Our First Half!

Our First Half!

Monday, March 21, 2011

We Did it!

I still can't believe that I was able to run a half marathon. It's unbelievable and I feel the same way Lynn does. I'm so proud of myself and I can't believe I went from barely being a runner at all to running a whole 13.1 miles! Secondly, I still can't get over what an intense feeling it was to have endured the pain to get to the finish AND reach a life goal.

When I first took off, I wasn't really sure what I was doing. I felt like I was going pretty steady and was too scared to go too slow. I then realized that I was passing quite a few people from my corral and heading up to the 4th corral and thought to myself, "I hope I don't burn out." I had never really paced myself since this was my first long race. I was afraid if I started off to fast, I'd be hating myself later. I didn't burn out however, I kept my pace pretty steady the whole race. I think the competition was in my heart. There were a few people in the half that I had my eyes on, two girls who had run this half before (they were decked out in shamrock half marathon gear from a previous year), one older lady who kept flying by me, another girl in a yellow tank, and a girl with a "best in the world" shirt
with a Duke Blue Devils logo. I made sure anytime I grabbed water or slowed in the least, that I caught back up to them or passed them. Luckily they kept the same pace throughout the race, and I kept up with them!

VA beach was a beautiful run. The woods were great, the beach, the lighthouses, everything. And the best part was of course the FLATNESS! I love running on flat roads and trails so this was perfect for me. I'd been training on flat trails, but at a slower pace. I had probably never run more than a mile at even a 9:30 pace. Usually while training I would stop several times to walk or drink water. This was SO different. The adrenaline and the temperature just made me want to keep moving. It was definitely a mental game, but I don't remember thinking how hard it would be or how much distance I had left (which is what I usually do during long runs). Even when it was over I was shocked how fast it went by! Near the end was the part where I pushed myself the most. The girl in the Duke shirt had pushed past me just a little bit, and I took off. I was not going
to let a Dukie beat me!

In the end, I finished in 2 hour
s and 2 minutes and a 9:19 pace. I also finished top 25% in my category which I think is an accomplishment in itself considering this is supposed
to be when you're in your prime! The speedy lady at the end said she was pacing with me too and what an inspiration I was, which was so flattering since this was my first Half and I was pacing with her! I look forward to another half very soon - hopefully in May before foot surgery. I figure it won't be as flat as this, and am prepping myself for a much longer time due to hills. Then it will be rehabilitation which will be another awesome milestone for me (or so I am trying to see it that way).

Until then, I'm looking forward to completing the 10 miler! Yes, completing.... months ago I didn't think this would be possible either! The hills are really going to be a physical and mental challenge but I am looking forward to it!

And last but not least, a very special thanks to Lynn. I love her to death and so happy we could go on this journey together. I will always remember this! If it weren't for her making the commitment to this race together, and pushing each other to complete our training, I would have never accomplished this goal!


Well readers, thank you so much for following this blog to track our journey towards completing our first half marathon!  We have officially completed the half and did so with smiles on our faces.  I will tell you about my journey and then Pita can get on here and post about hers! 

some shamrockers getting ready to race!
I was originally planning to run the race like this: divide it into thirds and run the first third with my head, the second third with my personality, and the final third with my heart.  Well, it didn't really work out that way... 

I started the race more excited than I could have ever dreamed I would be.  I was jumping up and down, counting down with the starting line guy...10...9...8...7...etc.  And when he said "GO!", I have never been so thrilled!  I started off at a pretty good pace, not too fast or slow.  I was smiling and waving at all of the people cheering us on and it actually hit me... "I am running a half marathon! The day is finally here and I am actually doing this."  Truth be told, I actually starting tearing up at this point...I was just so overwhelmed that I was accomplishing a goal that I had set for my self so many months before.  Here's another truth: about 9 months ago, the furthest I could run was about a mile and I could only do it in over 10 minutes and had to slow down to walk immediately afterwards...now I was running 13.1 miles and feeling exhilarated!!!  I was smiling and running and waving and saying thank you to everyone I passed. Our bibs had our names printed on them, and it was so amazing to hear people say "good job Carolyn!" talking to me...ME! I was doing a good job?! wow...it was so incredible to have all of that support.  So, there you have it...I ran the first third with my personality.

The next third was a bit tougher...miles 5-8 were pretty tough mentally, not as much physically.  This part I ran with my head.  I knew I had to keep a decent pace if I wanted to be close to my goal of finishing in about 2 hours and 30 minutes.  I just kept on trucking!  There were a couple of DJs along the way...the first one playing Miley Cyrus "Party in the USA" was amazing...I felt like this was MY half marathon and the DJ knew that Miley was my jam!  I just kept on pushing and told myself that if I didn't walk at all then I would be able to say I ran the entire half marathon without walking.  So that's what I did...the only points when I stopped to walk were the brief moments where I got water at the water station...and that's because I'm super clumsy and would have spilled it all over my face otherwise!

The last part I definitely ran with my heart...as planned.  Once I reached mile 9, I knew I was close.  I was so pumped up I was trying to push others around me to get excited too! We were almost there...so close!  I could feel the excitement welling up inside of my chest!  I knew that Matt and my dad were waiting for me at the finish line and I was so excited to have the two of them with me to accomplish this goal.  I was so proud of Arpita for going so fast and I knew she was up there doing great.  I loved having her as a running partner, but in the end, I think it's best we ran our own races...she finished with an incredible time, and I ran the race knowing that I was accomplishing something for myself and that I could do it...the girl who could barely run a mile 9 months ago was finishing 13.1 today.  
Yuengling sandcastle at the end!
As I neared the finish line, I felt the tears coming up again.  When I crossed it, the feeling overwhelmed me and I simply burst into tears...I cannot even attempt to explain the happiness I felt.  It was such a feeling I can't even describe it properly!  You will just have to try it.  To anyone who has doubts about their ability to complete something like this...I just have to say: you CAN do this!  Anything is achievable when you want it enough and are willing to work to get it.  

I was so inspired on Sunday, I am now seriously contemplating running the full marathon at Disney in 2012.  The other runners were such an inspiration and I hope that I served as an inspiration to some of them as well, and to you all who read this blog.  I had one person behind me at the race shout out what was on the back of my shirt to inspire their teammates: "Pain is weakness leaving the body."  I told her that I took the saying from the Marine Corps because it inspired me, and she said she was going to use it next year.  I have a new quote for all of you now, though, and I'm sure you will understand why it is special to me:  "Pain is temporary.  Pride is forever."

I am so proud of my accomplishment and proud of myself for sticking to my plan, sticking to my goals, and completing one of the biggest challenges of my life.  Thank you all so much for all of your support and for following this blog.  And who knows, maybe stay tuned for the next step: Running Towards our First Full Marathon! 

Love you all, xoxo Lynn

Monday, March 14, 2011

Less than a week until the half marathon!!!

Well the race is one week away and I am super excited for it!  OK maybe super excited is a slight exaggeration but I am looking forward to conquering this goal.  Yesterday I ran my longest difference ever! 10 Miles!!!  But let's back up another day...

So as I have previously mentioned, I am a huge fan of the Biggest Loser, and I just found out that Tara from season 7 is going to be at our half marathon! (Although she is pretty baller so she is probably running the full)!  So I have been feeling particularly unmotivated since having the flu and was seriously questioning my ability to complete this race.  Fortunately, Matt decided to be my Bob Harper the night before last and gave me a Biggest Loser style workout... meaning I complained, whined, almost cried, swore, and oh yes, fell off the treadmill.  The only part that was missing was puking, and to be honest, I came close!

First he made me run intervals--first sprints for about 12 minutes and then walk uphill at a 12 incline (at about a 3.5 speed) for the next 8 minutes.  Then he made me do a series of ab workouts and then some jumping jacks.  I had to count out loud to 50 jumping jacks...I got weak around 45 and stopped, so he told me I had to do 10 more...that taught me to challenge my trainer! LOL!  Then I ran a mile in 7:36 (1 second away from my 7:35 goal)!!!  I am getting closer!  Then I stretched out some more and then walked up a 10 incline for another 20 minutes.  All in all, it was a fantastic workout--I was incredibly sweaty and worked out!!!

So now we are up to yesterday... my big 10 miler!  This run was both physically painful and mentally challenging.  The hardest part was probably looking down at my pacer/tracker and seeing that I had run 3 miles and knowing that I had 7 more miles to go... talk about a mental test!  I ran on the American Tobacco Trail and it was absolutely gorgeous!  It was a nice 75 degrees out (although this ended up getting a little warm and I got very very thirsty even though I had my trusty water bottle belt!)  It was nice to see all of the families out bike riding together and the other runners...it was very inspiring to see so many people enjoying the outdoors!

I am learning new things about myself and my running style each time I run.  I still need new socks, as I continue to get blisters on my right foot.  I also know that I need to drink wayyy more water before I start the run, as I was very thirsty the entire time I was running--at least they will have water stations along the way to keep me fueled!

In addition to water, runners need proper food to get themselves fueled up.  Now I am by no means the healthiest person in the world, and YES I do sometimes eat ice cream while watching Biggest Loser!  But whatever, that is neither here nor there...

Anyway, I thought I would share with you all a great staple for any runner or athlete who is looking to fuel up in the morning.  I got this recipe from none other than Jillian Michaels...

Take two whole grain waffles and toast them.
Spread each with a 1tsp of almond butter and 1tsp of honey (each waffle).
Then slice a banana and place on top (I used a whole banana although Jillian suggests half--I just don't like saving bananas for later when they are already open and I don't want to waste them either).