Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dogwood Classic 5k - race recap

I went to bed Friday night pretty unsure of what the next morning would hold. Yes, I had a 5k on the agenda but I felt an huge load of pressure on me regarding my performance for that 5k. This would be a 5k that I was truly going to race. By race I mean actually compete against someone besides myself. I've ran plenty of 5k races but each time my only competition was myself. I only wanted to beat my previous 5k time. I did want to PR Saturday's race so in a way I was still competing against myself but there was a bit more pressure. I'd previously ran with some friends who have a great deal of faith in my ability to run fast. Terri and my husband have spent a lot of time trying to convince me that I have a bit of speed in me that hasn't been revealed yet. I'm slowly believing they are right.

I had told my running buddies at our group run on Monday that my only goal was to break 30 minutes. My last 5k race was in August and I finished in 31:05. My friends all assured me that I would break that by a long shot. So, I told them under 28 minutes to which they said, "You'll get that easy." And on Friday night when I wished all my running pals well in their races for Saturday (marathons and half marathons in KY and TN) I read one comment, "Looking for a sub 27 out of you." Ahhh, pressure! I went to bed Friday night just hoping to wake up Saturday morning ready to run.

I reviewed the finish times for the Athena's (150 lbs +) women from last year. 26:56 was the first place woman in my division in 2011. Barely a sub 27 5k. I dreamed that night that I had finished my race in 26:52. Could this be a sign that I was going to have a great race??

[caption id="attachment_1316" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Is 96 a lucky number??"][/caption]

I was up early (5:30am) because the plan was to meet Terri at the race around 7. It didn't start until 8am but I prefer to be early and knew parking would be somewhat of an issue. Better to play on the safe side of things. I had laid all my stuff out the morning before (I like to be prepared!) and was ready to get dressed almost as soon as I got up. I had plenty of time to dress and eat a half bagel and get my pre-race immodiums in me before we had to head out the door. My kids did great getting up and ready without a fight! So proud of them. And they were pretty proud of me. They always think I am going to run a marathon and pretty much still think I did on Saturday. haha

Once we arrived at the race site I realized I left my phone at home. oops. I quickly grabbed my husband's iPhone and logged on Fb to message Terri and let her know where we were. She messaged me back that she woke up with a fever and was sick in bed, no need to come run a 5k when she has an ultra coming up next weekend. She also told me to remember my strategy and wished me well.

I did something I probably never have done before a 5k in the past and that is warm up. I use to kind of laugh about the elite guys taking a few warmup laps (if you will) before running a 5k. I decided to do it because after only running longer distances for so long I realized it takes me at least a mile to warm up and settle into a decent pace. So, I took about 10 minutes and did a little warm up jog. If anything it at least settled any nerves I might have trying to bog me down.

[caption id="attachment_1317" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Just a little warming up"][/caption]

Then it was time to kiss the kiddos and husband, line up, National Anthem, race talk blah blah....
I lined up pretty close to the front of the pack so that I could avoid any walkers or slower paced folks. The 1,2 gun GO. I hit my Garmin just as I stepped over the start line and was off at a decent pace right away. I ran with no music and didn't really hear anything other than the other runners around me breathing or was that me!? It's weird starting that close to the front because you don't quite hear a lot of talking amongst runners like when you start in the middle or back of the pack, just something I noticed yesterday as I ran.

I checked my Garmin about 87 million times before getting to mile one and kept seeing 7 or sub 7 pace so I tried to slow down a little. I wanted to aim for anything over 8 minute pace but under 9 min mile pace as much as I could. That was my only plan for the race. I knew if I wanted to get a sub 27 I would need to stay around 8:40 or below the entire race. I really didn't have many thoughts going on the first mile other than to just run. There was a water stop about half way through but I decided since it was a short run there wasn't a need to stop for water. I was hydrated pretty well since I'd had a bottle and a half before the race. It's a short run and I rarely even carry water for a short run.

Mile one went fast. I felt like people were passing me but that I was still passing plenty of people too. Kinda weird how that happens. I saw a friend pass me and yelled her name as she did. She said, "Your husband said sub 25 today." haha, "Ahh, it'll be my lucky day if that happens!" My lungs felt fine, legs felt fine and there was no mental struggle. I just kept telling myself to push as hard as I could. Just after the halfway point I heard someone yell, "Go Pink Runner Girl!" I knew that one of my running pals was close by. I looked behind me a couple of times waiting for her to pass me. Once she got up beside me I waved, she waved and I said, "hey, can't talk, but hey!" She shared my sentiments. It's much harder to talk when you are concentrating on your pace and while you aren't out of breath completely you know trying to talk will take what you have. haha

Turn, up a slight hill and into mile 2. Water stop again. Skip it, keep running.
I knew after mile 2 when my Garmin read 17 minutes flat that I pretty much had this thing in the bag. My pace had slowed a little but I knew I ran mile 1 much faster than I anticipated and even if I had taken a quick walk break I could finish in my goal time. No need for that. Just keep running strong I told myself. I knew my husband and kids would be waiting at the finish line and that was enough to keep me going. I kept seeing people that had already finished and I could hear a lot of noise so I knew I was close to the finish line. I looked at my Garmin and could see 25:45 on it. I barely had .15 to go, so I picked it up and kicked it in to finish as close to under 27 minutes at possible.

[caption id="attachment_1318" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="26:35"][/caption]

And done. Goal met! Oddly enough even though I was out of breath I was not light headed and didn't feel like I was going to pass out of puke. Speed training has paid off for me this year for sure! I grabbed a water and met up with my family and friends. They were all sure I'd place in my division. I wasn't so sure and even asked my husband, "How many big girls came in before me?" haha It is so hard to tell how many women sign up and run as Athenas but really I didn't care. I had just gotten an almost 5 minute distance PR and was stoked.

The kids weren't being too crazy so we decided to hang out for awards just in case I were to win something. There was a small playground and I had passed off what was left of my Rita's Italian Ice for the kids to devour before breakfast. Fun times.

We talked with friends while awards were being done. Time for the Athena's and I heard, "First place with a time of 25:14...." I said, nope no way did I get anything with first place being that fast. But then, my time and name was called! Score!!!
[caption id="attachment_1319" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="2nd place Athena"][/caption]

I will happily hold onto the the few lbs over 150 if I can place in my division at these little races. haha $10 to the local running store was my prize. I paired it with a coupon that came in the "goody"bag and scored a nice Brooks running tank for less than half price! Overall it was a great day and I am thankful my feet and legs had speed. I ran with my heart and didn't give in to the demons that are always trying to tell me I can't do something.

Splits you ask??

Mile 1 - 8:11
Mile 2 - 8:47
Mile 3 - 8:49
.10 - 0:47.30(8:01)

I'm still on cloud 9 over my success from Saturday. And for the first time in a long time after a race rather than celebrating with a cupcake I celebrated with shopping. I went back and got that smokin' hot dress I oogled over earlier in the week. Sweet sweet victory!

Did you race this weekend? If so, let me know how you did!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Four

1. Social runs have become one of my favorite aspects of running. What's better than doing what you love with friends of like minds?? Hanging out post run enjoying a meal and each others company while talking races and upcoming running events. Social/group runs use to really intimidate me but then I met a great group of running buddies and it's now something I look forward to! They get what I'm doing and share my interests. I'm looking forward to a fun rest of the year with all my running buddies.

2. Are you curious at all about how my week has gone as far as running/working out? No?? say it isn't so!
Monday- My husband and I joined the group run. I went ahead of him with the front packers and Terri. We finished just a little over 3 miles in around 31 minutes.
Tuesday - I crossed trained with my husband. We did some elliptical work then he killed me with kettlebells. I'm still feeling those sumo deadlifts today!
Wednesday - Terri and I joined the WNRs for a social run and bag stuffing. Our goal was to go "slow" and stay around 10-10:30 pace but we failed at that. Almost 4 miles at 9:51 pace while dodging raindrops and lightning.
Thursday - an active rest day. I did some very light walking and bike work.
Friday - REST

3. I have a little race tomorrow morning and by little I mean just a 5k. It's a course I have ran on some training runs but a race I haven't ran before. I'm anxious as I have lofty goals for this race. At the finish line though all I want is a PR. I feel like I am ready to run with all my heart and hopefully speed in my legs.

4. I still haven't taken recent measurements but had some major victories off the scale this week. I took some pictures this week and actually uploaded them to my computer. I plan to share at least one soon, when I get measurements. And I was shopping yesterday when my husband encouraged me to try on a couple of things. One being a size M dress from the JRs department and the other some size 8 shorts. I've not been able to really shop in the regular JRs department of a store in over a decade and haven't worn single digit pants sizes since I was in middle school. This really boosted my spirits and was further proof that victory isn't always in the scale but in the sweat

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WW - Like a Boss

[caption id="attachment_1311" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="workout/kick a**/feel smokin' hot"][/caption]

Monday, April 23, 2012

Motivational Monday - 3 years

This month I hit the 3 year mark in my weight loss journey. The following picture is of me almost 3 years ago. It was actually June of 2009 after I had been dieting and exercising for a few months and had lost about 18 pounds.
[caption id="attachment_1306" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="2009 - me at around 220 lbs"][/caption]

This next picture is from this weekend. I haven't taken recent measurements to see how they compare to my measurements from 3 years ago. I do know that my current weight is around 154 pounds. I've lost around 85 lbs since April of 2009. I'm not at all focused on what I've lost anymore. Instead I focus on what I have gained...
[caption id="attachment_1307" align="aligncenter" width="203" caption="April 2012 - 154 lbs"][/caption]

I use this as my motivation to keep working hard. I've gained health, fitness and so much more due to my hard work and dedication to myself over the last few years. I have years of hard work ahead of me. If there is one thing I can say to you to use as motivation it is that if you truly want to lose weight and keep it off make it a lifestyle change. I cannot tell you how different my life was 3 years ago in comparison to what it is now. I am happier and healthier and cannot imagine a life any different than the one I am living today.

I am determined to continue my journey to my weight loss goal. I am determined to reach my fitness goals.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

It will always be my favorite.

I've mentioned before how we occasionally schedule a date night and plan for the kids to be away for the night. Turns out the last few times we have done this was so that we could go run the next morning. I love how that has become our life. Many years ago, before marriage and kids, our date nights included a Friday evening out to dinner eating some not so healthy big meal then lounging around afterwards watching movies and probably snacking on more junk. Saturday mornings usually involved a big breakfast out and there was little to no activity for the rest of the day unless you count shopping as a calorie burner. Our lives are very different and to say we have made a lifestyle change would be a huge understatement.

Friday night we took an overnight bag to my inlaw's house for the kids. They were spending the night because we had a long run the next morning. Saturday morning was a scheduled social run with our local Fleet Feet group. The run started at 7am in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. We were up by 5am and Terri was due to meet us at the house at 6. We had to stop by Kroger to get some kind of food to share with the group. The best part of these social runs is the food after. If you're local and haven't ran with the Fleet Feet crew at Cades Cove you should definitely put that on your list of runs to do. The best pancakes you ever tasted will be waiting on you at the finish.

There were 3 distance options for the day. 4 miles, 8 miles or 11 miles and there were pace goals for anyone from the slowest walker to the speediest runner. We all had planned to do the full 11 mile loop and figured we'd stick around a 10:15 pace though we weren't really focused on pace as much as we were focused on enjoying the run. For me a run in Cades Cove is all about taking in the beauty surrounding me. Every single run up there is better than the last or at least as far as the scenery goes!

Terri and I set out with one goal. Enjoy it. It's a long run. We weren't going for speed. She's still taking it easy on a sore hip and tight calves and I was dealing with a bit of a grumpy groin muscle. Early in the run we both felt really well. It was a cool morning with temps in the lower 50s. It was cloudy and there was a bit of a breeze. About a mile or so in we were both ready to shed our jackets so we stopped for a quick break. At that point in the run my husband passed us. We were back and running quickly and as we were coming up one of the first hills and rounding the curve in the road I said to Terri, "It's funny how those tree stumps resemble bears." We kept running and as we got closer I we both realized they WERE bears. A mama and her baby, in fact...

And just like a couple out of state tourists, we totally stopped to take pictures (this one courtesy of Terri!). We always see plenty of turkeys and deer any time we run Cades Cove but seeing these two black bears yesterday was a real treat!

The few miles after that were mostly uneventful. We would speed up and decide to slow down. Still my husband was ahead of us. Terri told me a few times that if I wanted to catch up to him and run with him she would be fine but I wanted to hang out with her. She and I at least talk to each other when we run and I like that. My husband always uses music so we do very little talking when we run together. Eventually my husband wasn't too far ahead of us (maybe around mile 5 or so) and she was like, go on and catch up to him. I was like I probably could and at least smack him on the butt. haha So, I decided to try to catch up to him. I had to really haul butt for that short period of time just to catch him and at one point looked at my Garmin to see I was at 7:50 pace. And I felt it but I caught up to him and took him by surprise when I smacked his butt real hard. Fun stuff.

We were just about to the half way point or the bathroom stop. My husband let us know he was feeling really good and would not be making the stop. Terri and I always take advantage of the stop because other than ducking in the woods it's the only chance to potty. I'd rather take the opportunity to stop than take chances otherwise. lol

Splits for the first half are..
Mile 1 - 9:35
Mile 2 - 10:32
Mile 3 - 10:14
Mile 4 - 10:38
Mile 5 - 9:52

The second half started out great for me but like I said before I was having a bit of an issue with the grumpy groin. Terri was dealing with an angry calf. We might have been an almost mess if we hadn't decided to just be smart this second half and slow down or walk when we felt the need. For the most part I felt great. I could speed through the flats and down hills but the up hills were giving me fits. It was the cardiovascular aspect of it but rather my groin. Every pull of my leg up my groin would scream. So, as much as I wanted to run every hill up like I did the last time we ran there it just didn't feel great on my grumpy groin so I chose to walk. I got very frustrated a few times and cursed the fact that I had any trouble at all but it's a training run and we were only out there to log some miles.

We stopped to stretch at around mile 8.5 and took a photo op too!
[caption id="attachment_1298" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Thanks Terri for the picture!"][/caption]

We plugged our way through the next few miles. When we hit mile 10 I knew my husband was probably done or close to being done. I was looking forward to getting back to the campsite to hang out and eat! Since it was only (haha, yes only) 11 miles I hadn't really eaten anything during the run because I wasn't hungry and at the pace I was holding didn't need to fuel. However, by mile 10 or so I was ready for breakfast for sure!
I got back to the parking lot but hadn't quite hit the 11 miles I planned for the day. I couldn't just end my run at 10.80 miles so I kept going further into the picnic area to make up the mileage.

splits for the back half.
Mile 6 - 10:32
Mile 7 - 10:34
Mile 8 - 11:04
Mile 9 - 11:03
Mile 10 - 10:05
Mile 11 - 10:03

Once we got back to the car my husband was there waiting on us. I shed my fuel belt and jacket. We also posed for pictures.

After a few pictures it was time for food and a brief ice bath.
I tried my best to sit in that water as long as I could but barely made it five minutes and that was after going in twice. And believe it or not even though I wasn't in there long my grumpy groin did feel a little better.

I had my yoga mat in the car and told Terri we'd at least plank for picture purposes. The ladies from the Mon/Weds night running group can appreciate the next two pictures. However, I will be honest and say that we were both pretty spent so our planks were not that stellar.
[caption id="attachment_1302" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Plank it up!"][/caption]

Overall this was a great day and a wonderful run. The company was awesome, as usual. The food was delicious. Cades Cove will always always be my favorite place to run.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. I have been slacking on the blog front lately. I feel like I repeat the same stuff week in/week out or even day in/day out. I guess that's ok since this is my blog and my place to keep up with how I'm feeling daily with "things" in regards to running, training, food, weight loss or whatever all "this" is but some days my thoughts are just so all over the place that I don't even know where to begin. I'm going to work hard on putting my words down though because I have a great opportunity coming up that involves lots of guest blogging and prizes. Cool stuff. Can't wait to share that!

2. This week has been great for me in the gym. So far I have made it to the gym daily and on a couple of those days I have gone twice. Friday is a rest day and I am looking forward to taking that though I did give some thought into getting up for a 6:30 am Core Challenge class. I decided against it because we have a long run planned for Saturday. I like taking a rest day just before my long run so I feel fresh.

3. I've thought about writing a confessions post this week. I'm not doing as well as I would like in the food department. My weight is hanging out around 154-157 depending on the day. I shouldn't weigh daily but I feel like that at least keeps me somewhat accountable. However, there are some things in my "diet" that definitely need some major attention. I've been in denial about that though. I mean I KNOW what needs work I just am not working hard enough to change those things. While the scale isn't going down, it's not going up. I want it to go down, period. So, I need to make changes so that I see the changes in me that I want to see. I'm still very much a work in progress.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Be confident.

While browsing Pinterest tonight I ran across a quote that hit me at just the moment I needed it so I thought I would post it here for you as well because maybe someone else out there needs to read it too.

Monday, April 16, 2012

What are you capable of?

Do you ever find yourself settling for where you are whether that is your current running pace, how many pounds you have on that bar or what you can achieve when it comes to the scale?

I find myself questioning my running ability a lot especially when it comes to pace. However, there are many times I set out for a run not expecting much but finding out that I am capable of so much more than I credit myself for being capable of. My last few runs I have surprised myself especially and am realizing that what my husband, Terri and other running friends have told me is true. I won't bore you with the details of my last few runs and paces but let me say that my fastest mile last week was an 8:38 mile (on a 3 mile run with J) and my slowest was a 9:53 (11.5 mile run with the crew). Pace doesn't always matter, no, that is true. However, for someone like me who is always on a mission to improve and make myself better it is important. Why? Because I like being able to see the progress I have made. I like knowing that my continued hard work is paying off. It feels good knowing that while I don't always see it those around me do see that I am pushing myself beyond my limits and making great strides. I am proving to myself what they have been saying.

I AM capable of doing and becoming more than I realize. Every time I go out for a run I am making little improvements. Each run is an opportunity to prove to myself that YES, I am capable of going the extra mile or pushing a little harder to run faster. And that is what will help me achieve each goal I have set for myself.

What are you capable of? Are you pushing yourself beyond your limits to meet your goals? Are you putting everything you have into what you're doing?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday the 13(th-ings) I love

Because I am not superstitious I didn't let the fact that today is Friday the 13th get me down. Nothing crazy happened to me either unless you count the fact that almost everything I touched when I was getting ready for work this morning ended up on the floor. haha So, I have no fabulous Friday the 13th running story to tell but thought I would share 13 running things I love with you. In no particular order...

1. Nike Tempo Shorts. I would live in these if I could get away with wearing them to work. I already use them as pj bottoms. I love me some universal clothing items. Nike Tempo shorts...not just for running. lol

2. Garmin 305. I try my best not to run outside without my trusty Garmin. I don't know how I ever ran before without it.

3. Sugoi Piston Knicker. I love love love my Sugoi Piston compression tights. I wear these year round. I can't say enough about them. Breathable and fantastic support.

4. BICbands. Unless it's winter and I need to cover my ears to keep them warm you can see me wearing a BICband on my head. I have so many I have lost count and now keep them in my dresser in the "running apparel" drawer. My favorites are the sparkle bands.

5. HoneyStinger. I love to fuel during my long runs with HoneyStinger chews and waffles. You know I fueled my way to 26.2 with some HS chews.

6. Team Tough Chik. Love these ladies and being part of the team. You too can be a part of Team Tough Chik!! Registration opens back up in May! TOUGH CHIK

7. Running books/magazines. My most faves are Runner's World (mag) and Run (or Train) Like a Mother (the book).

8. Running buddies. Every single one of them. Whether I am running with them, beside them, in front of them or behind them I love every single one of my running buddies for all their individual reasons but mostly for sharing my love of running.

9. Foam roller. We actually have a love/hate with each other. I hate having to use the darn thing after a long run because lets face it.. it hurts! But the feeling after coming off the foam roller is great.

10. Immodium. 'Nuff said. My running buddies will understand.

11. The bling. What's not to love about that!? Whether it was the best race or the worst crossing the finish line and having that bling put around your neck is awesome.

12. Oakley Commit sunglasses. I have the breast cancer awareness ones and love them. My husband bought these for me a few years ago and it is rare that I run outside without them. They stay in place even on the hottest summer day when I am sweating like a beast.

13. Cupcakes. What? Don't go tellin' me that cupcakes have nothing to do with running! If you know me then you know that cupcakes are almost always involved when it comes to long run days. They are ALWAYS a part of any race day celebration. And actually there isn't much I won't do for a cupcake. Running just happens to be my favorite thing to do for a cupcake.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Randoms

~ I started this random post yesterday which means I thought yesterday was Wednesday. What a bummer! I have no clue why I was trying to jump ahead in the week. Sigh.

~Workouts post marathon have been going so well. I was going to post about them in a separate post but never got around to that. So here's what I have done:
Monday - rest
Tuesday - 5.5 elliptical miles @ 7:38 pace
Wednesday - 3 elliptical miles @ 8:20 pace plus BodyFlow
Thursday - 4 miles first post marathon RUN, with Terri 9:35 pace
Friday - 1 mile run, 1 mile row then kettlebells to the max
Saturday - 8 mile run w/group at 9:52 pace
Sunday - rest
Monday - BodyPump plus 20 mins on the ARC
Tuesday - 4 mile run w/Terri @ 9:19 pace
So workouts have been pretty darn good. My body feels good and now that my toes are starting to heal or whatever running is going great.

~ I really like SoBe Lifewater.. B-Energy. Don't go tellin' me it's horrible for me right now! lol I like it too much.

~ I am dealing with a horrible sinus headache today. I was hoping whatever is in bloom wouldn't bother me however it has and is. I'm doping myself up on some sudafed though.

~ I haven't been doing well at remembering to take pictures of my food. I really had hoped to participate in more WIAWs but so far no luck.

~ I should post some April goals. I haven't given them a great deal of thought yet. If I wait long enough the month will be over. It's kind of flying by. So, goal for today is to think of some April goals and make that tomorrow's post.

~ There were no course photos from the marathon of me and my pals. Thank goodness my husband was there! The finish line photos were good. He got some too. But those professional ones are so expensive. I'll probably skip them even though this was my first. I still have some great pics thanks to him being there!

~ Workout plan for today got sidetracked and I was kind of glad. I needed that extra sleep since I didn't get much last night. It also means I have to get my workout in tonight. Running and weights with my husband. He said I will kick his butt on the running but to expect payback in the gym. And I told him?? Bring it!! You don't scare me! hahahahaha

Monday, April 9, 2012

What's next for this running mom?

Since the marathon is over so many people have asked the following questions...

~ What's next?

~ When is the next race?

~ Will you run another marathon?


So, I have been giving it some thought. Running for me is most definitely NOT over just because the marathon is. Distance running is my thing and will be hopefully for a long time to come. I have lots of goals still to meet and barring any unforeseen injury I am going to reach them all!

What IS next for me?

Well, the most recent next I have is a local 5k race. But you've ran 5ks so much in the past. YES, yes this is true. BUT what I have not done is killed a 5k and that is just what I want to do. I need new PRs for 2012! So, I am going to ramp up the speed work and hope to get a sub 30 min 5k time at the end of the month. I used some volunteer coupons and registered already. Yay!

Then in May I am planning a 10k. I ran the 5k in the same race in 2010 and had a fantastic race but since I haven't ran too many 10ks I am choosing to run the 10k course of that race this year. Again, with a goal in mind. I want a 10k PR too. My last 10k was on Thanksgiving day and I was 15 seconds from a sub 60 min 10k time. I want to ramp up the pace a bit and break an hour for that 10k. I think I can do it but it's definitely going to take some work.

And if you know me then you know I will work my butt off to get as close to my goal as possible for both races!

I also have a fall half marathon that I have been planning to run since I ran it last year. The 13.1 series race in ATL. I kicked it's butt last year with a PR and am hoping for the same this year. IF by chance I won't be able to make that my PR half marathon for this year I am going to run another fall half. I told my husband I need at least one course PR this year. So that either means the ATL half marathon or the Haunted half we ran in Oct of 2011. We'll see. Either way I am excited to see what I am capable of achieving as the year goes by.

Is there another marathon in my future? HECK YES, please!!! I'll be honest and say that no the marathon was not easy BUT I loved every  minute of difficulty I felt during that race. It's weird that I was back in the gym the Tuesday after my Sunday race after only taking one full day of rest but that just proves to me that I am pretty dang fit! I am capable of so much more.I was not in pain (other than my beastly toes) after the first day which lets me know that I'm doing things right in the gym and in my training.

I have not found or registered for another marathon just yet. I'm not even sure if I will run another marathon this year. If I don't it will be more due to the fact that I still can't get Nike, Asics or Brooks to sponsor me. I'm not sure what is wrong with those people but hopefully they'll come around soon. ;) Races are expensive folks and when you're raising a family there are things that obviously have to come before the mama running a bazillion miles just to get some fancy bling. So, if you're reading this and looking for some awesome mother runner to sponsor in your fave face hit me up. haha

There are other things on the horizon for me. I've been giving some thought to trail races since my friend Terri swears they're so much fun. I've even been considering longer distances than the marathon. Uh yeah, you read that right. I'm considering the Ultra marathon too. This would also have to do with my awesome friend, Terri. She's an ultra marathoner. I've seen her work, train and kick some major tail. I am totally intrigued and think I would like to go after at least one  ultra.


The breakdown...

* 5k pr (hoping for sub 30)

* 10k pr (hoping for sub 60)

* 13.1 pr

* big distances!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

26.2 - good, bad and ugly

Since I love to save the best for last let me start this post with the bad...

Bad -
I'm not sure I should really even label this the bad but rather I should say these are things I would do differently next time!
* Don't start out too fast. Terri and I had a plan but since the pacer was going a bit faster (we were aiming for 10:30 mm pace which they should have been going) but the first few miles were a bit over that pace. I feel like if we had kept each mile at our projected pace I might have been a little better off.
* I broke the "don't try new gear for a race" rule and wore a SpiBelt (bought at the expo) with one of my Amphipod bottles attached. It just didn't work out well. The SpiBelt moved around on me which made my bottle bounce off. I ended up having to carry the bottle (with Terri's help) the first 5 miles until I saw my husband and was able to toss it.
* Use music sooner than mile 21. Yes, it was nice to be able to just talk to Terri and also take in all the sounds of the race around me but honestly I think there were times when I could have used the music before mile 21.
* Eat more. I only took 2-3 Honey Stinger chews every 4-5 miles. I probably should have eaten more during the race. The only other thing I ate during the marathon was one orange slice around mile 14-16( I cannot recall exactly when it was). I kinda wish there had been more of those on the course!
* Get acclimated to all weather conditions. You just never know. This race started cool and foggy but ended very warm and sunny. I had ran some in the heat in the weeks leading up to the race but the heat still got to me on race day.
* Enjoy the last .2 miles. really really take in every second of it. I hardly remember coming into the stadium and crossing the finish line.

Ugly -
* Losing toenails. Period. This is the worst part of the whole marathon experience for me. It looks like I am probably going to lose about 4 toenails total. So far I am down to having one completely gone. It's not all! I won't gross you out with the details or photographic evidence but I will say that I am not sure with my weak stomach how I will handle this whole losing toenails bit! haha It's interesting for sure.

Good -
There is SO much I can say about the experience that was good. I loved it and now that all the pain has worn off I am thinking about my next marathon.
* I loved running with a friend. The support with every step I took was helpful in getting me to the finish line. I can't say thank you enough to my running buddy, Terri, for being there for me that day.
* My husband and personal race day photographer. If you ever have someone willing to run the course of a race for you to get pictures make sure you know just how special that is! I am so happy to have such a wonderful husband who was willing to do this for me especially since there were no professional photographers on course!
* Running close to home and having so much support. Running in Knoxville made it easy for family to be there to cheer me on and congratulate me at the finish line. This is something I will cherish forever.
* I took a water and Powerade at every hydration station. I had not done Powerade at all on any of my runs so this was a huge risk for me on race day. I'm SO glad I took the Powerade because I feel it really worked well for me.
* Finish line. Crossing the finish line and knowing I had finally been able to say, "There ya go, you are a marathoner!" to the fat girl, to the hater in my head felt amazing. The feeling of accomplishment and pride was great.

[caption id="attachment_1238" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="It's all about the bling!"][/caption]

Thursday, April 5, 2012

After the finish line

As soon as I crossed the finish line on Sunday I saw my husband and son. That was great. I wanted to also see the rest of my family who came out to support me. We all met up outside and then headed over to the "after party." The only part of that I cared about was the assisted stretching area they had set up. I didn't go to food first or even anything to drink other than the water they handed to me (they even opened it!!) at the finish line. Instead all I wanted was a shiny mylar blanket and wait my turn to be stretched. I found a nice spot to lay down while I waited....

While I was waiting Terri brought me a chocolate milk. And I waited and waited some more. I finally got my turn and let me tell you ... it was worth the very long wait and my kids acting very silly! Once I was all nice and stretched appropriately we took a few pics of me with everyone since they weren't allowed down on the field.

[caption id="attachment_1227" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Me and the kids post race.
Don't you love their shirts and sign!? "][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1228" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="My mom and me"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1229" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="My awesome husband and me post race!
I'm so thankful he was there all day. "][/caption]

I thought ahead and packed a bag with clean, dry clothes. Boy was I glad I did that. I headed off to the dressing room to clean up a bit. It was SO nice that they provided this for us after the race.
[caption id="attachment_1230" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Race tee - check
Finishers hat - check
Marathon medal - check"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1231" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Badass socks? double check!!!"][/caption]

I had told my husband the week before the race that I was going to eat tons of pizza and wings after my marathon. Somewhere along the way I changed my mind. Instead I had this....
[caption id="attachment_1232" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Mmmm get in my belly!"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1233" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="I left there a happy girl!"][/caption]

If you have read here long enough you already know the good eats didn't stop there. You already know a cupcake was the first thing on my food list for the day. Next stop...GiGi's Cupcakes. There were so many choices! And the girl made mention of my shirt and medal, "Was that today!?" Yep! I just ran the marathon and it's time to celebrate!

[caption id="attachment_1234" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="chocolate chip cookie dough....get in my belly with that burger! "][/caption]

And that was the perfect ending to a fabulous day!
I still have more marathon to share but I'm pretty sure you guys are getting sick of reading about it. However, stay tuned for a post containing my favorite high lights, what I might do differently and what this week has been like for me!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

CHKM 2012 - part 2

I had not ran the back half of the marathon course before Sunday. I hadn't even seen the course except on paper before Saturday and even then only saw a portion of it. I knew that it wasn't quite as hilly as the first half but that it did have it's fair share of hills. It IS Knoxville after all and if you know or run Knoxville then hills shouldn't be a huge surprise. I had missed the marathon training group's run of the back half but after having ran Cades Cove I was trying not to let it intimidate me.

Going into mile 14 I still felt pretty well but by this point the fog had burned off and the sun was making it's appearance. We headed into a part of town I wasn't really familiar with but I was glad my husband drove me through their after the expo on Saturday so I wouldn't be completely lost. After we saw him at mile 13 he mentioned that he was going to try and meet us in the next little park we would be running through. I knew we weren't too far from there so that was something to look forward to. We ran through a neighborhood and the best part of that that I recall was the hydration station that also was handing out orange slices. I kept saying how that was the best thing I'd had so far in the race. I seriously think I would have been happy just sitting there a while eating oranges and enjoying the entertainment stationed there. lol But instead we needed to press on up the little hill and around the corner. So, we chose to do just that.

There was a couple of stretches between miles 14 and 17 or so that were just boring and there wasn't a lot to see. I remember around mile 17 it getting pretty warm. I also had some pain in my left knee and hip. Pain that was annoying but not quite an injury. I wouldn't necessarily say it got mentally tough during this but it was a bit physically tough. I was close to being over running the hills for the day. I just wanted to get to the finish line. It was still a long way out.

My family (mom, her husband, and kids) were suppose to be somewhere on the course but knowing my mom they were probably late and maybe they wouldn't make it on course? They'd be there for the finish hopefully. Those were the thoughts I had. Terri and I talk some when we are running but I don't recall talking a whole lot during this point and most everything I was thinking I didn't say outloud. I did say, "Oh I see Justin again," every time I saw him ahead on the course. And he was ahead on the course again around mile 18.

[caption id="attachment_1219" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Can you tell how fake that smile is??? "][/caption]

Splits from mile 14-18
Mile 14 - 10:08
Mile 15 - 10:57
Mile 16 - 10:37
Mile 17 - 11:23
Mile 18 - 11:44

When Justin asked time/distance at 18 miles I only felt slightly bummed. I kind of knew at that point I wouldn't make the first goal I had set for myself. I didn't let that get to me but it sucked telling him I was only OK. 8 miles to go. What I was really telling myself was that after 21 miles it's just 5 more which is less than a 10k and if I could just get to 21 miles I would have a distance PR even if it was just one foot further than 21 miles. It's so weird the thoughts that come through my head when I run, but that helped keep me going.

Mile 19 rolled around and there they were. My family. My kids and mom and her husband and a whole crew of other people. My mom had made shirts for her, her husband and my kids. "Team Kimert" Rock on!!! I got a bit teary eyed and choked up. I was excited when I saw them and even said, "There's my kids!" They were so excited with all their, "Go Mom" and "I love you, Mommy!" It really was a great moment. My husband had made an awesome sign for the kids to hold and I was so happy they had it with them. He really surprised me with his artistic ability and creativeness.

Looking back I almost wish I had stopped over on the sidewalk for hugs from my kids but seeing them filled me so many emotions that I was afraid I would totally lose it and be a blubbering mess if I had done that. I wanted to do but as it was my eyes were already filled with tears so I yelled "I love you," and "See you at the stadium," and Terri and I kept on running. It was so cool hearing everyone on that corner yell and cheer for us but seeing my family was amazing.

I don't recall much between miles 19-21 but I know by that point I had taken a couple of short walk breaks. I was fine with that. I didn't care at that point if I had to crawl every mile until the end. I was still in the process of running/walking/jogging/trotting a marathon and it's not every day I can say that! lol As we crossed over the James White Pkwy bridge (I think that's it) and hit mile 20 I said, "We just have a 10k left!" I can do it. I can do it. I didn't say anything but it was at that point I felt a little woozy. I think it was the sun.

We were hydrating and snacking well, I thought. I ignored that feeling for the next mile. We came up to another relay point and there was a lot of cheering. Even if those people weren't cheering for us just hearing any cheers at all was helpful to keep me moving forward. As we approached Island Home we saw our running buddy Lindsay and she said, "You're doing great!" which was a nice surprise. Seeing a familiar running face during the race was nice!

At mile 21 Terri says, "Ok girl get out the music." I don't know why but I asked her, "You think I need my music now?" haha She's pretty smart. I did need that music then. I put my earbuds in and the first song I heard was Eminem's Til I Collapse. I immediately thought of my other running buddies (Michaela and Alissa) who had carried me through my first 18.5 mile run with that very song. Hello waterworks again!? Here I am about to reach a new distance PR and as that song rang through my ears I just ran as best I could. I don't recall any thoughts other than the words to that song.

Til my legs give out.

I wasn't done, not at 21 miles and not at 22. I was too close to the finish of this race to collapse now.

Splits for miles 19-22
Mile 19 - 10:59
Mile 20 - 11:26
Mile 21 - 11:17
Mile 22 - 12:22

We took one more potty break and had a snack. The run through Island Home was great. So many supportive residents and all the signage was awesome. I wish I could remember what they all said, must remember that for next year. haha
We decided to do some run/walking at some point in our run. I remember once we got past mile 23 Terri saying how I'd gotten to a distance PR and that was exciting. SHE was excited for me and I know she was trying to keep my spirits up. She kept telling everyone we'd pass that this was my first marathon. She's so great with keeping the spirit alive during a run, good or bad. She's an excellent motivator!

At mile 24 I finally said, "This hurts so bad." lol It really did. I'm not sure what was hurting or maybe I should say I don't know what wasn't hurting at that point but I was in pain. Not so much that I couldn't keep going but enough that I felt the need to say it aloud. Terri reminded me that we were running a marathon and it wouldn't be a marathon if it felt good. The folks in front of us got a kick out of me saying, "And people just keep running them again and again." The guy in that he/she duo was also running his first marathon! (Hi, Jay!)

We pulled our way up that hill into mile 25 which was bringing us into the city of Knoxville. We were so very close and I knew I could maybe pull out a sub 5 marathon at this point. Then as we approach downtown a couple of ladies with a camera and microphone approach us and say they're going to be our personal cheerleaders for a few minutes. I don't recall the first question asked but oh Terri, my sweet running buddy and friend Terri...did I mention how proud she is of me? Well, she pretty much tells EVERYONE we meet in running or any of her running friends she introduces me to about my weight loss. That was the case on Sunday too. It was the first thing she told that local news crew. And guess what!?!? We made the news. I tried telling all my friends I am a local celebrity. Sure, I didn't do much talking but hey, I made the evening news on the day of my first marathon!

I hope you can see this video of us HERE! So cool really. Even if all I did was grin like a goofball and say, "thank you, thank you."

We ran through Market Square and from there I feel like it took forever to get into Neyland Stadium. I thought we'd be downhill from there but we had one more tiny climb before going into the stadium. We decided to walk one second and when we did and I started back up running I felt a big sick to my stomach. By this time it was really hot and my adrenaline was going and all the emotions were beginning to set in. All I wanted to do was finish. I just wanted to run into that stadium and see my family.

Terri was telling everyone as we were running into Neyland that it was my first marathon. That got a ton of cheers and I swear even if I didn't it sure felt like I had picked up the pace those last few hundred yards. She reminded me to look up at the jumbotron so I could myself crossing the finish line. I did. So awesome.

I had made it. I made in under 5 hours! I ran a marathon. I spotted Justin right away and could just see by the smile on his face that he was beaming with pride. I didn't cry when I crossed the finish line but when I saw him and my son at the end of the stadium I lost it. They were both smiling so big. I knew they were proud of me and I was happy they were there to see me reach another goal in my journey.
[caption id="attachment_1221" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Crossing the finish line.

Splits from miles 23-26.2
Mile 23 - 11:04
Mile 24 - 12:33
Mile 25 - 13:04
Mile 26 - 10:31
.2 - 12:01

[caption id="attachment_1222" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Yay for friends and medals!"][/caption]

Regardless of time, regardless of my splits.. I still reached my goal!!
I earned the 26.2. It may not have been the way I envisioned it in my mind or even the way Terri and I had planned in our training but it was earned. I feel proud.

I'm a marathoner, for real.

Monday, April 2, 2012

CHKM 2012 - recap part 1

Where do I begin with this post? I'd start with the night before but it was mostly uneventful and I already showed you everything I had laid out. I will say that I did go to bed slightly later than I planned but was still asleep by 10:30 (I think) and had no problems going to sleep or staying that way. I set the alarm(s) for 5 and 5:10am Sunday morning but my husband was already awake at 4:50 so we got up then. I was dressed and had everything ready to go by 5:45. We had planned to meet the running crew (and DM friends) around 6:30am for a pre-race picture.

Awesome group of running friends

We were missing a few friends for this pic but I'm still thankful we were able to at least get one shot before the race. My husband was so amazing all day, running around Knoxville to capture pics of me (and my running friends) during the race! After the group picture and a quick potty stop some of us headed to the start line. I had to meet Terri there so I went on up after telling Justin goodbye. He snapped a couple pictures of me just before he left me there.

I met Terri in the starting area and we snapped a picture with a friend of hers then we headed to our corral. We had planned to run with the 4:30 pacers so we lined up there. It was a good plan to start. I was not nervous at the start and was really ready to run. The weather was cool and the air was damp due to heavy fog. It was perfect running weather at that point. We had a hard time locating the pacers but eventually a couple of guys in bright yellow singlets with a 4:30 pacer flagged jumped in front of us. I let them know we were glad to see them. We chatted it up with them and a few others in the group while we waited for the gun and GO!

I opted to start my music but only tucked my earbuds into my bra strap (I am THAT classy)! I had my music IF I needed but knew Terri and I would be chatting some and there was plenty of music on the course so I didn't need it right away. The first few miles seemed to fly by. I felt like the course had changed a bit from last year and mentioned that but honestly I doubt I would remember much. We were on track with the pacers and actually they were going just a bit under a 10:30 pace to start. Our plan was to walk through the water stops and if I recall correctly the first one came at mile 2. I think I only took water at this stop. It was short and I felt like I almost lost Terri in the crowd as well as the pace group but she found me and we were back in line with the pace group with no problems.

Miles 1-2 were just settling into the run and went by pretty quickly. Coming out of mile 3 into 4 was great as the climb up Neyland Drive didn't feel nearly as challenging as in past runs there. The crowd support along Kingston Pike heading into Sequoyah Hills was great! So many people with signs and cowbells (MORE COWBELL!!) and cheering just gets ya going. As we ran onto Cherokee Blvd things spread out a bit and I was thankful for that. More room to weave around people when we needed to. We saw some familiar faces of friends we'd met the week before at the bag stuffing event and it was nice to chat it up with them. I wasn't sure where my husband would be but was hoping we would see him soon. Just as Terri was taking her first stop to the potties I spotted him!

Terri told me to go on and that she would catch up. I felt weird about that but was feeling good with my running at that point and didn't want to stop. I slowed my pace a little so that I didn't get too far ahead in case the line was long for her. By the next mile point I spotted a potty stop and decided to take it since I knew we would be making a huge climb at my nemesis hill very soon and beyond that I was not sure where the next chance to stop was. So, I took it and just before going in Terri arrived! She hauled major butt back to me logging an 8 minute mile. True friend there!!

Splits for miles 1-6 (taken from my Garmin upload which doesn't include potty breaks)
Mile 1 - 10:18
Mile 2 - 9:48
Mile 3 - 9:54
Mile 4 - 10:37
Mile 5 - 10:11
Mile 6 - 10:06

As I said before, coming into mile 7 was my nemesis hill. This hill (Noelton) has taunted me since last year's race when I ran the half marathon. I had to walk that hill. I think I ran to like the first mailbox last year before I gave up on it. This year I didn't even let it get me. I kept telling myself "Run with your heart, not with your head," and even had a heart with wings tattoo on my left hand to remind me during the race. I powered up that hill and at one point Terri said to me, "You just ran Noelton. You killed that hill." And all I could say was, "I don't think I did. I'm not all the way up." But I was. And I was stoked. I threw my fists up in the air and said, "I DID IT!" But I still had a ton of miles in front of me. At the top of the hill was another water stop which we trotted through (Not those trots folks!) and at that point I ate a few Honey Stinger chews. We were just about to enter my favorite part of the race on the greenway portion of the course.

Last year most of my training was done on the greenway and I loved it. The only bad part of running the greenway was how crowded it was. This year the fact that it was so foggy and damp was slightly an issue at a couple of bridge crossings. We saw my husband again at mile 9.25 which was a nice surprise. He snapped a picture and I told him what time/mile we were at. He did a great job keeping all my friends updated on where I was all day.

Terri and I both took a potty stop after the next hydration station around mile 10. I was eating a snack when I heard a familiar voice say, "Kick ass girl!" It was another friend who ran the marathon relay! The high five was great at that point. Seems like those things happen just when you need them. After the pit stop we were back on our way. I knew that going into miles 11 and 12 I was in for some more hills. Hills that I walked in the half marathon last year. They were not going to get me this year. I had my mind set on that and I didn't let them. Hill training had paid off and I was really proud of myself again for powering through. If there was any kind of mental struggle at all during this race it was probably coming up at the tail end of mile 12 of what I knew was the half marathon point.

I don't recall having any negative thoughts but I do remember thinking back on last year and where we were at that point in the race...which was almost done! lol I wondered at that point if my friends running the half were done and already celebrating. I wondered if my husband and rest of my family would be there at the half way point to cheer me on. But as we made the split from the half marathoners I realized that no my family wasn't there and that I was for real about to run a full marathon. No turning back at all!

As we made our way down the hill and back into World's Fair park the relay teams were lined up waiting on their teammates to start the next portion of their race. I heard a big, "Wooohoo, Go Kim!" from a familiar voice. I fist pumped the air and let out my own woohoo back! Terri and I did this a lot during the race. We even clapped when passed the bands and just had a good time. Coming up the little hill to our mile 13 I saw my husband. I got a little teary eyed at this point. I knew I was going into a portion of the course that I had not ran but that we had driven just the day before. And I wasn't sure when or if I would see him on that portion of the course again. After we waved goodbye to him again I mentioned to Terri how it really felt as if we were out there all alone at that point.

It's really amazing how many people you lose at the split from the half marathon. Out 7700 people registered only about 780 were running the full marathon. That alone should say something about the course. haha

I was still feeling really well at this point.

Splits from miles 7-13
Mile 7 - 10:51
Mile 8 - 10:19
Mile 9 - 9:31
Mile 10 - 10:20
Mile 11 - 10:38
Mile 12 - 10:01
Mile 13 - 10:13

We were well on our way to meeting our goal but we still had half a race to go. At this point we had long lost the pace group and even many other familiar faces but with already having 2 potty stops plus walking through hydration stations it was to be expected. We were still kicking butt and I was going to complete a marathon. Stayed tuned tomorrow for the second half!