Running Out of Craziness

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Training for a half

I started training for a half marathon 7 weeks ago. I used Smart Coach to get a training plan that made sense. My easy runs have been faster than it says they should be, but otherwise I’m following it to the T. Well, mostly.

I didn’t think I would be able to run longer distances quite so easily. Today was my first 5 mile run (actually ended up being 5.2 m). I was slower than I was supposed to be but, probably because of it, it felt effortless. I never thought I would call a 5 mile run “effortless”.

Again, I was slower than usual, but I wasn’t winded or struggling through it. If my feet didn’t hurt, I could’ve done 2 more miles easy. It’s pretty amazing to me to think about how far I’ve gone in this journey already. From struggling to run just 30 seconds to an effortless 5 mile run.  It blows my mind.

Few things are quite as good as surprising one self.

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2013 running goals

My running goals for 2013 are not what I expected… When I started running and people said “you’ll be running a half/full marathon in no time!” I would laugh. Come on! I enjoy running, but that’s crazy. Masochistic even!

But turns out I’m really enjoying this. After the Tri I started running again, and I fell for it all over again. So now I’m training for a half. And not only that, I already picked out TWO halfs to run next year. Which is still crazy to me, because I’m not even sure I can do one, but I’m already excited about the second one. True to form, I’m running out of craziness.

My first half will be the Shamrock Half in Virginia Beach, VA. Looks like an easy, flat, coastal half, and there’s beer. Sounds pretty ideal to me. That one is on March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day, hence the beer)

The second is the Rock n Roll half, also in Virginia Beach. Live music to cheer you on? Yes, please.

I also want to do the Sprint Outer Banks Triathlon, we’ll see if I can get enough swim time to be ready for it.

I’m also running the same 2 5Ks I ran this year, the First Flight 5K and the Cupcake 5K. I’m hoping to improve my time on those.

We’ll see what else I add to the list later on…

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My first team Tri

The Tri was fenomenal. But also, so hard. But because of that, so satisfying. It’s kind of a crazy whirlwind of emotions…

My teammates were awesome. We all had individual goals and we all met them. My goal was to finish in under one hour, which I did.

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It was a nice day, but as time went by it was getting windier. Since I had to go across the bridge, I was a little concerned. But when it was time to get on my bike and I started pedaling I decided to wait and see, not worry until I hit the bridge and take it from there.

I pace myself as a way to make sure I have enough energy to finish the distance, so I wasn’t particularly fast at first, but I was consistent. Lots of people passed me, I only managed to pass one or two people. Made it to the bridge and it wasn’t too bad. I could feel the wind on my side, so I was feeling confident that we were in luck and the wind wouldn’t hit me straight on. Once I made it past the hill on the bridge, I was feeling pretty good, “I got this” attitude full fledged.

When I made it to the turn around point I was happy and smiling at the volunteers that were there. Until one of them, a kid, screamed while cheering on: “into the wind!”  I smiled back at first and nodded, then I realized the first part hadn’t been into the wind, what could he mean by that? And that’s when I felt it. What felt like a brick wall of wind against my face. You’ve got to be kidding me! Still being positive, I looked ahead at the angle the road was from the bridge, and figured it was probably this windy just until before the bridge, where you had to turn almost 90 degrees. Surely that’s when I would get that side wind again and I would make it back just as easily as I had on the way out. I got this, right?

Sadly, that was not it either. The wind was strong and straight on, and when you’re fully exposed on a bridge over the water, it makes a difference. The ride back was slow and painful (especially for my ego, as many passed me there), but I powered through, I’m not sure how, and I made it back to the other side (the worst part? The amount of snot. I’ll spare you the details). The couple of miles after the bridge were really just about endurance. I was glad to be done with the worst part and happy to pedal along until the end.

I had a less than graceful dismount (I should practice that next time…); and I dismounted on the wrong side of the bike, so that made for an awkward walk. Also, my right hip was killing me. Due to a combination of the effort and a not perfect bike fitting, I could barely walk. Well, it was less of a walk and more of a pitiful limping what I was doing. But I digress. My runner teammate took the anklet and set off to finish the Tri for our team.

It was really something. It was really satisfying to finish that ride even though I didn’t think I could make it through that wind. Experiencing how hard it was and how badly you wanted to stop, and still refusing to, is very empowering. That’s best part.

The second best part was free beer and a hotdog, while chatting with strangers who took the challenge and succeeded too. A very close second.

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It’s official

I have a team: swimmer, runner, and myself. All of us are moms, all of us in it for the fun. And all of us Sweatin for Me Time (that’s the name of our team 😉 )

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The first “long” ride

I wanted to take a long bike ride, see how comfortable I felt with longer distances. Since I’ve been doing 5 miles only, I figured aiming for at least double that would be a good goal. I didn’t map out a route, I just went with a ride I really wanted to take: from First St to the end of Woods Rd. If you’ve seen the biking routes map on the Outer Banks, you’ll know this is part of route 1.
I wasn’t sure I could do my long ride, because it was really rainy. Actually, it was pounding. but there was a break in the radar and I thought: it’s now or waiting for another day. So I got on the bike and I hit the road. Only before I even touched the pavement, it started raining again. I thought about turning around, and if my backpack hadn’t had a waterproof pocket for my phone, I would have. But the temperature was perfectly nice, the rain was warm, so I just went for it. By the time I was on Bay Rd it was really pouring, I couldn’t see through my glasses, there was water dripping into my eye, and visibility was quite poor. I though of looking for shelter, but what’s the fun in that? I was having a blast out there! That one eyed, soaking wet part of the ride was so energizing! Even when it felt like the wind was about to knock me off my bike.

The rain kept coming but the wind settled a bit, and it was just so much fun. Once out of Bay, there’s a path that goes right next to the sound and it’s just gorgeous out there. I can’t wait to run out there! Eventually you get to Kitty Hawk Rd, and by then the rain had pretty much stopped, just a drizzle remained. Woods Rd was fun to ride on the road. I’ll be honest, I used to get annoyed when I saw bikers on the road when there’s a path there. But I shall complain no more. There are lots of switch-backs there and it takes time and speed, and it’s just a drag if you’re trying to make a good time.
I didn’t think it would be so easy to make it all the way out to the bypass, but it was. And the ride back was glorious too. It was barely cloudy, not terribly warm, only a bit too humid. Even with that, it was pretty perfect for a first long ride. Now I realize I can do the distance for the triathlon, I just need to work on my time and the hill that comes with the bridge. This is totally doable. And I’m doing it.

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Going for a bike ride

There’s a great event coming up, and it has a special feature that makes it possible for people like me to participate.

I’m talking about the Outer Banks Triathlon. Not only do they have 3 distances: Half, Olympic, and Sprint. They also give you the chance to do it in teams of 2-3! How awesome is that?

I’m in no condition to run a triathlon, not even an Sprint, but I can do a part of it for sure. And since I’ve done 5Ks already, I thought I would give the bike a try. Nah, really it’s that someone else asked for team members and she wants to do the run portion. And since I haven’t been running a whole lot lately, but I have been riding the bike at the gym, I figured I could do the bike for this one.

So I have 6 weeks to go from 5 miles to 13.5 miles. My goal is to finish in one hour. Since I haven’t been able to train much lately, I should probably come up with a plan, and I should try to stick to it. I’m excited about the challenge, though. I like upping the ante.
I’m actually thinking of doing the whole Sprint next year. Swim is my weakest event by far, but I have a year to figure that one out!

For now let’s focus on the task at hand: 13.5 miles on a bike, across a bridge and back. Sounds like fun to me!

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Cupcake 5K

The Cupcake 5K was such a fun race! It’s for a great cause, and there are cupcakes at the finish line. What could be better?
Weather wasn’t too kid-friendly, so my family dropped me off and went back home for a while. I don’t have running buddies, so I was hanging out alone, waiting for the start of the race. But it was peaceful and it allowed me to stretch a little and prepare for it a bit. The course was easy, which is what allowed me to run nonstop. But another thing that helped was seeing all the survivors walking and running with purpose and intention. It’s one of those things that make you look at yourself and say “what are you complaining about? You can definitely run some more!” It’s inspiring and empowering at the same time.
My family wasn’t at the finish line, but I still an awesome cupcake! They were vegan, from Kind Confections, and you would never know it!

I finished in under 33 minutes, which was pretty awesome! I actually did a bit of a sprint to make it under 33 minutes, and it felt good to push harder at the end. And did I mention cupcakes?

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Running 5K nonstop: check!

My goal for this weekend’s 5K was to run it nonstop. And I did! And also, I did it in under 33 minutes, which I wasn’t expecting.

It was exactly one year after I was in a hospital bed after the c-section I had to meet our youngest. If you had said to me “hey, you’ll be up and running in no time! In fact, you WILL be running a 5K without pause in exactly one year.” I would’ve asked you to leave the room, because you really can’t laugh after a c-section. It’s painful, like running more than 30 seconds used to be.
It’s pretty amazing that a year ago running was nowhere near my radar. It was still very much on the list of things I would never attempt. One can be inspired by so little. Yet, it’s the little accomplishments that keep us going and aiming for higher ground.

More specifics on the event some other time, we have family in town and I won’t blog now.

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Poor prep

Between my husband traveling for work, kids being sick, and a small dose of laziness, I haven’t been running a whole lot… and no more than 2 miles at a time. Nine days until the 5K, we’ll see how it goes!

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First Flight 5K

The First Flight 5K is part of the Flying Pirate Half Marathon. It has a run out in the open area, a good hill , and then a pleasant run on a paved trail through the woods. I don’t really know how many people signed up for it, but 714 finished the 5K. That’s a lot of people!

It takes place at Wright Brothers National Memorial, the place of the first successful airplane flight.I was pumped and ready… or as ready as I was going to get. I had a smoothie with banana, strawberry and oatmeal for breakfast, about an hour before the race. The main downfall of my breakfast was that I really had to pee before the race. Luckily, I was able to hit the porta potties and I made it to the start line with 2 minutes to spare.

There were a lot of people, so I just of stood on the side of the pack, and got ready to start. Once the race started, we all pretty much walked to the start line, and started running once across. There was no other way to do it, with everyone moving in that direction. At first I felt great. I was passing people! But not long after, I was the one being passed. Oh well, I focused on my pace instead, and or people’s conversations. That was a good bonus about the race. If I needed a distraction, I just had focus on someone else’s chat.

I had run the first mile of the course before, and I knew the run up to the Memorial would be the hardest part for me. So once we got there, I tried not to pay attention to it, and focused instead on legs of the person running in front of me. It was easy, she was wearing pink polka dot knee-high socks. After a bit, though, she started walking. So I went past her and kept running up the hill. I passed a couple more people and I was feeling confident. Hey, I was doing better than at least two or three people there! But approximately 5 steps after that thought entered my mind, my thighs started burning up. Darn! Nope, I couldn’t do it, I had to walk the last third of the hill. But my husband and kids were up there, that gave me a little boost.

As soon as I got on the downside of the hill, I started running down as fast as gravity made me; I let it help me. I continued running, but shortly after I felt all the energy being drained out of me, and I started to get a little dizzy. So I walked again. And then I started getting side stitch pain. Which was about the second worst thing that could have happened (the first one being hurting my ankle).

I walked about 4/10 of a mile, but then I reached the two-way part of the course. Now people could see my face, see that I was walking. Not some anonymous person’s back, me. The pain wasn’t that bad at that point, so I started running again. (Don’t be afraid to use your ego to get you going!) That part of the course was actually really good for me. There was only enough space for two lanes: one for slow pacers, one for passing. I could hang out in the slow lane to keep the pain under control. If the person in front of me was too slow for me, I could pass then and move right back to the slow lane. It was all good, until it became a one way road again, and I had space. I started speeding, and inevitably 30 seconds after I was walking because of pain.

Lucky for me, my husband and kids were just a little ahead (with a camera) so I had to start running for the picture. Having them cheering me on gave me the extra boost I needed, and I kept running all the way to the finish line (though it was further away than I thought at the time).

I finished in 34:53. Considering my goal was the finish in under 36 minutes, I’m pretty proud of myself. Of course, this can get addictive, and I’m already planning on running another 5K in a month. Hopefully I can run that one without stopping. That’s the next goal!

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