February #GoalGetter2013 Checkin

I realize that February is the shortest month but it really seemed to fly by this year.  And so far, March has lived up to it’s in like a lion, out like a lamb stereotype.  Thanks to getting diagnosed with bronchitis and sinusitis, I have been down for the count.  Not only have I been cooped up in my house since Thursday, I haven’t done any workouts – literally ZERO – since the marathon last Sunday.  This is also the longest I’ve ever missed work.  My house is starting to feel like a prison and I’m beyond stir crazy.

Now that it’s March, it means I say goodbye to my February goals and hello to March goals.

goalgetter2013

Here’s how I did on my February Goals:

Run marathon #2 aka Rock-n-Roll New Orleans.  I don’t have an official time goal.  I want to finish somewhere in the 4:20s.

  • Goal accomplished.  And while I wanted to finish in the 4:20s I actually finished with 4:18:50!  If you missed my race recap you can find part 1 here and part 2 here.

Love this guy so much!{best husband ever}

GotSub 2 hour 1/2 marathon (PR). I’m not sure if this is going to happen. With marathon training, I’ve been focusing more on endurance then speed so I’m not sure if I’m conditioned enough to run a sub 2 but I’m going to give my best effort.

half

Spend more time in the kitchen.  These past few months I have gotten way too comfortable with blending my meals (smoothies / protein shakes) instead of taking time to cook something.  This often leaves hubby hanging for supper which means he seizes the opportunity to get fast food. #WifeFail

  • Fail.  While I did cook more then I have been, I still didn’t do a great job with this.  Sorry hubby.

Here are my March goals:

  • Get better!! This one may seem like a silly goal but it’s super important right now.  I haven’t been this sick in years and it’s really messing with me mentally.  I feel like I’ve regressed, fitness wise, tremendously.
  • Spend more time in the kitchen. Yep, I putting this one back on my list; however, I’m going to be more specific this time.  I will make at least one meal the both of us can enjoy.  One of the reasons I find this such of a struggle is due to the fact that Jody aka the hubster refuses to eat clean.  After 1 1/2 years of clean eating, I still haven’t been able to get him on the bandwagon.
  • Enjoy my next half marathon.  At the end of the month I will be running the Viking Half Marathon and I just want to have fun.  I’m not worried about time goals or PRs.  Just whatever happens, happens.
  • Cross train, cross train, cross train! Now that I’m not training for a marathon (first time since last July) I can focus my attention on cross training without fear of injury.  I will be hitting the weight machines pretty hard, cycling my little legs and {of course} still getting in my running – just not 40 miles a week worth of running.
  • Focus more on my spirituality.  I have dropped the ball big time with my devotions and Bible reading in the past few months.  Instead of getting up and getting into His word, I find myself jumping onto the computer to check the blog/social media/my favorite bloggers.  My priorities definitely need re-arranging.

Haven’t joined the #GoalGetter2013 challenge yet? It’s never too late to get started working towards a better you.  Check out this introduction post and then join some of my favorite blends (bloggers + friends = blends) as we work toward achieving our 2013 goals!  This is your #GoalGetter2013 team:

Question:  How are you coming with your goals? What are you wanting to accomplish in March?

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Rock-n-Roll Marathon: Part 2

Last week I mentioned that I wasn’t feeling well, thanks to the hubster, leading up to the race.  Saturday and Sunday I felt pretty good, not quite 100% but I’ve definitely felt worse.  Monday I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a Mack truck and then got progressively worse throughout the week.  I finally drug myself to the doctor yesterday when I started coughing up green stuff and it hurt to breathe.  Turns out that if you run a marathon while you’re sick, you can {and will} develop bronchitis and sinusitis.   Who knew?  My parting gift from the doc was a nice IM (intramuscular) shot of antibiotics in my rear (ugh!!), two prescriptions and a stern warning not to do anything physical. *facepalm*

I deserved a treat after that shot to the derriere.

I deserved a treat after that shot to the derriere.

Now, as promised, Part 2 of Rock-n-Roll NOLA.  The Finale:

Yesterday I left you hanging with part one of the recap right at the split between the marathoner and half marathoners.  It was so nice to go from being squished in like sardines to having room to move around without stepping on someone.  It was also at this point that the pavement leveled out; my feet and ankles couldn’t take the potholes and broken street much longer.

At mile 13 there were two guys running next to me and I told them, “Alright boys, this is where the race really starts.” They chuckled and told me not to beat them too badly with which I responded “You’ve got nothing to worry about.”  That statement was a bit of foreshadowing for what lied ahead.  Little did I know how much effort I was about to put forth to finish the next 13+ miles.

The second ½ of the race was an out and back.  Anybody who knows me know that I absolutely loathe courses like that.  Not only are they boring, but out and back courses are so psychologically damaging to me.   From the very first step I start looking for the turnaround point.

The purple at the bottom is where the 1/2 marathoners split; the red is the remaining full course.

The purple at the bottom is where the 1/2 marathoners split; the red is the remaining full course.

Mile 15 I started seeing the elites on their way back to finish the marathon; I cheered for the first few then realized they were all in the zone and I was probably annoying them.  The top male ran it in 2:28:23 and the top female 2:52:21.  I can’t even run a 5k at that fast of a pace!  I took another Huma Chia Energy Gel around this point to top off my glycogen levels.  {That stuff is the bomb, by the way.}

Mile 16 was where I first noticed the race really starting to wear on me.  It didn’t help that Mother Nature decided to play dirty and had us run straight into a horrible head wind which would last the next 6-7 miles.  I just kept thinking to myself, ‘you can’t be tired! You still have 10+ miles to go.’ I wasn’t expecting to have such negative thoughts so early in the race; when I ran the Marine Corps Marathon I didn’t experience any negative self-talk.

In the zone.{Side note: When I first saw this picture I freaked a bit because it looked like I had an extra finger}

In the zone.
{Side note: When I first saw this picture I freaked a bit because it looked like I had an extra finger.  I assure you, I only have 5.}

Then, as if the wind and negative self-talk weren’t bad enough, the “fast, flat course” that RnR had bragged became hilly.  The course took us over 4 overpasses (8 total since it was a bloody out and back) and while they weren’t super big hills they were still large hills that my already fatigued body had to over come.  On one of the bigger overpasses, I joked to a lady that ‘we had just made that hill our b*tch’; she wasn’t amused.

The next few miles all blur together.  I got a really awesome pick-me-up when I saw my friend Mel pass me on the back part of the course. I screamed and smiled like a crazy person.  FINALLY at mile 20 I made it to the turnaround. Yes!! Only a 10k left! My body was hurting pretty badly at this point but I was excited to know that I made it into the 20s.  I got another burst of energy from seeing my friends Stacey and then Lorena on their way to the turnaround.

After that I remembered passing the 35k mark (which would be mile 21.8ish) and I was crushed to know that I still had 15k left to go.  I couldn’t figure out how I was going to make it another 9.3 miles.  Apparently I had gone somewhat delirious with my math skills and thinking that a marathon was 50k (31 miles).  Thankfully it took me all of 30 seconds to figure out that I had just passed mile 22 which meant 4.2 miles NOT 9.3.  WHEW!  {Side note, this race really made me question my desire to run a 50k…..and my mathematical skills}

Taken after mile 22 right after I figured out that I only had 4ish miles left to run, not 9.3.

Taken after mile 22 right after I figured out that I only had 4ish miles left to run, not 9.3.  That’s the look of pure joy.

Mile 24 I opted for a potty stop.  I knew I was close to finishing but it was either stop or risk losing bladder control.  Let’s just say quickest potty break ever!  Right before mile 25 I passed my husband again; I managed to yell to him that I was really struggling.  He lied and told me I was looking good. ❤  Seeing him was really what I needed to finish.

After seeing my husband I knew that I had roughly 15 minutes left to run.  I tried to find any spare gas in my tank and crank out a strong finish.  And at exactly 4 hours, 18 minutes, and 50 seconds (a 9:50 overall pace) I hit 26.3 miles (yep, an extra tenth) and crossed that damn finish line!

Coming in for the finish.  Yeah, that's a forced smile...

Coming in for the finish. Yeah, that’s a forced smile…

I have never been so exhausted and happy to be done in my entire life.  I found my husband and promptly sat down.  Ouch.

Love this guy so much!{best husband ever}

Love this guy so much!
{best husband ever}

I can honestly say that this race took everything I had both physically and mentally.  It was a totally different experience from the Marine Corps Marathon where the race didn’t feel challenging at all.  I immediately found my husband and gave him the biggest hug and kiss.  Then we waited for my two running girls to finish.  Stacey rocked a 27 minute PR and Lorena can now call herself a marathoner.  So proud of these girls!

Finally, it was time for my favorite part of the race….leaving!  We waited in line to get bused back the to starting line.  I had to chuckle because you could totally tell the marathoners from the 1/2 marathoners by the length of time it took them to get up and off the bus.

Buses

Buses, buses and more buses.
You can tell from the picture that the weather had turned nasty, too.

And then it was time to get our grub on!  All that running left me with a huge appetite.  We ended up eating at Hard Rock Café and it was delicious. The food was delicious, not Hard Rock.  Although I was hungry enough I threatened to eat part of Hard Rock while waiting for my food.

Vest worn by Mick Jagger.

Vest worn by Mick Jagger.

Pulled pork, cole slaw and baked bean (I didn't eat much of the fries) made this girl very happy!

Pulled pork, cole slaw & baked bean (I was too full for the fries) made my tummy verrrrrrrry happy!

As far as races or race courses go, this wasn’t my favorite.  The ½ marathon course was amazing but the full course left a lot to be desired.  The bands were far and few between as were the spectators; it got pretty lonely out there.  Although, the first half of the course was amazing.  While the streets in New Orleans are incredibly hard on feet and ankles (as evidenced by rolling my left ankle three times) they do provide beautiful, historic sights.  I wouldn’t discourage anyone from doing this race.  New Orleans is a great racation city; so much to do…..and eat!  Just be prepared to be incredibly bored on the second half of the race, that is, if you’re doing the full.

I’ve had plenty of time over the past few days to look back and reflect on this race.  The positives and negatives, what I could have done differently, what I will do differently next time.  I can honestly say, with the exception of the pre-race potty fail adding 4 minutes, that I couldn’t have done anything differently during this run.

Usually when I finish a race I feel like I could have given more, pushed further, but I can say with complete confidence that I gave those 26.2 miles everything I had; I left it all on the course.  I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing that ‘all I had’ resulted in a 4:18:50 finish but I’m certainly not losing any sleep over it.  There will be other marathons in my future, ones that I will train harder for and run faster at but for this particular race, I’m happy with the result and proud of myself.  And I think that’s a lesson that I needed to learn; to respect and appreciate each race as it is.

My pretty new bling that will get put with the others behind my husbands ties.  I should really fix that.

My pretty new bling that will get put with the others on my hubby’s tie rack behind his ties. I should really fix that.

Question:  What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned during an endurance Furevent? 

Mississippi River Inaugural Marathon (1/2) Recap

This past Saturday I ran the Inaugural Mississippi River {half} Marathon in Greenville, Mississippi.  I had decided to run the race in honor of my stepmom Starla’s ongoing battle with breast cancer.  She’s actually going back this morning for more surgery.  They thought they got everything with the double mastectomy last week but found a small amount of cancer in one of her lymph nodes.  We’re all praying that this will be the final surgery.539568_582279051800520_2118421503_n

Friday afternoon my running buddy Stacey and I made the 5 ½ hour drive up to Greenville.  We arrived at packet pickup and were greeted by amazing friendly volunteers.  In just a matter of minutes we got our bibs, shirt and some freebies (GU chomps and a cowbell) then headed to find some last minute cold weather gear.

bibs

Apparently Stacey and I both missed the memo that it was going to be FREEZING race morning.  Whoops.  We found some adorable gloves on clearance at JCPenney but no head gear.  Then it was time to grab some grub.  We went to a restaurant, Garfields, in the mall (where packet pickup was) and waited….and waited…and waited for our food.  It finally came but wasn’t anything special.  However, it was food which I guess is all that really mattered.

food

My turkey avocado sandwich with very little turkey and basically no avocado.
And french fries I didn’t want…

Stacey and I headed to the hotel to get ready for an early morning wakeup call.  Since this was a point-to-point race the runners had to be bused to the starting line.  We had been cautioned several times through e-mails to make sure to be at the buses no later then 6:30 or risk being left Saturday morning.  We made it to the bus area by 6 and hopped on.  I have never been so happy to be on a school bus in my life; it was 35* degrees outside and I was in a skirt.  Fantastic planning, Gina.

buses

We made the 13ish mile trek to the starting line in Arkansas and were treated to a beautiful sunrise.

sunrise

herding area

I enjoy the irony of the picture. The check out the sign.
The way the buses lined up, it really felt like herding area for the runners.

MS River

The downfall of being bused in was that we had roughly 1.5 hours of waiting time before the start.  I snapped some pictures and tried not to freeze.

Brrrr

Before I knew it we were lining up for the start.  I had my sub 2 hour goal in mind but I really doubted that I was going to be able to do it; especially since I would be squaring off against an incredibly strong {and cold} headwind.  See the thing about running in the Delta is that it’s all open plains; no trees or buildings to block the wind.  On the plus side, the Delta is incredibly flat.  The only incline was the bridge and that was basically flat, too.

before running

Ready to run but I can’t feel my legs…or my toes…or my nose…

3…..2….1….. And we were off.  I knew that I would need to maintain around a 9:10 pace to get my sub 2 goal but I wanted to give myself a bit of wiggle room so I planned to keep it around 9.  The first 2 ½ miles took us over the Mississippi River; the bridge was absolutely gorgeous.  Looking up and seeing the suspension beams was so cool.

Hwy_82_Greenville_MissRiversource

Miles 3-6 were the absolute toughest for me.  My toes were numb and I was having fairly bad calf pain, most likely from not stretching / warming up properly.  Coupled with the headwind I really thought about ditching my sub 2 goal and just using this race as the training run for the marathon in 2 weeks.  Then I thought about my stepmom and how she couldn’t give up with her fight.  I felt terrible having even considered backing down.

Mile 7 was where I put my big girl panties on and stopped internally whining. I had been watching my splits and knew that I could still pull off a sub 2.  I decided to lose myself in the run and just have fun.  The crowd support was amazing and I was having a blast high-fiving any poor soul that happened to put their hand out in my direction.  I thanked the volunteers at the water stops and shook a few of the police officers hands for directing traffic.  The next time you’re running, thank the people who are helping out, race volunteers are seriously amazing!

Mile 10 came and I knew that there was only a 5k left.  I remember actually feeling a bit disappointed knowing I only had 27ish minutes left to run; however I was also excited because I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was going to get the sub 2.  I wasn’t fatigued at all and knew I could pick it up a bit. {side note: When you’re just getting into a groove by mile 10, you know you’re made for marathons.}

Mile 13 came and I finally caught a glimpse of the finish line.  Sweetness.  I kicked the speed up and coasted to the finish line at a 7:53 pace for a finish time of 1:58:24.  I’m not usually an emotional runner (I didn’t even tear up after I finished the MCM in memory of my brother) but I actually got a bit choked up thinking about Starla and everything she had just gone through with the double mastectomy.  She is such an amazingly strong and courageous woman and inspired me throughout the entire run.  I was proud of my sub 2 finish but even more proud of Starla.

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splits

My {negative} splits.
You can see where I was having trouble with the early miles.

Stacey also finished very strong (especially for being sick all week) at 2:06.  After the race, a friend of ours that lives in Greenville surprised us.  It was so great seeing her and getting a quick hug.  Then we all headed over to get some food and chocolate milk.

Laura

Donuts

My overall impression with this race is that it was amazing.  With inaugural events you never really know what to expect but the event staff did a great job building hype and then living up to that hype.  From packet pickup, to the finish line, and everything in between, this race was exceptional.  There were plentiful aid stations, volunteers, and phenomenal crowd support with lots of cheers for the runners.  You could tell that the entire town really took pride in this race.  I think this inaugural event was just the tip of the iceberg and that it’s going to become a ‘must-do’ race in this area.  I can’t wait to see how awesome it is next year!

Question:  Have you ever fought hard for a goal? How did you feel once you reached it?