What a whirlwind couple of days! Sorry I haven’t been around much, but things have been a little bit crazy. Not to worry though, I have some fun updates for you to make up for the lack of posts.
Friday would have been Fitness Friday, had I actually had time to post anything. Luckily, I did make time to go to the gym early Friday morning before work. I didn’t want to over do it because of the half marathon scheduled for Sunday, but it was important for me to get some sort of run in so I did 30 minutes on the treadmill at an incline of 1. For those of you who don’t know, using a treadmill at an incline of 0 actually results in the treadmill doing some of the work for you. If you want an experience that is at least somewhat similar to running outside, you need an incline of at least 1%.
After that half hour I wasn’t quite ready to go into work yet, so I did a half hour on the stationary bike at level 7 resistance. Pretty nice burn for first thing in the morning on Fitness Friday!
Work was nuts that day, but I did make time for some vegetarian sushi in the middle of the day. I was worried it might be hard to give up fish when I decided to try out a vegetarian lifestyle, but the avocado and cucumber sushi I got was delicious. Yay!
Still, by 5pm that day I was ready to scream. Luckily I had dinner planned with a close friend and was able to blow off some steam talking to her. Afterward I went home and put away the produce from my Boston Organics box and watched a bit of TV until bed time.
Saturday was a rest day for me because I wanted my legs in tip top shape for Sunday. I got up bright and early and made it to Whole Foods when it opened. I spent way more money than I usually do at Whole Foods, but it was worth it.
One reason my bill was a bit higher is because I finally did what I’ve been saying I’d do and got a protein/nutrition shake. After getting some advice from the Whole Foods employee in that department I decided to get Vega One, which is a vegan powder and makes it easier for me to want to drink it every day being lactose intolerant. I also picked up a Blender Bottle while I was there because I’ve wanted to try one for a long time.
The Vega One is fantastic! I’m so glad I ended up getting it. I’m very happy with the choice and imagine it will make my morning routine a lot less hectic since I can just throw the powder and some almond milk into the Blender Bottle, give it a shake, and head to my car.
The rest of the day Saturday was spent shopping for more work clothes and some good moisture wicking socks for Sunday. The final stop of the day wasn’t meant to include a purchase, but I just couldn’t pass up going into Marathon Sports knowing that I have been looking for new running shoes.
I only had 30 minutes on the meter where I parked, but it was plenty of time to get a gait analysis and proper fitting. I went in thinking I wanted to try a pair of Brooks, but after trying a pair of Brooks and Mizuno running shoes that were both appropriate for me in terms of fit, I preferred the Mizuno. They are fantastic! I can’t wait to show them off.
Sunday was all about the half marathon. In case you missed my last post about it, I won an entry on Elizabeth’s blog into the Allstate half marathon at Suffolk Downs in Boston. I was super excited, but very nervous because it was a full three weeks before my training had me set to run a half marathon. I tried to think about it as a training run and just go with the flow, but I knew I was going to have lots of adrenaline come race time.
To get to the race on time (and be fully awake) I got up at 5am on Sunday. This is no small feat. Still, I had a piece of toast with jelly and a spoonful of peanut butter to give myself a little burst of carbs and protein. I also spent the evening before and that morning getting plenty of water into my system.
Once we got to Suffolk Downs I went to the bathroom and started stretching out. It’s sometimes nice to have your own personal paparazzi.
After I warmed up a bit, we went outside into the chilly fall air. I considered taking a jacket and pants to the race, but I figured I’d warm up once I started moving and I was right. By a couple of miles in I was dripping sweat and grateful I hadn’t worn layers. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was just perfect weather for running. While I ran, Joe continued his job as unofficial photographer.
I started off pretty strong in the race and was feeling good after the first few miles. The course was very scenic, which helped a lot.
I was still feeling pretty good around the 6-mile mark and was really glad I had taken the day before a bit easier than I have been. My feet started to hurt around mile 9 and I was grateful I bought new shoes for my next race. I was starting to wear a little thin by mile 10, but I had some inspiration at just the right time.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m a big wrestling fan. When I caught sight (for the second time) of a guy wearing a Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shirt, I couldn’t help but smile and get a little more motivated. His “Team Bring It” mentality and the “Boots to Asses” logo definitely helped me to pick up the pace. Then, around mile 11 when my feet were aching and I considered walking, Eminem came through my headphones. I had no idea what was on the playlist for the run because Joe made it based on beats per minute and the pace I wanted to run. I have to say that there is nothing like Eminem yelling, “You better lose yourself in the music, the moment you own it, you better never let it go. You only get one shot!” to get you moving a little faster. As silly as it sounds, it really resonated with me.
You only get one shot. I could have stopped and walked the rest of the way and no one would have really thought less of me, after all I was only part way done with my training. What kept me going was knowing that I could do it, so why stop? Another person in the race was wearing a shirt that said, “My feet hurt” in large letters and then in smaller letters “from kicking so much ass.” That also helped keep me going, moving through the pain. What was a little foot pain compared to knowing that I could finish the half marathon without walking a single time? What is a little bit of sweat compared to getting a PR three weeks before I even planned to run? So I kept going, knowing that nothing would be as great as crossing the finish line.
After I crossed the finish, stretched my muscles, slogged down two full bottles of water, and got my medal, I finally posed for a picture.
Then I was off to the recovery tent for gatorade, oreos, pretzels, and bananas. I’ve never been more excited to see chocolate in my life. After a few bites of food I went over to the shoe donation tent and gave away my running shoes to the awesome people at Give Your Sole. It was a fantastic feeling knowing that someone who needs shoes will have them now because I gave them mine.
We didn’t stick around for much of the live music and I didn’t have any interest at the time in a beer, so we walked to the car and went home. As I was sitting in an ice bath and drinking hot tea afterward, I started to think about how far I’ve come in the past couple of years.
This time last year I had never run a half marathon and wasn’t sure I would ever finish the one I was scheduled to run. I certainly would have not entered to win an entry into one several weeks beforehand. After all I have put my body through in the past year, I knew that I could finish 13.1 miles and I knew it would be fun. Even when I was in pain and felt like stopping, I knew that finishing would feel much better than stopping ever would. It paid off, my official time was announced not long after we got back to the apartment and I set a PR by almost half an hour compared to the first half marathon I ran last year–final time of 2:15:18!
I am even more excited now for my race in three weeks as I know just what I can do. I can push through the pain and set a personal record, I just have to get my mind in the right place. Of course it is important to listen to your body and stop when the pain is from an injury or overexertion, but I knew that mine was something that could be overcome mentally. Today I’m feeling just the tiniest bit sore and know that I made the right decision. My goal for the race in three weeks is to finish under 2:10:00. Think I can do it? I just have to push!