Sunday, October 18, 2009

It Wasn't Pretty (or Pain Free) but I FINISHED!!!

A recap of my first half marathon: The Other Half, in Moab, UT, October 19, 2009.

Starting with the creation of the perfect playlist. I spent a significant portion of my Saturday finding and purchasing motivational, run inspiring music. I was just two songs away from having the perfect playlist created, and with one wrong mouse click, it was reordered alphabetically and all my work was gone! So the second time around I just quickly made a new one- which was not nearly as good as the first, but it would do.

I picked up Jan and Anne and we headed out of town about quarter to 5. We decided to take the scenic highway into town so we could get a preview of the race course and time how long it took to get to the gravel parking lot where we would catch the shuttle to the starting line. We arrived in Moab about 6:30, picked up our race bags, then headed to Pasta Jay's. There was a HUGE wait, but some of Jan's friends had a table so we just joined them. After dinner we took a short stroll down main street, followed by bed not much after 9.

We were all up before 6, dressed and headed to the race by 6:15. On the way there I got SO nervous, butterflies in my stomach and I was even shaking. It was so calm and beautiful in the dark, with the most beautiful silhouette of some of the monoliths in the canyon. The buses began taking us to the starting line at 7, and I sat by a lady from Boise who was here running her 3rd half marathon which helped to take my mind off of my nerves.

Once we were at the starting line there was at least an hour and a half before the race started and it was pretty chilly! They had quite a few fire barrels with fires going that we all clustered around till race time. Then we threw our sweats into our race bags and into the trailer that would meet us at the finish line. By now my nerves were gone and I was just ready to run.

When the gun went off, I started my music and my watch and away we went! The scenery was BEAUTIFUL. I had a good strong beginning pace and at the first mile I looked at my watch to see what my time was and it wasn't going- I must have pushed start button twice - so that bummed me out that I wouldn't have an accurate time.

At about mile 4 I noticed the first tinge of pain in my knee (this usually happens at mile 8), but I kept pushing through it. At mile 6 I was super excited because that was the same distance of the BOULDERboulder, and I was almost 1/2 way done. Mile 7 SUCKED! It was all up hill with several (3) really steep hills. This is when the pain kicked in even more, and to add to it I had a toenail that was digging into one of my other toes. So at the top of last hill of mile 7, I stopped to stretch and fix my toe nail situation. When I started running again the pain was even worse, but I just kept going, I just HAD to finish. There was another hill in mile 9 and this made my knee feel even worse, my leg actually went numb from the knee down and I thought it was going to give out on me, so I moved to the side, walked the rest of the way to the top, almost cried, stretched at the top and contemplated calling it quits. Needless to say I kept pushing, I just said to my self over and over "you are going to finish, you are going to finish!" When I hit mile 10 Eminem "loose your self" came on, and as strange as this may seem, this song was highly motivational for me, to the point that I almost lost it and started balling- so much so that I couldn't catch my breath and had to breath really deep through my nose and out through my mouth. (When I breathed out it sounded like a whimper.) But that song got me through and at the end of mile 12 you crest the last hill and in the valley of the red canyon you see the beautiful green pastures of Sorel River Ranch, I knew I was going to make it! My last mile I dedicate to my mom, she was supposed to run it with us, but got injured and couldn't run- at all! So I started the last mile and said "this is for my mom!" but that made me start to bawl again and have trouble breathing again, so I quit saying it (but it was still for her). As I turned off the highway and onto the ranch's road my calf on my hurt knee side cramped up causing my toes to curl. It wasn't like a normal painful cramp, but I just couldn't relax it and get my toes straight. Then I saw Anne, and she ran to the final chute with me encouraging me along. The final 100 meters was lined with cheers and I got one last burst of energy and sprinted to the end with the biggest smile on my face.

Normally I get really emotional after I cross the finish line, but this time I was just so happy to have finished that all I could do was smile (and limp). Plus I had already been emotional during the run!

I dedicated each mile (2 miles) to someone (or something)to help me get through. During that mile I thought of this person (or thing) and how they have influenced me positively, contributed to my success, and what makes them so important to me.

Mile 1 and 2: ME, I was just so thankful to be able to run and be in such a beautiful place, that I took these first two miles to soak it all in.

Mile 3: God, I was thankful that I had been given the ability and opportunity to run and enjoy such a beautiful place in his creation.

Mile 4: All my friends and family that had wished me luck including: Heather, Jolene, Rachel, Cecil and Amy, MGMS co workers, and my FB friends.

Mile 5: God: this was the point in the run where you come around a corner and see Fisher Towers framed by the walls of the canyon, I couldn't help but thank Him for that!

Mile 6: Maddox, my handsome, rowdy, caring son.

Mile 7: Serpents Trail. I just thought of all the summer runs on Serpents trail and knew that this hill was nothing compared to that!

Mile 8: Madison, my beautiful, compassionate, motivated daughter.

Mile 9: My running friends Anne and Jan, who I trained and ran with all summer and who are continually encouraging and inspiring!

Mile 10: Eminem (not really, but this is when his song came on and it pushed me through this mile).

Mile 11: Brian, my patient, thoughtful, hard working, and HOTT husband.

Mile 12: ME! I was almost finished, and I just thought about my hard work and persistence. Knowing that my mind was stronger than my body.

Mile 13 (plus some): My mom, she was so upset and disappointed to not be running in this race with us, I just had to finish it for her since she wasn't there.

Race Facts:

I finished in 2 hours and 19 minutes, my average pace was 10:20 (I am embarrassed to write that, I never run that slow).

Weather: Perfect! Probably about the mid 60's for the majority of the race.

Start time: 8:30

Finish time: 2 hours 19 minutes after start time

Shoes: Adidas AdiStar Rides (pink version)

Clothes: Adidas black capris, Adidas bright orange short sleeve performance top, and a Nike iridescent plum long sleeved performance top. Fox river socks, Brian's Arnett sunglasses.

Learned? My mind is stronger than my body, training too fast and too hard with not enough rest is NOT good, Moab is beautiful this time of year, and I MUST run another half (though I don't even want to run, or think about running, for a few days -- maybe a week.

Caster Day 2009

Friday night we (Brian, Me, Madison, and Maddox) celebrated Caster day for 2009. This is the annual household celebration of the day Brian adopted Madison, a very special day. 7 years ago the three of us sat across from Judge Botteger (sp) and he looked at our 3 year old daughter and asked her who was her dad, she with total confidence pointed to Brian. The judge said that was all he needed to hear, and pounded his gavel declaring us officially forever a family.

So Friday we went to Texas Road House (Madison's pick) and a movie- Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs- (again Madison's choice). It was a great family evening.

Learned? Families are made in many, many, ways

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

There's More to Running Than I Thought

I have to say I really like my massage therapist, each time I have gone I have felt like I was truly cared for. For example she didn't just work on my legs, but offered multiple exercises, stretches, natural pain relieving gels, and a book about proper running to prevent injury. I felt like it was really important to her that I be able to run my big race. She even called the next day to see how I was knowing that the work she did would leave me a bit tender.

All of this to say that I went and got the book she suggested: Chi Running. As I skimmed through the Table of Contents I was amazed at all there is to know about running. Here I thought all you did was go out there and just well, run. But there is so much more to it!

The whole "go out there and wing it philosophy" has worked for me for several years, but when I decided to up my mileage I started noticing problems. So tonight I will indulge my running graving and read a chapter then apply it to my run tomorrow.

Learned? My eyes have been opened to a whole new wide world of running!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hope on the Horizon

I went for a run this morning, just a short 3 mile one, but let me tell you it felt great! There was no pain! Afterwards I iced and took anti-inflamitories, then tonight I had another session of massage therapy then iced again. I am hoping to get two more short runs in followed by more icing.

With my spirits perked, I ventured out to buy a new running top for the race. There is limited selection around town but I found a bright plum colored long sleeve Nike shirt. Then when I got home I hit the jackpot at an outlet store and got three other tops for less than $100 total! All of them are solid colors, I was really hoping for some cool prints but with a limited time these will do!

So with the wind back in my newly adorned sails, I am sailing towards hope on the horizon!

Learned? As painful as resting is/was for my whole being, I guess it was what's best.

Friday, October 9, 2009


A few weeks (maybe a few months ago) I signed up for my first half marathon. I have been super excited and running farther than I ever imagined I would and still enjoy it. I have run 4 long runs 11-12 miles each. Then after a short 4 mile run it hit... my legs hurt. Both lower legs deep against the bone on the inside. I could hardly walk with out pain.

Diagnosis: shin splints.

Treatment: anti-inflammatory, ice, massage therapy, sensible shoes, and worst of all REST. So for the last week and a half I have not run, not one measly little mile or jaunt around the block.

It is the worst form of torture! My self image is all in my head, so when I don't run for even a few days I automatically start seeing my self as fatter (even though I know it is impossible to gain that much weight in in two days). Then you throw in not being able to wear my cute heals and outfits to work, and instead try to find clothes that don't look completely dorky with my tennies, and my self esteem plummets even more. Next you add the lack of something physical as an outlet for stress, as well as the frustration of not knowing if I will even get to run in my first half marathon!

You can imagine my current mental, emotional, and physical state of being right now.

But... In this week and a half I can now walk with little to no pain, and I am hopeful that with one more week of rest, ice, sensible shoes, ice, and one more session of massage therapy, I will be up and running (literally) in time for the race.

With this set back, I may need to adjust my 1/2 marathon goal from finishing with a pace less than 10 minute miles, to just finishing. And be ok if I need to walk some of it.

Here is a little Pic to keep me motivated:

Learned? Being injured hurts in more places than the location of the injury.

The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing

This was a particularly interesting read for me; not because the content, story line, or writing was so amazing, but because it was just the opposite and yet I read it quickly and found my self staying up later than I should to read. (that was a really long sentence...) It followed a girl and her relationships through out her life. The writing is so simple that it reminded me of reading one of my student's first attempts at dialogue: He said ..... she said.... I said... Then there were the sparce attempts at dry humor, and the predictable choices that she makes. In the end she finds "the guy" and decides to try the art of female manipulation rather than be true to herself, does she ruin it for herself, is it even salvageable, or do the evil feminine tricks give her the advantage. Guess you'll have to experience the bizarre writing of Melissa Bank to find out.

Learned? Sometimes a read can be ?enjoyable? and you can't find any reason for it to be true.