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The Aftermath

In the aftermath of our race, I discovered something MIGHT be wrong with me.  I cannot stop thinking about running!  I’m not the same person anymore!!! To make matters worse, not only am I thinking about running when I’m awake, but I also can’t stop dreaming about running.  The last three nights I have had eight hours worth of dreams revolving around running.

I really expected to feel relief and pure joy upon completing our half marathon training.  But honestly, I had so much fun that I just can’t wait for this week to be over so I can start running again.  What’s wrong with me??? What have I become?  Is this how it’s going to be when I have my first child?  Will I forget about how miserable the long 9 months were and for some reason block out all the pain from child birth and then want another one and another one and another one???  This is sort of like that time I tried salmon for the first time and rather than having a normal portion of salmon, I ate the whole darn salmon!  I got so sick from the salmon and grossed out that I never ate it again.  So my prediction is that I’ll try to run again and I will hate it because it will be one mile too far, just like I had one bite too many!

I have to admit that I have secretly been surfing the internet (or not so secretly) for half marathons all over the country AND I’ve even been considering running a marathon.  I must be ill.  I fully expected to wake up yesterday and be in so much pain that I couldn’t take another step.  I felt pretty good though!  My inner thighs were the most sore part of my body.  To stretch out our muscles and loosen up, my running buddy and I decided to go on a walk (so I guess that makes her my walking buddy) after class yesterday.  We both showed up like this… unplanned!

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This was just too cute — we had to take a picture.  Anyway, during our walk my right foot started to hurt.  As the walk went on, the worse the pain got.  It felt like the side of my foot but I wasn’t sure.  Today I woke up and could barely walk on my foot.  I’ve self diagnosed my injury as either a stress fracture or plantar fasciitis (which I totally cannot pronounce).  I’m really not sure what to do about my injury other than stay off of it for the next week.  It’s strange that it didn’t hurt while I was running.  One of my sisters had crutches once though when she was like 10 and I thought that was amazing…so maybe I need crutches?!  Why is it that little kids always want injuries?  I always wanted to have crutches, or a cast, or a brace, or even a retainer (so much so that I made one out of a paper clip).  Now I can’t wait for this dumb pain to go away so I can start running again!

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2:01:53

Let me say it one more way….Two hours, One minute,  Fifty-Three Seconds….13.1 MILES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I am beyond thrilled with my 9.19 pace.

So let me start at the beginning.  True to my word, I had a carbo cram last night!  My sister and I made homemade spaghetti sauce and it was absolutely delicious and so much fun!  I loaded up on carbs, fresh corn from the farmer’s market, really buttery garlic bread, and about 10 gallons of water!  After dinner I felt quite pleased that my dinner would surely translate into a great run.  I went to bed around 11 but it was just like being a kid on the night before your first day of school.  Except in school there was always the opportunity to “not feel well” and there was no note from my mom to get me out of this!  I tossed and turned and could not stop thinking about running.

I’m not sure I really ever slept but at a lovely 5:30 AM, my alarm clock was beeping away.   I was so wide awake and full of energy that I scarfed down some cereal and even more water.  My sister and I forgot to wake my mom up so our 6:15 departure time because really stressful fast!  We managed to get out the door and greet my running buddy outside.  We headed downtown at which point I had my first break down — I forgot my pink sweatband.  The most important part of my outfit really because I have bangs!!!  Luckily my sister had a bobby pin.  No sooner did I get my bangs under control when the second break down occurred.  We were stuck in traffic….and it was now 6:50.  Ten minutes till show time.  Eventually we had to just get out of the car and head down to the start (which we missed).  It was so freezing cold outside (like 50 degrees) and I did not want to take off my sweats!  Here we are after we missed the gun…  oh and ps I am not sweating yet, I just dumped water on myself!  Notice it’s dark out :/

Disclaimer:  It was so early and we are tired and have no make-up on...don't judge we had to run 13.1 miles!

Disclaimer: It was so early and we are tired and have no make-up on...don't judge we had to run 13.1 miles!

We got stretched out and about 10 minutes after the start we decided to hit the trail!

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We caught up to the pack pretty fast and I could not believe that within what seemed like minutes we were at our first water station…two miles done!  I was absolutely loving the experience.  There were bands spread out throughout the course, there were people cheering, there were people slower than me!  It was so much fun!  We got to mile four and there was a girl laying on the side of the road…I hope she is ok — I am just so glad it wasn’t me.  We ran and ran and ran and around mile 7 my running buddy and I got separated.  I strode on and much to my disappointment my mom and sister were waiting at one of the mile markers and I didn’t see them and they didn’t see me!  They did see my running buddy though.

Before I knew it, the race was over!  I was running my little heart out for the last mile and pretty soon I was half a mile away from the finish line.  I made a final push, neared the finish sign and heard my mom and sister cheering for me!  I was so excited!!!! My sister snapped this when she saw me…

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I crossed the line, fists raised!  Still standing, still smiling.  I grabbed some bananas, apples, bagels and water and set into the crowd to find my fam.  Sadly along the way I dropped my banana and bagel!   I was under strict instruction from my family not to cry like I did during that 1K in 1992.  I have to say that crying never crossed my mind today.  I had so much fun and was laughing and smiling most of the race, including afterwards!  Adding to my excitement was the fact that they give you a medal when you cross the finish line!  And gosh darn it, we earned it!  One of my sisters (who was not here today) told me she’d believe it when she saw it.  When I told her about my day, she first asked if I collapsed and then asked if I cheated!  She’s just mad because… I beat her time! HA!

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In my euphoric state I even said….I think I want to do this again!  I’m not sure if it was the endorphins speaking so I am going to give it at least a week before I made any decisions.  But really, I did truly love every minute of the race.  I didn’t love every minute of the training but I’m so proud of us!

If this were a movie (or my carbo cram last night) Chariots of Fire would start to play when viewing this next photo…

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WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Much thanks to all those who kept up with my running and ranting (WOW that would have been a much more fitting name!) and also to my running buddy.  Afterall, this was her idea because she wanted a free t-shirt.  I’m wearing mine right now 🙂

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And now, the end is near.

In the words of Frank Sinatra, “and now the end is near; and so I face the final curtain.”  The half marathon is only 5 days away (WOW!) and I could not be more excited to cross the finish line.

Last week was an excruciating running week.  I ran 45 miles, which was the most I’ve run this entire time training.  By the time I got to mile 32, I was fed up.  I was so discouraged, bored, annoyed and frustrated with running that I started to wonder why I ever agreed to this.  Alright, so I’ve often wondered why but last week I just felt beyond burned out.

I thought that all I needed to cheer me up was a trip to pick out my perfect running outfit.  As we drove to the mall (the  mother ship) I felt my energy and enthusiasm returning.  Maybe all I needed was a new matching outfit to put a new stride in my step.  Our first stop was a fail.  Feeling slightly deflated but still upbeat, we drove to another mall.  After the second attempt, I started to feel angry.  Where were all of the cute running clothes?  I saw a cute wind breaker (beautiful pale green, fit perfect, but too expensive).  I saw cute stretchy shorts with polka dots.  I found this amazing bouncy ball filled with glitter.  But I did not find the perfect running outfit.  I did get a new sports bra for the first time since like 8th grade and I must say it’s really nice!  As the youngest of four girls, I often got the hand-me-downs.  When one of my sisters discarded her old torn up sports bras in 1997, I took them and I’ve had them ever since!  So with the exception of my new sports bra, I am acting very thrifty and I will run in one of my running outfits I bought earlier in the summer.

This week is our tapering week.  Today we ran the loop and it was a nice confidence booster.  We both ran fast and effortlessly (which, I must say, I am proud of that because that was the very first run I went on and I thought my lungs and calves would never work again).  I will probably run two miles tomorrow and one mile on Friday and then I’m done running until the 13.1 miles on Sunday.  Piece of cake!

My mom and sister are coming to cheer me on this weekend for the big race.  I’m really excited for them to be here.  I think it’s important that I have family members witness me completing an athletic activity.  This will put my 1K race when I was 7 to shame!  I actually managed to trick my body into thinking it could run.  Speaking of bodies…today I received the nicest compliment from a lady who works at my University!  She hadn’t seen me since last spring and when she saw me today she asked if I lost weight.  I told her no and she didn’t believe me and told me that my body looked really good (which I obviously took to mean that I look like Penny from Dirty Dancing!)  Honestly, the compliment almost made this all worth it….

The night before the race I want to have a carbo cram, which thrills me because my sisters used to go to carbo crams in high school.  Sometimes I would get to go along and I thought they were amazing.  They would eat  loads of spaghetti and garlic bread, make posters, and talk about toilet papering people’s houses.  Then I got to go back to grade school and nonchalantly say oh yeah I was at this carbo cram last night…with high schoolers.  I want my carbo cram to be just like that!  Except since I am just a poor law student, I think I’ll skip the TP part because, well it’s expensive, and now that I’m not 10 I don’t think it’s that cool.

I leave you with parts of Frank’s song…because well…the lyrics seem so fitting for the end of my journey 🙂 However, I have added narration in bold so it REALLY fits.

And now, the end is near; (5 days!)
And so I face the final curtain. (In this case, it’s the finish line)

Regrets, Ive had a few; (every time I run)
But then again, too few to mention. (when the endorphins kick in and I think I like running)
I did what I had to do (my running partner made me)
And saw it through without exemption. (yah I did!)

I planned each charted course; (even though sometimes I forgot street names and got lost)
Each careful step along the byway, (one time I rolled my ankle)
But more, much more than this,
I did it my way. (in a girly, pink, cute outfit kind of way)

Yes, there were times, Im sure you knew (this must be a joke, she can’t run)
When I bit off more than I could chew. (she thinks she can run a half marathon?)
But through it all, when there was doubt, (all I had to do was keep running to prove the haters wrong)
I ate it up and spit it out. (umm…no I’m not bulimic?)
I faced it all and I stood tall; (and sometimes made grunting noises at the gym for fun!)
And did it my way. (In a 13.1 mile kinda way).

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Yummy Protein

I didn’t intend to run today, as I like to take a day off after a long run to let my body recover.  But tomorrow marks the start of the flag football season so we had our first practice this afternoon.  I decided to run to the park, throw the football, grunt a little, and run home.  I actually had the football so the run there was awkward since I didn’t know how to hold the football without feeling lopsided.

Football “practice” consisted of me snapping the ball like 9 times and then going home.  I don’t actually snap the ball during the games, or play offense for that matter.  (Wait the person who snaps plays offense, right?)  I am responsible for blitzing the quarterback. I like to act sneaky on the line, run back and forth, and then get the other side in trouble for moving!  Anyway, football practice ended and I gave the QB the football so I could run home normally.

On the rest of the run, which was the loop run, I was bombarded with nats.  There were nats in both my eyes, flying up my nose, and of course, in my mouth.  It was totally disgusting but I figure I got my protein for the day.  As I approached my house I passed some guys sitting outside who asked what happened to my football.  I told them I gave it to a friend because it was too hard to run.  They then pointed out that I was walking (but believe me I WAS running, I just was a block from my house which is where I do my cool down walk!).  So anyway, I ran just three miles.  It was actually beautiful outside and perfect for running.  But I’m still sad I didn’t have a total day of rest!  Tomorrow I will probably run around 5 miles, lift legs and then tomorrow night we have our first game!

Oh and also….GO PACK GO!!!!!!!!

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Plus Ten

I ran ten miles today, putting my grand mileage for the week at 32 miles.  I’m really happy with this total because according to Runner’s World, I should run 32 miles two weeks before my race!!!!  Kind of weird that I hit the nail on the head even though I’m not following a training schedule (other than the one I make up as I run).

I ran on the treadmill at the gym because it was raining outside.  I figured I didn’t want to risk slipping and falling in the rain, which is always a possibility when you are a klutz like me!  Plus my running buddy is out-of-town so I needed some other entertainment, today in the form of “A Few Good Men” and “True Hollywood Story: Christina Aguilera.”  94 minutes later, I was finished with my run!  Overall, it was a great run.  The gym was too hot but it always seems to be that way.  Even better than the run itself were the non-existent side effects that usually ail me after my long run…meaning I didn’t get a stomach ache today!

After the run I went over toward the weights to stretch.  I decided to stretch fast once I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  I had unfortunate sweat marks in the form of circles on my shirt.  I’ll just leave it at that!  On the drive home I was listening to an NPR report about exercise and decreasing the risk of diabetes.  The reporter made a comment about training for a marathon and I suddenly thought, geez do I need to train for a marathon?  I have to say that the thought of completing a marathon sounds exciting, but it also sounds psychotic and I’m not sure I’m cut out for that.  I like ice cream and beer too much.  I’ll make decisions about my running future after the half marathon is over!

For now, my most pressing concerns are what shall I wear for my big race?  I’m open to suggestions.  I’m concerned because the run starts at 7 AM — so it might be cool.  I don’t want to be too cold or too hot!  I’m like the Goldilocks of running… I need to be just right!  I’ll probably have to do the one thing my mom tells me I’m not allowed to do.  Go shopping!

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Heat Wave!

Every time I hear the phrase “heat wave” I feel like singing and dancing along to “Sister Act.” Who doesn’t love that movie?! That’s completely unrelated to running BUT we are currently in a heat wave! Even as I write this at 10 PM CDT time, it’s 88 degrees with a heat index of 99! Due to the extreme heat, we decided it would be best to head to the gym rather than risk having a heat stroke.

Before I got to the gym though, let me set the stage. The lovely thing about being a 24 year old law student is my fantastic car. There is nothing like a 100 degree day with 70% humidity and my trusty, non-air conditioned 11 year old car to get me to point A to point B. In fact, I wasn’t even sure that I needed a work out since by the time I got to the gym I was more sweaty than when I attempt to run! Given the insane heat, I decided to sport a discarded tank-top from a race that I found in a bag of clothes my sister was throwing away. I remember when I picked it out of the giant trash-bag, I thought to myself hmm I can wear this and people will think I run in races! Of course all speculation of my athletic ability was debunked when onlookers saw me panting away on the treadmill.

We only ran 2 miles today in 20 minutes. Yesterday’s workout of extreme squats/ lunges really did me in. I could barely walk today and I’m sure my coworker’s grew quite irritated hearing me say “ow” every three seconds. The silver lining though is that I’m sore in places I didn’t know I could exercise! And believe you me, they NEED the exercise. Back to the run… we were really struggling and I felt quite proud of myself when I gave some words of encouragement to my partner. I said, keep going, we need to look like Penny from Dirty Dancing! Seeing as we both have a Dirty Dancing obsession, one of our goals it to have muscles as amazing as Penny’s– as seen here: Penny

Penny is the one on the left and Baby is in the middle. If I’m being honest I wouldn’t mind having muscles like either of them. This isn’t the best picture to see the muscles, but I recommend watching this scene. If no other reason but to see Patrick Swazye’s amazing shirtless body. No seriously.

The thought of a muscular body as nice as Penny’s was enough for us to push through our pain! After we toweled off (seriously I was so sweaty) we hit the benches, where we each grunted and benched 200 lbs. Oh wait that wasn’t us. We did do 50 pull ups (the kind where you cheat using weight) and 50 push ups. Then we did triceps, chest, shoulders, biceps and back. My arms were numb when we left and I’m concerned that not only will I have no function in my lower body but now my upper body is out of commission too. This is the price you pay to look like Penny! Stay cool — or as Conan would say, stay cool my babies!

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Sweaty but a success

Another day over 90 degrees so my running buddy and I decided to hit the gym rather than risk me attempting to hitch hike home again.  On our car ride over I had two scary realizations.  First, I forgot to put on deodorant.  My running buddy reassured me that I would be ok, although I contemplated stopping to buy some.  Second, I forgot a nice thick rubber band for my hair!  I overcame my worries of smelling and having messy hair and trekked on to the gym.  We seem to have bad luck with this particular gym, especially on the weekends.  When we got to the gym, we pulled on the door and it was locked.  We both looked at each other inquisitively before realizing the gym was closed.  In big block letters the words CLOSED ON SUNDAY appeared taped to the door.  We sucked up our frustrations and walked to a different gym.  Luckily, that gym was open and in no time I was nearly falling off a treadmill!

We ran for three miles and it took me 31:55.  For the first time I actually was able to have an accurate time!  I would have made it in 30 minutes flat if not for the fact that I had to stop and put my hair back into a pony tail (see why I needed that other rubber band?).  When I reached the 3.0 mile mark I frantically pushed the treadmill buttons to make it slow down in an attempt to prevent myself from falling down.  When my panting began to subside, I had a realization that I really need to get a professional jogging watch.  Sure I really like my heart-shaped watch or my Swatch with all the colorful little circles, but let’s face it, those are way too difficult to actually time a run.  Besides even if I looked at the watch (one of which is programed for Rome time) I would have to subtract 7 hours, remember an exact time and then remember an end time and then subtract the two numbers.  I seriously can’t do math.  Forget that.  I need a new watch.

After our seriously sweaty run we decided to hit the weights.  The thing about this gym is the weights always smell really bad and I always wonder if I’m contracting an illness.  It didn’t help when my partner pointed out a sign about how to avoid skin infections.  Ew.  We decided to focus on leg work today.  We did three varieties of squats: regular, ballerina, and then some laying down ones with a machine (gravity made those so hard!).  We did three sets of each.  Then we did lunges, which I think are the hardest exercise ever!  Finally we finished with hang-cleans, toe rises and crunches.

Our legs felt like jello when we left and my hair was sopping wet from sweat.  Jello + sweat = a great workout!!!  I’m proud of us today.

On a side note, I went grocery shopping today and was in awe of all the different kind of gatorade!  I seriously didn’t know which one to buy but settled on something pink because it’s my favorite color.  I am curious what gatorade color/ type people like?  Let me know!!  I need to stay hydrated throughout this insane heatwave.

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