Sunday, October 20, 2013

Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon 2013

Third Annual Pumpkin Run!
What a difference a year makes!!

Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon 2012

Last year I did this half marathon and it was ugly on many, many levels.  I had begun my "I give up" stage that lasted from August until Christmas last year.  I gained 20 pounds and was pretty much miserable.  I had signed up for the race earlier in the summer and since I had paid the money I decided to do it anyway.  My husband had to work and none of my friends were doing it or could go.  It was pouring down rain.  I mean it just dumped then entire run.  I ran the first three miles at a slow pace but it was still miserable.  I had only done a two mile run in September and a two mile run in October before race day.  After the first three miles I walked a mile and then ran a mile.  Which wasn't too bad but every time I had to run again I was miserable.  My whole body just hurt.  This was the first time I ever considered not finishing a race.  When I got to mile 10 I was so wet and miserable that I just wanted to quit.  The only reason I kept going was because I couldn't bear the thought of going to school on Monday and telling my students that I had given up.  I finished the race and even that was not fun.  I never really knew how much it means to me have my husband, friends and family waiting for me at the end of my races until they weren't there.  Finishing sucked because I had done horribly, I was wet to the skin, everything hurt and there was nobody there.  I hobbled to my car, stripped off a few layers of wet clothes, put on some dry ones and drove home.  I was miserable and sore for almost a week.  I promised myself that I would NEVER participate in a race like that again without training.  It was not worth the misery during and after the race.  I took so long that I killed the battery on my phone so my Nike+ only had me doing a little over 11 miles.  
Not a time that I'm proud of. 

Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon 2013

We fast forward to a year later.  Like I said before, what a difference a year makes.  I have been working hard since Christmas on my running and my attitude.  Still have a long way to go with both but I am seeing improvement and that's what is important.  I was determined to keep up with my training this year, no excuses.  I was fine in August when I wasn't working but when school started and my grad classes started it became more of a challenge.  However, I am blessed with an amazing, supportive husband who has stepped up and helped out so that I can get out and run.  Basically he makes sure that I have no excuses.  :-)  Last year I put in a whopping 10.84 miles of training in during September and October.  This year the total for the two months for training was 97.36 miles!!!  I think that I was a bit more committed this year.  

My short runs the past few weeks have been getting faster.  Probably the tapering that comes before the big race helped that but, oh wow, is it fun to feel fast!  This week I ran my fastest mile ever.  I did it at the end of a three mile run.  At the end!  I was so excited.
Woot Woot!
I really didn't feel nervous about the half marathon until Friday night.  Evidently my subconscious was nervous because I had dreams about another terrible run or getting injured and not being able to finish all night long.  When I woke up in the morning I was nervous.  lol  But there were a lot of differences between last year and this year.  Not only had I trained for the race but the weather looked to be much better and my husband was racing too.  My best friend was one of the coordinators for the race and she was going to be there too.  Training, check.  Weather no rainy, check.  Friends and family at race, check.  It was going to be a better day no matter what.  

It was cold before the race and foggy.  But the sun was starting to break through.  

Pre-Race Smiles

We got lined up, Joe towards the front and me towards the back.  The sun was shining at the start line but about a mile in we got back to the fog.  Either way was better than the rain last year so no complaints here.  

I started out too fast and had to reign myself back.  Pretty sure I couldn't do a half marathon at a 10 minute pace!  Yikes.  

I settled into a nice steady 12'30" pace and felt really good.  I started to get tired around mile 10 but kept trucking along.

View during of the South Santiam River
At mile 12 is where I hit the wall.  I always walk through the water stations.  I get a water and a Gatorade and give myself until the last garbage can to finish the drinks and walk.  Usually this gives me just enough of a rest to feel perked up for a little bit again.  There was one last water station about a 1/2 mile before the mile 12 marker.  I walked through and then got going again.  My legs started to tighten up, I started to cramp and at the 12 mile marker I had to start walking.  I was really frustrated because I knew that I had been on track to being really close to my goal of 2:45.  Walking was killing any chance of that.  I had to walk/run for about a 1/2 mile.  Then I just decided that I had to push through or I wouldn't get a PR either and that would be really crappy.  I managed to start running again and kept a pace under 13 minutes and I finished running.  

My husband was waiting for me at the finish line.  My best friend was waiting at the finish line.  I got a hug from one of the cheerleaders that was a student of mine last year.  I told her I was all sweaty and she said she didn't care.  Made my heart happy.  :-)  A running friend that I had watched do the Portland Marathon a few weeks ago came out to cheer Joe and I over the finish line.  That was a fun treat.  And my co-workers were also hanging out for high fives at the finish.  

Overall the entire day was better from start to finish.  While I didn't make my goal for 2 hours 45 minutes, that was a really lofty goal and I really didn't think it was even remotely possible.  Now I know it is possible because I came really, really close to getting it.  

I did, however, PR again my time for a half marathon.  Last April I got a PR at the Eugene Half Marathon of 2:51:22.  This October I got a new PR at the Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon of 2:47:31.  I beat my last PR by more than 5 minutes!!  I am pretty stinking excited about that!  My goals, other than the time, was to finish with an average pace of under 13 minute miles and to run the whole thing.  Still didn't quite get that second one but nailed the first one!  By a lot!  I dropped my average pace from last years race by 3'34"!  AND I improved by 46 minutes over last years Pumpkin Run!  That's worth the training right there!

I am excited about the things I've accomplished in the last week.

  1. I became a triathlete.
  2. I ran my fastest mile ever.
  3. I got a new PR for a Half Marathon.

I still have a long way to go to get where I want to be but I'm really, really proud of how far I have come! 
After race smiles!
Now I'm going to brag on a friend.  My amazing friend Betsy, the one I want to be just like when I grow up, participated in the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco today.  She got a Badass (with Sparkle) PR of her own of 2:22:45!  So proud of her and all she has done to get healthy.  I also am glad that we have become friends because she has become, in a very short amount of time, one of my important peeps who keeps me going!  Love you Betsy!  You rock and I can't wait to hear all about your race when you get home!

This is what I have been focusing on lately:  It doesn't matter if you are slow or fast.  What matters is that you are out there kicking ass!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Last Chance Triathlon 2013

I was very, very, very nervous about doing a sprint triathlon.  I don't know why but this race had my stomach doing rolls all week long.  I was super stressed about it and I'm pretty sure my friends were tired of hearing me whine.  I questioned why I thought I could do it, I wondered what I was thinking when I signed up.  I basically was a complete basket case.

This morning I woke up and finished getting my stuff together.  For the first time ever I had the issue with going #2 and having it be disgusting and smelly.  I know, too much information, but all my running friends will totally get what I'm talking about.  I leave it at that. 

Goober #3 was also participating in the triathlon so we had two bikes and all our gear to load up.  Joe made sure that our tires were pumped up and our bikes were good to go.  It was a bit weird having Joe be the camera guy, helper, cheerleader, etc.  That's usually my job.  :-)

We got our bikes set up with all our stuff.  Geez, there was a ton of stuff to have out and ready.  Then we went in to get our numbers put on our legs and arms and then get ready for the swim.  Standing around waiting is just the worst!  The first wave started at 8:00 a.m. but I was in the 8:20 a.m. wave start.  So that meant an additional 20 minutes to be nervous.

There's a lot of gear needed for a Tri!
Meighan and I were the only two people in our lane.  We decided to each take a side of the lane rather than circle swim since it was just the two of us.  She has been on the local club swim team for over three years so she is a really good swimmer.  I knew she was going to kick my butt on the swim part, and she did!  I had some struggles with feeling out of breath and was having a hard time finding my rhythm at the start.  Probably because I was going faster than I had in training.  No matter how hard I try to keep my activity slow during the start of a race I can't seem to do it very well.  It always happens during running races so I guess now I know it happens during other sports as well.  When I started taking a breath every stroke on one side I did better so I did that more than I had during my workouts.  At 8:40 a.m. they had one last wave to start.  So two people joined me in my lane while I was finishing up.  I ended up finishing my swim in about 25 minutes.  Which for me was really good.  That was a nice way to start!
Swim caps are not my best look but I really love this picture.  Mostly because of my swim partner.  :-)

I hustled outside to get ready for the bike portion of the race.  Holy moly, it was cold!  It was a foggy morning and the fog wasn't burning off so it was cold.  I had decided to wear my compression shorts and sports bra under my swim suit so I could take off the swim suit and put on my shirt and bike shorts.  I'm sure it wasn't a pleasant sight for people to see me standing there half naked and dripping water but oh well.  A girl has to do what a girl has to do.  :-)  I got changed, ate part of a banana, drank some water and then headed out.  Did I mention that it was cold?  

I headed out to the main road and the first thought was that I felt pretty good.  So I just decided to move along and try and have a good pace until I wasn't feeling good anymore.  Then I would adjust accordingly.  I had a couple people pass me during the first couple of miles which was no surprise.  But then I passed a few people myself.  Now that was a surprise!  On runs I am used to being roadkill.  I rather enjoyed being able to pass other bikers and have them be roadkill.  I kept waiting for my legs to give out on me but they kept feeling good.  I also kept waiting for my butt to start hurting.  Usually that starts about mile one.  Today it didn't start getting uncomfortable until about mile 10.  My legs started getting tired about then too.  But I knew I was getting close to the finish of the bike portion so I pushed through it.

Getting off the bike was an adventure.  It took a few tries to get my leg to lift high enough to get over the bar of the bike.  lol  I'm sure that was entertaining to watch.  Then I walked the bike over to my spot   and worked at getting ready for the run.  I took off the bike shorts and put on my running capris and headed out again.  Joe shouted to me that I needed to take it slow because I would feel like I was going slow but would be going faster than I thought I was.  I thought I was going slow.  I felt like I was creeping along.  I couldn't feel my legs, they were all tingly.  I couldn't feel my toes, they were numb from the cold.  I got a half mile into the run and my Nike+ app said that I was running at a 11'30" pace. What the heck?  I felt like I was doing a 15' pace or worse! lol  So I tried to slow down.  My goal for the 5K was to just run the whole thing.  I ended up with a 12'12" minute pace.  Wow.  I couldn't believe that I ran that fast after swimming and biking!  I even passed someone!  (Another roadkill!)

The race finishes on the high school track.  I had to run almost an entire lap and it was a long lap!  But I kept going because I knew that my husband and daughter were waiting for me at the finish.  I crossed the finish line and walked right into Joe's arms.  Got a big old hug from my best friend and number one fan.  I absolutely know that I could not do the training or any of these races if he didn't believe in me and support me along the way.  I'm so blessed to have such an amazing man as my partner in life!  I also had to give hugs to my daughter, two fabulous women who I am beyond blessed to have cheering me on and my buddy Matt, who had already finished his first triathlon.  :-)  It was quite the little party at the finish line!

Woot Woot!  What an amazing feeling!
Going home and taking a hot shower was heavenly.  That was followed up with a nice long nap.  Then I had to do homework.  That was a bummer.  But I got it done.

My friend Matthew also participated in the triathlon this weekend.  It was his first race of any kind!  He did awesome!

Triathletes!!!  The smiles say it all!
I also got a new toy this week.  I purchased a Fitbit.  I have been wanting to get some sort of tracker for awhile.  I was leaning toward a Nike Fuelband because I do my runs on Nike+ so they would go together.  I finally decided to get the Fitbit for a couple of reasons.  First, it tracks sleep.  Since I'm having issues with being tired all the time I thought that would be interesting information to have.  Second it syncs up with so I can put my meals and activities into that app and it automatically tells my Fitbit and all that is factored in.  The only thing that I have been disappointed about is that it won't automatically sync wirelessly to my phone or iPad.  Turns out my technology is too old.  The oldest iPhone it will sync to is the 4s, I have a 4.  The oldest iPad it will sync to is the 3rd generation, I have the 2nd.  But I have the little doodad that goes into a USB port on my laptop so it does sync when I am on the computer automatically.  I've only had it up and running for two days so it will be interesting to see what kind of data I get.  

I got the Fitbit Flex.  I decided to get the one that I can wear like a bracelet.  If I bought one of the clip on ones I can guarantee that I would wash it at some point or lose it.  They aren't very big.  The flex is very light weight and can get wet so I can wear it in the shower and the rain (an important factor living in Oregon.)  It comes with two different size bands to put the Fitbit into so there is no worries about getting one that fits.  And eventually....when I lose enough weight.....I can switch to the small band because I already have it.  :-)  (Positive thinking right there, did you see that?)  You can also purchase bands that are other colors because the Fitbit part slides into the band so it is interchangeable.

This next Saturday I run in the Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon.  Last year I didn't train for it (at all). It poured down rain all morning and since I walked most of it, it was a very long morning!  And none of my running people were there.  That was a long morning of misery without anyone with me to keep things fun.  It was pretty much the most awful race and hurt for days afterwards.  This year the weather forecast looks like we could could get an amazing fall day.  Clear and crisp, perfect running weather for me.  :-) I'm looking forward to this year being a fantastic run.

This picture a friend posted on Facebook and it sums up how I felt this week and how I often feel.

 Via Facebook-Credit unknown-Love this!
I think I love it because I feel week and scared often but push through to be victorious.  But I can be Badass all the time!  

I don't have my official time for the triathlon yet.  I finished in the 2 hour 15 minute range.  I was hoping the results would be up so I could share my finish and my splits.  No such luck.  Maybe later.  But the really, really, really important part isn't my finish time.  It's that I did it.  From start to finish.  I got in trouble today for saying on Facebook that it was "Just a sprint triathlon" and I have promised not to put down my accomplishments by using the word "just" anymore.  Except for this....

Wow....Just Wow!!!!!!  


This is my official results from the triathlon.  The swim was actually about 25 minutes but the tracking pad was outside.  :-)  Hadn't done the bike distance in less than 1:15 before.  :-)  Never thought I could do a swim, then a bike and manage to do a 5K in less than  40 minutes.  I'm pretty happy with my first try at a tri.  :-)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Out of Gas

Sometimes I can go for weeks managing the tiredness and making it work.  Then suddenly my body rebels and says that I have reached the bottom and the tank is empty.  This week the tank was definitely empty.  Monday I didn't run.  I got home from work and just crashed in my recliner.  (Sigh, that sounds like an old geezer, but that's how I feel.)

Tuesday was a little better.  I had an interval workout on the track and I did the entire workout.  This is my third time going through this particular training program for a half marathon and this is the first time I have been able to do this workout from start to finish.  I was very excited.  I had to do a 1/2 mile warm up easy run.  That was followed by 4 x 1/2 mile intervals at above race pace with 2 minute walks in-between.  Then I had to do 6 x 1/4 mile intervals at above race pace with 2 minute walks in-between.  Followed by another 1/2 mile cool down jog.  I ended up with a total distance of 5.6 miles and an average pace of 12'09".  I can't believe that was my average pace when I walked a total of 20 minutes of this workout.  When I got home and was able to look at the graph of my workout I was amazed.  During the intervals I was running at a pace of about 10'30" every single time!  That was very cool.  
The high points were the intervals, the low was the walking.  
Not too shabby.  Last few were HARD! 
Wednesday I was supposed to get up and swim before work but I was so tired that I just stayed in bed.  It was a long day at work.  I came home and picked up my daughter and took her to church.  Then I went back to the pool and did my workout.  It was hard.  I think that swimming is even harder than running to do when you are out of gas.  I did the entire half hour but it was a struggle.  Then I went home and took a nap, picked up my daughter from church and then went to bed.

Thursday was a rest day and I came home and crashed in my chair again.  I was so tired.  Betsy had let me know she was swimming and I wanted to go but my body just wasn't going to move.  

Friday I was supposed to run four miles.  I was going to leave work right after school so I could get it done before I completely ran out of gas.  That didn't happen.  I had a meeting after school that took almost an hour and then I had to talk to my principal about a situation that had happened earlier in the day with one of my students.  I didn't leave work until almost 5 pm.  I went and picked up the goober at the pool and headed home.  Joe had made dinner, spaghetti!  By the time I ate dinner it was after 6 pm and I was too tired to do anything but head to bed.  Ugh!  

Saturday I slept in until after 7 am.  When I got up I didn't hurry and head out for my run.  I ate breakfast, watched the news and just took my time.  I finally headed out a little after 9 a.m.  The weather was foggy and cold but it felt great. I love the way the fog looks as it is burning off of fields.  It looks like it is running away from the sun.  It was beautiful.  

I felt okay to start with, not great but okay.  About mile 6 I could tell that my body didn't want to keep going and I thought about making the run shorter but I kept going.  Instead of getting negative splits each mile was slower than the last. 

During mile 7 I was running down 3 Lakes Rd.  I heard a car coming behind me but didn't think too much of it.  There was a pickup behind the car.  All I heard up till this point was the sound of the cars.  Right when the pickup got next two me the two big dogs that were in the truck bed started barking.  It scared the crap out of me!  I had to laugh at my own reaction.  I swear those dogs planned it.  "Wait for it....wait for it....wait for it.....NOW!  Bark bark bark bark.  Hahahaha!  That was AWESOME!"  I jumped and then laughed.  If the driver of the truck looked in his mirror he probably got a laugh himself.  

Photo by Ferlinka Borzoi via  
At mile 8 I got a horrible side ache.   I haven't had a side ache in a really long time but I was able to keep going in spite of it.  I had about 1.5 miles to go and I was out of water.  By this time the fog had burned off and the sun was out.  It was really beautiful but I was really warm.  I stopped by the coffee shop that I go to and they were wonderful and filled up my water container that I run with.  When I headed back out I could tell that I had been stopped too long.  Everything felt tight and not comfortable.  I ran just over a 1/2 mile and then my right hip started cramping really bad.  I slowed down to a walk and then the back of my right leg also started getting really tight.  At this point I had about 3/4 of a mile to get my 11 miles and I decided to walk it because I didn't want to get an injury.  

I know that this can happen during training but it is really hard to feel confident about a race that is only two weeks out when my last two 11 miles runs have had some significant issues right at the end.  During the race I will have to go 2.1 miles farther!  I'm a little concerned that the Runaway Pumpkin  Half is going to suck.

Once I got home I just was wiped out.  I was going to take a shower but I really needed to clean it.  I didn't want to shower and then clean it so I decided to clean it and then take my shower.  In hindsight I think maybe I should have eaten and then cleaned the shower.  I scrubbed it out and then hopped in and finished up anything I missed.  Then I just stood there and stretched out my aching legs in the hot water.  Good gravy!  I hurt all over!  By the time I got out though I was all shaky and didn't feel good.  I decided it was because I hadn't eaten so I grabbed some crackers and a drink as a quick fix with the plan that I would fix more in a bit once I was feeling better.  Then I fell asleep on the couch.  So much for fixing something to eat in just a bit.

 Picture from
This is how I feel most of the time.  :-)
All week I have been butt dragging.  Saturday was the worst.  Now I understand that running 11 miles will make someone tired.  But I was tired when I woke up, then I was tired on the run.  By the time I got done I was beyond tired.  I never feel not tired, ever.  I don't think I have felt refreshed and rested in almost two years.  The last time I saw my doctor he said maybe I'm tired because I'm busy.  I thought about it a lot this summer and decided that it is not because I'm busy.  During the summer I wasn't working and I could just hang out and read and relax.  I was tired all summer too.  If I'm tired when I'm not really doing anything then that's a problem.  Wish we could figure out why I'm like this. It really is not fun.  I would like to be operating with a full tank again.  I'm always at less than 1/4 tank or running on fumes.

Today I had the privilege of going to Portland and watching some of my amazing friends do the Portland Marathon and the Portland Half Marathon.  After all the yucky weather we had last week today was an absolutely glorious day.  I drove and goober #3 came along as well.  We had a great time pre-race taking pictures and hanging out waiting for the race to start.  Then the goober and I found a spot where we could see the runners go by, we crossed the street and saw them come back down the other side.   We went and warmed up in the car for a bit and then hung out near the finish line to cheer everyone on.  I love races where names are on the bibs because then you can shout out peoples names. Some of the names were funny.  We saw things like Pooh Bear, Grandma, Giant 1 and Dude.  There were several honoring the Boston Marathon that said things like Boston or Boston Strong.   Love it!

As we were waiting for our friends and cheering people on one woman caught my attention.  Her bib said her name was Susan and she was probably in her late 60's.  She was waving her arms up and down to get the crowd to cheer which they obliged in a huge fashion.  She had tears streaming down her face and she smiled at the crowd and shouted "This is my first half marathon!!"  They crowd shouted even louder.  I had tears watching her.  I totally remember my first half marathon.  I totally remember my first 5K!  When you go from someone who can't even run one lap around the track to someone who has finished 13.1 miles it is pretty overwhelming!  Watching Susan made me remember my first half marathon and how far I have come.

So I may be out of gas and I may get frustrated that I only ran 10 miles instead of 11.  But today helped me remember how far I've come and how much I have to be proud of. I'm looking forward to the Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon.  I may struggle at the end or get cramps or have to walk.  That will frustrate me I'm sure but I will keep in mind that this is my NINTH half marathon!  Holy Moly!!  That puts things in a different perspective.  :-)

Here is a picture my husband took of my after finishing the Eugene Marathon in 2011.  My first Half Marathon.  Not my last and not "just" a half.  :-)  I've come a long way since then and plan to continue working at become a better, healthier me.

First Half Marathon 2011-First of many!!!