Monday, June 17, 2013

my personal best...

If you we're around me the months, weeks, or days leading up to this year's Chevron Houston Marathon you know the state of mind I was in...

tired. under trained. nervous. doubtful. anticipating injury.

In 2012, I ran 3 marathons within 6 months of each other. Then summer in Houston not only melted my face off but it drained my "motivation tank." In the fall, I took on a new role with my company and the workload and responsibility became a bit more intense. I was skipping long runs left and right. I ran a half marathon in October (it was my husbands 1st!) but after that the longest run I had done was the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 10K. If I was feeling motivated I maybe ran 1 or 2 miles around my neighborhood in the Heights.

My parents we're driving down from Ohio to watch (and celebrate my birthday) so I knew I couldn't just back out of this thing.

I showed up to snag my race bib downtown at the expo. Expos are always exciting! Thousands of people. Discounted shoes and gear with 26.2 are everywhere you look. A nervous energy fills the room and you leave with butterflies in your stomach.

Two days before the race is usually my favorite for one reason, and one reason only... PASTA! It's one of the only meals that I have zero guilt about demolishing.

The day before the race I drank fluids like a fish and put myself in bed at 9pm sharp. I was pretty quiet all day but the internal chatter was unbearable.

you might actually die tomorrow. you won't finish. you're going to finish 5 hours or more. you're going to tear something.

Race day. Time to wake up. Is that rain I hear? Yes. It's raining. Great. I already have so much going against me. Just get dressed. Put your shoes ON... NOW.

Somewhere between my house and hitching a ride downtown with a friend I lost my shot blocks (my food) and left my iPod in my bag at gear check... excellent.

I held off lining up in my corral as long as I could because the rain had started coming down harder. Then I realized it wouldn't matter so I trekked outside of the convention center to find my ideal pace group. By the time I found myself in line I realized that my shoes and socks we're completely soaked through. The temperature was in the low 40s I think and I remember worrying about actually losing a toe to frost bite.


I'm off. I'm quiet. I'm excited. I'm nervous. It's going to be a long 26.2 miles.

Mile 5... I look at my watch. Oh, crap! I'm running too fast. I'm going to run out of steam. I tell myself to slow down. I pass my parents and my husband and I could tell they just barely made it to the spot I told them about because I was running faster than I had planned.

Mile 10... My watch must be wrong. How is it that I've been running sub 10 minute miles this whole time? I've never done that. I feel OK. A little cold maybe. When am I going to hit my wall? I didn't train well enough to be doing this great. Am I going to PR? Too soon... don't get ahead of yourself.

Mile 13... my nose is starting to chafe from wiping the frozen snot too many times. My face is cold and wet from the ran. My legs feel... good? The big hill is coming up. Surely I'll start feeling like crap after that, right?

Mile 15... I dominate the hill. I feel amazing. Am I going to PR?

Mile 16... I'm going to PR! This is when I started believing it was possible. I'd kept under 10 minute miles and my breath and body felt fantastic. The cold and the rain wasn't affecting me. If anything my body wanted to hurry up and finish!

Mile 17... I see my old running buddy and his son and I scream "I'M KILLING IT. I'M GOING TO PR!!!"  I knew my folks we're planning to meet up around here to cheer me on but I don't see them. They thought, I THOUGHT, it would have taken me a lot longer to get to this point! Then I see them... I start waiving my hand up high and they see me and start running. Tears start pooling in my eyes. The excitement of my personal best was starting to get me emotional!

Mile 20-24... Straight down the parkway to the finish. My store has a large cheer station near mile 24 so I was fueled by the excitement of surprising them EARLIER than anyone expected. When I saw I had butterflies! I was greeted with a confetti bomb and really loud cheers. I can't put into words the feeling of accomplishment I had knowing that I was passing them at the 4 hour mark and was on track to completely crush my former best time. It wasn't even just about me and my time. I was showing everyone that anyone can do this. You just have to have the vision and the drive.
My husband snapped this shot of me at mile 24 and it really does tell it all. 

Mile 24-26... my friend Emma had hopped in to run the last leg of the race with me. It was really great having someone to be with besides myself. Thanks, Emma!

Mile 26-26.2... I'm about to achieve my personal best. I am my personal best.  My last few steps we're in slow motion. I literally"took it all in."I did it. I finished. I set a new personal record. I was so full of emotion I was literally speechless!

Wedding day aside, this was one of the greatest moment of my life to date. I completely surprised myself and gained a renewed perspective of what I'm capable of achieving...anything. It's hard to believe when I woke up on January 13th, 2013 I wasn't sure I'd be finishing that race. I beat my time by 24 glorious minutes and had my parents in town to witness it! I

How did I achieve this personal best?  I believed in my own abilities and let it be possible.  AND... maybe the 30lbs of weight I shed between my 4th and 5th marathon gave me that extra pep in my step! That's a whole other blog topic I'll save for later.

That photo serves as a reminder that I cannot be stopped. Anytime I have a bad workout, or am feeling deflated I pull it out and smile. I know I'll chase that feeling again and I'll have a new photo and new experience to reflect back on. After all, I've got 15 more marathon finish lines to cross!

Giddy up!

Friday, June 7, 2013

feeling limited...

I was on a run (okay, maybe these days its a walk/jog) at Zilker Park in Austin last week and I had a realization...
I'm evolving.

I've been over the moon excited about our baby on the way but secretly being really hard on myself for a few things that I used to be really awesome at.

Exhibit A: I'm known for being relentlessly positive...
I have always been a stand for finding the positive in any situation. Well, growing a human being is actually a lot more work that what it seems. I'm tired all of the time. My clothes don't fit anymore. Standing on my feet for hours a day actually hurts my back. Sleep? What is that? I thought I was a sweaty person before baby but HOLY MOLY do I sweat more now! And when I'm really hungry and don't have access to exactly what I want to eat I sometimes cry. Do I want to be happy and smiley all the freaking time? NO.

Exhibit B: I'm great at running long distances...
It's no secret that I love crossing marathon finish lines. My goal of 20 by 2020 is fairly well known to those around me. I had plans to run a half marathon in August where I'd be 6 months pregnant and had visions of running up until the day I gave birth. At 7 weeks I was still able to put down an 8:15 mile but it all changed the following week when I could barely make it down the street comfortably. My body is not as comfortable running anymore. I tire within minutes and I can't ever seem to catch my breath. 

I was in Austin for work last week and we had this amazing run workout planned out for us. They broke us into two groups. One, was for anyone who could "put down 3 miles like it was no big deal" and another for "OMG I'm terrified of running." My ego was a whiny little baby about this... "but I love running! I've run 5 marathons!" We did one loop at the park and I got winded trying to keep up so I took a break and walked/jogged the second loop. This is when I had my realization...

My circumstances are different right now. I'm embarking on a new chapter in my life and a really kick ass exciting one too! I may not be all kittens and rainbows right now or be able to run a marathon tomorrow but that doesn't make me different in a BAD way. I'm evolving as a person and that's awesome.

I have had to put ego aside and ask for help when I need it (or a walking buddy instead of a running one.) I've asked my friends and co-workers to support ME by being a positive source of energy and my husband goes on walks with me every night. I'd been feeling limited but that's all changed now. I'm GREAT the way I am and I'm learning more and more about myself every single day. Pregnancy doesn't last forever and won't determine what type of person or athlete I am. What I've realized through all of this is that I'm actually quite the opposite of limited...

I am limitless.