Tag Archives: half-marathon

Running and Wedding and Wedding, Oh my!

7 Aug

Half-way through the week!  Woot!  Somehow it’s been another busy one, full of lots of wedding planning, ChaLean Extreme (still loving it! :)), and trying to keep my sanity!  I’ve been a bit amazed at how much all this planning and business can be a bit anxiety-provoking at times.  However, I always remind myself that most of the big wedding decisions are complete!

It’s like every week I’m finding new, more irrelevant things to worry about.  Maybe it’s hormonal?  Maybe it’s the nature of big life changes?  Maybe it’s the pressure of planning a large event for all the people that matter in your life? Either way there are moments of extreme wedding planning joy (I love weddings, I can’t wait til January, oh my gosh this will be the best wedding EVER) and other moments of wedding disaster (Adam asking me when I want him to call back and me shouting “I can’t make another decision!!” Lovely.)

Running Updates

But before we get to the wedding stuff, let’s chat a bit about running!  Yes, I did say that 7 letter word!  I started running again, for the first time in a month?  And in June I only ran 2-3 times, so sufficient to say I took a very healthy break to allow my Runner’s Knee to heal up.  Though I don’t feel that I’m 100% miracle cured, I do feel it’s time to get running again.  My doctor gave me a progressing plan for running, and I want to start out with some smaller distances.  Hopefully my hip strength is a bit stronger now and this runner’s knee will give me a break.  I’m going to be patient with it and just try for a few times a week.  Let’s just say the first time back wasn’t pleasant: slow and labored!  It’s amazing how fast conditioning disappears.

I also officially signed up for my next half-marathon!  I know – kind of crazy.  But… there was a super discount if I signed up now, even though I was planning to wait (man am I a sucker for a deal).  And a lot of my friends signed up (total peer pressure).  And I figured – I will walk it if I can’t run.  Which sounds pretty long and unpleasant…let’s hope I don’t have to resort to that :) It’s in three months, so I’ve got time.  Fingers crossed that I’ll slowly, but surely be able to get at it.  Goals for the race?  Run the whole time.  No time, no pace… I will be ecstatic if I can just jog it.  Ecstatic.

Wedding Updates

The Jacket!

Alright…now onto the wedding fun!  This past weekend I was on the hunt with my future mother-in-law for a jacket of sorts for my wedding dress.  Because I’m getting married in January, I want something to cover my sleeves during the ceremony.  I just don’t want to look freezing!  The good news: I found the perfect one.  The bad news:  I can’t show you until January!  But, I’ll compromise and show you some of the runner ups :)

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Note: not my dress, just a random one at a shop. Sadly, this lovely jacket did not win! First runner-up.

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Again not my dress – random one in random shop. But, this jacket was edged out due to itchy lace and cost. 2nd Runner-Up.

The Decorations!

Decorations have been moving along quite nicely as well.  A great friend of mine is letting me borrow lots of her decorations from her wedding (and her 2 sisters, convenient).  The vases, overlays, and fake flower are beautiful – and FREE!  I will supplement the things I’ve been loaned and purchase a few new things like more blue bottles, fake snow, and some lights.  Not a bad deal at all.  When I sent out the “Hey do you guys have anything weddingish sitting around?” request to my friends, I was overwhelmed at how much people were willing to loan and help.  I’d definitely recommend reaching out to those close to you before buying everything!

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Starting to mock-up some of my decorations! Everything in this picture was borrowed from a friend (except the frame).

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Found these awesome frames for ONE DOLLAR at Ikea. I’ll put either table numbers or the menu/thank you/itinerary in here. They are double sided too! One per table.

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My dream centerpiece on Pinterest. Just lovely! We aren’t budgeting enough for decorations to do flowers (aren’t these amazing??), but I LOVE the fake snow in this centerpiece. Looks so wintery and classy! I’m going to try some fake snow with my donated centerpieces.

Time with Adam!

And last but not least, Adam is on vacation next week!!!  I can hardly contain my excitement.  Due to his residency he gets three weeks off a year: 1 one-week block and 1 two-week block.  His 1 week is next week, and his 2 weeks is our wedding.  And that’s it until next July!  It has certainly made scheduling tricky.  Adam is coming up to Indy (exotic vacation right?), and we’ll split our time with relaxing/visiting family and wedding planning. I. Cant. Wait.  It will be amazing.  Ah-mazing.  Hopefully Adam will be wildly impressed with my self-sufficient skills I’ve developed.

And last – a big THANK YOU to those of you that commented on my photographers blog!  We just received our prize:  a beautiful large print of our choice.  It’s gorgeous!  THANK YOU for helping us get it!!  Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

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I surprised Adam with a trip down to Nashville and the beautiful print! Can’t wait to hang it up!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Kelly

Which jacket did you like best?  Do you have any wedding stuff you want me to take off your or hands or borrow from you? :)

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Run-cation, Nashville, and an Audition!

10 Jul

It has been an exciting and busy last couple of weeks around here!  I took my first trip to Nashville to visit Adam, celebrated the 4th, and managed to squeeze in an audition.  I feel like I’m running, running, running! (Okay – bad use of the word running…I’m still not physically running, le sigh).  Remarkably I’m feeling a bit better about the whole not running thing.  Or maybe I’ve just started to accept it as the best thing for right now.  I’m still hopeful a fall race is in my future – though I am also accepting the reality that a sub 1:50 half-marathon is not very likely.  And that’s okay.  At this point, I’d be happy just being able to run at all!  I’m going to pull the trigger on a race sometime in August when I need to start my training.  For the next few weeks I’m going to enjoy a real break from running and focus on fitness in other ways.  I’m thinking of it as my vacation from running.  I also have enough other hobbies to keep me verybusy!

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These guys are feeling sad and neglected.

Nashville

Last weekend I made my first voyage to Adam’s new home in Nashville!  It was a wonderful visit and awesome to check out his new place.  I wasn’t able to help him apartment search so it was my first time seeing his apartment.  He did a great job picking it out – great location and very cute.  It’s definitely small, but the location makes it worth it.  We had fantastic weather and spent time helping some friends from college apartment hunt.  You read that correctly – two of our close friends are also moving to Nashville!  How cool is that?!  The weekend was far too short, and it made me a little jealous of the three of them down there without me!  Patience Kelly.  On my drive back to Indy I was pretty sad.  Okay, really sad…but it makes me so happy knowing Adam has an awesome gig down there!

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Out with friends – the new Nashville crew unites!

Adam also officially started his residency!  Scary stuff.  He’s really a doctor now (crazy!) and has 4 years of training to continue learning.  Adam is one of the most calm people I know- just cool as a cucumber, seriously…nothing ruffles his feathers.  The day before his first day of work was a different story – he was nervous, stressed, quiet, distracted.   I was actually fascinated by it!  It was so interesting to see a totally different side to him.  He has now survived his first week and is settling into things.  The days are long (12-14 hours) and he only gets 1 day off a week for this rotation (no 4th of July celebration for him), but I know he’s really happy with his program and is learning a lot!  He’s not really getting workouts in, but at this point I’m just hoping he eats food and sleeps!  Priorities people!  It will be interesting to see how we settle into a new routine of long distance with his extreme schedule.

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Absolutely I took a picture of Adam walking into his first day at the hospital like a creepy stalker.

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Celebratory sushi! Here’s to the first year of residency! Hopefully not like Grey’s Anatomy.

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Look – I’m a doctor now… I get an iPad.

Nashville itself is an awesome city.  I can’t wait to spend more time there.  We ate a lot of great food, heard a lot of awesome music, and soaked in the fabulous warm weather.  It’s an exciting next step!

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I love brunch, lunch, dinner, and late night – how convenient!

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Our first breakfast out and about in Nashville!

An Audition

One of my favorite Christmas classics, White Christmas, will be on stage in Indianapolis!  I adore the music and story and couldn’t wait to audition for it.  I thought the auditions would come sometime in September, right before rehearsals.  Surprise!  They were Monday of this week – yes, it’s July!  They did joint auditions for another show (which I may or may not have also auditioned for?), which is in September, hence the earlier audition.  I found out about it last week and scrambled to get myself ready in time.  The only problem: I have extreme audition anxiety.  It’s terrible!  I love performing and have been doing it since I was a kid (singing, dancing, acting)… but auditions are a nightmare for me.  I could hardly think on Monday… talk about nervous wreck.  In light of this extreme anxiety, I still did pretty well at the audition!  My definition of pretty well?  Really I just want to perform my pieces well (1 minute monologue, 16 bars of music, dance combination).  Auditions are so much more than just ‘nailing it’ and you get the part.  The director also usually is going for a specific look, age, etc. etc.  There are so many factors going into the final casting – all I hope to do is perform my personal best.  And I did!  I was thrilled.  I may not be what they are looking for – but I showed them what I can do!  I anticipate it will take up to a week to hear any word, and everyone that auditioned will get a call whether we are in the show or not.  That is such a relief to find out either way.  My fingers are crossed!

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Number 25 – my FAVORITE number. Can you tell that I’m beyond nervously sickly anxious?

Wedding Dresses!

With both my Maid of Honor and Matron of Honor in town for the 4th – we made good use of our time and went bridesmaid dress shopping!  Wohoo!  I was hoping for a dress that complements mine, but  also fun and something they love.  Essentially they could pick any dress they wanted as long as it didn’t look dumb.  :)  I’m easy to please.  Amazingly enough we all settled on the same dress!  We all love it (or they are really good liars) – really there couldn’t be a better fit!  It looks amazing on both of them, is comfortable, the same material as my dress (shh… a clue), and has pockets!  Could it get any better than that??  The only issue?  We don’t know what color… yeah slight hiccup.  Unfortunately the store didn’t have samples of the fabric in sizes larger than tiny so we couldn’t decide.  I’m leaning towards blue, gray, and ivory as my “colors” – but there were a couple of shades that fit that category.  Adam is thinking navy would look best against a winter backdrop, as it will add some contrast.  But… a beautiful light periwinkle might be gorgeous too!  Any opinions on the colors?  I keep hoping I will wake up in a moment of epiphany and know the perfect color!

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Hmmm… blue? (Not this dress…but this fabric)

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Or gray?? (Not this dress, but this fabric)

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Or one of these colors??

Happy Hump Day!

-Kelly

Any opinions on bridesmaid dress colors?  Have you ever auditioned for a musical?

Final P90X Results and Review

30 May

After 3 intense months Adam and I are officially P90X graduates!  It has been a lot of hard work, planning, and early mornings, but man alive it has been so worth it!  Adam and I have both seen big changes in the mirror, but more importantly in strength and overall fitness.  I love what P90X has done for my running and my overall durability.  I just feel strong.  And I like it. This is a program that I highly recommend and can personally attest to the results.  Check out the P90X page to see more tips or thoughts on getting started.  The information below is based on Adam and I completing the “Classic” version of P90X. Onto the final results (and embarrassing pictures)!

What is P90X?

P90X is a home fitness program designed by Tony Horton and produced by Beachbody.  They are the same producers of Insanity, Turbofire, and many other at-home workout programs.  The program calls for a minimum of 6 days a week of workouts which vary from heavy lifting for the arms, legs, and shoulders, to high intensity plyometrics, to Yoga.  P90X is known for being an intense, but well-designed comprehensive fitness program.

Final Tape Measure Results:

(Kelly in blue, Adam in green, in inches.  Feb – May).

Waist: -2.25      -3

Chest: -3      +1.25

Hips: -2.5    -1.75

Calf: +.25     +.125

Bicep:  0    0    (I swear we did the arm workouts)

Body Fat Percentages:

(This is from Phase 2 – we didn’t get a fat caliper initially)

Kelly: -2%

Adam: -3%

Weight:

From Oct – May (We didn’t weigh ourselves again at the beginning of Round 2 Phase 1)

Kelly: -8.5 lbs. (down 10 lbs. from my heaviest last spring)

Adam: -9lbs.

Running:

While training for my half-marathon this spring I have consistently noticed higher and higher paces.  I believe a huge part of this is due to P90X.  I am stronger and faster.  P90X also helped me to attain my fastest half-marathon to date!  A full 15 minute PR from last year!

Photos:

Adam and I initially started a first round of P90X in October.  With this round we ate generally healthily, but didn’t follow the nutrition guide to a T.  Additionally we started this round over the holidays and got a little over half-way.  Adam had to drop after about 5 weeks of P90X so in week 9 or so I jumped ship and we started a brand new round so Adam could join in again.  This explains the transition from Oct – May.  The plan from Oct – Feb was based on healthy eating, completing a minimum of 4-5 workouts per week.  The plan from Feb – May was based on following the nutrition plan and a minimum of 5-6 workouts per week.  There were some cheat meals in there around the holidays as well.  These photos show our complete progress of the entire 6-7 months of following the workouts.

Kelly Back and Side Oct-May

Adam Back Oct-May

Pros:

  • If you put the work in, you will get results.
  • There is a wide variety of exercises (yoga, lifting, plyo, kenpo).
  • You can literally do the whole thing in your house.
  • It’s well organized and set up for you – you don’t have to think!
  • Tony is motivating and knowledgeable (and intense).
  • They show a wide range of levels and modifications.  I used these modifications heavily in the beginning.
  • Tony never makes you feel bad if you can’t do something initially – Do your best and forget the rest!
  • It’s a great program for men and women.  Adam and I could successfully do it together even though we desired different results (gain muscle vs. lose weight).
  • It’s a great program to do with a partner of either sex!  It was great to have something Adam and I could share and do together.
  • The videos include a warm-up and cool down which makes each workout comprehensive and complete.
  • From a woman’s perspective: you don’t bulk up.  This was a big fear of mine.
  • From a man’s perspective: you build muscle and can get bigger!
  • After purchasing P90X you get to keep it.  Unlike a gym membership, you have the videos and program as an investment.

Cons:

  • The workouts are long and a commitment.  Minimum of 60 minutes, but average 75 minutes.  Yoga is 90 minutes.
  • 6 days a week workout.  I would’ve loved 5 days a week.  This gives you flexibility and you can always get another workout in another way.  6 days a week made it hard to plan around P90X if you are super busy or travel often on the weekends.
  • Some of the ‘characters’ might annoy you, including Tony.  For me this was never a deal-breaker, but something to note.
  • From a guy’s perspective: To really maximize results it can get expensive.  Adam really could’ve used heavier weights.  He needed more of a range of weights (and at $1 a pound, 2 thirty pound dumbells is 70 bucks).  It’s an investment that you’ll use over the course of time, but it’s certainly an investment.
  • The nutrition plan can get a bit stale.  At times I felt there weren’t enough options in each of the categories (we did the portion plan).

 Final Thoughts

Overall, I couldn’t be happier with my P90X results.  When I look back on my pictures I don’t remember looking that way.  It’s pretty amazing what hard work and dedication can do!  I really enjoyed the set-up and ease of the program and it is something I have recommended to family and friends.  Personally I think it’s an awesome program for both men and women.  Initially I couldn’t find a lot of info for P90X for women, but after completing the program myself I can definitely say it’s effective for either gender.

P90X is intense so I would make sure you’re relatively fit before beginning the program.  You can always do a “pre-P90X” in the form of Power 90 or another Beachbody program.  Another option is modification.  Many moves I couldn’t complete in the beginning and made modifications to make the moves easier.  This strategy worked great for me.  Then it was super thrilling when I could complete them!

This program can change your fitness level and life, but it is definitely a commitment.  Do your research and prepare before diving into it.  If you’re able to stick with it the program is very rewarding.  It has taught me a lot of good habits that I look forward to carrying forward with me.  P90X is something I will definitely hang onto and do again (probably before the wedding :)).  This has been one investment I’m thrilled I purchased!

Thanks P90X for an awesome program!

-Kelly

Note: I am not affiliated with Beachbody or P90X in any way, shape, or form.  I am not a coach nor do I work for the company/know someone who does.  The opinions expressed are mine alone and I was not compensated in any way.

P90X: Phase 3 Results!

27 May

Adam and I have finally made it through Phase 3 of P90X!  It’s been a lot of work and dedication, but we’ve also thoroughly enjoyed the program.  It has done wonders for us physically and mentally.

The Phase 3 results below are based on following the nutrition plan (with a couple cheat meals – engagement celebrations etc., and a somewhat cheat week with our vacation).  I was still training for half-marathons, so running 3 times a week.  Adam and I also did a minimum of 5-6 workouts per week.  There was a week-long vacation in here as well where we stopped workouts and following the nutrition plan strictly (we didn’t overly splurge, though).  Overall, Phase 3 has been by far the “least dedicated” due to all the excitement of the last few weeks, but we still worked hard and put in a solid effort.  What can I say, life happens!

Phase 3 Tape Measure Results

(Kelly in blue, Adam in green, in inches).

Waist: -.25      -.75

Chest: -.5     -.25

Hips: -.5     -.25

Calf: +.125    -.125

Bicep: 0      +.25

Body Fat Percentage:

Kelly: 0

Adam: -1%

Weight:

Kelly: -.5 lb.

Adam: +1 lb. (thank goodness)

Running:

Last year this time before P90X I ran a 2:06 half marathon.  This year on the same track/race, I ran a 1:51!  That’s probably not completely attributable to P90X, but certainly a huge part of it is.  I’ve been amazed at how much strength training has improved my running.  I am now a huge proponent of lifting and hope to use this as a lesson to not neglect it in future training plans (as I always did before!).  Honestly, I always worried I would bulk up.  I don’t have a naturally long and thin body, so I’ve feared heavy lifting (I didn’t want to look masculine).  Man alive am I glad I gave P90X a go to prove to myself that heavy lifting will actually make me more slender (and not manly)!  An awesome discovery.

Photos:

Kelly Back

Low points of Phase 3:

  • Going on vacation and having to deal with some strange scheduling.  It was hard to split up the program right at the end.
  • Our motivation really wavered.  We were just ready to be done.
  • I was running races so I wasn’t able to give 100% during workouts (oh I can’t do legs and back, oh I can’t push myself like crazy – I can’t be sore for my race!)
  • LOTS of celebrations – which is definitely amazing…but lots of treats and temptations :)

High Points:

  • Funny how all the “low points” above are actually life high points.  Phase 3 was awesome in terms of “life” :)
  • Being able to do almost all the moves in workouts.  Really physically being able to bring it.
  • Seeing a lot of results.  We have come very far aesthetically and, more importantly, strength-wise.
  • Trying Shakeology!  We finally got to see what the buzz was all about.
  • Completing the program!

Coming Up:

I’m planning to start Insanity next week, and I’m really excited to see how the programs differ.  I’ll be sure to document my progress as I continue to get fitter and stronger.  I’ll keep running shorter distances (got clearance from my PT to do short distances and see how my knees are feeling).  I’ll aim for another half in the fall.  Let’s see if Insanity brings me the results like P90X has!  Adam will be moving and I’ll lose my workout buddy.  He will have access to a gym for free (lucky stinker) and will start doing his own plan to gain weight and muscle for the wedding (because that’s super visible behind a suit in a January wedding).  :)   We will both work to maintain our healthy (but balanced with treats and relaxing) lifestyle that we have come to enjoy through P90X.

Keep bringing it!

-Kelly

Race Recap: Geist Half-Marathon

21 May

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Another medal! She’s a beauty!

This weekend I ran the Geist “Race Around the Reservoir” Half-Marathon.  It was my second half marathon in two weeks, and I had an awesome time (truly I mean it)!  I went into this race a little apprehensive: my motivation was down, and I was really concerned about my knees.  I ended up running the half with a friend I work with, and it was a lot of fun.  We went quite a bit slower than I had planned, but in the long run (no pun intended) it was great for both my spirits and my knees.

The Prep

4:50 am: In the morning I woke up about an hour and a half before we needed to leave and had plenty of time to get ready.  I did this with the Indy mini, and I love the calm that having extra time provides.  After eating half of my bagel (I have to leave something to run back to!), strawberries, and banana, I tried a new race activity.  I drank coffee!  I’ve read online that caffeine can actually improve performance (especially if you’re not used to using it on a regular basis).  Check out articles here or here.  Because I gave up caffeine on January 7th (I’ve had it a handful of times since), I now qualify as a “non-regular user”  WOOT!  I’m thrilled.  I had a big addiction to it.  Anyways – because of this, I thought it would be a great race routine to drink a cup of coffee or caffeinated tea the morning of a race.  In my last half I did caffeinated tea and it was great.  This time I was staying at a friend’s house and went with the coffee.  I was a little nervous about trying something new on race day – but because I wasn’t going for a PR I thought this would be a great opportunity.  It was delicious, warm, and a fun little treat.  It also had the added benefit of getting things moving gastrointestinal-ly (if you know what I mean.).  This is a trick I will continue to incorporate into future races.

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Delicious and effective!

6:20 am: After dressing, taping my knees, and going to the bathroom 6 times, I was ready to go!  Adam was a doll and dropped me off at the start.  This was fantastic because there was no parking at the start – I would’ve had to wake up earlier for a shuttle (yeah – I love sleep, thanks Adam!).  I knew my co-worker, Katherine, was running the race and we planned to at least start together.  I’m a bit faster than she is, but thought it would be nice to run a couple miles with her.  Or at very least have someone to stand next to at the start.  We found each other and after one last stop at the porta-potties, made our way to the corrals. Because this race was so small you could self-select your start time.  We stood near the 2:00 mark.  After chatting with Katherine a bit more I realized that I really wanted to help her achieve a PR of 1:58.  I knew that I could get that time and I also thought it would be a smart thing for me to not go for the moon and cause too much damage to the poor knees.  My PT would be proud of that decision!  I had my PR, I wanted to get Katherine hers.  A bit of foreshadowing here: Katherine ran her first full marathon 3 weeks ago (for you non-runners, it typically takes about a month to recover from fulls, especially for non-professional/new-to-marathons runners.)  I told Katherine my plan: run negative splits starting out at 9:00 min/miles and slowly increase the pace after mile 8.  She said it sounded great – though I didn’t have to stick with her, “You’re faster than me, so no pressure to stick together!”  I thought about it and said, “Well, let’s start out together and see what happens.”  I have confidence in Katherine as a runner – I truly believe she’s faster than she thinks she is!

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Excited and ready to go at the start!

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You can sort of see the lake and bridge – it was lovely!

7:00 am: Soon the gun sounded and we were off!  The race started on a bridge over the reservoir (aka lake) and it was truly a gorgeous scene!  The excitement really started flowing through me: I was feeling great.  I was so happy to be out running – my energy really surprised me given my apprehension earlier in the week.  Katherine and I easily stuck together and nailed our first mile coming in a little under 8:30.

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In our spot ready to go!

The Race

Mile 1 (8:25): Okay, doing good.  Yikes – a little fast.  But I always start out a little faster than I plan.  This is good.  Crowds are good but under control.  Plenty of space…feeling good!  Decent weather.  I need to pee.

Mile 2 (8:50): Hmm, I really need to back-off.  I don’t want Katherine to start out too strong.  She’s usually over 9 minutes, I need to stick more to her.  I think I’m going to do this whole thing with her.  At this point I feel I could go even faster…but…is that really the smart thing to do?  My PR is going to happen in the fall.  This race is about fun.  Stick with Katherine and let’s make some magic for her!

Mile 3 (9:03): Man alive – I need to pee!  What is going on here.   We’re doing great!  Perfection pacing.  Wow is it humid?  Does it seem humid to you?

Mile 4 (9:29): Hmm.. we’ll need to pick it up a bit more.  It’s okay – I’ll correct for the next one.  There was a water stop in there (Katherine walks through stops, I typically grab and run). Should I run ahead?  I feel really strong – I know I could go faster.  Hmm.  Katherine doesn’t seem to be particularly enjoying herself or looking amazingly strong – I’ll stay.  We can do it!

Mile 5 (9:50):  GAH!  No.  Okay well – there is still time to recover.  Not all is lost.  We are having fun.  Let’s see if I can slowly push Katherine a bit faster without her noticing.  She’s not feeling as strong now – increase motivational thoughts!!  Mission build up Katherine!

Mile 6 (10:06):  NO!  Another water stop.  Gah – losing so much time on the stops.  Hmm.  You know.  I’m thinking 1:58 is no longer a possibility.  I don’t think PR pace will be possible.  Katherine’s allergies are really giving her trouble and it is clear her legs aren’t recovered (I wouldn’t expect them to be).  Motivate motivate motivate!  Random runner tells me I need a microphone to share my motivation with everyone.  Pass huge hill.  Keep circling back to Katherine and running backwards to keep moving/continue to cheer her (I didn’t want my knees to freak out by stopping).  Probably annoying other runners with my obvious energy and enthusiasm.  Dang – I’m that girl.

Mile 7 (9:23):  Much better.  We can do this.  She’s got this.  Keep encouraging, keep encouraging her!   Still need to pee.  Lordy is it humid!  Hmm.. did I even take a gu?  Oops.

Mile 8 (10:00): Yeah.. so let’s just have fun with this one!  At this point let’s throw time out the window.  Kelly you don’t care about time, you don’t care about time.  But seriously time doesn’t matter at this point.  Let’s get Katherine the fastest time she can get and stick by her!  She isn’t feeling great and now is not the time to leave her.  Let’s tell Katherine the story of how I met Adam. :) New technique: distraction.

Mile 9 (10:31): If I sprint now I could still squeak in under 2:00.  NO.  Must. Not. Leave. Katherine.  Continue telling the story of how Adam and I met.  Random runner says they want to stay near us to hear the story.  Man – we’re going a little slower than expected, but I’m thoroughly enjoying my role as “motivator.”

Mile 10 (10:33):  Wow – I didn’t realize how fast I’ve gotten, because I’m actually, dare I say, bored with this speed!  (Silent cheer to self!!  Don’t say aloud – focus on building up Katherine.  But seriously – I can’t believe I just had that thought!  I’m becoming a better runner!  Yay! ).  Solidify 1:49:59 as goal for fall half in head.  Continue building up Katherine.  Pass Adam!!  Hello!!  Adam – cheer for Katherine!!!

Mile 11 (9:52):  Are we seriously still out here?  I’m kind of over this.  Start telling the story of wedding plans to Katherine.  Both of us perk up.

Mile 12 (11:00):  So close we can taste it!!  Starts drizzling. I guess this is better than just pure humidity.  Keep pushing her – she’s doing great!!  A little bit of walking at this point but that’s okay!  Just encourage her to keep moving forward.  Almost time for breakfast.  Mylanta I’m starving.

Mile 13 (9:15):  Boo yah grandma!  Katherine- we saved some in the tank for this… you ready?  “Yeah!”  Sprint to the finish!

13.1 (8:45):  Victorious!!  We did it!!

Finish: 2:08:07!

After our finish we walked to collect water, our medals, and food.  Major sadness: they were out of food!  They only had cookies left over.  Serious bummer.  This race had a corresponding 5K and I’m guessing all the 5K-ers ate it all up!  Little stinkers.

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They ran out of food – but I still found some free chocolate milk!

I grabbed what I could and we made our way out of the finisher’s area.  We ran into Katherine’s Mom and I told her how proud she should be of her daughter.  I’m still incredibly impressed with a 2:08 half only 3 weeks after completing her first full – it’s pretty amazing!  We didn’t get Katherine’s PR, which I’m very sad about – but we did have a good time (at least I did – Katherine might say otherwise ;)) .  And I’m very glad I stuck with Katherine.  It was a great experience for me to try my hand at pacing (turns out I’m not that great) and motivating (turns out I may have a hidden talent at this).

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Aww!! Sweetest card on my desk Monday morning!

Katherine also saved me from myself.  For that I’m so grateful to her!  Sunday I woke up with some stiffness, but knees only in minor pain!  The slower pace kept me injury free and smart.  If I had been on my own I probably would’ve pushed and pushed and ended up doing something stupid… like trying to beat 1:51.  Now I’m barely sore and totally happy.  After the mini it took 3-4 days to feel human again!  After the Geist finish I actually ended up jogging back to meet up with Adam and friends…I couldn’t have imagined doing this at the mini.

Key Lessons

  • I enjoyed drinking coffee before the race.  It got things moving and didn’t upset my stomach.  I’ll keep this habit.
  • I liked acting as pacer/motivator.  In the future I would make sure the time we’re going for is reasonable given conditions, training, and tapering. Also important to know what motivates your pacee.
  • Running back-to-back half marathons is totally doable as long as one is an easier “fun run.”  I’d definitely do this again, but only if one of the halfs was with someone else and that someone else was considerably slower than me.  Racing two half-marathons in such close proximity would’ve been difficult on my body.
  • Racing is fun.  Running is fun.  Sometimes focusing on someone else allows you to think about how amazing running and racing is.  Corny but true.  I didn’t really have time to think about how much this hurt or that, focusing on Katherine kept me distracted and I just soaked it all in!
  • I can’t wait to start working on speed more.  I’m ready for my 2 weeks off of running to be up and use the summer to get stronger and faster!

The rest of the weekend was amazing with a friend’s graduation party and more wedding planning (looked at wedding bands, got closer with ceremony stuff, and looking at hotels/group blocks, analyzed photographers more).  Let me just say – I was so thankful I didn’t sprint the race… I wasn’t out for the count and got to enjoy time with friends.  All’s well that ends well!  This race was fun, exciting, motivating, and really has whet my appetite for a new PR.  I couldn’t believe how “slow” my old usual time felt.  My previous two halfs were 2:06 and suddenly 2:08 felt like I was crawling?  This was an incredibly inspiring experience.  It really is possible to get faster with training and this experience was proof.  This week I’ve already started scoping my race for the fall.  I had an awesome run this weekend and can’t wait for the opportunity to do it again!

Happy running!

-Kelly

Half-Marathon in the Morning!

17 May

Happy Friday everyone!  Hard to believe the week is almost over.  And even harder to believe that I have a half marathon in the morning!  This will be my second half-marathon race in 2 weeks and let’s just say I’m a little nervous.  This has definitely been a very good learning experience (or a learning what not to do experience) :)  I came up with this brilliant back-to-back half plan about a month ago.  I tend to get race anxiety and thought “Hey!  Another half – this will be a great way to reduce my anxiety!  I’ll have another ‘chance’ to break 2 hours if my first race goes poorly.  Oooo.. and I can join the ‘Month of May Club’ and get a t-shirt if I do 2 halfs in May.”  Goodness, what I’ll do for a ‘free’ t-shirt.  Thus my brilliant plan was born.  Now that I’m a day away, and not quite recovered from my first race, I’ll give you the pros and cons (for me) of doing back-to-back half marathons.

Pros:

  •  I already know I can get the miles in.  After all, I just did it.  Right?
  • Hypothetically I have another chance at getting a fast time (note: not going to happen in a million years).
  • I enjoy racing; neat to have another race! (this is true, not sarcasm)

Cons:

  • I am tired – physically my body is just not 100%.  I still feel muscle fatigue – often.  I just feel like I can’t do what I did just a few short weeks ago.
  • I am missing the pre-race anticipation.  I already went through that and 2 weeks isn’t enough time for me to get excited all over again. Yeah debbie downer, I know!
  • I’m bummed because I’m going into this knowing I won’t be fast.  That’s kind of deflating.  My runs since my half have been slow.  I mean, full minutes slower than usual.  Yeah – multiple minutes.  And the kind of runs where you think ‘man can I even finish this short run?’  I know running isn’t all about speed, but lately that has been a goal of mine, so it’s disappointing to not realize those goals.
  • I’m not as motivated.  Due to above reasons I just don’t feel as excited and motivated to run this one.  It’s essentially an after-thought of a race.
  • I have injury-anxiety.  My knees aren’t doing amazingly and I’m worried about over-use.

Okay – clearly you can see where I’m at as far as readiness/excitement for the race tomorrow.  Man – I am such a whiner!  But it’s not all bad!  It’s just a matter of wrapping my mind around the fact that for me, tomorrow is not going to be a speed-oriented race.  It is going to be a chance to do a nice long run on a beautiful (hilly) course.  It’s a chance to proudly wear a bib and be out on the course with many other runners.  It’s about the opportunity to run: that’s not something everyone has the privilege to do.  Tomorrow is about relaxing, having fun, and knowing that this isn’t going to be my PR.  And that’s okay!  Sometimes I think racing is all about expectations.  I’m trying to set the appropriate expectation so I walk away feeling excited and not disappointed in myself.  I got a 1:51 two weeks ago.  And that’s awesome.  No one can take that away.  If I run a 2:15 tomorrow it doesn’t take away my 1:51… it just means this wasn’t a speedy race for me.  I don’t think it’s healthy for me to think that every race is about a PR.  Setting goals is awesome and you can bet your bottom dollar I will have some goals for my fall half.  But the goal for tomorrow: enjoy running!  It’ll be my last long run for a few months at least (thanks knees!) and gosh darn it – I’m going to have fun!!

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I get to run this lakeside beauty of a course!

The Plan

Well… here’s the thing.  I don’t really have a plan.  HAH!  (Yeah – I know, am I feeling well?). I haven’t studied the course.  I haven’t marked my water and gu spots.  And you know what: I don’t think I will.  Eek.  Yeah, scares me a little bit.  But honestly it’s a small race, I’m not going for a PR… so I sort of just want to go out there and relax!  I’m going to see how my body feels and wing it. I’ll let you know how that strategy goes.

The Course

It’s hilly, around a lake reservoir, and supposedly beautiful.  It’s one of those ‘your spectators are people drinking their coffee and walking out to get their morning paper in their bathrobe’ kind of races.   Haven’t done one of those in awhile – sort of looking forward to the change.

The Prep

Adam and I have some awesome friends that live right on the course.  We’ll head up there tonight for an evening of fun and hopefully a relaxing morning of cheering from the house for them.  This part of the race is amazing – I can’t wait to run by them!  Tonight I’ll do my usual spaghetti, ice my knees, tape my legs, say a little prayer and hope for the best.

The Goals

  1. Have fun – relax and enjoy
  2. Finish the race (yep, this is a real concern)
  3. And last and definitely least: going for a 2:00-2:10 finish

It’s a little too early to say “I’d never do back-to-to back again” or “I wouldn’t recommend this.”  I think it is all about training.  For me, I’m realizing this wasn’t maybe the smartest plan.  But I know many people who do this sort of thing often and have great success.  I’m sure I’ll have some opinions tomorrow concerning whether I’ll do it again ;)  No matter what: my race will be a great start to another awesome weekend!  Man alive, I love May.  Have I mentioned it’s the best month ever?!

I hope you all have an amazing weekend!  I’ll be tweeting my results (good or bad!) so you can see them here on the blog homepage or follow me on twitter @racesrepsramble :)

-Kelly

Life Changes and Excitement!

16 May

The past few days have been pretty amazing.  I had an awesome weekend celebrating Adam’s graduation from medical school.  Oh yeah and we also celebrated our engagement. (Double whammy!)  What a weekend!  I’ve been overwhelmed with feelings of “Wow- life can really be exciting!”  and “Wow- I am so content, blessed, excited, lucky…and holy cow there’s a lot to do” – okay so I had a lot of thoughts and emotions this past weekend.  But mainly it was just really, really cool.  I was fortunate enough to have my parents come visit for the occasion, and we had a great time together.  It allowed a nice opportunity for both sets of parents to spend more time together as well.  Adam and I are thankful that we both love each other’s family.  It certainly makes things easy.  I thought I’d share a couple of pictures from the momentous occasion.  I’m so proud of Adam!  To be honest I’m only slightly irritated that Adam is now Dr. Adam – in my previous life I worked with a lot of Drs.  And let’s just say I feel it’s my personal responsibility to make sure Adam doesn’t turn out like a lot of them.  He knows about my crusade, and I have accepted my role wholeheartedly!

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A huge room…And a LONG ceremony!

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What a goober face! Cracks me up.

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Does this mean I need to call him Dr.??

This week we also got moving with wedding planning!  Yes- I know…so soon?!  But here’s the deal: We’re type A, we don’t want to procrastinate, we aren’t patient…and I want to have the stressful planning parts done.  Then I can just relax!  Additionally, the big driver: Adam is moving to Nashville in June.  The more we get done before he leaves the better for all  involved parties :)  And truthfully…we aren’t going to have a long engagement.  We are thinking a winter wedding – let’s get this show on the road!

Wedding Updates:

  • Location/date almost decided! (We’re this close to nailing it down- truthfully our discussions started pre-engagement)
  • Dress done!  I found one off the rack, on clearance (almost 50% off), under my budget, and requires no alterations.  I call that meant to be!  I take after my mom and I don’t particularly enjoy shopping.  Major score I didn’t have to search endlessly, or really at all.
  • Photographer almost decided – this is the most important decision (yes more than the dress)…taking our time on this one.  I’m obsessed with photography so I want it to be perfect!  Can’t I just have three photographers?? :)

I’ll try and keep the wedding posts to a relative minimum, but I mean come on…buying a dress??  That’s big news!  The good thing- a short engagement means this won’t turn into a wedding blog! :)

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I said ‘Yes to the Dress!’ You’ll have to wait until January to see what’s under the stars.

The one downside to all this personal excitement…oh yeah… ummm I’m running a half marathon on Saturday.  Haven’t really thought much about it (except that I’m scared and it will be slow).  Oh and finishing P90X!  Adam and I have done a good job of not getting totally side-tracked.  But we have been slightly less strict – you only get engaged once!

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“Here Comes the Bride” cupcake Adam and I enjoyed Tuesday.

I love May – the weekends will only continue to get better.  Birthday, friends, graduation parties, family, wedding planning!  Oh my!  Yep – I’m thinking May will be a little “Ramble” heavy.  But hey- that’s why it’s in the title!   June will bring the beginning of Insanity and the start of short runs again (I’ve essentially stopped running normally/regularly due to my knees).  I’m really excited to start chronicling my thoughts of Insanity and doing a post-P90X wrap-up, results, and review of the program.  Man alive – there is excitement all around.  When it rains it pours!

Have a wonderful week – we’ve already made it to Thursday!

-Kelly

Dealing with Runner’s Knee

9 May

runLast night, I had a very anticipated and successful trip to the Physical Therapist (PT).  Last week my visit to the Sports Med doc landed me with a prescription and diagnosis of Patellofemoral pain syndrome (aka Runner’s knee).  This is a very common overuse injury, and my appointment last night armed me with even more information and most importantly, a plan. 

What’s the problem?

Just a recap (Get it?  Knee cap? Ok – that pun was intended and bad).  Runner’s knee is a phrase used to describe a couple conditions that all cause pain around the front of the knee.  Mine is most likely Patellofemoral malalignment – essentially my knee isn’t ‘tracking’ appropriately. Tracking is referring to the bending motion and how the patella (knee cap) should slide easily in the femoral groove.  Because the knee is very sensitive and pretty complex, it is a likely joint to experience endurance pain. (How many CLs do we have? ACL, MCL?)  In my case I experience knee pain while I run, but also when I’m just relaxing at home.  My knees feel most at ease when they are extended and not in a bent position.  

What is the cause?

There are myriad causes of Runner’s knee – one of the biggest reasons it’s the most common running injury.  These are the most common causes found in the paperwork from my PT:

  • Malalignment of the kneecap (due to biomechanics)
  • Complete or partial dislocation
  • Injury or trauma
  • Weakness of thigh muscles
  • Flat feet
  • Excessive training or overuse
  • Tight or weak leg muscles

During the appointment my PT did a number of tests by having me push or pull against her in various ways.  She had me walk and evaluated my gait.  At my next appointment she’s going to put me on the treadmill to watch my running gait.  Because there are many possible causes, she had to go through several little tests to rule out possibilities.

What’s the word?

The end result?  I have weakness in my hips that is causing my knees to pull slightly out of alignment.  While walking and running short distances, this isn’t noticeable, but once I get up in miles, it is essentially hours of my knee bone rubbing against my thigh bone – yikes.  That’s exactly how my knees feel! 

What’s next?

The great news is this can be fixed!  My PT was very optimistic about my situation and felt like it could be resolved.  She assigned me 4 exercises to complete at minimum once a day.  These exercises are all aimed at strengthening my outer hip muscles (yeah…never really thought about bulking up those muscles!). Additionally I have a few other appointments scheduled where she will continue to work with me to get me back up to speed.  She’s a little against my upcoming half-marathon, but said she’ll help in any way to get me to run it as safely as possible.  Next week we’ll talk about specific taping techniques to help my knees.

Long-term

After my next half-marathon I will be taking 2 weeks off of any knee stressing exercises.  This includes running, legs lifting, or Insanity.  I think both physically and mentally this might be a nice break.  I know my knees will certainly appreciate the chance to let the inflammation go down.   I’ll probably fill my time with walking, yoga, and some of the lower impact P90X videos.  Once I get the clearance from her to pick up the pace I will start introducing low-mileage runs and hopefully Insanity during the first few weeks of June. She doesn’t feel that this injury will permanently or long-term side line me from running.  This is amazing news.

How am I feeling?

Thrilled!  I have exercises, a plan, and an awesome PT to help get me to the next finish line.  My biggest priority at this point is to deliberately do my exercises every day – I know that’s incredibly important to my recovery.  Feel free to casually harass me about my knee exercise progress.  (Hey Kelly great recipe post…you better be doing your exercises!) I have appointed almost-Dr. Adam (he graduates from med school this weekend!) to be a key reminder in my exercises as well.  I’m also going to continue to ice and rest my knees as much as possible.

Prevention

If you want to stay happy and injury-free, follow these tips!

  • Warm-up and stretch appropriately.  This one is such common sense, but it’s amazing how easy it is to skip.  Find a couple stretches to do every time and get in the habit of doing those same stretches.  Warming up sufficiently is also key.
  • Increase the intensity of workouts slowly. This one always seems to get me every time.  The typical rule is don’t increase distance more than 10% in a week.  This means following a quality training program (check out Runner’s World for some good ones) and sticking to it.  Just because you have a great run one week doesn’t mean you can up the speed or distance by a crazy amount. (I’m talking to myself here!)
  • Keep yourself in good shape.  Make sure your body is strong!  Incorporate weight training and core work to make sure your whole body is strong.  Consider adding legs/hip exercises to strengthen your whole leg.

Worried about Runner’s Knee?

The first step would be to talk to a medical professional.  I saw a sports med doc and he was wonderful in guiding my diagnosis.  Just because you experience knee pain doesn’t mean it’s Runner’s Knee.  A doctor or PT can help you determine your exact cause of pain.  Until I see a professional, I always use the RICE formula: Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. 

A hopeful summer of running and fitness

The other great news is that this means I can move forward in planning.  If you’ve been around here for a couple posts you probably have gathered that I like planning and organization.  Now that the mini is over I have been looking ahead to fall races and potentially spring stuff.  I have been going back and forth on marathon vs. half-marathon and my diagnosis has affirmed that I want to continue with the half-marathon distance for at least a little while.  This summer I have deemed “The Summer of Speed!”  (don’t worry – I’m not turning to drugs ;)).  Because the pain comes from many miles, I will stick to shorter distances and work on running in the 7’s as I so desperately needed during the mini.  Perhaps in the spring or fall next year I will look at getting back at the full marathon distance.  At this point I’m thrilled to continue to train for a distance that I really enjoy.  I feel like I still have some time to shave off – bring it on fall 13.1!  I’m excited to start picking out races :)

-Kelly

Have you ever experienced Runner’s Knee?  How do you recover from injuries?

Race Recap: Indy Mini-Marathon!

6 May

What a weekend!  Wow – it was one of those busy, running-around, packed full, but truly awesome weekends.  I had such a great time at the race but also had friends in town visiting, a wedding, and plenty to do in between.  Don’t you just love weekends like that?  I must admit I’m pretty exhausted from all the excitement, but it’s definitely ‘good’ exhaustion.

This Saturday I successfully ran my second Indy Mini-Marathon.  And a true success it was –  in every way!  Friday night I managed to have a relaxing evening at home.  I ate my traditional meal of spaghetti – yum, yum, and yum.  I laid out all of my clothes and supplies (knee tape, inhaler, bib, etc.) on the dining room table.  I drank plenty of water and did the X-Stretch video (from P90X).  It is a relaxing, slow video that just focuses on stretching.  It was a great way to do something, but feel calm and ready.  After icing my knees I headed to bed (nice and early – score!).  Adam was a doll and waited up for friends coming to stay at my place for the weekend.  They were running the race as well.   I had a full apartment with many inflatable beds and it felt like a slumber party.  Thankfully I snoozed right on through their arrival and didn’t wake up until morning.

The Preparation

4:45:  Hmm… I’m awake, but my alarm doesn’t go off for another 40 minutes.  I guess I’ll just play with my phone to start waking up.

5:00:  Well, I might as well get up at this point because I’m not going to be able to fall asleep. I’m early!  I like extra time :)

5:00-6:00: Very quietly creeping around the house. Everyone was still asleep!  I made some tea and had breakfast to get that process going nice and early.  The tea I drank was caffeinated.  I read that drinking caffeine the morning of a race can boost performance if you don’t regularly consume caffeine.  It also is a diuretic and I was hoping it might help get things through my system faster.  It was a delicious breakfast and the right amount of food (though probably too much beverage with 2 cups of tea and a cup of water).

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My race day breakfast.

6:00-6:45: Everyone else starts waking up and getting ready.  At this point I’ve had lots of water and already was able to go to the bathroom – great sign of success.  I’m feeling relatively calm, but excited too!  I finish getting ready by taping my knees with KT tape.  I followed the instruction videos on their website and felt pretty good about my tape work :)  Before heading off to the start we take some group ‘before’ pictures and make our way outside!  My nerves start kicking into gear at this point.

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All taped up. I guess I went for the rainbow look? Clearly I’m super into running fashion.

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All set and ready to go!

7:00-7:33: I did a half-mile warm-up jog over to the start line.  I started doing this before my 10/15K and really liked the habit.  It allows me to warm up my lungs but also check to make sure my shoes aren’t too tight and everything is ready to go.  I’d highly recommend this practice – though I used to be against it as I wanted fresh legs.  It’s been really successful for me and I will probably continue it for all the races I can.  With my friends in a different corral, we said our goodbyes and I made a beeline for one last stop at the porta potty.  The line wasn’t too bad and was moving.  Soon it was my turn and afterwards I quickly made my way to Corral D – woah, so far up!  Volunteers checked my bib for the correct corral placement and I lifted up my throw-away t-shirt and proudly displayed my “D”.  After getting accustomed to miles in the 10’s, moving up to corral D was hugely exciting as a runner in the 8’s.  I felt like I joined the big kid club.  It was one of  many moments during the race where I paused and thought back on how far I have come!  Such a neat feeling.  I made a friend while anxiously awaiting the start.  We chatted some, and having that distraction really helped to keep my nerves in check.  Up to this point I was certainly anxious, but a more normal level of worries/nerves.  I had trained for this moment!

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At the start. I look so calm and collected! Hah!

7:33: And we’re off!  It took me about 2 minutes to cross the start line and I focused on remembering that number in case I needed to do some mental math later (not my running strong suit).  The music at the start was pumping, and I couldn’t help but smile as I crossed the start.  This was it!!

 The Race

Mile 1 (8:40): This is fun!  I’m feeling great.  I love running.  Hmm… usually I start out way too fast (in the low 8’s) – I’m kind of surprised at my pace.  I should probably start kicking it up a bit more?  This is so great!  Not too crowded up here – I could get used to this ;)

Mile 2 (8:38):  That’s a little better.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Keep it under control and you can fly at the end.  Hmm… I kind of need to pee.  And wow – is that hip pain?  That’s a new one; kind of early in the race for pain.  Just keep swimming.  Ahh water!  Don’t talk about water.  I really think I need to pee.  Why did I have another cup of tea??

Mile 3 (8:43):  Well shoot, I guess I’m just on the slower side today.  Goal #1: Have fun!  Should I stop and pee?  What is going on with my hip??

Mile 4 (8:23): That’s more like it!  Let’s just ignore the knee and hip stuff – I feel GREAT!! (If I say it enough times it will be true, right??) I’ll get to see my cheering squad soon!!  Just one more mile until I see Adam.  I guess I should start moving to the left side to see them better.  Should I pee?

Mile 5 (8:36): Adam!!  Hi!!  Feeling great.  No knee issues, body is cooperating.  It’s almost Speedway track time – bring it on.

Mile 6 (8:24): Track time.  Hey almost half-way there!  Feeling strong and so far so good.  Maybe I’ll stop to pee at the next one?

Mile 7 (8:16): I actually really like this track.  Let’s start picking up the pace and passing a bit more.  Feeling a bit emotional.  Don’t cry!  So much relief, excitement, and happiness that I’m here running.  That’s a beautiful thing.

Mile 8 (8:22): Track is almost over – then it’s all just heading back downtown.  It’s almost go-time!  You can start safely picking up the pace.

Mile 9 (8:10): All I have to do is run home and run to Adam.  Time to start picking it up.  I’m right on track to beat 2 hours.  If I push it, I could be in the 1:50:00s. This is one of my last times to enjoy running for awhile.  Soak it up!

Mile 10 (8:12): Excellent progress – keep pushing it.  Almost there.  Maybe I’ll just wait to pee??

Mile 11 (8:04): Wow!  I’m seriously almost done!  Now it’s really time to kick it.  I will be done soon.  (A little mental math) Holy moly – is it possible for me to get in 1:49:00s??  Okay it’s time to chase down that goal.  Unleash the beast!

Mile 12 (7:55):  Chase that goal!!  Moving as fast as my little legs can go.  Roads narrow, congestion of people.  Start my “On your left!” campaign.  I’m flying!!  Cruising by people.  Where’s Adam?  He’s supposed to be around here somewhere.  I’m on a 1:49:59 mission people!!

Mile 13 (7:42):  Heaving, breathing heavily, starting to feel pain. I think I’m being the annoying heavy-breather runner now.  Oh well – don’t care, can’t breathe.  Must finish fast.  I’m really not used to running in the 7’s.  I should probably do some training runs with these paces.  Wow this straight away is deceiving – I still have a while to go.  Push it!  Focus.  My muscles hurt!  My muscles never hurt while running – only after.  I must really be pushing myself.

13.1: Make. It. Happen.  You’re almost done!!!  (See time clock not close to 1:49)…well mental math is not my strongest skill – still I’m in the low 1:50s!!

Finish:  1:51:05.  Wow!  Am I seriously done??  That went faster than I thought it would.  Let’s let breathing return to normal.

Phew!  It was an awesome race.  Shortly after I finished it dawned on me that not only did I break two hours, I crushed my old time by about 15 minutes!  What a feeling.  I knew I could be faster than 2:06, but wow!  1:51!  Holy P90X!  I’m still taking it all in days later.  After I finished I collected my medal, goodies, and stood in line for a finisher’s picture.  I left the runners’ area and met up with Adam and his Mom.  They were both ecstatic!  They watched me cross the finish line and said they had an awesome time out cheering.  I was the first of our friends that finished (woah, you read that correctly), so it was nice just having a bit to chat with them.  Hearing about the race from both perspectives (runner and spectator) was fun and we traded stories.  I was still feeling pretty decent and stretched out.  Soon our friends started coming out and we had a great time taking pictures and sharing congratulations.

Finishing this race makes me happy that now I’ll be able to just relax for my next half in two weeks (yeah… who had that brilliant idea??).  The course for my next half is quite a bit hillier and I likely won’t be fully recovered from this race, so likely won’t be seeing the low 1:50s for awhile.  It’s a good feeling knowing I can just relax for that one.  But…this race also made me question – how much faster can I go??  It really has me inspired to incorporate speed work into future training to see what my full potential really is!

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With my beautiful sign

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We finished :)

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With my #1 fan

After hanging around the post-race festivities for about an hour we headed home.  At this point I was really starting to not feel well.  My body left everything out on the course, and it was starting to catch up to me.  After slowly walking home I rested, ate a bit, and took a shower.  I felt better, but honestly for the rest of the weekend I definitely didn’t feel amazing.  Thankfully I’m feeling a bit more myself today.

The rest of the weekend was wonderful with a friend’s wedding, birthday lunches, time with friends, and lots of excitement.  It was a non-stop couple of days!

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All cleaned up for the wedding Saturday night.

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This was the fanciest wedding I’ve ever attended. Absolutely gorgeous!

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The three runners! We still managed to get on the dance floor.

The wedding was absolutely gorgeous, and it was fun getting all dolled up after such a sweaty morning.  Three friends there also ran the race and we were out on the dance floor a few times during the night. I was impressed our legs held up!  It was pretty hilarious – when we left Adam was helping me down the stairs (okay practically carrying me) and I wanted to shout to the few people staring/judging me: “I’m not drunk!!  I just ran the mini!”  Alas, it gave us a couple chuckles.  Nothing like a 1:51 half to really put you in a great mood!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well!

Happy running!

-Kelly

Did you race this weekend?

Race Rematch!

3 May

Well, tomorrow is the big day.  Tomorrow I will run my second Indy Mini-Marathon.  My stomach hurts just typing that!  Right now I’m a bundle of excitement, nerves, confidence, worries, and anticipation.  This will be my first half marathon in a year (I pulled out of one in October), and I can’t wait to see what happens.  My goal is to finally hit sub 2 hours.  My two other half times were 2:06:00 and 2:06:01.  I don’t think I could’ve done that if I tried!  I hope to finally break the 2:06 streak.  This time the race is different.  I am more prepared.  I am more fit (thanks P90X!).  I am healthier.  And most importantly, I am more confident.  My outfit is picked out, my bib is picked up, my knees are iced, and I have my game plan for tomorrow.  Indy Mini – Bring it on!!

This race holds a special place for me because it’s the first race Adam and I did together.  It also holds a little anxiety-filled piece of my heart because it was one of my worst races to date (excluding my Columbus full marathon…  no training = wanting to die).  The Indy mini is the only race I’ve ever cried during and sobbed hysterically afterwards (yeah drama much?).  I am determined to create better memories of the Mini tomorrow.  I am determined to overcome what happened last year.

Why am I so anxious for this race?

Well, that’s just it.  Last year, anxiety literally killed me during the race.  I was excited for the race – I had high hopes that I could help guide Adam to a sub-2 first half marathon.  After all – I was the experienced runner.  I was going to be the rock for him.  We would laugh and run, make great memories, then run through a field of flowers and rainbows.  Early in the morning we were suited up and ready to go.  Even then, I knew something wasn’t quite right.  My stomach wasn’t really taking to breakfast, and I hadn’t been able to go to the bathroom.  The anxiety started setting in.  What if I couldn’t go to the bathroom before the race?  What if my stomach doesn’t stop hurting?  Well as you can imagine this sort of thinking just made my stomach hurt more.  I tried to stay calm as we made our way over.  After a quick successful stop at the porta potties I had a renewed sense of hope: maybe this was just pre-race jitters!  We hopped into our corral and remarkably ran into our two close friends running the race (in a sea of 35,000 people).  This was a huge boost and we had a great time before the gun went off.  My stomach wasn’t doing great – but I did feel more confident I would recover.

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Our fake “finish-line” photo taken at the start line before we began the race.

Soon we were off!  The beginning of the Indy race is pretty congested, but also incredibly thrilling.  Adam and I dashed and darted around runners trying to navigate as politely as we could while staying near each other.  Mile 1 and 2 came and went, but by Mile 3 I knew this was truly going to be a battle.  I told Adam I really needed to stop for a bathroom break.  I kept going back and forth and finally he said “Kelly, just stop!  You will feel better and then we can just continue.”  I followed his advice.  But alas, no luck at the stop.  I couldn’t go!  What the heck, body??  So on we went.  The miles kept dragging on and my posture kept hunching over my stomach the farther we went.  Miles 6 and 7 are around the Indianapolis Speedway (the race track of the Indy 500).  I hit my low point on the track and kept urging Adam to leave me.  I wanted him to have a great run and I was a sandbag pulling him down.  He cheerfully kept encouraging me and telling me he was sticking with me.  I started to get a bit grumpy towards all his perkiness, and after a not-so-nice exchange of words and some tears we continued on in silence.

My stomach was still killing me and I was a black hole of negative energy.  I felt so guilty that I was ruining the experience for Adam.  Around mile 10 I knew I’d be able to finish and I started perking up a bit.  Just a bit.  We kept painfully and deliberately pushing towards the finish and soon it was within sight.  Adam grabbed my hand and literally pulled me across the finish line.  Some days later I could watch the finish line video and chuckle at how pathetic I looked.  Adam holding my hand like a sick child dragging me behind him.  At the time I was happy to be done, but heartbroken, absolutely heartbroken.  We collected our medals and started walking a few feet back.  I just started sobbing.  Not only did we not get the sub 2-hour race I desperately wanted for Adam, I ruined it.  I still hurt and I ruined the day.  I was pretty inconsolable for a few minutes.  Let’s just say lots of running and pressure can quickly take you to an emotional place.  Soon Adam was able to get through to me and I started feeling a bit better.  We stilled managed to get a “B” in terms of what we were hoping to attain time-wise (We had a sliding scale of goals set). We grabbed some food and ended up meeting with some friends at the end of it.

Even now I’m not 100% sure that I didn’t get food poisoning or Montezuma’s Revenge as I dramatically titled it in the days following the race.  But in my gut I know a big factor was my anxiety.  I put too much pressure on myself and either made myself sick or exasperated an existing stomach issue.  Either way, I let my disappointment get in the way of positivity and making it a great day.  It was a good lesson to learn.  As much as pace is important and it’s wonderful to have goals, I never want to let myself get so down for doing something so great.  For goodness sake I ran 13.1 miles!  That is an accomplishment, whether I shaved those 6 minutes off or not.  And the reality is: we didn’t train for a sub-2 hour race.  I should’ve stuck with more realistic goals based on my training (Another important lesson).  Last year during this time my asthma was causing a lot of trouble and I was traveling weekly for work.  I just didn’t make my runs a priority.  It makes sense – you get what you put in.

What about this year?

Fast forward to today: the night before my rematch.  My chance to have a happy and successful race.  Yes I have time goals, but I will not let myself get on the train to negative town.  My most important goal is to enjoy and have fun.  That was my biggest lesson from last year.  Because after all –  I’m running a half marathon tomorrow baby!

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Getting ready to head into the Expo!

Yesterday I went to the expo and had an awesome time.  I grabbed my packet easily and sure enough my bib says Corral D.  Crazy.  Still convinced that’s an error.  Adam and I wandered around the expo and I picked up some tape for my knees, new bottles for my fuel belt, and an awesome sparkly headband (score!).  It was a great success and not too crowded.  I could feel my heart pounding when I was heading into the expo. I’m hoping I can stay calm and anxiety free tomorrow.  I trained for a successful race – I just need to remember that.  I made a game plan for fueling/water stops so that’s all decided as well.  All that’s left is running!

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Red circles are water stops and blue stars are 1/2 Gu.

If you’d like to track my progress you can sign up for that here.  The Indy Mini has race tracking available for all participants.  I love it – my family across the country is already signed up to get updates.  How sweet is that?  Additionally you can follow me on Twitter (@racesrepsramble) as I signed up to automatically tweet my splits.  You’ll see the tweets here on the homepage too.  Isn’t technology amazing?  Enjoy the weekend!

Wish me luck!  And fingers crossed my knees hold up!

-Kelly

Do you get race anxiety?  Have you ever wanted a race rematch?