Saturday, April 16, 2011

Oshkosh Half Marathon - In the Snow

... and did I set a PR, well you will just have to read down to the bottom to find out. (warning this might be a long one guys)

This morning the temperature was 37 degrees and it was pouring rain. I chose to wear single layer Nike pants and my half zip long sleeve shirt and my Winbreaker vest. I made my gatorade mixture and packed me Chomps! As I drove to the race I started to get nervous... could I do this with the weather? As I stood at the start line, the nervousness started to turn to panic. I dont see very many walkers... and the walkers I see look fit.  Will I get left or lost on the course again? I line up as far back as I can .... and off we go.
At about 0.5mile I drop my Ipod on the ground (this will NOT be the last time I drop something)... I tuck it back on my belt but about 0.5 mile later it drops again. I quickly shove it in the pocket of my vest (thank god I wore the vest or I might have been psyched out by this). I noticed my first mile time and think...hmm slower than it should be. Good thing I already abandoned any thought of a PR here, because this is just going to be about finishing. I had a hard time settling in, just didnt feel strong. Inserted an extra walk break at mile 2.75 and then started yelling at myself in my head ... you need to get tougher you have a LONG ways to go!

At mile 3, we headed through a rough stretch of trail. Oops yep TRAIL... they didnt tell us about that. Its rocky, and not paved. Just then FzyFrogs song "Go Hard or Go Home" comes on and I am able to pick up my pace ... just the words were motivating me! The trail is a mess... lots of water, mud, rocks, but I just trudge on. I know start to feel strong.... I finally pass the woman I have been chasing for 3 miles ... and I never see her again!

The trail continues for another mile or so, and then thankfully it is paved roads. Mile 5 a small hill, and back to the trail. I cringe ... but just like its meant to be Bratgrrls song "Fuego" comes on the iPod and I just smile. Time to push it I guess... I think its a sign!

Onward I go through puddles, lakes, mud, etc. I accidently drop my empty bottle from my fuel belt, not once but twice... and once in the mud. I just pick it up and wipe it on my pants (which are covered in mud anyways)! At the half way point I felt strong... I knew I was going to be able to do this. Just prior to the halfway point I look down and notice my 10K time... its not as fast as I usually do in training... and so I never think about it again. At the halfway point, I feel strong... a bit sore but otherwise strong. Unfortunately at this time the rain now turns to sleet (and we all know how much I LOVE sleet pelting me in the face while I run).

Mile 7 was completely into the wind... and sleet... yuck!
At mile 7.5 a large hill ... and I am just starting to fade... then DangerRanger's song "Im the Ish" comes on and I smile... just singing along in my head. I make it over the hill and continue to trudge alone. At mile 8 I notice that I am just faster than 15/mile but I still dont think anything of it... but I think I will likely slow down!

Mile 9 comes and I am still going strong... slow... but strong with my intervals no extra walk breaks, etc. As we turn into the park trail... and back into the wind Mandell25's song "Sun is Up" comes on. I giggle because there is no sun.... no good weather... but the song cheers me up.

At Mile 10 the sleet turns to snow, first light and kinda pretty than completely heavy and its evern hard to see because of thick snow. I happen to check my Garmin and notice that I am hitting mile 10 at 2:28 which is alot faster than I have ever hit that mark before. NanBar's song "Unbreakable" comes on ... and I honestly start crying a bit. Like wow... I am probably going to PR ... in the snow... how amazing is this? All I got left is a silly 5K baby!

The words from Unbreakable inspire me so much:
"God I want to dream again, take me where Ive never been. I want to go there, this time Im not scared. Now I am unbreakable, its unmistakeable. No one can touch me, nothing can stop me"
Shortly after this song, Alison2429's song "Reach for the Stars" comes on .. just to remind me that I have to keep up the pace if I want to PR, right? Then right after comes misssupersititious's song "Heart of a Champion".
Before I know it, its Mile 11. I am definately tired, cold, and wet right now. The snow continues. I can feel that I am starting to slow down .... and I cant let that happen. Emilysebastians song "Backseat" comes on ... I smile knowing I am not alone here and I continue on. At Mile 11.5 is the last water station, and I finally give in to take some water. I take my last Chomps. Slimyfishy's song "Take Over Control" comes on and I reminded that this is all mental right now NOT physical and I just need to keep pushing on .... just keep pushing girl. You dont wanna work so hard for 11 miles to blow it right? Kac7700 song "Shots" comes on ... and I imagine myself partying at a bar having a great time when I am thin and fit and not embarrased about how I look. I am freaking awesome for doing this... for being here I think my myself!
The sign for Mile 12 has blown down ... so I actually missed the sign. Mile 12 is back into the wind... and the snow. I am exhausted ... the wind is strong and making it harder to advance. Just then fuzzy's song "ET" comes on and I focus on trying to match my steps with the beat which speeds up my pace a bit. The race is almost over... I can feel it. Only one big hill to get over ... the bridge. I allow myself to walk up the bridge... almost at the top of the bridge AggieCass's song "Go Girl" comes on ...
"I party like a rockstar, look a movie star, play like an all star, *&^% like a porno star.. baby im a superstar" and I just push ahead.
The very last song to play was not dedicated to anyone ... but it it is a song again that I find the lyrics to be completely inspiring. The song is "You Gave Me a Promise" by Fireflight... and I would encourage anyone to download it... and remember the promise you gave yourself! You committed to YOURSELF no one is making you do anything... :)
"Waves are crashing down on me, but I know this can not be the end.
At times I feel like copping out, will you hold me up if I just say that I will stay.
I will hold on to this hope that I have.
You gave me a promise, you gave me a promise.
Ill push through this moment, Ill never give up.
You gave me a promise, you gave me a promise." 
This song was playing when I crossed the finish line... as I approached the finish line I got faster and faster. Yep I saved enough for a sprint out. They called me name and I just smiled. It was only then that I thought to look down at my watch....
3:16:38 officially ......
I not only beat my PR... but I shattered it by over 7 MINUTES!
How did I do this... with the weather... the drama..... I just kept pushing though!
Im still in a bit of shock ... but I know that I could not done it without my friends who support me so thanks. Amazing how I have changed so much in less than one year. Im the healthier, happier, fitter me. I still have a ways to go, but the old me wouldnt have dreamed of running 3 miles, much less 3 + another 10 miles!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Good evening! In less than 36 hours, I will be running my second half marathon. As most of you know, my last long run did not go as planned (severe dehydrated, sunburn and just general crap resulting in me quitting for the first time at 10 miles). I have been struggling all week to get out of my head about this run ... and its been hard.

There are many reasons why I could quit on this one:
1. Its not really my goal race (because my goal race in May 15th) and its just a training run so it really does not mean anything.
2. My running partner wont be able to make it so I will be running all alone
3. My asthma has really been acting up the last 2 days
4. I have a slight knee pain ... nothing serious
5. The weather is going to suck.... last I heard high for the day is 32 which means below zero at race start and honestly its supposed to snow and rain .... yuck!

And let me tell you -- I thought about it. I even mentioned it to my husband and he said "well if thats what you want to do."

But what do I always say... Never Give Up, right? So I started to realllly think about what my drama was. Can I do the distance? Sure, I just did 2 months ago ... and even on a bad day I still went 10 miles. Can I handle the weather? Sure, we have done 10 milers in 21 degree weather, whats 3 more? So what IS my drama....... you know what ... Im afraid of getting lost, left behind, and coming in last. Will that actually happen... NO! I may be slow, but the likelihood I will come in last ... slim :)
So with this in mind... I AM DOING THIS RACE NO MATTER WHAT!!!

My last race, I ran miles for people (every mile was for a different person).... this race ... I have songs that remind me of my biggest supporters and inspirations.... When I hear these songs... I like of these people and I am pushed to go farther and farther. I could not do this without all of my friends! Thank you for all of your support.

FzyFrog: My soul sister... cant wait for July. Your song is E-40 Go Hard or Go Home. Everytime I hear this song I think of you pushing yourself, which makes me push myself even harder. You are one incredible woman!

bratgrrl: You are so encouraging, and ever since we were sick together we are bonded. You introduced me to Zumba music... so of course your song is Kumbia Kings Fuego and Wiggle Wiggle... you make me smile while I run!

Kac7700: You motivate me every single day. What I love about you is that you live your life as the thnner healthier you, even though you arent always perfect and I love that about you. Plus you have the same crappy weather I do! Since you love beer (sorry I dont have songs about beer) your song is Shots by LMFAO

Mandell25: You are such a happy, shiny person. You always make my day better .... you pushing yourself through your race inspires me. Your song is The Sun is Up by Inna because its light and happy ... :) You will ROCK your race this weekend I know it!!

NanBar: With everything you have been though, and you still keep pushing yourself every single day. How can I whine about what I have to go through, its nothing compared to your history. You love and support me always ... and I am grateful. Your song is Unbreakable by Fireflight

Misssuperstitious: You are a machine, always getting your runs in ... you will rock your marathon... im inspired that someday maybe I will be where you are. Thank you for your support. Your song is Heart of a Champion by Nelly

Slimyfishy: You are newer to my friends list, but you always have something positive to say ... and you help me get out of my head when I get stuck there. Your song is Take Over Control by Afrojack. Now this is a song about a woman who wants a man to dominate her LOL... but the words are "I want you to take over control" and when I hear that I just think... be in control of your mind... dont let it control you. And thats something you would say to me!

"Fear the Fuzzy": You are also newer to my friends list, but you are a unique wonderful man ... whenever I hear Katy Perry ET I always think of you ... because you are unique and take your time to educate and encourage the masses.

DangerRanger: My P90X and running buddy ... I watch everything you do in awe! You are beyond incredible and the fact that you watch me and keep up on what I do (and ride my butt when I need it) is amazing! Your song is Im the Ish by Lil Jon
and last but not least.....

AggieCass: OMG girl I dont know if I can sum our friendship up into a song... but whenever I hear Go Girl by Pitbull I think of you. I still remember when you talked about running in your sportsbra and told me ... that will be you someday. It seems far away ... but you inspire me daily... Im lucky to have you as my friend! :)

Wow this got really reallly long... but I want you to know how much that you mean to me and how I dont think I could do this without you. If you havent heard your song ever.... check it out ... and maybe by my next race I will have to add to my list! :)
**hugs and love ya all**

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Seriously? Sometimes people just suck...

So those of you follow regularly know my lovely story about my race last weekend. So I decided to do something I never do ... I stood up for myself and write an email to the course director to complain...

Dear XXX,
I wanted to send you an email and tell you about my race experience during the XXX 10K on Sunday. I have never met you, but I have been at several XXX events, and have competed in several area runs. I am a slow runner (Ok run/walker) but I enjoy the events and I am just happy to be out there. I figure its better than sitting at home on your couch, right? I have never met a mean runner, and your event on Sunday also proved that.
While I certainly understand that alot of things were out of your control (the weather, the puddles, etc) there were some things that went wrong during this race that I think was in your control. After coming over the bridge and into the XXX  parking lot, the course was not well labelled. My friend and I were the end of the 10K and did not have anyone in front of us that we could see. At the XXXX  entrance, we went down to the long road straight ahead. I was VERY clear to tell the volunteers that we were 10Kers, especially after they directed us to the 5K route. After a couple of turns down that road, we found ourselves lost. We found out later that the course had been taken down.

Now, it was not all negative -- there was a wonderful man in a teeny red car who came to get us and get us back on the course. He unfortunately took us in the wrong direction a few blocks. He offered us a ride and we declined. He did stay with us until we were back on course, and we were grateful for that. We were also grateful for the nice man who was holding 2 glasses on water for us at the XXX entrance. Onward we trudged though puddle, rain, and yes even ice. We were so happy when we finished. We got our medal and was off to get our food.

Unofficially our time was NOT terrible (1:30). Officially, I do not know what our time was, because when the official results were posted we had no time. I do not understand how this happened, when we had our chips, turned in our chips, and stood on the mat at the finish line. There was no time limit listed for the race.

While I want to make sure that the kind individuals who assisted us get their credit, overall I cannot help but feel quite a bit disappointed in how things turned out. I agree that the weather likely made people switch to the 5K and perhaps the slower runners stayed home. But darnit we sucked it up through all of the adversity ... and to have no official time was just the last straw.

I just wanted to let you know about my experience. I sure hope my next XXX sponsored run is a bit better...
Thank you,
** so she initially responded to me appologizing and saying she will look into it **
Two emails later, she doesnt have an answer and she is just going to "give us" the time of 1:30 (geez I wish I would have lied and given her a better time haha).
Today she sent me an email to inform me that "had the course not been rerouted we would not have been able to finish because the kids run started and the 10K had to be completed prior to that. I informed her that perhaps in the future they should mention a time limit for the race.
** she then emails me again and informs me that the race was a 10K run ..(a dig of my run/walk intervals) **
NOW ... I am NOT a sensitive person but I am massively offended. I could see if we were like 16min/mile or something (which is the cut off time for MOST races BTW) ... but that last comment seemed a bit below the belt ... like a slam for run/walkers! She mentioned that in the future she will see to it that it is included that the time limit is 14 min/mile.
I am very disappointed I think because almost every person I met regarding running has been supportive. Its not about how fast you are ... its about being out there and finishing. She never said anything positive about finishing... and I didnt think my email was too mean...
So today ... dont worry about your speed ... your alot faster than those people who never tried, right? Just finish today ... be awesome!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Never Give Up!

This weekend has been an inspiring one for me... for every time we slam ourselves, there is someone else wishing that they could be us. I know you may think that is not true, but I bet you .... there is someone out there. You are already someone else's goal.

This weekend started with a great 5K run. I met a wonderful gal in the starting corral who noticed by Jeff Galloway Run/Walk Timer and mentioned "hey I do intervals too." We started talking and I asked her PR (38mins) and what she runs on the treadmill (5.0) well I do neither, so I immediately became disheartened. Like a tire with a flat ... the air of my confidence began to slip. I told her maybe if I just kept her in my sites I would know I was doing well.

The race started and I felt good... fell into my groove quickly and just ran my own race. I passed that girl ... and then she passed me... and then I passed her again. As I passed her the last time she commented "your gonna beat me you know" I just smiled and told her to keep up the good work. I finished that 5K (with the finish line cruely up a hill) at 42:35 which was a PR for me. I was psyched!
This morning was the Scheels 10K. It was just another training run for us, since it was a down week, but I thought my running partner should have the experience of doing a 10K race too before the big half marathon. The weather was abysmal. Now listen, I am NOT a wuss I run in cold, rain, snow, sleet etc but this was the WORST weather ever. Standing out at the start line its downpouring... and I look around. Wow, this is the fittest group of people I have ever seen... uh oh ... this might not be good!

The race starts ... and we are maintaining a decent pace (a funny aside - remember last week when my shoe was covered in blood - well my husband cleaned it with dishsoap. Well when the water hit it ... suds and soap poured out of my shoe for miles. It was hysterical) and we can see people in front of us. I focus on a girl in a tan jacket - with the goal to keep her in my sites. We reach the 1.5 mile marker and the 10K breaks away from the 5K (which started 10 minutes after the 10K and we were unceremoniously passed by all the fast 5Kers). We run down this road... and its just us... I can see NO people around us. The road is a loop, so we are on one side and the fast 10Kers are on the other side.

As we run down this road... at least 30 people or more over the course of the route cheer for us "great job girls" "keep up the good work" "you can do it" and I start to settle down and just smile. So what if the weather sucks... we are doing this. We come to the end of the long road and volunteer says ... "turn left and then take the second right and follow the cones." So we turn ... run ..... turn run .... uhhhh there are NO cones.

We turn right at the next block because I have some idea of where we are going kinda... and there are no cones. We run through a parking lot that is under more than 1 foot of water. I have no idea where we are ... there are no cones.... LOL this is a problem. We decide to keep running ... somewhat towards where we are going...

Suddenly a teeny red car pulls up and a guy says "oh no you guys are still out here." Uh ... yeah where did you think we went? He says he will help get us back on course... so he takes us about 4 blocks. He then turns his car around comes back and says "sorry girls, I took  you in the wrong direction - here hop in and I will get you back to the course." I look at Katie and we both say "no thanks we will run."

Who the heck gets in a car in the middle of the race!! He finally gets us back on course... we get up the huge hill and there is a sweet man standing with 2 glasses of water that he got for us since they took the water station down. Onward we go... as we come into the last mile its starts downpouring sleeting -- I mean it was actually painful. Onward we go ... we finally get near the parking lot where the finish line is ... and we get stuck in the middle of the kids run... LOL nope not kidding! So I was passed by a 5 year old with alot more energy than I had at that point.

We finally finish! The guy at the finish line says "oh yeah sorry we took some of the course down" SERIOUSLY! This race had no time limit ... how poor. I have never been in such a poor run in all of the runs I have done. The kicker... I cant tell you if I got a PR or not. According to my Garmin we did ... when I went to check the official results... hmm they dont have one on either of us.

I guess sometimes its about more than PRs. Its about seeing what you are made of... seeing what you can handle. Giving up did cross my mind (heck crossing to the other side of the road where the 10K was running back crossed my mind) but in the end I would KNOW that I gave up. And I cant give up ....

So how do I apply this to life. Jeff Galloway once said "when you wake up the morning, never let weather be your excuse. How do you know that on the day of your big race the weather wont be the worst you have ever seen? So suck it up and get out there" and I live this quote to the fullest..... in all aspects of my life.

I do not give up! When times get tough ... I get tougher! I challenge you all to do the same, because I KNOW you can! We rock ... and are stronger than those weak people who never try. I may have finished in dead last today -- but I am tougher than those people who looked out the window and crawled back into bed!