It Takes A Village.

Many people say that it takes a village to raise children and I couldn’t agree more. The village isn’t just for the children anymore. Throughout this past year I have seen how much I have needed that village in my life. I am very blessed to have a rocking village who has surrounded the twins and I and have shown us beyond imaginable amounts of love. This village has not only loved us but at times has fed us, cut our grass, watched the twins when I needed help, and so much more. But to me the main quality of my village as been the amount of support we have received from people who are near and far away. I have received so much support in my first year of teaching, support in being a full time graduate student, support in being a single mom and support in my walk with God. In short, the twins and I have an amazing village! But now I need more help from the village people.

Running is something that I truly enjoy. To me it is so beautiful that running can be so much more to a person than just a sport. Running can push you to your limits, it can test your strength, it challenges you as an individual, it can be the best therapy in the world, it can bring you incredible friendships, and it can knock you down all while making you want to come back for more. Running is what you put into it which means that running takes time. However, time has been an issue lately while trying to make big adjustments in mine and the twins’ personal lives. Well friends this is where I need the help. I have many times tried (and failed) to start consistent training since my marathon in March and like many other things in life, starting from scratch with something is always hard until it becomes a routine. So I’m going to start using this blog again to help keep me accountable with being consistent in running. I’ve e-mailed my coach to let him know that I am ready to start bugging him again and will start planning out what distances I want to train for…or actually what I actually can train for with the time that I do have.

I’ve had some people say that I should just put off running since my plate is so full from life and for the most part I have done that since my marathon. But every time that I do get to run, it reminds me of how free it makes me feel. It makes me feel empowered and strong. That is something that I want to get back. I want to show myself and the twins that you actually can do it all. I want to show them that when life happens, you don’t have to get knocked down. I want to show them and myself that if you put your mind to it, you really can achieve anything. So even though this is a short blog post, it’s going to be the start of getting a piece of me back and help keep me accountable. Much more to be continued.

 

“I want my kids to see that I made a goal, that I stuck to the goal, and that really this is such a huge feat. I want them to remember, ‘My mom ran a marathon’.” -Kate Gosselin

 

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Strong.

The word Strong is a word that I have heard off and on in my lifetime. Recently, it has been a word I have heard more frequently. It is a word that I honestly did not want to hear. I did not want to hear it only because to me that means that my life has had so many rough waters, that I have had to learn what the word Strong really means. But it is a word that over time I have had to embrace and I am very proud to say that I am a Strong woman. However, I know exactly where I get my strength from. “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13 I cannot be a strong woman without the grace and love of God.

Now, this is not going to be my typical running blog post. I will soon get back to those once I get more consistent with my running. This post is about what has been happening in my life and telling how I have seen God firsthand working in my life. I have gone back and forth on if I should write anything about what I have experienced, but then after multiple prayers, I just felt like that it was the right thing to do. Even if only one person who is going through something tough, or nothing tough at all, gets touched by this, then it is worth it to me.

Divorce is a very ugly and sad thing. Many people go through it alone because it is a very negative event in someone’s life and they are ashamed to admit that it is happening to them. Most people who come together in a marriage, never imaged that they would be going through a divorce. But let’s face it, it happens and it happens all around us. Now, this post is not about why this is happening in my personal life, because that is only between him and I, but it is about God’s unconditional and unfailing love during this process. It is about having faith in the unknown and trusting Him that He knows what He is doing. It’s about giving Him the glory every day and every second even during times that you don’t know what to do. So let’s get started on my journey…

First off, if anyone knows anything about the school systems, they will know that a Physical Education teaching position is one of the hardest positions to be hired for. It is so difficult mainly because many teachers/coaches don’t leave their position until they retire. Many teachers who are licensed to be a Physical Education teacher wait years until they can get into a position. Well I am a licensed Physical Education teacher. Before my student teaching, I was already a mom to my twins and they were at my graduation from college. For the next 3 years, I was a full stay at home mom to them until I worked part-time at Running Etc. I had plans to teach one day, but it wasn’t going to be until after my twins were already in school. However, life changes. When life changed, I continuously prayed at what I should do. God put Tennessee on my heart immediately and I spent many late nights getting my resume ready and very soon after, I was applying for Physical Education teaching positions all around the Nashville area. Nashville is home to me. It is where I was born and raised, where my family and lifelong friends are and I always dreamed of coming back and raising my children in the area I was so fortunate to grow up in. The chance of me even getting an interview was slim to none. But I prayed. I prayed every single day for God to be beside me while I go through this new path in my life and to be showing me what I should be doing next. I gave it completely all to Him to take control. A very short time after I put in my resumes to countless schools, I got an interview. It not only was an interview at any school, it was an interview at a dream job school. On a Monday I was asked to be at the school on that Friday for the interview. I lived 12 hours away in Virginia Beach, had a job and children that would have to travel with me. I let my boss know and he told me to go because this was a chance in a lifetime for me. Two days later, I was in the car alone with my twins traveling to the Nashville area for the interview all while my daughter was getting sick in the car the entire trip. It took a lot longer than 12 hours this time. But I prayed. I prayed every single mile of that trip that I could just get to Nashville (which I finally made it). Once I got there, I thanked God over and over for giving me an opportunity and to now give me the strength to bring the job home. I had the interview that Friday and a few days later, drove back to Virginia Beach. I was very hopeful but at the same time, knew that it was out of my hands. It was in God’s. That following Tuesday morning while I was at work, I got THE call from the principal asking me if I would like to accept the job! UM YES!  There is absolutely no way that I deserve my dream job on my very first try, but God clearly thought that I did.

Two weeks later, I traveled back to Tennessee with so much thanks from God, knowing that I was going to have a way to provide for myself and children. This trip now was to iron out the details of this big life change. But as God was already showing me, He went before me and made a path for me. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” -Deuteronomy 31:8. My goals for this trip was to teach half the week in my new school to learn the ropes, find a place to live, and to find a preschool for the twins. I thought my only option was to get a small apartment that fit into my budget and I really did not like that idea. There is nothing wrong with living in an apartment, I just did not want to feel like I would have to constantly get onto the twins for being too loud or that they wouldn’t have a yard to play in and I wanted a place to feel like a home for them. So I prayed. I prayed that wherever we were suppose to live, to let it be safe and to let it be an easy adjustment for my kids. Randomly, a friend texted me who knew I was going to be moving back and said that a family that I have known for years had a duplex that was about to go up for rent. Not only was this not an apartment, it was perfectly within my price-range, only 7 miles away from my new job, had a yard and even though it is not far from stores, it feels as if you are in the country with lots of little local farms around. My heart was beaming with joy! God has once shown me that He is with me.

My next step was to find a preschool for the twins. Education is very important to me and I also, believe that the first years of a child’s life is the most important. One of the reasons I was a stay at home mom was to raise them myself with good morals, manners and try to build good character within them. “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it” Proverbs 22:6. Since the day they were born, I have prayed for their future friends and teachers and that they would have Godly people surrounding them to help them through the journey called life. There is a quote that I 100% believe is true, “Show me your friends and I will show you your future”. So I prayed that I would find a preschool that was Christian based, had a great reputation and proof for academics, not a lot of students for more one-on-one time, and would feel like home for their first full year of preschool and last year before kindergarten. God once again heard my prayers. He not only found the perfect preschool that has every single thing I was looking for, but He gave me more. This school not only has all of that, but some of my favorite parts are that it is less than 2 miles from my new house and they have gardens and chickens that the children get to help out with. My new job, new house, and new preschool for the twins are all on the exact same road. At this point, I was having a good laugh with God. How and why He was being so amazing to me, little ol me, I will never understand. But the beauty of it all that I am finding out is that to Him, you aren’t just ‘little ol you’…you are His child and He takes care of His children if you let Him.

So let’s keep going.

I have a career, I have a house to live in, I have a great preschool for my children. Now for some reason I thought it would be fun to apply to graduate school. Because when is a better time to throw on more stress than when your life is drastically changing. But I did and I applied to the University of Arkansas online program for a Masters in Physical Education…and would you believe it that I got accepted! (Note: Even though I will be getting my masters from the University of Arkansas, the University of Tennessee will always and forever have my heart…GO VOLS!) Right now, I am taking my first class towards my masters and after two major projects and a quiz, I currently have a 98 average in the class. Time to do more praying that I keep that average up! haha

Moving right along to more God moments…

The night before the big move, I was taking the queen size mattress from the guest room and it got left outside the night before without my knowledge. Well you guessed it..it rained and stormed all night. The mattress was ruined and there was no way of saving it. Now, it wasn’t a good mattress by any means, but it was a bed for me to lay my head on at night and to me that is all that mattered. I tried really hard not to let it bother me, but it did. On my long drive that day, I had another (or quite a few) chats with God about how I don’t have a bed to sleep on. I asked Him what I should do because I didn’t just have the spare change to go buy a brand new one. After talking with a family member and telling them what had happened, they offered to give me an almost brand new (yup, you guessed it) queen size mattress and box springs. What the What?! Are you kidding me right now, God? And not only give it to me, but have it delivered to my house where I would not have to sleep one night without a bed! My next thing on my list was that I was needing to purchase a kitchen table for our new house. There is no dining room so it needed to be a small enough table to fit in my kitchen. I prayed that I would find a sturdy, but cheap table that would be a perfect fit.  Right before I was leaving, a friend gave me a “gift”. I didn’t know what that gift was, but it turned out to be enough of a gift for me to buy the twins and I a kitchen table for our house in Tennessee. God is so good! Once I got to Tennessee, God was still showing me that He has gotten me this far and that He wasn’t leaving me and never will leave. If you have ever moved a long distance away from the house you lived in, then you will know that you basically cannot take any food with you. I had spices. That is all. Just spices. Another family member (who had zero idea that all I had were spices) called me up and told me to meet them at Sams Club. That family member took me up and down the aisles and filled my cart full. I may or may not have broken down crying in one of the aisles…But that is between me, the family member, God and the security cameras. 🙂 But here He is once again, making my cup full and overflowing with blessings. Last but not least, another family member knew I was looking for a lawn mower so I could cut my grass. A few days later, I had an almost brand new mower at my house with a full tank of gas that was also being given to me. Wow just wow! I can guaranteed that God is not done with me and my life. He is just getting started and my heart is wide open for Him to do whatever He sees fit. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find it; knock and the door will be opened to you.” -Matthew 7:7.

As I am typing this, and I lived this myself, it is still hard to believe all the blessings He has poured down on me and my situation. I am not trying to take away from the sadness of this situation by any means, what I am trying to do is show how He doesn’t make bad things happen, but He does allow you to go through trials. And while you are going through those trials, He will not leave you. I think another reason I wanted to share what God has done in my life is just so I would never forget the grace I have received from God, to always remember the relationship I have with God, and to show other people that they can have this, too. I am a strong woman, a strong mother, a strong child of God. I do have hope and strength. But I know that none of this would have happened in my life if it wasn’t for Him making me strong, if it wasn’t for Him being faithful, if it wasn’t for Him showing me that at all times, He is good. Where God guides, He provides.

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You Only Get One First Marathon

Beware, this will be a long post.

“You only get one first marathon, so enjoy it.” I got this advice somewhere along in my training for my first marathon by someone but I can’t remember who (whoever told me this, please remind me because I would love to thank you!). I got lots of advice from many different experienced marathoners from people who are elites to the back of the pack runners which I greatly appreciated every single tip, advice, words of wisdom that I received! But this statement really stood out to me which I hung onto that during my training runs and especially on race day. It is extremely true though, I will never have another first marathon and I wanted to absolutely enjoy the whole experience. Many people kept asking me leading up to race day what my goal time was. Honestly, I had a couple of goals in my mind but from these experienced marathoners, I had learned that anything can happen on race day and that you don’t know the feeling of “hitting the wall” until you are actually there. Which both of those I learned is also very true. Inside my head, I thought if every single thing lined up perfectly, then a 3:10:xx would be what I was going to shoot for, realistically I thought a 3:15:xx would be most likely what I could do on my first marathon and if everything went to crap, then a 3:20:xx I would be more than happy with. Sitting here today looking back at yesterday’s race at the Shamrock Marathon I can very much so proudly say that I ran my first ever marathon in 3:16:08 and was 17th female overall (per the timing email I got last night..it was 3:16:09 and 16th overall female on the website but I’m going by the official email)! 

Another one of my big goals was to be smiling when I crossed the finish line. That also happened! One of my friends, Kristy told me that anytime I was in a ton of pain or anytime I saw a photographer, to smile to get your head off of the pain just for a bit and I definitely loved that advice, too!  

 

About to be crossing the finish line and by far my new favorite picture! Photo creds: Jess Horton

So let’s get to the race part..I started in corral 1 and had plans with one of my friends, JP Caudill, to go out slow and run the race together as much as we could. I say as much as we could because the weekend before, JP ran the  One City Marathon in 3:12:59 and knew his legs were going to be feeling it at some point.  

 

JP and I after the half way point.

We started out behind the 3:15 pace group which was a very large group and figured we would ride behind them through the first 6 miles where we didn’t have much wind. Everything felt great and I was just trying to take it all in and enjoy each step. After we did the turn around at mile 6, we started getting hit with some wind and decided to tuck into the 3:15 pace group for a while. By then the pacers had split and one group was a good 30 seconds ahead of the group we were in. Between mile 8-9 we decided we should start trying to make our way slowly up the the 3:15 group that was ahead. Knowing we were getting hit with the wind, JP was so amazing and blocked the wind for me as much as he could as we inched our way closer to the other group. We caught up to another female who was alone and we ran with her and chatted for a few miles as we got onto the boardwalk: more wind. Around this time, the owner of Running Etc Mike and another friend Chris Bradley, were there on their bikes and had a water bottle for me with my Nuun in it. I chatted with them a bit about how I was feeling fantastic and having fun! 

We finally got off the boardwalk where the other female dropped behind, she would later come flying past me in the last mile, and started seeing lots of friends. That was my favorite part was seeing so many friends out there cheering and going nuts when we would come by! Big mental boost! We passed the half marathon point and JP and I gave each other a high five, but that’s when little things started popping up for me. I started getting a little cramp in the right side of my stomach and my left hip flexor started getting achy. JP talked me through them and every time he would get a slight bit ahead, I remembered what one of my best friends and training partners, Stephanie Manny, told me..do a little surge just to get your legs back under you. So that is exactly what I did, I would surge just a bit to get right back on his hip. Around mile 18 (I think?) is when we finally caught the other 3:15 pace group, which was being paced by Ben who I had officially met at the start however we had chatted a bit back and forth on Twitter leading up to the race. We weren’t with the group long and went ahead as we were entering into Ft. Story.

Ft. Story should have it’s own blog post, but it’s only going to get a paragraph in my post today. I can say so much about Ft. Story and if you or anyone you know has ever done the Shamrock Half Marathon or the full can talk about it, too most likely with a sour face. Ft. Story is a military base first off, so unless you are military, then you cannot get on. So therefore, crowd support is basically gone. Second, Ft. Story is the home to mile 19-22 a.k.a. The Wall. And third, Ft. Story is ALWAYS windy! So now that I have told you about the glamour of Ft. Story, you can imagine how on my first marathon, she ripped me to pieces big time! Not long before we we going to be getting out of Ft. Story, JP’s legs finally got the best of him from the marathon he ran the week before and told me he needed to pull back. At this point, Ben with the 3:15 group came up behind me, however, Ft. Story did a number on everyone else and it was only him and another male left in the group. JP told me to hang onto them and that’s exactly what I did. 

We came out of Ft. Story and the other male said he was feeling good and was going to take off, which left just Ben and I. I saw Chris on the bike and he had my other water bottle with Nuun in it and he asked how I was feeling, which I just shook my head no. Every single part of my body hurt. My legs were screaming to stop but I kept pushing. Ben said he would take me in to right at 3:15 and I stayed with him step by step. Him and Chris were talking and Chris kept saying he would shut up, but I told him not to because listening to them talk and him talk to me even if I wasn’t responding was getting my mind off of the pain even for a second. I started slowly drifting back and kept trying to surge up, but my legs only had one speed no matter what my mind was telling them. I saw Ben slowly pull away and I knew it would be just Chris and I to the finish until he had to pull off the course with his bike. He kept saying my form looked great and just to keep pushing, that I was almost there and telling me about his first marathon. Even though I do have to say birthing twins was way harder, this was a different type of hard that I had never experienced before! I saw my coach, John Price on the corner with less than a half mile to go and I just kept saying, one more turn then I would be straight ahead to the finish line. Surprisingly, I was passing a few people, not a lot but a few. I came up on a big group of my friends and it was so nice seeing them there that I even managed to force a smile. 

 

Chris and I. About to be turning for the home stretch. Photo cred: Ally Speirs

Once I got into the boardwalk and I could see the finish line I just kept the motion of one foot in front of the other take over. There was no sprint finish because I literally had nothing else to give. The closer I started getting to the finish, I no longer had to force that smile. It was the most natural thing my body was doing at that moment.  

   

I finally crossed the finish line in 3:16:08 (chip not clock time) and I have never been more proud of myself!

 Photo cred: Kris Lawrence 

Once I finally got through the line of food, Gatorade, the medals and the sweet beach towel you get, I got my drop bag and headed down to the sand where the after party tents were. I called my good friend Kris Lawrence, who was in the VIP tent, to come get me. I felt like a little lost puppy and was in so much pain. While waiting, Jerry Frostick, the co-race director for all of the Shamrock races and co-owner of  J&A Racing  who is also Kris’s coach came to congratulate me and all I could say was, “That hurt like hell!”  

 

Kris, Jerry Frostick, and I after the marathon

So today while I sit here on my couch still super sore, I am on Cloud 9! I cannot believe my body and mind allowed me to complete 26 point freaking two miles. Marathon training and the race itself has taught me so much about myself and has given me so much confidence that I had been struggling to find not only as a runner but as a person. One thing I was not told is that you will go into the training cycle as one person and will come out as a different person; a stronger person. So to any person who is thinking of running or about to run their first marathon, remember that you only get one first marathon, so enjoy it!

Virginia Beach Distance Races 50k/100k Race Recap

As I’m laying here in bed very sore, cuddling with the twins who are surprisingly letting me just lay here and looking at the piles of laundry on the floor that I won’t be doing today, I can’t keep the smile off my face thinking about yesterday. Yesterday I ran the first (hopefully annual) Virginia Beach Distance Races 50k/100k at the Bow Creek golf course put on by my coach, John Price. I’ve never ran a marathon and definitely not a 50k or 100k, but there was an option to run the 100k as a relay up to a 4 person team, which is the option I went with. Kris Lawrence and I got asked months ago to go test out part of the course and to be photographed for the website of the race.

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Photo cred: John Price.

During that day, we decided we would run the relay together. Fast forward closer to the race when we started really thinking about what it would consist of; a 100k race on a 2.3 mile loop with only 2 people..we are crazy but not that crazy! So Kris had a brilliant idea to add more people to our team and we were lucky to add Ben Doyle and Thomas Hicks to make a 4 person team and complete Team ‘WTF Another Lap?!’ The race was really low key, with no medals, really cool handmade awards to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the individual 50k and 100k runners, simple t-shirts, and the best volunteers and race support/atmosphere around!

Before race day, our team decided to split up the laps in legs where Ben would run 7 laps (16.2 miles) first, then I would run 8 laps, Thomas 5 laps and Kris 7 laps. The race started at 6:30am so I got to the race a little after 7:45am to start getting ready for my leg. When I got there, it was pretty darn cold (but would quickly warm up to feel like a early summer day) and I was so happy I threw in my arm warmers at the last second. Ben was on his 4th lap so I thought I had a little bit of time before I needed to go get in my 2.3 mile warm-up. Boy was I wrong because about 2 miles into warm-up, Ben comes flying by on his last lap. He was rolling big time! I cut through the golf course to get ready just in time as he was making the last turn to hand the bib off to me. My plan going into the race was to simulate what I would like to do for my first marathon coming up at Shamrock. I wore my race singlet from Running Etc ,my race shorts and even the shoes I bought the night before from Running Etc that I am planning on wearing during the marathon.

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Brooks Launch 2

I wanted to do the first 2 laps (roughly 5 miles) starting out at 7:30-7:35 pace and then drop the pace lower and finish around 7:05-7:10 pace. As I’m finishing my first lap, Ben tells me I only have to do 7 laps because he had to do an out and back on his first lap and ran extra. SWEET! I thought that I would still stick to my plan somewhat but notice that I am running a bit faster than what I thought as my first 2 miles were 7:21 and 7:28. I decided to just go on how I feel but that I didn’t want to completely kill myself. I thought the 2.3 mile laps would be terrible, but they were actually fun and I got to cheer on and talk to all the other runners on the course who were pushing themselves way harder than I was by running the 50k or 100k solo. This was my first ultra event and I have so much respect for the people out running these distances!! Their determination is now my inspiration!

The Mr. and the twins got there after my 2nd lap and seeing their faces and cheers made it even more fun! During the run, I stopped 3 times to fuel. Half way through the loop, there was a water table where if you wanted a drink then you got your water and once you were done, you put it in the trash bag. My first stop there was right around mile 6 to take a Carb Boom (my new favorite refuel!) and it took me about 7 seconds total of stopping. Then I stopped at the finish line where they had Gatorade to see how my stomach would handle it since I am planning on drinking some during the marathon and one other time during my 5th lap at the half way point. During this time I accidentally dropped my Carb Boom and had to back track just a bit to pick it up before stopping again at the water station. That mile was one of my slowest for the day at 7:26.

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Photo cred: Kris with 1 lap to go for me

During my last lap, I came up on Stephanie Manny who was running the 50k. I gave her a good smack on the rear and told her to keep going. Now for people who don’t know Stephanie, she has 4 children which two of them are 10 month old twins, and is a freak of nature! She just started really training again not long ago from having the twins and WON the 50k for women yesterday in 4:01:56 while drinking beer between the laps! She is nuts and I love her!

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With Stephanie after the race. No, she didn’t run in basketball shorts even though I wish she did.

As soon as I handed the bib off to Thomas, I told the Mr. how fun that was and how excited I am for the marathon now! My watch let me know that I ran the half marathon in 1:33:xx which Stephanie reminded me that it was my 3rd fastest half marathon that I have ran. What I am most excited about is the fact that I felt like I could have kept going with the pace I was running. Thomas and Kris ran the rest of the laps with Kris running 8 and Thomas 4 and both of them did amazing!

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Kris killing it going on her last lap!

We were neck and neck with another relay team, which made things even more fun, but Thomas and Kris pulled us through and kept our lead. Team WTF Another Lap took home 1st place in the 100k relay!

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Team WTF Another Lap?!

Even though today I am sore, have two nice blisters on my feet and a sun-burnt face, I had so much fun yesterday! I could not be more pleased with the time I ran and how I was mentally during the whole race. The race itself was amazing and I highly recommend it for next year. I am so fortunate to be apart of such a great and supportive running community that could make 2.3 mile laps fun and enjoyable. And as always, I’m really lucky to have the Mr and twins come support anything I do! Now to continue with training for the big 26.2 next month at Shamrock!

Race splits per mile:

1-7:21
2-7:28
3-7:18
4-7:18
5-7:24
6-7:21
7-6:59
8-7:08
9-7:07
10-7:10
11-6:57
12-7:06
13-7:26
14-7:01
15-7:13
16-7:03
.2-6:43

Total time: 1:56:39 average pace 7:12 per mile

Biggest Training Week Yet: 70 Miles

I typically won’t blog about each training week and how the runs went. But this week I am going to so that I can look back and read this post when I feel like I can’t do something.

I ran 70 miles this past week and to say I’m pretty proud of myself is an understatement. That is the biggest milage week that I have ever ran in my life! I honestly wasn’t planning on running this high of milage until closer to the Shamrock Marathon but the week before was pretty low and I tried to somewhat offset it. Last week I only ran 39 miles and had two rest days. I went to do my intervals on Monday and it went so horrible. I was really down and my legs were just beat. I e-mailed, John, my coach and we decided to have the rest of the week just easy runs. I normally take one rest day during the week just whenever my body feels like I need one, so I took it on Tuesday to give my legs and mind a rest from the day before. Rest of the week I ran easy on the treadmill besides a 10 mile run outside with my good friend, Stephanie. I normally do my long runs super early Saturday mornings before I go to work, but the Mr. had work himself and was not going to be home in time to watch the kids. No biggie I figured I would do my long run on Sunday. That was the thought before I went to my work party for Running Etc. I work with amazing people and let’s just say I had a little too much fun. The long run on Sunday never happened 😁😳

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The Mr. and I at my work party

Since the Mr and I never get to go out anymore (blaming it all on the twins) I didn’t feel too bad about having a fun night while we had a babysitter..Thank you a million times again Kacee! Even though it was a great night, it messed up my training week. The Monday following I met Stephanie, who also missed her long run since she was at the party, too and we ran 14 miles together to somewhat offset the missed long run.

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Stephanie and I at the Running Etc work party

I sent my previous miles to John and he sent me back my weekly workouts. I don’t know if it was punishment for the week prior or if he thought he was funny thinking he was pulling one over on me, but when I calculated how many miles I was suppose to do for the week, my mouth dropped. “There is no way I can run 70 miles in a week!” was the first thought in my head. Then I quickly changed it around as a challenge to prove to myself that I really could do it. So this is what my past week looked like..

Monday- 14 miles at 8:03 pace

Tuesday- 2 mile warm-up, 5 x 3:35 minutes (roughly 1000 meters), 1 mile cool down on treadmill

Wednesday- 11 miles easy on treadmill

Thursday- 1 mile warm-up, 5 mile tempo, 1 mile cool down on treadmill

Friday- 4 miles at 8:18 pace

Saturday- 17 miles at 8:42 pace (in freezing cold rain)

Sunday- 11 miles at 7:58 pace

Total: 70 miles

Everyday after the 11 miles on the treadmill (Wednesday) the Mr told me how proud he was of me. Not that he didn’t think I could do it, but at how far I had come even from last month. At least 3 of those runs were done late in the evening when normally I would be too tired from the day and end up not running. But I was determined to prove to myself that I can run those miles and that I had nothing to be scared of. This week I turned over a big leaf in my head and in training. Even if I was asleep before 8:00pm on some night and up before 5:00am some mornings, I owned those runs and thankful I made the milage mistake last week. I’m also, thankful John pushed me even if he thought I was going to strongly dislike him..which I’ll be honest, I did some days! 😜

What is the biggest milage you have ever ran?

Do you have a training week you have been super proud of?

Shamrock Marathon Training

In one of my other posts, I mentioned that I was thinking of training to run my first full marathon. I’m still not too sure what I’ve gotten myself into..but I’m officially all signed up for the Shamrock Marathon put on by J&A Racing and in full swing of marathon training. Last week, I ran 7 days ending up with 53.5 miles for the week. This past week I ran 6 days ending up with 50 miles for the week. At first when I calculated this past weeks miles, I was at 49 miles and was about to go jump on my treadmill for one stinking mile. Then I remembered that I ran 1 mile with my 3 year old daughter on the track the other day so that totally counts towards my mileage!

Talking about my 3 year old running 1 mile, she totally shocked the Mr. and myself when she actually did that. This isn’t her first time running a mile, but it’s the first time that she did it constantly (with only stopping between each lap to get a quick drink and then kept going) and first time that I timed it. Her and my son wanted to run a lap so I started to time it and off everyone went.

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Her first lap time.

Well she wanted to keep going so I let her.

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My daughter and the Mr. running

The last lap, she wanted to walk a lot which was completely fine. I was just so amazed that a 3 year old could/wanted to run a mile but mainly that she didn’t want to give up and quit. Talk about learning something major from your child! She ended up running the mile in 12:32! What the what?! I may be biased (duh, I am) but that’s freaking fantastic! My son ended up doing 3 laps while being the best supporter for his sister and giving all he had, too! Proud parents of them both over here!!

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After she was so determined to finish the mile, it had me thinking about goals of my own. I don’t want to set goals for a whole year, so I decided to set goals for this marathon training cycle. Some will go beyond the training cycle of what I want as a person and runner, but all will apply currently. So here are some that I have come up with:

• Don’t take running for granted

• Run a freaking good marathon time (in all honesty, I have no doubt that I will/can complete a marathon. Even though it’s my first marathon, I still want a fast time. Closer to the race, I will have a more realistic goal time in mind.)

• Work on my running form by strengthening my hip flexors, standing up straighter with shoulders back, and dropping my arms by my hips when running

• Run a sub 19:00 5k

• Keep drinking lots of water

• Don’t rush progress

• Don’t compare myself to others

• Don’t give up

• Believe in myself

• Enjoy the journey

I’m really hoping as I start increasing my miles even more, that I can look at these goals and remember my daughter not wanting to quit to stay motivated to push on when it gets tough. I’m really excited to train and run my first full. But even more excited that I’m pushing myself to limits I’ve never done before.

Have you ran a full marathon before?

Any advice for me trying to run my first full marathon?

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Turkey Trot 10k Race Recap

Yesterday I ran our local Turkey Trot 10k race that many local runners and families do every year. The night before, the Mr had watch at work (military) and was going to meet me and the twins at the race. That morning it was cold but not too terrible like the year before. Not long after the twins and I got to the race, the Mr met us and they went to go get breakfast while I went to get my bib. I went and sat in my friend’s car and it started raining so I knew it was going to be colder. After a while I went out to do my warmup but cut it short to go change from shorts to tights for the race.

Once I got up to the start, I found some people I knew and chatted a bit before we went off. Going into the race my only expectation was trying to get a PR since my previous 10k PR was 41:18. I wasn’t nervous at all but was ready to race smart and give it my all. Another female who beat me at Crawling Crab (she ran a 1:27:xx) took off so I decided to sit on her hip and see how I felt. She probably thought I was so annoying because I ended up sitting on her hip the entire race. Every time I thought about picking it up, she was picking it up herself and the pace was perfect for me. The first mile flew by, but I decided not to look at my watch during the race so I have no idea what we ran. The second and third mile came slowly and honestly I would have normally dropped back because I was feeling uncomfortable. But every time she would pull a little bit away, I reminded myself that races aren’t suppose to feel comfortable and I would get back on her hip.

We turned into Mt Trashmore park to mile 4 and I saw some friends that encouraged me and I knew I could hang on. Mile 5 came quick. I was uncomfortable but wasn’t dying Mentally I was really strong and kept pushing. When we turned out of the park onto the road again, I saw the finish line and the 6 mile marker up ahead. She picked up the pace and I went with her while starting to dry heave. I kept telling myself it was almost over and to take deep breaths to calm down. At the 6 mile marker, I saw the Mr and the twins and knew now was the time to go if I had anything left. I got off her hip and gave it my all. I ended up passing her and finishing at 39:37..a new PR!! I was so excited and still am! I was also super excited they had Kristy Kreme doughnuts afterwards for the runner! 🙂 I feel like each race that I am doing, I’m learning more about myself and how hard I actually can push it physically and mentally. I ended up getting 6th female overall and 2nd in my age group.

After the race, I thanked her for getting me a huge PR and we talked about how fun that race was. The past 3 races that I’ve done, I’ve PRed in all of them (the 5k, 10k, and half marathon). Now that is something I’m really thankful for! And also that the Mr and twins stood out in the cold rain to watch me race. ☺️ Hope everyone else had a great Thanksgiving!!

Virginia Running Festival Half Marathon Race Recap

Here it is! A race post I’ve been wanting to write for some time now. One of my goals this year was to be sub 1:30 for the half marathon. After the Crawling Crab Half not going to plan, I would be lying if I didn’t doubt myself. But yesterday, that doubt changed.

Earlier in the week, Running Etc gave us our new race singlets. If you want to talk about feeling like a pro, that’s what this race singlet does!

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So I was already excited to get to wear this during the Virginia Running Festival Half Marathon (or now being named Massive Medal Half Marathon for you guessed it..its massive medal you get at the finish line). I wasn’t able to pick up my packet before the race since it was on the other side of the water in Newport News, so we had to be there around 5:30 to get my bib before the 7am start. Talk about having a dedicated husband and kids that got up super early to support me at my race and drive out there with me (thank you)! After I got my bib, I had time to hang out in the car with the Mr and kids before I went to do my 2 mile warm-up. The race started and finished on Christopher Newport University’s campus so I decided to do my warmup all around the campus.

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Picture of some of the campus during warmup. Pretty campus!

I lined up at the start towards the front and noticed a few other fast looking women towards the front, too. You know, always having to size up the competition 🙂 Once we started, I decided to stay off behind the 1:30 pace group for the first 3 miles. I did this because I always feel like it takes me a little while to get warmed up in races and I was trying to race smarter during this race unlike Crawling Crab. One female was already way in front and two more in the 1:30 group. After we passed the 3 mile mark, I started picking up the pace to get into the group and told myself I would be passed them by mile 4. Before mile 4, I was in front of the group and saw two other males really far up ahead but did not see the other female. I told myself I would start trying to close in on the males and hopefully see the other female not long after.

Mile 5 came and there was a water stop where all the volunteers said I was 1st female. I thought that was not right and knew they just missed the 1st girl that had already passed. I tuned down a street and immediately knew this street that I had been down once before in my life. At the beginning of last year, I traveled down this street to purchase my double Bob stroller to mark the start of my running. I used that thought and memory to push me through that solo mile which I would remain by myself for much of the rest of the race. I turned down a somewhat gravel road with lots of potholes that I had to jump over a few. Down this road was a turn around and I saw the lead guys pass by me, where one of them cheered saying I was first female. That’s when I knew I was in 1st place and had no idea what had happened to the other female. I did the turn around myself and got some big confidence in knowing I was in 1st (later found out the lead female got taken a different direction by a bike). As I was passing back by the other runners, I got lots of cheers with me giving thumbs up similar to this one to them

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Picture cred: The Mr. after mile 1

I was still trying to close in the gap with the two males ahead of me, but they were holding a great pace and every time I felt like I was gaining, I still wasn’t catching them. We did another turn around by mile 9 and that’s when I saw a female closing in the gap on me. I tried picking up the pace to get more of a gap between myself and her, but my legs were getting heavy and turning cold. My breathing was fine besides one time I started to feel like I was getting a cramp, I surged for 1 minute and then it was gone. I hit a downhill pretty strong and once I went up the immediate uphill, I could feel her and two other men much closer. Around mile 11 they were right up on me and I gave it my all to get my legs moving faster to either stay right in front or go with them since they were coming up fast. Pretty sure it was at mile 12 that I couldn’t hold on and they were getting faster. With about a half mile to go, she even dropped the guys and went ahead of them. I pushed as much as I could knowing it was almost over. The finish line ended on the CNU track after having to run a little bit on the track. As I was getting on the track, the lead female was finishing and I heard the Mr and twins cheering me on. I’m not even sure if I sprinted or was just moving my arms a little bit faster but I heard them call my name (which is always interesting to see how they say my last name) and I looked at the clock. 1:29:3x. Holy Moly I’m getting a PR! As soon as I crossed, they tried to put a medal around my neck but I declined because there was no way I could handle the weight from the medal around my neck (it’s Huge and Heavy!) I quickly saw the Mr where he gave me a huge hug and all I said was, “I just got a f*cking PR!” Whoops sorry kids! I was so excited that I can finally run a sub 1:30 half marathon and that I got a PR plus first time placing in Overall for the half marathon! My official time and new PR is a 1:29:38!

This race taught me so much about myself. It taught me that I can achieve my goals, that I can run alone and mentally still be strong, that I can be one of the lead runners in a longer race and that I do belong up there, and that I am making progress. I have so many people that believe in me and know that I can/will run much faster which I am so very thankful for! When looking at the big picture of running my first half marathon last year in 1:34:36 and now running one in 1:29:38, I cannot be more proud of myself of the progress I have made. I am so excited for much more progress to come and definitely still on my cloud 9 from yesterday! Now to start planning my 2015 goals that just might include running my first full marathon! 😀

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Pictures from after the race with the twins and getting my award and prize

US Navy Birthday 5k Race Recap

The weekend after the Crawling Crab Half Marathon, we went to go celebrate my mother-in-laws 50th birthday in the Smoky Mountains. I was looking forward to this trip for many reasons: family time, celebrations, vacation, a small break from running (mentally and physically), and because the Smoky Mountains are one of my favorite places in the world especially in the fall. I knew I wanted to run some while we were there just because of how beautiful it is but I wasn’t going to make the trip all about my running. Family comes first to me no matter what and the weekend wasn’t about me, it was about my M.I.L. and family time. So two out of the four days we were there, I was able to get in 4.5 miles one day

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Views from my run on that day

And the next day, my father-in-law and myself went up into the mountains to Cades Cove to run on some of the trails. My F.I.L. is coming off of an ankle injury so we only went 3 miles

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Views from the mountain run

I needed this trip and these beautiful views just to take a step back and refresh. It was such a fun trip but between the junk food, alcohol and travel, my training runs last week were harder than I expected. This past Saturday before work I did a 21 miler with Andrea and felt like things were starting to get back on track from before the trip. Sunday, I planned on running but between the pumpkin patch with Jake and the twins and of course carving them with cooking chili and watching football, I decided not to run since I was planning to race the following morning.

So onto today, race morning. My friend and coworker at Running Etc. very kindly agreed to pace me for the U.S. Navy Birthday 5k which was held at Oceana Naval Air Station on the runway where the U.S. Navy jets takes off. Since the race was on Monday morning at 8am, I was going to have the twins with me. So another great and kind friend, Marie Price, agreed to push the twins during the race for me. I picked Drew up and got on base to sign up for the race. Met up with Marie to pass off the twins and went to do a warm up. During the race, I wanted to worry about nothing so I did exactly as Drew said and was not going to be wearing a watch. We jogged for a bit and did a few pick ups before the start of the race. I asked about taking a GU and he said not to and I asked about wearing arm sleeves since it was pretty chilly and he said no. So I listened to exactly as he said. We put on our racing flats and lined up to the start where the whole race was on the runway where we would be lead by a vehicle.

Not long after we started, it was a guy in first, then Drew, then myself and it stayed that way the whole race. The first mile I was feeling good and tried to zone out and just run. Drew said that we just passed the 1 mile and that surprised me at how quickly that came up. My split for that mile was 6:05 (Drew’s Garmin). The second mile I slowed down a bit and he told me to make my strides shorter. During this mile my mind was starting to wander and I kept telling myself to stop thinking and just run. My split for mile 2 was 6:12. He yelled back that we only had one mile to go and I thought that I could do this. I tried turning my legs over and really push through. Normally at this point, I’m dry heaving but today was different. I was hurting but not needing to slow down to try not to throw up. We turned and I saw the finish line where the first place guy crossed in 19:00. I was disappointed that I wasn’t going to be getting in the 18:xx but still so happy that I knew I was going to PR by a lot since my previous PR was 19:36. Drew let me go on and he got off course so he wouldn’t take someone else’s award since he was solely there to pace me. I crossed the line at 19:16..a 20 second PR!! The last mile was in 6:13. To say I was happy is an understatement!

The main reason for doing this race was to get confidence and seeing that I could actually race. I couldn’t have done it without Drew and Marie which I cannot thank enough! I got some confidence especially knowing I got a PR two days after running 21 miles and mentally I know I can go faster hopefully next time.

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My next race is another half marathon next month that I’m determined to keep my confidence going.

Crawling Crab Half Marathon Race Recap

This post is very bittersweet. It’s bitter because this race did not go at all how I had planned but it’s sweet because it was still a great race.

Training leading up to the Crawling Crab Half Marathon was great! This was my first time training where I actually put in all of the work and took it seriously. I didn’t get injured, only had a small mental and leg exhaustion and truly enjoyed the training. I felt so great about this race going into it that I put big expectations on myself. My PR in the half is 1:30:20 that I got last fall. During that race I got a huge 4 and 1/2 minute PR after starting to train with my coach, John. That training cycle wasn’t so great. I wouldn’t run all my runs, had many mental breakdowns and some aches and pains in my legs, too. I understand it takes years to base build and I’m working on not much base, but with the times I have been hitting in my training runs, I set the bar high at trying to run another huge PR of 1:25:xx or somewhere pretty darn close.

Yesterday, I woke up to do my pre race routine, which is the same as my long run routine; eat one piece of whole wheat toast with crunchy peanut butter, one banana, and start drinking some water while getting dressed. Jake, the twins, and I set out to the other side of the water, (Hampton) and the weather could not have been more perfect on race day. We got there early for me to go pick up my race number and meet up with one of my training partners, who is also coached by John, Yoko, to do 1-2 miles warmup. We talked about how perfect the day was and felt warmed up so went to the bathroom one last time before getting to the start line. I switched out my shoes to racing flats and did a couple of pickups before lining up next to Yoko. I was feeling good and ready to race.

The countdown came quick and off we went. The lead female, who ended up winning the race, went out quick by herself. The next group of females was myself, Yoko, and another female. For the first mile we clocked it off in 6:24. It was 6 seconds faster than what I had planned, but I also had a mindset that if I went out with the top group, I wouldn’t back off pace like how I didn’t in the Seashore Half Marathon. I missed where mile 2 was so I didn’t see the split for that mile and then the 5k point came up and I crossed right at 20:00 flat. I wasn’t hurting too bad and felt that this could be the perfect race. Until I got a huge side cramp in my right side that I tried to push away. Slowly, Yoko sped up and left me and the other female behind. I was in a ton of pain and was having to hunch over while trying to run. I was about to pull out of the race then I saw my friend and another training partner, Andrea, who pushes a stroller for Team Hoyt and I told her I was struggling. She helped me tremendously by telling me to switch up my breathing and to calm down. I listened to her and tried my best to get it to go away. It took the next few miles to get it under control. I kept telling myself I still had a long way to go and could make up for it. Even though I was telling myself that, I don’t know if I actually believed it. Along with the side issue, I never felt like my legs were warming up.

Somewhere around mile 7, I saw Drew who works at Running Etc with me. He started running with me and asking how I was doing. I told him terrible and he asked what I needed. I took some water from him and actually enjoyed that part of the course just having someone to run with. After that, I tried to do some surges around the curves just to hopefully pick up the pace again. But once again I was getting pain in my side and was switching up my breathing. The last couple of miles came up and I was so thankful this race was almost over. I swore I was never going to run again many times during the last few miles. I had 1 mile left and I just kept saying it was almost over, one foot in front of the other. I made the last turn towards the finish line and tried to muster up any extra speed I had. I crossed the line in 1:30:33. I had never felt that bad after a finish before and I’ll be the first to say that I think the biggest part that hurt the worst was my pride.

I saw Jake and the twins and did everything I could to hold it together. I told him I wanted to go and as soon as I got to the car, the tears started coming. He asked me why I was so upset and the only thing I could say was that I had just put so much time and effort into my training before I started crying more. I honestly cannot remember the last time I cried after a game or race (which I’m sure others could tell me) and it just simply sucked. He reminded me that he knows I can do better and today was just a crap day. He also pointed out that I was only 13 seconds off my PR and that any other day I could smash it. I, of course, didn’t want to listen right then even though he was right. Once we got home, I get a call from Stephanie and her first thing she asks me is, “What happened?”. After talking to her and getting a pep talk along with her being honest with me about my experience (which I’m so thankful for a friend who can understand the disappointment and can tell me how it is instead of just saying good job) I started to feel better. Then I got a message from Kris saying that if I ran a 1:30 half on a bad day, then that shows how strong I am getting. That sunk in deep and made me have a whole new look on this race. She was completely right that on a bad day, I was only 13 seconds off of my current PR. On a good day, I will have a new PR no problem. I’m also, thinking the side cramp was actually a little strain as my right middle ab is very sore and tender today. But who knows because I’m definitely not a doctor.

As much as I swore off running during that race, I’m still going to put on my running shoes today to do my workout. I am proud that even on a bad day for me, I still ran an awesome time. And I am so beyond thankful for the numerous people around me who believe in me and can pick me up when I was down on myself. I am far from done with my running. I am just beginning.