First Half Marathon Completed!!

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It’s official.  I have completed my very first half marathon today!  I got a great night sleep and woke up early to have my coffee, breakfast and relax before we had to go.   My adrenaline was going the second I got out of bed…I just could not believe the day was here and was just excited to take everything in.

We left early to get to Detroit because there was a Lions game and over 70,000 people expected to be there between the marathon and the game.  Luckily we got there in plenty of time and I was able to watch the full marathon runners for awhile and stretch before my start time.  I ate a half banana and mini cliff bar and before I knew it the race began!  I cannot even explain the energy I felt being surrounded by so many runners.  It made me really emotional…if only my everyday long runs could be surrounded by such positive energy.  It was a nice brisk 45 degrees that made the entire run enjoyable.

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About a half hour before the race began.

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Just sang the national anthem and getting ready to start!

I had two goals:

-to run the entire half-marathon without walking

-to finish 2 1/2 hours or under

I am happy to say I accomplished both of them.  My ending time was 2:28:27.  Seeing and actually crossing the finish line was so exciting.  Overall it went great however around the 6th-10th miles my legs were very sore and tight.  I am not sure if it is because I am still a beginner but it is something I want to figure out before I do another race.  Perhaps my legs are not strong enough yet and it will get better over time and more training.

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That about sums up the day.  I am already looking forward to my next one and my husband is inspired to train for the Detroit Free Press run next year.

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Night Before My First Half Marathon!!

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Night Before My First Half Marathon!!

It has been a pretty busy past couple of weeks and I have not gotten a chance to update my blog but I am excited to report that my FIRST half marathon is TOMORROW:)!!! Even though I have been tapering off I decided to go for an 8 mile run last Sunday more to boost my confidence vs. anything else. I felt great the entire 8 miles other than a little stiffness. My ankle feels 100% better and I am just thrilled to be actually running my first race tomorrow.

I went to pick up my packet earlier today and have been getting everything prepared tonight so I have nothing to think about other that eating breakfast and heading out the door.

My cousin (who deserves a huge congrats for running the Chicago Marathon last weekend in 2:55 hours….unreal!), suggested that I buy a cheap pair of sweats to throw off right before I start running. It is going to be pretty chilly in the morning but thankfully a beautiful forecast.  They were also selling $1 throw off gloves at the Expo today and I plan on doing the same with those too. I am having my husband carry an extra outfit to change into after the race so I can be in something dry and warm. I packed my gels, ID, bib, safety pins, running belt, iPhone and headphones and a couple snacks for after and I think I am good to go!

I cannot wait to let you all know how it went! Being that this is my first half-marathon I do not have a time goal but I am hoping to finish it in 2 1/2 hours. I just want to enjoy the experience and feel great doing it and the next race I am going to try and improve my speed.

Gratitude!

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While training for a race all kinds of little issues can appear causing your to adjust/reevaluate your plan..it comes with the territory.  Those set backs though can certainly be a blessing.  I have found that once I can get past another hurdle, whatever the reason may be, the next run I am even more grateful to be able to be on track and do again what I love.  It is so easy to take your health for granted but it is something that we need to constantly be thankful for.  It is much like life.  We often get faced with an unfortunate circumstance to later find out that it was the best thing that could have ever happened to us and had to happen that way to get us where we are.  Lately I have been having overwhelming gratitude for everything good in my life.   It is so easy to get hung up on the negative but it is unhealthy and useless.

With that being said my ankle is feeling so much better.  I am feeling confident it is going to be healed before the race and I am going to try another light run on Saturday to see how it fares.  I have been taking walks and whenever a runner goes by me I feel a little jealous that I cannot break out into a run too but it’s just temporary and this too shall pass:)

 

Listen to your Body

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After taking what seems like an eternity off of running last week which was 6 rest days, I went out to test the waters today.  Last week after my 11 mile run I woke up the next morning feeling pretty ill.   I had tried to run an easy four miler and not only did I feel worse I rolled my ankle.  Wow hot mess:)  So today I am finally feeling so much better and was looking forward to a great run.  I was planning on running 2-3 miles to warm my body up after taking such a long break and things just fell apart.  My right inner ankle was throbbing and after 1.25 miles I had to stop.  What the heck is going on???  I could barely hobble the 1.25 miles back to my car and have had ice on it ever since I have gotten home.  It is still pretty swollen and tender to the touch.

I always read about the possibility of getting injured and I truly thought that it would never be something I would have to deal with.  I cannot imagine taking another week off especially when the race is just three weeks away.  I am trying to stay positive but realize there is a strong possibility I may not be able to run the half marathon this time around.  I am praying this is a strain and not a stress fracture.  I am so disappointed but I am going to do everything I can to get my ankle feeling back to normal and somehow get back on track before the race.  I have no idea what to do to keep myself in shape without injuring myself further at this point.  Going to try the elliptical tomorrow and see how that goes.

Have you ever injured your ankle training for a race and what advice to you have to get back to running as soon as possible?

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Stay Positive

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Stay Positive

This week has been a running nightmare for me. I struggled last week on my long 11 mile run and the day after came down with a cold that is on the verge of becoming bronchitis. It was challenging for me to get through that run and I am almost happy that I got sick because now understand why I was having such a difficult time…my immune system was weak.

I took an extra rest day on Tuesday and decided to try running on Wednesday an easy four miler and ended up rolling my ankle. I have not been getting better and now am so concerned that my ankle is not going to heal properly before the race…basically I am falling apart;)

I have three weeks before the half marathon and am going to have to skip my long run tomorrow. I need to fight whatever is going on in my body and rest my ankle so I do not set myself back even further.  My runs were supposed to taper off next weekend and I have no idea whether I should try going for my long run next weekend or stick to my training schedule and pray I will be ok for the race.

I have been feeling really down about not being able to get my runs in and then I realized how far I have come in these past two months and made PR’s that I never thought I would accomplish in such a short time.

Praying next week will be much better and I’ll be back on track with my runs again!

Have you ever missed a long run close to your race day and how did it effect your marathon/half-marathon?

One Month Countdown!

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I cannot believe my race is a few days short of a month away.  While I was doing my long run on Sunday I realized I only have one long run left before the half marathon!

This was not one of my best running weeks.  I was planning on doing three short runs and unfortunately was only able to do two instead.  Things have been so hectic with another wedding and my husband and I are buying a business in October and we have been taking care of all of the tedious details before our official takeover day comes.  The two short runs I did went well…I did 4 on Tuesday and 5 on Thursday.  I was averaging about 10:20 min/mile.

My long run was on Sunday and I was struggling to prepare myself mentally to go.  I had such a short window that I could run because of the wedding we were attending and I literally had to push myself out the door.  I decided to try running with little water and no gels.  BIG MISTAKE.  I thought that the gel may have been more of a mental thing but I know now that it definitely helps me after my first hour of running.  I was doing great until the 8th mile and then my body started tightening up everywhere.  My legs literally felt like they had lead in them.   At my 9th mile I stopped and stretched for about two minutes.  My training schedule said I should be at 12 miles this week but I ended up running 11 as I did not have enough time to get the extra mile in.  My calves and hamstrings were so incredibly tight at the end of the run and are still bothering me today.  So frustrating but I am going to just stretch like crazy and pray that it works itself out asap:)   I ended up averaging 11:13 min/miles which is pretty close to the 11:03 min/miles for the 11 mile run I did last weekend but I just did not feel as good this time.

I am getting a little nervous for my long run next weekend.  My schedule advices I run 13 miles which is basically a half marathon.  I know I can run 13 miles but am so worried about overtraining especially with how tight my body is feeling right now.  By Friday I will have a better idea of what will be best and go from there.

ImageA picture of my mother in law and sister in laws from the wedding we attended.  (My sister in law is expecting a baby:)

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My husband and I.  For some reason everything looks so yellow…including his shirt.  Bad lighting:)

What are some of your favorite things to fuel with during a long run?

What do you do when you experience muscle tightening during your runs?

Keep on Going!

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Keep on Going!

Running is a challenge of its own because as marathon runners we are typically competing against ourselves as opposed to other sports where you have teammates and a coach that hold you accountable.  It is so easy to wake up feeling like doing anything but running but you know at the end of the day if you do not get out there and run you will be letting yourself down and hurting your success at your next race.  I just love this quote and find it so true for the past several weeks training for my half marathon.  At first it was just about finishing my milage per week.  Then as I was accomplishing my weekly goals I started making PR’s that just have made me more motivated to push myself harder to a place I never believed I would be at.

First of all today I ran 4 miles…4 miles at the beginning of my training was difficult…today it is an easy run.  This was actually a PR of mine…finishing 4 miles in 39 minutes and 3 seconds.

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Let’s go back about a month ago…August 24th to be exact and this was the same distance, same path:

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This was finished in 47:22.  In one month I have shaved 8 minutes and 19 seconds off my time!!  I know the cooler weather has helped but my body feels so much stronger.

I started off blogging to keep myself accountable and to track my progress but reading all of your blogs keeps me so motivated.  I love stumbling upon great recipes to try and reading about other runners that have been through a marathon or are training for their first and it just inspires me.  Thank you to anyone that has read my blog and leaves such kind comments.  It is so encouraging.

I am already feeling nervous when this race is over how I will keep myself accountable as our winters get soooo cold and I do not know if they even do races around here during them.  I just may need to find a couple in Florida and have a great excuse to visit my mom there.

What keeps you motivated between races?

How does your training/milage change? 

First 11.0 Mile Run!

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Today was my long run and after skipping my 10 mile run last week due to a minor injury I was a little very nervous about it.  I woke up dreading  the 11 miles ahead of me but I spread a little almond butter on a piece of toast, drank my coffee, grabbed a water and just started driving…the faster I got it over with the less time I had to talk myself out of it:)   I found a new trail to try out…one that my cousin said is his favorite to prepare for his marathons.  It was about an hour away so I took the time to hydrate and just enjoy the time to myself.

First of all I have never in my life thought I would be able to run 11 miles.  I had a friend in college that would run 9 miles and to me she was a rockstar.  Running for that long blew my mind!  I could handle 6 miles…barely but just never pushed myself beyond that.  Actually signing up for a half marathon has motivated me to push myself in ways that I do not think I ever would have if I never made that decision.  I am in awe how much I have accomplished in these past five weeks and it is just such an inspiration to keep on going beyond this race and make this a permanent part of my life.

As far as my run today went…I ran faster than I ever thought I would be able to in this short period of time.  I averaged 11:02 minute miles and although I know it is still slow to most it was a huge breakthrough to myself. Having new scenery was awesome and the trail was relatively flat and so enjoyable.  I could have just kept on going…I felt amazing.  By the seventh mile I was starving, this was the most hunger I have every experienced during a run and could not wait to finish and enjoy the nuts and dried fruit I had waiting for me in my car.  I walked a half mile when I finished to cool down and found a beautiful spot near a river to stretch and headed back home.

I am feeling a little sore now especially in my knees but I think after cross-trainig tomorrow I am going to feel back to normal.  Each time I add another mile to my PR it is a feeling I cannot explain other than the fact that it just motivates me to keep on going.

What are some of your favorite post run snacks?

What is your favorite/most inspiring things about running?

Recovering from a Minor Injury

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So much has happened in the past week I do not even know where to begin!

My mom went back to Florida :(.  We did enjoy our last day together at a fall festival in Plymouth, MI.  It was fun just walking around and people watching….and of course eating.  We are missing her already.

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My last running post was written the day before I was supposed to do my long (10 mile) run.  Well unfortunately that never happened.  I was feeling so burnt out and still having pain in my pelvic area and decided to listen to the doctor and stop running until I was able to see him.  Turns out my ultrasound came back completely normal and looks like I strained my ligament.  I am so thankful it was nothing serious and I am feeling 100% better.  In fact my running pace has increased!  I think my body needed time to recover because prior to training for this half marathon I was not running AT ALL.  I am just going to keep on going at still increase my milage this week.  Feeling a little guilty about missing such an important run but I truly think that if I did not listen to my body I would have set myself back even more.

So my recap for last week is:

Monday: 2 miles – 10:20 pace

Tuesday: REST

Wednesday: 4 miles – 11:30 pace

Thursday: REST

Friday: 6 miles – 10:37 pace (PR)

Saturday: going to do 3 miles

Sunday: going to do 11 miles

As much as I love the running shoes I purchased a few weeks ago (Brooks Pure Candace II) they are one of their lightest pairs and do not offer a lot of support.  The guy working at the Running Fit store by my house suggested getting another pair with more support and alternating them.  I am going to take his suggestion and try to get them as soon as possible so I do not try out a new pair of running shoes too close to the race.

Now let’s talk about my 6 mile run on Friday.  The path I usually take was completely deserted.  I was already feeling a little nervous (maybe that is why I was running faster than normal) and kept on worrying that a pack of coyotes would be hanging out on the trail (they are all over our area).  Just as I had gotten to mile five this dear jumped out in front of me and decided to join me on my run…after I had a mini heart attack:)  I learned later that they may charge you if they feel threatened….just lovely.  But all was good and I ran back to my car as fast as I could literally…and I will admit he/she was pretty cute.

Today we took our first trip to the cider mill.  If I ever move out of Michigan I would seriously come back every fall just to eat donuts and drink fresh apple cider.  My son enjoyed it so much this year…especially the apple slush he tried.

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What are some of your favorite things to do during the fall?

What supportive running shoes to do you recommend?

Almond Butter

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I love cooking and trying new recipes and attempt to make as many from scratch as I possibly can.  I think it tastes so much better and there is no worry about added chemicals or preservatives.  I have never made almond butter before and stumbled upon a great food blog Chef in Disguise and modified her recipe.  It took less than 15 minutes to make and it is going to be a delicious pre/post run snack.

To start I took two cups of almonds and roasted them over my stovetop for about five minutes until they browned.  I added them to my food processor and turned in on high until they became a nice pasty texture.  Then I slowly added olive oil until it became a consistency I liked.  I prefer it a little thicker so I used about 2-3 TBS of oil.     I did not want to add sugar to it so instead I added about a TBS of honey.

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And wooo laaaa…..thats it!  I spread it on a couple of my favorite ancient grain crackers and had a delicious treat.  It not only tastes better that store bought almond butter it is so much cheaper to make by scratch.  Next time I am going to add cocoa powder (I did not have any) and maybe my two year old will actually give it a try too.  Enjoy!

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