Monday, May 21, 2012


The total number of miles I ran on Saturday morning. 

I'm still a bit in awe and feel like it didn't really happen.  I've been training for this for about 9 weeks.  I went into it worried that I wouldn't be able to hack it, but hack it I did!

As I said, I've trained for about 9 weeks for this.  I picked this particular course, the Windermere Marathon half, because it is a nice senic course along a paved trail and pretty much flat with a net -105ft between start and finish. 

You can read about some of my training on my other blog through my profile.  I initally set out to do some speed work as well as distance training.  After a few weeks, I began to dread the speed workouts and worry that, as a newer runner, I'd get injured trying to build endurance and speed, so I gave up on speed.  

I started with a comforatble base of 5-6miles.  My first LR (long run) was 7miles.  Each week, I added a mile, until 11.  Then I hit a wall.  I was supposed to do 12 miles the week before Bloomsday and just couln't muster it mentally.  My 11 mile run didn't go so well.  It was hot and in direct sun between 0930 and 1130. I knew it was mental, but I gave it up.  Then I ran Bloomsday and trashed my legs.  And ran the next day, and the next.  Then my legs were really trashed.

The next week, I was nervous.  I never did the 12 miles, and I worried that was going to be a mental hurdle in the race.  I desparetly wanted to run 12 before the big day, but knew that would probably be a mistake.  My left IT band was bugging me as well as my sciatica on the left had been flaring up.  On Monday before the race, I ran a fairly speedy-for-me six and called it good.

Then I rested.  I heated, iced, stretched and heated, iced, and stretched some more.  I hoped and prayed my legs would show up ready for race day!

Friday night, I grew very nervous!  I had butterflies about everything.  I worried about making sure I had everything ready, would wake up on time, wouln't be too warm, or too cold, was my Garmin charged, would Ben wake up on time to come pick me up, would I find the race start, etc, etc, etc.  I tried to go to bed early, but I had a hard time sleeping.  I woke up several times and looked at my phone...despite the fact that I had 3 alarms set!

I finally woke up around 5:15 and drank a bunch of water, had my peanut butter and jam toast and got dressed.  I went over everything in my head, made sure I had my Garmin, my headphones, gatorade, and Ben's car was packed with a diaper bag, stroller, and my post race bag.  I grabbed a banana and headed to the race start around 0600.

I got there and sat in my warm car for about 30min.  I used the porta potty, then met with my friend and coworker, Sarah.  We hung around the race start trying not to get cold, used the bathroom again, stretched some, then hit the road at 0700 when the gun went off. 

I started running and was thrilled to realize my legs were ready to rock 'n roll! 
Mile 1:  10:34
Mile 2:  10:45
The first aid station was just before mile 2.  I grabbed some water and kept on trecking.
Mile 3:  11:00

I kept trying to get out of my head and take it one mile at a time.  Each mile that ticked by, I felt more confident that I could finish and finish well (at least within my goal time).  I tried to keep the postive self talk up as much as I could.  Anytime I felt any sense of doubt creep in, I reminded myself that I had trained for this, my legs felt great, it was a beautiful day, beautiful surroundings, I had this.

I turned on my headphones at mile 3 and zoned out a bit. 
Mile 4:  11:02, right on pace
I grabbed some water at the next stop and sipped on my Gatorade in between.  I ate two m&m's around mile 3.  The aid stations were about every 2 miles along the course.
Mile 5:  11:03
Mile 6:  10:42
Mile 7:  10:39 and happy to be past the halfway point!

This song really carried me through the middle set of miles.  Not sure why, but it made me feel inspired and grateful to be out there.
Mile 8:  10:59
Mile 9:  11:16
Mile 10:  11:24

My mental game started lacking.  My miles were getting longer and that was tough to swallow.  I ate m&m's at miles 5 and 7, then finally had a gel they were handing out, around mile 9.  I traded water for HEED (the energy/electrolyte drink they were handing out at aid stations).  When I ate the gel I was glad to have my bottle of gatorade to wash it down with!

When I hit mile 10, I was certain I had three miles left in my legs.  My mind was beginning to falter, somehow.  At mile 11, I hit familiar territory and was nearing the park.  This part of the course was the second half of the 10k I ran in October, my confidence grew.
Mile 11:  11:23
My legs were getting tired.
Mile 12:  11:07

Then I hit a wall.  My legs were tired.  So.tired.  I knew I would keep going, because I had to and was so close, but I was so done.  I kept trying to pick up the pace, but when I tried to run faster, I'm pretty sure I only got slower.  So, I gave up on trying to run faster and just keep running.
Mile 13:  11:20
0.12miles:  1:06

I finished!!!!!  My Garmin time was 2:24:20.  Average pace exact goal pace!

And, I, am an official half marathoner!

Overall, I'm thrilled.  I'm also so glad it's over.  Now I plan to work on speed for a while!  My legs are a bit sore today.  I got blisters on several of my toes, which has never been a problem before.  Everything is generally a bit sore, but actually less sore/different sore than after Bloomsday.

 I'm a half marathoner, NBD.  Really, though I'm grateful, more than anything else, that I am capable of running.  I'm grateful to have a body that functions.  Every mile, I tried to remind myself that I owe it to all those who have physical limitations and can't physically run.  I am so grateful, humbled, and blessed by this experience.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bloomsday 12k

I've now been running for just over a year.  I had wanted to run Bloomsday, a 12k race, last year, but never trained.  This year, I trained (and beyond) and ran Corporate Cup with 7 other nurses from my unit at work as well as a housekeeper and an RT.  It was a blast!

The day before, I got up and we went downtown to the expo to pick up my packet.  It happened to be Cinco de Mayo, so we had dinner at Azteca, where I ate plenty of carbs and drank plenty of water!  We also went on the carousel.  I really wanted to bring Isla, but she freaked out, so it was just Miles and me.

The morning of the race, I got up around 0730, ate peanut butter on toast with jam, drank a bunch of water, got dressed, and headed to a local high school where there was a bus pick-up for the race.  I got there around 0810 thinking I'd be hopping on a bus within 10-15min of arriving...boy was I wrong!  I had a 0900 start time with Corporate Cup, so I was a little nervous when I saw the line.  I cut into it when I saw someone I knew, but shortly realized that wasn't going to cut it either!  I HAD to get to the front to make it on time.  My heart was pounding.  I felt bad for cutting, but it was just me and I wasn't going to make it if I didn't. 

 In retrospect, I should have hopped back in my car when I saw the line and drove.  I would have had to park a mile away, but at least I would have easily been on time.  I was sooo nervous I wasn't going to make it.  A guy on the bus assured me I had "plenty of time" and just had to "hop off the bus and run" to the start :).  I ended up getting to the start about 0853 after sprinting from the bus stop!  I tossed my Corporate Cup bag on the truck (they brought them to the end and handed them back out so you didn't have to carry your keys, etc), used the porta potty, and hopped in line with a coworker I happened to find just moments before the gun went off!

It was a beautiful day!  A bit on the warm side with the direct sun, but not too hot.  I ran the first mile or so with a coworker, then split off on my own.  I finished the first mile in 10:13, a little ahead of goal pace.

I tried to enjoy myself, but also had some mental struggle going on.  I had a goal time in mind and had to keep on pushing to reach that goal.  Mile two, a super speedy 9:22.  Mile 3, 10:31, still ahead of pace.  Mile 4 clocked in at 11:20, my longest mile, but included a 60second potty break!

The scenery is amazing! 

This picture is while heading up Doomsday Hill.  The whole course is pretty hilly (much more than I'm used to), but this hill is a killer.  I alternated walking and jogging.  I'm pretty sure my jog wasn't much faster than my walk!

At the top is a famous vulture.  You can see the back of him in this pic.  Mile 5, 11:13, despite Doomsday!

The crowd support at Bloomsday is amazing and makes it worth it.  There are so many people cheering.  You run by houses with people out on their lawns.  Some people turn on their hoses an let them spray out into the street, which is sooo nice!  Others hand our Otter Pops :).  Mile 6, 10:52.  Mile 7, 10:39.

This shot is headed down to the finish.  The last quarter mile is down hill, making it speedy.  Mile 7.47, 5:12.

Official finish time:  1:19:25.  My goal was to run it around 1:20, so I beat that by a few seconds, which thrills me.  I kind of went into it with 1:20 as a semi-abstract goal.  I kind of thought it might be a bit ambitious since I'm not used to the hills.  I gave it my all and met my goal.  I was soooo sore the next day.  My quads were trashed!  In total, there are 467ft of climbing and 494ft of descending.  Basically the whole course is either going up or down.  Both are hard on the knees, quads, and calves.  Most of my training runs include about 150ft-200ft of climbing/descending!

Me sporting my Corporate Cup shirt. 

And, the Bloomsday shirt!  It is always a huge surprise what the finisher shirt is going to look like!  I like this years design...

And so did Isla!

This is a poor picture, but it is me (4th from the right) and my coworkers on the Corporate Cup Team.  Starting from the left back, Carrie (housekeeper), Marlene, Dave (RT), Wendy, me, Sarah, Mary, Erika, Christine and Lisa.  Mary heads the whole thing up but dropped the vacuum on her foot and broke her toe the day before the race (hence the jeans)!

Overall, it was a great race/day, and I can't wait to do it again next year!  I will drive myself, though :).


As I mentioned before, Isla loves having pretty piggies.  She just sits there while I paint them.

So happy with her pretty piggies!!!

Fun in the Yard

Our backyard was one of the major selling points of our house fours years ago.  We are sooo glad we picked a house with a largish backyard.  Though our playset needs updating, the kids are loving running around in the yard and playing.

I also wanted to add some photos of our new wreath I made for summer.  Another inspired idea!

Playing in the yard and digging in the dirt leads to finding new friends, who need new homes!


Last week, Uncle Danny was in town.  Him and Grandma Sara came up to take some trash of ours to the dump.  They also brought an important piece to a new project and stayed for lunch.  Isla takes a while to warm up to her uncles, but once she does, she loves spending time with them!

Isla finally learned/got the courage to go down our slide!

She goes down on her belly and holds on to the top until she's nearly at the bottom :).

She also claps every.single.time she reaches the bottom :).

Here is the new project that Uncle Danny and Grandma Sara helped finish.

It is a huge 8ft x 8ft sandbox in our garden area.  We built it the day before.  I bought 12, 50lbs bags of sandbox sand, which cost $60 and barely made a dent in filling it.  When Uncle Danny and Grandma Sara came up to take our trash to the dump, they brought us a yard of sand from a landscaping place...$18!

The kids love it!  We occasionally have some territorial issues, which is odd since it is so big, but I guess not surprising with siblings.

And, lastly, Isla enjoying some ice cream on the deck on a nice summer night!


Miles has been obsessed lately.  He has a new love for Legos.  It started with Legos Batman on xbox360, and grew with the purchase of a Batman Legos set. He now has many many Legos and will play for hours with them! 
While his collection doesn't begin to rival his Uncle Tim's growing up, it is growing...seemingly daily.  I love that Legos help him with fine motor skills and are great for his imagination.  He often has a whole city occupying the playroom.

Because they're all in the playroom, Isla is seldom let down there to play.  Now that outside play is a bigger contender, it is working out ok.

They had been housed on Miles' top bunk, but we had to unbunk the beds due to our little monkey (much to Miles' dismay).  We just couldn't find a way to keep her off the top bunk!  I'll have to post update pictures of their room soon.

Miles is quite proud of all his Legos and creations.

What a wonderful, timeless invention!