Tag Archives: beginning running

Throwback Thursday – My First Half Marathon

I had run a 10K back in 10/2013, and it was then I decided I would start training for a half marathon.  I was aiming for the Lake Sammamish Half for March, but after a little discussion with The Motivator, we decided my first half should be Rock ‘N’ Roll Seattle, 6/21/2014.

A month before RNR Seattle, we ran RNR Portland, with me running the 10K and James the half.  I remember during that race watching all the people make the turnoff to continue on with the half and thinking, “Oh how the hell am I going to pull this off in Seattle.  I’m already knackered.  I can’t imagine running another 6 miles.”

Pre-Seattle race, I remember being a basket case.  The nerves were out of this world.  And the RNR events are huge, so the amount of people that were there freaked me out as well.  But everyone else looked so calm.  Thankfully James stayed with me for as long as he could so I wouldn’t bail (lol, kidding).

It probably took me about 5 miles in before I relaxed.

The course was gorgeous (and super hilly), and I felt privileged to be able to run in areas I wouldn’t normally get to see.  Back then I didn’t carry my phone with me, just my iPod for music.  So, no pictures.  I made a mental note to carry a camera with me on the next race.  This was before blogging, so that didn’t happen.  There are a lot of races I missed out on taking pictures, and I’ve seen some amazing sights.  It’s also one of the reasons why I’m running the 50 states… for the sights.  Everyone else chases PRs… I’m there for aesthetics, lol.

And I’ll never forget the feeling of accomplishment I had when I finally crossed the finish line.  There is nothing that compares to it.  It’s why I’m addicted to racing… and, oh yeah, the bling.

I have since run 10 more half marathons and am now training for my first full.  I can imagine the above feelings are going to be escalated out of the stratosphere.

  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13

For The Newbie Runner…

The infamous shaving incident

I’m the one with the cotton ball-looking things around my neck. I have no idea what my mother was thinking.

I come from an era when everyone had to do the Presidential Physical Fitness Test twice a year in PE. Remember that?!  I hated and dreaded it!  I was always last in the run part of the test, and at those crucial times in a child’s life, it can be humiliating.  My last year of PE was when I was in the 11th grade and I signed up for the weight class because I hated everything else… volleyball, softball, basketball.  I am not a natural-born athlete.  But I discovered I could lift weights. And I could do aerobics and Jazzercise. One of my grades in weights was figuring out an aerobics routine and teaching it to the class (yes, this was in the middle of the aerobics boom).  I nailed it, and the coach even told me that I was good at it.  I was chuffed.  But I digress…

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My sister Angela (left) and me; I was 15.

Even in weight class, we had to do that stupid physical fitness test, you know, the one with the running.  I couldn’t even make it around the track once without walking half of it.  I was tired of being humiliated, so I worked all year long on trying to get around that track without having to stop and walk, and I worked on trying to speed up.  I did this after school or whenever I could get to the track to practice.  By the end of the year when the test came, I made it around the track without walking.  I was still last, but I made it around that stupid track. I considered the run a success.

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Fast forward to now.  I’m closer to 50 than 40, and I am a runner.  I’m also in my 2nd year of racing.  And I go out and give it my all.  And I am not fast… although I am faster than I was last year.  And that’s so very encouraging and positive.  I see progress.  And I’ve just begun.

I read other blogs of newbie runners, too.  A lot of newbies (including me) struggle with how slow they run.  Sometimes it even discourages them… “Why do this?  I’m not going to get any better.  It’s never going to get any easier.  I’m so slow.” I want to tell you that you will get better, it will get easier, and you will get faster.  You just have to have patience and put in the effort if you really want to become a faster runner. Sometimes it’s discouraging to be slow, I know, but keep at it.  Your pace will come down, and with it, you will become more fit, or vice-versa.  Running has brought me a sense of good will, good health, empowerment, control, a major sense of accomplishment.  And I think it’s all worth it.  You will too.

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Me just before Thursday’s Turkey Trot, my 13th race.

Weekly Wrap – Redmond Turkey Trot

I’m linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap!

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Maui Half-Marathon Training, Week 6

Not a good week for training.  Power outages, massive wind storms, rain, freezing weather… I pretty much just kept my legs loosened up for the 5K Turkey Trot on Saturday.  I think I’ll just get right to that…

Inaugural Redmond Turkey Trot 

Woke up on Saturday at a much earlier time than I do during the week (only for a race, right?!). Weather conditions were freezing and clear… and I do mean freezing.

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The start of the race was in the middle of Redmond Town Center, Redmond, WA.

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We picked up our race packets nice and early, took a couple of photos, then went back to the car to stay warm (especially as one of us was racing in shorts, of all things… hint: it wasn’t me).

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Just wait until you take those track pants off, Jamesy.

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The fountain froze along the outside edge.

We managed to snag a couple of hand warmers from a booth, which didn’t actually help the freezing fingers any, but it was nice being warm somewhere even if it was just the palms of my hands.  They decided to start the race a couple of minutes early, which was fine with us as everyone was jumping around trying to keep the blood flowing.  And James was in shorts!

I’m not used to running in such extreme conditions, so it was kind of breathtaking.  Literally.  I thought my lungs were going to freeze up with every breath I took.  I didn’t regain feeling in my lips and face until after mile 1 somewhere.  Everything was uncomfortably numb.

I was aiming for a 40-minute time goal (it’s perfectly alright that I’m slower than most, I’m okay with that), so I didn’t stop to take any pictures of the course.  It was a nice running trail, mostly flat, next to a river or a stream (that I didn’t drink out of), and in places it was a little bit icy.  I tiptoed very carefully through the icy parts.

James finished his race quickly, then came back to pace me the last half-mile or so.  It was nice being able to trod along with him.  He talked the whole entire time, and I listened; and for those who aren’t runners, that means I was running just hard enough that I was not able to carry on a conversation.  James veered off just as I “entered the finish chute.”  (There wasn’t an actual chute, just a nice red brick path in which to “bring it on home.“)

Unfortunately, I didn’t make my 40 minutes, I finished in about 44.  BUT, the good news is that, according to my watch and Garmin Connect and Strava and Nike+, I had 6 personal records.  I’m very, very pleased with how the race went and with my time and with how much effort I put into it.  It’s proof positive that I’m getting better and faster as time goes on.  All it takes is practice (and a whole lot of patience… oh, and hard work, can’t forget the hard work).

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James had a stellar performance.  He had never done a 5K before (a few marathons, but never a 5K, go figure), so his was a given PR.  He managed to place 2nd in his age group.  You can read his awesome race report here.  He finished in 23:16 and won a pie.  A freaking pie.  So awesome.  And so tasty.

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Shorts and pie!

Afterwards, we headed off for our celebratory breakfast.  We did have to change out of our race gear first. We were in the parking garage of the Redmond Town Center, and I crawled into the back of our Honda CRV with the hatchback and changed my clothes.  Have you ever changed your clothes in such a tiny confined space?!  Let me rephrase that… have you ever tried to get out of a sports bra in such a tiny confined space?!  James held up a towel to shield me from the peeping toms.

We had breakfast at The Commons, just outside of Woodinville.  They didn’t have my pancakes and bacon, so I went with biscuits and gravy… the next best thing.

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It was a fabulous day, tons of fun, a great race with great results, a great breakfast, and great company!  While this was not an official “race-cation,” this was a wonderful “race date.”  Next up for us is the Mukilteo Turkey Trot this Thursday.  James is doing the 10K, aiming for a PR, and I’m doing the 5K, still aiming for my 40 minutes.

And what makes this all worth it?  Why, it’s all about the bling, of course!  Happy Running!

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Join Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k 2015

I’m up for this challenge!!  Who else in the running, walking, wogging community is up for it?!

Automatticians, members of the WordPress community, and bloggers around the world come together for our annual run.

Source: Join Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k 2015

Week 7 done… 5 weeks to go! Lovely Jubbly!

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Got milk? My standard post-run recovery drink!

It’s not been too bad of a week for running, just coming off a race and all.  I only ran twice mid-week because, let’s face it, the hills from last Sunday… well, we’ll just say I needed a bit of recovery in there (ouchie!).  And then my most favorite of runs today, the dreaded LSR… today… 9 miles… today… ugh.

Actually, the run didn’t start off so bad.  I’ve gotten some great inspiration from other bloggers, so I was pumped and ready to tackle it head on.  I even chose the dreaded hill route for my first 5 miles because, dang it, I want to get strong for my upcoming half. I’m happy to say I nailed that beast!  I also switched my run/walk interval times as a way to improve my overall time (run more, walk less), and I nailed that as well!  And I also took the “mind over matter” approach… I completely ignored any type of typical running pain I felt and just ran through it.  Even that worked for me!

But then I hit mile 7.  It was as if my body said, “Oh screw you… if you’re not going to pay attention to how I feel, I’m going to stop cooperating.”  At which point I promptly felt every ache down to the core of my bones.  All of a sudden, I felt how bad my feet hurt, how bad every bone in my body hurt, the pain my joints, the fatigue in my legs.  My toenails even hurt!  My ponytail was all of a sudden too tight!  And I couldn’t freaking catch my breath.

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This is not a sunrise or sunset picture. The orange haze is from the fires that are burning up our state. Makes air quality very poor.

Now, to give you a little insight, Washington state is in the midst of a whole bunch of wildfire crises.  About 165 miles NE of where I live, the little town of Twisp has all but burnt to the ground.  Three firefighters lost their lives fighting this fire last Wednesday.  And the air quality is horrendous, all the way down to Seattle.  The air kept getting thicker and thicker the longer I ran.  As I wasn’t mentally prepared for this, my subconscious fought me really hard and actually broke me.  I couldn’t breathe properly, and once I “felt” I couldn’t breathe properly, the rest of me shut down.  I fought it for a long time, about a mile and a half, but it won in the end.  I ended up only doing 8.5 miles and was terribly sore afterwards.

I didn’t realize how much of a mental struggle that actually was until The Motivator and I analyzed it, because I was so strong in my run for so long.  But my mind found one little thing to focus on, my breathing, and took that opportunity to shut me down.  It’s kind of amazing how that works, isn’t it.  The mind is a powerful thing, don’t underestimate it.  When they say “running long distances is a mental game,” it truly is.  I gave in this time, but I won’t be fooled again.

Another clue as to how this was all mental on my part… James ran 17 miles today no problem, breathing in the thick smoky air way more than me, and he lived to tell about it.  He’s got the mental thing down pat… I still have a bit to learn.  I’ll get there.

I leave you with one last thought… when running long distances, please don’t forget the Body Glide or Vaseline!  But if you do, make sure no one is in the house to hear you scream when you take your shower!

Have a great week!  Next up… 10 miles!!  (Will she live to talk about it?!)

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Hmmm, according to Garmin Connect, I actually did do 9.4 miles. I’ll take it!

Bridge of the Gods Run Video

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At the beginning of the race, there was a little drone high up in the sky to which we all waved.  Following is the video that the drone made.  If you want to see the beginning of the race and what it was like to cross that bridge, have a look.  The video is about 4 minutes long.  If Bridge of the Gods is something you will want to do in the future, or if you need a little inspiration to get pumped for your next race, this will help.  There’s something about watching a crowd of people leave the start line that gets my blood moving.  The drone narrows in on some people walking across the bridge… I can guarantee you I was not one of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Running, Weight Loss, and Taco Tuesday!

slow-progress-is-still-progressI did not want to get up this morning.  I did not want to run this morning.  But I did.  And I’m better off for it.  It added extra calories to My Fitness Pal for my overall consumption, to which I could then indulge tonight with… yes, you guessed it… tacos!!

However, back to the morning run… again I was filled with all sorts of negativity about my running and progress. How am I ever going to reach my goal pace by September?  I’m at a standstill and can’t seem to go any faster.  What am I going to do to get faster?  I never mentioned these nagging thoughts to my husband though.  When he came home from work tonight and we recapped our day’s events, he must have sensed I needed a little pick-me-up.  He said something that related to everything I was thinking this morning… “Don’t worry about your pace. You keep running like this, and it will eventually go down.  Even if it’s not until next year, it will go down.”  Ahhhh, good point.  Eventually it will go down.  While I wish I could run as fast as he can, I can’t, and to be honest, I don’t think I will ever be able to run that fast, but I do have hope that I will one day cross the finish line in the middle of the crowd, not in the back.  Thanks for the encouragement, hunny bunny… I needed that.

My very first half marathon, Rock and Roll Seattle, 2014

My very first half marathon, Rock and Roll Seattle, 2014

On another up note for today, I can officially say that I have beat that Stoopid Scale.  Since I began with the My Fitness Pal app back in May, as of this week, I have solidly lost 10 pounds. That’s 10 pounds in about 2-1/2 months.  Slow going, but it’s a solid loss and it ain’t coming back.  You can see how much I don’t sit on my posterior, and I take in a healthy 1300 to 1600 calories per day.  I eat rubbish like quinoa, wheatberries, flax seed, sweet potatoes, and whole wheat pasta for my carb loads, and I eat a ton of protein.  While I won’t give into the low-carb fad, I do occasionally skip carbs in the evening and just have veggies and protein.  I usually always have some type of dessert, be it a pudding pack with whip cream, a Skinny Cow Ice Cream, or a slice of pound cake with whip cream (nothing more than 100 calories), and I always have a happy hour celebration on Friday night.  I don’t and won’t miss out on anything.  Been there, done that, ain’t doing it again.  Anyway… time to move forward and focus on the next 10 pounds!!

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Training plan for Boise… OMG. Half-way through it.

 

I have just begun my 6th week of training for Boise.  Will I progress enough to hit my original goal?  Or will I have to wait until the Maui Half in January to reap the benefits of my hard work? Time will tell… but for now… it’s Taco Time!!

Week 5 training… done!

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I’ve kept a little diary of what I did and how I have felt during each run this past week.

Tuesday:  3 miles.  After getting home from Boise on Monday, I was looking forward to being out in “normal” temperatures (for me), and I was not disappointed.  Thank you, Boise, for kicking my ass and making me appreciate what I have.  Had a great run!  Still knocking off seconds from my average overall pace… about 5 to be exact.  I felt great and, instead of keeping track of how far I’ve gone, I kept track of my intervals, concentrating only on what I was doing right then and right there.  Running in the moment, so to speak.  I knew my route, I knew how long it was, so having to concentrate only on running (and my music) was a good thing.  It helped.

Wednesday:  4 miles.  I only made it 3-1/2.  I ran one particular hilly loop that I thought would get me 4, but I was wrong.  Not my best run ever.  I’m getting tired of hills, but they’re all around me, so I have to suck it up.  I was tired when I woke up this morning, but I got up and got out, that’s most important.  Consistency and perseverance… words to live by.  Too many negative thoughts as well.  And I need to focus more on my intervals, not my overall pace.  8 miles this Sunday, yikes.  I’ve got some major mental work to do before then.  The positive I can take from this?  It’s so beautiful in the morning, I love being out in it and getting my day started this way.

Thursday:  Cross train.  Haha, yeah right.  🙂

You can't see it that well, but this is a spider web.  My job first thing in the morning is to walk or run through every single web that I can so I can clear the path for other runners and walkers.

You can’t see it that well, but this is a spider web. My job first thing in the morning is to walk or run through every single one that I can in order to clear the path for other runners and walkers.

Friday:  3 miles.  Nailed it!  Took another 16 seconds off my average pace.  16 x 3 = 48, so that’s almost a minute off my total time… and every last minute counts (this is my thought process on how I show myself that, yes, little by little I am getting faster).  I also received a text early on from The Motivator (on my handy dandy new watch), “Go go go!!  Visualize… happy hour!”  Yep, that got me going!  Looking forward to happy hour tonight!!

Saturday:  Rest.  Oh yes I did!!

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These posts signify the halfway point for an 8-mile run. They’re a very important landmark when you feel like you’re about to die.

Sunday:  8 miles.  Holy cow.  I don’t remember 8 miles being this hard before.  I felt good and strong in the beginning, but at mile 4, I drank some Gatorade (low sugar kind), which I never do because it gives me a stomachache when I run, but I thought I would try that as opposed to an S-Cap to replete my electrolytes.  And I don’t know if it was the Gatorade or not, but at mile 6.5, I started feeling nauseous.  I never feel nauseous when I run.  This was a brand new feeling. WTH?  I did stop and walk until the feeling passed.  Why is the body always coming up with really stupid stuff to slow you down?  Regardless, compared to last year, Strava says I’m trending faster.  I wasn’t overly impressed with the outcome and was relatively disappointed, but I can look at the bright side… I get to do it all over again next week.

The Motivator:  His training plan makes mine look like a walk in the park.  Monday was 5 miles, Tuesday was 8 miles (to which he barely broke a sweat), Wednesday was 6, Thursday was 5 miles of intervals (but his intervals are run fast and run faster), Friday was a rest day, Saturday was a quick 5, and today, Sunday, was a sweet 16, for a total of 45 miles this past week.  Oh my. Guess I need to suck it up and just deal with my training plan because it could be a heck of a lot worse!!

Next weekend, James has a half-marathon for which he’s registered, The Bridge of the Gods in Oregon.  It will be a fun little getaway, but I have to figure out how to fit another 8 miler in there somewhere.  It’ll work itself out, it always does.  Maybe I’ll sign up for the 10K just to get the run in… 🙂

Have a fabulous week!

Week 4 training… done! Yowsa!

I have to say, going to Boise definitely presented all kinds of challenges with the running plan this weekend!  The constant go-go-go can leave one feeling exhausted, not to mention all the mileage The Motivator talked me into running!  I ended the weekend with what was supposed to be a quick 3-miler on Sunday (the day after my 7-mile run on Saturday).  However, I only had it in me to complete 2-1/2.  The Boise heat and the sun… total energy zappers!  I was feeling pretty grim about it until The Motivator told me was having the same issues.  He did manage to run 5 miles on Sunday (the day after his long run too), but it was a very hard 5 miles thanks to the aforementioned heat and sun.

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The run on Sunday was along this greenbelt in Nampa, ID.

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A great excuse to take a walk break… ducks!!

We’re back home now at sea level in a nice normal temperature (it’s all of 64 degrees F right now, ahhhhh).  I’m looking forward to starting my week 5 training in the morning with a nice cool run in the 50s.  This next week I’ll be running 3-4-3 and then a big 8 next Sunday!  Again, at least I’ll be cool, and what doesn’t kill us (like that freaking heat) makes us stronger, right?!

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On the up note, during our quick trip down south, James and I stopped at an REI in Kennewick, WA.  Looky what he bought me!  I have a super wonderful husband indeed! After the numerous syncing and re-syncing issues we had with it, I think it’s finally working properly and living up to its hype! I have it linked to Garmin Connect, Strava, My Fitness Pal, my email, my texts, my music, my weather, and my elevation!  I also have it set for intervals!  Brilliant!  If it weren’t for this brand new watch, I’m thinking my 7-miler and 2.5-miler probably wouldn’t have happened this weekend.  One thing’s for sure… he does know how to motivate me.  🙂

Boise Trial Run

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These are the only trees I saw in the “City of Trees.”

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Grandma Sheila and Grandpa Rick

James and I are visiting Boise for the weekend, picking up our child who just spent a week with his grandparents, which in turn gave us the perfect opportunity to do a trial run for the Fit One race happening in September.  It is hot and dry here compared to where we live, so we had a very early start this morning (5:30 Idaho time/4:30 Washington time).  James and I ran with his dad Rick, and Rick’s running partner and friend, Roberta.  We ended up running the Boise River Greenbelt.

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Rick and Roberta had 6.2 miles to complete, I had 7, and James had about 15.  I had my normal pre-run breakfast of tea, but I decided on a Honey Stinger Waffle instead of GU as my miles are increasing.  The Honey Waffles are fabulous!

The first couple of miles went along well for me according to Strava and Garmin, but then I hit the 3rd mile, the sun came out, and it got hot, hot, hot.  That was when I realized I left my S-Cap in the truck.  If you’re not familiar, S-Caps are a combination of sodium, potassium, and magnesium.  They’re great to take when you are running in very hot conditions and are sweating a lot.  They keep your electrolytes in check.  They also help with any potential cramping issues you may have during long runs.

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Anyway, no S-Cap, 80 degrees with intense sun rays… I felt hot, tired, and doomed.  We also felt the elevation was wreaking havoc with our run… James and I train at sea level, and Boise is at 2704 feet.  Didn’t realize how much of a difference a couple thousand feet make.  James and I both struggled with our runs today, but we completed them.  It may not have been anything pretty (well, James’ run was still pretty, they always are), but we got them done and we got a taste of what we’re up against in September.  Regardless of today’s run results, Fit One Boise is a great event, lots of fun, and I’m still going to enjoy every minute of it!

As for Rick and Roberta who actually live in Boise… they made great time and had a great run, even if this was the furthest my father-in-law has ever run… so far.

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Roberta, Rick, James

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And how was your day?

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