Category Archives: running

thirteen point one

“Everything you can imagine is real.” Pablo Picasso

It’s pretty amazing when you imagine a day of your life to go a certain way, have a certain feel, and it does- only it’s about a million times better than your highest hopes thought it could possibly be. On September 2nd I ran my first (FIRST!) half marathon, and it was by far the greatest moment in my life (thus far).

It was a long weekend filled with amazing friends, family, support, laughs- nervous laughs, and trying to remain calm without completely freaking out. I’m so lucky to have my good friend, Tana. She ran with me (though not WITH me) and was a tremendous source of support through it all. I pretty much spent all weekend with her until just after the race. It’s great to have a friend who you can look at and just know exactly what the other is thinking. Most of those looks of course translated to OH MY FUCKING GOD, WE ARE DOING THIS!!!. We embraced that look back and forth to each other over 2 days. But you know what, we did it. It happened. Our alarms rang at 3:30 am. We suited up, packed our runner’s belts, made breakfast to-go and left the house by 4am. And when we arrived and walked to our assigned running corrals that was it, there was no going back. Shortly after the National Anthem was sung, the race began. And can I just say how surreal it is to hear the National Anthem sung at a sporting event YOU are participating in? That shit only happens to athletes! And there’s the epiphany! I AM an athlete. And that’s when I started to cry. I usually cry when I hear it sung anyway, but on this day I really cried. I covered my mouth and actually let out a small sob. It’s really overwhelming being in a crowd like that, all lined-up, all waiting, knowing everyone has trained for months just like you. It’s electric and emotional and surreal. And I will never forget that moment.

At about every 1 1/3 miles was a water and sports drink stop, followed by a line a bathrooms. I utilized them.
Every mile marker had entertainment of some kind, high school bands and drill teams and cheerleaders. But at mile 7 my own cheer squad was waiting for me.

Seeing my parents and my sister standing there made my heart ache with happiness. I chose not to stop and hug them because I knew I’d breakdown and cry (even more!) and I just wanted to keep running. My sister screamed, “That’s my sister!” as I ran by. I had forgotten I could still make my family proud of me.

I have to adress my playlist again, because it really helped me get those miles done. There are lots of songs I will hear again, and forever know exactly where I was when they came on. Those songs proved especially important around mile 11. I was tired and a little crampy by then, but how can you even consider stopping when you only have 2-ish miles to go? Those last 2 miles I smiled painfully and hi-fived all kinds of strangers holding out their open palms on the sidelines. Having complete strangers cheer you on and applaud you is almost as thrilling as seeing your own friends do it. And at the tail end of mile 12, just as I was approaching the finish line, I saw my good friends Donn and Allan. They literally materialized out of nowhere. At that point I did practically jump on the fence and hug them both, then I ran to the finish, arms over my head- SMILING! And it was over.

I met-up with Tana and the guys shortly after. We all laughed and hugged and ate cookies that Donn had made us and we all sat in the shade. Looking at those medals around our necks and realizing that THAT just happened was indescribable.
It still feels unreal. I’m so glad I have pictures and a medal to prove I actually did it.

I really feel like I can do anything now. That means it’s time to set new goals. I’ve taken the last few days off to let my body rest a bit and just eat some good food. But I’ll be back on the fitness train soon. I know I want to do another half marathon, but how soon that will be is yet to be determined. For now I’l just bask in my glory for a while.
I did it. I really did it.


*I just can’t refuse it, like the way you do this, keep on rockin’ to it…

A month from today is my half marathon.
When my eyes snapped open this morning, it was the first thing I thought of. And at that moment it was about 8:15, which is precisely (approximately) the time I hope to be crossing the finish line. That gives me 2 1/2 hours to complete 13.1 miles. It’s doable, and it’s just a tiny personal goal I’ve thrown into the mix of all this. My ultimate goal of course is to just finish the damn thing. And I will. I just can’t believe it’s so close to the big day now. Wow. That was a fast 9 months.

I’m so excited and scared, I can barely breathe.
I’ll be starting my run with this song that morning. It’s my go-to when I need to workout/run hard. It’s kind of a prayer for me.

Let the count down begin!

Please don’t stop the music…

always rest so you can do your best

I did my first long run yesterday. When I say long run, I mean over 6 miles. I’ve been doing 10k runs regularly which are just a hair of the 6 miles miles. So now that I have that down I’m doing bigger runs to see what my body feels like. I have no problem with the endurance at all. I owe that to hours and hours of cycle classes in which sometimes go for over and hour. When I am out running, I sometimes imagine myself on a bicycle in class, because there are moments there where I feel like I can go on forever.
So anyway, on to the yesterday’s run. I woke up, got ready, loaded-up my new fanny-pack-water-holster thing, packed 3 fig newtons (just in case I needed some carbs and sugar) and hit the road jogging. I did 8.7 miles in 1:50 mins. And I think I would have had a much better time if there weren’t any hills involved. I have not been doing any kind of hill training at all because my approaching half marathon is completely flat, but yesterday I picked a route with inclines just to see how they feel.
When it was all over, I felt totally great. Aside from having runner’s poop all was well. And to be clear, I made it home, sat a while then literally had to run to the bathroom where I’m pretty certain I lost 4 pounds in 30 second. Shit really does happen. But I digress.
My issues that followed weren’t apparent immediately. But later in the evening and even early this morning, I started putting things together.
The day before my run, I had worked all day, a nine our shift with just two 15 min breaks. I was under hydrated and under nourished all day. I tried to make up for it when I got home, but I already felt a full blown migraine coming on. Still, I drank a bunch of water that night and ate a good meal. But I had a beer with it. The headache remained so I went to bed early. I woke-up the next morning very early and started pounding the water. I had peanut butter on toast and a banana, and I felt ready. Tired, but ready.
When I was all done and back and showered I was still feeling the runner’s high and aside from sore feet was in a good mood. I rested the remainder of the day drank over a gallon of water and made myself a nice healthy meal of fish and a baked potato for dinner which I could not finish. I went to bed fairly early. I woke up 2 hours later and vomited, not because I had food poisoning but because my body was just not used to the exertion. And I think trying to cram in 48 hours worth of water into 10 hours was just a bit much.
This morning I went to the gym and tried my normal monday circuit. I jogged for 30 mins and then started doing arm and upper body training. I immediately had to stop. While in a plank position, my arms gave-out from beneath me and the room swayed and tilted. My ears rang. I felt like I was going to vomit again. So I just sat on the mat and breathed deeply. I consulted with my my fitness soul sister and we decided I was overworked, underfed and completely depleted. It was at the movement today where I realized just what a delicate balance it all is. You really need to pay attention to what you are putting into your body to make sure you can perform your best, before AND after.
In my head I was on a mission to run that long distance no matter what. But in reality you must prepare and you must recover properly. It’s no joke. Some people do go out and run 9 miles a day, but how long have they been doing that for? And how new is it to me? Yep. I fucked up. I’m just happy to have really learned this lesson now, and not the day of my big run -which I will prepare for meticulously.

On a lighter note, I ran down this major road in my area yesterday. It’s a long stretch of highway and the only direct way into my town. I drive it everyday. I see people on their bikes and running more often than not. There was a time when I would drive by those runners and think how awesome they looked, how that was the ultimate badass run in my area. When you run Los Osos Valley Road you know know you aren’t fucking around. And that was me yesterday, part of that No Fucking Around Crew.

Here is a picture from my last 10k run. I can’t even believe I am this person sometimes. Notice the big smile.

*If I only could, I’d be running up that hill

I’ve been thinking a lot about my half marathon in September. It feels unreal to me, yet the anxiety is building. Along with my weekly trainer sessions I’ve been trying to get my endurance up on the treadmill. I’m not really worried with how fast I’m going just yet, I’m more concerned about being able to keep a good pace. As of right now a good pace for me is somewhere between 5.0-5.5 mph, that’s about an 11 1/2 minute mile. That’s about where I’m comfortable for the time being. I can pretty much of for a long while at that pace, and that is my goal. I’ve been doing some sprints (6.0 or higher) too, just to see what it feels like. Also, all the assholes athletic-types at the gym run easily at a rate I call “sprinting”, and well, I really want to be like them. Eventually. I want to be a gazelle taking long fluid strides and just take off. As of now I can do that for about 90 seconds, then I do the whole sucking-wind-like-an-astmatic-6th-grader. By the way, I went to school with some kid who constantly had asthma attacks after recess and constantly barfed in class, usually right behind of next to me. I swear to you, I did not eat spaghetti from the time I was 11 to sometime in my early 20’s. But, I digress… Oh yea. Running. So I’d like to be a gazelle and stuff. It’s happening, kind of. I still hate the first 15 minutes of any run I start. I kept telling myself that will change, but everything I have read so far, blogs and articles and all says differently. Le sigh.

Tomorrow I’m going to try my first attempt at an early morning jog. I’ve set my alarm for 5:30 am and I’ve laid out my clothes and all. Oh, boy… Should be fun, right? I need to start doing this to see what long periods of concrete feel like under my feet, and to see what my body feels like that early in the morning. I need to get used to it. That half marathon is at 5:45 am. Seriously. I must be insane. Um, why am I doing this again?

Here’s some hardcore truth: When I run, almost always at some point I want to cry. Not because it’s hard, but because life is hard. Or, one might say that I’ve made my life really hard. I run because I’m really frustrated with how I let myself go again. I run when I miss my family and they feel far away. I run when I think of all the shitty things my ex did to me, said to me… I run when I feel overwhelmed, or don’t want to face how I’m feeling at all. I run because it burns major calories and melts fat but, I run towards the physical pain because the emotional pain of the last few years is too much to take at times. So I run, thinking I am running away from it. I sometimes imagine (not just zombies chasing me) but every heartache I’ve ever had growing smaller and smaller in the distance. I visualize a life I want on the horizon. It may seem corny, but it’s true. I keep thinking that if I run harder all the bad things will fall away from mind, my heart and leak out of my pores. And most times it feels exactly as if those very things are happening. I hear runners do this kind of thing a lot. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I’m hoping that somewhere in the process the more I run, the more my mind will free itself of the doubt/fear/anger/pain I carry with me. And that’s where the real weight will be lost.

Be running up that road

Be running up that hill

Be running up that building

Say, if I only could…

~Kate Bush