My marathon

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time at all, you know that I’ve been running a lot since about February of this year. Mostly, I needed to run in order to get in shape, lose weight, and get my 1.5 mile time down below 15:00. Then, I got the idea to go for a 5K in October. That was actually really fun! That was also the last race I had planned on doing this year. I thought.

Last week on Wednesday at around 11pm, my husband texted me to ask if I would be interested in a free ticket to run a marathon on Sunday with his Lieutenant. That’s right, he said the word “marathon”. Now yes, I signed up to do the Army Marathon as a virtual race, but I didn’t have to do all 26.2 miles at once. I did it in like 6 miles increments. I wasn’t prepared, hadn’t trained, and needed new running shoes, but I also couldn’t pass up a free race. So, I said yes.

Almost immediately, I started to do research on completing a marathon with no training, and that led me to almost regret said decision immediately as well. I read things about people losing toe nails, having heart attacks, and even dying. I did score a wonderful deal on new Brooks running shoes (thanks to my amazing husband and Black Friday shopping), and my sister let me borrow her running belt. Thanksgiving, I announced this awesome plan to my family and was met with a ton of skepticism from my younger sister who has completed 1 marathon herself. After deciding her advice and skeptical attitude wasn’t going to help me at all, I loaded up on carbs (yay pasta!). Saturday I contact the lieutenant to get final details only to find out the girl that had cancelled (hence my free ticket) decided she wouldn’t go with him to get said free ticket. I was going to be left out. Now, on one hand that was good news since I hadn’t prepared at all. On the other hand, I was supremely dissapointed after psyching myself up for it. My husband convinced me to contact the race and see if I could still register. The answer was yes, but I had to drive an hour down to the race expo and pay $110 before 5pm to do so because they weren’t taking registrations on race day…so we drove down. Well now that I had invested my own money into the darn thing, I was determined to finish. I gathered up all my gear and went to be early Saturday night.

I was up at 3 AM to get ready for my ride (thank God he was driving, but that’s quite a trip!). My husband’s lieutenant came and picked me up and we also picked up another girl who has done like 20 marathons.We parked (in a designated parking lot…more on that later), and headed to the bathrooms. Then we got to the start/finish line. There was an older man that has run a marathon in all 50 states! He gave some pretty interesting insight and was the first person tell me that no matter what, as long as I finished, I would set a Personal Record and have one state down. LOL! There were quite a few first timers, and I’m sure every single one of them had more training than I did. Then we were off.

Once I hit 8 miles, I was in total foreign territory. My plan was to run SLOWLY for a minute and walk for 30 seconds and keep that up the whole race. I felt really good at the halfway point, and I was ahead of the Lieutenant at that point too! I was hitting between 11:58 (at mile 7) and 13:56 (at mile 19), and then I swear it was like my body just completely told me to fuck off. Well, really it was my feet. My legs and hips and back were all hanging in there. I hit that last turn around, and it was like I couldn’t drag myself. The crowd that had been SO good had started to thin out by this point too. I basically made a new friend at around mile 20/21 and we talked a lot, which helped. I was hitting around 15:55 (at mile 24) and 17:24 (at mile 23). Then the 6 hour 15 minute pacing group caught up to us, so I tried to hang with them. That dropped me back down to 13:39 (at mile 25), but I only lasted about a half mile with their 30 second run 30 second walk pace. When I finally crossed the finished line, my time was 6:19:34. I finished 166 out of 198 in my age group and 1934 out of 2277 runners that finished. But I finished…and well before the course closed at 7 hours.

I was so beat when it was over. I hobbled my way over to get my medal and met up with the lieutenant and the other girl. They had both beaten me of course, but he did by about 5 minutes, and she did by about 2 minutes. I was so very proud of myself for finishing. I even cried at the finish line, even though I didn’t expect to be that emotional. Of course, when we try to go to the car, it wasn’t there and had been towed. Womp Womp Wooooomp. $225 and an hour later, we were on our way out. My two new friends went to McDonald’s, but I was barely convincing my stomach that everything was ok at that point, so I passed. It was a long car ride home. After dropping off the other girl, we saw my husband wrapping up his last call, and I got to talk to him for a bit before getting me home. I immediately took a shower and hobbled my way to the couch. After about 2 hours, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was literally in agony. My husband had to practically carry me to our bed, and I was bawling like a baby from the massive amount of pain. I took a pain pill and a sleeping pill, and that was the end of my day. And then I woke up today…

Holy. God. Words cannot describe the agony. I called in to work, and I’m laying in bed right now. I’ve taken two Aleve, and I’m trying to stretch every hour or so. My knees and back have decided to join my feet in this party, so that’s awesome. Not. The good news is I didn’t lose any toenails (although my friend tells me that could still happen…NO!!!!!!), and they don’t even look bruised (so I’m hopeful). Other than gimping around like crazy, I’ve survived. I did it. I ran a marathon. Probably my first and last marathon, but I did it. With no training. It’s very stupid, and I don’t ever recommend it to anyone. But I did it. I join a relatively elite group: only 0.5% on the U.S. population has completed a marthon.

marathon medal

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I did it!

Saturday might have been the busiest day of my life yet, but it was also pretty darn good. When my alarm went off at 4AM, I didn’t even hesitate to get out of bed and get ready to go. After double and triple checking that I had everything, it was time to get on the road for my very first 5K.

It took us a bit to get to the race, and other than questioning the air temperature (all of a sudden it was in the 60’s), I wasn’t feeling nervous at all. Once we got to the race, we geared up and found port-a-potties…that were locked. Ok. So we headed over to the park where registration was taking place and the starting line. Finally got my potty break (and my husband’s 2-3 potty breaks), and after about an hour, we found our place at the starting line. We did our stretching, and I pretty much started to feel all the nerves. After a really cool opening ceremony and cannon blast, we were off. Now, my husband and I determined before the race that we would each run our own race; however, we wanted to stay together as much as possible. We lined up in the 10-11 minute/mile pace area. The first 2 miles we were together and maintaining that pace. My first mile was 10:30. My second mile was 10:27. Everything was going great. And then the course bottlenecked. We went from a wide open road to a sidewalk path 2 person wide.

Now this is where I basically got separated from my husband (he got ahead of me), and I didn’t see him again until the finish line. This is also when my pace got completely FUBAR’d by one chick. Yep that’s right…one. person. So, this 2 person wide path had the walkers on the right and the runners on the left. Cool. We were doing just fine. Then the girl right in front of me stops. No not walks…stops completely. I was pissed. There was no way around her. Now if you are a runner, you know that once you stop running it’s really hard to get going again and refind your pace (ok maybe that’s just me). Once I can finally get around her (as I’m doing my own little jog in place thing), my 3rd mile pace was 11:36. Ugh! I could finally see the finish clock, and then realized that wasn’t the finish clock. We actually had to go around to the right and around to the left in a gravel parking lot and THEN I could see the finish line down a grassy (althought it was pretty wet/muddy/grassy that day) lane. I saw the clock saying 35 minutes and almost 36, and I was shocked! I didn’t think I had gone that slow. I immediately started giving everything I had left and booked it to the finish line….where I received my medal from a Marine, grabbed a lukewarm cup of gatorade, and did a bad thing…I sat down in a chair.

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I KNOW I’m not supposed to do that. But, I did it anyway. My husband got me a cold bottle of water, and I put that badboy on the back of my neck. After a few minutes, I was fine. There were a lot of vendors at this race with all kinds of things to give away. I had a small sub from Firehouse (delish!), a smoothie sample (YUM!), and 2 doughnut holes from Dunkin’ Donuts along with that cold bottle of water. I also picked up a string bag, a water bottle, a coin purse, two pens, a pencil, a stress ball, keychain, and a coozie. Oh, and they gave us a 16oz glass engraved with the race information on it too! That was pretty awesome!

On the way home, we downloaded the app from the race and looked up our finish times/placements. My actual finish time was 34:34. YES!! My goal was to be under 35:00, and I did it!!! I finished 27th out of 73 women in my age group, which puts me in the top 37%. My husband killed me and finish with a time of 33:01 and placing 15th out of 28 putting him in the top 54%. Both of us agree that if we had been able to stay together we would have finished faster. It suck I lost him in the last mile. The good news is that now I know that race course, and I would totally do this race again next year. Even being sore yesterday and today, I really enjoyed running the race. I didn’t walk any of it. And, I would do another 5K in a heartbeat. It has definitely sparked a motivation that I had started to lose for running.

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Just 6 days to go

6 days…that’s it…6 days until my first 5K. I admit I have gotten a bit lazy recently with the whole running consistently thing. BUT, I’m going to run this entire race. My original goal was under 30 minutes. I think that’s pretty reasonable for a first timer who was running 1.5 miles in about 14 minutes. And then yesterday happened.

Yesterday was Sunday Serve for my church. This is a day when we go out into the community and do some community service. Our church was involved in stuffing bags for the Homeless Urban Ministry, breakfast bags for a community next door, making PLARN (plastic yarn) mats, visiting shut-ins at the local nursing homes, doing some painting and repair work at a community center, and spreading mulch at a local high school. I have typically filled care packages for deployed soldiers, made meal bags for the homeless, or cut plastic strips for PLARN mats. This year I was signed up to fill bags again, and for the first time ever, my husband was off to be able to volunteer also. So, after a brief church service, we all split up to get busy. I was told that the “bag filling” group had enough help and that I would be better needed spreading mulch. Ok cool.

We had a total of 12 adults and 3 kids for this project. We managed to spread a lot of mulch over the next 2 hours and finish the project. I did great for the first hour. Then I stood up after spreading a small pile and felt a twinge in my lower back. I knew I had done someting, but I figured it was just normal muscle ache. After a hot shower and resting until the football game (the Bills SQUISHED Miami…YAY!!!), it only seemed to get worse. I took an Aleve, had Icy Hot put on by my amazing husband, and when I got closer to bedtime took a Loritab. I used a pregnancy trick and slept with a pillow between my knees. That at least let me sleep. Today, I can move and I can sit up. It’s sore but not like take-my-breath-away blinding pain. I’m going to at least walk today if I can’t do a light jog. It figures.

6 days. *sigh* I did get my running capris in the mail today though. I wonder if I can do the 5K with my iphone and earbuds? Anyone know????

 

I Went to Battle

Confession time.

I have slacked off like crazy the since just before my cruise in the running department…ok and on my diet. I’m still maintaining my weight (yay for my metabolism being better), and my 1.5 mile time is still way under where I need it to be for the Navy (whew!), BUT…I can tell my endurance isn’t quite what it used to be. I know the only way to improve it is to, well, run. *sigh* So…I ran.

Last night, I felt pretty good running. I hit my 1 mile when I needed to, and then it happened. I ran into the apocalypse of gnats. I mean it was like hitting a brick wall of the stupid little jerkfaces. I probably swallowed a dozen of them, had another half dozen up my nose and in my eyes, and I’m sure I showered another dozen out of my hair. I swatted at them, choked on them, and probably looked a bit like this:

To say my last half mile was not exactly at my usual speed is an understatement. After going through that combat zone, I was lucky to be alive (ok that might be a huge exaggeration) let alone maintaining any sort of pace. I did manage to get back to a relatively normal jog and finish with some semblance of a sprint. I even managed about a quarter mile of a walk for a cool down. I’m surprised when I walked in the door, everyone didn’t wonder what I had gone through.

The good news is I survived, I went to battle and won, and I will be running with my head down on that stretch of my route for a while. At least now I know to stay alert for crazy suicide bombing gnats.

My first 5K

I have officially registered for my first 5K! Cue the freak out:

A few weeks ago, I found a virtual race on Pinterest. It was actually for a virtual marathon; however, I didn’t have to run the entire thing all at once; I just had to get 26.2 miles completed within a certain period of time (I can’t remember the exact timeframe now). That sounded pretty good since I’ve been running anyway. The medals were gorgeous, and it supported one of my favorite causes: The Wounded Warrior Project. Win win all the way around, so I registered, completed my miles, and received my medal in the mail:

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I think the medal came with special powers because I started flirting with the idea of doing an actual race pretty quickly upon receiving it. Now I wasn’t crazy enough to even consider a full marathon, nor did I drink enough of the “kool-aid” to believe a half marathon or 10K was a good idea. I was pretty sure I could handle a 5K though. I mean, I know I’m not going to set any records or even be a threat to the pros, but I can run 3.1 miles…almost without walking at all.

I admit I’ve been slacking off on my longer runs once I hit my goal weight, but my short run has been getting faster. Two nights ago my 1.5 mile run finally got under 14 minutes with a 13:53! That was exciting. My first mile was under 9 minutes, and I’m pretty sure that’s what motivated me to keep going for a faster finish. Like I said, I’m not breaking any speed records, but I’m improving and that’s what counts. Anyway, I started looking for a 5K that would be for a worthwhile cause, happen in October or later (It’s freakin’ hot down here, and I’m not that crazy), and would be a relatively flat course.

Jacksonville 5K

Found it! Not only did I find it, but somehow I convinced my husband this would be a fun good thing to do together! It’s not until early October, so I’m hoping to get a little faster before then. I found a training program online that could help me with my speed. Maybe this will break me out of my running funk. I just haven’t felt like running all that far recently. As for a time goal for this race, I don’t have one. I mean, I’d like to get done in under 35 minutes since I know I’d be walking a LOT more than I normally do to be at that time, but honestly, I just want to finish. I want to know what it feels like to run a real race and cross a real finish line. Ok a real race as an adult. I ran track in high school, and I was pretty darn good. My PR for a mile was 5:06 (I accomplished that at our state qualifier meet). Like I said, I was fast. And then I had kids…and got older…and gained weight…and stopped running…for years. But that’s all behind me now, and I’m ready to run like Wonder Woman…without the costume.