Sunday, September 30, 2012

31 Days of Living Intentionally

Hey... remember when I took up a photo a day challenge?! Or, that time(s) I committed to actually blogging about training for my half marathons?! Yea, I'm really good at saying I'll do something with this lovely blog, but horrible at actually doing it. But, after hearing about The Nester's 31 day challenge,  I was hooked.

For the month of October, I'll be blogging every single day...

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's Happening!

Sometimes when you've been looking forward to something for so long you forget that it is actually going to happen. Or, you begin to think it's always a long ways away. Like when you register for a marathon 9 months before the actual marathon.

Back in February when I registered it seemed like October 7th would never come. But, now that I am a few weeks away, it seems like it's speedily approaching. How does time do that?!

This past weekend was my last "long" run. This was the day I saw approaching and was fearful of... 20 miles! If I could do this one, I could do the marathon. Guess what folks?! I did it!

The first 10 miles flew by! I felt great except I got really hungry. My stomach didn't really like me that morning so I didn't want to eat anything. So, by around mile 8.5/9 I was starving and knew I had to eat something or I wouldn't finish. I texted a friend and asked if they were home to put a banana on their front porch. Odd message to receive I imagine. When they didn't have one, I simply headed up to use the restroom and eat a light snack. Confession: I sat down to eat the banana. As I was eating, I got a text "the kids and I will totally pass you small cups of water and cheer you on if you give us the heads up if you run by our house! We can even try to talk with Chicago accents and say things like 'da bears' as you run by :)" I LOVE LIVING WITHIN COMMUNITY!! How could I pass up this offer?!

I gave them a heads up and headed straight to their house! It was beyond cute to turn the corner and see three little ones jumping with paper cups of water. I took one, down it, threw it on the ground and grabbed the others. Of course, I stood and chatted for a few minutes before finishing up the last 9 miles. By that time, I didn't want to be doing it anymore. I was sick of running. I feel like I could have pushed myself harder, but I just didn't want to. My stomach still didn't feel right and I was overall tired. I through and finished at 5 hours 20 minutes. Which is REALLY slow! But, that time gave me a lot of confidence because I knew I didn't push myself as hard as I could have. I knew that with the crowd and energy of the race that I'll be able to finish the Chicago Marathon under time.

As soon as I finished I had to hop in the shower in order to get to the office and meet our painter. I had  few hours of rest before church, but I was still surprised I wasn't getting sore. That night I went to church and my legs were really tired, but I was able to stand for most of church even though I really, REALLY wanted to be sitting.

The next day I spent the whole day walking around Six Flags with friends with no problem. I really couldn't believe I was able to do it. And, really I'm not exactly sure how I wasn't sore or tired or anything! Today I feel really normal and almost anxious to burn some energy.

To add fuel to the fire in my belly, this little booklet came in the mail today....AHHHH it's actually happening!!

Anyone else surprised how quickly this is coming?!
Are you ready?

Friday, September 14, 2012


The day I started training for my very first half marathon happened to be the day my uncle endured an 18 hour surgery for mesothelioma (the cancer caused by exposure to asbestos). As I started my first run, I realized it was the exact moment they were wheeling him into surgery. I started praying and thinking back on his life and how he'd give anything to be running with me instead of in surgery. However, we all know he'd rather be sitting by the pool or on the golf course. The entire time I trained just about ever single run I'd think about him and it seemed to put the struggle I was having to keep going in perspective.

That year my first half marathon would be cancelled because of the remains of a hurricane making it's way through St. Louis. My tears for missing my first chance to run a half marathon soon became determination to do it on my own. That night I laced up my running shoes and ran 13.1 miles alone on the city streets of St. Louis. As I rounded the corner on the way back to my apartment I had tears in my eyes from not letting a little thing like a canceled race get in my way from accomplishing a goal.

The next morning I would be awaken by a phone call from my cousin. Her dad lost his battle with cancer in the middle of the night. After I called our family I sat and reflected on his struggle. I realized he was taking his last breaths just a few hours after I took my last steps of my personal half marathon. 

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of his death and I will be completing my longest run in my history... 20 miles. What a better way to honor his anniversary but complete the lost long run of this training schedule.

Christmas Eve tradition - Steve's Whiskey Sours 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Grace with Discipline

This last week or so I've been giving myself much more grace when it came to my training schedule. I feel like the bulk of it is over and I can't do much at this point to really help. And, I'm extremely tired and my legs just can't do it anymore. But, there comes a point where giving yourself grace turns into an excuse to be lazy.

This morning was exactly that. The schedule called for 10 miles. TEN MILES! That's not the long run... that's the mid-week run! CRAZY! I knew there was no possible way I would be able to wake up and get out the door by 5 am, but even at 6:30 I couldn't myself get up. My head just kept telling me "give yourself some grace, you're tired, you've trained enough for this, sleep!"

Where does grace stop and discipline begin?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Grace Upon Grace

I have done a really good job training for the Chicago marathon. Not a perfect job, but a really good job. Just to boast a little on myself, I have skipped a total of three runs the entire time (this does not count the week I was in Haiti and of course couldn't run).

I realize how much I trust my training and how much my body is used to it. Because of the storms two weekends ago, I rearranged my long run thinking it wasn't going to be a big deal. Really it shouldn't have been, but my body is just so used to the routine and I couldn't recover.

Last week I was scheduled to do 5, 9, 5 and 14 miles, but I had to skip one because of my rescheduling. I figured I'd just skip one of the 5 milers and be on my way. I tried twice to do that and my legs just weren't having it. They were exhausted. And, not the "I just need to push through" exhausted, but the "you're risking injury" exhausted. So, Saturday morning when I was prepared to run 14 miles, I quit. It's the first time I've ever in my life quite in the middle of a long run. To be fair I figured I'd do 14 on Sunday. I would have... probably... if I didn't stay out till 1 am and then work all day.

I've decided I'm tired and my body needed the break. Realizing that I have trained to the best of my ability and that missing one long run on a cut back week won't hurt me too much. I also realized that I should forget about the miss and concentrate on my last long run before Chicago. So, that's exactly what I'm doing; giving myself grace and looking towards Saturday's 20 miler.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Two more...two more... two more

AHHHHHH!  Somehow the time has passed soooo quickly. I feel like I just started training and now I'm just a little over a month away. Where did the time go?

The past week or two have been much better emotionally and I think I might be over that hump of training. I'm beginning to think I'll actually be able to do this and am excited... well, probably more excited to get it over with than to actually run it.  But, excited none-the-less.

This weekend what was left of Hurricane Isaac made it's way across the mid-west and into St. Louis. According to the forecast it was going to storm ALL day with a 100% chance of rain every single hour on Saturday. After stressing out and becoming a nervous wreck that I wouldn't get my 18 miler in on Saturday, I realized Monday was a holiday so worse case scenario, I'd do it then. Of course, I woke up Saturday morning to sunny skies and was angry I didn't push through as planned. Mainly I was angry that the 18 miler would hang over my head for another day. I resolved to do my long run Sunday come hell or high water!

Sunday I woke up and it was cooler and overcast... PERFECT! I headed out the door towards Tower Grove to swing by one of my friend's house as she joined me for the 6 miles. I'm so unbelievably blessed to have such supportive friends that are willing to keep my company. Since she was with me, I definitely went slower and was more relaxed than I normally would have been, but I'd rather have the distraction than be a few minutes faster. After running around the Tower Grove/Shaw neighborhood I headed to Forrest Park. Somehow I managed to not plan a route so I free styled my way through 18 miles. Once at the park I HAD to stop and use the restroom; I'm not exactly sure how restroom breaks will work out at the marathon, but it looks like one will be necessary. Up to this point it wasn't necessarily raining, but with the humidity around 140% and I was soaked.

The first 14 miles were pretty pleasant; I really didn't start hurting till around mile 14 or so as I went up the slow, long hill on Skinker. I pushed through and soon I was at mile 16 which was my previous longest run. Something came over me at this point and I uncontrollably started chanting "two more miles. two more. two more. two more." I promise I couldn't help myself and I'm sure if anyone would have been around a padded van would have come up to take me to the mental ward. I really wanted to stop and either walk the entire way or call a friend to come and get me. Actually, I had already worked out the whole conversation in my head and knew who I would call. Fear of their judgement pushed me on. Finally I heard the lovely words of my dear app friend say I had reached mile 17. With just one more mile to go, I knew I could make it and was actually just about exactly 1 mile from my home. As I crossed Hampton I ran one last time before giving up and walking the hill to my apartment. At mile 17.98 I grabbed my phone exhaustedly hoping to be done.

I WAS DONE! 18 miles finished... the longest run of my life. I wasn't excited about my time, but I think with the excitement of race day I'll actually make it in time. Every single time I run further I wonder how in the world I'll add another 8 miles (in this case). But, I can remember back to my first half marathon and my longest run of 10 miles. I would think then "how in the world am I going to add another 3 miles." Hopefully the same will be true on October 7.