Columbus Marathon Recap

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The weekend started out with a road trip just two hours south of home and 3 other running friends.  In the days leading up to the race, I was unsure what the temperature would be like that morning or even what I would wear.  We’ve trained all summer in hot and humid temperatures that I didn’t know what I would do in the cool crisp mornings.  We were going to hit up a running store and then the expo, so I was going to look for some capri pants to run in (I know this is a big running no- no) with my HRC tshirt.  I have a lot of cold weather running gear, but not much for the in-between.

As we all discussed strategy and running gear, the drive seemed to go fairly quickly.  Just like that we were at the running store and out stretching our legs.  I was starting to feel some nerves because I wasn’t quite sure if I could run a full 26.2 miles.  Training said I could, but there was a lot of self-doubt.  By the time we arrived at the expo, there were booths already being taken down.  There was still an hour and a half left before it closed!  We went up and got our bibs and gear bags and then headed down to see the vendors.  I picked up some GU and took the obligatory pictures with the large daunting numbers.

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As we headed to our dinner reservations, the wind picked up.  When I say picked up, I mean we felt like we were going to blow away.  A large marathon route sign fell right in front of us.  We all kept praying that the wind would die down before we had to hit the start line in the morning.  Once we got to our restaurant, we checked and there was an advisory for 50-55mph winds!!! We were pretty sure we just attempted to walk through that.

I was starting to feel like I had a sinus cold coming on so I took some medicine and went to bed.  Sleep came quick, but the morning came even quicker. The alarm clock rang and it was time to get dressed and prepped to run.  I was still feeling pretty foggy in the morning so I took some more medicine and ate some peanut butter.  I don’t like to run with food on my stomach because that’s when I experience bathroom issues.

As we headed down to our corrals, Susan and I said good luck to our fellow running friends and waited for the second wave to start. In the Columbus marathon, they actually start one wave of runners and then repeat the starting process for the second wave.  We made sure we were right in the front of the second wave because we wanted to attempt a 4:15 marathon time which was paced in the corral ahead of us.  When the gun went off we were off.  The first mile was completed in under 9 minutes.  I knew we had to back off if we were going to last the remaining 25.  I started watching the pace and Susan was watching the miles based on goal bracelets that were given out at the expo.  We were ahead of schedule through the first half.

It is always very tempting to complete the first half and just want to run in with all the people who were finishing up.  But, we still had another 13.1 to go.  I could tell Susan was feeling really good with her race because she kept running through each mile.  In training, once we hit the mile we would walk for a minute or two and then start running again.  She only walked through the water stations to get her fuel.  At mile 16 I was starting to feel cramping in my quads.  This was new because most of the time there is pain in your knees or calf muscles.  My legs just felt heavy.  I could tell Susan was trying to wait for me but by mile 17 I had told her to just go on and run her race.  I didn’t want to hold her back from her goals.  I was still on pace to hit mine, but I knew slower miles were coming.  I stopped to stretch at mile 18 and then set a goal to run at least 3/4 of every mile left in front of me.  I caught up to our running friends as one of them was singing!  She had been battling a cold for two weeks prior to this race so she’s a super hero for going out and giving it her all!

After a while, I kept going and the miles did seem to tick a little faster than 16-19 moved.  However, my times were still getting slower.  The crowd support was a little thinner than I remember, but the patient champions were out there with their families and that was inspiring enough to keep moving!  At mile 21 the crowd kept saying “only 5 more miles!”  Problem is, that isn’t that encouraging.  At the start of mile 26 I decided that I was going to run it in and not stop until I crossed the finish line.  I finished that mile in 9:40 and then the final .5 was an 8:55 pace.  I’m not sure why, but my watch clocked the race at 26.5 miles instead of 26.2.  I started it right when I crossed the start line and ended it when I hit the finish.  But, every mile marker I hit, my watch was .25 miles ahead after mile 2.

Just like that, all my training and hard work had come to an end.  The final result was a 4:21:03, just 1:03 over my goal time.  However, it is 26 minutes faster than my first marathon so I shaved off a minute per mile! I need to work on miles 18-25 to really improve my time.  This may or may not be my last road marathon.  I’m going to try trails for awhile and just enjoy my time running.  If the Columbus marathon teaches you anything, it is that running is a privilege that should not be taken for granted.

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T’was the week before marathon

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T’was the week before marathon when runners were making final preparations.  The training is complete, the miles have been run.  It’s time to take faith that you can get it done! As I look back on the training, I am thankful for all the miles I was able to complete.  I can’t put myself down for only running 2- 20 mile distances.  I need to just relax and enjoy the day with my friends!

I have run Columbus one other time and it is my only marathon to date.  My training was extremely lonely.  I wasn’t running with anyone and didn’t even know running groups existed in my area.  My knee gave out in my training when I attempted my first 20 miler. I was never able to break that mileage distance in training due to my knee always causing me to stop short of my distance goal.  During the race I felt great, until I hit mile 18.  My knee pinched and I immediately had to stop.  I walked/limped in pain for 7 miles. I felt completely defeated.  I didn’t want to walk across the finish line, so I would jog for a minute, walk for a minute and repeat that cycle through the last mile.  When I crossed the finish line, I was in tears.  I was so upset with myself for not finishing the way I had hoped nor the way I had planned.  At that moment, I swore I would never run another marathon again.  I would stick to the half marathons.  After all, I like that distance.

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Everything changed when I was introduced to my #RunHappy friends!  I started training with them for a half marathon that I had committed to a year in advance.  I was enjoying running again.  Fast forward and I completed 4 half marathons this year and was training with my friend to complete her marathon.  I completed some of her long runs with her and decided to just throw in the towel and run it with her.  I got a bib, ran another 20 miler in seriously gross weather conditions and started tapering.

Now, we are just 3 days away from lacing up our shoes, hitting the starting line and finishing another marathon.  The distance I swore I would never do again.  I’m not only going to toe the line and finish this thing, I’m going to do it with a lot more confidence than the first time.  I’m going to watch friends reach their goals and push their limits.  I’m going to cheer on those that finish at the back of the pack.  I’m going to enjoy race day in all its glory! Columbus truly has the most amazing crowd support and I am excited to have a better race experience.

Not only will I complete this marathon, I will complete my first ultra marathon next April!  I’ve already signed up for the Forget the PR 50K at Mohican State Park!

Look for my race report next week to hear all about Columbus!

River Run Race Recap

Say that title five times fast.  This past weekend I completed the River Run Half Marathon in Cleveland.  This was a carefully chosen race based on a strong recommendation from a fellow runner.  After looking at the course and seeing that it was primarily flat and mostly having a slight down hill grade, I knew this was the race to add to my schedule.  Not only was I going to complete this race, but I was going to attempt to PR.  I wanted to put everything out there on the road so that I knew I gave it my all if I were to come up short.  My PR time to beat was 1 hour 57 minutes and some change completed a few years ago.  This would be my fourth half marathon this year and I would need to shave off 4 minutes from my fastest one this year alone.  I was up to the challenge.

Race day was around the corner and the forecast was calling for wind and lots of rain.  Based on the day before, the rain with the added 20 mph wind gusts could be a complete bummer for a race.  Up to this point, we’ve trained in squelching heat and humidity.  I was struggling with what to wear so I wouldn’t get too hot, but wouldn’t be shivering at the start.  If my toes get cold, I would never get them warm again.

The morning of the race, I was psyched to see what the weather was going to be like an hour north.  I filled my new hydration flasks and started to get a little nervous about the course.  Those pre-race jitters can really do a number on a person.  We hopped on the bus to take us to the start line and drove through most of the course.  It was a very windy course through the metro parks.

IMG_1160Time to start the race.  I line up midway through the pack and wait for the start.  When the sound goes off, I take off and throw my jacket to the side.  I went with the pack and we hit that first mile at 8:15 pace.  I wanted to average an 8:50 to hit my goal so I knew I was pushing it a little much.  I just kept going with how I felt and pushed through each mile.  There was a volunteer at every single mile marker calling off times, which was motivational for me.  At mile 4, I quickly grabbed water at the aid station and when I looked up shortly after I spotted an eagle in a tree.  I was so excited that I actually pointed it out to other runners, but everyone around me had their headphones in and up too loud.  I was one of the few runners without ear buds and just enjoying the scenery around me.

Mile 6, I needed to get some GU and water.  I had started to cramp in my sides and was having difficulty breathing while running.  I knew that if I got some water and food (I don’t eat before a race), I would feel stronger and can push on.  At this point I had settled into a comfortable 8:30 pace anyway.  I continued to push myself through each aid station and around mile 9 was confronted by 3 young deer.  They were trying to figure out a way to cross the street amidst the sea of runners.  They decided to cross right behind me, which I was thankful for them not running into me!

Mile 10 and 11 came and went but I was starting to have more cramping issues.  Only this time I was in need of a bathroom.  Around 11.8 miles, I found a port-a-potty and made a stop.  A minute later and I was back on my route to finish the 13.1 mile course.  The finish line was just around the bend and I heard the announcer say 1 hour 55 minutes and 15 seconds.  I was slightly crushed.  I thought I would beat my goal PR and hit just under 1:55.  I ended up crossing at 1:55:45 with a  chip time of 1:55:25.  Definitely a PR! IMG_1165 2

Two things played into my time, the bathroom and the course being slightly longer than 13.1 (my watch and my friend’s watch both said 13.25).  I probably could have hit 1:53….maybe next year.  This was a fun course beautiful scenery and lots of support at each mile.  There were ample water stops and bathrooms with lots of post race food options!  The shuttle back to the car wasn’t a long wait and we were able to get into warmer clothes right away!

I would recommend this race to anyone wanting to push themselves and hit a new PR.

Next scheduled half is in November, but I may run a full before that….we shall see.  As always, be confident, be fit, be you!!!!

Training Continues

I haven’t stopped training and I haven’t stopped tracking with various forms of tracking methods.  What I have stopped doing was updating my blog weekly with the recaps.  To be honest, I think “oh, I’ll just update every two weeks.”  But then that comes and goes and I still haven’t updated anyone on my training.  So, here goes the few weeks of training recaps as well as the Weight Watchers updates.

Training has continued to be 5 days a week.  I have 3 run days and 2 cross training days.  I am using the 80 day obsession sessions for the cross training.  I actually want to complete this entire series when I am done with my half.  I may modify to keep 2 running days a week because I want to keep up some distance running.  I’m loving the 80 day obsession workouts because they are hard but they don’t include a lot of jumping and lunges, both of which my knees can’t handle.

My running has increased and my longest run so far completed is 7 miles.  I’m actually ahead in mileage for this training plan, but the longer runs skip over 8 and 10 miles and go from 9 to 11.  So, by being a little ahead I can add in a 10 mile run with no problem and just inch up each week by 1 mile instead of 2.  I ran my 5 mile training run with a

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7 mi. training run in 18*F

group of people training for either a full or half the week after my race.  During that run I met some very nice people and they introduced me to a group called Run Happy.  I joined their facebook group and found other crazy people that run at 5am consistently.  I was able to join up with them and have a good solid group of people to run with for my 7 mile training run.  I plan to join them each Saturday at the crack of dawn to train.  It gives me a sense of safety instead of running by myself.  Plus, I don’t find myself playing mind games to finish when I am with a group.  I keep pushing and telling myself to keep moving forward and make a turn that is further away from your car instead of ending short of the goal.

As for Weight Watchers, I am down 9lbs since I started 5 weeks ago.  I am losing slowly, which I am perfectly content with the results.  I haven’t completely given up my sweets and I’ve overindulged a few too many times.  I’m sure that number could be a little higher, but I haven’t deprived myself from foods that I want either, I have just cut back a little.  Over time, I am sure that I will be able to cut back even more to squash this sweet tooth that has taken over my taste buds.  I haven’t tracked everything, especially when I know the points will be insanely high.  Part of the reason I haven’t tracked certain foods is due to the process.  Not every recipe I use is in the system and I have to create a recipe before I can add the points.  This can be frustrating when the recipe on paper already tells me the points and I can’t just do a quick add, name the food, add the points and move on.  Regardless, I will continue to use the tracker and connect to help make me accountable for what I choose to eat.  Only when I am fully honest with myself will I see success.

Goals for this coming week:  Keep working through the training plan.  Track more consistently and honestly.  No CHOCOLATE- decided to give this up for Lent this year and I’ve noticed the struggle, but it is also a good thing.  I haven’t replaced the sweet with another form of sugar.  I did make egg-less chocolate chip cookie dough on Fat Tuesday and at half of it in preparation.

Be confident! Be fit! Be you!

Success Week!

Getting right down into the nitty gritty with this one.  As I mentioned in my last post, I started training for a half marathon that will take place in April, I joined Weight Watchers again and I started writing my workouts in my planner before they happen.  It was all for the best!  I tracked every item of food I put in my body and I noticed a huge change.  I was looking for fruits and vegetables to consume over things with loads of sugar.  I was on within the point range for 6 out of 7 days.  The one day I was not in points was a day that I ran out of coffee creamer at home and decided to stop at Dunkin for breakfast.  All of my points were consumed in that one meal.  But, I didn’t let that ruin my day.  I ate all zero point foods the rest of the day in light quantities (they still have calories after all) and have felt full and satisfied.  I was down almost two pounds on Monday for my weigh in and I’m starting to feel like I’ve got some control again.

As for the workouts, I rocked those too!  I got up Monday morning determined to complete each workout that was written in my planner.  The week looked as follows:

Monday: Run 3 miles (Treadmill)
Tuesday: 30 min. Total Core from 80 day obsession + 15 min. walk on the treadmill
Wednesday: 50 min. leg day from 80 day obsession
Thursday: Rest day- I determined that my body can only get up at 4:30am 3 days in  row before I feel like I need to go to bed before dinner on the fourth day.  So, I switched the Friday rest day to Thursday.
Friday: Run 2 miles and 20 min. strength training
Saturday: 4mi. run
Sunday: I will be resting tomorrow

After week 2 of this training schedule I am feeling comfortable in my decision to change it up from the usual running five days a week plan.  The break up of running with strength and stretching keeps me excited to wake up at insane hours of the morning.  I’ve also discovered that 80 Day Obsession will definitely be a series I complete after I am done with half training.  I may break it up with 2 runs a week just so I can keep running, but I want to start and finish the whole program.  It would be my first BeachBody program I actually do the entire program.  I got 60 days into T25 and was bored.  This program is actually designed to change it up for every workout.

With everything in our world we are given challenges.  My challenge is myself.  The confidence and belief in myself has always been a battle.  Working out gives me self-esteem and keeps me feeling like there is nothing in this world that I can’t do when I set my mind to it.  I am going to push through this training program and stick with Weight Watchers until I feel confident in myself.  I’m encouraged by the people on Connect (the message group on the App) who have lost and maintained for years.  I did it prior to having my second child and I know I can do it again.

What were your successes this week?  Did you write them down?  Try writing in your workouts before the week starts.  Once they are planned into your day, it is harder to skip.  Until next weeks update, be confident, be fit, be you!

Weekly Update 12/9-12/15

As we near the end of the year, I’m sure everyone is feeling the stress of the holiday season. Lots of cookies being exchanged, dinners and parties to attend, and drinks with old friends to catch up.  With so much going on, it can be hard to keep things on track.  But, it’s important to at least balance the healthy with the unhealthy and remember moderation.

I started the week with some very healthy meals.  I packed up my yumbox with celery, carrots, mixed nuts, cheese and an apple.  I ate left over chicken and rice soup and avoided all candy bowls floating around the office.  I had two lunches provided by work this week and I managed to not over-indulge in either of those meals.  I’d say my food week was a step in the right direction.  I ate more vegetables this week than I probably have in the last 3 weeks combined.  That was definitely an area in my life that was slacking and needing major intervention.yumbox

Now for the workouts.

Saturday and Sunday- I completely slacked.  I spent some much needed time with my kids and tried to catch up on some house stuff that I was unable to do while I was working.

Monday- Treadmill run.  3.5 miles.  I will admit I run at a slow pace on the treadmill.  I am very uncoordinated and can easily trip over my own two feet.  So, I set the treadmill between a 4.5-5 and just run for 45 minutes.  I can run much faster outside. I’m just not able to get outside during the week and we’ve hit winter here so I’m going to be a baby and stay indoors.

Tuesday: 1/2 mile run, upper body work, 1/2 mile run. I wrote down everything so that I could repeat on Thursday.

Wednesday: Treadmill run with 5- 1 minute sprints.  I dared the treadmill and would kick the speed up to 7 for one minute and then back down to 4.6.

Thursday: Unintentional rest day.  My daughter struggled to sleep and so I was too tired to wake up and get moving.

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Friday:  Repeat of Tuesday because I wanted to get the second weight day in before the week was over.

I still managed to get 4 workouts in this week- Success in my book!  This upcoming week will continue to be chaotic as we approach Christmas.  But, I still want to get at least 4 workouts in and limit my treats.  My goal is not to lose weight during the holidays, but to maintain.  I will worry about losing weight after the holidays are over.  I will continue to add in vegetables and fruit into my diet.  This weekend I am going to take our 3 year old ice skating!  That completely counts as a workout!  I hope she enjoys it because the lake is starting to freeze enough to go out.  For now, we will stick with the indoor arena.

How did you do this past week?  Can you avoid the holiday sweets?  Have you started to set goals for the new year?

Until next time, be confident, be fit, be you!

Weekly Update 12/2-12/8/17

This week has been a whirlwind with home and work.  The family was still working to clear the germs and we had a wedding to attend on Sunday.  The wedding was beautiful and the dessert table was impeccable.  It was hard. and I was unsuccessful, at limiting yourself with the vast array of goodies.  I have a hard time passing up homemade baklava, especially when it says grandma’s.

I was out of town for work a few days this week, which allowed me to get some much needed rest.  Sorry, mom and dad.  They were watching the kids since my husband works far away and we didn’t want to disrupt their sleep schedule too much.  However, my kids don’t sleep and my parents learned that first hand.  I’m sure they were excited to have a quiet house last night and get some sleep without having a child staring at them creepily in the middle of the night.

Now, down to the nitty gritty with the workouts.

Saturday: Treadmill run.  It was surprisingly nice for Northeast Ohio, but I’m still not prepared enough to get outside below certain temperatures.  My dedication hasn’t come back completely.

Sunday: Unintentional rest day.  Went grocery shopping, then church and then realized I had the wrong time for the wedding.  So, it was quite a day.

Monday: Treadmill run

Tuesday: Weight day.  I brought back the weight day and it felt pretty good!

Wednesday: Hit the road for work and then attended a training all day.  I could have worked out in the evening at the hotel, but I decided to just relax.  The training was on Ohio Healthy Programs which is working with child care providers to change they way they feed children.  Very interesting information and could make a big impact on how children eat in the future.  Promotes healthy eating and healthy body image.

Thursday: Treadmill run

Friday: Weight day

Overall, I am proud of myself for getting 5 workouts in this week.  That is an improvement.  I did indulge a few times this week with the wedding and then with traveling.  I’m excited to start trying some of the information I learned in my training with my own picky eater.  Although I want her to eat and not go to bed hungry, I want her to eat healthier.  I want my entire family to eat healthier.  I may actually have to learn to cook something that they will eat. #I’mahorriblecook  Any tips would be helpful!

My goal for this upcoming week is to continue to get at least 5 workouts in with 3 running days and 2 weight training days.  Incorporate healthier lunches

595748_orig into my work week.  It is also the holiday season, so there are lots of treats coming into work.

I am going to try to limit myself as much as possible.  As I was reminded in my training, we should not reward ourselves with food.  There are so many other options out there!  Until next time, be confident, be fit, be you!