Posts tagged ‘motivation’

St Jude Half Marathon Recap 2009

I don’t think I could have asked for a better first half marathon. Even five days after St. Jude and despite a cold, I am still on a half-marathon runner’s high.  I have stopped wearing my medal, but I am sure strangers can still see the pride beaming from my face.  After all, finishing your first half marathon is a big deal.

On race day, I woke up ahead of the alarm and had my planned breakfast.  All my clothes were laid out and I dressed slowly.  I decided on two tech shirts (purple showing) and my fleece vest with purple shorts over black tights.  It was about 25 degrees when I left the house and it felt that way.  My boyfriend took me downtown and dropped my close to the start.  He would meet me at the finish a few hours later.

The next hour was spent waiting and walking in an attempt to stay warm.  I was not very successful but met a few nice people to keep my mind off the chill. All morning I was amazed at how calm I was.  I never got butterflies.

At exactly 8:00, the race started.  I was in corral #10 and began my race with 17:30ish on the clock.  The first mile was slow, especially because my toes were completely numb and refused to wake up.  Finally in the second mile my feet felt normal and everyone around me seemed to wake up, too.  There were gloves and sweatshirts flying through the air as people began ridding themselves of now-unnecessary layers.  I was struck by the thought that if this kept up, I would be running with a bunch of streakers by mile five. Luckily things leveled out.

My pre-race plan divided the course into three segments: 1) First five miles: this was the twisty part of the course weaving in and out of downtown streets hitting a few of the Memphis highlights and ending on the St. Jude Campus.  2) Next five: straight stretch for three miles followed by a winding two miles through Overton park.  3) Final 3.1 miles: another straight stretch back downtown toward with several downhill surges and a few final turns into the AutoZone Redbirds Stadium.

I knew if I made it to mile 5 feeling strong, the rest of the race would go well.  I knew if I made it to mile 10, the rest would feel downhill.  Luckily, I was right on both accounts.  After a very slow 11:00 first mile, I got a little elbowroom at picked up to the 10:30 pace I maintained most of the race.  The highlight of this stretch was running through the St. Jude Campus and seeing all the kids and employees that came out to support us.  It was inspiring to see firsthand what an impact this fundraising event has in their lives.

The next stretch was fairly flat with a few hills.  Spectators continued to line the roads and cheer for us.  St. Jude did a great job with the course, having water, Powerade and portas at each mile marker.  There were so many volunteers braving the cold to support us and it was much appreciated.

During mile 8 my knee began hurting and continued for about half a mile until it stopped as abruptly as it started.  No complaints now, especially as it has not hurt since.  When I rounded the corner out of the park and hit Poplar just before mile 10, I knew I had made it to the final stretch and would make it.

The final stretch was a mix of energy and exhaustion.  I am not sure if the energy was from gels and apple juice or adrenaline, but it waned a few times.  I had a back up plan of calling my sister if I ever really wanted to stop running, but it never got to that point.  At mile 12, I picked up the pace and despite being tired found I had the energy to maintain.  Downtown was coming closer with each step and before I knew it, I turned the corner and saw the stadium.

I started to see people who had already finished the half who had come out to cheer us on.  Then I really got excited. I actually told a few people who were walking, “we got this” as I ran past, hoping they would get excited too.  I started to sprint and ran into the stadium, only to realize that I was not quite at the finish.  One more big push and I crossed the line.  I had done it!

I did not experience the tears I had expected but still felt a great sense of accomplishment.  I texted boyfriend, “Did it,” and began looking for water.  I passed up the post-race photos for water and a heat blanket.  Luckily there were a few great shots of me sprinting to and crossing the finish line.

I found boyfriend and before I knew it, we were walking back to the car.  The day was done.  I had run and finished my first half.  The sheers size of what I had done hit me as I looked at the car clock on the way to my house.  Only 5 hours before we were leaving my house, and now we were back.  It seemed like days.  I ran literally half the time we had been gone.  It was an amazing feeling that felt even more amazing under a warm blanket after a hot shower and half a pizza.

I would say the big thing about race day is realizing that it’s not the only day.  Each day of training led me to this point.  And it doesn’t end on race day either.  I am already working toward the next one.  It was a wonderful moment, and one of many I hope to have as I continue running.  Thank you for sharing this one with me!  All your support through my journey meant so much.  I hope you enjoy the pics!


December 10, 2009 at 10:47 pm 3 comments

Getting closer

Sunday was my long run.  You know, the super long 10-mile run?  It was, in a simple, beautiful word, awesome.  I tried to do everything as if it were race day, and while I know that is much easier to do when it is not race day, all went well.

I felt great when I set out.  My first mile was a little slow, just 10:22, but I decided not to sweat it and just keep running a solid pace.  Throughout the run I could tell I was holding pretty consistent to 10:30 miles.  Each time I wanted to slow down, I just told myself I had the juice to keep going.

About 8.5 miles, I had the temptation to cut the run a little short.  I just starting to get tired, but I never seriously contemplated an easy out.  Before the thought had really formed, I got this mental picture of myself finishing my race in two weeks and almost started crying I was so proud.  That definitely kept me going.

When my Nike+ said 400 meters, I was ready to cross the finish line.  I started sprinting.  I next thought it said 50 meters to go and I really picked up the pace.  Then it said 100 meters to go.  I will admit to shouting “bitch” a little more loudly than one should in a nice neighborhood, but kept sprinting.  Finally, those great Nike+ words, “you have completed your workout.”  I had done it!

My final time was 1:45:38 with an average 10:33 mile.  For my 9 miles last week I averaged 11:01 per mile, so this was a major improvement.  This was also the first long run where my splits were consistent instead of getting progressively slower.  Even better, I feel much better the day after this 10 than I did after last week’s 9.  It is amazing what I week of resting and hydration can do!

I refueled with two 4 oz apple juices and one gel.  I will do one more of each I think on race day but otherwise I felt good. I did order the purple shirt, and it should be here this week for a few test runs.  Otherwise, I am going to try to take the advice of my friends and taper.  I think that must be easier said than done though, because I am bummed I don’t get to do another 10-miler this weekend.

I am hitting the gym tonight to stay loose, then 5 miles tomorrow.  My goals for the week are to eat well and sleep well.  Why is that the hardest part?

Photo credit:

November 23, 2009 at 10:28 pm Leave a comment

Just 35 more miles

There are no two ways about; I procrastinate.  More than once after finally doing the thing I’ve been dreading, I have found myself thinking, “that wasn’t so bad,” or “that was much quicker/better/more fun than I expected.”  I procrastinate about a long list of things including cleaning, work projects, taking the dog out and even going to bed.  Lately, I have put off running until the last possible moment too, which makes my blog even later!

I can say I sort of had a good reason to stall on running this week, or at least I thought I did.  After my 9 miles Sunday, my right knee was really sore.  After icing all day Monday, I was afraid to run on it Tuesday and opted for the gym instead.  Thursday I was supposed to run, but I was so afraid of finding out my knee was really “messed up,” I waited until today.  A week’s worth of worry (and rest) resulted in a fine run today and very little pain afterwards.

Running really is 98% mental.  I have just 35 miles to go before my race and I need every one of them.  Putting them off is not an option.  No room for procrastination or excuses.  Just 35 more miles.  I can’t believe I have come this far, and you better believe I am going all the way!  Next up: 10 on Sunday.

Photo credit:

November 20, 2009 at 10:38 pm 1 comment

Brought to you by the color purple

Well, I did it.  I ran 9 miles on Sunday, making this week’s long run my longest run ever.  I am still slightly in disbelief that I actually ran 9 miles, but my knees are both assuring me with each step that I did.  My split times were all a little slower than usual, but overall it was a solid run and I am not complaining—well, not complaining about anything other than my knees.  (Ice and Advil do your thing)

In an effort to totally freak myself out motivate myself for the year ahead, I plotted my races and training weeks on a 2010 calendar.  I think my New Year’s resolution will be to sleep as much as possible because after training that is all I will have the strength to do.  At least I have a few weeks to look at the seemingly impossible 5 months of training before committing with entry fees in December.

Today, the purchase on my mind is my half marathon ensemble.  I know I will be wearing one of two pairs of black tights, my favorite of which has a little purple accent stripe.  I keep debating about making purple my “color of the day” and ordering a shirt to match.  It seems silly when I have several other perfectly good shirts, but somehow the purple is calling to me. And I need to decide now so I can wear it a few times to break it in.  Hmmm…I’ll let you know.

The other thing calling my name is meat.  It’s the last night of downtown dining, and we will be at Texas de Brazil for an all-you-can-eat meat feast.  OK, truthful that much meat the night before a morning run sounds disgusting to me and I am hoping no one will notice if I load up at the salad bar instead.  I think one week of good training and sensible eating will have me ready for a much better time on my 10 miles this Saturday.

My countdown calendar is a constant reminder that Decemeber 5th will be here before I know it.  This week I am feeling much more prepared.  Pilates today to stretch out and get ready for tomorrow.

November 16, 2009 at 9:11 pm Leave a comment

Lace Up and Get Past It



This morning while running my 5 miles, I began thinking about the 7 deadly sins. This may seem a little deep for 6:00 in the morning, but I was thinking in particular about to deadlies I committed this week: Gluttony and Sloth.  And since these are running sins it only seems right to confess to you readers and move past it.

Today was my first good run since last Friday.  Saturday I woke up early to fly to a tradeshow in Orlando.  I spent the weekend with my sister, but we opted for baking and shopping instead of running.  Monday I stood all day at the trade show and Tuesday I found my knees too sore to do more than walk 1.5 miles around the hotel.  I got home Tuesday night and had a pitiful 2.5 mile run/walk on Wednesday during lunch.  Everything hurt and I had no cardio endurance whatsoever.

If all this not running weren’t enough, I have been eating like I was on vacation with a per diem (because I was).  I got home in time to catch Downtown Dining, a great week of all the nicest restaurants in town becoming accessible to peasants with $20 three course dinners.  Add to that a few glasses of wine and not enough water, and, well, I guess we have all been there.  (If you haven’t, don’t do it 3 weeks before your half marathon!)

I spent most of my run this morning feeling really guilty and being quite hard on myself for dragging along my chosen route.  Afterwards, I checked my time and it was only a little slower than usual, and it actually included my fasted first mile on record.  I can only imagine how well I could have run if I would have laid off the guilt and just run!

My penance was to revise my training calendar and eat a healthy lunch that involved lettuce (one of the deadly vegetables in my opinion, blech).  My gilt is gone and my determination has returned.  Onward toward the next run!

Photo credit:

November 13, 2009 at 8:57 pm 1 comment

Two-month Running Anniversary


I checked my training log today and confirmed that yesterday was the two-month anniversary of my first run. Wow, two months. When I think of all I have accomplished from that first 1.75 miles to today I can’t help but be proud. I’ve run a 4-mile and 8-mile race, as well as committing to run a half marathon. And with that half marathon a month away, I feel very good about running it.

I have completed 25 runs and have 13 more before my half. Some have definitely been better than others (my training long only had on word for my run on Sept 5—pukey), but overall they have been good. Each run builds on the next, and each improvement is built on previous struggles.

My long run of 7 miles on Saturday went really well and the 4.75 miles I put in yesterday were smooth, too. I needed these runs to boost my confidence and they did just that. My commitment to follow my training schedule and run a strong half is through the roof.

Maybe the most important thing I did to show (force) my commitment to my training this weekend was finalize my training schedule and reschedule any runs disturbed by travel and the holidays. I now know all my runs will fit into my schedule and that I better do them because they don’t fit anywhere else.

It was hard not to run during lunch today, because I just feel so good, but looking back at my training log also reminded me of the consequences of overtraining. Instead, I read Runner’s World and dreamed about my own dramatic race finish.

Photo Credit:

November 3, 2009 at 8:26 pm 1 comment

Weekend running prep

There could be a thousand reasons why I am in a good mood today despite all the rain, but I am pretty sure it is because of my 7 mile run tomorrow.  I mapped out a new route that will take me through both neighborhood and park, as well as conveniently by a “just in case” bathroom.

Doing anything new always makes running more exciting for me, and there will be several new aspects to my run tomorrow.  This will be my first attempt to “practicing” eating race-day food.  I know there will be a bagel involved, but I am still deciding what will go with the bagel.  The Elvis Bagel seems especially appropriate for a marathon in Memphis, but bananas are not a great pre food for me. I guess that is why I have a few more weeks to test.

I have an updated playlist ready to go because 7 miles is a long time.  I am listing to it as I type just getting all excited.  I love this feeling and plan to use it throughout my hopefully dry run tomorrow.

My sister will be running in a 5K in Orlando Saturday, her first run since our race last Saturday.  She has been super pumped about running all week while I have been bummed, but today I think we were both back to reality and are still considering the Disney Princess Half in March.  We won’t decide for sure though until I survive St. Jude in December.

Good luck to my sister and all the runners and racers out there this weekend!

October 30, 2009 at 8:13 pm Leave a comment

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