BIB No. 707: Queen Bee Half Marathon

After months and months of talking about it, training for it, being annoying as heck to everyone I know about it,  the day to put up or shut up finally arrived.

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My Mom and Myself

I went to the Expo yesterday and got my packet, as I pulled my bib from the packet I got emotional I had forgotten the personalization I had put on it, “I LOVE ME” then to see the number 707 I knew that it was going to be a great run for me. My dad was the first person I called, I knew he would love the number. I sent the tracking app to the people who have been incredibly supportive along my journey to this test. I watched the weather all week, at the beginning it was going to be cold and wet, but thankfully weather prediction isn’t an exact science and at the beginning of the race it was in the upper 40’s and windy, it was cool but no rain. My friend Kris and I stood there waiting for the event to begin when I got a text from my mom, I expected a good luck but instead I got a “Where are you, you know I wouldn’t miss this.” I started crying right away, my mom has been to almost all of my timed events. She hugged me and told me how proud she was of me, I was so happy to see her. We were a crying mess. I crossed the start line at the very back of the pack and avoided all the congestion, all the pressure to keep a pace that would drain me too soon.

FullSizeRender The course started out with almost 3 miles all up hill, I knew that once I made it past that point there would be another steep hill around mile five and then it would be mostly down hill and flat. My first half pace was 11:25, which I was really happy with. I ran the first ten miles pretty steadily and the I hit my breaking point, I started to walk a touch here and there and dropped a 13+ min mile, the last three were all more than 13 mins but I was really struggling, this was only the second time I had run this distance. When I saw the 13 mile marker I gave everything I got. There was a woman who I had been following and passing, then falling behind, she said, “We’ve been together for a while now, ready t o finish this up?” I nodded and we pushed the last quarter-mile.

 

Crossing the finish line in 2:41:34, my goal was to finish in 2:45 or less, so goal met.

I don’t know that I have ever been more proud of myself. Without any formal training, group of runners to train with, only a plan I downloaded from a website with how much to run as the weeks went on, I did it.  I have no doubt that I will be able to reach my long-term goal of the Columbus Marathon in 2016.

I have to give thanks to all the people who supported me, my husband and kids who never once complained that I had to run 5 days a week, often leaving as soon as we got home from work, my parents for words of encouragement, my sister Robin for her tips on training, my friend Kris who ran today as well besting her previous half time by 15 minutes, some of the running momma friends I have on Facebook who posted continuously their runs and successes, and the other people in my life who took time to ask how my training was progressing.

…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. ~Heb 12:1

Some other photos from today:

 

 

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Kris and Myself

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A not terrible action shot

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Night before ritual photo

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Queen Bee Half-Marathon Playlist

1) Lose Yourself: Eminem

2) Believer: American Authors

3) Firework: Katy Perry

4) Wild, Wild Love: Pitbull

5) Raise Your Glass: Pink

6) Love Runs Out: One Republic

7) I Don’t Wanna Be In Love: Good Charlotte

8) Clarity: Zedd

9) Titanium: David Guetta

10) Daylight: Maroon Five

11) Don’t Stop Believin: Journey

12) Feel this Moment: Pitbull

13) Here Comes the Sun: The Beatles

14) Just Give Me a Reason: Pink

15) Low: Flo Rida

16) All About That Bass: Meghan Trainor

17) Shake it Off: Taylor Swift

18) Black Widow: Iggy Azaela

19) Cool Kids: Echosmith

20) Eye of the Tiger: Survivor

21) My Sharona: The Knack

22) Hey ya!: Outkast

23) How Far We’ve Come: Matchbox Twenty

24) I Write Sins Not Tragedies: Panic! At the Disco

25) Fighter: Christina Aguilera

 

 

 

14 Sleeps Till Go Time

This past Saturday I set out on my last long run before the trifecta I have my self set up for. It was an emotional morning as I did not want to get out of bed, I did not want to run. I have been extremely tired and in general not feeling well. Most days it’s all I can do to pull myself together. But, mind over matter I got dressed and headed to my newly custom designed 13 mile course. The goal for the day was to complete the distance with as little walking as possible, I allow myself to walk through my water stops but that’s it.  I recall thinking on a right turn down Main Street in Florence only 4.5 miles to go, and I digested that thought. There was a time when I couldn’t run a mile, let alone fathom 13, and in this moment I was encouraged by having so little left ahead of me. The final incline proved to be the killer, driving up it I never realized it was so steep. But 2:40 after I started I was done, 13 miles in the log. Admittedly I was exhausted, I cried, I celebrated…alone.

This next two weeks is comprised of 4 short runs (4-5 miles each) and one 8 miler on Saturday, two yoga classes and a cycle class “if” I don’t have an interview (I hope I have an interview). The on the night of my 14th sleep I will pick up my race packet and I will accomplish one task I set out to, early last year. It’s been a long journey, one filled with many lessons:

shoes and socks are more than shoes and socks

regardless if I finish first or last, I am miles ahead of those who dare not take a step at all

sometimes I cry the whole route, and when I finish I am spent and revived

music (for me) makes all the difference in the world

I will never be the best or worst

injury can affect a person in many ways, but the choices available are: give in or let it make you stronger – faciaitis, runners knee, shin splints, aching knumb toes, several hamstring & groin pulls – stronger I am

and most importantly never saying never. Because I was the fat, ugly, slow kid who had a philosophy of hit the ball long and hard, so I didn’t have to run fast and slide. I am still not fast, but I have endurance and a heart that never gives up.

 

 

 

 

Hudepohl 14K Brewery Run

The Hudepohl 14K is the third leg in the Brew Hog series promoted by the Flying Pig marathon group here in Cincinnati. The 8.8 miles takes the runner past the historic sites of the breweries that once filled our city. Starting near the Ohio River behind the Christian Moreline Lager House and wrapping up behind Great American Ballpark.

I was blessed with a very mild morning, in Cincinnati, roughly 65 degrees at start time on the river. I had decided that this event I would try something new, I was going to start at the back of the pack instead of the middle. I find the enthusiasm and motivation of the middle of the pack intoxicating but to my own detriment as I try to keep up with that group, burn up the first mile or two and end up exhausted before I reach the end. By placing myself at the rear of the field I gave myself the chance to come out at a slower pace, one that I can maintain saving my energy for the last mile; to my credit this worked beautifully. At each mile marker I glanced at my watch to see that I was where I wanted to be, not knowing the elevation of course ahead of time I only had one mile that was over my desired pace and it was pretty much all uphill, but I didn’t stop I pushed myself and was ever so thankful when I reached the top. As the playlist, thoughts of my daughters, and my self-love pushed me to the finish, I stopped my watch as I crossed the finish mat as I usually do with tears in my eyes, 1:45:16. My goal was to run the distance and for my pace to be under 12/mile. Done and done.

Three weeks until the Queen Bee, this next Saturday will be my final long run as I being to taper after that. My body feels good, aside from needing a shower, breakfast and a nap Saturday I didn’t have any pain or discomfort. I have prepared for this all summer and I CANNOT WAIT!!!IMG_2822

 

 

 

 

 

So close and a hard good-bye.

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So close…..

This past weekend I did the 10th annual Friendship City 5K  in Erlanger, KY. It’s near where I grew up and has a very low registration fee, it was a nice run last year and I was so encouraged when I finished third that I had a little hope that I could actually improve enough to possibly win this year.

I came close, I placed 2nd in my age division and was the 11th female overall.

August 24,  2014:  Screenshot - 8_25_2014 , 9_08_53 AM

Compared to 8/25/2013:   Screenshot - 8_25_2014 , 9_12_26 AM

 

The field was small,  but I still went out there,  with a very painful pulled right hamstring, and had a personal best for a 5K  (Garmin time was 33:08). I have learned a few things about how I run in the last year that really helped me make progress and maybe, just maybe next year I will place first.

My girls participated in the kids fun run, in a skirt and dress respectively, again and enjoyed themselves. Each received a participation medal and asked why I didn’t get one, I was stumped; last year they recognized two places in each division, admittedly I was a little disappointed that this year they only did the first place, and the pessimist in me to quote Ricky Bobby “2nd place is the first loser”. I don’t feel like a loser, running for me is never about “winning” it’s about meeting my personal expectation and I did, I finished better than last year and better than the 4th of July 5K just 6 weeks ago.

… and a hard good-bye.

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Comfort items are difficult to part with. My youngest daughter has her bee-bee (blanket) she is my Linus, there is nothing bee-bee can’t fix. These jeans are that to me. I have had them since June 2009, I know who remembers when they got a pair of jeans? I think because this was the first  pair after I had my oldest daughter. My body changed a lot, and I was carrying 40#’s of baby weight, (roughly 240#’s)I was depressed. I found them in the men’s section of a GAP outlet, who knows what size they really were. They fit and looked ok, that was all I cared about. In the five years since their acquisition I have had a second baby, I have lost and gained 40# to lose the 40# again (for good this time). Yesterday after my shower I grabbed them as I often do on the weekend (I can’t wear them out of the house anymore they are so worn and holy), right from the dryer. They sat for a moment on my hips and then crept below them. I pulled them up. Halfway down the hall they fell again. I pulled them up. I bent over to pick up socks and well I could have been a plumber for a minute. I sighed and realized it was time. My comfort jeans, my fat girl pants, had to go.

I hung them up to take one last photo and tonight I will cut them up for ties for my tomato plants and pitch what it left.

This isn’t the first item I have had to toss and happily it won’t be the last, but they are probably the only item that I feel sadness about,it’s a burial to my fatter body. It’s progression forward and weight loss is marketed to be a physical change, but the change is far more emotional than anything.

Good-bye fat pants, good-bye fatter body, good-bye fat thinking mentality.

 

 

Rocky Mountain High

Last week I went to Colorado. It was an amazing trip! Upon landing I was awestruck by the landscape, it was raining but the mountains were breathtaking. My sister picked my up from the airport and as we talked and headed to her home, we witnessed not one but two double rainbows!

photoFriday morning we took a hike up Mt. Cuttler,  I’ve never been hiking before and everyone warned me about the altitude; the one mile trek up was challenging but I really enjoyed it. When we caphoto 1me to the summit all I could think of was a yoga class being held there, so why not have a few poses! The trail run down was also an entirely new experience, but was something I want to look into back home.

 

Saturday morning we decided to attend a local yoga studio where I took my first hot fusion class. An hour-long sweat fest. I impressed myself by being able to keep up with the fast paced instructor and proudly landed my first crow.  At class end I was saturated to say the least and eager to attend a similar class again!

In thephoto (1) evening we ran the Color Fest 5K. We were all sorts of color crazy! This was a more family focused event, so it was a struggle to actually run, and the course was short, all-in-all it was a fun time!

 

The last day of my mommy get-a-way I took a 4 mile run solo. I just took off and went until Garmin told me 2 miles had passed. I was able to take in parts of Colorado Springs, see the people on the streets in the early morning, breath in the dry air. It felt good to get out and go.

It was the first time in forever I can remember not toeing a scale for 3 days in a row, and I wasn’t upset with a 3# gain – I did indulge in some seriously amazing food.

Now that I am back home I am focused ahead to the events that I have signed up for:

8/24:Friendship City 5K (10th annual)     2013: 36:31

10/11: Queen Bee Half Marathon (1st ever)

11/15: Honor Half Marathon (1st ever)

11/27: Thanksgiving Day 10K (105th annual) 2013:1:13:37

After that I will focus on maintenance through the winter, cross training, yoga, and healthy eating habits.

 

 

 

 

One Year of Timed Events

Happy Fourth of July…a few days late.

This past Friday I celebrated one year of timed events.  My mother asked me if I had a goal, of cours20140705-075059-28259492.jpge I did to improve over my time from last year.

I know I went out too fast, my perfectly arranged playlist was all ready to keep me . My mother showed up, that was a surprise as she is recovering from a rather intense shoulder surgery,  she gave me a hug and wished me luck.

First song: Lose Yourself, a mile in I knew I had gone out too fast, 10:10.  The  first place finisher passed me at 15 minutes; at the three mile mark I saw my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew – it was just .14 to the finish, last song Titanium.  When I stopped my watch I was very pleased to see that I had improved over my last years time:

2013: 786/875     (414/489 women)                                     39:08

2014: 578/780    (275/419 women) (9/27 Athena)       33:46

My improvement: 5:22 faster

 

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My Family: Myself, Scott, Piper and Ailey

 

When the adult run was finished they had a kids fun run and my nephew has shown interest in running,  my sister is doing a C25K with him, he made a good showing and I love that he is wanting to try this. They are planning to do the Color Run in Cincinnati in August, I can’t wait to see how they enjoy it!

As he and I walked hand and hand back to where we all parked he asked if I had won. I had to think for a minute and then I explained to him that I will more than likely never win an event, and I don’t run to win, I do it for my health, to build stronger muscles, to help with my weight, to give me more energy and to challenge myself.

In hindsight I did win.  In the last year I have lost 30#, I have lost inches off my body, my legs aren’t much smaller but they are leaner, I worked through an injury that made me push back a goal, I’ve learned to listen to my body, and to look up instead of down, to lead with my heart, to drink while running (that’s a challenge all in itself), I’ve made the conscious choice to make running part of me, I own every mile I log; and while I will never be first, I know what it feels like to be last, I know what it feels like to cry with pride and frustration, I know what it feels like to cross the finish line knowing I put all of me out there and get every bit back.

 

A huge shout out to the husband (see him up there) he has lost 60# this year!

 

500th mile

Yesterday was the Redlegs 10K, they also offered and elite 5k, 5k run/walk, a family fun run/walk and a kids on field run, all of these events raised over $200K for the Reds Community fund that supports youth baseball in the Cincinnati area. No way would I pass up a chance to get the view Chapman does as he runs in, as my cross over the finish line.

It was not a record breaking run, I didn’t PR , but it was another 6 miles in my bank and I didn’t realize until I finished that half way through as I crossed over the bridge into Newport I ran my 500th mile, (Insert a little pride and a big smile).

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Next event is the Fourth of July 5K in the town where I grew up, also this event was my first race ever. I completed it in 36:14, my goal is to finish this year in under 33 minutes.

8 Miles Later, I Was Last

Friday night while I was trolling Facebook I came across a post from Tri-State Running Company, a local running store, about the 6th annual Run and Slug your choice to run the 4 mile loop once or twice, timed for free! How could I not sign up, I committed to do the loop twice and after my submission thought, “Holy crap what did I do?” I haven’t run more than five since November and that was a painfully long 10k Thanksgiving morning, would my foot in new shoes tolerate 8 miles??? OK, breathe. I didn’t have to do it twice, I could stop at one, I could do six and walk the last two, my 10k is next weekend and that’s what I planned for today and then a few short runs this week.

This morning started out at the cemetery, visiting my Nana, it’s been two years. Still pinned to the vase on her headstone was my bib from the library run last summer. My mother, sister and I shared cookies and chatted and off I went feeling like I had a little angelic support with me.

Upon check in I was dubbed “the straggler” and that name would prove to hold weight for the day. I took off with the intent to run six and walk the last two, climbing the hill at the end of the first loop I felt good. Seeing my mother drive by and wave around mile two was the push I needed to get to the end of the first half. My new shoes
(second run in them) felt amazingly supportive, the laces stayed tied the entire time, it was already getting hot, but when the timer asked me stopping or going through I replied “going through” I knew in that moment when I came back to this spot no one would be there the clock read 51:25, I am slow but I was not unhappy with this. I began the second loop. I’ll admit to walking the big hill this time through, I knew if I didn’t making the six miles was going to be questionable, making the turn onto old main street and onto Rt. 18 I passed the school where I taught my first year of Kindergarten, on the radio came the song “You Gotta Be” I used that in my first graduation program and I knew right then anything less that running the entire 8 miles was unacceptable.

As Runkeeper told me I was at 7.5 miles, I forgot to change my notifications before I started, my time was 1:38 and ahead of me I could see a woman walking in a blue skirt and yellow top, my mom. I cried a little. I made the top of the hill and as I thought the tent was there but no one else.

I was last, but I ran all 8 miles. My first 8 miler, and certainly a lot more that I thought I was capable of right now. I have no doubt that my goal of completing a half this year is doable.

Update: Tuesday I got the official results and while I was last, I was less than 20 minutes behind the person who finished ahead of me.

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Kettle Danish and 10%

No Carb Update Week One: Considering that we had new flooring installed in our kitchen, my bathroom and our little entry way, my house being a total mess (clean up still in process) and the stress of being all over the place to eat and prep meals because I insisted on pre-packing things we don’t use often to put into storage to make our “HOUSE FOR SALE” project go smoother…I did really well until Friday.

Friday is donut day at work. The management says it’s “quality control” since we manufacture the boxes for the bigger local bakeries. Every Friday in through the door around 9:30 are two 16x11x3 donut boxes from Busken Bakery, Graeter’s (they have better baked goods than ice cream in my opinion) and Servatii. I have discovered since working here that I love a Kettle Danish. I have made a deal with myself that’s the only item I am allowed to take from the box, if there isn’t one, I pass. But on no carb week, there is no exception??? I decided against it, I was hungry, and it was from my all time favorite Graeter’s. I thought about it for a good 20 minutes before I even took it from the box. Then I let it sit on a paper plate for another 15-20 minutes, drinking a bottle of water before I took a single bite. Then I just tore off the corner, and another bit, and another, until I was left with thisImage

My stomach was killing me, I didn’t really think that 4 days of changed eating would make me feel this ill from something I really enjoy. I let that sit in front of me for another hour, and then sadly I put it into the trash can. I couldn’t eat my lunch, my stomach was that upset. I am sure it will be quite some time before I take more than a sniff of one of these treats again.

 

On the exercise front  I have finally reached my 10% running goal for this year. I have to admit it’s been a tough road, and that 700 miles for the year goal I set for myself I foolishly thought would be an underestimation of what I would actually accomplish this year. With approximately 6 months give or take of running weather remaining I will have to log over 100 miles a month.

Last week I had my first five miler, I just wanted to be back within an hour. It was the first really humid night we have had, and I felt it, I was exhausted and emotional when I walked back through my front door. Then the anxiety set in regarding how my foot would feel in the morning, I stretched and massaged the muscle after a hot bath…next morning, very little discomfort. I have since logged another five miler and a 2.25 back to back and feel pretty confident that the 20 miles I want for this week is doable.

First event is 18 days away, my goal is  1:04 or less for a 10K, which for me is fast – my PR is 1:05, that was last Sept on an injured foot so I have high hopes of meeting this time.

My second hope for this first event (Cincinnati Reds Redlegs run) is to have my husband at the finish line, he’s never been with me to a race, and though I am never going to be the winner, the fastest it would mean the world to me for him to be there when I am done. He makes it possible for me to log longer runs, I have to do them in the evenings and weekends, he hangs with the kids often making dinner and giving baths; for him to see what he enables me to do…well I think it would be kinda special.

 

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