Race Day!

It’s been a while since I accomplished my goal of running a half marathon, maybe a little too much time has gone by. I am very pleased to say that I finished my first half marathon on October 7th, 2012. Achieving this goal has taught me a lot about myself and about life. I’ve learned that no matter what I set my mind to, if it’s something that I really want then I can do it. I am extremely proud! Staying motivated is key.

A few quotes by Navy Seal and endurance athlete, David Goggins, that kept me going:

Quotes pulled from: Blog of Impossible Things

“In a race, you hit several walls. Every time you hit a wall, it’s a big deciding factor in that race, or in life, if you’re not running. You have a big decision to make.  You can either stop at that wall and go parallel left or parallel right. You are looking for that door.  When you get to that door you have another decision to make.  Should I open it or should I keep it closed.  If you keep it closed you made the decision to quit.  If you open that door you made the decision  to carry on, to continue on your journey or mission, whatever you’re on.  I always open that door!  Once you open that door, and you go through it, your mind resets and it gives you a few more miles.”

Deep. Very deep and holds to true to all things in life!

“When you think you are done you’re only 40% of what your body is capable of doing. That’s just the limit that we put on ourselves.”

…Keeping this thought in the back of my mind at all times during the race. Our minds our ready to quit before our bodies are. The training weeks and months prior to the big race is more about training the mind than it is the body. I learned to revision myself and power my brain with thoughts of “I can do this, and NO ONE can stop me!”

This biggest lesson to be learned here… So can you!

There’s a Reward for Fighting Blisters

It’s incredibly exciting to get something new for a habit you enjoy, or even a job you love.  Like when a painter gets a new paint brush, or a carpenter gets a new tool belt. Or in my case, a runner gets a new pair of running shoes. You’re excited to put that new brush to canvas, only the bristles are too stiff for the fine detail. Like a new pair of running shoes, you’ve got to use the brush a few times before you wear in the bristles the way you like. I’m not an expert on painting, but fortunately blisters aren’t a problem with new paint brushes, just new shoes.

At the end of my first week with the new shoes, I had a very painful blister on the inside of my right foot. Check it out to the right. It’s pretty gross I know. I was scheduled to run three miles, and at this point wasn’t too sure my foot or my blister could take another 10 feet of pounding. I probably wasted an hour on an internal debate; to run or not to run.

The healthy, go-getter, determined part of me won this debate. I was going to run no matter what. If I skip just one day, I’m setting myself up to fail. So I drove myself, begrudgingly to the park, and went for it.

Surprisingly, the blister hurt worse to walk than it did to run. In fact, I hardly noticed it through the run. I was on track to meeting my goal and nothing, not even a blister was going to deter me.

I was just over two miles in when I saw the coolest thing ever. OK, well maybe not the coolest, but it was pretty cool. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed if it weren’t for the elderly couple snapping pictures and pointing. Through the trees was a clearing for the lake. In the middle of the lake is a tiny island. I didn’t know this at the time, but it’s apparently known for what I saw next. I used to run with my phone, but then I got my iPod I no longer saw any reason to run with it. Of course, having my phone would have given me the opportunity to snap a few photos of this sight, but I didn’t have it. So the following image is pretty similar to what I saw, but it’s a random photo I found on the internet.

That’s right! I saw a family of deer swimming from the island to the shore. Living in the middle of the country means that I’m pretty used to seeing deer. Usually I see them on the side of the road as I’m traveling 60 mph, or I see them crossing the road; but I’ve never really thought of them as swimming across a lake as I’m running.

So what’s the lesson learned here. Fighting through blisters and the part of you that wants to call it quits is rewarding. Nature rewarded me for pushing myself and my limits. It’s not everyday that something like this happens (maybe it is, but it’s not everyday that we get to see it). To top it all off, it was a beautiful day. The weather was perfect for running. This experience has taught me a great deal about strength and appreciating the small things in life. The beautiful day, the deer and even the run made me feel great!

I’m ready to keep this journey going, and I hope you are too.

Yours Truly,

J

Getting Inspired

I’m one of those people who wants and even talks about becoming an avid runner. In the past I’ve even set goals to do so. However, it’s always easier said than done, and those two weeks of training usually become another phase. That’s right, I’m one of those people.

The idea of running is great, and there are so many ways to benefit. Not to mention weight loss and heart health, but it does wonders for the mind. It’s calming and is, quite frankly, enjoyable. I’m sure many of you are thinking, “this girl is out of her mind.” I don’t blame you. While my sanity is questionable, it doesn’t negate what I have to say.

Chuck the Missouri Cowbell Mascot

Two months ago, I was inspired by a friend to sign up for a half marathon this October. WHAT?! There’s no way I can survive a half marathon. Or can I? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Needless to say, I’m inspired. The event I am signed up for is called the Missouri Cowbell Half Marathon and 5K. It’s a 13.1 miles around the historic downtown St. Charles area and is apparently known as a beginner level course. What a better way to start an already challenging goal?!

After some digging through the Web Site I found a training program geared towards beginners for this half marathon.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
2 Miles OFF 1 Mile 1 Mile OFF 2 Miles OFF
3 Miles OFF 2 Miles 1 Mile OFF 2 Miles OFF
4 Miles OFF 2 Miles 2 Miles OFF 2 Miles OFF
5 Miles OFF 3 Miles 2 Miles OFF 3 Miles OFF
6 Miles OFF 3 Miles 3 Miles OFF 3 Miles OFF
7 Miles OFF 4 Miles 3 Miles OFF 4 Miles OFF
8 Miles OFF 4 Miles 3 Miles OFF 4 Miles OFF
9 Miles OFF 4 Miles 4 Miles OFF 4 Miles OFF
10 Miles OFF 5 Miles 4 Miles OFF 5 Miles OFF
12 Miles OFF 5 Miles 5 Miles OFF 5 Miles OFF
10 Miles OFF 4 Miles 4 Miles OFF 4 Miles OFF
8 Miles OFF 3 Miles 3 Miles OFF 2 Miles OFF

I started the training July 15th and tomorrow I will begin Week Five. Week Five!! I’ve never made it this long in running. And my long run day, Sunday’s, is a six mile run this week. This alone is reason enough for me to continue. I guess they say anything beyond week three, it becomes a habit. Running is no longer something that I have to drag myself to do. It is now just another habit. Until now, the farthest I’ve ever run was three miles.

Like most, Weeks One and Two were terrible. Not only were my legs in a constant state of achiness, but I felt like my lungs were going to explode just after one mile. I definitely considered quitting several times. Let’s just say, it wasn’t easy getting through that phase. That is the phase most people give up on, but trust me, if you push through you will reap the many great benefits. The key for me in getting through these awful two weeks was; talking about it. Tell your friends and family what you’re doing. Believe it or not, that alone will push you to keep going. People are curious about others trying to achieve insane goals. The first time I started talking about doing a half marathon everyone looked at me like I was nuts, but they were also impressed. As I continued training, those around me started asking about my progress, like most I have a sense of pride; and at this point would be too embarrassed to tell people that I quit. This drives me to keep going. I want those around me to see a person who doesn’t give up, who perseveres and overcomes any obstacles in their way. My determination inspired my husband, Dan, to join in on the fun. So now he is running the half marathon with me. Nike Shoes

As Week Three approached I started to feel stronger and faster. My times were improving.  While my legs continued to ache and so did my lungs, I kept pushing because I was driven by the progress I was already making. During Week Three, Dan and I decided that if we were going to do this, we were going to do it in style and with the appropriate gear. We bought some good running clothes, new running shoes, and the nike+ sensor for our iPod’s.

With the new running gear, I was on track to completing my goal. Now, my lungs have grown stronger and I no longer struggle with breathing. I still get the achiness in my legs, but I can go faster and further than before.

Check back often and learn with me through my running experiences.

Yours Truly,

J