Monday, September 21, 2009

It's the little things #3

26. Lazy days that do not require getting out of pajamas
27. Finding a favorite red wine in a box (don't judge)
28. Perfecting a monthly budget
29. Doggie play dates that exhaust the puppies for days
30. Roku players/ the watch instantly on your TV options from Netflix

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Questions answered

Lauren asked a few questions in the comments section of my Lewis and Clark post.

First, more about the intervals. When I first started training I was using Hal Higdon's plan and following the distance, but was doing a mix of walking and running. For instance, if I needed to run 4 miles I would run 2 miles, walk 1 mile, then run another mile. As long as I was running over half the miles I was satisfied but I felt like I was really "running". The first week of August I decided to switch to a training plan that was designed specifically for people that were planning on Run/Walking the entire time. I used something similar to this plan by Coach Jenny Hadfield, but found that the run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute was still a little tough. Ultimately, during the half I ended up running 3 minutes, walking 2, running 4, walking 2. Personally, doing this type of program was a great mental help for me. I could push myself to run knowing that in less than a few minutes, I would be able to ease off and walk. Overall, doing intervals lead me to completing a faster time than doing a mile to mile mix of running and walking.

It also worked great for me due to the usage of the Routine Timer iPhone app. I just started my music and then opened the app and let it run continuously. I customized my program by picking sounds when I was supposed to change from running to walking and the routine would repeat for as many times as I needed it to. It could also be paused if I had to change my music or do something else on my iPhone. I also used the C25K app when I first started running and it was also helpful, working very similar to the routine timer.

My new goal is start transitioning out of intervals, but honestly, the intervals really saved me during the half and were the many reason I was able to go from never running to completing a half marathon in 8 months.

I hope that answers your question Lauren. :) I think it is awesome you are doing C25k! If anyone else has any questions feel free to ask.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Lewis and Clark Half Marathon

I feel like I have to start off by saying that Sunday was one of the greatest days of my life. Not kidding, folks. I would venture to say it is in the top 5. The half was AMAZING. I am not to modest to say that I kicked so much ass that more ass reinforcements had to be called in.

The day started off with me slightly nervous. Not terrible, and once I saw some familiar faces and listened to the annoying warm up DJ, most of the nervous feelings were gone.

After what seemed like a lot of waiting, the race finally began. I was in one of the last groups to get to the start so I was able to watch the huge crowd of runners going out of the parking lot, up a slight incline. It was such an incredible sight seeing the thousands of runners get onto the Earth City Expressway. I got chills, but quickly turned my focus to going through the start line myself.

It didn't take long for me to find a good open spot where I wouldn't bother anyone doing my run/walk intervals. There were a ton of people around but it wasn't so crowded I couldn't have my own space. The first few miles went by quite quickly. At mile 3, the course came to an intersection of a street where we had to loop around and come back about 2 miles. At this point, many of the runners in the 7 minute mile and higher were making their way back off the street. It was great to see the looks on the runners faces, the determination, and the cheers as they were coming opposite of us not so fast runners. :)

At mile 5 I looked down at my last minute gift from my husband (a watch/heart rate monitor) and realized I had completed 5 miles in 1 hr and 5 min. I was shocked. I had done my intervals the entire time and was still managing to maintain a 13 minute mile. I was over-freaking-joyed. While to some of you seasoned runners this will seem like a slow time, for me it is freaking awesome to maintain a 13 minute mile pace for 5 miles. I also got a little nervous that perhaps I was going to burn off all my energy quickly, but I felt good and was staying hydrated, so I decided to continue as I planned but figured it was inevitable that I would start going a bit slower as I grew more tired.

At mile 7 I came upon the few hills that were on the course. I continued to press on but really wasn't paying much attention to my time at this point, and just checking my heart rate every so often. Between mile 8 and 10 all the details are blurry. I remember focusing on some of the new music on my iPhone and the scenery because my legs were starting to feel really tired. I made conversation with another runner that looked friendly for a few minutes, but other than that I just attempted to not think about how much my legs hurt.

At mile 10 I checked my watch and almost screamed in shock. If I completed the last three miles in about 43ish minutes I would be at 3 hours. I kept thinking, "No way, that can't be right...I crossed the start 10 minute after the gun, so 7:15 + 10 min= 7:25 and it's now, blah, blah, blah......" I seriously did the math about 3 times because I figured the fatigue was just getting the best of me. But sure enough, if I could do 3 miles in a little under 45 minutes I would be at 3 hours.

Now I have to break into the story and share a little past info. A few weeks ago I wrote this post. What I didn't include in the post is that when I did the 13 miles it took me slightly over 3.5 hours. I wasn't super happy with it, and honestly wanted to finish in more like 3 hours, but realized that goal was REALLY not obtainable because knocking off a full half hour was very unrealistic.

But there I was at mile 10, seeing that my 3 hour goal was incredibly realistic. Yes, my legs were tired, I had enough sweat on me to water an entire garden, but I only had 3 miles left and nearly 45 minutes to do it in. At mile 11 I had been on the course for 2.5 hours. I again, doubted myself, did the math 3 times, and couldn't believe what was happening.

At mile 12 I was so filled with emotion I honestly didn't know what to do. I mean, I told my family not to show up before 10:30 because there was no way I was going to finish before that based on my run 3 weeks ago. I decided to call Nathan and tell him. Because really doesn't every runner in a half call their husband at the last mile? I decided that they did and put my iPhone up to my sweaty face.

Nathan of course, didn't answer. In a panic I called my friend (personal cheerleader) Ali and the convo went something like this,
Ali: "Um, hello?"
Me: (panting from the excitement and you know, the running) "Ali, Ali, I'm on the last mile!"
Ali: "It hasn't even been 3 hours yet!!!"
Me: "I know, but I'm gonna be there soon."
Ali: "Well, get off the phone and run."
Me: "I know!!!"

Nathan than called me back and I quickly explained to him that I was going to be at the finish in about 10 minutes. His response, "Well, your family is coming over here now."

I kept on and tried to continue intervals, but with all the phone calls I had turned off my app that helped me keep my intervals so my last half mile became very sporadic. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally started to see spectators near a finish line. When I saw my family my heart skipped a beat and I did my best to pick up my pace. My sister and nephew surprised me and ran out to join me, which you see in the video below. Unfortunately the video cuts off just before my sister starts waving her arms and yelling "THIS IS MY SISTER!! THIS IS MY SISTER!!!!" as were are getting closer to the finish line. I turned right and saw my amazing friends and they are cheering me on just as hard.

I look at the unofficial time at it says 3:10 something. I get my medal, meet up with my family and friends and I receive some wonderful greetings. I excitedly tell them that even though the clock says 3:10 I actually did the whole thing in 3 because it took me 10 minutes to get to the start and I shaved off a whole half hour. I keep repeating the 3 hour/shaving off a half hour part because I think they don't believe me.

But really, they believe me, I just don't believe me. In fact, that part of completing in 3 hours (my official finish was 3:01:20) I still don't think has fully hit me. It's hard to describe, but the whole experience just seems so surreal right now. My mind just can't fully wrap around the fact that in June I struggled to run a 5k and 3 months later I completed a half marathon. I was hoping that as I am writing this post I would fully grasp the experience, but I am not all the way there yet.

Amazingly, I didn't cry like I thought I would. Although I did tear up when some of the spectators and volunteers saw my name on my race number and would yell, "You can do it Teresa!!" or "Teresa you are doing great!" It was truly wonderful to have complete strangers want me to do my best. People can be so fabulous. If any of you readers ever cheered on a complete stranger I would like to tell you thank you. If whoever you cheered on was anything like me your cheer made an incredibly positive impact on them.

For those of you that are wondering if I will be doing another half the answer is ab-so-freaking-lutely. I truly feel like I have so much more to accomplish with running and I possibly have a lot of potential to become quite the athlete. The only unfortunate thing about sticking with running is that my toying with the idea of trying out for the local roller derby is put on hold. I feel good about that decision and will continue to skate for cross training, but trying to train for both would just be unrealistic.

I have a lot to look forward to including a 10k in late October that I am very excited about. I hope to use the next several weeks getting out of running intervals and more into a steady pace for the 10k. It is going to be a challenge but the number one thing I have learned from this experience is that I should never doubt my abilities ever again. (Number two would be that the guy holding that sign near the finish line that says "cold beer" isn't joking :). )

Half Marathon Video

A more detailed blog (with pictures!) to follow, but here is a little teaser...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Here it is....the mega Half Marathon post

Today was a big day in my half marathon quest. I picked up my race packet. A little exciting, right? I mean, I got a number, with my name on it! Exciting stuff for sure.

So there I am at Fleet Feet, double checking the information on the back of my number, examining the chip, and then the friendly volunteer hands me my bag. I grabbed it and started to browse around at a few shirts that I had been thinking about buying with my recently acquired gift card.

Then I remember in my bag there is a race shirt. Curious as to what it looks like (I heard they were awesome looking) I glance in my bag and see the half marathon race logo.

All of the sudden I was completely overcome with emotion. I bolted out of the store and as I settled into my car I started to cry. Yep, I cried after looking at my freaking free T-shirt. And while, yes in face the shirt is awesome, it certainly was not the reason for the tears.

My mind went back to February when I couldn't run a pair of 3 minute intervals in 30 minutes. I told friends that I would never, ever be able to run. Eight months later and I am doing a half marathon.

I never thought I would make it this far in training. I figured I could probably make it through about 75% of the training before it either got too hard or I got injured.

Am I a fast runner? No. Will I end up walking a decent part of the race? Absolutely. But those things are really starting to be less and less important as the reality of what I have accomplished in 8 months is hitting me.

As cheesy as it sounds, this whole experience has taught me that I can do anything if I want it bad enough. I never had that confidence before, and I feel like a completely different person.

Even though I am the one most responsible for my success, a very special thanks to my own personal cheerleader who has helped me in many aspects of training. I had the privilege of doing a short run with her tonight and another rockstar runner with lots of words of wisdom. You both rock!

Any good thoughts, vibes, prayers, and what not for myself and the other runners would be much appreciated on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Best ever Caramel Sauce

Here is something I haven't done in awhile...a recipe! I can't take credit for this one, though. It is from one of my favorite desserts. Trust me though, this caramel sauce can go on just about anything sweet. Nathan swears it would be fabulous on a doughnut. Yes, it is REALLY bad for you, but so worth it.

1 lb butter
1 lb Dark Brown Sugar
a couple splashes of vanilla
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Melt butter in medium saucepan, stir in brown sugar and vanilla until well incorporated. Slowly whisk in heavy whipping cream.

So easy!

Monday, September 7, 2009

It's the little things #2

21. 3 day weekends that actually feel like 3 day weekends.
22. Sticky Toffee Pudding
23. Leftover shrimp fajita nachos
24. Spending a lazy day with my husband and napping puppies
25. Homemade iced coffee

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's the little things #1

The 20 that started it all....

1.) Weather cool enough to leave the windows open for weeks at a time.
2.) My adorable puppies taking naps
3.) Good deals on delicous red wine
4.) All things Pumpkin (including a good pumpkin beer)
5.) Crown Valley's Sleighbell Spiced Ale
6.) Winery trips
7.) A clean and organized desk
8.) Using my laptop while reclining on the Mauve Monster9
.) Work days that fly by
10.) Firepits with comfy chairs around them
11.) Napping in the afternoon
12.) Leaving work before 2 pm
13.) Short work weeks
14.) Happy clients
15.) Cherry coke zero
16.) Fresh baked bread
17.) the feeling of accomplishment after running 13 miles on Grants Trail
18.) Grocery shopping
19.) Winning Ebay auctions
20.) My awesome new roller skates

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What a fabulous idea....

I have been such a Debbie Downer lately. I have done my best not to project my negative attitude on others, but it is tough. A smart little lady on my local message board started a post today that completely turned my attitude around. The title of the post was simply, "what makes you happy?"

I started writing and felt a huge wave of calmness come over me. The more I wrote, the better I felt and I had to make myself stop at 20 just so I didn't turn my post into a novel. The rest of my day was great. I caught up on work, organized my desk, and cleaned out my inbox which for me is a fabulous feeling.

In between all of this happy productiveness and reading other responses, I was reminded of a series I saw on another blog (which of course I can't remember) called "Grace in Small Things". Almost daily the blogger posted 5 things that were little bits of happiness for them. Everytime I read the 5 things I instantly felt better.

In honor of this, I am going to start my own little series called "It's the little things....". While I doubt I will blog these things daily, you can expect to see it fairly often from now on. If anyone else would like to do the series as well, feel free to join in...either in the comments or in your own blog. It's great therapy!