Posts tagged ‘women running’

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

Ready to run!

Since my first run just three months ago, I have trained consistently.  I have covered uncounted miles and acquired several pairs of running shorts.  I have even purchased 4 pairs of fancy wool socks at $14 each.  I have finished two races and was happy with both finish times. I have read a running book, a triathlon book and everything Running World has ever published on its website.  I have also faithfully read many great blogs and runner tweets.  Today, it is quite obvious that all my prep work is complete and there is just one thing left to do: run.

I could make it a lot more complicated.  I could talk about all the many feelings and thoughts running through—how I almost cried when I got my race packet at the expo because I was so excited or how I have obsessed over the ever-dropping temperatures that are now estimated be about 28 degrees when I head out in the morning—but the one thought coming in loud and clear over every other thought is that I am ready to run.

My legs feel great.  My running kit is all laid out.  My gels and apple juice are in the right pockets and zipped tightly in my fuel belt.  The camera is charge.  Boyfriend knows where to be.  I am very carbo-loaded.  My playlist is finalized.  It is time to run.

Tonight, I plan to relax, knowing all the details are taken care of.  I am sure there will be a moment of panic in the morning—even in the middle of the night—but I am ready.  Tomorrow is my first half marathon and I am ready!  All those shirts and stickers in the expo? Tomorrow they all pertain to me. It is so overwhelming I can’t help tearing up just a little.  It must be all the carbs.  Tears, freezing temps and 13.1 miles will all be tackled tomorrow.  I am ready to run!

December 4, 2009 at 10:52 pm 1 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

More Tower of Terror Pics

Before the race we decided to try to beat 1:45:00

Before the race we decided to try to beat 1:45:00

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

We did it!

We did it!

October 26, 2009 at 6:31 pm Leave a comment

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Recap

J&S Race 1

Sis and me before the race.

After running The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K Saturday night, I know understand why half marathon and marathon recaps are so long.  A lot happens during all those miles, and I was lucky enough to share every minute of it with my sister.

Before the race, we sat apart from our guys and discussed our goal time.  We knew 1:20:00 was a perfect race for me, but we neither one expected that.  We knew 2:00:00 was how long the guys were expecting to ride rides and drink beer before we finished.  We secretly decided on 1:45:00 as a goal, but did not tell them.

Sis and I made rounds through the pre-race excitement, getting temporary tattoos and our pics taken.  We also had the traditional pre-race wait in the porta-potty lines.  This was my first time to pee in a porta and luckily my last that night.  I am a little amazed running continues to flourish under these conditions, but I am also a germaphobic freak, so it could just be me.

We lined up in the 9:01-11:00 pack and decided this was the best place to start.  After lots of Disney hoopla we chanted the ten-second countdown and then began moving when the fireworks shot into the air.  We walked, then jogged and were finally running.

During the first mile a few people with Garmins said we were running 11:00 miles.  I thought they were crazy because we seemed to be moving faster than that, but after a hairpin turn we hit the first mile marker and were still at the 11:00 pace.  From there we followed the road to a side access street or something and I was shocked to find myself on gravel.  I don’t run on any surfaces other than roads because I have been prone to ankle issues in the past and don’t feel up to gravel.

It turns out my concerns were founded; I am not up to gravel.  About mile 2:00, I turned my ankle on a lone rock as the gravel transitioned into a dirt path and almost went down.  I grabbed my sister—who thankfully steadied me instead of falling with me—and we made our way to the side.  I was so mad.  We were only 2 miles in!  How could this happen?

If there is one identifying trait that unites us as sisters, it would have to be that we are both very stubborn. I told Sis I would walk it off and kept moving.  I just could not let this slip away, but my ankle was killing me.  After about 100 steps, I was feeling better.  There was a slight break in the pack and we decided to jog back in and see what happened.  Over the next half mile the remaining pain faded and we were back on track.

Actually, we were literally on a track at the Wide World of Sports.  There were cheerleaders and a few people encouraging us here and I felt better.  Sis and I agreed to run 4 miles and then see how we felt.  By 3.5, I was over the ankle and feeling great.  We neither one mentioned walking when we crossed the 4-mile marker (still on 11:00ish pace) though we did celebrate the halfway mark.  We decided to just keep going a half-mile at a time and see what happened.

Miles 4-6 were great for me.  We talked and passed these two little girls who were obviously sisters and running together.  It was less cute when they passed us, but still cute.  I made a water stop and downed my Hammer Gel.  Things were good.  We crossed back onto the Disney grounds.

Running out the end of the 6th mile I started to get tired.  By the start of 7, I was really tired.  And really, really chafed.  We were entering the park and started to see people and rides.  Sis was determined we were going to run the whole thing and kept encouraging me.  She sounded so confident I had tolistened.

At 7.5, I would have started walking if not for my sister.  I was getting chills and my left foot was asleep.  I don’t know if it was a wall or bonk or what, but I was not up to the finish.  Somehow she kept me going.

We rounded a corner and saw the only hill of the entire run.  Seriously?  A nice volunteer told us we would be at the 8-mile marker when we topped the hill.  We trudged up, only to realize 13K does not exactly equal 8 miles.  We had .2 more to go.  I told my sister I could not sprint, and she said we were finishing together no matter what.

Then we saw it: the beautiful finish line.  I saw the clock and it was 1:28:ish.  I looked at Sis and told her my personal goal had been to finish under 1:30 and she told me we could make it. The adrenaline kicked in and with all the energy I had left I sprinted by her side to the finish.  It was really an amazing feeling.  I did it! But more importantly, I did it with my sister.  I felt like “Wind Beneath my Wings” should have been playing instead of whatever was.  We did it!

The final clock time was 1:29:19, but our final chip time was 1:28:06!  The feeling when they put our medals on was so powerful.  I never once earned a trophy or real medal before.

J&S Race 2

Water, Powerade, photos, and food bags, followed by the reunion with our guys.  I know they were both surprised we ran the whole thing.  They were taking photos and smiling and hugging us even though we smelled.  I could tell my boyfriend, H, was a little worried about me, and truthfully I was a little worried too.  I was getting the chills and felt very weak. I kept walking and the Powerade and water kicked in finally.  We waited in line for our stuff and by the time we left the finish line, I was feeling tired but good.

We changed but decided waiting in line for roller coasters is not the best way to recover from 8 miles.  We opted to head back to the car.  An hour later, I was showered and in bed with my medal on the bedside table.  I won’t lie and say it didn’t cross my mind to sleep in it, but I have to save some special honor for my first half!

October 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm Leave a comment

Inspired to Run


I am nervous and exited about my trip.  I can’t believe that in a few short days I will be running eight miles for the first time with thousands of other people (probably not their first time).  Getting ready for the trip has cut into my training this week, but I am still hoping to get in a short run before I hop a plane in a few short hours.

Whenever I tell people that I am running a half marathon, they seem impressed.  And really they should be, as a race of that length is not something to be entered into lightly.  As I talk more about running and racing—and the fact that I am a true newbie overambitious enough try to tackle it all in a few short months—they get excited.  Sometimes, they even get inspired.

Today, as I get ready to run a new race and earn my first medal, I think about the people who have inspired me.  All my friends at the farmers market who told me I could do this, my friends for Nashville and my former co-worker who told me to go for it, and of course my boyfriend who wants to train for a triathlon. They love to run and convinced me I could love running too.  When I told my sister I loved running, she rediscovered her love of running. Now we are doing the The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K together!

Just talking about running seems to make other people want to run.  This infectious hobby becomes a true passion for the people who embrace it.  So thanks to all the people that inspired and continue to inspire me.  I plan to pass on the gift.  Runners, keep inspiring others to run too!

I am not sure when my next post will be due to my true vacation (no computers!), but I will upload pics and a full report of the race soon.

October 21, 2009 at 1:47 pm 1 comment

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