Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 9-11: 13.1 Training

For some reason, it won't let me type where I want, so now what the past few weeks entailed is at the end of the post instead of the beginning.  Grr.  Blogger.  [Also, I really apologize, I barely find/make time to post, so I definitely rarely spell check/proofread what I write.  I definitely can do better writing, but this isn't for a grade or for work so it's not a priority for me.]

I've certainly put in a lot of miles compared to what I was doing the first couple weeks.  I've worked up to a 12 mile long run.  My long runs I have felt pretty strong for the most part--especially the 11 mile run.  For the 11 miles, I ran across the arsenal bridge, along the Iowa bike path, all the way to a Veteran's memorial park, across a bridge that is currently closed because the foundation was crumbling so it is being reconstructed, back along the Illinois bike path all the way home.  For the 12 mile run, I ran 6 miles on the Illinois bike path and back home.  It has been hot, a little wet, & humid the past couple weeks--heavy on the humid side (90%).  I've been sweating buckets.  I'll tell you a secret, but you have to promise to still be my friend.  I don't even bother with the deodorant before I run because it's pointless.  I shower when I return home & CJ is napping.

Fun (Not so fun) story about my 12 mile long run this past weekend:  I got up at 7 a.m., checked the forecast/radar.  I figured I could make it there and back before the heavy rain hit.  Just over 3 miles to go, and I could see the dark storm clouds rolling in.  They were the kind that you are just waiting for them to burst open at any second.  There was someone leaving a construction site who yelled out his window to me, "You better hurry, the storm is going to be here in about 15 minutes!"  I had about 30 minutes to go.  :/  Not 5 minutes later, it started down pouring.  According to the radar before I left, there was a lot of green before it got to the yellow and red.  It was wrong.  I didn't see a single sprinkle.  It was torrential down pour.  I couldn't see (despite my choice to where contacts since glasses are easily fogged).  It hurt my skin. Heavy winds (gusts up to 38 MPH).  My shoes were soaked.  My shirt and shorts were soaked.  My underwear were soaked.  I mean--most of those were already pretty damp from the 94% humidity--but rain water is a lot heavier than sweat apparently.  And then the streets flooded.  Not just little puddles, but I was running through at least an inch of rain for the last 3 miles.  Lucky for me, scientists say that you don't get pneumonia from being out in the rain or from wet feet.  I didn't get pneumonia.  I just got really wet.  But I got the run in!

I have had some people ask me if my dog Lyna is still going with me.  Yes!  She doesn't do the long runs with me, but she has ran up to 5 miles multiple times with me.  That's about her max, especially on the hotter, more humid days.  She pees a lot.  Half the time she fakes it, and I believe it is because she wants a break.  Today we only ran 3 miles, and she gave up on me a half mile from home because it was just that hot & humid.  We even left at 7:30 a.m. She does get really excited when I put on my running clothes though.  I'm not sure if it's because she is excited to run, or the more likely scenario is that she is very concerned that I might leave without her.

The half marathon (13.1 miles) is THIS Saturday!  I can't believe it's already here!  I do not feel as strong as I did when it came time for my marathon, but I can definitely finish--I'm not worried about that at all.  I've been having some foot pain, so I'm hoping that taking this week easy will help that disappear along with a strong dose of prayer.  As far as goal times, I initially was hoping to be able to do a 10 minute pace, but I think that would be asking a lot.  I'm hoping more for an 11 minute pace which would be a 2 hours 24 minutes and 6 seconds finish time.  I hope P. has fun entertaining CJ while I run! hahaha!  Mommy gets a "break" running a half marathon.  The race starts at 7:30 a.m. with registration starting at 6:30 a.m. so we'll have to leave here pretty early that morning.  Exciting!

I have had a few people donating recently after I sent another round of emails to everyone in my inbox as a reminder.  So far, $450 has been raised for the American Heart Association & that is absolutely fantastic!  I'm still not giving up hope for $1000 by the time I do the Heart Walk in October though.  If you would like to donate, please follow this link.  Running by itself is great for your mind and body.  When you run for something other than yourself (through the power of God), you truly are unstoppable.  More importantly than donating to my cause, I urge you to find your own cause and work hard for it.

Here is what the past few weeks entailed: 
Wk-Mon-Tues-     Wed-        Thurs-     Fri-   Sat-          Sun
9- Rest- 3 m run- 5 m run- 3 m run- Rest- 6 m run- cross
10- Rest- 3 m run- 5 m pace- 3 m run- Rest- 11 m run- cross
11- Rest- 3 m run- 5 m run- 3 m run- Rest- 12 m run- cross     

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Weeks 6-8.5: 13.1 training

Ah, I have been so busy lately!  I can't believe how long it's been since I updated!  But I had some coffee this evening which means I can totally focus this late in the day and give some updates on how my half marathon training/fundraising is going!  By "focus" I really mean that I can ramble about my training, thoughts, progress, and other things that I think of.

My usual week goes something like this:
     Mon: Rest
     Tues: 3 miles/strength train
     Wed: 5 miles
     Thurs: 3 miles/strength train
     Fri: Rest
     Sat: Long run
     Sun: Cross Train/Stretch/Strength

My long runs have increased up to 10 miles now.  I am currently in week 9, so it is a step back week meaning my long run is [only] 6 miles.  Finding time for the long run is probably the hardest thing during the training week.  Also, waking up early enough to go running before my husband goes to work is also a challenge.  Sometimes Thursday runs get switched with Fridays and Saturdays with Sundays because Thursday mornings I have my MOPS small group.  So if I want to run on a Thursday, I'd have to run in the evening, but in order to run in the evening, my husband would have to not be working or it would have to be cool enough to take CJ in the jogging stroller.  Both of those are rare occurrences. 

Training this time around is so different than when I was training for the full marathon, and I am going to attempt to put my thoughts about it into words.  I'm a wife, baby mom, and doggy mom.  I have so many other people/things to think about before myself.  It's not that it bothers me, because I love all of those aspects of my life, it is just something I am still adjusting to and in awe of at the same time.  I was so self-centered in college, and I didn't even realize it.   My only concerns were if I'd have time to hang out with friends, create the best bulletin board for my floor, and finish my chemistry problems on time.   I never really noticed the little baby steps of being forced to be less self-centered until I started training for this race.  It's definitely been a good change though.  It started with marriage--you have to think about how your actions will affect your husband.  Then with the dog--she is more than two handfuls of trouble with her separation anxiety needs.  When I bring her with me, I can't just focus on how I am feeling, but how she is handling the run as well.  I had to shorten my run the other day because I could just tell that she wasn't feeling well based off the amount of grass she was trying to consume and her breathing was not like normal.  And when you have a baby--I still can't find the words to describe how much it changes you.  Your needs should matter, but they are very low on the list at the same time. 

Some mornings, I find myself not wanting to go run because I'd rather just spend that extra time with my husband and baby.  I have to repeat to myself over and over that in order to be the best wife and mom that I can be, I need to do this to take care of myself physically and mentally.  When I don't get the exercise, I am 100x more emotional--just as my wonderful, supportive husband.  I also am not doing my body any good in the long run.  I want CJ to grow up knowing that physical fitness is important.  When I get back from my runs, I do my strength training in front of him so he can see that his mommy takes care of herself.  One day, I hope he will join me so he can start even earlier than I did at taking care of the body that the Good Lord has blessed him with.  Heart disease is in my genes, and it is in his genes as well.  But by making changes in areas we can control like learning how to eat healthier and exercise more, we can put an end to it with this generation.  That is why this half marathon is so important to me.  It's not just about saying that I ran 13.1 miles.  It's about inspiring wellness, raising awareness, and raising money to support all of the work that the American Heart Association (AHA) does to save lives.

The other day I posted on Facebook asking for donations to the AHA and said something along the lines of, "It may very well save your life and probably will save the life of someone you know."  One in four deaths is caused by heart disease.  The AHA is working to lower that statistic.  Imagine if you or someone you know had a heart attack or stroke.  Chances are this will actually happen in your lifetime.  You or that person you know may have their life saved by CPR, an AED, or simply someone nearby recognizing the symptoms and knowing when to call 911.  The AHA trains more than 12 million people each year in CPR.  They have also created the Hands Only CPR Instructional Video which can be distributed to millions more.  It is this very work, in addition to all of their research efforts, that could very well save your life or the life of someone very close to you.  When my dad had his stroke, he didn't know what was wrong with him.  His friend who was with him at the time knew to get him to the hospital ASAP.  Words cannot express how grateful I am that he recognized the urgency of the situation.  Every day people have strokes and delay going to the hospital and getting time sensitive care because they don't know the symptoms.  It happens way more than you would think.

On an unrelated note, I wanted to post a quick story about God's provision.  I came to the realization that during my marathon training, I spent a lot more time in prayer during my runs than I had been this time around.  I'm not sure why, but I'm glad I recognized this.  I was doing an eight mile long run a few weeks ago, and I was feeling awful the last few miles.  I hadn't prayed the whole time during that run.  When my legs started aching, my sides started cramping, and my lungs felt like they were all dried up, I simply said something along the lines of, "God please help me!"  Not even a minute later, I looked up and there was a mulberry tree.  The Perfectly Placed Mulberry Tree.  God is an on time God, whether you believe it or not, He has proven it to me time and time again.  This tree had been sitting along the path that I run on along the river over and over, and I had never noticed it until then.  The best part was that it was full of ripe, ready to eat berries!  Sure it may sound a little fishy to some of you--plucking berries off a tree that I know little about--but when you ask God for help, and you look up and see a mulberry tree that you never noticed before--you'll understand.  I survived.  In fact, I more than survived.  I grabbed a handful of berries, (checked for bugs,) popped them in my mouth, and dominated the last couple miles. I later did a quick Google search on mulberries to see what their nutritional benefits are, and I was shocked at how great they are for delivering oxygen to your muscles, eliminating free radicals, and even preventing strokes!  Now every time I run past my mulberry tree, I am reminded of how God provides exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. 

When I was training for the marathon, I asked God for motivation to keep running one day when I was feeling lazy during a run, and you know what he provided me with?  An angry goose.  No joke.  I prayed for motivation, and 2 minutes later I was being chased by an angry goose.  I definitely got motivated to keep running!

I think that's about it for my ramblings.  We are 40% of the way to my $1000 goal with only 3 weeks and 2 days left to go until my race.  Yes, donations can still be made up until the October Heart Walk in D-town, but I am hoping to get as close as possible to the $1000 goal by August 30.  Why delay when we can start saving lives today?  I also wanted to restate that the funds are not going towards prizes for me because I elected to not receive the rewards so more money will be going towards the American Heart Association.  If you would like to make a donation of any size, please follow this link: