Tag Archives: half marathon

No Going Back Now

28 Jan

Do you see this?

This means that there is definitely no going back now. I’ll officially be running the ODDyssey Half Marathon on May 22 in Philadelphia. I’ve read some reviews and, though it sounds tough, I’m excited to try a half where I’ve given it the proper preparation and attention it deserves (unlike last time) to see how things pan out.

While I’ve never been one for worrying about times (for me, it’s all about just giving it all you’ve got), I feel good about PRing this one. Then again, seeing how I did last time that shouldn’t be too hard to do. It does feel a bit weird to me though. You know, signing up for something you are currently utterly unprepared for? And yet, it’s inspiring and motivating at the same time. There is no going back now.

What about you? Have you taken the leap just to inject some motivation into yourself?

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Dear Disney

25 Jan

Dear Disney,

The next time you are going to take photos of me running, could you consider making me look like and giving me a body like this first?

run1

Or, if that’s just not going to happen…
would you at least consider something like this?

run2

Or this?

run3

See? I’m not even that picky. So, it wouldn’t be that hard for you to do. And really, it would work out for the both of us: I’d like the photos more. I might actually buy the photos. You would profit. Not so hard, right?

Much obliged,
One who sweats profusely when she runs

[Image Sources: 123]

Did anyone else laugh out loud when they saw the pro- pics from a race they ran? Then they had the nerve to e-mail me every month reminding me that they were still out there on this great internet of ours and I could STILL ORDER THEM you know, if I wanted. I didn’t want. Yikes! Maybe next time if they photoshop some killer abs in then we’ll talk.

Crawl If You Must

23 Jan

A few of you asked about my image on the “about me” page so I felt compelled to share with you a little bit of my story when it comes to running. Alright, fine, no one asked, but since I feel it would greatly help the context of some of my future planned posts, I wanted to share a little bit about my story anyway. Plus I have pictures, and pictures always make a post better, right? Right.

In 2008, my very best friend in the whole wide world was diagnosed with leukemia.

An image of the two of us at my June 2008 wedding.

It pained me in ways that I cannot express. That she was going through all this. Her struggle. That I couldn’t be by her side every step of the way. Unfortunately, treatment sent her to a hospital hours away. Thankfully, a very, very good hospital, but hours away nonetheless. So that Fall I decided that I would do all I could do: run for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in her honor. With the help of my very generous family and friends, I raised a few thousand dollars and in January 2009, I ran the Disney World Half Marathon. It was only a half and yet it was one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. During the course of training I saw my primary care physician more times than I can count, a cardiologist, a hematologist, and a rheumatologist. At one point in time, my mom said to me that if I didn’t actually run this half that darn it if I wasn’t going to die trying. Of course, I didn’t. And really, all that I went through wasn’t even an inkling of what someone in Cameron’s position had to deal with on a DAILY BASIS.

I’m happy to report that she is now happy and healthy in remission and pursuing her doctorate just a few hours away from me. It’s so weird, because that distant life – the memories of her pain and struggle – now seem so close and yet so long ago. No words could ever fully quantify how appreciative I am for her health and well-being today. Everything she went through – and watching her fight her way along – was one of the most inspiring things I have ever seen.

And now back to the half marathon. In training with LLS, I was lucky enough to be given a coach and supplied with a vast number of teammates also running for the cause. The support was amazing, the advice was even better. I was unlucky in the respect that I happened to land on a team of individuals who all had backgrounds in running and/or athletics. These people were fast.* Though the coaches were kind and teammates would always run back for me, I found myself more and more often training on my own. I enjoyed the alone time. I liked the time to think. The downside? I didn’t run as frequently or as far as I should have. I used my newly acquired iPod with Nike+ to monitor my time and distances. And, by race day, my longest run had been 10 miles. Let me clarify, 10 very, very slow miles. Not so bad, but that’s still an extra three miles I was hoping that adrenaline would allow me to tack on.

As I began my race, I started my Nike+ so I could keep track of my timing as I went along. Rounding out the first mile, I noticed that my iPod informed me I’d hit a mile a bit before the mile marker appeared. Weird, but I assumed it had to do with my starting place in the waves.** As I rounded the bend and my iPod kindly notified me that I’d run two miles, the mile marker was even farther away. By three miles? I couldn’t even see it. It occurred to me that something was wrong. Very wrong. As I continued to run I started thinking of what could be wrong. Was I zigzagging too much? Was the course off kilter or something? Then it hit me: I never actually calibrated my iPod. So… that 10 miles that I had run? Was really like seven, at most. On race day, I tacked on SIX MILES FARTHER than I had ever run before.

At mile 6, I lost sensation in my feet. Looking back on it, perhaps that was a good thing. By mile 8, I had to go to the bathroom so badly I thought I was going to explode. Thankfully, I found a port-o-potty without a line before I did so. By mile 10, my hands swelled up so badly that I couldn’t bend my fingers. I ran the next mile with my hands in the air. Kid you not. This is where the fated words of my LLS coach began playing on repeat in my head, almost like a broken record. Fellow runners will probably find this mantra familiar, as it is frequently found plastered on many track team shirts and uttered by many coaches, I’m sure:

Run when you can, walk when you have to, crawl if you must; just never, ever give up.

And so I didn’t. By 13.1 miles, my legs felt like jello. I believe my iPod ready something like 17 miles at that point. I found my family and wanted to collapse. Thankfully, I didn’t. As we walked away from the facility, my father said to me, “So, be honest, will you ever do something like this again?” And, even with all of that, my response? Definitely.

Post-race. Barely able to stand  – though I look in much better shape than I felt.

Finally on the bus on the way back to our hotel. I’m still holding up the medal in pride, apparently.

Now it’s been two years and I’ve yet to run another. But, well, that’s where the story is just getting started, I suppose…

*****

*Note: This isn’t necessarily common for these types of charity teams, but I happened to live in a youthful, health-conscious college town.

**Non-runners note: “Waves” are the groups that get released since you can’t have thousands of people all start running at once. Everyone wears or attaches time chips so their official times don’t actually start until they cross the start platform, but they begin running usually a bit before that.

 

Easy Come, Easy Go

20 Jan

After setting my new goals just days ago, I excitedly went to sign up for the Blue Cross Broad Street Run today. With a cap at 30,000 runners, it had said they were only at 17,000 this past weekend, so I wasn’t too concerned. When I went to register, it told me there was a technical error and to try later. When I logged on again after work today I was sad devastated to find out that they were suddenly full. As soon as I set my goal, it’s crushed. That would figure, wouldn’t it? Boo to that. After asking around and hearing about the big crowds, entertainment, and nice flat course I was actually really stoked to sign up for it. Plus, I’d practically be running right past my house. How freaking cool is that!? Added to that is the fact that I have Independence Blue Cross (who sponsors the event) so that’s supposed to qualify you for some perks as well, I think. But alas, it just wasn’t meant to be I suppose.

With that said, it still doesn’t change my sights on the ODDyssey Half Marathon at the end of May. I suppose I should register for that soon so I don’t get closed out of that too. There’s nothing like committing to something to light a fire under your butt, eh? Oh boy! But, this one should be particularly fun because it is meant to be a “enjoyable” race – including costume contests and “unique obstacles” [whatever that means?]. The only thing I am a bit concerned about is the location – taking place in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, the only thing that comes to mind to me is the few hills around there that I could hardly bike up this past summer. The idea of running them makes me nauseous. But hey – nothing like a good challenge, right? Now I’ll have to get to work on planning my outfit.

Let’s just say, I have a few ideas up my sleeve…

From DailyMail.co.uk.

From the Costume Machine Blog.

From Nintendo World Report.

In fact, I have to admit, the idea that I won’t be bringing my pro- camera along to shoot the event almost pains me. This could be fun. A lot of fun. Have you ever dressed up for a race?

Lightbulb Moment

17 Jan

Today I had mine. So you see, my entire life I have tried to be a runner. Seriously. I’ve always wanted it but just could never do it. Here’s the recap:

  • Brown belted in karate in 7th grade. Helped teach kickboxing to kids. (It’s not running, but it’s active… counts for something.)
  • Obsessive stair-stepper in late middle school. Only kept up with it because my parents made me (which was totally legit – otherwise I would have never exercised).
  • Went on to join the track team my freshman year. Was assigned to long distance because I was too slow. I hated it because I was horrible.
  • Went on to join the cross country team my sophomore year. I quit because I couldn’t keep up.
  • Went back to track the following year. I begged them to put me on hurdles because the distances were too much. I was injured by the second meet and out the rest of the season.
  • Went on to run a half marathon in college. Clocked something like 2 hours and 45 minutes (yes, that slow) and thought I might die.

You see, I just recently had concluded that perhaps I had given running all I had to give it. I’ve come. I’ve seen. And – so I concluded – conquering just wasn’t going to happen for me. So today’s mentality as I went out for my frigid jog wasn’t about speed, or even distance. It was about getting the job done. I was going out there for thirty minutes and I was going to jog for as much as I could during that thirty minutes.

Now, let me give you a little backstory. Even when I was training for my half marathon and running a few (or several) times a week, I usually could only jog a mile or a mile and a half and then I’d have to slow and walk for at least a block or two. It would continue like this, except after the first mile or so my breaks would be every half mile. This wasn’t a matter of laziness, or lack of drive, this was a matter of MY HEART FELT LIKE IT WAS GOING TO EXPLODE. I would get up to 200bpm and suddenly feel like puking and passing out, though I had only run a mile or two, if I tried to keep going. Eventually, I broke down and bought a heart rate monitor watch (love that thing), so I’d legitimately only slow once my heart went over 190bpm. But still, if you know anything about heart rates, you would know that even 190bpm is WAY TOO HIGH for a jog. I had my heart tested. Sonogrammed. Listened to by cardiologists. Nada.

Clearly, running just isn’t my thing then, right? Apparently not so. Today’s jog, as I reached 5th Street and jogged across the intersection I felt myself slow just for thought. And, as I immediately did the math and calculated, I had already run well over a mile. I wasn’t even winded. Confused, I pushed on and ran harder. 4th Street. 3rd Street. 2nd Street. Turning around (meaning I had gone over a mile and a half) and still not winded. Was it the cold weather? No, that wouldn’t make any sense. Was I running slower? No, I never focus on running quickly just on running period. Hmmmm.

And then it hit me: the workouts. Remember all those lunges and squats I was complaining about? IT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE. My legs are so much stronger, so moving them is so much easier, so my heart isn’t having to work as hard. I have, quite literally, made running easier for myself. HOLY CRAP. Why did no one ever suggest strength training with running? I’m almost confused as to why, in running my WHOLE LIFE, no one ever recommended this. And so today, I come home REBORN as a runner. Of course, I’m not just a runner. But my dreams of future half-marathons and sprints around the city? They can finally come to fruition. Best day ever.

Have you ever had a lightbulb moment like this with your workouts? Were you as excited as I am!?