… We Would Go Insane…
There comes a time in your life when you realize that you are off your rocker completely. As a runner, I tend to get weird looks when I talk about races, PR’s, distances, time goals, etc. But, the looks that I am getting about this one, top them all.
Earlier this summer, a friend and I were talking about a Ragnar Relay. They were describing it’s awesomeness, and I’ll admit, it sounded like a good time. Not sure what a Ragnar Relay is? Well, the easiest way to describe it, is that a team made up of 12 runners (Or 6 if your Ultra crazy) covers 200 miles in distance while essentially leap frogging each other. Each runner takes 3 legs totaling anywhere from 12-20 miles, depending on which runner you are. Oh, and you basically live in a van without showering, sleeping in a bed, or eating real meals. Yes this sounds like my kind of fun. Is it out of my comfort zone? You betcha. You know I don’t camp or generally like the outdoors, so I know this is a stretch for me.
But when Mary put out feelers for needing a team member for the Florida Keys, I jumped at the chance… well. Actually, I thought long and hard about it. But, I felt like the universe and stars were aligning since it happened to be the weekend that we are going to Miami anyway for the National Title game. We start in Miami on Friday and run down to the Keys. On Sunday, we come back to Miami and J flys in… perfect timing, right?!
Still unsure of what a Ragnar really is? Here is a video I found… I’ve watched a LOT of them.
I think the real challenge will be trying to pack for a trip to Miami AND a 2 day race in ONE bag. Any tips for that one?!
Last week I ran the Magic City Half Marathon in Birmingham. (I know, I know. Last week turned a tad crazy on me.)
It was a pretty chilly morning, but was promising for excellent racing weather.
John and Addy came down with me… Claire was with GiGi and they spectated at Railroad Park.
We always have a pretty strong Cullman crew representing at races.
It ended up being delayed about 30 minutes for the Powerade truck not being there yet. But once the start gun went off, I was in good spirits. Donnie was supposed to help pace me, but had been sick like me so we weren’t sure how long we would stay together. He ended up waving me on around mile 5. I was glad that I turned on the virtual pacer on my watch– I really think that helped me stay on track. The miles really flew by and I was just enjoying the race, the people, and the city. They had the 5K people merge with us around mile 6, but by the time I hit them, it was mostly walkers and I wasn’t a fan of that at all. My hip started protesting me around mile 9, but I was still in good spirits mentally. As I made the turn into one of the loops, I saw Shannon not far behind the 2:00 pacer and I didn’t think she was going to be able to pull out her sub 2 hour goal. Honestly? This is the worst loop in a race. I really hate when races loop. You never know how far ahead those people are who are turning out. As I turned out, I could the 2:20 pacer close behind me, and just thought, “Stay in front of her. Stay in front of her.” But it took a lot out of me to cross the overpass over the railroad tracks. The 2:20 pacer ended up passing me around 12.5 and I just didn’t have it in me anymore. My foot had started to go numb and my hip was screaming at me.
I saw my family at the finish line, and I high fived the girls, but they ended up running out with me. I finished in 2:20:30. A 12 minute PR. Not too shabby. I certainly shouldn’t complain about it. But let’s be honest, while I am proud that I was able to shave that much time off my half marathon time, and only trained for about a month, I am a little peeved I couldn’t pull a sub 2:20 out of it. But I know I left it all out there on the course and had nothing else to give.
My dad took some pictures… I am not looking like I am having a good time.
After the race… I look like I am about to die.
Quite possibly the best race picture ever… and totally worth every penny I paid for it.
Yes, people generally taper for races, but I don’t think they drop completely off. Will it really make a difference that I didn’t run at all last week. Nope. Did my hip really need the time off? You bet. Was I sick? Yep. Stupid colds. The main thing I think that NOT running does, is plays with you mentally. Your body is ready, if you have trained. But your mind… that’s what gets you across the finish line. There comes a time in any race, when you think to yourself, “Why did I think this was a good idea?”.
I don’t think it has really sunk in that I am racing another half marathon this weekend. I said I was done for 2012 back in April, and I meant it then. But, there is just something about this race that I have to beat.
My outfit isn’t complete, but everything is ordered. I’m pretty pumped about it… you guys know how I am about a racing day outfit.
Now, I just need my playlist. I need help. What are your favorite running songs??
I blame Megan. It’s all her fault for asking me about upcoming Fall races. When I told her I didn’t have any, I could feel her judging me through Twitter. Okay, not really. But, the guilt set in. There was no reason I couldn’t squeeze one more in.. the strength training and cross training that I have been doing has made me a stronger runner and I have been running with strong partners as well.
On a race a couple of weeks ago, Shannon and I were discussing running another half. Magic City (formerly known as Ruben Studdard) fit into both Alabama and Tennessee’s football schedule.
So the training craze has started. My hip flexor is upset about things, and I was worried about essentially doubling my mileage overnight, but my body remembers what to do. I’ve also had a little bit of numbness in the arch of my foot. It’s not all the time, and it doesn’t hurt, just a tad worrisome since I’ve never had a problem with it.
So, I guess I better get started on those long runs…
I got asked the other day if I would share what motivates me to run. I thought long and hard about it before answering. You see when I first started running, I was motivated to cross something off my bucket list. To be able to said I did something. I used it as a way to lose weight. I signed up for my first half marathon a month after I did my first 5K. I thought Disney Princess sounded like a blast. I didn’t fully understand what I was going to put my body through. So, I didn’t train properly. When it was all said and done, I had put my body through the worst kind of hell that it wasn’t prepared for. I’m talking.. couldn’t walk normally for a week!
I forced myself to train for it two years in a row. Hating most every minute. You see, I was doing it for the wrong reasons. To lose weight or to prove to others that I was a runner.
I ended up signing up for Savannah last year with some friends, and trained with Kelsie and had that small group of support. I started to love every minute of it. Somewhere along the way, I stopped running for others and started doing it for myself. I found that I was less stressed, a better mom, and a better wife when I ran. I stopped feeling guilty for running.
It’s become a part of our lifestyle as a family.
I have run 4 half marathons in the past year. It’s insane to think about.
Do I have days where I don’t want to run? Sure. I do it anyway. That’s one of those things that changed. I used to find excuses to not run. Now, I just try to run faster and get it over with on those days that I am not feeling it.
I quit trying to explain why I do these crazy things to most people. They don’t understand why I would want to do that.
It takes a lot of dedication and determination to be an endurance athlete. You have to be willing to give up on sleep, dinners out, or just laying on the couch.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of running.. PR’s and distance goals. But I try not to get sucked into that. I try to have fun with it so I will continue to enjoy it. I love planning a new race outfit, or finding new music to run to.
Sometimes I want to be alone when I run, other times I want to be with a group.
One of the things I’ve learned is how important it is to not compare yourself with others. I run my pace. I run to beat my previous best time. Sure I could run as fast or as far as XYZ, but I’m not willing to sacrifice that much of my sleep or time with my family. I do what works for me.
I have no desire at this point to run a full marathon. I would much rather do a half ironman instead. I am far too ADD to handle only running for over 4 or 5 hours.
Running has given me so much. More confidence. A different outlook on life. It tapped into a part of my brain that I didn’t know existed.
I guess the point is, my motivation for starting to run and why I continue to do it are totally different. I continue to run, because it is a part of me.
What motivates you?
A couple of weeks ago, J surprised me with a new Garmin. Mine died this summer… I think we can blame it on this race and say the cause of death was Powerade. It tried to hang on, but was never really the same.
I mean, plus it comes in pink. So you know I had to have it. My only complaints are that it takes a lot longer to find satellites for the GPS and I can’t get it to sync to Daily Mile. It syncs to Garmin Connect with no problems. So, if anyone knows whats up.. help a sister out!
Here is a video link to tell you more about the watch.. it has a run/walk feature that is pretty nifty, and everything is hard buttons.
I also purchased a new Moving Comfort sports bra last week. I am in love with these things. While they are a tad pricey (around $50), they are worth it. First off, you aren’t supposed to wash them after every wear. They are made to withstand a couple of wears before washing. You will need to be replace them after about 50 washes. They have adjustable straps and an adjustable clasp in the back… yes, please!
Plus.. doesn’t the back just look super awesome?!
What new gear can’t you live without?! Tell me!
My Saturday morning started with me running out the door to the Oktoberfest 5K.. I forgot my ipod and was extremely scatterbrained this morning.
This may have been the first race that Robbie and I have both ran, and not ran together.
I wanted another PR and wanted to break 29… didn’t break 29, but still another PR. So I am happy.
The man who paces me for these PR’s…
Shannon beat the Burgermeister…
1st place in my Age Group… I could get used to that. Better make the most of it before turning 29…
Shannon’s son ran it too!
Not a bad start to the weekend… now let’s watch some football.
Friday night found me scrambling to finish my Warrior Dash outfit… a last minute trip to Hibbett’s is where I found these shorts and gloves– hands down best $20 we spent!!! HIGHLY recommended for all of the rope activities!
I sent Becca a pic of my finished shirt.. she thinks she is so funny.
Weatherman said there was a 5% chance of rain on Saturday.. and this is what we woke up to. The weatherman is a liar.
We made it to Warrior (Yep! This Warrior Dash was actually IN Warrior.)
John survived… with minimal complaining, I might add. No yelling happened. I cut him some slack… I thought about either leaving him or yelling at him to hurry up, but just decided to keep my mouth shut and walk with him.
The giant muddy celebration… If I hadn’t been on the edge of hypothermia, then I might have stayed and partied a little bit! I did do a little wobble and the cupid shuffle.. y’all know that’s what I care about!
The obstacles were crazy y’all… but it was SO FUN!!! I am not the type of person who likes to play in the mud (understatement of the year), but I would totally do another one of these!!! It’s weird how in a million years you probably wouldn’t willingly jump into a green pond and swim out and climb on top of a capsized catamaran, but don’t think twice about it when in a run like this.
Anyway.. we were WARRIORS if only for a day!
After working Friday, we packed up the tailgate stuff..
We almost forgot the tv.. whoops.
I tried this and it’s amazing. It caused me to stay up entirely too late…
We got up around 5:30 to head out and set up the tailgate stuff and I went for a quick 3 mile run..
Gotta love those Denny Chimes
In front of the stadium… excuse the awkward eye balls.
Oh.. we have a tent. We changed locales this year, and we really dig the new spot.
My outfit… with a gorgeous background…
My SIL’s brother (did you follow that?) came up from NOLA and I just love me some Taylor.
Ashley made some delicious cupcakes…
Part of the crew, just chillin’
These texts… KILL me.
Oh, and then it started pouring rain.
Dang 8:30 kick offs… makes for a long day.
Alabama won 33-14.
And then we had to break everything down at 1:00 am… fun times. Did I mention it started raining then too? No? Oh. It did.
But good times were had by all, and while our entire Fall Family wasn’t there, it was good to see those that were!
4 years ago, I never would have thought I could be the type of person who could randomly sign up for a race and be prepared enough to run it. Let’s face it, I am a planner and generally don’t “fly by the seat of my pants”.
Friday night, J and I went out to eat and ended up running into Donnie and Shannon and they were asking if I was running the 5K at Wallace State on Sunday. I said I didn’t know anything about it. He said “Oh but it’s for the kids in Africa.” Fine.. guilt tripped. I said I’d have to see how Sunday went. I wasn’t sure of J’s schedule or when exactly the girls were coming home. So, at 2:00 Sunday afternoon, a mere ONE HOUR before the start of the race, I made a judgement call to run. I signed up for the race 30 minutes before the gun went off. Donnie wasn’t feeling too great and I jokingly told him he needed to get me to a sub 30 5K, since I hadn’t ever done it in a race before. Sure on a treadmill, but that’s not the same. Can I just say that a 3 pm start time for a race in September means it’s HOT outside?! Geez. We started out too fast, clocking the first mile in 8:30 and that was with 2 hills. Whoops. Around mile 2, Donnie looked at me and said if you can keep this pace by yourself, you’ll get a sub 27. I said I couldn’t and I didn’t need that, just something under 30. Donnie pulled back right at the 3 mile mark and told me to go on, that I was going to make it.
I crossed the finish in 29:48.
I debated on puking, but thought better of it.
I honestly felt like crap too much to be ecstatic. I ran it hard and was dehydrated. There was zero shade.
Donnie is a firm believer in staying around for door prizes, so we hung out for that.
And I was quite surprised when my name was called for a 1st place Age Group Award. When I told the girl it was also a PR for me, she replied with, “But you don’t have on your tall socks!” Ha. Guess I’m known for that around here…
J took me out for a celebratory dinner of sushi and fried rice. Yum.
So, I think it’s pretty crazy that I was able to be prepared for a race enough to sign up 30 minutes before the start and walk away with a PR and a 1st place Age Group finish.
Have you ever done something like that?