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Posts Tagged ‘Stroller Warriors’

You might have just run your first half-marathon if:

It hurts to sit down to go pee.

You basically made sweet, sweet love to some Chik-fil-A nuggets and a salad.

You loathe the decision to ever live in a two-story home.

Despite eating two donuts and lunch after the race, you could probably still eat a whole meal.

You go to hop in the shower hours later and realize you still have KT tape on.

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Today I finished something I never, EVER imagined myself doing. A year or so ago I made the decision to start running, more as a social thing, and to stay in shape, never to be do anything competitively. Now here I am, having completed the Couch to Crazy program my crew puts on. We trained together for a 5k, the bridge to 10k, and now a half-marathon. A HALF-MARATHON PEOPLE. That’s 13.1 miles. THIRTEEN POINT FREAKING ONE MILES. And me, ME of all people, did it. This crazy running journey has had a lot of ups and downs for me. I was the Queen of Random Injuries in Okinawa, from heat exhaustion to a pulmonary embolism. I have had to overcome a lot about body image, and a lot of social anxiety and self doubt. Β Now I find myself actually believing that I’m a runner. That may sound funny to anyone outside the running world, of course I’m a runner, I was a runner the moment I hit the pavement. I did not truly believe I was anything other than a really good jogger, until today. Despite some major IT band pain in my hips over my last few runs, I chose to run through it. I taped it up, took some Ibuprofen, and worked through it mentally. I overcame every feeling of doubt, every nagging pain, and every doubt it my mind. I finished. I finished dressed as Tinkerbell no less.
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Honestly I never would have done this without the women I have met through Stroller Warriors. Perfect strangers greeted me upon my return to the U.S. and immediately challenged me with new goals. Goals I probably wouldn’t have made myself anytime soon. Through all of this I became closer with friends I had made in Okinawa, created new friendships with people I already hold very dear, and learned a lot about myself personally. Now when I titled this post the way I did, I meant it. As a runner, as soon as you finish a race, you’re planning the next in your head. It turns into a habit pretty quickly, and a lot of runners will warn you about it being addictive. Boy were they right. I am currently wanting to sign up for a 21 mile trail run in early January. Um, WHAT!?

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I say, if you set your mind to it, you will do it. You could think you’re the worst runner of all time (something I personally had to overcome), to finishing a half-marathon and actually feeling pretty great. Sure, I’m a tad bit sore at the moment, but for a good reason. I am a more confident me, I am teaching my son to be healthy, I am doing so much more than running. I am accomplishing.

Race Rundown:
I was pretty anxious upon arrival, but joking with my husband and friends is how I calmed myself down, and reminded myself that this wasn’t something to feel pressured about, I was there to have fun. We started in the back of the pack with a little walk/jog warm up. The first 6 miles out went amazingly well, keeping at an 11 minute pace. A few water views and some gentle breezes, a little pine needle slippage and some wonky bridge planks. Kari and I are pretty stellar at intervals, and it definitely helped us keep pace for the entire race. At about mile 5 we each turned on some music, which actually happened to sync up on the same song at one point. We finally hit the half-way turn around and had a few more laughs thanks to a Marine in the barracks with a megaphone. After the turn around it was a matter of mind over pain for each of us, me with my old lady hip, and Kari with some knee/calf trouble. But it was nothing we couldn’t interval our way through at a 12 pace. So yes, our race took a little walking, but we finished before our goal time and feeling pretty great. Overall I am stoked on how my race went. I feel pretty awesome despite having run the furthest I’ve ever run in my life.

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Stroller Warriors has changed my life. Running has changed my life.
I have changed my life.

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All I want to do after running is eat peanut butter sandwiches and take naps.

I have to re-learn how to walk after long runs.

I whine at my husband about having owies.

Potty Break. Potty break. Potty break.

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Look at that countdown! I can’t even believe how close I’m getting. I’m still sticking to the Hal Higdon beginners training plan as best I can, though one week I was all over the place and barely ran. Boy did I feel that one on the one run I did accomplish. So I’m feeling motivated still, especially since I’m actually registered for the race now. My name is on that list. I HAVE to finish what I’ve started. It’s actually pretty crazy looking back and realizing I started this off with the Couch to 5k program, and have reached my final race in the Couch to Crazy challenge my running group put together. In all honesty I’m not sure I would’ve ever attempted this without the women I run around. I promised myself if I finish this half without dying, I will register for the 21.5 mile Neusiok trail run in January. The fact that that is even a goal in my mind terrifies me. I’m not a runner, what in the hell am I trying to sign up for? Okay, maybe I’m a runner.

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The furthest I’d ever run was 7.5 miles, and that was with a 15 or so minute break in the middle. I’m talking sitting down on the ground, slightly dying, dousing myself in my own water bottle, type of break. Then I noticed this week that a bunch of people in the Virtual Race group I belong to were going to run 9.11 miles in honor of 9/11. I thought this was a fantastic idea (seriously, who the hell am I!?!). My training plan called for 3 miles, but I set out with a new goal of 9.11. My first few miles were actually pretty stellar, mind you this is factoring in pushing my 40ish lb toddler in a stroller that apparently had flat-ish tires, and it’s over 85 degrees outside. I hit two P.R.’s; the first was that I ran two straight miles without stopping, which is huge for me, and the second was I hit my fastest mile with a stroller ever! So I was feeling great. Mile 5 came around and my left hip went out. We’re talking 80 year old broken hip status. We’re talking someone better hand me one of those “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” buttons before you find me on the pavement peeing myself. I walked it off a bit, and kept on chugging. Which I’m also proud of. I gave myself a 3 hour goal to finish this in, and ended up finishing in 2:25. My pace was ridiculous and all over the place, and as you can tell from the map, I had to be very creative with my neighborhood. Lots of cul-de-sac turn arounds which took more time than I anticipated, and a lot of arm strength. I. AM. WHIPED. I also discovered a lot about the people that live around me. Maybe a little more than I wanted to. You there, with the ducks as pets in your yard, stop that.

But I did it. I feel better about my half-marathon. I now have new goals to look towards.

Oh and I should definitely carry more than one water bottle and one Powerade, because hose water from a stranger was looking pretty good at about mile 7.

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