Sunday, March 22, 2009

Half-Marathon Recap

We did it! We are officially half-marathoners. I can't believe it...we signed up for this race back in September I believe, and have trained our booties off since then for this race. I totaled up my mileage from when my training officially began in November and realized I've run nearly 300 miles in preparation for this race! I'm so thankful the Lord has seen us through without any injuries. There were times when all I wanted to do was throw in the towel, because let's face it, it's a lot easier to quit than to push through the discomfort. Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." It is only because He has created our bodies so unique and beautifully that we are able to do things like run for 13 miles straight.

Race details:

The party started yesterday, when I forced bottle after bottle of water down Billy's and my throats. I was so full of water I hardly had room to eat the spaghetti dinner we had at our friends David and Rachael's house along with our Pastor Kevin, who was also a first time runner. We attended a "carbo load" party, complete with spaghetti, garlic bread, and my own maple sweet potatoes. I told Billy it was pretty funny that people are always talking about cutting out carbs and going on low-carb diets, and there we were headed to a carb fest!

After dinner, I got in bed by 10:15 but wasn't able to fall asleep until close to 10:45 due to nerves and excitement. My alarm went off at an hour that should never be seen by anyone on a clock: 4:20. I anticipated hitting the snooze button a million times, but rather shot out of bed and made a breakfast of a small bagel with PB and a banana on top, as well as a cup of coffee. Around 5 I woke Billy up (he stayed in our guest room due to the early morning), and we were out the door before 6. It took us a good half hour before we parked--traffic was already piling up and roads were closing. The race was due to start at 7, so we lined up by the bathrooms to go one last time along with everyone else in the world. As I was opening the door of my port-a-potty to come out, I see a girl, about my age, run full speed smack into my opened door. She had been running (either to warm up or just to get to the start of the race) right in front of the line of port-a-potties, and my door happened to open just as she happened to be sprinting by. I was in absolute shock as I watched her fall to the ground off the curb. I just stood there with my hands over my mouth, feeling so confused and so horrible. The girl started sobbing crying, which made me feel better because at least she wasn't knocked out, and her mom or whoever was with her rushed her off to the medics. I tried to talk to the girl or her mom, trying to apologize or be of some help, but they completely ignored me (not that I blamed them; the girl's head was a little more important here) and walked off. I should mention that as they were walking off, they still walked in front of the line of port-a-potties and the girl almost walked into another opening door and had to dodge out of the way. Had she been running, she would have for sure hit it again. Lesson learned: be mindful of any opening doors, whether it be a port-a-potty, a car, or what have you. Billy came out to find me crying and really upset, but honestly there was nothing we could do. I can't feel guilty because it wasn't my fault; it's unfortunate that she got hurt and I pray to God she's okay.

After that rocky start, we finally started our run. Man was it crowded! It took us a good 10 minutes almost to get across the start line, and then from there to weave around people until we found a good pace. The pace we held was comfortably hard. Miles 1 through 7 flew by and I have no recollection of any of my thoughts, other than I can't believe we're doing this and I can't believe it actually feels pretty darn easy! Unfortunately, around miles 7 to 9, Billy was plagued with a horrible cramp that wouldn't subside. I know he was really frustrated and did not want to stop, but he was in pain and I made us pull off to the side for a while to walk and for him to stretch it out. We really slowed our pace for those 2 miles, and they were not very fun. I couldn't enjoy the run knowing that he was hurting. He started feeling a little better around mile 9, so we picked it up to a moderate pace for miles 9 through 12, stopping at a few Gatorade stops (God bless em, the Gatorade was like cups of heaven). It was so great to have the entire run lined with people cheering us on. Around mile 9 to the end I spotted my dear friend and ex-boss Jennifer on her bike; she's a runner but decided to not run this year in order to cheer on her friends! She cheered like crazy and took tons of pics; hopefully she'll send them to me and I can post them here. Towards the end of the race, around mile 12, I told Billy I was going to just take off and see what happened. I sprinted so hard that I swear I've never put so much physical or mental effort into anything till I hit the end. My body felt numb; my lungs were burning; I was grunting and huffing and puffing and crying out of happiness, pain, and sheer overwhelment (is that even a word?). Nothing felt better than crossing the finish line! I quickly turned around and scanned the crowds for my friends and Billy, who crossed the line a mere 2 minutes after me, cramp and everything. After reuniting, we tried to get into the crowds to look for our friends, but were shuffled off to the massive heated tent on the beach, where we got a quick snack and then had to walk a few blocks down the beach till we were allowed to exit onto the boardwalk. We searched up and down, but couldn't find any of our friends! After a while we decided to give up and head home; I found out later that all our friends were in the same spots we had been, looking for us. I'm so super bummed we missed each other, but want to thank all of my lovely friends for taking the time out and waking up early on a weekend to come cheer us on. It means more than I can say!

My official end time was 2:17:46, and Billy's was 2:19:47. Currently, it hurts to move at all. I definitely strained a little something in my right achilles tendon, and my left anterior tib feels wrongly sore. Yikes! We immediately hopped in the hot tub, then I napped for a good long while. Oh, and been slowly eating throughout the day to make up for the over 1,300 calorie deficit.

What's next:

I plan on resting until my body feels back to normal. I hope to get back into yoga like I was a few weeks ago; I could use a good stretch. Then, it's back to training for my next half on April 18th! I can hardly wait:)

Thank you to everyone for your support, prayers, and encouragement. We love you!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

One Week! week till the Shamrock Half! Time sure flew by quick.

I'm actually a little bittersweet about the race...I feel ready to take it on comfortably and successfully, and while I will enjoy getting back into a more "normal" exercise routine (strength training!), I am going to miss my scheduled runs. Yes, they took up so much time and energy, but they provided great satisfaction. I am thankful that the Lord has seen us through our training without any major injuries and I pray everyone running next weekend makes good decisions and listens to their bodies.
This week's running was strange. As it was spring break, and I spent 3 glorious days of it in D.C. with two fine ladies (shoutouts to Joanna and Liss!), I plain didn't have time to squeeze in all of my runs, and I missed out on a 4 miler.
Right before we hopped in the car to leave for D.C. after I got off of work on Tuesday, I raced to the gym and raced through 3 miles in 26:23. I'm pretty sure that was a PR, but let's call it a treadmill PR since I doubt I could have gone that fast outside!
I took Wednesday off, as I was busy with this:

Tian Tian--bump on a log.



Thursday morning, I woke up bright and early, saw Joanna was awake too, and we decided to hit the hotel gym (which was insanely nice with TVs on all the treadmills and a refrigerator with cold towels!). I ran 3 miles pretty fast, but boy was it painful. I felt about ready to throw up after the run...I should have known better than to run hard on an empty stomach (your stomach juices slosh around and make you nauseous).
Friday: off. Saturday: 6 miles on the TM next to the love of my life done in 59 minutes. I took it slow and steady; my stomach decided to cramp up every time I tried to increase the speed (I got bored going so slow for so long!), but it ended up being a very enjoyable run.
As you can see, this week was really scaled down. It was more of a "taper" week to prepare us for the mighty distance. This coming week is going to be even easier! I feel like I'm cheating somehow by running so little...I'm almost itching for more, but I know better.
I've pretty much decided to sign up for the Dismal Swamp Stomp half on April 18th. I recruited a friend/fellow runner to do it with me!
I have exciting news: Billy and I have found a perfect apartment to call home after the wedding! We get to start moving in/decorating mid-May. While the complex is a tad on the expensive side for us, we are getting a "promotional deal" that will reduce rent significantly. We will be able to enjoy a new, clean unit with unique lighting (my favorite part), a washer/dryer, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and a balcony. All those little extras are luxuries that we never believed we'd be able to afford having our first year of marriage. The complex is walking distance to Town Center (which, Lord willing, is where Billy will be getting hired to work), has a parking garage, a gym (!), and a rooftop pool/hot tub area. I am still in shock as this all happened extremely fast (we drove by, walked in the leasing office, toured the place, and came back an hour later with my parents), but I could not ask for a better fit for us. This opportunity is 100% a God-thing! While I am known to make hasty decisions from time to time, Billy usually doesn't. We just both felt a peace about it and decided to take the plunge. Actually, as we were filling the paperwork out, 2 other couples walked in, one after the other, inquiring about one-bedrooms (we got the last one available! Had we waited, it would most likely have been swept out from under our feet).

Monday, March 9, 2009

I Survived, Kind Of.

EDIT: I survived the 12 miler yesterday (just barely)! I met my two friends at 89th street around 4:30, and we ran down to the end of the boardwalk, took a 5 minute break, and ran back. I think it took us around 2 hours, so we kept a really decent pace. Honestly, it was the toughest run I've ever had. I almost cried with happiness when we arrived back at the cars. I kept telling the girls that if they weren't with me I would totally have been walking the rest of the way back (they said the same thing to me which made me feel better--misery loves company!). While the girls are not training quite as much as I am, they both have done a few halfs in the past, so I was a little nervous that they'd smoke me, but we kept the same pace. The reason for my misery was, once again, my stomach. The girls said their stomachs were bothering them as well, and I think part of it had to do with the fact that we were running so far so late in the day (something my body isn't used to). I also don't think I hydrated or fueled properly. I ate a bag of Jelly Belly Sports Beans (I swear they were exactly the same as regular Jelly Bellys) around mile 9 which helped for about 5 minutes.

I was so thankful that I'd thought to pack a cooler with 3 waters which we chugged at the end. The thought of those waters was the only thing that kept me going! My stomach felt so off and I really thought I was going to throw up. I made it home and crashed on my bed. The last thing I wanted to do was think about food (although I had barely eaten that day), but I forced myself to get up an hour or two later and made a small dinner of whole wheat french toast and an apple with PB. Didn't help. Went to bed early and feel great today, actually (although my legs are feelin' the burn). While it was not a fun run overall, parts of the run were very enjoyable, and the girls and I chatted the entire time, which was great. I loved getting to know them better and we are definitely going to train together again sometime soon.

So, there you have it, my last long run before the 13.1 in two weeks. Let's hope the half goes better than this, or I may never want to run again...!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Are you guys still out there? I did spend another week and a half away from the blog, but I have pretty good reasoning...I was dogsitting all week at a house with finnicky internet along with having to study for tests and papers due in every class! But good news: spring break is here! WOW--the first half of my last semester FLEW by...which means the months are ticking away till the "I Do" day!

Quick running recap:

  • 2 Wednesdays ago I ran 4 miles in 36 minutes on the TM--I thought I was going to PR with this run but I still haven't beat my PR of 35:44. SO CLOSE! Also, about 15 minutes of full body weight training.
  • The next day, I did 4.6 miles outside, which was enjoyable and refreshing.
  • I rested on Friday, and on Saturday did 8 miles on the TM...I was pretty happy that I maintained a speed of 6.5 mph versus my 6.0 mph usual speed for longer distances. It felt so good.
  • Sunday was an "active rest" day. I did yoga and about 10 quick, intense minutes on the stepmill to get my heart pumping.
  • This past Monday I did 4 miles on the TM in 36:45, along with a yoga DVD (no yogadownload since I was away from my computer).
  • Tuesday, just a yoga DVD.
  • Wednesday is where the fun started! I don't know if I mentioned it, but ODU just built a new, incredible student recreation's SO awesome. 2 stories, all new equipment, 3 group fitness rooms, a cycling room, 3 raquetball rooms, 2 basketball courts, an outdoor center where you can rent kayaks, bikes, surfboards, etc, an indoor track (!), and a 3 story rock climbing wall! WOWEE! I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Needless to say, I grabbed 2 friends from class and we took on the indoor track...they stuck with me for the first 3 miles and I finished the last 3 by myself. It was so fun, quick, and entertaining because the track is right above the basketball court so you can see everything going on below you. I don't know what kind of time I had, but it was the best 6 miles I've ever run. I felt like I was flying! Oh, I also went to a yoga class at Gold's.
  • Thursday I did another 3 miles on the track with Billy, and we attended a belay class for the rock wall. I freaked out halfway up the wall when I decided to look down! Not fun. When it came time for me to belay Billy, he flew up the wall so fast I could hardly keep up with giving him slack on the rope from my place on the ground. When he reached the top, I started to let him down slowly. I don't know what happened, but before I knew it I was FLYING through the air straight for the wall! HAH. Poor Billy happened to look down right at that moment...we were just so confused. I still don't understand how that happened, but our instructor actually said I did a good job and did the right thing (because I sacrificed myself flying into the wall so I wouldn't let him fall!). You're welcome, babe.
  • Friday I rested, and yesterday I did a yoga class at Gold's along with a few minutes of upper body and core training.

You may have noticed a yoga trend...this is because I'm committing to doing as much yoga as possible this month. This is to increase flexibility, help prevent injury from all the running I'm doing, and build discipline by doing something I don't typically enjoy. Unfortunately, I think I did something to my back in yesterday's class! It hurts to rotate my spine. It's times like these when I wish I was just a physical therapist already.

I have a 12 miler scheduled for today! I was a little concerned about finding someone crazy enough to run it with me (Billy's in Colorado with a bunch of friends for a snowboarding and rock climbing filled spring break). Somehow, I managed to round up not one, but two friends from school/work! We plan to set out at 5pm today and take on the VB oceanfront, starting at 89th street, down to the end of the boardwalk, and back. Phew! If I make it back alive, I'll let you know how it went. I'm not nervous about the distance, just about the heat! It's supposed to hit 80 degrees today (a week ago it was snowing!).

Call me crazy, but I'm tempted to sign up for another half marathon in April. It's the Dismal Swamp Stomp, and I'm picturing it as a messy, muddy, trail run through the Dismal Swamp. Billy is interested too, but wants us to wait till after the Shamrock and then decide.

Wedding news:

We picked our (cup)cake bakers! Now we're just deciding on flavas. We sampled and loved all these: strawberry, pineapple, apricot, guava (interesting), bavarian cream, lemon, and lime. Any suggestions? We're definitely picking strawberry, and Billy really loved the pineapple so probably that too. Should we choose a 3rd flavor as well (maybe the bavarian cream, or a vanilla or chocolate) to provide a traditional flavor? We can choose as many flavors as we want. What is your favorite/least favorite wedding cake flavor?

Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend!