently for four weeks, then I hit a wall. I just didn’t want to run that week, and I struggled with feeling like I was failing. That I wasn’t really a runner if I couldn’t get all 310 miles of my program in. Then I cut myself some slack. I went from not exercising at all to volunteering to run 13.1 miles at once, so it was okay if I didn’t want to run every day. That was a big moment for me. I realized that I don’t have to live and breathe by a training schedule, but I need to listen to my mind and body. I also have learned to determine the difference between exhaustion and laziness.
  2. Listen to your body. It knows what’s best for it.
  3. Running is cheaper than therapy (including retail therapy). The more time you spend hitting the pavement, or treadmill, the less time you can shop online.
  4. You don’t need fancy things to get started. Just a decent pair of running shoes and determination. A planned running route wouldn’t hurt either.
  5. There’s no such thing as a “runner” body type. I saw all kinds of ladies and gentlemen out there getting their run/walk on. Don’t think because you aren’t currently a runner that you can’t accomplish something as significant as a half or full marathon.
  6. Foam rolling is as amazing as they said it would be. Once you learn how to do it, that is. It took me a few months to learn proper techniques, but I found a helpful little video that covers IT stretches, calf stretches and a neck roll.
  7. Like most things in life, you get what you put into it. I got a little discouraged going into the last leg of this journey. I didn’t follow my training program, I got lazy with the cold weather and snow, and I let my insecurities get the best of me. But when race day came along, I realized that I had been dedicated and determined and I knew I would finish, even if I had to walk the whole way. And I finished 10 minutes faster than my goal time of 2 hours 45 minutes.

The most astonishing thing I learned was how much I learned about who I am through this whole process. I mean it really shouldn’t surprise me being that running is spending quality time with yourself (and putting one foot in front of the other). I’ve learned that I need time to process things – or more accurately put, obsess over things until I’m tired of thinking about them. I’ve learned how to motivate myself and what doesn’t work when it comes to getting my butt out of bed or off the couch. I’ve learned that if I can sing-dance while running, I’m a lot happier. I’ve learned that I’m good company even on my grouchiest of days.

castle

Thanks for joining me on this journey! I can’t believe it’s already over. Now onto my next adventure!

week 11

Race day is one week away!! Oh my goodness – I probably should be packing instead of writing this. (I will not over pack. I will not over pack. I will not over pack.)

This week was a modified version of the Nike+ Running program. Mainly because I was listening to my body and because it was friggin’ cold this week. I was not made for this mess.

I found a running club on MeetUp this week, and joined them for a 10k run on Saturday morning. It was so awesome! There were six of us, and while on the surface we had nothing in common, we all started out at the same pace and got it knocked out in just over an hour. I’m looking forward to joining them for more runs in the future.

Monday – 4 miles (1.5 in the rain)

Tuesday – 4 miles (killed it on the treadmill)

Wednesday – worked instead of ran

Thursday – rest day

Friday – 2 miles

Saturday – 6.2 miles

Weekly mileage: 16.2

Yearly mileage: 143.7

race day gear.

I have spent countless hours pinning and researching what other runners wear on their runDisney race days. I’ve read about gels and GI issues. I’ve read about costume malfunctions and chaffing. I’ve read about socks and tennis shoes lost in airline baggage mishaps.

That’s all well and good, but I’m a new runner. I don’t own a fancy GPS watch or use a hydration belt. What am I supposed to run in?

race outfit

I’ve decided to stick with what I know. Above you can see what I’m planning on wearing on race day!

  • lulu lemon running capris
  • gray old navy ankle socks
  • black long-sleeve semi-fitted top
  • flipbelt for my chapstick, starbursts and phone
  • asics
  • hello alyss crown hair piece
  • Not pictured: Disney Birthday Button!

Maybe one day, when I’m an experienced runner, I’ll look back and laugh at my affinity for old navy socks, but I swear they are my favorite things ever. I have them in black and gray, and I always feel like I run better when I wear the gray ones.

That’s what I plan to wear when I take on my first half-marathon. I’m curious to see what my future race gear will look like.

two weeks away!

Two weeks from right now, I’ll be finished with my first half-marathon experience. I can’t believe it’s almost here. I think I’m at the point in my training where I feel confident that I’ll finish, and I’m not worried about beating a certain time so I took it a little easy this week.

Monday – 5 miles

Tuesday – none

Wednesday – none

Thursday – 1.5 miles

Friday – none

Saturday – 12 miles

Sunday – Rest day

-If you sign up for the hard stuff, then

 

I heard this quote while listening to a podcast yesterday running. It’s a great reminder that the miles and the hours and the time spent on the treadmill are building up mental toughness and perseverance.

Here’s to spending the next two weeks logging the miles I need to and focusing on going to sunny Florida and turning 25! 😀

Weekly mileage: 18.5

Yearly mileage: 127.5

week nine & feeling fine.

Y’all – I ran 12 miles at one time. 12 miles. Let that sink in for a minute.

I’m starting to realize that this training program may not be the best one for me. It seems way too intense compared to other training programs that I have reviewed. I think this one would be great if I was working towards a personal record, but I’m not. My goal is simply to finish. I’ll probably use this program again next year for the Disney Princess Half, but for the other races I have in 2015 I think I’ll try out a different program.

Monday – 5 miles – 53:50

Tuesday – 3 miles – 34:24

Wednesday -9 miles – 1:39:01

Friday – 2 miles – 23:12

Saturday – 12 miles – 2:23:09

Sunday – Rest day

This week I got back on the horse (treadmill) so to speak. Monday started out great with a 5 mile run before work and I had to juggle around some of my workouts to accommodate a birthday dinner with a friend, but I feel good about how I did. Saturday really showed me how much I’ve grown in running and knowing myself. I was visiting Abby & Alan and had every intention to get my 12 miles in before breakfast. I got up, dressed, and went downstairs to their treadmill but could not will myself to go. I was sleepy, hungry, and I felt like if I didn’t finish quickly enough, I would ruin everyone’s day. Instead of forcing myself and resenting the run, I stopped and decided I would try again later in the day. Though the 12 miles at one go was overwhelming to think about, and at mile 7 I was ready to stop, I kept pushing the second go around and got it done. I feel confident that on race day, I will finish strong.

Running box

In other exciting news, race day is 20 days away! Woohoo! To celebrate, Abby & Alan gave me the most thoughtful box of goodies to get me through the last leg of training. Sorry for the blurry picture, but it contained epsom salt, body glide, two bundles of soft hair ties, a bag of starbursts (my preferred race fuel), and an awesome tank top that says “Forget the glass slippers, this princess wears running shoes” on the front and “& she ran happily ever after” on the back. I can’t wait to wear that post-race! Also, they found the cutest 13.1 decal for my car. I’ve been on the fence about whether or not to buy one, but this one is just too cute and matches my car’s sideview mirrors that I can’t resist. I’m so excited to put it on Gizmo when we get back from Florida.

Weekly mileage: 31

Yearly mileage: 109

Week 8 – Who do we appreciate?!

I know I should have posted a running update yesterday, but I’m going to be honest with you. I didn’t succeed in Week 8 of my program. Last week was a bit of an uphill battle, and I just couldn’t force my body to run more than my mind was. I finished a couple of the runs, but the long run just didn’t happen. Long story short, there was a break up and a lot of work going on last week. I was being pulled in so many directions and I needed to focus on landing on my feet ready to start this week with bright eyes and a strong heart.

With that being said, I am back on track with 5 miles under my belt already this week (at a sub 11 minute mile pace, no less).

Here’s to new beginnings and kicking Mickey’s butt in 27 days!

Week 7 – Frustrations and Finds

I’m starting to get a little frustrated with this whole running situation.

Monday – 4 miles – 43:43

Tuesday – 4 miles – 46:58

Wednesday – 4 miles – 45:21

Thursday – Cross train

Friday – 4 miles – 48:14

Saturday – 10 miles – 2:07:37

Sunday – Rest day

So…you’ll notice that I ran the same mileage four times this week with finishing times all over the map. This is really starting to take a toll on me. I mean I thought running was supposed to get easier, but here I am at the end of Week 7 still having to trick my brain into thinking it likes to run.

I’m starting to have a serious problem with the treadmill. When I run at the gym, I keep my phone in a flipbelt to track my distance instead of an armband. Armbands aren’t my style because they tend to flop and fly around while I’m active. The only trouble with the flipbelt is my phone is sitting at the core of my body where there isn’t much movement. Therefore, on a treadmill I’m losing up to .10-.15 of a mile every single mile. For instance, this morning I had to run 3.8. The treadmill said I had run 4.25 before my phone said I reached 3.8.

It’s becoming extremely frustrating because I’m doing the best I can, but I’m getting slower according to my Nike running app. I have to find a solution quickly because right now my current plan of action is to get irritated and not finish.

On the bright side, I ran 10 miles outside on Saturday. I made my friend Carly tag along with me to a lake in Raleigh so I wouldn’t be out there by myself. She did a lap around the lake, then strung up a hammock to enjoy the weather while I finished my run. Super thankful for her. I also found the Marathon Training Academy podcast. It really helped during the long run in that it kept me entertained, educated me on running techniques, and provided some interesting interviews.

Weekly mileage: 26

Yearly mileage: 59.8

Week 6 – Woohoo! Back on Track

I was determined to get back on track this week after the worst week of training ever last week. I’d say it was a success!

Monday – 4 miles – 44:21

Tuesday – 7 miles – 1:22:50

Wednesday – 3 miles – 32:58

Thursday – Cross train

Friday – 4 miles – 44:14

Saturday – 9 miles – 1:42:00

Sunday – Rest day

This week I was determined to succeed out of sheer embarrassment from last week. I’ll admit I had a couple of grouchy miles, but it was pretty good for the most part. Now that my Tuesday runs are getting longer, it’s becoming more of a challenge. There’s no way I can log 6+ miles before work without getting up earlier than 4:30 a.m., but working all day then going to the gym is draining. Especially when you have to wait for a treadmill because it’s New Year’s Resolution time.

I ran in the cold on Wednesday to avoid getting stuck in 5:00 p.m. traffic (curse my warm bed coaxing me into sleeping in). That was a challenging experience. I actually took more walking breaks than normal, but my time was one of my shorter 3 mile times. I guess the cold really inspired me. My 9 miler on Saturday was b-o-r-i-n-g. Running 9 miles on a treadmill is torture. Plus I feel like my toenails are going to fall off. But I did it!! Despite the harsh looks I got in the gym for my starbursts that were lined up across the treadmill display.

Weekly mileage: 27

Yearly mileage: 33.8