Tuesday, September 24, 2013

One Big Fat Run

I forgot to mention one very important aspect to the race last Saturday: fellow runners.  Oh how I love runners. 

Because we had to loop around the bridge twice,  there was a portion of the race that faster runners had to pass us up.   That became one of my favorite parts.  Many of the "fit"  runners ran by saying,  "good job"  or "you are doing great"  "looking good" or just simply giving us a thumbs up as they went by. 

If you are one of those fit runners,  thank you.  It means the world to us.   Some how the bridge was made more bearable because of it. 

However,  if you still feel unsure about signing up for a 5K because you don't feel like you fit in or you feel you are to slow (by the way,  I was third from the last in my age group),  then I have the race for you.

It's the Big Fat Run hosted by The Fat Girl's Guide to Running.  It's a virtual 5K and is free so you have no excuses.  The next one is on September 29th. (I know it looks like it is on the 13th but the Brits write their dates backwards.  JK She hosts one each month.  All you have to do is sign up and run it at home,  in the gym,  on the trails,  on a track,  in your neighborhood,  on the beach,  well you get the picture.

So hop on over and sign up.  No excuses,  just do it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Kemah Toughest 10K: Rocked it!

1:42:59 That is my official time. Not counting the virtual 10K I did in 2009, this is the first officially timed 10K that  I have completed. If you are not familiar with the Kemah Toughest 10K, then you may not know why it is called the toughest.  Almost three quarters of the course is up a steep, high bridge.  I have to admit, the idea that my first 10K would consist of lots of hill work from a gal that lives on the flattest place on earth, pretty much terrified me.

It is worth repeating:  If you don't have a running group that you regularly run with, get one. It makes all the difference in the world.  If it had not been for them, I would not have been as prepared as I was for this race. OK, I call it a race but for me...really not a race.  I don't expect to win.  My only two goals are to finish and not be last.  Mission accomplished but not without obstacles.

Weather:  You know it is going to be a bad rain when the news spends most of it's newscast discussing all the flooding they are expecting.  At the time that I fell asleep, they predicted the worst part of the storms and flash flooding to happen about 30 minutes after start time or as I thought of it...my first part of my run.  Luckily, the weatherman was more into drama than accuracy because it didn't start to rain until mile 3. And it was pouring.  The rain felt like small pellets hitting my face. Beyond that  discomfort, I loved the rain falling down on me.  I was worried about getting blisters but it didn't happen.

However the wind was with us from the beginning.  It was a stiff head wind that really made that first cross of the bridge almost impossible.  Well, not impossible, but as I was climbing the bridge, all I could think was, "Oh my, I still have three of these to do and the first one is really tough."

Time Management:    I have no idea what happened but I didn't hear my alarm go off and I overslept.  This race was less than two miles from my house so I didn't really prepare my belongings the night before. I expected to get up at a decent time, get dressed and pack up.  However, I woke up an hour later than expected and had to be at the race in 13 minutes.  So I rushed to get my clothes on and pack my belongings. So I forgot my wireless headset (if you remember, I forgot my phone holder for my last race), my trashbag to wear in case it rains, my bottle of race fuel and my extra bottle of water. Not to mention I wasn't able to properly eat before the race. I shoved a piece of bread with peanut butter on it in my mouth.  But I survived.

Wardrobe malfunctions:   As it started to rain, I noticed my left bubby was jiggling more than usual.  I looked down and noticed that my bra strap was undone and my bra was falling down.  (Remember, at this point, I have a very wet clingy shirt).  So I tried my best to lock and load my rogue bubby, while I ran.  After two failed attempts of strapping it correctly, I finally just pulled to the side and did it correctly.  A bit further down, my running buddy, Heidi, was having problems with her pancho and we stopped to try to put it on her.  It just tore so we decided to continue.

Potty break:  There is something about running water that makes me need a potty break.  So as it started to pour we pulled off for a potty break.  You try pulling off wet running capris. Better yet, you try pulling up wet running capris...not an easy task.

Crowd management:  When you are one of the last ones to come in, you can expect some of the early finishers to leave before your during your run.  However, the only exit out of the race area was on the exact streets that we were running. So when we made our way off the bridge and back onto the streets that lead back to the Kemah Boardwalk, we found ourselves weaving in and out of traffic or watching for cars that were trying to reverse.  The course is still closed to traffic but the cross roads aren't so people would block the runner's path.  BOOOOO!

But with all these distractions we did an amazing job.  It felt amazing.  When we turned the corner and weaved pass the last set of cars blocking our way, all I could see was the finish line.  I hoped to finish under 2 hours. I wasn't sure if I could with all the bridge work and weather but we did it.  1:42:59 is my official time and that's not too shabby.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I have three messages for you...

I received an alert on my Galaxy S4 a few days ago "Diana Nyad completes Cuba to Florida swim".  And like many alerts I received, I just hit clear and moved on with my day.  Thank goodness there were other people out there who didn't.  Thank goodness I saw her interview with Robin on GMA.  It was a segment less than five minutes but I have been thinking about it for days.

If you don't know who Diana Nyad is, you are not alone.  Until a few days ago, neither did I.  In 1975 she swam around Manhattan Island. No that is not a typo...1975.  So how old is she?  She is 64 years old.  Her first attempt to do this was in 1978 and has tried three other times.  That's right, she failed four times and it took 36 years for her to accomplish this goal.  A-MAZ-ing.

That alone speaks volumes about this woman.  It speaks to her dedication, her spirit and her focus. How many times have I had a goal in mind and either blew it off after a failed attempt  or never believed I could do it and proved myself right or just forgot about the goal?  I did it too many times to count.

But she didn't.  And at 64, tired and sore, she walked out of that water and had a three messages for us

  1. We should never, ever give up.
  2. You never are too old to chase your dreams.
  3. It looks like a solitary sport but it's a team.
I have to write that somewhere and hang it up.  I have to remember.  What had me thinking about her for days is what she said to Robin. Robin asked her what she did during the tough moments and she responded that this year she adopted a mantra, "Find a way."  No matter how difficult or impossible something seems, you have to find a way, if it is that important to you.  

We all can make excuses.  We all can blame it on a situation or a person. But the truth is, if you want it bad enough, you can find a way. It may not be easy and it may be tougher than expected but in the end, it will be worth it.  It will be worth it because you are worth it.

Find a way people!  Do what it takes and be willing to do more if needed!  I can do it, you can do it, we can do it!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Two 5Ks closer to Marathon

When I started this journey, I knew that I was taking on a big goal and it scared me.   I knew I had to change my way of thinking about it.  The idea of running 26.2 miles seemed impossible but the idea of running a 5K was a reality.  So I decided to train one 5K at a time for this goal.  Today this sorta paid off.

For the first time in my life, I ran 7 miles!  Crazy! Crazy! Crazy!  All week I tried not to think about it in those terms.  I told myself two things. 1.  You are doing a mile seven times. 2.  I am running a 5K on Saturday and may run another.  Either way, the number seven never entered my vocabulary during the week. And then Friday came and I discovered we were only doing six.  I know I know, six use to be a big number but as it relates to seven, it is smaller.

I have a wonderful running partner, Heidi.  We are the turtles of the group. We are usually the last to come in and we do the shortest distance.  We are okay with that.  When we left the store on Saturday morning, the starting point for our run, we had not decided on a distance.  We figured we would get to the six mile turn around point and decide at that time.  And we felt great at the halfway point of six miles so we decided to run up another half mile and do the full seven.

I don't know what happened but mentally I shut down towards the end of mile six.  I knew it was all mental.  My heart rate seemed normal and my legs felt good but I felt like I was gonna cry and self doubt creeped into my head.  I told Heidi that I was feeling this way and she said it was okay.  Feelings are okay and they are normal, just let them happen.  So I did.  I went through an emotional roller coaster. And while I let myself feel these things, I remembered in the back of my head the truths about me.  Not to mention, Heidi kept reminding me also.

At my lowest point, I cried, "I feel like the fat kid in gym that can't do what the normal kids do without effort."  To which she responded, "You are not the fat kid.  You are out here running seven freaking miles when most people are asleep.  We are doing an amazing thing. We are almost there."  (yes...I started my fat kid thing when I had less than half a mile to the end.)  By the time I made it back to the store, I was on the verge of tears and just wanted to lie down, close my eyes and pretend it never happened.

Say what?  I just ran seven freaking miles.  I just did the longest run of my life and I just want to forget about it?  That is plain nonsense.  When Kim, the store owner and our coach, came to see me, I couldn't say anything. I walked off and went to the bathroom....oh yeah...you have to drink plenty of water during your long runs and I did. So by mile 5...I really had to go.   Within a few minutes I felt better and I was proud of myself. I was proud of Heidi and me and thankful Heidi was with me for this run.

As I stretched out I thought of the saying that has played in the back of my head since April.  What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and this didn't kill you.

Seven miles didn't kill me.  They made me stronger.