Tuesday, December 6, 2011

so i ran a half marathon.

Months ago, I set a goal. To be a runner. Sunday, I proved that I can do it.

I signed up for the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Strip at Night Half Marathon back in May. I ran lots of miles. I had some injuries. I doubted myself. But in the end, it was crossing the finish line that really mattered. When the race was about to start, I knew that my best goal would be to finish. Sure, I wanted to finish under three hours, but that was not the important thing here. Finish. That's all.

Like I said in my RunKeeper post, I felt great until I didn't. I actually was consistently moving from the start of the race until near mile 10. I walked through a few water stations prior to mile 10, but I was able to pull myself together and keep running. See below:


Considering my history, it would be easy to assume that my legs were the problem. Sore calves, sore shins, sore hip(s)... but this time, that wasn't it. I was in control of my breathing and the only part below my waist that really hurt was the soles of my feet. Awesome!

Except that my back hurt. Bad. By mile 10, I realized that it hurt too bad to keep running. The last thing I wanted to do was walk with only 3.1 miles left to go. But thankfully, right after I started walking, my sorority little sister and good friend Melissa saw me and walked with me. She said her legs were sore, and at this point I'm not sure if I held her back or if she wanted to walk too, but it was GREAT to have someone right there. Though there were moments when I felt like I could have started running, it wouldn't have lasted long. With less than a half mile to go we set out to start running again, just through the finish chute.

I finished in 3:09:48, and I'm proud of it. So proud. When it comes to endurance sports, I tend to be a bit emotional, and I cried when I finished. I cried a little as I was starting my race, I got choked up when I saw the wheelchair athletes finishing, and I really lost it in the finish chute. I came a long way and accomplished something not many people even have the guts to try.

I'm sore now, and though I am glad I'm not signed up for my next half quite yet, I know that in 2012, I want to do at least 2 halfs in addition to some 5ks and 10ks. Next year I'm going to get serious about running, so that in 2013 I can do a full marathon - something I claimed I would do this year without realizing how much dedication it really takes.

I want to thank everyone that supported me leading up to this event, including Justin, Melissa, Brent and Josh who were part of our group in Vegas that all did our first half marathon. It's not easy, and no one ever said it would be, but damn is it worth it.

Stay tuned ... I have some other fun posts before the end of the year and I hope you enjoy them as much as I am looking forward to writing them!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

go it alone.

If you're like me, you probably have a list of things you want to do. I don't mean chores (those are things you probably should do and still don't anyway; it's fine), I mean fun things. Movies. Concerts. Trips.

Now let me ask you a question. When you want to do one of these fun things, do you wait until you find someone to go with you? Or do you go anyway, even if it means going by yourself?

I'm here to tell you that if you really want to do something, don't let someone else dictate that for you. If you want to go see a movie, just go. Seriously. You might feel kind of silly going up to the counter alone, or getting your ticket stub ripped alone, but honestly? The lights will go down in the theater and no one will know you are alone. Especially if it's crowded. You can't talk to the person next to you in a movie (unless you want popcorn thrown at your head). If you really need to talk to someone about what you just saw, call a friend who has also seen it. Likely someone has.

Concerts are a little harder. But it can be done. You go, you blend in with those people around you, and maybe you even make a few friends. You're not there to hang out with your pals as much as you are to see the band you paid $25, $50 or $85 to see. Sure, it's fun to be able to shout at your friend how awesome the live music is, but what if no one wants to go with you?

That's really the key here. What do you do when you want to do something, and no one is willing to shell out the cash to join you? Do you just give up and not go? That might seem easier, but chances are you'll realize how much you really want to go.

I've gone to concerts alone before. I go to movies by myself all the time. It's liberating, and guess what? It means you don't have to wait around for someone else to decide they want to join you.

I think the most important thing about doing things alone is that you've decided to take your life into your own hands and do what you enjoy. It's pointless to let someone else stop you from doing what you want to do, especially if it is something you have been looking forward to, like Captain America or something.

Don't miss Ryan Gosling's abs because your friends are lame.

Think about things in your life that you have really wanted to do and missed the opportunity. Was it because you couldn't find company? If you are always waiting around for someone else to decide they want to tag along, you might miss out on a lot of cool experiences that you obviously aren't going to have sitting at home on your couch watching reruns of The Office on Netflix instant play. Sorry.

There are plenty of chances to go it alone. Go out to lunch, take a trip (even if it's short and just hours from your home address), go to the mall. You don't have to have a friend to do some of these things, even if having someone to chat with makes it a little more fun. Friend, acquaintance or not, don't let someone else be the reason for your regrets later on.

This is really a good lesson for all aspects of life. When you are an individual and feel empowered, you can meet the needs of other people without giving up your dreams and hopes. It's important to maintain a sense of self, and take care of yourself, even when it feels like a difficult thing to do.

Take charge and do what you want. You'll feel better for it.

And because sometimes we all need a little pick-me-up, check out these 7 tricks to stop comparing yourself to others & kick envy to the curb.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

if.

I didn't write this one, but I like it. Hopefully I will write something original soon.

IF 
by Rudyard Kipling

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:


If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'


If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
'Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Monday, January 10, 2011

attitude is everything.

Your attitude can make or break you. It's true.

My mom used to tell me: "attitude is everything." Yes, she may have been dealing with a grouchy teenager at the time, but it's something that stuck with me and holds true.

This running thing is a prime example of how attitude is everything. I am not a runner. (Not yet.) My history with running is painful and short. I run, my shins hurt, I stop. I think the one shining moment in my running career was a mile we had to run in P.E. in 8th grade and I finished in just under 8 minutes. That was 10 years ago. At least. Because the details are fuzzy now. Anyway.

I made these plans with SK to do a running race this year. And it's the big daddy of all running races, a marathon. Some people might say to set your sights on a 5k. Or a 10k. Or a half marathon. But if I'm going to do something, I want to go all in. Like when I wanted to work for the Olympic Movement. I said that was my goal, and I accomplished it. I think I've been missing a big goal lately, and this is perfect.

Today was frustrating. I was excited because I got new shoes and was ready to break them in without a lot of running. I got new sports bras. It snowed today so I went to the "gym" at my apartment complex and did my walking (with only a bit of running; I'm going to repeat week one...) and my shins felt like they were going to blow up. It's painful to have shin splits, and I felt annoyed. For once, I had looked forward to hitting the treadmill all day...and now it wasn't working out how I hoped it would. It hurt.

Icing is becoming part of my evening routine.

But I'm not going to quit. Yes, it's true that I don't particularly find joy in my shins feeling like they might burst, but if I get a bad attitude about this, I'd be defeating myself before I ever really got started. Marathons (and pretty much all other endurance sports) are almost as much mental as they are physical. I need to stay positive about my running, even if I have a bad day.

That being said, I let myself get excited today when I was looking at races to add to my schedule. Here's what I have so far:

May 7: Take 5 in the Garden (5 miler)
May 21: Save the Manatee 5k run (in Michigan!)
June 12: Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Run
Sept. 5: American Discovery Trail Marathon (the big one!)

I've never made a schedule like this before. I'm really excited to have races on my schedule, and it's probably safe to say that after two full years of working at USAT, I've been bitten by some kind of insane, endurance-sport bug.

The most important thing to remember is that attitude will define this journey. If I can stay positive, I can accomplish anything. And believe me, this can apply to any aspect of your life, not just running.