Earlier this week.

Preston: Don’t you have a half marathon in a few weeks?

Me: Um, yeah, three weeks. 

Preston: Don’t you think, maybe you should actually be doing some running?

Me: I’m biking and walking, and I ran 6 miles last weekend.

Preston: That’s not even halfway there. I thought you said you wanted to PR?

Me: Alright! Fine! I’ll run once this week and then do a long run this weekend! Geez!

Preston: I was just concerned for your well-being. I don’t want you to die. 

Me: I won’t die! Sheesh. And, I think I’ve decided, maybe I’ll just let my best time be my first ever half marathon. Who said you have to PR at every race?

So, on Wednesday I went out and ran 3 miles around the church while Maya was at religion class. Then today I ran 10 miles. Man, I really showed him who wasn’t going to die. Booooom!

And I only really ever felt like dying one time. Right around the 8 mile mark, I may have thought about calling him to see if he would pick me up. But then I thought maybe there would be judging and more, “I’m really concerned about you” talks. So I powered through, like any non-competitive person would do.

I like a good challenge. Apparently.

That’s why I signed up for I’m Perfect Life r2014 Fitness Challenge, in July. I had to come up with 10 challenges (and complete them) by the end of the year. Luckily, I’d already completed a few (my second half marathon in May and then a week later a 5K plus stair challenge), but I still had 8 more… I finally decided I was going to walk/run for 30 days straight. It also helped my wallet by using Pact during each walk.

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I actually love walking, so I thought this would be fun.

And, for the most part, it was. On the weekends it was easier to get in a longer walk/run, but the week days I waited until the kids went to bed, so I found myself getting anxious around bedtime. As the days went on, I added a little more challenge to my challenge… I had to walk at least 2 miles each day. If the kids went to bed earlier, I’d try to get in 3-4 miles; if it was later, I settled on 2.

So, yesterday, I finished my 30th day. I logged 102.1 miles in that 30 days. Not too shabby. I averaged 3.4 miles a day. I’d say it was a challenge successfully completed.

Now it’s on to the next challenge. Riding my bike 5 miles straight. If anyone knows me, they know I trip over carpet and run into doorways, so balancing on a bike is a challenge in itself. (;

Tonight I went for a 4-mile walk, while listening to The Power of Habit.

I’m trying to start a habit.
Blendra habit

I’m on my ninth day of walking/running, in a row. Only 12 more and this should be a habit. Only problem with habits are they’re easy to break. The book says you need to crave the reward your habit offers in order to want to continue with the habit. So far my reward is getting to listen to this audio book! But, what’s gonna happen when I finish the book?

Four months ago, I loved running. Four months ago, I ran a full marathon. If I hadn’t loved running, I’m not certain I would have tried as hard as I did.

After my full I took a break. A long break. Certain songs would remind me of running, but I just couldn’t get back out there. Running wasn’t the same. I tried to keep it up, but it became a chore.

I was pretty sure the love was gone. Or, maybe it wasn’t love after all, maybe only a mere crush. And that crush had run (no pun intended, alright it was) it’s one-year course.

Bummer.

Although the love seemed to have died, I still had a race (or three) to train for. I had signed up for back-to-back half marathons (one in May and one in October) and a 5k and stair challenge in between.

And, as much as I tried to suck it up, doing something you don’t like, really just isn’t any fun. I was back up to running six miles and hating every minute of it. I wasn’t running fast, I wasn’t proud of myself, I was just getting it done.

Until yesterday.

I started my music and the love came back. I finished seven miles in the fastest I’ve ever run seven miles. My last two miles being the best yet. I finished that run proud of myself and loving the work I’d just done.

I totally agree with Steve Jobs when he said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

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Now, go out there and do what you love and love what you do.

I think everyone has a song that reminds them of something.

I logged many miles with the same songs/artists when I was training for my half, running my half, training for my full and then running my full marathon. Songs from Mumford and Sons (every single song), Ingrid Michaelson, Pink, Sara Bareilles, Cold Play, Incubus… But, On Top Of The World, by Imagine Dragons, is one of my all-time favorites. After I hit four miles, that’s how I felt, “on top of the world.” I felt like I could run forever. Weird, I know.

The lyrics are amazing. They totally fit me. This is how I feel when I run.

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The thing is, I haven’t done any running since my marathon. It’s been three weeks and two days with no running. None.

Eight days ago I started the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. It works different muscles than running and it’s only 25 minutes long (from warm-up to cool-down). I was loving the short-time, but I just don’t get the same feeling as I did when I was running.

Maybe it’s time to get back out there and run again. Even if it’s just for four miles.

So, I’ve heard it takes 21 days to make or break a habit.

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I decided to start Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred again. I’ve done it before, but on for like 4-5 days in a row, then I’d take off a couple days, then I’d start it back up again. Well, this time I’m committing to all 30 days. If it’s true after the first 21 days, this should be a habit.

Let’s just see about that. If so, I’ll certainly be glad I started today. Here’s to 20 more hard, habit-forming days.  And then an additional 9 more easy ones, after the habit. (:

I’ve never been competitive. Well, okay, I never thought I was competitive until I started running. And, even then, I definitely wouldn’t call myself a competitive runner.

During my first half, I was surprised at how much I looked at the people who were running around me and think to myself, “hmm, I should be able to beat them.”  Then I’d run a little faster to see if I could.

Or, I’d look at other people and think, “I don’t think I could ever beat them.” But I’d try anyway. It gave me a push, something to keep running toward.

Then, well, there were just people who straight-up annoyed me so I just ran faster to get away from them. Haha.

Now, since I’ve actually completed a half marathon, all I want to do is beat my current paces.

I ran my half marathon at a 10:14/mile pace. Which, at the time, seemed pretty dang good and I was super proud of it. Hell, I’m still proud of it. I’m an amateur runner with two small kids and not much time to train, a 10:14/mile pace is awesome!

Two weeks after my half, I ran 6 miles around my neighborhood at a 9:49/mile pace. I was so proud when I finished. That’s 25 seconds I just cut off my mile pace (if you can’t do  the math)!

A week later, it was time for my timed 10k race and for some reason all I wanted to do was run it in a faster pace than that. So, I set my Garmin Forerunner 310XT for a 9:40/mile pace and the whole time I was running all I wanted to do was beat my watch pace (well, that, and a friend I was running with).

You know what, I beat my watch pace by 8 seconds, finishing the 10k with a 9:32/mile pace. Yay!

But, I didn’t beat my friend. Haha

COMPETITION

Apparently today is National Running Day! Who knew? I made a badge and so should you!

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Right after the race

As I crossed thru the finish line I remember thinking I just wanted to sit down, but the ground was wet and I didn’t want a bit wet spot on my butt. Ha. It was a little overwhelming thinking that I had just run 13.1 miles (read about it how I felt during each mile)!

Then I realized how thirsty I was, so I turned around and grabbed a bottle of water. During the race I had stopped at two water stations, but only got a tiny bit out of each cup, before spilling most of down my shirt and up into my face. It was hard to drink and run. Pinching the cup is key, but apparently I was doing that wrong. I did have my 20 oz water bottle with me during the race. When I started my C2K5 I never understood how I’d ever be able to run and drink at the same time. But, once I started running longer distances, Preston got me this water bottle, it’s easy and super important. I definitely need to be hydrated or I burn out, quickly.

Next, I felt a huge lump in my throat. I thought I may get sick with the smell of mexican food? I think they were cooking onions. I just wanted to get to the outside of the PVC pipe and away from the smell and all of the people.

I could feel my lower back aching, but that was really the only thing. My legs were tired, but not sore yet. I was told stretching after a race is key, so I tried to do a few, but I was just too dang tired and so glad to be done. I’d be fine… (;

And, then, after the congrats, I got the, “are you ready to sign up for another one?” and “what about a full?” My immediate response, “Nope, I think I’ll be good with only ever running one half. Pretty sure I’ll NEVER run a full.”

1 hour after the race

I was getting pretty cold and my legs were so tired. I just wanted to sit down. I had to peel my kids away from all of the excitement and get home. The only thing I could think about was a hot bath. And, I knew I probably needed to eat something. I’d had a half a bottle of water and a half a banana right after the race, but I knew that wouldn’t be enough.

Then on the drive home, the weirdest thing happened, I had already convinced myself (with some help from Preston) I was ready to run another half in October and beat my time. Ha. I think I’m crazy.

2.5 hours after the race

I was feeling a little better after I’d eaten a little lunch and soaked in a hot epson salt bath. However, I was just glad my hair was all still there. Apparently two hair bands were too many, I knew I wanted my hair up tight so it didn’t fall as I ran. But with the mixture of rain and sweat my hair had doubled in size. And apparently it got tangled into a rat’s nest. It was awful, I wasn’t sure how it would ever recover. It did, don’t worry. (;

3 hours after the race

I was getting a headache and was starting to feeling a bit sick, I took some ibuprofen and laid down for an hour. I never fell asleep and when I got up I felt more stiff than ever! Knees, back, hamstrings, quads, calves, you name it, it hurt.

4 hours after the race

Preston thought foam rolling would help the aches and pains. I started with my back, it hurt, but apparently that’s how you know it’s working. Then there’s this smaller roller, that is not foam, it’s hard and it hurts! Preston rolled that on my legs and back. 20 minutes later things started feeling a little better.

7 hours after the race

Time for dinner! I had Chinese food and a coke. Seriously, the best I’ve felt all night. Miracle food, right there. (:

The next day

I woke up sore, but not terrible. Stairs hurt, but not too terrible. My back was a bit sore, but not terrible. I’m calling this half marathon a win. At this moment, I’m pretty positive I’m signing up for my next half marathon. Not like next weekend or anything.

So, let’s do this again in October! Who’s with me?

Two days later

I feel so good I’m contemplating signing up for the FULL marathon in October. Yep, 26.2 miles. Why not?

Today was the day. The day I was going to run my very first half marathon. I was nervous (read about it here).

I was so nervous I even had a dream about it last night. I dreamt I was running the wrong direction, when I figured it out I realized I’d forgotten to start my RunKeeper, so I had no idea what mile I was even at in the race. And then I realized I’d forgotten to take my Peanut Butter GU. Basically the whole first part of the half was a disaster. Ugh, good thing it was a dream. Or, I guess nightmare.

Luckily, my sister, Karla, got to my house early to watch the kids. It’s like she knew I was stressed. So, Preston and I left, then turned the truck around and came back to grab a few apples. I had about 3 bites of my apple and decided it may not be a great idea. So, I chugged about 15 ounces of water, on the way to the race, and hoped for the best.

It was around 40 degrees with 10-15 mph winds. Perfect running weather for me! As we neared the race, it started sprinkling. Then, we had a few detours (roads were blocked because of the race, how in the world were we supposed to get to our parking lot!), but we finally arrived at 7:10 am. I was very antsy.

I knew I needed to use the bathroom (apparently so did 10 million other people), so as we walked to the port-a-potties, I ate my Peanut Butter GU. It’s not great, but much better than the fruity-flavored ones. The bathroom lines were long, but there were lots of half marathon bibs in line so I knew I’d be okay.

As the announcer said, “Five minutes to race time.” it was my turn, finally! I made it in, out ,and to the start line in record time!

I made my way through the swarms of people and stopped at the 2:15 group. Two hours and 15 minutes was the time I hoped to get when I started my training, so I thought I’d stick with it. If I needed to slow down, I would. But if I thought I could speed up, I’d do that too.

I just knew what ever happened I couldn’t give up!

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Racers on your marks…

Mile 1:

I’m so glad Preston told me to pick a pace group. I really liked actually running with a group. It helped me keep the pace and not worry about listening to my pace on RunKeeper. I felt pretty good mile one. My adrenaline was still going. I finished my first mile in a 10:23 min/mile pace.

Mile 2:

They had water stations every two miles. I had my water bottle, but I thought I would get water at the stations if I started to get low. I decided to run past this station, but took a sip of water. Mile two went great, I stayed with the group and wasn’t strugging at all. I finished mile two in a 10:14 min/mile pace.

Mile 3:

Mile three is sometimes rough for me. It’s when I start wearing down. This time I was able to keep up the pace with the group, but was happy when I saw the mile 4 marker ahead! I finished mile three in a 10:18 min/mile pace.

Mile 4:

Mile four went great, I slowed down a bit at the beginning to grab a cup of water. I pinched the edges like they tell you to do, however, most of it splashed in my face and ran down my shirt. I guess I should have walked. I even aimed for the trash can, but apparently I’m not meant to be a basketball player either… I missed, but so did a million other people. Thanks to the people who clean up all of the trash! I finished mile four in a 10:14 min/mile pace.

Mile 5:

I felt pretty awesome in mile five, usually miles 4-7 are my best time. So, I was really starting to get that runner’s high during mile five. But, I knew I needed to take my second Peanut Butter GU soon. I didn’t want to be too much behind the group, so I sped up early so I could try and walk and eat and then get some water. At about 5.85 mile, I started the GU. Weird thing was I didn’t see a water station… Well, shoot. I half walked, half ran while I ate the GU and hoped for no ill effects. This was my first time taking it while running. I swigged some of my water bottle and picked up the pace. I finished mile five in a 10:10 min/mile pace.

Mile 6:

I really felt like I rocked mile six. I was in my running groove, I wasn’t really feeling too sore. I had a rhythm. Then we ran over the halfway markers and it beeped me in a 1 hour 8 minutes (I had no idea until I finished what it was, my sister and Preston had a tracker on their phone that told them when I hit halfway, that was pretty cool)! Finally, I saw the water stations. But, I knew I was kinda behind from the GU, so I ran through it. I finished mile six in a 10:03 min/mile pace.

Mile 7:

I was so glad to see the mile seven marker, I knew I was over halfway there! Woo! I was getting kinda tired, but I didn’t want to walk yet. I could tell I was lagging behind on this mile because I’d go from being right behind the group pacers to 3 rows behind the pace keepers. I was just ready to see the mile eight marker. I finished mile seven in a 10:14 min/mile pace.

Mile 8:

I decided I should get some water here. I think it was at the 8.5 mile. I really tried to get ahead of the pack so I could walk a bit while I drank. I was feeling pretty good, so I just took a couple sips and threw the cup away. Apparently mile eight I was feeling like a rockstar, I finished in a 9:59 min/mile pace.

Mile 9:

I don’t really remember much of mile nine. It was fun watching the people around me running, but most of all watching the people standing outside of their houses and cheering us on. So cool! I never thought I’d like that so much! A lady was even holding a sign that said, “Hurry up! It’s freezing out here!” Ha. All I really remember about mile nine is hoping to see mile ten soon, because then all I’d have left to run would be a 5K. I finished mile nine in a 10:05 min/mile pace.

Mile 10:

Right as I hit the mile ten marker I remember thinking, “Oh no, I have a WHOLE 5K to run!” I was pretty tired by that point. All I wanted to do was walk. Like the whole way to the finish line. I really tried to focus on how everyone around me was still running, but I ran out of gas. I started to walk, I only got about 20 steps and the 2:15 group was already getting ahead of me!  I knew I had to get back ahead, but it was a lot harder this time. I finished mile ten in a 10:21 min/mile pace.

Mile 11:

The only thing I can remember about mile eleven is being mad. Mad at this annoying chick who was talking really loud. So, so loud about chocolate milk (milk makes me want to throw up) and then she started in on mexican food. For real, lady, I’m gonna throat punch you if you don’t shut up. I think she was trying to be a motivator for someone, but I knew I needed to get past her. That was motivation enough for me. As I dug deep and picked up the pace, I heard another chick say, “no food talk when we have two miles left to run!” I would have high-fived that chick, but I just needed to get ahead. I finished mile eleven in a 10:07 min/mile pace.

Mile 12:

Oh, mile twelve, I was so happy to see the mile twelve marker. I remember thinking, “only 1.1 miles left, I can do this! I have to do this!” And then a lady was trying to help her friends to keep running, she said, “we’ve all been through child birth, that’s so much harder! Keep running ladies. Remember that pain you went through when you had your babies and keep running. If you can do that, you can do this!” Now, that’s what I’m taking about! So, thanks for that speech, lady, you totes helped me! I finished mile twelve in a 10:15 min/mile pace.

Mile 13:

When I saw the mile thirteen marker I was so tired. Like really, really tired. I wasn’t sure how I was going to even get that 0.1 miles I had left to run. I kept thinking the faster I ran, the faster I would get done, but I was so tired. So tired I had to start walking. I only let myself take a few steps and I knew I had to run again and keep running until the finish. There would be no slowing down until I passed over the finish line. I remember as I got up to the finish line I heard my name called over the loud speaker (they announce random runners and I guess they picked me?) and then I saw Preston and my sisters and then the kids. I saw my sister’s camera so I, of course, smiled and waved. Who wants an ugly picture while you’re running your first half marathon? I rocked my thirteenth mile in a 9:50 min/mile pace. 

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Half Marathon time: 2 hours 14 minutes 06 seconds

I was so happy to be done. Like, so, so, so, so happy to be done. I just wanted to sit down. But I also wanted hugs and kisses from my family.

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Thanks, Karla and Kelly for watching the kids, making signs and being there to cheer me on! And, thanks, Preston for being my number one fan! You guys are awesome.

Here’s how I felt post race. Spoiler alert: good enough to have me itching to run the FULL in October. (:

I’ve also decided I’m going to be adding a half marathon (run 13.1) button on my side bar. Eventually, you’ll be able to read my training days leading up to my first half.

I can’t believe it’s been 5 months since I decided I was going to run a half marathon. That’s right, folks, 13.1 miles. All at the same time. I mean, why not? I’ve never, ever run in my entire life. So, basically, I went from never, ever (ever) running to running 4 miles in 6 weeks!

But, at the time it seemed like a good idea. Now I’m wondering what I was thinking.

During my training (ha! If you can even call it that. This girl ain’t got time for an actual training plan. This girl has two young kids), I’ve had some totally awesome weeks and some super, no good, very bad, awful weeks!

But, I continued on. It was hard (anyone? alright, twss).

And, three weeks ago I ran 12 miles. TWELVE MILES all at one time! And I finished in a pretty good time too: 2 hours 7 minutes! Although seasoned runners say only amateurs talk about time. They say all that matters is that you finish. But, I’m an amateur… 2 hours 7 minutes and totes proud of it. (;

But now it’s been two weeks since I’ve really done any long distance running and in 3 short days I’ll be running my first ever half marathon! Eeek! I’m nervous.

Prairie Fire half marathon, here I come! Please don’t kill me. I have two young kids.

And, if I finish (I better finish) I even get a medal! I’m not certain I’ve ever actually gotten a medal for anything.

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